Longtime campaign manager a major force in winning elections
by Kathy Mitchell
Austin Independents 49
Locally owned businesses invite
you in their doors
Pet Adoptions 57
Somewhere in the Austin area there's a dog or cat that's just right for you
by Melissa Gaskill
Proposition 2: Do the right thing
by Rebecca Melançon
Our readers write.
Arts Feature 8
An original composition
The Golden Hornet Project breathes new life into Austin's classical scene
by Bonnie Neel
Arts Buzz 9
Wicked art haunts
October's arts scene
by Bonnie Neel
Arts & Entertainment 10
Art, music, theatre, books and more
Compiled by Whitney Angstadt
Out & About 16
The lowdown on what's going on
Compiled by Whitney Angstadt
It's a shame, shame, shame how we feel shame about sex
by Karen Kreps
Seeking Spirit 22
Music knows no boundaries when you're fifteen
by Becca Hensley
Color energizes architect's home
by Amy E. Lemen
Austin Original 56
Kenny Hill Autowerks
by Shelley Seale
Ancient Chinese Martial Art Heals Austinites 61
by Beth Goulart
Saving Some Lives, Confusing Others 64
Health screenings provide lots of information, but not all of it helpful
by Karen Branz Leach
If the shoe fits, leave it in the closet
by Carla Birnberg
Simple answers seldom solve complex problems
by Karen Branz Leach
The Buzz 69
Health, wellness & fitness activities abound
Compiled by Whitney Angstadt
Longtime campaign manager a major force in winning elections
by Kathy Mitchell
Austin Independents 49
Locally owned businesses invite
you in their doors
Pet Adoptions 57
Somewhere in the Austin area there's a dog or cat that's just right for you
by Melissa Gaskill
Proposition 2: Do the right thing
by Rebecca Melançon
Our readers write.
Arts Feature 8
An original composition
The Golden Hornet Project breathes new life into Austin's classical scene
by Bonnie Neel
Arts Buzz 9
Wicked art haunts
October's arts scene
by Bonnie Neel
Arts & Entertainment 10
Art, music, theatre, books and more
Compiled by Whitney Angstadt
Out & About 16
The lowdown on what's going on
Compiled by Whitney Angstadt
It's a shame, shame, shame how we feel shame about sex
by Karen Kreps
Seeking Spirit 22
Music knows no boundaries when you're fifteen
by Becca Hensley
Color energizes architect's home
by Amy E. Lemen
Austin Original 56
Kenny Hill Autowerks
by Shelley Seale
Ancient Chinese Martial Art Heals Austinites 61
by Beth Goulart
Saving Some Lives, Confusing Others 64
Health screenings provide lots of information, but not all of it helpful
by Karen Branz Leach
If the shoe fits, leave it in the closet
by Carla Birnberg
Simple answers seldom solve complex problems
by Karen Branz Leach
The Buzz 69
Health, wellness & fitness activities abound
Compiled by Whitney Angstadt
Proposition 2: Do the right thing
Our community has had many studies, plans, discussions and debates about what we want Austin to look like in the future. One inevitable fact is growth will occur. While we ponder the simplistic upward-or-outward question about where to put all the people moving to Austin, a small revolution has been building in our community.
While many confrontations of the past have been framed as the developer vs. the environment, the current fight takes on the developer vs. our tax dollars.
On November 4, in addition to voting for president, you will be asked to vote on a complex amendment to the Austin City Charter. Proposition 2 would prohibit the City of Austin from providing incentives to development or redevelopment projects that include retail and would prohibit the city from paying incentives currently contracted to The Domain and potentially others. No doubt you’ve heard the cry of Stop Domain Subsidies (www.stopdomainsubsidies.com) to pass this amendment to prevent the city from paying the rebate of sales tax dollars to Simon Property Group Inc., the current developer of The Domain.
But first a bit of history. Municipalities routinely grant incentive packages to create a thriving economic and cultural environment. Economic policies drive the addition of desirable jobs, recruitment of viable business sectors and development of specific areas of town. These policies can also express the desires of the community for the shape and feel of our city.
The term New Urbanism has been put into play here. New Urbanism seeks to provide neighborhoods that are scalable (no enormous skyscrapers) and contain jobs, a variety of housing options, public spaces, shopping and a walkable community. This translates into mixed-use development. The Domain is an example of this, as is the Mueller redevelopment, The Triangle and others.
In 2003, the city entered into a contract with the developers of The Domain to offer financial incentives to create a desired project that included affordable housing, park space, jobs, locally owned businesses, high-end retailers and a showcase of mixed-use planning. Among the incentives was a rebate of taxes collected on retail sales at The Domain. These taxes would otherwise flow into the city’s general fund coffers to help pay for our community’s needs including public safety, libraries, parks and numerous other necessities. You will hear estimates of how much these rebates cost that range from twenty-five million to sixty-five million dollars or more. The difference in these figures is the twenty-five million is a cap at net present value. That means in 2003 dollars. Over the life of this twenty-five year agreement this could stretch to sixty-five million in real dollars.
In 2004 Brian Rodgers, a local real estate investor, brought a lawsuit against the city and the developers to stop the refund of sales tax dollars to the developer. This ended in a settlement that allows the city and the developers to walk away from the agreement. (I wrote about this issue in November 2007 and explained the pros and cons in more detail. That article can be found at www.goodlifemag.com/archives/2007/11-07/11-07_Lagniappe.pdf.)
Rodgers and others led the petition drive to get Proposition 2 on the ballot.
Recently a new group has formed to defeat the proposition. Keep Austin’s Word (www.keepaustinsword.com) carries the voice of former Council Member Betty Dunkerley. Dunkerley is a well-respected advocate for local business and supported, among others, the Austin Independent Business Alliance throughout her time on the council. Keep Austin’s Word maintains that the original deal with The Domain should be honored. According to a recent review to be presented to the City Council October 2 (after our press date) The Domain has not only met its obligations under the agreement but has exceeded them.
Keep Austin’s Word claims that it will hurt the city and future projects to renege on The Domain deal. Although the Rodgers’ lawsuit settlement allows the city to stop the refund, Dunkerley and others believe it would be harmful to do so. It’s not just a matter of integrity—the developer is doing its part and so should we—it’s a matter of reputation, unintended consequences and expensive lawsuits. A deal’s a deal. Because you can walk away doesn’t mean you should.
What Stop Domain Subsidies says is also true
Simon Property Group, a successful international developer, doesn’t need and shouldn’t get our hard-earned tax dollars. Especially not to support the likes of Neiman Marcus, Louis Vuitton and others. Just to be clear, the rebates go to Simon Property Group and not directly to the retailers, although every retailer in The Domain, locally-owned and international alike, stands to benefit from these rebates through better amenities and possibly lower rents.
This was a bad deal. We can debate endlessly the merits of the deal, whether The Domain development would have happened anyway without city incentives, whether they have really complied with the terms of the agreement or it’s a bunch of deceptive numbers, and whether the citizens of Austin should spend tax dollars (as opposed to purchases as customers) supporting high-end retailers.
City Council Resolution vs. Proposition 2 Charter Amendment
In December 2007, Council Member Lee Leffingwell introduced a resolution passed by the City Council that would prevent future deals like The Domain but bind the city to pay the rebates in The Domain deal. This was an attempt to satisfy concerns about future deals and derail the Stop Domain Subsidies petition drive for a charter amendment. Clearly the petition drive continued and the proposition is on the ballot.
But the devil really isn’t in the details, he’s in the unintended consequences. Those consequences breed questions such as: How does this affect the Mueller redevelopment? What about the forthcoming redevelopment of the Seaholm Power Plant site? Does it impact the next phase of The Triangle? Will future deals be suspect if we back out of The Domain? Or is this a chance to set a bad deal right? Should this be a part of the City Charter (the equivalent of our local Constitution) or should it be economic policy? The City Charter requires a public vote to change or amend it while a policy can be changed by the vote of the City Council.
As legal minds pore over the possibilities of where we’ll be if Proposition 2 passes, we mere voters must weigh and decide the options by November 4.
The power you hold
While both sides are trying to get your vote, I’d like to pause and marvel at our form of government. We get a lot of things wrong. The Iraq War, greed on Wall Street, our failure to provide affordable healthcare, all these and more weigh on us heavily these days. Corruption comes in waves in both politics and business. The system that’s supposed to protect the most vulnerable among us often fails tragically. But sometimes we get it right.
In 2003, your elected City Council, with little community input, decided The Domain deal was good for the city. By the will of the people (it took the signatures of twenty thousand verified registered voters to get this charter amendment on the ballot) we have the opportunity to rethink this deal. You have the option to tell the council you want a different outcome. This is democracy in action.
Is your vote for Proposition 2 a better decision or mob rule? History isn’t particularly kind in judging the wisdom of voters in overturning a council decision or forcing the power of our will to bear. In an effort to curb the impact of big money’s influence on local elections, a citizens’ group petitioned for and a majority voted for a charter change that limited individual contributions to one hundred dollars. In retrospect it was a mistake, hobbling local elections in the land of the underfunded, and the limits have since been increased.
But sometimes our collective wisdom shines, as in the case of the landmark Save Our Springs Ordinance protecting Barton Springs and the environment we hold dear. The voters (or mob if you were on the other side) demanded to be heard and the voters overwhelmingly supported the initiative.
One side of the Proposition 2 argument is emotional: “Don’t give Neiman Marcus your tax dollars! Protect the little local businesses and let the big international high-falutin’ bigwigs fend for themselves! Do the right thing!”
The other side is practical: “Keep your word. Honor your deals but make better ones next time. Keep your options open and avoid anything rash that may bring those unintended consequences. Do the right thing!”
On November 4 while you’re out electing the next leader of our country, vote on Proposition 2. Exercise the power of your vote and do the right thing.Rebecca will be doing her right thing by voting for Proposition 2 and letting the devil and the lawyers fight over the details. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Mr. Martin,
I am writing on behalf of Austin Groups for the Elderly (AGE) in regards to the article dealing with aging issues and the challenges of being a caregiver (“Becoming Mother to Your Mother: Rising to the Challenge of Caring for Ageing Parents” by Karen Branz Leach, September 2008). The author of this article included a quote in reference to our Elderhaven Adult Day Center program.
We found the inclusion of this statement unfortunate and inaccurate as we are privileged to host clients of many different ability levels. Most of our clients are vital and all are engaged and enjoy the social interaction and stimulation that daily attendance at Elderhaven provides. The statement misrepresented the goals of the program and the wonderful people who attend Elderhaven, as well as their caregivers who depend on the support that Elderhaven provides in offering a solution to the daytime isolation and lack of stimulation that many seniors experience.
One of the main goals of AGE is to provide seniors and their caregivers with the support they need to live their most vibrant lives. The Elderhaven program was specifically designed to provide a safe, secure and stimulating environment for elders who are vulnerable when left alone. We know—and many of our caregivers will confirm—that homebound seniors experience a more rapid mental and physical deterioration rate and can pose a serious risk to themselves, particularly when signs of dementia and memory loss are present.
We encourage caregivers and the elderly to visit either of our two Elderhaven locations to see and learn about the benefits of adult day healthcare firsthand. We welcome and look forward to the opportunity to continue our work to improve the quality of life for our elderly, disabled and those who care for them.
Austin Groups for the Elderly
Kudos for special report on race relations
Thank you so much on your thorough article, “Race Relations in Austin” (by Carlos Gieseken, September 2008). I grew up in Austin and although I knew that segregation was planned into the design of Austin, I didn’t know a lot of the other information presented. I learned so much and I really appreciated your interviews with so many community leaders.
The photo for the Austin Originals article on page fifty-one of the August edition is incorrectly identified. The person in the photo is Peter Treece.
The Golden Hornet Project Breathes New Life Into Austin’s Classical Scene
What if you went to the symphony and instead of a recital of a composition by Beethoven or Mozart (who were hip and trendy about two hundred years ago), you were instead treated to a string quartet composed by Mick Jagger? Sounds exciting and a little incongruous, right? But it is essentially the mission of Austin’s own Golden Hornet Project, which has performed more than one hundred new compositions by more than thirty new composers, many of them local musicians.
“A band is really no different from a string quartet,” says Peter Stopschinski, one-half of the duo behind GHP. “It’s chamber music. Those people are just more familiar with what a guitar is supposed to do, what its role is in the music, than say an oboe in an orchestra.” Stopschinski was working and writing with his own band, The Brown Whornet, when he met Graham Reynolds of the Golden Arm Trio.
“I had actually heard a rumor that Graham was writing string quartets,” says Stopschinski. “I called him up and said that I was writing string quartets and that they were ready to be presented. He said great and we started looking for venues to perform them. Later we realized that neither of us at that point had actually written anything. We were just totally bluffing each other. Then we had to follow through with it.” The concert wound up being really inspiring and, by the end of it, the Golden Hornet Project (taken from the names of both Reynolds and Stopschinski’s bands) was born.
Since that auspicious beginning in 1999, GHP has created and performed full symphonies, works for percussion ensembles, children’s piano recitals, film scores, and chamber music of all kinds. The concerts tend to bridge the gap between nightclub and concert hall with the patrons filing in wearing jeans and T-shirts (Austin’s high fashion) with seating available everywhere, even on the stage with the musicians. The music—especially that of the popular percussion ensembles—is alive, fresh and vibrant, played with the energy of a rock band on stage. It gets your body moving, your mind thinking, following the themes and movements in the composition.
“I think a unique experience that we had as opposed to people who study music in conservatories—which I did as an undergraduate and immediately got out of it—is our music doesn’t first come from the page,” says Stopschinski. “I think a lot of composers, if you are conservatory bred, are really concerned with how things look and really concerned with the mechanics of compositions.”
“My music looks boring on the page,” says Reynolds, who was not trained in composition at a conservatory. He taught himself with a book of notations and a white piano marked with instrument ranges on masking tape. Nonetheless, he gained international acclaim for composing the score for the 2006 Richard Linklater film, A Scanner Darkly.
GHP is growing in scope and acclaim as well. After ten years under the umbrella of Salvage Vanguard Theatre, GHP applied for and recently received its nonprofit status with an eye toward building for the future. This season features a free Big Band Concert at Wooldridge Square Park (Ninth and Guadalupe) on October 4, and a performance with the Tosca String Quartet at the Alamo Drafthouse in January. Symphony IV, GHP’s fourth full symphony, will premiere as part of the Fuse Box Festival in April at Austin’s Blue Theater.
“We’ve had basically five different kinds of concerts that we are trying to put on annually,” says Reynolds, “orchestral, string quartet, percussion, composers of the piano, and solo.” Plans are in the works to bring in national and international guest artists to collaborate with GHP to not only place the music into context for its audience but also to expand the connection of GHP to the national music scene.
“We’re interested in doing a turntable concerto piece and bringing in a well-known, established deejay to collaborate with us. It will be a test-run, of sorts, to eventually host a festival where we bring in three nights of out-of-town artists,” says Reynolds.
The future plans and big dreams are part of the charm and strength of GHP. Both Reynolds and Stopschinski teach young musicians at the Austin Chamber Music Center and plan on continuing that collaboration by staging annual concerts with their young charges as performers, interns and composers. “We’ve had students come play in our symphonies along the way,” says Graham. “They got to sit next to musicians that were in the Austin Symphony Orchestra.”
For adult composers, drawn from the local music scene, they hold “composer meetings” where they work out the finer details of putting music to page. “Especially for people that work for bands and very often are not familiar (with) writing classical ensembles, we would sort of walk them through the process. Look over their scores, work with them on their scores to make them easier to read, more proper, put things in the right ranges,” says Stopschinski.
The music that comes from bringing artists from the “underground” together with those from the conservatory is both revelatory and relevant. GHP and its wickedly talented and hardworking creators have given a new dimension to Austin’s live music scene, crossing the chasm between Sixth Street and the Long Center. Imagine the combination of a deejay and his turntables in the middle of an orchestra! Bet even Beethoven, if he could, would be there on the front row for that one.
Learn more about GHP and Reynolds and Stopschinski’s individual bands at www.goldenhornet.org.
Bonnie Neel got to sit next to the drums at the last GHP concert. It rocked. Contact her at email@example.com.
Wicked art haunts October’s arts scene
Double, double, toil and trouble. There are wicked delights bubbling in the Austin scene this month.
First off, our most daring and so-good-they-are-scary theater company, the irrepressible Rude Mechanicals, have recently received a fifty thousand dollar grant from the HMBG Foundation to be disbursed over three years. The Rude Mechs are busy conjuring another genre-breaking production and fixing up the Off Center, but the grant requires a two-to-one match. So open up your wallets, ladies and gentleman, and share your bounty with the original bad boys of Austin theater.
For more good-lookers and even better guitar riffs, the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM) will be holding its third annual HAAM Benefit Day October 7 at City Hall to thank local businesses and patrons who have done their part to provide health insurance for our local musicians. A Battle of the Bands fund-raiser will be held that evening at Antone’s. I can guarantee some wicked good music.
For more fiendishly good music, the magical choral ensemble, Conspirare, will open its season at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church with Home (October 3-5) featuring the work of American superstar choral composer Eric Whitacre. This production will be filmed the following week by PBS in the Long Center for a national prime-time broadcast next year. Get your tickets while you can.
Tickets are still available for the last two screenings of Austin Film Society’s The Third Wave: Contemporary German Cinema at the Alamo Drafthouse South (October 7 and 14). I’m looking forward to Love in Thoughts (Was Nutzt die Liebe in Gedanken) by director Achim von Borries (October 7), a dark, diabolical love story—German style. AFS continues not only to screen provocative films but also to actively encourage their creation, recently giving away more than one hundred three thousand dollars to twenty-two video and film projects via its 2008 Texas Filmmakers’ Production Fund.
If German love stories aren’t devilish enough for you, Austin’s Halloween offerings are ghoulishly delightful. First, Trouble Puppet Theatre presents its mischievous rendition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at the City Theatre (October 30-November 16). Austin Chamber Music Center is conjuring up its own theme concert, Mmmmm... Creepalicious! on October 31 (private home performance) and November 1 (the Long Center Rollins Theater). ACMC’s program includes the delightfully spooky Ghost Trio by Beethoven. And finally, the Mexic-Arte Museum launches its twenty-fifth annual Dia de los Muertos celebration with its exhibit of local community art and altars opening October 20, leading to its procession in East Austin and celebration downtown November 1. If you’ve never experienced the sheer magic and pageantry of the sacred Mexican Day of the Dead holiday, run out and enjoy the goblins, ghouls and honored dead.
Wickedly good offerings would not be complete without reminding one and all that the Texas Book Festival (November 1-2) swoops into town the day after Halloween. A veritable coven of writers and celebrities will be on hand, but if you’ve got little goblins up for a frightful good time, don’t miss R.L. Stine’s appearance on October 31 at the Austin Children’s Museum, where he’ll read from his new book Goosebumps HorrorLand #5: Dr. Maniac vs. Robby Schwartz and lead the kids in a communal ghost story.
Something wickedly good this way comes. Get out, Austin, and enjoy its delights!
Every Halloween, Bonnie dresses like a witch. Better to not ask why. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sundays Oct. 19-Nov. 16 8:30am-12:30m Aquarelle: Waterloo Watercolor Group 30th Annual Fall Juried Exhibition: Art work selected by Christopher Schink, signature member of the American & National Watercolor Societies & nationally recognized artist, author, teacher & juror. Riverbend Church, 4214 N. Capital of Texas Highway. Details: 327-3540.
• Oct. 30 Th 5:30-7:30pm Reception
Oct. 1-11 Sa-M free The Art of Hessam: Expressions of Life: Austin’s largest contemporary fine art gallery welcomes international artist Hessam Abrishami to Austin for the first time. ART on 5th, 1501 W. 5th St. Details: 481-1111 www.arton5th.com.
• Oct. 3 & Oct. 4 F-Sa Meet Hessam
Oct. 1-11 M-Sa Past: Paused: Matthew Fuller & Faustinus Deraet: Fuller curated & digitally enhanced iconic photographs taken by the artist’s grandfather during the 1950s. Deraet dazzles us with unexpected visions of China; surprising everyone with what an artist & his plastic toy camera can achieve together. Davis Gallery, 837 W. 12th St. Details: 477-4929 www.davisgalleryaustin.com.
Oct. 1-12 $0-$7 A Place of Dreams: Exhibit of paintings & photos of Caddo Lake by Bruce Tinch. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. Details: 232-0100 www.wildflower.org.
Oct. 1-20 Little Heroes: Display of images of children by some of Mexico’s most acclaimed photographers. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, 3600 Presidential Blvd. Entire exhibition is also on-line. Details: 245-2313 www.alkek.library.txstate.edu/swwc/wg/heroes/index.html.
Oct. 1-Nov. 1 Pachacuti pachacuti pachacuti: Exhibition of work by William Cordova. The Andean Quechua word, pachacuti, like many words in languages from across the world, does not have one translation, but many interpretations depending on its various usages & contexts. In two installations, “this one’s 4U” &”some of us were gladiators,” Cordova investigates the many interpretations & contexts of visual culture. Okay Mountain, 1312-B E. Cesar Chavez. Details: 619-4622 www.okaymountain.com.
Oct. 1-Nov. 1 Jeffrey Dell: Big Pelt: Dell’s work pushes the boundaries of printmaking by building a textural surface not commonly seen in serigraphy. With this unique use of the printmaking medium, Dell makes surprising images that do not always look like prints. d berman gallery, 1701 Guadalupe. Details; 477-8877 www.dbermangallery.com.
• Oct. 11 1pm Gallery Talk
Oct. 1-Nov. 2 Tu-Th 1-6pm Discrete Space: Leslie Mutchler, Sam Sanford & Jeannie McKetta: Titled after the topological term referring to a plotted network of isolated points, the show includes artists working in disparate mediums, each individually interpreting & dissecting issues of space formally, structurally & emotionally. From the way we access our memories & our belongings, from the structure of our environment & our subconscious, these artists a dealing with both the power & limitations of our physicality. Bay 12 Gallery at Big Medium, 5305 Bolm Road, #12. Details: 385-1670 <email@example.com> www.bigmedium.org.
Oct. 1-Nov. 2 free The Inner Image: New work from Betty Jameson & Carolyn Patterson in various water media & collage. North Hills Gallery, Northwest Hills United Methodist Church, 7050 Village Center Dr. Details: 346-0261 www.nwhillsumc.org/northhillsgallery.html.
Oct. 1-Nov. 2 free Reset/Play: Exhibition attempting a critical exploration of contemporary art inspired by video games. Questioning the history, control mechanisms, political & art-historical implications of electronic games, this exhibit assembles a formidable group of international artists who made a significant impact on this growing post-game artistic sub-genre. Arthouse at the Jones Center, 700 Congress Ave. Details: 453-5312 www.arthousetexas.org.
• Oct. 18 Sa 8pm AMODA Performance: Featuring performance-sound artists Loud Objects, Ceremony Hall, 4100 Red River.
Oct. 1-Dec. 31 M-Su free Fab’rik + Rebecca Bennett: Original Oil Paintings: fab’rik, 12801 Hill Country Blvd. Bee Cave. Details: 923-0158 www.fabrikaustin.com.
Oct. 1-Jan. 18 Reimagining Space: The Park Place Gallery Group in 1960s New York: An exhibition that opens a new window on the 1960s art world. In doing so, it reveals the decade to have been a period of much richer artistic possibility & complexity than standard art historical narratives suggest. Blanton Museum of Art, 200 E. MLK. Details: 471-7324 www.blantonmuseum.org.
Oct. 1-Jan. 18 The New York Graphic Workshop: Showcasing over 100 prints, drawings & mixed media works, the exhibition will explore contributions made to the Conceptualist movement of the ’60s & ’70s thru the printmaking of The New York Graphic Workshop. Blanton Museum of Art, 200 E. MLK. Details: 471-7324 www.blantonmuseum.org.
Oct. 3-Nov. 9 Everything’s Going to be Okay: Young Latino Artists 13: This exhibition curated by Leslie Moody Castro illustrates how moments of vulnerability can turn into our greatest strengths. Now in its 13th year, this exhibition features & challenges young Latino artists younger than 35 to create & present their vision in a reexamination of social & aesthetic norms with new & experimental media. Mexic-Arte Museum, 419 N. Congress Ave. Details: 480-9373 ext. 25 www.mexic-artemuseum.org.
• Oct. 3 F 7-9pm Opening Reception
Oct. 4 Sa noon-dark free Art Walk: S. 1st Street businesses & artists hosts their annual Art Walk & donation drive for Capital Area Food Bank. The Art Walk includes music, jewelry, performances & artwork by some of Austin’s most gifted artists. Visual artists include Subliminal Phoenix & the 8d Crew. Performance art includes Baruzuland Shadow Puppet Theater. Creative workshops for kids are offered by Future Craft Collective, Greater Austin Garbage Arts (GAGA) & Treasure City Thrift. Details: 373-4242 www.myspace.com/southfirst78704.
Oct. 4-Oct. 31 free Art Across the Americas: The Austin Lima Sister Cities Committee presents this exhibition of Peruvian and North American painters and sculptors. Sales will go to the artists & the Center for Adolescent Mothers in Lima (El Centro Para Madres Adolescentes). International Center of Austin, 201 E. 2nd St. Details: Carol Hayman 477-3099 www.ci.austin.tx.us/siscity/lima.htm.
• Oct. 4 Sa 6-9pm free Artists’ Reception
Oct. 4-29 free New Paintings by Honora Jacob: New work by painter & sculptor Jacob, whose work combines seemingly disparate imagery to explore feminine archetypes. Wally Workman Gallery, 1202 W. 6th St. Details: 472-7428 www.wallyworkman.com.
• Oct. 4 Sa 6-8pm Opening Reception
Oct. 4-31 free Art Across the Americas: Exhibit features Peruvian & North American painters & sculptors. International Center of Austin, 201 E. 2nd St. Details: 477-3099 www.austinlima.org.
• Oct. 4 Sa 6-9pm Opening Reception
Oct. 4-Feb. 22 WorkSpace 10: Marcelo Pombo: 3 new large-scale paintings that together will construct a single narrative while maintaining a distinct autonomy. Blanton Museum of Art, 200 E. MLK. Details: 471-7324 www.blantonmuseum.org.
Oct. 5 Su noon-6pm free Beyond ArtHive: Brings together 3 members of Austin’s old ArtHive Art Studio. The work of ArtHive founder Nathan Jensen & ArtHive artists Chris Chappell & Michael Schliefke will be on display. ArtHive, 1732 W. Anderson Ln. Details: 296-0862 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.natespace.com.
Oct. 5 Su 1-4pm $10 Memorial Art Workshop: Come & see some examples of memorial art, express your thoughts about it & if so inclined create a memorial collage or something of your own to honor a loved one. Dress comfortably. Art materials provided. Refreshments. AGE Building, 3710 Cedar St. Details: 512-394-8798 <email@example.com> www.fcaambis.org.
Oct. 18 Sa 1:30-3:30pm $20 Sculptor In Me! Sculpture Workshop for Adults: Hands In Clay: Learn the fundamentals of the ancient (but very modern) art of ceramic sculpting: slap, push, press & squeeze! In this hands-on class, each student will learn the basic clay techniques while sculpting. Working with water-based clay, using slabs & coils, each student will create at least one ceramic sculpture. Clay & all tools provided. The Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum, 605 Robert E. Lee Rd. Details: 445-5582 www.umlaufsculpture.org.
Oct. 18-Dec. 14 Art by Linda Calvert Jacobson: Paintings by one of Central Texas’ most exciting artists. McDermott Learning Center. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. Details: 232-0100 www.wildflower.org.
• Oct. 18 Sa noon-2pm Meet the Artist
Oct. 20-Nov. 9 Día de los Muertos Altar Exhibition: Each autumn Mexic-Arte Museum invites individuals & organizations in the Austin community to participate in the creation of their own altars in remembrance of their relatives or friends. The altars are adorned with traditional ofrendas (offerings) including flowers, photographs & images of calaveras (skulls). Entries are also invited to create a portable altar for the Procession. Mexic-Arte Museum, 419 Congress Ave. Details: 480-9373 www.mexic-artemuseum.org.
Oct. 23 Th $35- $120 Sight.Sound.Soul: The Birth of Jazz: An annual gala event benefiting two Austin nonprofits, Knowbility & VSA arts of Texas, bringing Austin the sights sounds & soul of 1920s New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz. An artist will be “real-time painting” in tandem with performance music as lyrics are captioned & signed in American Sign Language. For those who can’t see the performance, live audio description will convey its visual elements. Monarch Events Center, 6406 S. I-35. Details: 305-0310 www.sightsoundsoul.org.
• 5:30-7:30pm $120 Pre-show reception
• 7:30pm $35 General admission
• 8-10pm White Ghost Shivers perform
Oct. 25 Sa 6-9pm Greg Miller: The Unforgotten Opening Reception: Spazio by Lytle Pressley, 1214 W. 6th St. Details: 474-5768 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.spaziointeriors.com.
Oct. 25-Nov. 25 The Living: Davis Gallery presents a 3-person exhibition of paintings by Stella Alesi, Miranda Gray & David Leonard, all of whom focus on living subjects as their source of inspiration. 837 W. 12th St. Details: 477-4929 www.davisgalleryaustin.com.
Nov. 1-30 free Dwain Kelley: Resurrection: Assemblages, paintings & drawings that span the last 6 decades. Kelley’s paintings & drawings have slowly evolved from early realism, landscapes, primarily, to works that retain that foundation but explore the shape, line & color relationships in a more experimental direction. Wally Workman Gallery, 1202 W. 6th St. Details: 472-7428 www.wallyworkman.com.
• Nov. 1 Sa 6-8pm Opening Reception
The Artist Assistance Project: The nonprofit center provides financial management, legal & management services to arts organizations & individual artists. Services offered on a sliding-fee-scale basis affordable for area artists & arts organizations. Details: Lois Jebo 451-5315.
VSA Arts of Texas, a nonprofit organization helping disabled artists have access the arts. 3710 Cedar St. Details: 440-1156 www.vsatx.org.
Oct. 1-30 free BookPeople Author Signings, Events 603 N. Lamar Blvd. 7pm unless otherwise noted. Details: 472-5050 www.bookpeople.com.
Oct. 1 W Rewritten History Book Club: discussing Exodus by Leon Uris
Oct. 1 W Varun Vidyarthi & Patricia Wilson: Development from Within
Oct. 3 F Christopher Paolini: Brisingr: Parking Lot Party
Oct. 4 Sa 3pm Chuck Klosterman: Downtown Owl
Oct. 6 M 7% Solution Book Club: Discussing Club Dumas by Perez-Riverte
Oct. 7 Tu HAAM Day
Oct. 7 Tu Art Spiegelman: Breakdowns
Oct. 8 W George Rodrigue: Blue Dog Speaks
Oct. 9 Th Mehtab Benton: Gong Yoga
Oct. 11 Sa 3pm Patricia Young: South Texas Tales
Oct. 12 Su 3:30pm John Scieszka: Knucklehead
Oct. 13 M AAIM Book Club: discussing Development from Within
Oct. 14 Tu Diane Wilson: Holy Roller
Oct. 15 W Jonathan Carroll: The Ghost in Love
Oct. 16 Th The Intimacies Group with Good Life “Intimacies” columnist Karen Kreps
Oct. 17 F 5:30pm Happy Hour party with Jenna McEachern: 100 Things Longhorn Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die
Oct. 17 F Connie Reeves: Hawthorn’s Cottage
Oct. 18 Sa 3pm Christine & Ethan Rose: Rowan of the Wood
Oct. 19 Su 9:30am-4:30pm Memoir Writing Workshop with Tom Larson
Oct. 20 M Ludicrous Speed Book Club: Discussing Shadows Over Baker Street by H.P. Lovecraft
Oct. 21 Tu Tony Vigorito: Nine Kinds of Naked
Oct. 22 W Maureen McCormick: Here’s the Story
Oct. 23 Th Bob Lilly: A Cowboy’s Life
Oct. 24 F Irete Lazo: The Accidental Santera
Oct. 25 Sa 3pm Brian Jacques: Doomwyte
Oct. 27 M New & Noteworthy Book Club: Discussing The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Oct. 28 Tu Sarah Vowell: The Wordy Shipmates
Oct. 29 W Alan Cheuse: To Catch the Lightning
Oct. 30 Th Boyd Harris: Horror Library Volume 3
Oct. 2 Th 7:30pm $50 Ron Hall & Denver Moore: Same Kind of Different As Me: Authors Hall & Moore share their amazing & inspiring story in a lecture to benefit the Austin Children’s Shel
Oct. 29-Nov. 10 $0-$25 Austin Jewish Book Fair: Meet authors from countries around the world, with a variety of religious perspectives & areas of interest. Details: 735-8076 www.shalomaustin.org/bookfair.
• Oct. 29 W 8pm free Frédéric Brenner: Diaspora, author of Homelands in Exile. University of Texas’ Harry Ransom Center, 300 W. 21st St.
• Nov. 1 Sa 8pm free Opening Night with Evan Handler, actor & author of It’s Only Temporary: The Good News & the Bad News of Being Alive. Dell Jewish Community Campus, 7300 Hart Ln.
• Nov. 2 Su 6pm $75 25th Anniversary Celebration: Dinner, celebration, lecture by expert Michael Oren, author of Power, Faith & Fantasy: America & the Middle East: 1776 to the Present. JCAA Community Hall, Dell Jewish Community Campus, 7300 Hart Ln.
• Nov. 6 Th 11am $22-$25 Book Lover’s Luncheon: with Stephanie Klein, author of Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp & Tracey Fine & Georgie Tarn, authors of The Jewish Princess Cookbook. JCAA Community Hall, Dell Jewish Community Campus, 7300 Hart Ln.
• Nov. 9 Su 7:30pm free Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, author of You Don’t Have to Be Wrong for Me to Be Right: Finding Faith Without Fanaticism. JCAA Community Hall, Dell Jewish Community Campus, 7300 Hart Ln.
Nov. 1-2 Sa-Su free Texas Book Festival: 2-day festival that features spirited literary panels, readings & book signings with celebrated Texas & national authors. Texas State Capitol, 1100 N. Congress Ave. Details: 477-4055 www.texasbookfestival.org.
• Nov. 1 Sa 10am-5pm
• Nov. 2 Su 11am-5pm
Beyond Light Bulbs: Lighting the Way to Smarter Energy Management by Austin author Susan Meredith, helps readers move beyond the gloom, doom & seemingly overwhelming problems of global warming & the energy crisis. She offers hopeful advice for actions we can all take to improve our future. 154 pgs, hardcover, $17.95. Details: <email@example.com> www.beyondlightbulbs.com.
• Oct. 1 & Oct. 2 W-Th Texas Book Festival
• Oct. 4 & Oct. 5 Sa-Su Texas Parks & Wildlife Festival
Water in Texas: An Introduction, by Andrew Sansom, covers all the major themes in water management & conservation. No natural resource issue has greater significance for the future of Texas than water. The state’s demand for municipal, industrial, agricultural & recreational uses continues to grow exponentially while the supply from rivers, lakes, aquifers & reservoirs is limited. Sansom, executive director of the River Systems Institute at Texas State University-San Marcos & former executive director of both the Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept. & the Texas Nature Conservancy, compiled this authoritative overview of water issues in Texas. 320 pgs, paperback, with 56 color photos & 35 maps, $19.95. Details: Colleen Devine Ellis, UT Press 232-7633 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.utexaspress.com.
Daily $5-$12 IMAX Theatre: Presents an ongoing array of feature films. Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. Details: 936-4629 www.thestoryoftexas.com.
• Dolphins & Whales 3-D: Tribes of the Ocean: This awe-inspiring documentary film presented by Jean-Michel Cousteau will take you from the dazzling coral reefs of the Bahamas to the warm depths of the waters of the exotic Kingdom of Tonga for a close encounter with the surviving tribes of the ocean.
• Grand Canyon Adventure 3-D: River at Risk: Set against the immense backdrop of a natural treasure, the film takes audiences on an exhilarating adventure down the Colorado River in the company of a team of explorers who are committed to bringing awareness to global water issues.
• Haunted Castle 3D: Here you will join a young musician named Johnny as he takes possession of his mysterious new home, recently bequeathed to him by his deceased mother. Once inside, however, Johnny will quickly learn that all is not as it appears, as eerie spooks & materializing spirits make their haunting presence known.
• Sea Monsters 3D: A Prehistoric Adventure: Thru stunning photo-realistic computer-generated 3-D animation, National Geographic transports audiences back to the Late Cretaceous period more than 65 million years ago, when a great inland sea divided North America in two & covered most of Texas. Follow a family of Dolichorhynchops as they traverse ancient waters populated with saber-toothed fish, prehistoric sharks & giant squid.
• Texas: The Big Picture: This film brings the myth, majesty & magnitude of the Lone Star State to the screen.
• U2 3D: The first ever live-action 3D concert film, it immerses the audience in an all-enveloping & thrilling cinematic experience.
• Wild Ocean 3D: Filmed off the Wild Coast of South Africa & set to the rhythm of the local people, this film reveals the economic & cultural impact of the ocean while celebrating the communal efforts to protect our invaluable marine resources.
Oct. 1, Oct. 29, Nov. 16 dusk (about 8pm) free Austin Film Society’s Outdoor Film Series: Films highlighting Austin’s counterculture from the 1960s psychedelic music scene to the punk rock scene of the ’80s. Bring blankets & chairs for seating. Food & drink permitted but no glass bottles, please. Details: 799-8184, 366-2716 www.austinfilm.org.
• Oct. 1 W Dirt Road to Psychedelia: A folk-singing Janis Joplin, the dawning of the 13th Floor Elevators & the first psychedelic venue in Austin are included with vintage footage in this documentary by filmmaker Scott Conn.
• Oct. 29 Viva Les Amis: Hippies, musicians, mimes, protesters & a few lost souls flocked to Les Amis Café in the ’70s, while punk rock dominated in the ’80s. Filmmaker Nancy Higgins gives a sense of the café’s 27-year history & its eclectic clientele.
• Nov. 16 Su Short Films Selected by AFS, titles to be announced.
Oct. 7 & Oct. 14 Tu 7pm The Third Wave: Contemporary German Cinema: The Austin Film Society focuses on the work of outstanding modern German filmmakers as part of its Essential Cinema series. Alamo Drafthouse South, 1120 S. Lamar Blvd. Details: 322-0145 www.austinfilm.org.
• Oct. 7 Love In Thoughts (Was Nutzt Die Liebe In Gedanken) directed by Achim von Borries
• Oct. 14 Head-On (Gegen Die Wand) directed by Fatih Akin
Oct. 16 Th 7-9pm Writing Behind Bars: Red Salmon Arts & the Mexican American Cultural Center of Austin present a special screening of the documentary Writ Writer by Austin resident Susanne Mason & a poetry reading by award-winning writer Jorge Antonio Renaud. Writ Writer focuses on the story of self-taught jailhouse lawyer Fred Arispe Cruz. After the film, Renaud will read from his unpublished collection of poetry written while he was incarcerated for 17 years, a tribute to his mentor, the late Raul Salinas. 600 River St. Details: 416-8885 www.writwritermovie.com.
Monday thru Friday 7:30-10pm Dance Across Austin: You can put on your dancing shoes & enjoy dancing every week night in Austin. Although most of the dances are held at senior centers, all ages are welcome. Attire is casual, but no shorts, please. All venues are nonsmoking & no alcohol is permitted. Details: Donna Baldwin 836-5099.
• M & Th $4 Senior Activity Center, 2874 Shoal Crest Ave. (29th & Lamar).
• Tu $4 Hancock Center, 811 E. 41st St. Bring a snack to share.
• W & F, $3.50 W, $4 F South Austin Senior Activity Center, 3911 Manchaca Rd. Bring a snack to share.
Mondays & Wednesdays Authentic Bellydance Classes: Zein Al-Jundi, native of Damascus, Syria & director-choreographer for Bint El Balad Bellydance Ensemble, teaches bellydance as it is danced & taught in the Arab World. For women only. All classes are ongoing. Zein’s Dance Studio, 5013-B Duval St. Details: 533-9227 www.wmdproductions.com.
• M & W 7:45-8:45pm; F noon-1pm; Sa 11am-6pm Beginner Bellydance
• M 6:30-7:30pm Beginner Intermediate Bellydance
• W 6:30-7:30pm Intermediate Bellydance
• M & W 6:30-6:45pm; Sa 10:45-11am free Conditioning Classes
Mondays, Wednesdays & Saturdays $13 ($66 for 6 classes) Belly Dance Classes: Texas Traditional & Classical Egyptian techniques & choreographies taught in a fast-paced fun format. Details: Drakon 750-7037 <email@example.com> www.desertpassion.com.
• M 7-8:30pm Platinum Gymnastics Academy, 1410 Royston Ln. Round Rock.
• W 6:30-7:30pm Kidsport Gymnastic & Dance Studio, 2522-C Shell Rd. Georgetown.
• Sa 10-11:30am Dance Unlimited Studio, Main St., Buda.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Fridays Free Classes 1st Week Each Month: Dance Institute is offering free adult classes for new students, no strings attached, at 6612 Sitio del Rio (2222 at Riverplace). Details: 346-6612 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.danceinstitute.com.
• Ballroom Basics Tu 6-7pm
• Salsa W 6:30-7:30pm, F 6-7pm
Wednesdays 6pm $15 Belly Dance Classes: Learn the basics of belly dance technique from 1 of Austin’s best teachers & performers. Classes focus on the foundation moves, muscle isolation & footwork that can be taken into any style. NiaSpace, 3212 S. Congress. Details: 443-3013 www.niaspace.com.
Thursdays 6:30-7:30pm $60 Austin Clickety Cloggers: Beginning lessons. The Appalachian-style dancing requires no partner. 1807 Slaughter Ln. Details: www.clicketycloggers.com.
Saturdays Nov. 1, Nov. 8 & Nov. 15 6pm & 8pm $10 Program A: KDH Dance Company celebrates its 10th anniversary with 3 different concerts highlighting both excerpts & full-length productions of some of its most colorful & dynamic works. Café Dance, 3307 Hancock Dr. Details: 934-1082 www.kdhdance.com.
Oct. 4 Sa 8pm $0-$10 Desert Passion Middle Eastern Dance Theater: 1st Sa each month continuing a longstanding tradition of providing stage style belly dance shows with some of the top belly dancers in the State. Each show has 10-20 dancers in gorgeous costumes dancing to exciting Middle Eastern music! Eternal Way, 1022 S. Lamar. Details: 750-7037 www.desertpassion.com
Oct. 6-Nov. 12 Blue Lapis Light Aerial Dance Classes: Blue Lapis Light dancer & choreographer Nicole Whiteside is beginning a fall schedule of group & private Aerial Dance classes at Blue Lapis Light Studios, 6701 Thomas Springs Rd, Ste. A. Details: Nicole 288-1929 <email@example.com> www.bluelapislight.org.
• Mondays & Wednesdays Oct. 6-Nov. 12 7-8:30pm $20 ($220 for all) Intermediate & advanced group classes.
• Private Classes: By appointment $65
Oct. 8 W 8pm $15 No Boundaries: Vision of African American Contemporary Choreographers: Gesel Mason: A celebration of the depth & diversity of style & vision in modern dance. AustinVentures Studio Theatre at Ballet Austin, 501 W. 3rd St. Details: 236-0644 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.BAMAustin.org.
Oct. 10 F 8pm $15 An Evening of New Dance: Wideman & Davis Dance: Audiences will revel in an evening of new pieces featuring headliners Thaddeus Davis & Tanya Wideman, plus a few new shining stars. AustinVentures Studio Theatre at Ballet Austin, 501 W. 3rd St. Details: 236-0644 <email@example.com> www.BAMAustin.org.
Oct. 11 Sa $5-$7 10:30pm & midnight Sahara Nights: Sabaya Bellydance Performance: Sabaya Bellydance Collective performs 2nd Sa each month. DJ & dancing After. Special guest dancers: members of Ajna Project. Tips encouraged & greatly appreciated. Copa Bar & Grill, 217 Congress Ave. Details: 974-7257 www.sabayabellydance.com.
Oct. 17 F 8-11pm free Social Dance Party & Free Classes: Dance Institute is offering free dance classes that teach you how to get out on the dance floor, movin’ and groovin. Mini-lessons in Salsa, Swing & more, followed by an evening of social dancing. Bring your friends & favorite beverage. Dress is comfortably cocktail. 6612 Sitio del Rio (2222 at Riverplace). Details: 346-6612 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.danceinstitute.com.
Oct. 17-19 F-Su $12.50-$25 The Souls of Our Feet 2008: This fast paced collection of footwork that re-stages the best of tap dance masterpieces from Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers to The Nicholas Brothers will return to the Austin stage before continuing on it’s national tour! Works by Jeni LeGon, Arthur Duncan, Brenda Bufalino & Harold Cromer will also grace this exciting & historical production. The Helm Fine Arts Center, 2900 Bunny Run. Details: 773-7827 www.tapestry.org.
• Oct. 17 & Oct. 18 F & Sa 8pm
• Oct. 18 & Oct. 19 Sa & Su 2pm
Oct. 19 Su 2-5pm $20 Fiesta Fund-raiser & Silent Auction: Austin City Ballet hosts its annual fund-raiser, with all proceeds to benefit production of the 8th annual Austin Children’s Nutcracker to be performed Dec. 12-14 & 19-21. Hors d’ouevres, cash bar. Chez Zee Gallery, 5406 Balcones Dr. Details: 989-3363 www.austin-conservatory-arts.com.
Oct. 24-26 F-Su $24-$74 Ballet Austin Inaugural Season Opener: An evening of 3 works featuring the choreography of Twyla Tharp, George Balanchine & Stephen Mills. Dell Hall at The Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside Dr. Details: 476-2163 www.balletaustin.org.
Movin’ Easy’s Danceline: Information on dance events, performances, workshops, new classes & job opportunities. Details: 416-5700 ext. 3262. A recording lists events updated weekly for all ages & dance styles. Or visit www.movineasy.com.
Tapestry’s Fall Classes at New Location: Fall Academy classes are now underway & registration is ongoing for new, current & returning students at Tapestry’s studios. Tapestry’s Youth program emphasizes multi-form training & will also include in its schedule Intro to Dance, Basic Combo, Music & Movement, Ballet, Rhythm Tap, Jazz, Modern, Hip Hop, Dance Theater & Bharata Natyam (Traditional Indian). Adult class offerings include Ballet, Modern, Rhythm Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Ballroom, Yoga, Belly Dance, Bharata Natyam, Yoga & Moving Women/Women Moving. Academy classes at Tapestry are for youth ages 3 to 18 years & the adult program offers beginning thru advanced classes for ages 13 & up. 2302 Western Trails Blvd. Details: 474-9846 www.tapestry.org.
Oct. 3-12 $15-$20 (passes for $50) BAM: Black Arts Movement: Performing arts festival to showcase artists who are creating work in the new millennium. All of the work isn’t new or cutting edge, but the festival is inviting the new guard to come & comment, represent & create the new voices of the Black Arts Movement. Various venues around town. Details: 236-0644 www.bamaustin.org.
Mondays 7-9pm Tapestry Singers, aka Austin Women’s Chorus, wants you to sing. It’s a non-auditioned chorus; all levels of ability are welcome. Ongoing, chapel at Austin State Hospital 4110 Guadalupe St. Details: 567-6175 <email@example.com> www.tapestrysingers.org.
Wednesdays 8-11pm free Campfire Songs Open Mic: The vibe is great & it’s a great place to try new songs, get in front of new people, network with other musicians or just hear some great music. Irie Bean Coffee Bar, 2310 S. Lamar, Suite 102. Details: Angela 326-4636 www.iriebean.com.
Fridays Oct 3-Dec. 12 noon-1pm free Live from the Plaza Music Showcase: Live From the Plaza’s 2008 fall season features free weekly lunchtime performances by a dozen of Austin’s finest bands. An optional $6.50 lunch special will be offered by a local vendor each week. Free parking in the garage during the performances. The outdoor plaza of Austin City Hall, 301 W. 2nd St. Details: 974-9310 www.cityofaustin.org/music/live.htm.
• Oct. 3 Suzanna Choffel
• Oct. 10 Julieann Banks & The Activates!
• Oct. 17 Tameca Jones
• Oct. 24 Debra Peters & The Love Saints
• Oct. 31 Leeann Atherton
Oct. 3 F 8-10pm $5 Texana Dames: Come for another dance party! Patsy’s Cowgirl Café, 5001 E. Ben White. Details: 444-2020 www.patsyscowgirlcafe.com.
Oct. 3-5 F-Su $26-$40 Conspirare: Home: Classical & traditional melodies, spirituals & plainsongs, songs from Broadway & contemporary standards & pop hits. Details: 476-5775 www.conspirare.org.
• Oct. 3 & Oct. 4 F-Sa 8pm St. Martin’s Lutheran Church, 606 W. 15th St.
• Oct. 5 Su 2:30pm Northwest Hills United Methodist, 7050 Village Center Dr.
Oct. 3 & Oct. 4 F & Sa 8pm $27-$48 The Music of ABBA featuring Arrival with the Austin Symphony Orchestra: The only show with exclusive rights to recreate exact versions of ABBA’s original clothing & likeness. The Austin Symphony & the 12-member ensemble, including original ABBA musicians, Finn Sjoberg (guitar) & Roger Palm (drums), will perform ABBA’s greatest hits such as “Dancing Queen,” “Take a Chance on Me,” “Mamma Mia,” “S.O.S,” & many more! Dell Hall, The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Dr. Details: 476-6064 www.austinsymphony.org
Oct. 4 Sa 8pm $30-$60 Eliot Fisk & Angel Romero: These towering giants of the guitar world will provide a spectacular evening’s entertainment. Northwest Hills United Methodist Church, 7050 Village Center Dr. Details: 300-2247 www.AustinClassicalGuitar.org.
Oct. 7 Tu HAAM Benefit Day: Area businesses pledge 5% of the day’s profits or make cash donations to the groundbreaking group that helps Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM) member-musicians (now more than 1,200) gain access to low-cost primary medical care provided by Seton Family of Hospitals, dental care by St. David’s Community Health Foundation Leadership, & mental-health & addiction-recovery services by The SIMS Foundation.
More than 90 bands, most with HAAM member-musicians, have volunteered to play at restaurants, clubs & retail outlets across Austin. Details: 322-5177 www.myhaam.org.
Oct. 9 Th 8pm $29-$49 Revolution: Driven by the power of Rock & the heartbeat of percussion, Revolution is a sweaty, sultry mix of live rock music & dance that fuses Tap Dancing & Irish Dancing into an unforgettable night of Sweat, Dance & Rock ’n’ Roll. Dell Hall, The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Dr. Details: 476-6064 www.TheLongCenter.org.
Oct. 12 Su 3pm $15 Viva La Diva: An Evening of Opera with Othalie Graham: A concert featuring soprano Graham, mezzo-soprano Jeanette Blakeney & contralto Judith Skinner, singing classical repertory, musical theatre & traditional spirituals. King-Seabrook Chapel at Huston-Tillotson University, 900 Chicon St. Details: 236-0644 firstname.lastname@example.org www.BAMAustin.org.
Oct. 12 Su 3pm $10-$20 Klezmer Music: Austin Klezmorim is the oldest & most celebrated group of its kind in the Southwest. Founded in 1979 by trumpeter, vocalist & composer Bill Averbach, the Austin Klezmorim are pioneers in the revival & further development of the genre. Festival Concert Hall, 248 Jaster Rd. Round Top. Details: 979-249-3129 <email@example.com> www.festivalhill.org.
Oct. 12 6pm $35 Music March for Heroes: The goal is to raise $100,000 for Hope for Heroes, a program that provides confidential, no-charge counseling to veterans of the war in Iraq & Afghanistan & to their families. La Zona Rosa, 601 W. 4th St. Doors open 5pm, no reserved seating. Details: 203-6785, 263-4146.
• 6pm Levon Ingram, singer-songwriter who served with the Army in Iraq.
• 7pm Sara Hickman
• 8:15pm Micky & the Motorcars
• 9:30pm Reckless Kelly
Oct. 14 Tu 8:15-9:45pm PoolSide Live: Live music under the Full Moon. Onion Creek Crawdaddies perform. Free entry after 9pm. Barton Springs Pool, Details: www.sosalliance.org.
Oct. 15-Nov. 20 $17.50 ($90 for 6 classes) Drumz Fall Classes: Celebrating creativity, compassion & communication. Drumz, 3700-½ Kerbey Ln. Details: 453-9090 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.drumzaustin.net.
• Wednesdays Oct. 15-Nov. 19 6:45-7:45pm Beyond Beginner: Coed & for students already moving along the way on the drummer’s path. Class will work on exercises to improve technique , learn more about rhythm structure & more complex rhythm patterns than beginner level classes. All parts of the ensemble ( bell, djun, shekere, djembe) will be included.
• Wednesdays Oct. 15-Nov. 19 8-9pm Beginning Hand Drumming: For those starting out on the drummer’s path. We learn basic hand technique, exercises to develop good technique, the “babatunde drum language” to help us learn West African style rhythm patterns, drum circle etiquette, how to select your drum, how to tune a hand drum as well as learning & experiencing in-the-moment-improv with a weekly spontaneous closing rhythm. Drums are furnished for those needing a drum for class.
• Thursdays Oct. 16-Nov. 20 7:30-8:30pm Intermediate Hand Drumming: For students with strong hand technique & a good grasp of West African style ensemble playing! We work at a more rapid pace with more difficult material. We do multiple-part djun bell combination patterns & practice is a must to stay up with the group.
• Saturdays Oct. 18-Nov. 22 10am-11am Morning Beginner’s Class: The class for those starting out on the drummer’s path.
Oct. 17 F 7-11pm $35-$350 Save Austin Music Gala & Fund-raiser: Top-notch Austin music, food & beverages, & a silent auction to raise funds to place TV, radio, print & Internet spots that will make a call-to-action for all Austinites to “See one Austin Band Each Month.” Entertainment includes John Pointer, Troy Dillinger, Neckbone & Nakia & His Southern Cousins. One World Theatre, 7701 Bee Caves Rd. Details: 329-6753 <email@example.com> www. theyearofaustinmusic.org.
Oct. 17 & Oct. 18 F & Sa 8pm $19-$48 Anton Nel with the Austin Symphony Orchestra: Nel joins the ASO to perform Messiaen’s L’Ascension, Schumann’s Introduction & Allegro appassionato, Op. 92, Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in g, Op. 25 & Respighi’s Vetrate di chiesa (Church Windows). Dell Hall in The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Dr. Details: 476-6064 or www.austinsymphony.org.
Oct. 19 Su 6pm $10 Keep Austin Young: Celebrating the Life of Danny Roy Young Benefit Concert: Young, owner of the Texicali Grill and a rubboard player who died unexpectedly in August at age 67, will be remembered in this benefit concert to retire debt incurred after the restaurant was sold & subsequently closed. Live performances by The Texana Dames, Ponty Bone, Marcia Ball, Ray Benson, James McMurtry, the Cornell Hurd Band & the Antone’s House Band featuring Derek O’Brien, Riley Osbourne, Frosty & Ronny James with special guests. Author Joe Nick Patoski will emcee. Sponsorships available for tables of 10 for $1,000, tables of 4 for $400. Austin Music Hall, 208 Nueces St. Tickets available at GetTix 866-443-8849, Waterloo Records & Video, University Co-op, Monarch Event Center & RunTex locations. Donations may be sent to Danny Roy Young Memorial Fund, c/o Prosperity Bank, PO Box 2167, Austin TX 78768. Or contribute on-line at www.dannyroyyoung.org. Details: For sponsorthips 472-8463 <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Oct. 19 Su 7:30pm $29-$49 3 Mo’ Divas: Exciting musical journey celebrating the amazing versatility of the female voice! The theatrically staged concert is a magnificently entertaining evening performed by mezzo-soprano Laurice Lanier, soprano Nova Payton & soprano Jamet Pittman. Dell Hall, The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Dr. Details: 476-6064 www.TheLongCenter.org.
Oct. 19-21 Su-Tu Salon Concerts: Duality Augmented: The mission is to get all kinds of people excited about chamber music. The program includes The Kobayashi-Gray Duo & Douglas Harvey, cello performing Prokofiev’s Sonata in D Major, Op. 94a, Mozart’s Piano Trio in C Major, KV 548, Viardot’s Romance, Bohemienne, Tarantelle & more. Details: 217-1264 <email@example.com>.
• Oct. 19 Su 4:30pm Private home, directions given with reservation
• Oct. 20 M 7:30pm Private home, directions given with reservation
• Oct. 21 Tu 6-7pm Armstrong Community Music School of Austin Lyric Opera, 901 Barton Springs Rd.
Oct. 31 & Nov. 1 F & Sa 7:30pm $20-$40 Mmmmm … Creepalicious! Frightfully memorable works by musical masters. What better way to celebrate Halloween than deliciously spooky compositions from Beethoven, Shostakovich & Crumb? Come enjoy music in the key of Boo! Details: 454-0026 www.austinchambermusic.org.
• Oct. 31 F $40 Intimate Concert: Private Home.
• Nov. 1 Sa $20 Synchronism: Long Center Rollins Theater, 701 W. Riverside Dr.
Nov. 8 & Nov. 13 7:30-10:30pm Peace-N-Rhythm International Festival: Huston-Tillotson University Chapel, 900 Chicon St. Seniors & kids younger than 10 get in free. Tickets available at Antone’s Records Oct. 12. Details: Richard Carson <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
• Nov. 8 Sa $12-$15 Music from India, Haiti, China, France, Nicaragua, Cuba & North America
• Nov. 13 Th $15-$20 Music from Guinea, Brazil, India, New Orleans & North America.
Nov. 8-Nov. 16 $20-$175 Cinderella: Austin Lyric Opera opens the season with Rossini’s charming fairy tale. This innovative production has been updated to a setting in 1930s Hollywood, starring acclaimed mezzo-soprano Sandra Piques Eddy in the role of Cinderella. The Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside Dr. Details: 472-5992 www.AustinLyricOpera.org.
• Nov. 8 Sa, Nov. 12 W & Nov. 14 F 7:30pm
• Nov. 16 Su 3pm
Tuesdays Oct. 7-28 7-10pm free Tuesday Improv Jam: Forget your worries & come out for an evening of improv comedy starring you in low-pressure warmups, games & scenes. Surprise yourself this week. The Hideout Theatre, 617 N. Congress Ave. Details: 443-3688 www.austinimprov.com.
Thursdays Oct. 2, Oct. 9 & Oct. 16 8pm Some Like It Improvised: Completely Improvised Screwball Comedies: Parallelogramophonograph presents a fully improvised theatre in the style of classic screwball comedies from the ’30s & ’40s. ColdTowne Theatre, 4803-B Airport Blvd. Details: Details: 968-6486 www.pgraph.com.
Saturdays Oct. 4-25 8pm $10 Start Trekkin’: The Hideout Theatre presents a fully improvised comedy parody of the hit sci-fi TV series, based on audience suggestions. 617 N. Congress Ave. Details: 443-3688 www.hideouttheatre.com.
Saturdays Oct. 4-Dec. 27 10pm $7-$10 Maestro Improv: Elimination-Style Improv Comedy: The Heroes of Comedy present Austin’s longest-running, best-selling improv comedy show with more games & scenes inspired by audience suggestions. Only the funny survive. The Hideout Theatre, 617 N. Congress Ave. Details: 443-3688 www.hideouttheatre.com.
Oct. 1-5 W-Su Cloud 9: Mary Moody Northern Theatre, the producing arm of the St. Edward’s University theatre training program, presents a hilarious assault on hypocrisy. This whirlwind tour from 1880s Africa to 1970s London confronts both colonial & sexual repression. With a gender-bent cast of characters who travel 100 years in time while only aging 25, Churchill challenges our preconceptions about sex, romance, gender roles & race—all at a breakneck pace & with astounding theatrical flair. Mary Moody Northen Theatre, 3001 S. Congress Ave. Details: 448-8400 www.stedwards.edu/theatre.
Oct. 1-12 Always...Patsy Cline: Recounting the friendship that formed between Cline & one of her greatest fans, Louise Seger, a true Texas housewife whose memory of their meeting & letters exchanged rekindles an era & a voice that changed country music forever. Selena Rosanbalm stars as Cline & will sing much of the music that made Patsy Cline the legend that she is. TexARTS Kam & James Morris Black Box Studio Theater, TexARTS Studios, 2300 Lohmans Spur. Details: 852-9079 x102 www.Tex-ARTS.org.
Oct. 1-Nov. 9 Caroline or Change: Caroline works as a maid for a Jewish family in Louisiana. When her employers tell her she can keep the change she finds in their 8-year-old son’s pockets, they set in motion an emotional series of events that will alter both Caroline & the family forever. From the book by Tony Kushner, music by Jeanine Tesori, directed by Dave Steakley, starring Janis Stinson. Zach Theatre’s Kleberg Stage, 1510 Toomey Rd. Details: 476-0541 www.zachtheatre.org.
Oct. 2-11 Th-Su $13-$15 Romeo & Juliet: Shakespeare’s most popular play about the two young, star-crossed lovers makes its way to the Old Depot stage. Director Lynn Beaver sets this universal story of love, hate & fate in modern times. Sam Bass Community Theatre, 600 N. Lee St. Round Rock. Details: 244-0440 <email@example.com> www.sambasstheatre.org.
Oct. 2-26 Th-Su pay-what-you-can-$25 Glengarry Glen Ross: City Theatre presents David Mamet’s mix of hilarity & fury where real estate salesmen vie for the top sales prize in a savage contest of deception & betrayal. Get caught up in the action as a group of ruthless salesmen lie, cheat & connive to move up in the world of sales. The rock ’n’ roll rhythm & sizzling language of this play provides an up-close & personal lesson in the struggle to survive in a business world where the only goal is the top prize. The City Theatre, 3823 Airport Blvd. Details: Reservations 512-524-2870 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.citytheatreaustin.org.
• Th-Sa 8pm
• Su 5:30pm
• Oct. 26 Su 2:30pm
Oct. 3 F 7pm $17 BAM Festival: Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: When a great African king desires a wife, the most ideal maidens in the land are invited to meet him. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Dr. Details: 236-0644 <email@example.com> www.BAMAustin.org.
Oct. 3 F 8pm An Evening with Terry Fator: A night of ventriloquism & impersonations. Austin Music Hall, 208 Nueces. Details: 263-4146 www.austinmusichall.com.
Oct. 3-5 F-Su $15-$20 Third: Paradox Players present Wendy Wasserstein’s final play. As tensions mount between a liberal-leaning college professor & her conservative male student over questions of plagiarism, Wasserstein (a most liberal playwright herself)
turns liberal thinking on its head, using crackling dialog & a biting wit. Howson Hall at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, 4700 Grover. Details: 744-1495 www.paradoxplayers.org.
• Oct. 3-4 F-Sa 8pm
• Oct. 5 Su 3pm
Oct. 18 Sa 6-9pm $15-$25 Toasting Tomorrow: Evening of food, drinks, live music & highlights from past shows & shows yet to
come. In true vestige fashion this benefit will be held at another
very unique Austin property, 3808 Stevenson. Details: 474-8497 www.nowplayingaustin.com/event/detail/440116039.
Oct. 24 F 8pm $31.50-$67.50 Mo Rocca: Contributor to the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood, & NPR takes the stage. Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave. Details: 692-0519 www.austintheatre.org.
Oct. 31-Nov. 2 F-Su $105 Festival Hill Theatre Forum: Shakespeare. A weekend with Will: Festival Hill, 248 Jaster Rd. Round Top. Details: 979-249-3129 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.festivalhill.org.
Oct. 1-31 Norman Mailer Papers: The Harry Ransom Center has opened more than 1,000 boxes of materials to the public. The Mailer materials, the HRC’s largest single-author archive, includes handwritten & typed manuscripts, galley proofs, screenplays, correspondence, research materials & notes, legal, business & financial records, photographs, audio & video tapes, books, magazines, clippings, scrapbooks, electronic records, drawings & awards that document the life, work & family of Mailer from the early 1930s to 2005. 21st & Guadalupe St. Details: 471-8944 www.hrc.utexas.edu/mailer.
Oct. 8 W 12:30-2pm Freelance Austin Monthly Meeting: Freelance Austin holds regular monthly meetings to help freelance writers, designers, PR specialists & other communication professionals meet, mingle with & learn from some of Austin’s best in the business. Usually meets the 2nd W each month, with special events scheduled periodically. Free to members & first-time guests. Spicewood Springs Branch Library, 8637 Spicewood Springs Rd. Details: <email@example.com> www.freelance-austin.org.
Oct. 3, Oct. 4 & Oct. 5 F-Su National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation: This gathering brings together 100s of individuals who are committed to making a difference by skillfully bringing people together to talk, listen & act in ways that create greater understanding, build stronger relationships & foster common ground for action. With so many critical problems facing our organizations, communities & world, the ability to help people communicate more deeply & act from a place of shared understanding is more important than ever. Details: 971-3033 www.thataway.org/events/?page_id=6.
Oct. 17 & Oct. 18 F & Sa free Austin Energy AltCar Expo & Conference: Experts & the public convene to see the latest in transportation technology & alternative sources of energy. That includes the innovative vehicles, or Alternative Cars (AltCars). Specialists in transportation, public policy, sustainability, engineering, clean energy & automotive technology will address emerging trends in global transportation & energy. The event is free. Parking is $7. Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Rd. Details: 344-2028 www.austinenergyaltcar.com/seminars-short.html.
• F 8:30am-5:15pm
• Sa 10am-4:30pm
A Hill Country Heritage 8am-5pm daily free The Land & People that Inspired a President & First Lady: A permanent exhibit. Tram tour $3. Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site, 2 miles east of Stonewall on US Hwy. 290. Details: 830-644-2252 www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/lbj.
Oct. 1-31 free E.M. Barron Exhibit of Minerals & Gem Collections: See 100 specimens collected from all over the world by the late Col. E.M. Barron (1903-1969), a former Texas legislator who served under General Douglas MacArthur in Australia during WWII. Included in the exhibit will be a 925-carat blue topaz crystal from Mason County, Texas, along with magnificent specimens of azurite, cinnabar & wulfenite, delicate leaf gold, unusual copper in calcite & sparkling crystals of cerussite, among others. Permanent exhibit. Texas Memorial Museum, 2400 Trinity St. (2 blocks north of the UT stadium). Details: 232-5654 www.texasmemorialmuseum.org.
Oct. 1-31 free Fishes of Texas: This exhibit highlights freshwater fishes & their place in our world, discussions of fish diversity & a look at how fish fit into our lives & environment. Through multimedia displays, underwater photographs & Texas Natural Science Center specimens, visitors gain an appreciation of the diversity & value of Texas fishes. Texas Memorial Museum, 2400 Trinity St. (2 blocks north of the UT stadium). Details: 232-5654 www.texasmemorialmuseum.org.
Oct. 1-31 M-F 9am-5pm free Songs of the Lone Star State: An ongoing exhibit of rare sheet music, consisting of compositions written in praise of Texas, the Texas flag & star, the state bird & flower, cities & historic sites. Texas Music Museum, 1009 E. 11th St. Details: 472-8891 www.texasmusicmuseum.org.
Oct. 18- Jan. 4 Cowboys & Presidents: From Theodore Roosevelt to George W. Bush, U.S. presidents have used the powerful iconographic symbol of the heroic American cowboy to define themselves & their administrations to the nation & the world. In this election year, the special exhibition created by Autry National Center explores the fascinating & ongoing intersection of cowboy culture & presidential politics. Motion pictures, TV, radio & music enhance the exhibition & visitors are invited to cast their votes on thought-provoking issues in interactive voting booths. Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. at MLK Blvd. Details: 936-8746 www.thestoryoftexas.com.
• Oct. 8 W 6-8pm Exhibit Preview with drinks & “Head Honcho” hors d’oeuvres. Members RSVP 936-4649.
Saturdays & Sundays Oct. 11-Nov. 30 9am-dusk Texas Renaissance Festival: Nine weekends of Renaissance-themed adventure merriment, music & romance. 21778 FM 1774 between Magnolia & Plantersville. Tickets range from $5 to $21. Details: 800-458-3435 www.texrenfest.com.
• Oct. 11 & Oct. 12 Oktoberfest
• Oct. 18 & Oct. 19 1001 Dreams
• Oct. 25 & Oct. 26 All Hallows Eve
• Oct. 28 & Oct. 29 School Days
• Nov. 1 & Nov. 2 Pirate Adventure
• Nov. 8 & Nov. 9 Roman Bacchanal
• Nov. 15 & Nov. 16 Highland Fling
• Nov. 22 & Nov. 23 Barbarian Invasion
• Nov. 28 F Thanksgiving Friday (Celtic Christmas)
• Nov. 29 & Nov. 30 Celtic Christmas
Oct. 4 Sa 10am-5pm Texas Hill Country Fall Lavender Festival: Music, arts & crafts, wine tastings, demonstrations, classes, u-pick lavender, opportunities to glean lavender growing tips & provide answers to your lavender growing questions. Becker Vineyards Lavender Farm, Chantilly Lace Inn & Lavender Farm, Miller Creek Lavender Farm & The Meadows at Flat Creek Lavender Farm & Ranch will all offer Texas Hill County lavender plants & products along with items by local craftsman for early holiday shopping. There will A short drive along Hwy 290 West allows you to tour all four farms. Details: 830-868-2806 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.lbjcountry.com.
Oct. 10 & Oct. 11 F & Sa $5 Mediterranean Festival: A gathering of authentic Mediterranean food, music & dance. The whole family will enjoy the exotic dance demonstrations & live music from nationally acclaimed Greek band, Stayros & Maria from the East coast & Middle Eastern chanteuse Zein Al-Jundi, who will perform both evenings during the event from two stages. Children will love the Kids’ Oasis, a separate play area complete with games, activities & even a live camel. A full city block on 11th Street between Red River & Trinity. Details: 476-2314 www.mediterraneanfestival.org.
Oct. 10-12 F-Su Gruene Music & Wine Fest: Americana event benefiting local charities featuring the best in live Texas music & the best in Texas food & wines at Gruene Hall & The Grapevine. All 3 days will be filled with vintner & music events, wine & food samplings & the Great Guitar Auction. Gruene Hall & The Grapevine, 1281 Gruene Rd. New Braunfels. Details: 830-629-5077 <email@example.com> www.gruenemusicandwinefest.org.
Oct. 25 Sa 10am-6pm free Hogeye Festival: Features live music, handmade arts & crafts, children’s activities, Road Hog Car Show, BBQ Pork Cook-Off, In a Pig’s Eye Dart Contest, the crowning of King Hog or Queen Sowpreme, a children’s costume pet parade, a carnival, the Pearl’s Art Show, Hogeye Hoedown Talent Show, Hogalicious Dessert Contest, Cow Patty Bingo & great food. Downtown Elgin, 19 miles east of Austin on Hwy 290. Details: 281-5724 www.elgintx.com/HOGEYE.ASP.
Oct. 25 Sa $0-$20 noon-7pm Fredericksburg Food & Wine Fest: Taste Texas at its finest with guest chefs, 27 Texas wineries & more than 50 Texas specialty booths. Live entertainment includes Harry & the Hightones, Shake Russell & Walt Wilkins. Plus the Great Gargantuan Grape Toss & silent & live auctions. $20 adult admission includes 3 sampling tickets. Markplatz. Details: 830-997-8515 fbgfoodandwinefest.comm.
Nov. 1 Sa 5-10pm Día de Los Muertos Procession & Celebration: Mexic-Arte celebrates Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a traditional Mexican holiday when family & friends gather to honor & remember loved ones, thru music, food & festivities. Mexic-Arte Museum, 419 Congress Ave. Details: 480-9373 www.mexic-artemuseum.org.
• 5-7pm Procession: Gathers at Plaza Saltillo in East Austin with various sections including the return of the Frida Kahlo look-alikes, tributes to Virgen de Guadalupe, Chihuahuas, portable altars, noise makers, mariachis, folklórico & Aztec dancers, paper mache props, sponsored floats & Posada Catrinas.
• 7-10pm Celebration: On 5th Street, between Congress & Brazos. Festivities include artists’ booths, traditional foods, dancing & live music. Portable Altars from the Procession will be displayed outside during the day of the celebration. Entertainment also includes a reprise of the Thriller dance.
Oct. 1-6 Voter Registration Locations: Voters who do not register by Oct. 6 will not be eligible to vote in the November presidential election & down-ballot races. An application postmarked on or before the deadline will be considered timely for the presidential election upon receipt. Travis County voters who do not update their residence address by Oct. 6 & who choose to vote on election day (rather than early voting) will be asked to vote in their previous neighborhood. Voters can pick up a voter registration application in their neighborhood tax office at the locations below. In addition, many grocery stores, post offices, libraries, schools, places of worship & apartment offices provide applications. Find them on-line. Details: 854-9473 www.co.travis.tx.us.
• Main Office, 5501 Airport Blvd. Open until midnight on Oct. 6
• East Austin Office, 4705 Heflin Lane at Springdale & MLK Blvd (drive-thru service)
• Oak Hill Office, 8656 Highway 71 W (turn right at Covered Bridge light) Building B, 2nd floor
• Pflugerville Office, 15822 Foothill Farms Loop (drive-thru service)
• Southeast Office, 4011 McKinney Falls Parkway (drive-thru service)
Oct. 6 M Voter Registration Deadline: With the 2008 presidential election just around the corner, the Travis County Voter Registrar offers valuable information to assist you in the voting process at the Voter Registration Web Site or by calling the office. Find out about who is eligible to vote, current Travis County statistics, Extended voter registrar office hours, how to verify voter registration status & how to submit in-county address changes. Details: 854-9706 www.traviscountytax.org/goVoters.do.
Oct. 17 F 10:30am-noon free Travis County Underage Drinking Prevention Task Force: This group’s mission is to create a community consensus that underage drinking is illegal, unhealthy & unacceptable. This month, Judge Madison will discuss a variety of programs in his Lakeway, Briarcliff & Horseshoe Bay courts that help educate young offenders on the dangers of alcohol & substance abuse, especially when coupled with driving. All are welcome to attend. Howson Branch Library, 2500 Exposition Blvd. Details: Gloria Souhami 854-4229, 699-7394 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.co.travis.tx.us/county_attorney/Underage_Drinking_Pgm/default.asp.
Oct. 20 M 6pm free Public Comment Opportunity: Federal Review of the Metropolitan Transportation Planning Process in Hays, Travis & Williamson Counties: Per federal law, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation conducts periodic reviews of metropolitan transportation planning processes in areas of more than 200,000 population. Representatives of the Federal Hwy Administration & Federal Transit Administration will host this meeting to receive comments. Joe C. Thompson Conference Center, UT Austin campus, Rm. 3.102. Details: 974-2275 www.campotexas.org.
Oct. 22-Nov. 19 6:30pm free Austin Energy Seeks Input on How to Meet Future Energy Needs: An 8-month program will gather public input for options for future power generation. As part of the City of Austin’s Climate Protection Plan, Austin Energy seeks to obtain at least 30% of its power generation from renewable resources by 2020. The draft plan also calls for 1,000 megawatts (MW) of new generation by 2020, offsetting 700 MW of peak demand through energy efficiency & load shifting, capping greenhouse gas emissions, & taking steps to become one of the nation’s first carbon-neutral electric utilities. After meetings in Oct. & Nov. Austin Energy will coordinate with customer groups to set up a second round of town hall meetings, beginning early next year. Austin Energy expects to provide final recommendations to the City Council by next summer. Details: Ed Clark 322-6514 www.austinenergy.com/About%20Us/Newsroom/Press%20Releases/2008/publicParticipation.htm
• Oct. 22 W Austin City Hall council chambers, Cesar Chavez at Guadalupe
• Oct. 28 Tu Sunset Valley City Hall, 3205 Jones Rd.
• Nov. 6 Th University Hills Branch Library, 4721 Loyola Ln.
• Nov. 12 W Travis County Service Center, 4501 N. FM 620
• Nov. 19 W Metz Recreation Center, 2407 Canterbury St.
Saturdays Oct. 4-Feb. 28 10am–noon free Walk on the Wild Side! Enjoy an interpretive hike as a park naturalist brings together a unique blend of human & natural history to tell the story of the Colorado River & how the river influences animal, plant & human life along its banks. Each walk will focus on a different aspect of the river’s story. Geology, botany, native & early people, wildlife & river history are just some examples. Preregistration is required. Hike limited to 1st 20 people. McKinney Roughs Nature Park, 1884 SH 71 West. Details: 303-5073 <email@example.com> www.lcra.org.
Oct. 4 & Oct. 5 Sa & Su 9am-5pm free Texas Parks & Wildlife Expo 2008: Annual tribute to the great outdoors features activities related to hunting, fishing & outdoors sports. Texas Parks & Wildlife Headquarters, 4200 Smith Rd. Details: 389-4472 www.tpwd.state.tx.us/exptexas/programs/expo.
Oct. 4, 12, 18 & 26 9-11am $0-$4 Wild Basin Walks: 2-hour nature hike that’s a great introduction to the preserve. Learn about the plants, animals & geology of the Basin’s Central Texas Hill Country habitat. Reservations required. Wild Basin Wilderness, 805 N. Capitol of Texas Hwy. Details: 327-7622 www.wildbasin.org.
• Oct. 4 & Oct. 18 Sa
• Oct. 12 & Oct. 26 Su
Oct. 7 & Oct. 14 Tu 8am free Two Hour Tuesdays: This seasonal 8-week series of accessible bird walks is perfect for students, seniors & newcomers to Austin. Most sites visited will be in the city limits & convenient (on alternate weeks) to those who live north or south of downtown. It’s a great way to explore your own neighborhood hot spots. No registration required, just follow the published directions & spend a couple of hours birding with a group led by a Travis Audubon Society field trip leader. Beginners welcome, but bring your own binoculars! Details: 300-2473 www.travisaudubon.org.
Oct. 11 & Oct. 12 Sa & Su 9am Bright Leaf Preserve Guided Hikes: These monthly hikes are usually 4 miles & last about 2 hours. Wear sturdy shoes & bring water. There’s only 1 hike per day so arrive on time. Takes place 2nd Sa & 2nd Su each month. Other hikes for any type or size of group can be arranged. Meet at the parking lot off 2222 & Creek Mountain Rd. Details: 459-7269 www.brightleaf.org.
Oct. 19 Su 9:30am-1pm free Invasive Plant Control at Emma Long Park: The purpose of this volunteer work day is to kill ligustrum along Turkey Creek. We’ll be using weed wrenches & drinking Gatorade. Details: Daniel Dietz 263-6443 <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Oct. 20 M noon Geography of Place Lunchtime Lectures: Texas & the Colorado River: The Making of a Cultural Landscape: 3rd M each month, use your lunchtime to learn about ongoing ecological research & environmental education from the Austin Water Utility Center for Environmental Research. In a series of talks about his geographical research, Kevin Anderson will introduce some central concepts of geography: space, place, cultural landscape, environmental perception, while focusing on some particular places that he has studied. Waller Center, 625 E. 10th St. Details: 972-1960 www.ci.austin.tx.us/water/cer2.htm.
Oct. 25 Sa 8:30am-noon or noon to 3:30pm free Austin Cave Fest Educational Opportunity: Pick 1 of the shifts & volunteer with Wildland Conservation at Western Oaks Karst Preserve. Volunteers will staff the watershed model & educate people of all ages about how watersheds function, both above & below ground. Details: Daniel Dietz 263-6443 <email@example.com>.
Oct. 1-31 Keep Austin Wild! The Neighborhood Habitat Challenge: Make your yard a wildlife habitat. The City of Austin & National Wildlife Federation are challenging Austin neighborhoods to certify the most number of yards within their boundaries as wildlife habitats. Participating neighborhoods will have the chance to win the challenge & help Austin earn points toward becoming Texas’ 1st NWF-certified Community Wildlife Habitat. Details: 327-8181 x29 www.keepaustinwild.com.
Oct. 7 Tu 6-8pm free National Night Out: It’s a celebration of food & fun but no crime allowed! National Night Out is a time when residents can become aware of safety factors, get to know their area officers of the Austin Police Department, meet community partners & mix with neighbors. Details: Rosie Salinas 974-4900 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.ci.austin.tx.us/police/nno.htm.
Weekdays 7am-5:30pm sliding scale Elderhaven Adult Day Care: Elderhaven Adult Day Care is accepting new clients. Safe, therapeutic, licensed adult day care for seniors & adults with disabilities. Nurse & activity director on staff. Hot lunch & two snacks. Drop-Ins welcome. AGE Building, 3710 Cedar St., Austin & 110 S. Brown St. in Round Rock. Details: 458-6305. www.ageofaustin.org/elderhaven_adult_day_care.htm
Wednesdays 1:30-3:30pm Becoming A Sage: The book From Age-ing to Sage-ing by Zalman Schachter-Shalomi will be the focus of a study group meeting twice a month at Congregation Beth Israel. The book can be purchased at the first gathering for $10. Open to the public. Details: Judith Hepburn 454-7229 <email@example.com> www.sage-ingguild.org.
• Oct. 15 & Oct. 29
• Nov. 12 & Nov. 26
Goodwill’s Computer Works E-commerce Web Site: Customers can purchase computer parts for the same low prices on-line—more convenient & much easier. Check the web site for showcased items. Details: 637-7124 www.shop.austincomputerworks.org.
Fridays: 1-2pm free Conversational French Class with SEED: Informal French instruction & conversation for all levels. Free with a purchase at the café during class time. Ruta Maya, 3601-D S. Congress Ave. Details: 707-9637 www.rutamaya.net.
Saturdays 10-11:30am $10 Conversational French: Great group for advanced beginner thru advanced French speakers. Dominican Joe Coffee Shop at Riverside & South Congress Ave. Details: Amy 466-1168 www.dominicanjoe.com.
Sundays: 8pm $5 Deep Eddy Pool Tournament: Double-elimination 8-ball at one of Austin’s favorite family-owned beer & wine joints. 1st place gets 75 percent of pot. 2nd place wins the other 25 percent. Beginners welcome. Deep Eddy Cabaret, 2315 Lake Austin Blvd. Details: 472-0961.
Sundays Oct. 5-26 11am free Riverbend Singles Class: A Church Affiliated Singles Association. Program normally followed by optional off-campus lunch for members & guests. Lunch details & location posted before & after main program presentation. Room 4-A of the Quadrangle, Riverbend Church Campus, 4214 N. Capital of Texas Hwy. Details: 289-3712 www.riverbendsingles.com.
Oct. 1 & 12 Austin Childfree: Formerly Austin No Kidding!, this social group for adults who are not parents & enjoy being childfree offers a variety of fun monthly activities. Newcomers welcome. Regular activities include movies, restaurants & book club. Details: 922-0866 www.austinchildfree.org.
• Oct. 1 W 7-9pm Games Night meets 1st W each month at Central Market, 4001 N. Lamar.
• Oct. 12 Su 6-8:30pm Monthly Supper meets 2nd Su each month at Threadgill’s World Headquarters, 301 W. Riverside Dr.
Oct. 2 Th 7:30-9pm free Conversation Café: Tired of small talk? Want to try some big talk about questions that matter? Experience the magic of deep listening & intentional conversation among people with diverse views from around the country who will be in Austin for the National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation. Renaissance Austin Hotel, 9721 Arboretum Blvd. Details: 717-243-5144 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.ncdd.org/ncdd2008.
Oct. 3 F 6-11pm $5-$10 B scene: The Blanton Museum of Art rocks on the 1st F each month. Featuring live music, gallery tours, art-making activities, light snacks & cash bar (with Blantinis of course). MLK at N. Congress Ave. Tickets at texasboxoffice.com. Details: 471-7324 www.blantonmuseum.org.
Oct. 4 Sa 1pm $45 Crawl for Cancer: Teams of 10 will travel to five assigned West 6th Street bars where they will be given four tickets valid for four pitchers of beer. Socialize & do your part for charity. Details: 544-0900 <email@example.com> www.crawlforcancer.org/austin/index.html.
Oct. 4 & Oct. 5 Sa & Su free The Crossings: Fifth Anniversary Open House: Lots of activities including a guided hike of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve & green building discussion with Tom Hatch, the architect who designed the property owned by Ken & Joyce Beck. Details: 258-7243 www.thecrossingsaustin.com.
• Sa 3-9pm Reception, open house, live entertainment
• Su 8am-2pm Tai chi, yoga, green building, BCP hike, trapeze show
Oct. 7 Tu 6-10:30pm $250 Austin Originals: SafePlace Celebration: Special honorees include MariBen Ramsey & Theresa Garza, 2 avid supporters of the SafePlace mission. Culinary creations by Direct Events, Pascal’s. Live entertainment by Glovertanglo & Graham Reynolds. Live & silent auctions. Funds raised will support the services SafePlace provides to eliminate sexual & domestic violence thru safety, healing, prevention & social change. Details: <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.safeplace.org.
• 6-7pm VIP Reception: Performance by Gretchen Phillips
Oct. 7 Tu 6:30-9:30pm $35-$5000 A Night Under One Skye: Interfaith reception & dinner featuring live music, delicious Asian foods & a focus on the Buddhist presence in Austin. A great opportunity to meet Austinites of diverse faiths & converse in a beautiful setting & support the programming that Austin Area Interreligious Ministries organizes year-round. Umlauf Sculpture Gardens, 605 Robert E. Lee Rd. Details: 386-9145 <email@example.com> www.aaimaustin.org/under_one_skye.html.
Oct. 9 Th 6:30pm Family Self-Sufficiency & Ownership Banquet: The Housing Authority of the City of Austin rolls out the red carpet for Success in the Spotlight, to recognize residents moving out of public housing or away from government assistance. Sheraton Austin Hotel, 701 E. 11th St. Details: 477-4488 ext. 2117 www.haca.net.
Oct. 16 Th 7-8:30pm free The Intimacies Group: Attracting Love: Join The Good Life magazine’s “Intimacies” columnist Karen Kreps & special guest Frank Butterfield, for a conversation about how to attract your perfect mate & create the union you want together. Butterfield is a channel & intuitive who coaches clients & groups on harnessing the power of the Law of Attraction. Audience members are encouraged to share their personal experiences. Bring your sense of humor & an open mind. 3rd floor, BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar. Details: 472-5050 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.truetintimacies.com.
Oct. 18 Sa 7:30-11pm $50-$60 Fiesta Gala Celebration: A celebration of Latino culture, music, salsa dancing, food & live auction, sponsored by Helping the Aging, Needy & Disabled Inc. (formerly Services for the Elderly Inc.). A time to honor & salute Austin’s diverse history & multicultural community. Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St. Details: Karen Christensen 477-3796 ext. 215.
Oct. 21 Tu 7pm Introduction to Nudism & Naturism: Information meeting held by the Hill Country Nudists 3rd Tu each month. Come find out about Naturism & get your questions answered. Mr. Natural, 2414 S. Lamar. Details: <email@example.com> www.hillcountrynudists.com.
Oct. 3 F noon-1:30pm $10 First Friday Luncheon: Values That Unite: Ben Barnes, former Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives and Lt. Governor of Texas, will discuss the values that unite us as a country in a time of deep polarization. The Sanctuary for Sanity luncheon series is aimed at the downtown community, to lift up spiritual practices that transform lives amid everyday chaos. St. Martin’s Lutheran Church, 606 W. 15th St. Details: 476-6757 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.saintmartins.org.
Oct. 14 Tu 7-8:45pm free Lonestar Mensa Meeting: Meets 2nd Tu each month. This month, Nicole Shannon discusses hot topics in the education of gifted children. Austin Public Library, North Village Branch Library, 2139 W. Anderson Ln. at Burnet Rd. Details: 491-9881 www.lsm.us.mensa.org.
Oct. 15 W 11:30am-1pm $65 Leonard Pitts Jr.: What Works: The Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist for the Miami Herald is the featured speaker at this luncheon sponsored by Austin’s Council on At-Risk Youth (CARY). Pitts will be introduced by Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton, a CARY board member. Pitts, author of Becoming Dad: Black Men & The Journey to Fatherhood, will talk about “What Works.” This was the topic of a series of columns Pitts wrote profiling people and programs that are attacking the problems of poverty, miseducation, fatherlessness, violence & self-esteem among African American young people—& getting results. CARY started in 2000 with the mission to help youth promote safe schools & safe communities by offering programs proven to prevent youth violence. CARY operates in 6 Austin-area schools & serves 700 students annually. Omni Austin Hotel Downtown, 700 San Jacinto at 8th street. Details: Beth Jasper 451-4592 http://councilonatriskyouth.org/leonardpitts, www.leonardpittsjr.com.
Oct. 23 & Oct. 24 Th & F Naomi Shihab Nye: 7th Annual Sister Mary Rose McPhee Lecture & Workshop on Leadership & Spirituality: Award-winning author, poet, peacemaker & Palestinian American Nye will be the featured speaker. St. Edward’s University, 3001 S. Congress. Pre-registration required. Details: Nancy Chester McCrainie 451-0272 www.setoncove.net.
• Th 7pm $20-$35 Lecture: Bridging the Wisdom Gap, Jones Auditorium, Ragsdale Center
• F 8:30am $180-$225 Workshop: What Lines Should Leaders Be Crossing? Relationship & Authenticity in a Challenging World, Mabee Ballroom, Ragsdale Center.
Oct. 25 Sa 1-3pm free One Tree Many Branches: Genealogy Workshop: Includes genealogy basics, documenting your history, census report review, vital records, family reunions, church & cemetery records, oral history & its role in genealogy & family medical heritage. RSVP. Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina. Details: 974-4926 www.ci.austin.tx.us/carver.
Oct. 4 Sa 8am $50-$60 Austin Wranglers Tryouts: The Wranglers are in the Southern Division of the Arena Football League. Yellow Jacket Stadium, 1156 Hargrave St. Details: 491-6600 www.austinwranglers.com.
Oct. 4-31 6:30pm Texas Longhorns Volleyball Games: Come watch the Lady Longhorns battle it out. The following home games will be played at Gregory Gymnasium. Details: www.texassports.com.
• Oct. 4 Sa Kansas State
• Oct. 8 W Baylor
• Oct. 17 F Missouri
• Oct. 29 W Oklahoma
Oct. 5-31 Texas Longhorns Soccer Games: Come watch the Lady Longhorns battle it out. The following home games will be played at Myers Stadium, 707 Manor Rd. Details: www.texassports.com.
• Oct. 5 Su noon Iowa State
• Oct. 17 F 7pm Oklahoma
• Oct. 19 Su 1pm Oklahoma State
• Oct. 31 F 7pm Baylor
Oct. 11 Sa 6pm $15 Lonestar Rollergirls Calvello Cup Championship: The original all-female roller derby. Music between periods. Austin Convention Center, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St. Details: 428-GIRL www.txrd.com.
Oct. 18 & 25 Sa UT Football Big 12 Conference: The following home games will be played at Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium at Joe Jamail Field. Details: www.big12sports.com & www.texassports.com.
• Oct. 18 Missouri
• Oct. 25 Oklahoma State
Oct. 25 Sa 9:30am $35 Austin Outlaws: Tryouts: The Outlaws are members of the National Women’s Football Association & the only women’s football team in Austin. Kealing Middle School, 1607 Pennsylvania Ave. Home games are played at Gamblin Field, Texas School for the Deaf, 1121 S. Congress Ave. Details: 796-0108 www.austinoutlaws.com.
Texas Rollergirls: Rock ‘n’ Rollerderby 1st Su each month, but the 2008 season is over for home bouts. The Rollergirls will be in Houston Oct. 3-5 for the Western Regionals. If they qualify there, it’s on to Portland, Oregon, for the WFTDA Championships. Details: www.txrollergirls.com.
SPIRIT & SOUL
Oct. 7 & Oct. 21 Tu 7:30pm Transformation: By different masters. 1st & 3rd Tu each month with Sasha. Shamballa Healing Light Center. 7018 William Wallace Way. Details: 278-0559 www.sashawhite.com.
Oct. 11 Sa 11am-1pm Magic of Herbs with Samantha: Halloween, All Souls’ Day & Day of the Dead are celebrated this time of the year, so it’s a very magical time. This class gives you an idea of what magical herbs are & how to use them to set the mood & create or enhance special events. SOL Reflections, The Liberty Center in Lakeway, 107 RR 620 S. #105. Details: 263-6990 <email@example.com> www.solreflections.com.
Oct. 17 & Oct. 18 F & Sa $25-$130 Awakening the Soul: With Master Li Junfeng. Awakening the Soul is a seated form of qigong that is easy & accessible for most ages & levels of mobility. It is practiced while seated in a chair. Each posture & movement has a contemplation to help the mind understand its relationship with unconditional love. Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin
2700 W. Anderson Ln. #204. Details: 462-4797 <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
• Oct. 17 F 6-9pm Introduction to Sheng Zhen Qigong & Awakening the Soul
• Oct. 18 Sa 9:30am-5pm Awakening the Soul
Oct. 18 Sa 10:30am-2:30pm Energy Intuitive Healing: Energetic healing & chakra clearing can assist in releasing unwanted, stagnant energies by unblocking them & increasing the natural flow of healthy energy thru your body, mind & spirit. First Spiritualist Church of Austin, 4200 Avenue D. Appreciation fees accepted. Details: 458-3987 <email@example.com>.
Oct. 26 Su 7-9pm Sufi Dancing (Dances of Universal Peace): Usually meets 4th Su each month from 7:15-9:15pm at Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Church, 3315 El Salido Parkway, Cedar Park. Free. Details: Xvarnah D’Obrenovic 280-0584 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.sufidance.org.
Oct. 3 & 4 F & Sa $25 Cancer Connection Volunteer Training: Volunteers needed to participate in 1-on-1 matching & treatment center visitation programs with newly diagnosed cancer patients & caregivers to provide practical & emotional support. Scholarship assistance available. Apply online. Details: 342-0233 www.thecancerconnection.org.
American Cancer Society needs volunteers to help with patient transportation. Volunteers must be over the age of 21, have a valid Texas driver’s license, a dependable car with insurance coverage & a safe driving record. Drivers are provided training & can volunteer as little or as often as they like. Details: 919-1800 www.cancer.org.
Arc of the Capital Area needs usable clothing & household items, furniture, toys & small appliances. ARC provides opportunities for people with mental retardation & other developmental disabilities. Free donation pickup. Details: 707-0008 www.arcofthecapitalarea.org.
AseraCare Hospice serves Central Texas by providing medical, emotional & spiritual support to terminally ill patients & their families. Volunteers are needed to offer friendship to patients & families for the last 6 months of life. A once a week contact is preferred. TB & drug tests, background check, training & placement provided. Details: Deborah, volunteer coordinator 218-9890 www.aseracare.com.
Auto Donation: This year-round fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society is an easy way to get rid of an unwanted vehicle. Your car is picked up & sent to auction at no cost to you. You can claim your donation as an itemized tax deduction. The vehicle must have four inflated tires & all vital parts. The program accepts donations of used cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats & recreational vehicles. Details: 877-999-CARS www.cancer.org.
Call for Board Members for the YWCA of Greater Austin: The YWCA of Greater Austin is looking for a few good women! If you are a woman who is interested in making a difference in our community by eliminating racism & empowering women & girls, call for more information about joining the YWCA board of directors. You can make a difference. Details: 326-1222 www.YWCAaustin.org.
Family Eldercare: You can make a difference with just 4-6 hours a month as a volunteer advocate or volunteer bill payer. Scores of elderly & disabled people are on a waiting list for volunteers. Matches by Zip code. Details: 483-3569 <email@example.com> www.familyeldercare.org/how-you-can-help.
Give the Gift of Life: Donate Milk! Healthy, breastfeeding moms are needed to donate excess breast milk for premature & ill infants. The Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin accepts, pasteurizes & dispenses by prescription donated human milk to the smallest & most fragile lives. Details: 494-0800 www.milkbank.org.
Goodwill’s Computer Recycling Program: Goodwill is looking for volunteers to participate in the demanufacturing of donated computers that will be resold or recycled. Details: Christine Chute 748-1684 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.austingoodwill.org.
Handy Helpers Program Needs Volunteers: The Glimmer of Hope Foundation has granted AAIM’s Hands on Housing program the funds needed to begin Handy Helpers. The rest is up to you. The program is especially looking for retired trades professionals, skilled home repair people, handy men & women, apprentices, carpenters, electricians & plumbers. Ideally, we are looking for folks with their own tools who can volunteer on a consistent basis (weekly, biweekly, or monthly) or several times a year when you are available. Details: Kathy Weiner 386-9145 <email@example.com> www.aaimaustin.org.
Health’s Angels: You can make a difference in the life of an elderly person in Austin by volunteering for one of the nonprofit organizations that assist older adults & their caregivers. Perfect for teenagers looking for community service hours or new retirees. Health’s Angels works with local aging-services providers to pinpoint volunteer opportunities for its members, then match members with those agencies. Members may volunteer as much as they are able. There is no minimum service requirement & members are encouraged to involve their families in their service hours. Details: 879-6600 www.healthsangels.org.
Help the Homeless Front Steps a program of the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH), serves food from a kitchen & dining room at 500 E. 7th St. Volunteers needed to help prepare & serve food & for other ARCH programs. ARCH operates on the belief that all people deserve the dignity of a safe place to call home. ARCH seeks to end homelessness by providing shelter, affordable housing, community education & a day resource center. Details: Susan Morris 305-4133 www.frontsteps.org.
Join Austin Area Interreligious Ministries to Help Austin’s Refugees: Austin is becoming a major destination for political & religious refugees from around the globe, people who were forced to flee their homes & often endure long years in refugee camps. AAIM is the region’s sole provider of English as Second Language classes for refugees settled in Austin. We teach the adults basic English skills, help orient them to American culture & provide enriched learning experiences for their children. AAIM does not proselytize or attempt to convert the refugees; we simply give them the skills they need to survive so that, some day, they will be able to call Austin home. AAIM needs your seed money & support, whether you are rooted in a faith tradition, consider yourself to be spiritual but not religious, or simply share the values of our mission, you can make a difference in the life of our community by supporting AAIM. Details: 386-9145 www.aaimaustin.org/donation_new.html.
Project Transitions needs beds, household items & furniture. Donations are needed for clean or gently used dressers, sofas, chairs or tables, plus bed sheets, blankets, towels & money for buying mattresses. Details: 454-8646 www.projecttransitions.org.
RSVP Opportunities: The Travis County Retired & Senior Volunteer Program needs volunteers to serve in a broad array of areas, such as the Austin Humane Society, Austin Gray Panthers, Circle of Friends Alzheimer’s Caregivers Respite Care Program, Hispanic Contractors Assn., LBJ Library & Museum, Meals on Wheels & More, Odyssey Healthcare, Senior Games-Austin & in other capacities. Details: 854-7787 www.seniorservice.org/travis_county_rsvp.
Seton Medical Center Volunteers are looking for compassionate & caring persons to volunteer in patient & nonpatient care areas of Seton Medical Center. Volunteers are needed to provide support to families in need, assist hospital staff in the ER & in the Surgery Center & help in the gift shop, the cafe & at the information desks. Details: Volunteer office 324-1590 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.setonmedicalcenter.org.
Wright House Wellness Center, formerly the HIV Wellness Center, has volunteer opportunities available. Work directly with clients, represent the Wright House in the community, or work with staff behind the scenes. 4301-B N. I-35. Details: Leah Graham 467-0088 <email@example.com> www.thewrighthouse.org.
Oct. 4 Sa 9am-noon $149 Find Your Clarity: Mini-retreat for women who are reaching for something more, whether you are in transition, at a crossroads or meeting a milestone. Learn how to move ahead confidently & enjoy the possibilities! Limited seating. Ballet Austin Education Center, 501 W. 3rd St. Details: 454-0531 www.anndaly.com.
Oct. 4 Sa 9am-1pm $50 Healthy Aging from the Inside Out: Are you looking forward to your next birthday? If not, come participate in a workshop for women interested in learned about holistic aging. From fitness specialists, a nutritional health counselor, an acupuncturist & a psychologist, learn how to care for your mind, body & spirit to promote healthy aging. Get help from these professionals & learn how to make lifestyle changes that will help you embrace the aging process instead of fighting it. Enrollment limited. Clear Spring Studio, 605 Copeland. Details: Fabianna Laby 638-3555 www.DrFabi.com.
Oct. 11 Sa 8am $45 What Women Need to Know About Divorce: Workshops meet 2nd Sa each month to deal with the legal, family, financial & personal issues of divorce in a logical & compassionate way. Workshop topics vary. DeVry University Stratum Executive Center, 11044 Research Blvd. Details: Melanie Johnson 732-1244 www.austindivorceworkshop.com.
Oct. 14 Tu 11am-12:30pm $17 North Austin Women’s Connection Luncheon: Meets monthly. This month, Gail Folkins, author of Texas Dance Halls, tell about her new book & about German culture in Texas. Child care included. Reservations due by Th Oct. 9. River Place Country Club, 4207 River Place Blvd. Details: Nancy 608-6686 <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Oct. 21 Tu 5:30pm $25 Superwomen’s Daughters: The Legacy of Perfectionism & Exhaustion in Female Leadership: Award-winning author Courtney E. Martin lays the groundwork for considering what we define as 21st century female leadership (bringing in examples from the political scene & pop culture). She makes her case using stories & statistics. George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center, 1165 Angelina St. Details: 841-4093 <email@example.com> www.genaustin.org.
Oct. 31-Nov. 2 F-Su $295 Magical Connections: Workshop for women integrating the magic of hand drumming & the intuitive power of SoulCollage with facilitators Sherry Gingras & Doris Adams. We will combine the vibrant spirit of hand drumming with the gentle & joyful process of SoulCollage as we invite mystery in & let magic happen! Namaste Retreat Center, 131 Oak Acres Ln. Boerne. Details: 453-9090 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.drumzaustin.net.
Women of Visionary Influence Austin Chapter: WOVI, incorporated thru outreach, collaboration & expansion, provides for the individual development of women globally. Meets monthly at Balcones Country Club, 11210 Spicewood Club Dr. Details: 638-6563 www.womenofvisioninternational.org/Austin.htm.
by Karen Kreps
Admit it. You and I have experienced it, and we enjoyed it—though we’re loath to tell anyone exactly what we did. We felt heat emerge from within our bodies, as a flush turned skin red and self-consciousness became acute: We wallowed in our private sense of sexual shame.
Ever since Adam and Eve got expelled from the Garden of Eden (the Hebrew word for which, by the way, means, “pleasure”) humans have been ashamed of their nakedness. Sure, we’ve been through the Sexual Revolution and now many people have declared themselves “sex positive” (a movement promoting open sexuality with few limits, in contrast to sex negativity, which adherents identify as the dominant view of sex in Western culture). But shame—either suffered by the submissive or inflicted and enjoyed vicariously by the dominant—still permeates the sexual experience.
There’s an undercurrent, if not an emphasis, on bondage and sadomasochism (BDSM) in erotica, pornography and adult entertainment. The master-slave dynamic is acted out to stimulate our imaginations. For some, it is a turnoff. For others—such as consumers who support the ten billion dollars-a-year pornography industry—it is arousing.
Most adults won’t talk about sex. For some, it’s a matter of discretion. For many, sexual issues are seen as “dirty” and immoral, even in this age of supposed sexual enlightenment.
Why is a natural act, even non-kinky sex, a source of shame?
Children are taught to feel shame from an early age. When used properly, it is a useful self-regulating mechanism for behavior. Sadly, it often causes the shamed one to pull back, physically and emotionally, afraid of being exposed or seen as being bad.
Feelings of shame may also be the result of sex abuse or early childhood stimulation, which could not be resolved—unrequited Oedipal longings. But even in normal, age-appropriate sex play, children may be shamed and told they are bad and wrong. When parents are embarrassed by their own sexual behavior, they pass their misgivings about sex to their offspring.
We’re fooling ourselves if we think we could totally free ourselves from these feelings of shame. So many religions and customs have linked sex with guilt that few of us are entirely unaffected. Over centuries, the Judeo-Christian ethic has ingrained the belief that sex is synonymous with sin. Churches have used shame as the guiding force to redirect young peoples’ sexual impulse and to shun the pleasures of hedonism. It’s programmed into us. Yet we enjoy intimacy and making love. So when we do things that support that, we feel a sense of shame.
Some men have a Madonna-whore complex. They want to be mated with a pure virgin, but sex without guilt doesn’t do it for them, and they lust after the shame of a prostitute.
We pride ourselves on having evolved out of the cave to a highly sophisticated social structure where sexual impulse is restrained by intellect. Our fear of being discovered spares us from doing things we would later regret.
Guilt emerges when we revert to our animal behavior. We’re ashamed about appearing selfish in our desires or about having lost control of ourselves. Orgasm becomes taboo, experienced only in private and rarely discussed. We feel inhibited by something. Could it be the fear of being visible, disarmed at the deepest levels?
Sexual shame is rampant in our culture. We objectify each other sexually, and then we feel shamed for having done so. Thinking of someone as a sex object instead of as a human is depersonalizing. We can even recognize this self-imposed limitation and feel ashamed for indulging in it. Then we eroticize shame itself. Its “forbidden” status hooks us into an addictive cycle made even stronger by shame.
Although stories of sexual shame now fill tell-it-all TV talk shows, the pages of popular magazines and the plots of soap operas, few people will ever talk about or admit to their own feelings of shame. If one or both partners are too shy, embarrassed or ashamed to talk about sex and any shame they may associate with it, they’ll miss the exploration and risk-taking required for good, lasting sexual relationships with a long-term partner.
“There are two ways to absolve ourselves of shame,” states psychologist and sexologist Joy Davidson. “One is to speak of it, share it, expose it to the light and watch it burn away. The other is to use it, to eroticize it. Fantasy allows us to utilize shame in extraordinarily creative ways. If you allow yourself this privilege, you triumph over shame.”
Tantra is an Eastern tradition that teaches us to reframe how we see sex, to celebrate it as divine, not shameful. It views sexuality as a path by which we may be guided out of the illusion of being incomplete and separate to an understanding of our intrinsic wholeness and connection.
Before we evolve to that exalted level of consciousness, we have some issues to work out. Perhaps it’s not a shame that we experience shame, for it compels us to self-examine and to better understand what triggers our response. Do enough of that, and lovemaking is bound to be something to be not ashamed of, but proud about.
Karen Kreps isn’t ashamed to break a taboo or two. You can write to her at email@example.com and learn about her book, a collection of these columns titled Intimacies: Secrets of Love, Sex & Romance, at www.TrueIntimacies.com.
by Becca Hensley
My son hates the fact that I love Green Day’s American Idiot album. It embarrasses him. In fact, when we discover that we love the same music—which is often—he eschews it and rejects me. He feels the same way about me when I wear my leopard pants, and for some reason, he particularly is revolted by the fact that I have a predilection for lace.
A lot of this is classic teenage stuff, I know. So, I forgive him. Besides, when he isn’t looking, I like to borrow his iPod. His reaction resonates with me. I can remember my dad rocking out to the Four Seasons (can you say square?), a tendency which led him to pass me all the record samples that he received from my grandparents, who owned a record store. Imagine: though my dad kept the jazz and the crooners for himself, he handed over first-edition albums of every coveted band of my time, a luxury that lasted for years. (I was the first kid in the first grade to own Meet the Beatles, which made me a grammar school celebrity, something which I believe did much to mold me to be the person I am today.)
I like to think I played at least a minor hand in developing the tastes that contribute to the albums loaded on my son’s iPod. I played him Mozart while he somersaulted in my womb. I gave him piano lessons and urged him to memorize Billy Joel songs before he could write his name. I introduced him to Celtic ballads and world beat from Africa. He tried drums in spite of our noise-sensitive neighbors. And, by osmosis, by natural development in our culture, by sheer intuitive personal striving, he developed a sophisticated palate for rock ’n’ roll, blues, world beat, violin sonatas and saxophone riffs. This warms my heart and leads me to allow him to do some things I shouldn’t, like not noticing when he plays music too loud while he cavorts with friends late at night in our backyard; like playing music while he does homework. Ah, yes and this is why I always splurge on a three-day pass for him for the Austin City Limits Music Festival, despite my worries about him doing...well, you know, all that stuff we did at concerts when we were his age.
It was Stig Anderson who said that music knows no boundaries and crosses them all. Most Americans don’t know about Anderson, but Europeans do. He was a popular lyricist and musician who found fame when he helped propel Abba to the universe as their manager and publisher. He founded Polar Records, and in 1989 allocated a large chunk of money to create The Polar Music Prize, hoping to endow the largest and most prestigious music prize in the world. Awarded to two individuals or groups annually for exceptional achievement, the prize tends to honor a laureate in the classical field and one in the rock or pop area each year. Winners are feted at a hip awards ceremony modeled after the Nobel Peace Prize, with royalty and glitterati of all sorts in attendance. The King of Sweden personally hands the laureate the award and it has been received by such invincible music heroes as Ray Charles, Sir Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Isaac Stern, Bruce Springsteen and Gilberto Gil.
I was lucky enough to be on-site this year when Pink Floyd and opera diva Renée Fleming received the 2008 Polar Prize. Somehow, like Willy Wonka opening a candy bar to find the golden ticket, I found myself on the A-list as a guest of Marie Ledin (Anderson’s daughter and the force behind today’s Polar Prize) and Thomas Ledin (her husband, gold record winning, Swedish musician and one time back-up singer for Abba). In Stockholm, I went from event to event, often conversing with someone and not discovering they were the Prime Minister, a famous actress or supermodel (well, I could have guessed that one) until they had walked off and someone clued me in. Once I found myself bellied up at the bar with a guy I had just seen on a movie poster earlier in the day. He looked rather different in a tuxedo than he did in a Viking costume.
The only event I attended where I wasn’t surrounded by the elite of Europe’s music, stage, political and literary world was a press conference. There, European television and print journalists bombarded Fleming and Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason and Roger Waters with questions about earlier musical influences. (for Fleming it was Pink Floyd and for Mason and Waters it was Elvis and Muddy Waters). What amused me most was the fact that I had just had a conversation with Mason, Pink Floyd’s drummer, in the elevator and I had mistaken him for a well to do, slightly over the hill, but nevertheless very nice, aging British businessman.
All this is to say that music does cross all boundaries and though I had no idea whether I was sitting by a princess or the head of the Swedish Communist Party (they were both there), when Renée Fleming sang arias in a Polar Prize concert, we all cried. Waters and Mason were sitting in front of me, and I swear, they wept as well. When popular Swedish musicians jumped on stage to honor Pink Floyd with renditions of their songs and when even the Prime Minister sang “We don’t need no education” before making a short speech, I was moved and floored—along with everyone.
Waters and Mason said one thing that stuck with me when I interviewed them. They were talking about ‘Another Brick and the Wall’ and they mused, “Isn’t it funny about art? That song is no doubt more deeply understood by the fifteen year old listening to it, than by the twenty five year old who wrote it. But we were all fifteen once, eh?”
Becca Hensley wonders what Governor Palin likes to listen to with her kids. You may e-mail Becca at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Lindsey Lane
My friend and fellow children’s book author Julie Lake just called. “Hey, guess what? The Atlantic printed my letter to the editor.” I smiled. As writers, we take our successes where we can. In this case, a letter to the editor in a prestigious magazine was worthy of notice.
Lake had responded to an article in the July-August 2008 edition of The Atlantic by Nicholas Carr entitled “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” In the article, Carr provides anecdotal examples for how our brains scan for information on the Internet. Then he conjectures how this type of information gathering might possibly be shortening our attention span and our ability to concentrate. And if our concentration is shrinking then so might our ability to think deeply and conceive new ideas.
Lake shares some of Carr’s concerns and, in her letter, describes an incident in her family when their computer crashed. Upbeat as ever, Lake took her daughter by the hand and went to the library to do research in the stacks. Instead, Lake witnessed her child’s meltdown when she found she couldn’t access what she needed through book research.
Lake points outs out in her letter that her child is not lazy or dull witted: “Here was an A student, a voracious reader, raised in a home where computer time and TV watching have always been doled out. As the night wore on, I realized that she really did not know how to read or even skim a nonfiction book to distill key facts. Why would she have to, with succinct summaries of any topic imaginable a mouse click or two away?”
As writers, Lake and I use Google daily. We love its convenience. We love its like-magic access to words and thoughts from any time, place or library around the globe, while we stay in the comfort of our own homes.
I too wonder about its effect. But for different reasons.
On any given day, I can open my e-mail queue and find that fifty percent of the correspondence is from friends about the current presidential candidates and their running mates. All of the e-mails contain links to editorials about each candidate and reactions to what they said or didn’t say, and did or didn’t do.
All this furious Internet activity has the appearance of people becoming more politically active. I am not so sure. It looks to me like we are becoming more politically reactive, fueled by links to charges and accusations that are made more accessible by our computers, phones and televisions with three hundred channels. We’re becoming more reactive by the nanosecond. If I want to bolster my viewpoint, it is only a click away. If I want to get hacked off about someone else’s opinion, I can surf my way into a tempest.
This disconnection between thinking and reactivity was brought home to me one morning during the Republican convention. I was driving my daughter and some neighborhood kids to school. I was gnashing my teeth, frothing at the mouth and swearing at the radio. Then I exclaimed, rather loudly for the early morning hour, “I hate Republicans and everything they stand for!”
My daughter looked over at me. I sounded as reactive and vindictive as Sarah Palin. This was not good.
If I want to make a case for McCain’s maverick sensibility as early signs of dementia, I can Google “McCain” and “dementia” and four hundred ninety-one thousand results would be available to me. If I want to make a case for Obama’s snobby elitism, I Google “Obama” and “elitist” and I get one million seven hundred and eighty results.
With the help of Google, I can formulate an opinion and then find massive bits of information to support it. To what effect? Are we communicating better? Are we thinking better? It seems to me that we might just be getting better at building our arguments, wielding them like clubs and bludgeoning each other with them. Opinions have little to do with thinking. In fact, opinions have little to do with understanding or listening or consensus building.
To be fair, Google and the Internet are not the originators of opinion mongering. Pollsters and advertising agencies have tried to predict elections and create trends as if knowing a certain population’s opinion and hinking about Google, our Kids and Politics
Since we aren’t able to predict the future, I suspect that we aren’t quite able to fathom the benefits that we will reap from the easy access of information through the Internet and Google. It’s easy to fear change and to worry that losing certain ways of doing things will handicap us in the future.
Even Carr concedes that he may be a worrywart. After all, Socrates bemoaned the development of writing, fearing that people’s memories would be less sharp. And when the Gutenberg printing press was introduced, there were many who thought that easy availability of books would cause intellectual laziness and demean the work of scholars. Carr writes, “While some portion of these doomsayers’ predictions might have been correct, they also weren’t able to fathom the myriad of gifts that the printed word delivered.”
We may not be able to fathom the myriad gifts that Google or the Internet has to offer, but information is not a bad thing. How we process it, debate about it and integrate it into the fabric of our lives remains to be seen. If we use it simply to be right or to win the argument, then I think we’ve missed the point of having this much information at our fingertips. Couldn’t the point be as simple as being able to understand one another better?
As for our kids’ research capabilities and their ability to think deeply, that’s something I will pay attention to. As Carr notes and Lake underlines in her letter: “from the fuzziness of contemplation come some of our best ideas.”
I have faith in this generation, which has known computers from in utero. They, more than the generation who grew up watching The Wizard of Oz, might keep better track of the wizard behind the curtain.
When my daughter asked me why I hated Republicans so much, I said, “Because Republicans are mostly interested in supporting business. They believe that if the business sector is strong, the economy will take care of all of society. They believe in less government regulation so that business can flourish. Democrats believe in social justice and that government’s role should be to ensure that all segments of society have equal opportunity. They don’t necessarily think the business sector will take care of everyone.”
My daughter thought for a minute. “Why can’t we have both? A strong business environment so people can work and a strong government that looks out for everyone.”
It’s worth thinking about.
Indeed. You may contact Lindsey at email@example.com.
How to get your family event listed: We prefer that calendar listing information be submitted by using the form on our web site at www.goodlifemag.com/calendar-submission-form2.html. Second choice is to e-mail the essential details to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or fax it to 512-474-5725. Or mail to PO Box 4400, Austin, Texas 78765. To be considered for inclusion, items must be received by the 15th of the month for the following month’s events. Listings are free & are published on a space-available basis.
Daily: Kids Series on KLRU-TV: Austin’s PBS affiliate station hosts a children’s series that incorporate literacy & behavioral & academic skills. Check the web site for complete schedule. Details: www.KLRU.org.
• M-F Word World A literacy-based, animated series where WordFriends spell their way thru “word play” adventures.
• M-F Super Why! Tells the story of Wyatt Beanstalk & his friend Super Why, a tiny superhero who lives behind the books in a children’s library. Each episode brings a new twist to a classic fairytale, while showing emerging readers how reading & seeking answers in books can help solve problems.
• M-F WordGirl: An animated weekly series about the everyday life & superhero adventures of WordGirl as she fights crime & enhances vocabulary usage. Each episode introduces up to four new vocabulary words in an engaging way.
• Sa Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies: Is set in the African savanna, chronicles the adventures of sassy elephant Mama Mirabelle & the young animal characters she cares for. Each episode aims to illuminate the real world for pre-schoolers by providing insight into animal customs & behaviors.
Daily $2 Highland Express Train: Ongoing year round. All aboard the exciting electric train! The kids will have fun riding the train while you relax in the cool comfort of Highland Mall. The train depot is located in the Kids’ Zone. 6001 Airport Blvd. Details: 507-5617 www.threeringservice.com.
• M-F noon-8pm
• Sa 10am-8pm
• Su noon-6pm
Mondays 9am-noon $4-$8 Baby Bloomers: Weekly program for children ages 3 & younger & their caregivers. Discover the exhibits & play in a relaxed atmosphere with other families with small children when the museum is open exclusively for this age group. Stroller parking included. Storytimes 9:30am; sing-along 10:30am; The Little Explorers Lab 11am. Austin Children’s Museum, 201 Colorado St. Details: 472-2499 www.austinkids.org.
Monday-Friday 10am $6 per class Tot Signs: Classes incorporating sign language to help toddlers communicate more effectively. Free trial class. Locations around Austin. Details: Elisabeth McCoy 771-9449 <email@example.com> www.totsigns.com.
Tuesdays afternoons Free Month of Youth Martial Arts Classes: Fun! Focus! Confidence! Life Ki-do Martial Arts & Life Education is offering a free month of classes for children ages 4 & up & also a free month of Family Classes. No strings attached. Classes are fun, nurturing & age appropriate. In addition to developing great martial arts skills, students will also develop focus, confidence, social skills, body awareness & coordination. Life Ki-do Martial Arts at Westover Hills Club, 8706 Westover Club Dr. Details: 215-0064 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.lifekido.com.
Tuesdays & Thursdays Oct. 28-Dec. 11 5-6:30pm $45-$60 La Juventud Youth Social Dance Program: Salsa: The nonprofit EsquinaTango Cultural Society of Austin invites children to come be part of this new, unique & exciting program that includes Tango, Tejano, Salsa Swing & more. Enjoy demonstrations, refreshments, raffles 7 get to know the staff. Special discount for registering for upcoming sessions. Classes meet once a week for 45 minutes. 6-week session $60, $15 off for 2nd session & additional child in the family. 209 Pedernales St. Details: 524-2772 www.esquinatangoaustin.com.
Wednesdays 5-8pm $1 Community Nights: Come out & play & enjoy the exhibit galleries, storytime & a variety of hands-on activities. Austin Children’s Museum 201 Colorado St. Details: 472-2499 www.austinkids.org.
Wednesdays & Thursdays 5:30-7pm Austin Derby Brats: Program for girls ages 5-17 with the primary focus to develop character, confidence, leadership & social interaction thru sports. Austin Derby Brats believe that performance is secondary to these ideals & intends to nurture & develop both skilled athletes & those who have not yet realized the champion inside of them. Millennium Youth Center, 1156 Hargrave St. Details: 472-6932 Major Problem <email@example.com> www.txrd.com.
Thursdays 12:30pm $3 Garden Yoga: Mia Pem takes children ages 3-5 on a spiritual journey thru yoga in the organic garden at Ronda’s Montessori Garden. Pioneer Garden School, 4300 Mt Vernon Dr. Details: 707-8635 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.rondasgarden.net.
Saturdays 10-11am Kids Yoga: With Cindy. Free with a purchase at the café. Bring a mat; some provided. Ruta Maya Café 3601-D S. Congress. Details: 707-9637 www.rutamaya.net.
Saturdays Oct. 4, Oct. 18 & Oct. 25 10am-noon $0-$6.50 Engineering Saturday: Children & families can explore engineering firsthand with activities presented in collaboration with students from UT’s Cockrell School of Engineering. Austin Children’s Museum, 201 Colorado St. Details: 472-2499 www.austinkids.org.
Saturdays Oct. 11-25 6:30-10pm $10 A Lewis Carroll Halloween: Many characters from the writings of Lewis Carroll will inhabit Pioneer Farms. Hayrides will transport visitors to the world of Lewis Carroll. Reservations required. Pioneer Farms, 10621 Pioneer Farms Dr. Details: 837-1215 www.pioneerfarms.org.
Saturdays & Sundays Oct. 4-19 $55-$150 per family Texas Outdoor Family Program: Designed to provide your family a chance to learn basic outdoor skills needed for a great day at the park & a positive overnight camping experience. There is no better way to learn than to do! Your family will have a hands-on experience that’s fun & educational with plenty of help & advice from outdoor specialists, park staff & trained volunteers. This exciting program is offered at many participating state parks & local parks thru November. No experience necessary. Details: 389-8903 www.tpwd.state.tx.us/outdoorfamily.
• Oct. 4 & Oct. 5 Brazos Bend State Park
• Oct. 11 & Oct. 12 Buescher State Park
• Oct. 18 & Oct. 19 Georgetown City Park
• Oct. 25 & Oct. 26 McKinney Falls State Park
Sundays 10:30am free Sunday Morning Kids Shows: Ruta Maya showcases Austin’s community of great children’s performers & entertainment. Tips for performers appreciated. Check web site for the schedule of performances. Ruta Maya International Headquarters, 3601 S. Congress Ave. Details: 707-9637 www.rutamaya.net.
Oct. 1 W 5:30-8pm $100 A Celebration of Children in Nature: Featuring Richard Louv, best-selling author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder & an Awards Presentation to regional organizations & individuals who exemplify the best in connecting kids to nature. Four Seasons Hotel, 98 San Jacinto Blvd. Details: 830-825-3442 www.westcave.org/celebration.
Oct. 1-Nov. 30 DinoLand Exhibit: Visitors to the DinoLand Exhibit will travel back in time, coming face to face with 30 lifelike dinosaur models of every shape & size. These prehistoric creatures will take up temporary residence along the new Escarpment Trail (near the Hartman Prehistoric Garden) being developed by PARD staff. From the fierce, 33-ft. Daspletosaur (cousin to the T-Rex) to a herd of tiny carnivores, these scientifically accurate dinosaur models were created by Guy Darrough, a renowned paleontologist & owner of Lost World Studios. Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd. Details: 477-8672 www.zilkergarden.org.
• Oct. 11 & Oct. 12 Sa & Su The Extravaganza: Includes plant sales, vendors, food concessions, family-friendly entertainment, dino crafts & activities for kids, storytelling & tours of the exhibit trail.
Oct. 1-May 30 Sa-Tu $0-$6.50 All Systems Go: Going places. Getting there. This feature exhibit, sponsored by Capital Metro & developed by Austin Children’s Museum, is all about transportation. Austin Children’s Museum, 201 Colorado St. Details: 472-2499 www.austinkids.org.
Oct. 3-5 & 9-19 $0-$15 You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown: Join all of your favorite Peanut characters as they live thru an “average day” in the life of Charlie Brown. Linus in love with his blanket, Lucy joyfully tormenting Charlie Brown, Sally & her new philosophy, Schroeder playing his piano & of course Snoopy, anxiously awaiting suppertime. Details: 386-8292 <email@example.com> www.secondyouth.com
• Oct. 3-5 F-Su (F 7pm; Sa 11am; Su 2pm) Dougherty Arts Center, 1110 Barton Springs Rd.
• Oct. 9-19 Th-Su (Th-F 7pm; Sa 11am; Su 2pm) McCallum Fine Arts Academy, 5600 Sunshine Dr.
• Oct. 11 Sa 7pm McCallum Fine Arts Academy, 5600 Sunshine Dr.
Oct. 4 Sa free Marathon Kids Kickoff Celebration: Thousands of Central Texas K-5th grade school children & parents ceremonially begin running & walking 26.2 miles in increments of ¼ to ½ mile at a time over 6 months, coloring in their Marathon Kids Running Logs. They also are challenged to eat 26.2 days a month of 5-a-day fruits & veggies, coloring in their Fuel Logs. Together in a free, glorious, ceremonial Kick Off Celebration, they will start their 1st mile of their marathon, with other Central Texas families & University of Texas Athletes. University of Texas, Mike Myers Track & Soccer Stadium, 707 Manor Rd. Details: 477-1259 <Kay@MarathonKids.org> www.MarathonKids.org
• Austin ISD 9am
• All Other School Districts 11am
Oct. 4 Sa 1:30-3:30pm $12 Sculptor To Be! Sculpture Workshop for Kids: Mixed Media Sculpture with Wood & Cardboard: Ages 6-12. Learn about famous artists Frank Stella & Louise Nevelson. Our activities will focus on building an organic sculpture using the materials of cardboard, wood scraps, acrylic paint & wood glue. Students will continue to develop basic skills of composition, design, balance & color while creating a fun & exciting sculpture. Umlauf Sculpture Garden, 605 Robert E. Lee Rd. Details: 445-5582 x101 www.umlaufsculpture.org.
Oct. 5 Su 2pm $8-$12 Austin Symphony’s Halloween Children’s Concert: It’s creepy, crawly & sooooo much fun, it’s spooky! Featuring “boo-tiful” music & storybook favorites such as “Peter & the Wolf,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” Wizard of Oz,” & many more! The Austin Symphony’s Halloween Children’s Concert is stimulating for young eyes & ears (ages 2-10) & great family fun that is sure to delight all. Wear your costume! Dell Hall, Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside Dr. Details: 476-6064 www.austinsymphony.org.
Oct. 5 & Oct. 26 Su $0-$6.50 Science Sundays: Limited seating available. Recommended for child & guardian pairs aged 5+. Austin Children’s Museum, 201 Colorado St. Details: 472-2499 austinkids.org.
• Oct. 5 3-5pm Join the Society of Women Engineers for some hands-on activities!
• Oct. 26 2-4pm Join Alpha Phi Sigma, UT’s pre-med Honor Society, in making edible models of a DNA double helix!
Oct. 9 Th 7-8:30pm Parents of Dyslexic Children Support Group: This month’s topic: Homework Blues: How you can avoid power struggles over homework. This free support group meets monthly Sept. thru May. Scottish Rite Learning Center, 12871 N. Hwy 183. Details: 472-1231 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.ScottishRiteLearningCenter.org.
Oct. 11 Sa 9am-noon School Problems: Dyslexia, ADHD or Behaviors? Scottish Rite Learning Center, 12871 N. Hwy 183. Details: 472-1231 <email@example.com> www.ScottishRiteLearningCenter.org.
Oct. 11 Sa 10 am–noon $10 Acorn Eaters Nature Club: 2nd Sa each month thru Feb. 14. Ages 3 & 4. Budding nature lovers will delve into the outdoors using all 5 senses. Share nature with your child while learning about the animals & habitats of McKinney Roughs thru outdoor art activities, nature hunts & games. Children need an adult partner present to participate. Preregistration required. McKinney Roughs Nature Park, 1884 SH 71 West. Details: 303-5073 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.lcra.org/parks/developed_parks/mckinney_roughs.html.
Oct. 11 Sa 10 am–noon $10 Junior Naturalists Nature Club: 2nd Sa each month thru Feb. 14. Ages 5-10. School-age children will look deeply into the natural world to learn the skills of a true naturalist. Children will practice the naturalist skills of journaling, tracking, research & keen observation thru outdoor art, games & activities that hone their senses. Preregistration required. McKinney Roughs Nature Park, 1884 SH 71 West. Details: 303-5073 <email@example.com> www.lcra.org/parks/developed_parks/mckinney_roughs.html.
Oct. 11 Sa 1-3:30pm Dyslexia Identification & Accommodations for Classroom Teachers: Scottish Rite Learning Center, 12871 N. Hwy 183. Details: 472-1231 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.ScottishRiteLearningCenter.org.
Oct. 11-Nov. 9 $3-$10 Cinderella: An original version of the classic tale of a girl who must live with her cruel step-mother & step-sisters until she receives much needed help from a magical fairy Godmother. Best suited for ages 3-10, the interactive play encourages children in the audience to become part of the action. Scottish Rite Theatre, 207 W. 18th St. Details: 472-5436 ScottishRiteTheatre.org.
• Sa 10am
• Su 2pm
• Nov. 4 & Nov. 5 Tu & W 10:30am Weekday Shows
Oct. 12 & 25 Single Parent Resource Network: Unique support & resources for single & unattached parents, including babysitting cooperatives. You can also tune in 1:30pm each Wednesday for the Radical Mother’s Voice radio program on KOOP-FM 91.7. Details: 694-5272 www.sprn.org.
• Oct. 12 11:30am 2nd Su each month, Ruta Maya International Headquarters, 3601 S. Congress at Alpine, for discussion & planning.
• Oct. 25 3pm last Sa each month, Central Market, 4001 N. Lamar Blvd., for potluck, playgroup & clothing swap.
Oct. 13 M 8am-4pm $50-$60 C-Day Camp: Maker Kids: It’s a student holiday from school, but the fun & learning doesn’t have to stop! Children ages 7-10 can join the “Maker Kids” full day camp. Do you love to create, invent, hack, break & make things? Then this camp is for you! Advance registration required. Austin Children’s Museum, 201 Colorado St. Details: 472-2499 x201 www.austinkids.org.
Oct. 16 Th 8-10:30am Breakfast of Champions: In conjunction with Lights on Afterschool, a nationwide celebration calls attention to the importance of afterschool programs for America’s children, families & communities, & celebrates the success of afterschool in Central Texas. RSVP. Round Rock ISD Performing Arts Center, 5800 McNeil. Details: Maureen Brandyberry 414-0276 <email@example.com> ctanweb.org/boc.htm
Oct. 18 Sa 11am-1pm free Family Fall Festival: Foster care & adoption recruiting event with family games & treats. Carver Library, 1161 Angelina St. Details: Tanya Oestrick, Foster Care-Adoption Supervisor 834-3225.
Oct. 19 F 6-9pm $1 Nature Nights: Spiders! Meet experts “Spider Joe” Lapp & Dave Moellendorf of Austin Arachnological Services & some of their friends for an engaging evening on spiders! Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 801 La Crosse Ave. Details: 292-4200 www.wildflower.org.
Oct. 25 Sa 9am-3pm free Austin Cave Festival: Come celebrate Austin’s cave & groundwater! This family festival educates citizens about the importance of the Edwards Aquifer & its recharge features. Activities will include informational booths, hands-on children’s activities, short caving adventures & prize drawings. Village of Western Oaks Karst Preserve, La Cresada & Davis Ln. just west of MoPac. Details: 282-8441
Oct. 26 Su 4-7pm $0-$7 Goblins in the Garden: Enjoy the not so scary Scarecrow Exhibit & the Pumpkin Patch. Free treats in the store for all children under 12 & drawing for prizes. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 801 La Crosse Ave. Details: 292-4200 www.wildflower.org.
Oct. 28 & Oct. 29 Tu & W $6-$8 Texas Renaissance Festival School Days: offered exclusively to public, private & home school students & sponsors, allows young people to experience firsthand the life, culture & history of the Renaissance Period. Students will interact with a variety of historical characters including King Henry VIII, William Shakespeare & Christopher Columbus. Period entertainments include the Royal Jousting Tournament, Birds of Prey Falconry Exhibition as well numerous other stage & path performances. Reservations requested, but not required. 21778 FM 1774 between Magnolia & Plantersville. Details: 800-458-3435 www.texrenfest.com.
Oct. 31 F free R.L. Stine’s Halloween Party: Author of Goosebumps series will read from his new book, Goosebumps HorrorLand: Dr. Maniac vs. Robby Schwartz, talk about his life & writing process & do a communal ghost story. He will also be signing copies of his new book. Austin Children’s Museum, 201 Colorado St. Details: 472-2499 www.austinkids.org.
Nov. 1 Sa 1:30-3pm $12 Sculptor To Be! Sculpture Workshop for Kids: Bronze Me Up, Charlie! Ages 6-12. Come out & use your creative senses to follow in the footsteps of the great bronze sculptors of our time. We are going to create our own unique works of art using paper-clay. It is a new-age material that dries rock hard overnight. Students will take non-toxic bronze paint home to finish their masterpiece. Umlauf Sculpture Garden, 605 Robert E. Lee Rd. Details: 445-5582 x101 www.umlaufsculpture.org.
Nov. 8 & Nov. 9 $0-$2 Fossil Fest 2008: Dealers & exhibits as well as activities for the kids. A fun & educational experience for the whole family, sponsored by the Paleontological Society of Austin. Old Settlers Park, Highway 79, 3.3 miles east of I-35, next to the Dell Diamond. Map on-line. Details: Ed Elliott 657-7581 www.texaspaleo.com/psa.
• Nov. 8 Sa 9am-6pm
• Nov. 9 Su 9am-4pm
Stewed Greens and Macaroni and Cheese
by Clane Hayward
Before I actually moved to Austin, I had a lot of ideas in my head about what Austin actually was. Austin was, of course, the musical Mecca of South By Southwest and Austin City Limits. Austin was the hipster home of filmmaker Richard Linklater, whose 1991 movie Slacker enthralled and embarrassed me, coming, as it seemed it had, right from my own slacker subconscious. Austin was Tex-Mex and Margaritas and barbecue, and Southern-style hospitality flavored with Western cowboy individualism. My two best and favorite fantasies about Austin, though, were roller derby girls and soul food. The tough, cocky, and feisty rollergirls of Texas are teachers and nurses and moms by day, who slug it out on roller skates in torn fishnets and short skirts and lipstick by night. And there would be macaroni and cheese, stewed greens, and deep fried pork chops on every corner. That was it. I was moving to Texas.
The first thing I saw, the first morning in our new house in Austin, was a bruised-looking but gorgeous girl climbing out of a car in a zebra-print mini-dress and silver Spandex tights and purple platform shoes. “I don’t usually dress like this at ten in the morning,” she hollered to me, and let herself into the house across the street. The bumper sticker on her car said TXrollergirls.com. How lucky was I? And my first fried okra and chicken fried steak only confirmed the wisdom of my choice. Go see the Texas Rollergirls compete in the Calvello Cup Championship at the Convention Center October 11 (512-428-GIRL). And bake yourself some macaroni and cheese.
Cook your macaroni ahead of time. There’s one thing to keep in mind when cooking any type of pasta, and that is salting your water first. This is such an elementary, boilerplate issue, and yet so many supposedly dedicated pasta eaters are unclear on the concept. Here’s the concept: pasta is unflavored. It has no flavor. It has so little flavor that it will actually unflavor other flavors. So cook your pasta in generously salted water. It’s that simple. Cook the pasta until it is almost, but not quite, done, and then drain it and run cold water over it to stop the cooking process.
Preheat your oven to three hundred twenty-five degrees. Make your cheese sauce: melt some butter over low to medium heat. Swirl some white flour into the butter, and mentally prepare yourself to whisk. Lower the heat and slowly add milk to the flour-and-butter mix (properly called a roux, and generally the base for about a million sauces and gravies) and whisk like crazy. The milky soup will quickly form lumps while simultaneously thickening, so keep whisking, and keep adding milk, a little at a time. When you have several cups of white sauce, and the sauce is thin but not runny, lower the heat still more. Salt and pepper it. Slowly add cubed or grated cheese, a handful at a time.
Dear Darling, ever since he dropped fifteen pounds and started doing the 300 workout—the grueling routine used to train actors and stuntmen for the movie 300, in which Spartans fought to their death against the Persians—and running biathlons and generally making me hate him for looking like he should be modeling Prada for Esquire, also started avoiding cheese. “It’s just salted, aged, fat,” he says, grimacing, picking the cheese from his pizza with icky disdain. I, on the other hand, adore cheese, and will sometimes get up in the middle of the night (don’t tell anyone this) to stand in the guilty light of the refrigerator, and bite a hunk right off a block of New York sharp cheddar.
Mix your cheese sauce with your macaroni by pouring it over the macaroni, or by adding the macaroni to the cheese pot on the stove, and taste it again. Does it need more salt? It probably does, just a pinch. Pour the macaroni into an oiled casserole dish, and sprinkle the top with more cheese. Again, it’s up to you to decide how much cheese. You can skip the next step, although I don’t see why anyone would do that: sprinkle buttered bread crumbs across the top of the casserole, and grind a little fresh pepper onto it as well. Cover the dish with a lid or with foil, and bake it for forty to fifty minutes. It should be visibly bubbling at the sides. Take off the lid or the foil and turn up the oven to perhaps four hundred degrees. Let the top of your casserole brown a little. It’s very important to let it rest and cool somewhat before serving, because, remember, it’s four hundred degrees in there. It’s like rich, cheesy lava.
To me the perfect accompaniment to macaroni and cheese are stewed collard greens. They’re easy, they’re cheap, they’re (somewhat) healthy, and they can cook while the macaroni is baking. Just simmer washed, roughly chopped collard greens, mustard greens or kale, or all three, with cooked, crumbled bacon, salt, pepper, a dash of cider vinegar and enough water to keep the greens barely covered. Don’t boil the greens. Simmer them gently. They’re done when they’re very tender, especially at the stems. Don’t cook them until they turn into slime.
Add cornbread on the side, and I’m so sorry about this, but I really don’t bake, so I depend on someone else for the cornbread. Baking is out of the realm of possibility for me, because it requires careful and patient measuring of ingredients, and I’m not so good at that. But I can sure eat some macaroni and cheese and greens and cornbread...pretty much all day long...while I plan what outfit I’m going to wear when I eventually get up off the couch and join a roller derby league.
Clane Hayward knows this mac ’n’ cheese recipe is not true soul food, as a roux is just an unnecessary complication. But pertaining to Velveeta, there can be too much of a good thing. You may e-mail Clane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesdays Oct. 1-29 7-9pm $205 Seafood Sensations: International fish cuisine at its finest. This unique series will take you on a culinary tour of such favorites as Spanish Paella, Italian Zuppa d’Pece, Mediterranean sauté, Japanese nabe style poached fish & more. The Kitchen Space, 1204 Cedar Ave. Details: Rosa 657-9191 www.naturalepicurean.com.
• Oct. 1 Fish Basics
• Oct. 15 Classic Fish Recipes from Around the World
• Oct. 22 Shellfish
• Oct. 29 Healing Fish Soups & Condiments
Wednesdays & Saturdays 9am-2pm year-round Market at Boggy Creek Farm in East Austin: TDS certified organic produce. 3414 Lyons Rd. Details: Carol Ann Sayle & Larry Butler, farm owners 926-4650 <email@example.com> www.boggycreekfarm.com (map on web site).
Wednesdays 4-8pm Austin Farmers’ Market at The Triangle: This weekly year-round market is part of the Sustainable Food Center’s system of markets. Fresh produce from the farm, cheeses, eggs & more are available each week to eat or to take home. Triangle Park, 46th St. between Lamar & Guadalupe. Details: Suzanne Santos, Sustainable Food Center 236-0074 www.AustinFarmersMarket.org.
Thursdays Oct. 9-30 6:30-9pm Complete Macrobiotic Meals for Fall: The Kitchen Space, 1204 Cedar Ave. Details: Rosa 657-9191 www.naturalepicurean.com.
• Oct. 9 Tofu & Onions
• Oct. 16 Tempeh & Scallions
• Oct. 23 One-Pot Meals
• Oct. 30 Fall Noodle Bowl with Fried Tofu
Fridays Oct. 3-31 4-7pm Citywide In-Store Wine Tastings: Twin Liquors presents wine samples at 13 area locations. Shop & visit with the wine experts to locate a particular bottle of wine, get wine-food pairing suggestions & answers to any & all wine-related questions. Details: Paula Biehler 328-3935 www.TwinLiquors.com.
Fridays & Saturdays F noon-6pm, Sa 10am-2pm Farmstand at Green Gate Farm: Kid-friendly venue hosts spontaneous events like the Red Potato Pull & Rattlesnake Bean Run. Certified naturally grown produce. WIC vouchers accepted. 8604 FM 969 (East MLK at Decker Ln), 8 miles east of downtown. Details: Farm owners Erin Flynn & Skip Connett 926-2436 or 404-625-4967 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.greengatefarms.net.
Saturdays 8am-1pm year-round South Austin Farmers’ Market on Congress: El Gallo Restaurant parking lot, 2910 S. Congress Ave. (across from St. Edwards University). Details: Tony Piccola & Suzanne Bartoo market managers. 830-914-3756 www.austinfarm.org/safm.
Saturdays 9am-1pm year-round Austin Farmers’ Market: Now with an ATM available on-site & bike valets. The market features fresh & local vegetables, herbs, cheeses, eggs, meats, breads, honey, flowers, prepared foods, drinks & artisan crafts. Free admission & free parking on the street & at City Hall. Kids Patch activities, garden info, live music & chefs’ demos. 4th & Guadalupe. Music each Sa 10-11:30am. Details: Suzanne Santos, Sustainable Food Center 236-0074 www.AustinFarmersMarket.org.
• Austin Farmers’ Market Accepts Food Stamps: In keeping with its mission to improve access to fresh & healthy local foods for all people, Sustainable Food Center operates the Farmers’ Market Food Stamp Initiative at the Austin Farmers’ Market downtown. Through this initiative, recipients of food stamp benefits can use their Lone Star cards to purchase locally grown fruits & vegetables directly from the farmers who grow them & can also buy other fresh, healthy, locally produced foods at the Austin Farmers’ Market.
Saturdays 9am-1pm year-round Sunset Valley Farmers Market: Toney Burger Activity Center parking lot, US Hwy 290 West in Sunset Valley, between Brodie Lane & Westgate Blvd exits. Details: Salila Travers, market director 443-0143 or 280-1976 <email@example.com> www.sunsetvalleyfarmersmarket.org.
Saturdays 9am-5pm Market at Arnosky Family Farms: Come to the Big Blue Barn where you’ll find vegetables, fresh-cut flowers, cheeses made of goat & cow’s milk, eggs & plants for your garden. The farm is open all other days for self-service. Come spend as much time as you’d like & walk the fields. This is a real working family farm, so be careful & enjoy yourself. 12550 RR 2325 at the junction of RR 165, between Blanco & Wimberley. Details: 830-833-5428 www.texascolor.com.
Saturdays Oct. 4-25 10am-1pm Fun Cooking Classes: Learn to Cook Part II: Stocks & Sauces: Culinary Academy of Austin presents hands-on classes open to all skill levels. 6020-B Dillard Circle. Details: Carrie Harris-Rae 451-5743 x301 www.culinaryacademyofaustin.com.
• Oct. 4 $105 Sunday Island Brunch
• Oct. 11 $75 New Orleans-style Brunch
• Oct. 18 $95 Bread Basics
• Oct. 25 $75 Classic Pie Baking
Saturdays & Sundays 11am-4pm World Flavors on the Grill: Look for exciting seasonal selections on the grill in Market Hall. Taste them & then walk away with an easy recipe you can try at home. Prices vary depending on selections. Whole Foods Market, 525 N. Lamar. Details: 476-1206 www.wholefoodsmarket.com.
Oct. 5 Su 11am-2pm $0-$25 Jenny’s Sun-Cooking & Simple Living Workshop: Hands-on class on solar cooking & other aspects of running a more sustainable household. Oaks RV Park, 2728 S. Congress. Details: 619-5363 www.permie.us.
Oct. 9 Th 6:30-9pm $50-$75 Tour de Vin: The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas invites you to get your passport stamped at this world tour of the finest international wine & cuisine to be found in Central Texas. A truly world-class tasting & live music under the stars. Rooftop Plaza, Whole Foods Market, 6th St. & Lamar Blvd. Details: 327-7555 www.winefoodfoundation.org.
Nov. 1 Sa 5pm Open House in the Blue Barn & Dia de los Muertos Altars: Some of our friends & neighbors will make altars in the barn to observe & celebrate the memories of their loved ones who have passed on. Traditional Mexican refreshments, samples of our cheeses & a great supply of fall vegetables & flowers. Come & get your marigolds. Marigolds also available for sale in the Blue Barn throughout the week preceding Halloween & Dia de los Muertos. Arnosky Family Farms, 12550 RR 2325 at the junction of RR 165, between Blanco & Wimberley. Details: 830-833-5428 www.texascolor.com.
Austin Community Gardens: Want to grow some of your own food but have no land? Check out the plots available at these neighborhood garden locations listed by the Sustainable Food Center. Details: Emily Neiman 236-0074 ext. 5 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.sustainablefoodcenter.org.
• Alamo Community Garden 2101 Alamo St.
• Blackland Community Garden 1600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, across from Kealing Middle School.
• Deep Eddy Community Garden 3001 Atlanta St.
• El Jardin Alegre Community Garden 1801 E. 2nd St.
• Good Soil Community Garden 12th & Chicon streets.
• Peter Tucker Community Garden 1705 Waterston Ave.
• Project Imagine 3421 E. Cesar Chavez St.
• Quilombo Garden Collective 5606 Harold Court.
• South Austin Community Gardens South 5th Street at Cumberland Road.
• Sunshine Community Garden 4814 Sunshine Drive at 49th Street.
• Travis County Southwest Metro Park Community Garden US Hwy 71 at Ross Road.
• Windsor Park Community Garden 5801 Westminster Drive.
Community Supported Agriculture Subscription Delivery Programs. The following farms provide food to clients who subscribe. Contact the farms for details:
• Finca Pura Vida 944 Lakeview Rd. Fayetteville. Details: e-mail preferred <email@example.com> 979-249-3866.
• Green Gate Farms 8604 FM 969 (E. MLK at Decker Ln) 8 miles east of downtown Austin. Certified naturally grown produce. 512-926-2436, 404-625-4967 www.greengatefarms.net.
• Hairston Creek Farm Rt. 3, Box 69 Burnet. Details: 512-756-8380 <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
• Hands of the Earth Farm (formerly Oasis Gardens Farms): Offering 2 pick-up locations to get a weekly bushel basket of fresh, seasonal veggies. Details: 389-3835 <email@example.com> www.handsoftheearth.com.
• Millberg Farms (Kyle area only) 737 Opal Lane, Kyle. Details: Tim Miller 512-268-1433.
• Tecolote Farm 16301 Decker Lake Rd., Manor Details: David Pitre & Katie Kraemer <firstname.lastname@example.org> e-mail preferred. 512-276-7008.
One-Pot Meals Brochure Lays Out Meal Model: 18 recipes revamp old favorites in healthy ways in this free brochure, based on steadily mounting research on diet & cancer. Experts at the American Institute for Cancer Research are urging Americans to adopt a simple but innovative meal model for better health & lower weight. The brochure can be read, downloaded or ordered at www.aicr.org/onepot. Or a single copy can be ordered at no charge by calling 1-800-843-8114, ext. 459.
Slow Food Austin: Recognizing that the enjoyment of wholesome food is essential to the pursuit of happiness, Slow Food USA is an educational organization dedicated to stewardship of the land & ecologically sound food production; to the revival of the kitchen & the table as centers of pleasure, culture & community; to the invigoration & proliferation of regional, seasonal culinary traditions; to the creation of a collaborative, ecologically-oriented & virtuous globalization; & to living a slower & more harmonious rhythm of life. Want to learn more or join? Details: <email@example.com> www.slowfoodaustin.org.
South Austin Food Co-op Forming: Potential members sought for this new food co-op. Details: Michael Shattah 694-4001.
Whole Foods Market Culinary Center Cooking School: Call the school for up-to-date schedules & class availability. 525 N. Lamar Blvd. Details: 476-1206 www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/calendars/LCC.html.
Integrating Health, Happiness and Pets
by Laura Koffler
I’ve consistently found that people who own pets are often nicer and, generally speaking, happier than the ones who don’t. Yes, that’s an extraordinary statement, but studies not only support the idea that pets make us feel more positive and help us socialize, but also show that animals are actually powerful healers, too. So, if you’re of the non-pet-owning ilk and suffering from a chronic malady, or perhaps a solitary pet owner unaware of the magical nature of your animal, I have good news for you.
Our history is dotted with examples of a happy human-pet synergy. The artifacts gathered from ancient traditions across the globe, highlighted by the Greeks, Egyptians and Mayans, cast animals in a sacred, reverential and often healing light. So, it’s easy to understand the fact that we call dogs our best friend is no mere historical accident—science tells us why.
While the exact origins of pet therapy are unclear, the paper trail is long and distinguished. In 460 BC, Hippocrates wrote about the beneficial effects of riding a horse. Taking his lead, medical documents dating from the seventeenth century advised gout patients to ride horses as a means of combating this disease. More modern pet therapy, however, was most likely instituted in 1942 at the Army Air Corps Convalescent Hospital in Pauling, New York, where U.S. veterans of WWII were encouraged to work with livestock and farm animals to aid in their convalescence.
In a more recent fascinating study conducted in the eighties titled “Animal Companions and One Year Survival of Patients After Discharge from a Coronary Care Unit,” authors Erika Friedmann, et al, were able to show a striking commonality among the improved recovery rates for those who survived a year or more after serious heart surgery: they all owned a pet! The subjects came from very different backgrounds and socio-economic classes; some of them lived alone and others had loving families, but the only common denominator were the animals with whom they shared their lives. The study showed that compared to the control group of people with no pets, they fared much better with respect to recovery.
Further, a ten-year study from the Minnesota Stroke Institute at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis showed that owning a cat conferred a thirty percent reduction in heart attack risk. Considering that heart disease is a leading cause of death, this study makes an especially strong argument for those at risk to own a cat. Still other studies involving pet ownership cast light on everything from alleviating depression to lowering blood pressure.
Closer to home, on the socialization front, Protection for Animal Welfare Services of Austin (PAWS) www.pawsofaustin.org, runs a fabulous program that brings dogs unsuitable for adoption into the jails, where inmates train them and provide themselves with a deeper sense of purpose. The mutual benefits of love, care and affection have profound implications. In his study “Therapeutic Applications of the Human-Companion Animal Bond,” E. J. Ormerod, et al, concludes that the inmates who receive visits from dogs through the pet therapy programs significantly reduce their level of aggression and decrease their chances of becoming drug addicted or committing suicide.
As animals do not have the same social barriers that we do, they can go “talk” to anybody; they have no fear of rejection and are open. They make for great companions to socialize and this can represent a great source of courage (if not an excuse) to meet people. In a study conducted in Sweden, sixty-three percent of dog owners recognized that their pets had increased their chances to talk to people and fifty-seven percent said their dogs had found them friends. Men and women are equally as likely to affectionately pet or massage, i.e., “love on,” their animals, and this represents a good outlet to fulfill a basic need for physical contact.
Another of the social benefits afforded us by pets is that they can teach us responsibility and loyalty. This is especially true when it concerns children and pets. The relationship between them is characterized by friendship and trust. Unlike parents, pets do not give orders or scold. And they become some of our children’s most beloved companions. With incidences of autism on the rise, therapy with horses has repeatedly offered positive outcomes. For example, autistic children who are often incapable of being affectionate with their families or close ones, consistently enjoy deeper levels of love and compassion when given the opportunity to ride and play with horses. In her book Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior, autistic best-selling author Temple Grandin relates the story of how she would lose the privilege to ride a horse whenever she threw a fit, yet this would make her so sad that she had to learn to control her anger.
The many positive possibilities that our pets offer in terms of wellness are an undeniable gift of Mother Nature. If you’re interested in sharing the therapeutic pet experience, Austin is home to two groups that provide pet therapy: Therapy Pet Pals of Texas, which started in 1984 with a Pekingese dog, and Austin Dog Alliance, that besides visiting hospitals and nursery homes has a program called Bow Wow Reading Dogs that helps children to improve their reading and communication skills by reading to trained therapy dogs. Both organizations offer volunteer opportunities and training on their respective web sites, www.therapypetpals.org and www.austindogalliance.org.
Laura Koffler loves working with all types of animals, especially “spider” pigs. You may e-mail Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturdays Oct. 4-25 Greyhound Meet & Greet: Greyhound Pets of America-Central Texas seeks responsible loving homes for adoptable greyhounds that failed to qualify for the race track or no longer race. $195 adoption fee with approved application. Details: 267-7603 <email@example.com> www.gpacentraltexas.org.
• Oct. 4 9am Town Lake Stroll, meet on north side of Zachary Scott Theatre, 1510 Toomey Rd.
• Oct. 11 noon-3pm Cancelled in October: Tomlinson’s West Lake Hills, 3300 Bee Caves Rd.
• Oct. 25 11am-3pm Petco, 9828 Great Hills Trail, Austin.
Oct. 4-18 Meet the Cockers! Cocker Spaniel Rescue of Austin-San Antonio Meet & Greet: $150 adoption fee with approved application. Details: Noira Boilin 527-9923 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.austincockerrescue.org.
• Oct. 4 1st Sa each month 11am-2pm Petco, 5601 Brodie Ln., Austin.
• Oct. 11 2nd Sa each month noon-3pm PetSmart, 2601 S. I-35, Round Rock.
• Oct. 12 2nd Su noon-3pm PetSmart, 12812 Shops Pkwy, Bee Cave.
• Oct. 18 3rd Sa noon-3pm PetSmart, 11150 Research Blvd., Austin.
Oct. 4 & Oct. 25 Sa noon-4pm Meet & Greet Shadow Cats Adoption Days: Adoptable cats & kittens. $100-$125 adoption fee. 1st & 4th Sa each month. PetSmart, 2601 S. I-35, Round Rock. Details: 512-388-3909 <email@example.com> www.shadowcats.net.
Oct. 11 Sa 9:30am free 6th Annual Barktoberfest & 3K Pledge Walk: Central Texas SPCA, a privately funded, no-kill animal shelter serving the Greater Austin area, is hosting this event to benefit its adoption program. Free T-shirts for walkers raising $25 or more in pledges. Canine costume contest, food booths, education station, kids’ fun area, vendors’ booths, Greyhound Pets of America Speed Alley, low-cost microchip clinic, feral cat information from Shadow Cats & much more. Lakeview Pavilion, about 1 mile inside Old Settlers Park off Hwy 79 next to Dell Diamond. Details: www.CentralTexasSPCA.org.
• 9:30am Registration for Pledge Walk
• 10am 3K Walk Begins
• 10:30am Festivities & Entertainment Begin
Oct. 11 Sa 11am free Austin Chihuahua Meetup Group: A great place to socialize your Chihuahua & meet other owners. We love chi’s & realize the importance of socializing with other small dogs. We also promote adoptions & eliminating unnecessary breeding. Meets 2nd Sa every month. Private home, 2 Kern Ramble St., Austin. Details: 779-4023 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.chihuahua.meetup.com/29.
Oct. 11 & Oct. 12 Sa-Su Central Texas SPCA Adoption Days: Come meet adoptable shelter dogs & cats. $95 adoption fee. Details: 260-7722 <email@example.com> www.centraltexasspca.com.
• Oct. 11 1-4pm 2nd Sa each month, PetSmart, Hwy 29 @ I-35, Georgetown
• Oct. 12 1-4pm 2nd Su each month PetSmart, 1890 Ranch, Cedar Park.
Oct. 11 & Oct. 18 Low Cost Pet Vaccination Program: Pet Medical Services provides low-cost mobile vaccination clinics to the Austin area. Details: 413-0989 www.austinpetms.com.
• Oct. 11 2nd Sa each month 9:30-11am Tomlinson’s, 202 Walton Way, Cedar Park.
• Oct. 18 3rd Sa each month, as follows:
• 9-10:30am Tomlinson’s Ben White, Lakehills Shopping Center, S. Lamar & Ben White, Austin.
• 11am-12:30pm Tomlinson’s West Lake Hills, 3300 Bee Caves Rd.
• 1:30-3pm Tomlinson’s Airport, 908 E. 49-1/2 St. Austin.
Oct. 11 & Oct. 25 Sa 11am-2pm Austin Boxer Rescue Adoption Days: These dogs have been rescued from bad situations & are rehabilitated medically, socialized & taught basic manners before being offered for adoption. Adoption fee $75-$300 with approved application. Brown Elementary School, 505 W. Anderson Ln. Details: 968-1343 www.austinboxerrescue.com.
Oct. 12 & Oct. 19 Su 1-4pm Thundering Paws Adoption Days: This nonprofit program of the no-kill central Texas animal sanctuary, located in Dripping Springs, has pets for adoption on the 2nd & 3rd Su each month. Adoption fee $100 with approved application. PetSmart, 5207 Brodie Ln. Details: Anne Zabolio 402-9725 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.thunderingpaws.org.
Oct. 17 F 6-8:30pm free Road to No Kill Austin Forum: The Central Texas Animal Alliance has teamed up with www.FixAustin.org & Austin Siamese Rescue to host this forum featuring remarks from a sitting Austin City Council member, a leader of Austin’s no-kill movement & national no-kill sheltering expert Nathan Winograd of the No Kill Advocacy Center. Silent auction to raise money for homeless pets. Admission is free but reservations are required by filling out the form at http://fixaustinevents.wufoo.com/forms/the-road-to-no-kill-austin-with-nathan-winograd. Donations are encouraged. Austin City Hall, 301 W. 2nd St. Details: 965-0777 www.centraltexasanimalalliance.org.
Oct. 18 Sa 1-2:30pm donation Energy Healing for Domestic Animals: Energetic healing can unblock your pet’s stagnant energies & increase the natural flow of healthy energy thruout the body. Pets must be on a leash or in a crate. First Spiritualist Church of Austin, 4200 Avenue D. Details: 458-3987 <email@example.com>.
Oct. 26 Su $25 Friend-raiser: Bring the whole family & join us for this fun-filled & exciting event with Live Music by singer-songwriter Ken Raba. Help support SARA Sanctuary, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, no-kill facility & their mission to provide unconditional life & love to more than 900 abandoned, neglected & abused animals on its 175-acre preserve. And for a Howling Good Time be sure to join us for the Doggie & Doggie-Human Costume Contest. Liberty Bistro, 200 N. Seguin St. New Braunfels. Details: 210-669-8399 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.sarasanctuary.org
• 4-6:45pm Silent Auction
• 5-7pm Dinner Seatings: Dinner will include; pasta, salad, bread, iced tea & a glass of wine, with a full bar available.
Oct. 27 M 7-8:30pm free Pet Loss Support Group: Meets last M each month to offer care, compassion & understanding to those who have lost or anticipate the loss of a pet. Facilitated by dedicated staff & volunteers. Austin Humane austinhumanesociety.org Society. 124 W. Anderson Ln. Details: Lisa Starr 646-7387 ext. 226 www.austinhumanesociety.org.
Animal Trustees of Austin Needs More Than Your Money: Donations are desperately needed year round, but especially towels. Towels are used as bedding, but mostly during surgical procedures, probably hundreds a day. If you can donate clean, used towels, please drop them off at The Natural Gardener, 8648 Old Bee Caves Rd. Details: Missy 450-1504 www.animaltrustees.org.
Austin Humane Society: Are the dog days of summer getting you down? Adopt a cat. Join us in celebrating our shelter cats & kittens all summer long with reduced adoption fees & special cat promotions. AHS, along with the city shelter, is on our way to saving at least 1,500 feline lives this year. So now is the best time ever to adopt a cat or kitten 124 W. Anderson Ln. Details: Lisa Starr at 512-646-PETS ext. 110 <email@example.com> www.austinhumanesociety.org.
Austin Humane Society Free, Public Feral Cat Spay-Neuter Program. Bring in a feral or stray cat & we will spay-neuter them, free of charge. Our goal is to fix 5,000 by 2009. Donations are needed to continue this essential program & can be made safely on-line. Other donations such as canned kitten food, kitty litter, towels & blankets can be brought to the shelter at 124 W. Anderson Lane in Austin. All donations are tax deductible. Details: Lisa Starr 646-7387 x110 <LStarr@austinhumanesociety.org> www.AustinHumaneSociety.org.
Austin Vet Care Offers Lost & Found & Adoption Service: Austin Vet Care, a veterinary practice with locations in Central (Central Park) & North Austin (Metric), provides an automated Lost & Found & Adoption service thru its web site. The 1st of its kind in Austin, the service allows people to upload information, including photographs, directly to the veterinary practice server. Details: 459-4336 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.austinvetcare.com.
Central Texas Animal Alliance: Formerly the SPCA of Greater Austin, the CTAA’s mission is to build a broad-based alliance across Central Texas that includes all organizations, individuals & businesses dedicated to ending the killing of homeless animals in our public animal facilities. The alliance hopes to establish performance & accountability standards for our public shelter directors. CTAA remains committed to ending the killing of homeless animals & is looking for new members. Details: 965-0777 <email@example.com> www.CentralTexasAnimalAlliance.org.
Emancipet is a nonprofit organization providing low-cost or free spay-neuter services. The mobile spay-neuter clinic visits areas around Central Texas daily. Free days are Thursdays & Fridays with check-in beginning at 8am on 1st come, 1st served basis. Appointment-only most other days. Check web site for dates & locations. Stationary clinic at 601 Airport Blvd, #605. Details: 587-7729 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.emancipet.org.
German Shepherd Rescue Central Texas needs foster homes for wonderful dogs—puppies, youngsters & adults, male & female—who are waiting for their forever homes. All are friendly; some even like cats. Fostering a homeless dog makes room for another to be saved, often from certain death. We also need help with fund-raising, transportation, repairs, minor construction & adoptive home background checks. Just coming to walk & play with the dogs, who are so grateful for the one-on-one attention, is a huge help. Details: Bev Gainer 264-2478 www.gsdrescuetx.com.
Guide Dogs of Texas seeks volunteers to raise & socialize guide dog puppies. Each puppy must be raised indoors & be with the volunteer thruout the entire day. Service includes daily training walks for exposure to a variety of city settings & monthly supervisor visits. No experience necessary but volunteers must be at least 18 years of age. A minimum 1-year commitment is required. Call to schedule an interview. Details: 210-366-4081 www.guidedogsoftexas.org.
Humane Society of Williamson County is a no-kill, nonprofit shelter located on 22 acres in Leander. It is the largest no-kill animal adoption center in Williamson County. It provides animal services such as low-cost spay & neuter surgery & low-cost vaccinations. These services are available to everyone in the community. The Humane Society is always in need of committed volunteers & donations. Your donations will go directly to animals to help prepare them for adoption. Shelter located at 10930 E. Crystal Falls Pkwy, Leander. The web site provides information & a list of adoptable animals, including photographs. Details: www.hswc.net or call 512-260-3602.
Lifelong Friends Pet Adoptions desperately needs volunteers. The organization provides a safe haven for local area cats & dogs while they wait for loving, forever homes. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Cat Caregivers must be at least 13 years old & Dog Caregivers must be at least 16. If you have time, energy & love to give to homeless animals, contact Lago Vista PAWS. Details: 512-267-6876 www.lvpaws.org.
PALS-Prevent A Litter of Central Texas, a nonprofit organization providing educational & income-based pet spay-neuter services to the needy, seeks volunteers & donations. Details: Sharri Boyett 512-878-2226 <PAL@preventalitter.com> www.preventalitter.com.
Safe Kids-Safe Dogs: Tail Town Training presents dog safety classes to schools & other organizations in which owner Joycelyn Schedler teaches children & families about dog body language, safety around loose dogs, how to approach a dog & other valuable skills. Schedler is a certified canine training specialist who trained her own dogs, Woodstock & Gunner, to be therapy dogs, to visit hospitals, nursing homes, schools & any place they can provide emotional support. To schedule a therapy dog visit or a Safe Kids-Safe Dogs class for your organization, call Schedler. Details: <email@example.com> 303-0063.
Southern Animal Rescue Association (SARA) Sanctuary, a no-kill, nonprofit animal sanctuary, located on 580 acres in Seguin, is home to more than 700 dogs & cats, two 800-pound pigs & other farm animals, all of whom would love some extra attention & care. We need fund-raisers, groomers, feeders, shelter builders, foster homes, vet techs & all-around animal lovers to help out. SARA seeks adoptive homes for all the animals, but when adoption is not possible, the animals have a permanent quality home at the sanctuary for the duration of their natural lives. The sanctuary is full & we are struggling to provide care, build shelters & raise funds for our 700-plus residents. We would love your volunteer help, in any capacity. Details: 210-669-8399 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.sarasanctuary.org.
Southpaws University: Higher Learning for You & Your Dog! Southpaws University will offer a variety of pet-related classes taught by instructors with a vast array of experience & expertise in the pet industry. The list of classes currently scheduled include beginner & intermediate clicker training, pet first aid & CPR, obedience training, pet photography, how to choose a dog, making toys for dogs, homeopathy for dogs & more. Southpaws Playschool, 2324-B S. Lamar. Details: Sonya Wilson 440-7529 <email@example.com> www.southpawsplayschool.com.
Thundering Paws: This nonprofit program of the no-kill Central Texas Animal Sanctuary, located in Dripping Springs, needs volunteers to help care for animals, raise awareness & do other chores necessary for the well-being of animals. Adopters, foster-care providers & donations are also needed. Details: Anne Zabolio 402-9725 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.thunderingpaws.org.
Town Lake Animal Center Needs Toys for Orphaned Animals: Toys & chews are needed to keep the orphaned animals occupied & help alleviate stress. A list of what they need includes tennis balls, Kong toys & other sturdy, washable dog toys, interactive cat toys, washable, plastic, ball-type cat toys & natural rawhide chews. Please bring items to The Natural Gardener, 8648 Old Bee Caves Rd. or drop it off at the shelter. Town Lake Animal Center, 1156 W. Cesar Chavez. Details: 3-1-1 www.ci.austin.tx.us/tlac/default.htm.
Growing the Garden and the Gardeners
by Cecilia Nasti
“You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt.”
Deloria Grant, seventy-three, lives on the same street and in the same house she’s lived in since she was a girl. It is the house her father Boston Grant, an educator, coach and guidance counselor, built for his family on East Thirteenth Street. It is the house where her grandmother Lizzy, a teacher and domestic who lived in San Marcos, came each weekend to care for her young granddaughter and son following the untimely death of her daughter-in-law. It is the house where more than sixty years ago Deloria Grant learned how to grow a backyard vegetable garden.
For years, three generations of this small, close-knit family worked side-by-side to cultivate a large food plot in the backyard of their East Austin home, something they—and their neighbors—did out of necessity back then.
“The neighborhood was different when I was growing up,” Grant said in a telephone conversation. “Most all the people had gardens, and everyone shared what they had. Flowers or vegetables, if you didn’t have something in your garden and someone else did, they shared. And everyone knew everyone in the neighborhood because most people had gardens, and everyone sat on their front porches to visit. If you were sick, they came to see about you.”
Over time, and after the passing of the elder Grants, the garden on East Thirteenth Street slowly returned to nature, but Grant (a former nurse who developed breathing problems that made it difficult for her to spend time outdoors) never forgot the joy she felt when her hands were in the deep, rich soil; or the sense of community she experienced that grew from a neighborhood teeming with gardens and gardeners; or the satisfaction she derived from sharing meals overflowing with homegrown vegetables, lovingly prepared by Grandma Lizzy.
Today, with the help of the Green Corn Project (www.greencornproject.org) Deloria Grant once again has a vegetable garden that provides her with fresh, healthful organic produce. It is a garden that also allows her to reconnect with an intimate and precious time from her past. Grant said, “They gave me back something I thought I had lost forever.”
Since 1998, the Green Corn Project, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, has installed more than one hundred and thirty organic food gardens in Austin’s underserved neighborhoods, touching the lives of hundreds of people. With only one paid employee, Executive Director Meagan O’Donnell, who works half-time, Green Corn Project Board President Mitch Mills says the organization achieves its mission—to educate and assist Central Texans in growing organic food gardens—through the hard work and dedication of an ever-expanding group of community volunteers, many of whom join with little or no gardening experience.
“I think the biggest misapprehension people have is that you have to be a master gardener (to volunteer); that’s definitely not the case. I had only done container gardening before I became a volunteer, and later a team leader. Green Corn provides a lot of training in that aspect, and we have a fairly detailed method that we follow.”
Green Corn provides hands-on workshops to volunteers, employing biointensive gardening methods outlined in John Jeavons’ book, How to Grow More Vegetables (and fruits, nuts, berries, grains, and other crops) Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine. Workshop leaders take volunteers through double-digging garden beds to “grow” soil, composting, intensive and companion planting, seed saving and starting, and garden planning.
Green Corn Project volunteers use their newfound skills during twice yearly Dig-ins where they build and plant ten-by-four-foot organic vegetable gardens at qualifying homes, schools and community centers. “To qualify for a garden,” says Wayne Kamin, Green Corn garden coordinator chair, “you have to fill out an application form that verifies you have a low income, fixed income, are elderly on modest income or disabled.” Kamin adds, “This is not charity, it is a helping hand. Our goal is to help our gardeners achieve self-sufficiency.”
Filler called Green Corn, completed the application, and the next time they had a Dig-in, she got her garden. “This garden is a gift for me,” she says. “It’s true I get vegetables, but I also get so much joy and community. Everybody (that receives a garden) who can, volunteers in some way. I cannot put in gardens physically, but I can find people who need gardens.” One of those people was her neighbor of twenty years, Deloria Grant.
“I think that a garden is a great place over which and through which to put racial and cultural and political barriers aside,” says Green Corn’s Kamin. “It’s where we can reach across, in mutual respect and understanding, to grow and share good food.”
This fall, Green Corn will create additional opportunities for sharing and community building by installing new organic food gardens, as well as refurbishing current gardens, like those found in the backyards of neighbors Deloria Grant and Jude Filler. None of this work could take place, however, were it not for the generosity of individuals and area businesses providing cash and in-kind donations.
“Most of the money we take in annually comes from our fall festival,” says Green Corn’s Mills. “We’re grateful to the chefs, restaurants and businesses that donate their time and products to help us raise money for our work, in a food- and fun-filled afternoon.” The annual Cook Globally, Grow Locally fund-raiser is Sunday October 26. 2008, from noon to four, at Boggy Creek Farm (www.boggycreekfarm.com) on Lyons Road in East Austin. (There’s a map on the web site.) Tickets are thirty-five dollars in advance and forty dollars the day of the event, and can be purchased on-line at www.greencornproject.org. Children under twelve get in free.
On a recent trip to Boggy Creek Farm, Carol Ann Sayle explained why they host the event. “We’re into gardens, too, and we like to do nice things for the community when we can. We’ve hosted nine of them (Green Corn fund-raisers), and this year is the tenth anniversary fund-raiser.” In fact, Sayle, along with Green Corn Founder Dana Conner and Foo Swasdee, executive chef-owner of Satay restaurant, sprouted the original idea for the fund-raiser ten years ago while sitting next to each other at an organic gardening meeting in Austin—another instance of gardening bringing people together.
Wayne Kamin says this year’s festival is dedicated to the memory of Denise Salles Kirschenlor, a longtime Green Corn family member who recently passed away. “She was and still is the heart and soul of the fund-raiser,” says Kamin. “She always had everybody’s back. Her word was always good. She was and is a complete joy.”
“There’s nothing about this organization’s mission that isn’t about joy,” Jude Filler said. “Tilling the soil, planting a garden, watching things grow, and sharing the experience. It’s a delight.”
Deloria Grant agrees. “I can’t really work in my garden myself anymore, but I still love the smell of the soil, and watching things grow. It’s my therapy, and Green Corn helps me. And then my neighbor Jude will sometimes pick vegetables from my garden and her garden and cook something up—because I’m not much for cooking—and then bring me some of what she made. It reminds me of old times.”
Want more of Cecilia Nasti’s gardening know-how, wit and wisdom? Tune-in at 11:55am every Saturday during “Folkways” for her “Growing Concerns” segments aired exclusively on KUT-FM 90.5, public radio for Austin. Or log onto www.kut.org. You may e-mail Cecilia at email@example.com.
Flower seeds—Alyssum, African Daisy (Arctotis), Bluebonnet, Calendula, Columbine, Coreopsis, Cornflower, Daisy, Delphinium, Hollyhock, Larkspur, Nasturtium, Pansy, Petunia, Phlox, Pinks, California Poppy, Scabiosa, Snapdragon, Stock, Sweet Pea, Viola, Wildflowers.
Bulbs—Allium, Amarcrinum, Calla, Autumn Crocus (Colchicum), Cooperia, Daylily, Dietes, Hardy Cyclamen, Spider Lily (Hymerocallis), Liriope, Louisiana Iris, Ipheion, Lily, Lycoris, Oxalis, Monkey Grass, Rain Lily, Scilla, Watsonia. Purchase Tulip, Crocus, daffodil and hyacinth bulbs for chilling.
Vegetables—Early to mid month: Arugula, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chinese Cabbage, Collard Greens and Kohlrabi. Mid to late month: Carrot, Endive, Lettuce, Spinach, and Turnip. All month: Beets, Chard, Garlic, Mustard, Multiplier Onion and Radish. Dig sweet potatoes before first frost.
Herbs—Borage, Burnet, Caraway, Catnip, Celeriac, Chamomile, Chervil, Chives, Comfrey, Coriander, Cumin, Dill, Fennel, Fenugreek, Lemon Balm, Mexican Mint Marigold, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Santolina, Winter Savory, Sorrel, Thyme, Yarrow.
Water—Areas as needed.
Transplant—Divide and transplant crowded perennials. Dig and store Caladium bulbs. Dust with fungicide.
Prepare soil—Mulch gingers and other tropicals that overwinter outdoors to retain warmth and moisture and to control weeds. Falling leaves make autumn a good time to start a compost pile. Shred (or mow) leaves to speed decomposition. Turn the compost pile periodically and keep it moist.
Lawn care—Fertilize with 3-1-2 ratio fertilizer. In newly plugged lawns, sow eight pounds of ryegrass per thousand square feet to help hold soil. The seed grass will make a bright green carpet until spring, when hot weather will kill rye. Note, however, that this is not recommended for established lawns. Mow every five to seven days and leave the clippings on the lawn.
Diseases and pests—Check for cabbage loopers in the garden; spray with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Make a second treatment for brown patch on lawns with a history of the disease.
Prune—Shrubs as needed, but save major pruning for the winter. Remove dead and damaged wood from shrubs and trees. Make cuttings of tender plants before frost.
Oct. 4 Sa 9am $40-$50 Green Corn Project Organic Gardening Workshop: Learn how to grow your own organic vegetables. This hands-on class will teach you the basics of biointensive gardening, an organic gardening method that builds the soil & produces more vegetables in a small area. 1210 Rosewood Ave. Details: 249-3171 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.greencornproject.org.
Oct. 4 Sa 9am-5pm $0-$5/garden $30 for all 7 Austin Open Day: Part of the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program. Enjoy a self-guided tour of seven private gardens open in Austin. Visitors may begin the tour at any of the locations. Details: 888-842-2442 www.opendaysprogram.org.
• David Peese Garden 8 Sugar Creek Drive
• Fatal Flower Garden 1906 Tillotson Avenue
• Granger Garden 2600 Kenmore Court
• Abell Garden 2400 Matthews
• Modern: Inside & Out 2603 Maria Anna Road
• Ofman Garden 1111 Weston Ln.
• Stone Palms 1208 W. 12th St.
Oct. 4 & Oct. 5 Sa & Su 8:30am-1pm free Green Corn Project’s Dig-ins: Help install organic food gardens for families & individuals in need, as well as for schools & community centers, in central Texas. Learn how to start you own garden bed while helping others. No experience necessary. Be prepared to dig & plant. 1210 Rosewood Ave. Details: 249-3171 <email@example.com> Register for 1 or all of the dig-in dates on-line at www.greencornproject.org/gc/volunteer.
Oct. 4 & Oct. 5 Sa & Su 1-4pm free Days of the Dinosaur Flower Show: Violet Crown Garden Club presents a Standard Flower Show that includes 36 judged designs & judged horticulture from gardens around Austin. This theme goes along with the traveling Dinosaur Exhibit that is currently at the Gardens. Zilker Botanical Gardens, 2220 Barton Springs Rd. Details: Details: 477-8672 www.zilkergarden.org.
Oct. 7 Tu 6:45-7:15pm Heart O’ Texas Orchid Society’s Annual Plant Auction: Here’s your chance to begin or expand your devotion to orchids, some of Mother Nature’s most wonderful plants that bloom in every color of the rainbow. You may bid on a spectacular selection of great plants available from local area orchid growers, as well as some local vendors. Some of the plants will be in bud or bloom. There will be orchid related items up for auction as well. Zilker Botanical Gardens Center, 2220 Barton Springs Rd. Details: Philip Zbylot 445-4300 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.hotos.org.
Oct. 13 M 7-9pm free Austin Organic Gardener’s Club: Meets 2nd M each month. Steve Deever of Betsy Ross’ grass-fed beef farm will discuss soil biology to promote healthy crop growth & animal health. Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd. Details: 443-7187 www.austinorganicgardeners.org.
Oct. 14 Tu 9:30-11:30am Austin Herb Society Gardening Day at Zilker Herb Gardens: 2nd Tu each month. Members, guests & newcomers welcome. Zilker Garden Center, 2220 Barton Springs Rd. Details: 944-2787 www.austinherbsociety.org.
Oct. 16 Th 7:30pm free Austin Cactus & Succulent Society Monthly Meeting: Meets 3rd Th each month. Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd. Details: 347-8615 www.austincss.com.
Oct. 17-19 F-Su Fall Plant Sale & Gardening Festival: Select from the best assortment of native plants, shrubs & trees. Heritage trees from the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 801 La Crosse Ave. Details: 292-4200 www.wildflower.org.
• Oct. 17 F 1-7pm Members Preview
• Oct. 18 & Oct. 19 Sa & Su 9am-5:30pm
Oct. 18 Sa 9:30am-4:30pm $90 Organic Gardening & Medicine Making: Learn the basics of organic gardening including design, maintenance, soil preparation, organic amendments & fertilizers, natural pest control, planting techniques & which plants grow best in our environment. We’ll have the experience of digging in the soil & planting herb seeds & transplants. As part of Sharing the Wisdom of the Plants. Please bring your own lunch or a potluck dish to share. Austin School of Herbal Studies, 8803 Bear Creek Dr. Details: Ellen Zimmermann 301-5838 <Ellen@ezherbs.net> www.ezherbs.net.
Oct. 18 & Oct. 19 Sa & Su First Austin African Violet Society Fall Display & Sale: African Violets & other Gesneriads on display, along with plants & growing supplies for sale. Zilker Botanical Gardens Center, 2220 Barton Springs Rd. Details: 477-8672 www.faavs.org.
• Sa 10am-4:30pm
• Su 1-4pm
Oct. 18 Sa free Orchid & Rose Classes: It’s a Jungle, 907 Kramer Ln. Details: 837-1205 www.itsajungleaustin.com.
• 11am-noon Orchid Culture & Repotting: Bring 1 plant in a 6-inch or smaller pot to be repotted.
• 1pm Rose Care & Propagation: Bring pruning shears if you have them.
Oct. 20 M 7-9pm Austin Pond Society Meets 3rd M each month. This month, Bog Gardens & Filtration. Zilker Botanical Gardens, 2220 Barton Springs Rd. Details: 477-8672 www.austinpondsociety.org.
Oct. 21 Tu 9:30am Heart of the Hills Garden Club: Meets 3rd Tu each month September thru May. Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd. Details: 266-7439 www.zilkergarden.org/aagc/clubs.html.
Oct. 21 Tu 7-9pm Native Plant Society of Texas, Austin Chapter: Meets 3rd Tu each month. Members conduct plant surveys, rescue plants from development areas, collect & exchange seeds, maintain demonstration gardens, sell native plants & propagate hard to find species. Wild Basin Preserve, 805 N. Capital of Texas Hwy. Visitors welcome. Details: <email@example.com> www.npsot.org/austin.
Oct. 21 Tu 7:30-9pm free Austin Rose Society meets 3rd Tu each month except December & February. Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd. Details: Rosanne Crump 565-5581 www.zilkergarden.org/aagc/clubs.html.
Oct. 22 W 7-9pm free Plant & Insect Photography for Beginners: The class will concentrate on developing the ability to take sharp, colorful photos with impact. Prerequisite: study your camera’s owners manual. Bring your camera for practical exercises. Limited class size. Reservation required. Zilker Botanical Gardens, 2220 Barton Springs Rd. Details: 854-9600 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.tcmastergardeners.org.
Oct. 23 Th 9:30am-noon Violet Crown Garden Club: Meets 4th Th each month. This month, Sue Burton presents One of a Kind: A Still Life Design. Open to the public. Zilker Botanical Gardens, 2220 Barton Springs Rd. Details: Sandra Holt 345-3164 www.zilkergarden.org/aagc/clubs.html.
Oct. 25 Sa free Heart O’ Texas Orchid Society’s New Growers Seminar, Exhibit & Plant Sale: Lectures will include the 6 variables: Light, Water, Air, Temperature, Growing medium & Fertilizing (called feeding). There will also be a lecture on Pest & Diseases. Free handouts will be available which are designed for the beginner to form a bases on how to grow different orchids in the home, greenhouse or outdoors. Good information, questions answered, refreshments available.. Zilker Botanical Gardens Center, 2220 Barton Springs Rd. Details: Dave Levine 342-0145 <email@example.com> www.hotos.org.
• 10am-1pm Seminar
• 10am-2pm Exhibit & Plant Sale
Oct. 25 & Oct. 26 Sa-Su free KLRU-TV’s Central Texas Gardener: Small Space Gardening: Get design ideas for tight spaces, urban gardens & condo balconies. On tour, visit a dumpster diver who turns rejects into art. Every week host Tom Spencer visits with experts including growers, designers, nursery owners & authors who cover a lot of ground from plant selection to design. Details: www.klru.org/ctg.
• Sa noon & 4pm
• Su 8am
Oct. 26 Su 2pm Austin Area Begonia Society: Meets 4th Su each month. Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd. Details: 477-8672 www.zilkergarden.org/aagc/clubs.html.
Oct. 27 M 7pm Austin Butterfly Forum Club Meeting: Meets 4th M each month. This month, Dave Moellendorf discusses Arachnids of Texas & the World. Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd. Details: 477-8672 www.austinbutterflies.org.
Austin Grow Green: The City of Austin’s Grow Green program provides Austin area homeowners with earth-wise solutions to yard care problems & offers more than 20 fact sheets on general landscaping tips, native & adapted plants & pest & disease problems. Details: www.cityofaustin.org/growgreen.
Earth-Wise Guide to Weeds: The Grow Green program of the City of Austin’s Watershed Protection Department & the Texas Cooperative Extension have produced a free guide on weeds that’s available to anyone with an interest in gardening. It’s a full-color, quick-reference publication that helps home gardeners identify & choose the least toxic options for weed control. It contains a 3-page foldout chart on annual, perennial & cool & warm season weeds. The guide is available at more than 40 locations in the Austin area, including retail nurseries & home improvement centers. See growgreen.org/nurseries for locations. Or get it on-line at www.ci.austin.tx.us/growgreen/downloads/weeds.pdf.
Garden for Wildlife! Help get the City of Austin certified as a Community Wildlife Habitat. Join National Wildlife Federation’s nationwide team of volunteers who serve our communities as Habitat Stewards. At our workshop, the National Wildlife Federation will teach you how to help people create & restore wildlife habitat in yards, schoolyards & other private & public areas. NWF will provide the training, no prior experience is necessary. You will work with a group of like-minded people, using your creative skills, regional botanical knowledge & gardening know-how. It is fun & satisfying. Details: Rebecca <firstname.lastname@example.org> or Jane 794-0058.
Color Energizes Architect’s Home
by Amy E. Lemen
Let’s face it. Color can be scary when it comes to slapping it on your walls or painting your home’s exterior. What will it look like? What will the neighbors think? Will you like it when it’s done?
Stewart Davis, AIA, principal architect and design director of CG&S Design-Build, says he thought about all of that after he and his wife, Dolores Davis, decided to change the color palette of the home they’d designed and built in 2001.
“Color is the second skin of the home,” he says. “When we first did the color scheme, they were more comfort colors—not strong colors.”
In fact, Davis calls the home’s original color scheme “Starbucks” colors—earthy green, brown, gold and rust—and that ended up being the default for the house.
“By the time we were done with the house we were tired, so we decided to add color later,” he says. “I’d always liked that combination, so we went with it.”
A few years ago, the Davises decided it was time for a change. After all, Davis had designed the home to be comfortable to live in, as he intended it to be the last house he was going to build for his family. The house sits on five acres, and has a masonry base, then a limestone cap, and three coats of stucco on top of that.
After Davis and his family had lived in the house for a while, their thoughts on color began to emerge.
“We’d been looking through color palettes in books, and added them based on what they looked like on printed material,” he explains. “But color works differently on a flat page than on an interior or exterior, so it took some experimenting.”
Color selection was also a family affair. The home’s gold exterior is custom: Davis’ son, Ryan, a UT fine arts graduate, created it by mixing his oil paints. They took a sample and had it made into an exterior paint.
The exterior of the master section of the house is painted a blue-purple, as is the detached garage. The decidedly more traditional structure in the center of the house is also blue, but more muted. The interior courtyard is painted a pale green with “Ryan’s Gold” trim.
Ryan’s art also served as the inspiration for the home’s interior colors. A fantastically colored painting hangs over the dining room table, and it was those bright colors that dictated the bright red wall color in the room.
“I was worried about the red, but it was exactly what we needed, it was the right thing to do,” says Davis. “I don’t think I’m very good at color selection, but it turned out very nice.”
Without a lot of trees, the wind can be brutal whether it’s hot or cold outside, so Davis designed the home around the central, protected garden, using the principles advocated by Christopher Alexander, an architect and professor emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley who came up with the concept of “the long, thin house.”
Known for his “pattern language” idea, Alexander decided that users know more about the buildings they need than any architect. So he conceived this language to empower any human being to design and build at any scale. This concept played into the design of the Davis house.
The long, thin house principle, Pattern 109, posits that the “shape of a building has a great effect on the relative degrees of privacy and overcrowding in it, which has a critical effect on people’s comfort and well-being.”
“We basically took the long, thin house idea and twisted it into a U shape,” Davis says. “The kitchen and gathering place is in the middle, and the master and the kids’ areas are separate, so we have our realm and they have theirs.”
There’s a detached garage to the north of the house that serves to break the fierce winds, and all the structures were constructed using basic green building principles.
“Ninety percent of green building is common sense,” says Davis. “The porch is on the southeast side so that it’s cool and shady and, during the day, we don’t need artificial light. Good design principles get you an efficient home.”
Davis also didn’t waste energy by using materials that would eventually have to be refinished or restored. He instead used materials that would last a long time, like the masonry and stucco, and a metal roof.
“For the most part, it’s a more contemporary house than not,” he says. “I really like the variation of textures and the shape of the house. The basic form is intended to break the scale down, to make it more human. We wanted the house to look like it was made to happen over time.”
“The color was a leap of faith, but I’m glad we did it,” he says. “It’s the last thing you expect to see out in the middle of the country.”
Amy Lemen writes about shelter for local and national publications and is eventually going to get over her irrational fear of color to paint one huge wall blood red. Got a cool house? Know of a cool house? You may e-mail Amy at email@example.com.
An Immodest Proposal
Those Who Won’t Learn the Lessons of History are Doomed to Repeat Them in Summer School
by Robert Singleton
If Jonathan Swift were alive today, he’d probably be writing for The Onion.
In 1729, he published A Modest Proposal: For Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick. In this masterpiece of the satirical form, Swift advocated eating the children of the poor. In doing so, he hoped to call attention to the lack of compassion toward the poor that he felt was afflicting his country.
As Bill Cosby used to say, I tell you that to tell you this: I think that the City of Austin should attempt to sell our share of the South Texas Nuclear Project by advertising it on Craigslist.
Unlike Swift, I am serious about this, so much so that I posted the following on Craigslist on September 16:
Sixteen percent interest in South Texas nuclear power plant. Twenty years old, still works. Desperate to sell. No reasonable offer refused. Become a part of the Nuclear Renaissance. Reply to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The listing is under General, the category where you’ll find white elephants and birthday gifts from relatives who haven’t seen you since childhood.
As a not-too-frequently-delinquent Austin Energy ratepayer and recovering City Council watcher, I feel that it’s my obligation to sound out potential buyers.
A little history: On November 3, 1981, Austin voters passed a referendum authorizing the City Council to seek buyers for our portion of the plant. (Note: this was seven years before the plant came on line, when we thought it was only going to cost a couple billion dollars. Final cost—six billion dollars. )
The only bidder was Tom “Smitty” Smith, now director of the Texas office of Public Citizen. Smith bid one dollar for our interest in the plant. The offer was rejected, not for the size of the bid, but because the city thought Smith didn’t have the “character and competence” to run a nuclear power plant. To which he replied: “Oh, and Houston Lighting and Power does?”
Parenthetically, I refer you to my previous observation that NRG Energy, which owns the biggest portion of the plant, forty-four percent, and wants to add two units to STNP:
(1) Has never built a nuclear power plant anywhere,
(2) Wants to build a new type of power plant, an Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR), that has never been built in the United States,
(3) Wants to change design plans from the type built in Japan to use features that have never been tested anywhere, and,
(4) Wants to build ABWRs despite the fact that most of the units in Japan are shut down, operating at reduced capacity or suing the unit’s manufacturer over design defects. (More on that in a minute.)
There’s never been a better time to post our portion of the STNP on Craigslist. The much-touted “Nuclear Renaissance” public relations campaign would have you believe that nukes are now clean, safe and cheap. If that were true (which it isn’t), surely it would make more sense for investors to buy an existing plant with an operating record rather than pay the rapidly rising bill for new plant construction.
On the subject of rising costs, on-line financial newsletter Bloomberg.com ran an article recently that said that John McCain’s plan to build forty-five additional nuclear reactors by 2029 would cost three hundred fifteen billion dollars, “with taxpayers bearing much of the financial risk.” And that’s based on an optimistic seven billion dollars per unit. (More on the financial risk to the public in Updates, below.)
“I wouldn’t give two cents for it. The economic, safety and security risks from the nuclear reactors are huge. The possibility of a surge moving up a river and swamping the South Texas Nuclear Project during Hurricane Ike was a horrifying prospect. No thanks. This plant is a huge risk, and Austin should get out now.”
My thoughts exactly. I’ll give you periodic updates as bids come in.
You can make a bid on Austin’s portion of the South Texas Nuclear Project at http://austin.craigslist.org/for/844101724.html.
By the way, selling the nukes on Craigslist would have an additional public policy advantage: Craigslist is a relatively transparent way of doing business, as opposed to the process that got us into the biomass plant.
Nukes can’t compete without subsidies—In a recent op-ed in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Kenneth Zapp, professor in the College of Management at Metropolitan State University, states that: “Without the protections of the Price-Anderson Act, owners of nuclear power plants could not afford to purchase enough insurance to cover the full range of risks associated with their operations. If nuclear power were safe, private companies would not need the government to protect them from the risks.”
House passes energy bill without nuclear subsidies—On September 16, the House passed an energy bill that did not extend current nuclear subsidies. The Senate is unlikely to consider the bill this session, and President Bush has threatened to veto it anyway, over restrictions on oil drilling. Wait’ll next year.
New Texas nukes: good news, bad news—Supporters of an Amarillo nuclear project have delayed submission of their NRC application until next year. Exelon, however, has now filed with the NRC to build a nuclear power plant at Victoria.
Who’s the next mayor?—And finally, lest you think that I’ve forgotten local politics, here’s something nasty to think about. Former mayoral candidate Kirk Becker asked me what I would do if the next mayor’s race wound up in a runoff between Brewster McCracken and Carole Keeton McClellan Rylander Strayhorn (sorry if I left out an ex-husband or two). The correct answer is: wait six months and recall the winner.
Robert Singleton is considering disposing of other City of Austin assets including the biomass plant if the nuke sale is successful. If you have suggestions, send them to email@example.com, or just post them directly to Craigslist.
Mondays 7-9pm free Save Barton Creek Assn. meets weekly to discuss important environmental issues of the day. The public is invited. Vinny’s Café, 1003 Barton Springs Rd. Or e-mail about how to get involved. Details: 480-0055 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.savebartoncreek.org.
Oct. 4, 5, 21 & 22 Austin 5-Star Home on Greenovate: When Cynthia Brown set out to build her green home in East Austin, she never expected to end up on TV. Learn green building basics & find out how Brown’s home won a 5-star rating from the Austin Energy Green Building Program on an episode of Greenovate on the Planet Green TV network. Watch for Austin landmarks & Mayor Will Wynn. Details: 804-2050. Series schedule at http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv-schedules/series.html?paid=237.15643.121148.35146.24.
Oct. 7 Tu 7pm free Austin Sierra Club Meeting: Walk for a Day: Hill Country Conservancy President Steve Drenner & Executive Director George Cofer will discuss plans for completing a 34-mile trail from Lady Bird Lake to the city-owned Onion Creek Preserve at FM 150 near Kyle. Open to members & nonmembers. TSTA Building, 316 W. 12th St. Details: 444-1326 www.texas.sierraclub.org/austin.
Oct. 10 & Nov. 14 F 7-8:15pm free Hot Science, Cool Talks: Outreach Lecture Series: A means for leading researchers to communicate their research to the public. Includes pre-lecture activities in the foyer starting at 5:45pm. Participation by the audience in lively discussions follows the lectures, & an Internet broadcast will be made for those who cannot attend. Welch Hall Lecture Auditorium Rm. 2.224, 24th & Speedway. UT campus. Details: 471-4974 www.esi.utexas.edu/outreach/lectures.html.
• Oct. 10 Is Your House Killing You? When you burn a scented candle in your home what becomes of the burned wax & scent? How well do air filters & ozone generators clean indoor air? UT’s Professor Richard Corsi, PhD, will show us how some very common (& presumably safe) products that we use in our homes present challenges to maintaining healthy indoor air quality.
• Nov. 14 Beginning the Search for Life on the Outer Planets: Through Europa’s Icy Looking Glass.
Oct. 11 & Oct. 12 Sa-Su 10am-8pm $10 donation The Sustainable Living Road Show: A caravan of educators & entertainers are touring the country in a fleet of renewable-fuel vehicles to empower communities & individuals to utilize sustainable living strategies for a healthier planet. Live music, entertainment, puppetry theatre, poetry slams, eco-fashion shows, green building options, clean energy showcase, workshops, educational speakers, recycled art garden, natural healing pharmacy, organic food market, green film fest, kids’ learning center, cycle ride, tai chi, chi gong, belly dancing & yoga. $15 for camping & late dance party. The Hundred Acre Wood, 21707 Hog Eye Rd., Manor. Details: Chad 961-9203 <email@example.com> Rebecca <firstname.lastname@example.org> http://sustainablelivingroadshow.org.
Oct. 18 Sa 9am-1pm free GreenGirls Meeting: Adopt-a-Street Cleanup & Potluck: Regular meetings usually meets 3rd Sa each month. This month, GreenGirls is having their 1st cleanup kickoff event. GreenGirls is a network of powerful women who care deeply about the environment & know that we are more powerful when we feel healthy, strong, balanced & connected with nature. The group schedules fun & interesting outdoor activities & welcome ideas for future outings. Be part of our network & have fun with us. Please RSVP. Pease Park, 1100 Kingsbury. Details: 480-326-6323 www.greengirls.net.
Oct. 24 F Green Drinks Happy Hour: A monthly informal social gathering of folks who care about the environment. Attendees are encouraged to bring someone who is “light green” or even “grey” for discussion & fun. 4th F each month. Check location & sign up for mailing list on website. Opal Divine’s, 700 W. 6th St. Details: Thomas Vinson-Peng 232-7149 www.greendrinksaustin.blogspot.com.
Oct. 24-26 F-Su 8am $300 Cob Garden Wall Workshop: This workshop will offer hands on training in the construction of an outdoor cob garden wall. We will break up a large, open backyard into smaller, inviting spaces. The workshop will teach participants basic cob building elements that they can employ in beautifying their own yard. Suburban backyard in Leander. Address given on registration. Details: 422-3517 <email@example.com> www.sanctuarynaturalbuilding.com/
Oct. 25 Sa 9am-3pm free Austin Cave Festival: The Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District & the Texas Cave Management Assn. invite you to visit the Village of Western Oaks Karst Preserve & learn about the importance & sensitivity of the aquifer & its recharge features. Information booths, activities for children & short adventures into Live Oak Cave & Get Down Cave. La Cresada & Davis Ln., just west of MoPac Expressway. Details: City of Austin Watershed Protection 499-2550 www.ci.austin.x.us/watershed, Texas Cave Management Assn. 453-4774 www.cavetexas.org.
Nov. 1 Sa 9am-4pm $10 Cultivating Simplicity in a Complex World: UT Informal Classes presents a workshop on strategies for gaining a view of a simpler life path that treads softly on the earth & gives intelligent use of limited resources. Bring an object you have purchased within the last year and have not used. Facilitated by Steven Hughes & Justin Follin. Details: 232-5277 www.informalclasses.org.
Austin CarShare: Carsharing is a service that provides members with 24-hour access to a fleet of cars & a truck on a per-hour & per-mile basis. The service is available to new members after orientation. Gas, insurance, parking, maintenance & roadside assistance are all included in price of usage. It reduces traffic, improves air quality, promotes sustainable economic development, increases the number of transportation options & improves the quality of life in Austin by providing access to carshare vehicles. Vehicles are available at 2nd & Colorado; 4th & Congress; 23rd & San Antonio adjacent to the UT campus; & Fresh Plus at 43rd & Avenue H. Details: www.austincarshare.org.
AustinEcoNetwork: Subscribe to this free, moderated listserve for info about Austin & the environment, including events, political actions, jobs & networking. Send message with subject “subscribe” to <AEN@AustinEcoNetwork.org>. Details: Brandi Clark 477-3311 www.austineconetwork.org.
Austin Electric Vehicle Buyers Group: An organization whose objective is to enable members to purchase practical, affordable all-electric vehicles by aggregating a market in Austin of at least 100 buyers. Approximately a dozen companies already produce EVs with a 100-mile range, excellent acceleration & all the safety features & amenities of a conventional car. We believe that an order of 100 EVs (of a common design) could bring the selling price down to under $30,000. Register on-line. Details: <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.austinevbuyers.org.
Austin Freecycle Network: Where one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. The goal is to reduce waste by connecting people who are throwing away unwanted items with others seeking these items (& have a little fun in the process). No item too big or too small, but all items must be 100% freely offered. No money, no trading, no barter & no strings attached. Details: www.freecycle.org or www.groups.yahoo.com/group/AustinFreecycle.
Austin Home Energy Survey Invites Participation: UT-Austin graduate students are conducting a study to explore Austinites’ current energy consumption & preferences for future energy policy & vehicle technology. The survey takes about 20 minutes. It will ask questions about you, your travel & household energy use. No names or identifying identification will be used in preparing data for analysis. You can stop at any time, but your input is important. Details: Kara Kockelman, PhD, associate professor of Transportation Engineering 471-0210. Take the survey at www.surveygizmo.com/s/68524/energysurvey.
Ecology Action of Texas needs volunteers to help sort materials & assist customers at the downtown center. Also needed are a commercial electrician, a web designer, a mechanic to help maintain vehicles, a designer to produce eye-catching materials for outreach events, tabling help & help at special recycling events. Details: 322-0000 <email@example.com> www.ecology-action.org.
Free Toilets Available! The Free Toilet Program is back! If you’re an Austin Water Utility customer whose toilets were installed before 1996, Austin Water Utility Conservation will give you new, high-performance toilets for free. New flapperless technology means these toilets get the job done in just one flush with even less water than some modern toilets. Plus, you’ll never have to change a leaky toilet flapper again. Customers can apply to replace up to three toilets per house. Standard white, round bowl toilets are free. Taller, handicapped toilets with an elongated bowl are available for a fee of $21.10 plus tax, payable at pickup. Rebates of up to $60 per toilet for installation by a licensed plumber. Details: 974-2199 www.WaterWiseAustin.org.
Friends of Barton Springs is dedicated to protecting & improving Austin’s favorite natural swimming hole. It has grown into an active organization hosting volunteer pool cleaning sessions with a growing complement of volunteers that numbers in the dozens at each cleaning. Volunteers are invited to participate in cleaning & in organized committees. Details: <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.friendsofbartonspringspool.com.
Friends of McKinney Falls State Park promotes 1 of Austin’s most valuable natural treasures, a state park on your doorstep. This beautiful attraction offers a fascinating array of natural, geological, historical & prehistoric treasures, including Old Baldy, a bald cypress over 500 years old & 60 feet tall; the oldest living resident of Travis County. And don’t forget it’s got a great swimming hole too! Support McKinney Falls by volunteering, making a donation or becoming a member. Details: <McKinneyFalls@yahoo.com> www.mckinneyfalls.org.
GreenerChoices.org offers Products for a Better Planet on this free web site hosted by Consumer Reports magazine. At www.GreenerChoices.org, consumers can quickly access information about everything from fuel-efficient cars to energy saving appliances to sustainable food production. Also check out www.eco-labels.org, where Consumer Reports offers free information about product-label terms such as “organic” & “recycled” & includes green shopping tips, articles about environmental issues & more.
Longhorn Environmental Alumni Association supports environmental & sustainability initiatives at the University of Texas at Austin & connects UT alumni interested in the environment. The group publishes a quarterly newsletter about the campus environment, provides input on key campus sustainability issues & organizes a variety of networking events. It is also in the process of establishing a Green Fund to support sustainability projects at UT. All UT alumni are invited to join; membership is free. Details: www.enviroexes.org.
NeighborWoods Tree Deliveries: Help TreeFolks deliver NeighborWoods trees. Imagine riding in an open truck delivering free trees to happy people. Sound like fun? Details: 443-5323 <email@example.com> www.treefolks.org.
New Changes to Ozone Action Day Alerts: The Clean Air Force of Central Texas’ has modified alerts to better inform you of current ozone & air quality conditions. Those signed up will be notified by e-mail a day in advance, generally by 2pm, when there is an Ozone Watch, which occurs when conditions are forecast to create high ozone levels the following day in Central Texas. The Ozone Watch is valid for the next day so that citizens, businesses & industry can plan ahead to take steps to reduce the pollutants that contribute to ozone formation. Proactive steps include telecommuting, carpooling, combining errands into 1 trip & refueling after 6pm. E-mail a request to <firstname.lastname@example.org> to sign up for alerts. Details: 225-7776 www.cleanairforce.org.
Online Store Offers Affordable Energy Efficiency Solutions for Congregations & Their Members: Texas Interfaith Power & Light (TXIPL) operates ShopIPL.org, an online store designed to help faith communities & their members reduce global warming & air pollution thru energy efficiency. On ShopIPL, congregations can buy proven energy efficiency products for their house of worship including an array of compact fluorescent light bulbs, rechargeable batteries, water heater timers & weatherization products & more at substantially discounted prices. Members can order products for their own homes & businesses thru the congregation & youth groups or other congregational ministries can use the site to conduct fund-raisers. Details: 800-379-4121 www.shopipl.org.
PODER, People Organized in the Defense of Earth & her Resources, is a grass-roots effort redefining environmental, economic & social justice issues. PODER aims to increase the participation of communities of color in corporate & government decision-making related to toxic pollution, economic development & their impact on neighborhoods. Details: 472-9921 <email@example.com> www.poder-texas.org.
Powerhouse Investigative Program: This energy education program teaches middle-school students & their families about the effects of energy use on natural resources & the environment. Utilities sponsor the program for schools within their service areas. During the 2006-2007 school year, 5,360 students learned how to use less energy & save natural resources, thanks to Powerhouse presentations in 48 schools with 28 sponsoring utilities. Details: Donna McCord 800-776-5272 x3397 www.lcra.org/energy/education_safety/powerhouse.html.
Program Helps Texans Refresh Local Waterways: Texas Waterway Cleanup Program stands ready to help Texas rivers & lakes get well-deserved facelifts with this statewide effort to provide free cleanup supplies, educational materials & promotional support to help Texans beautify & improve the quality of their local waterways. The program focuses on helping groups of any size host environmental education activities & cleanups of freshwater areas including lakes, rivers, creeks & wetlands across the state. Participants include schools, government agencies, youth & scout groups, neighborhoods, businesses or any group of concerned Texans. Details: Josh Spradling 478-8813 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.ktb.org/press/twcp_spring_08.htm.
Rainwater Collection Guide: Rainwater is better to use on plants than city water. A 10-foot by 10-foot shed can collect 60 gallons of rainwater in a 1-inch rainfall. For more information on rainwater harvesting, check out the Texas Manual on Rainwater Harvesting at www.twdb.state.tx.us/publications/reports/RainwaterHarvestingManual_3rdedition.pdf.
Recycle Your Lawn Mower: Bring your old gas powered mower to be recycled at the following locations. Be sure that all oil & gas has been drained. Details: www.cleanairforce.org/2008MowingFlyer.pdf & www.texas.earth911.org.
• 710 Industrial Blvd. Details: 442-2384.
• 1704 Howard Ln. Details: 251-3407.
Support Parks 3 Meals a Day! Feed your family dinner from the Soup Peddler & Austin Parks Foundation gets 5% of your purchase. You must order thru The Soup Peddler web site. Details: 373-7672 www.souppeddler.com/austinparks.
Texas Smoke-Free Ordinances Database: Information about ordinances designed to restrict exposure to secondhand smoke in public places in Texas communities is available in an on-line database developed by the University of Houston & funded by the Texas Department of State Health Services. A recently released US Surgeon General’s report concludes there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke, which causes lung cancer, heart disease, sudden infant death syndrome, low birth weight, asthma, bronchitis & other serious illnesses & is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths each year in the United States. Details: www.txshsord.coe.uh.edu.
Texas Urban Forestry License Plate: Tree-loving Texans who buy the license plate will pay an additional $30 over the cost of regular plates & $22 will go to Texas Urban Forestry Council for urban forestry education, tree preservation & tree planting. Details: Specialty License Plate Branch 374-5010.
TreeFolks’ Local Carbon Offset Program: Carbon offsets are things that you purchase that either sequester CO2 (like planting trees) or avoid CO2 (like alternative energy development). The carbon is sold by the ton & there’s an easy to use calculator to figure out how many tons of carbon you’re responsible for. All of TreeFolks offset money goes into local, mostly urban trees in public spaces that don’t just sequester carbon, they lower power consumption (saving even more CO2), provide wildlife habitat, keep storm water runoff clean, calm traffic, increase property values & just generally make it much more livable right here in your own community. Details: 443-5323 <email@example.com> www.treefolks.org/prog_calculator.asp.
Tree Planting Days: Come help TreeFolks plant trees at various parks around town. All you need to bring is yourself (& maybe a few friends) in comfortable work clothes & closed-toe shoes. TreeFolks will provide trees, tools, planting supervisors & refreshments. RSVP. Details: 443-5323 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.treefolks.org.
UT Campus Environmental Center Seeks Speakers: Looking for Austin community members who wish to speak on their environmental field of expertise. Talks will be held 1st & 3rd Th for 30 minutes on the UT Campus. Attendance can range from 20-60 students depending on the meeting topic. Details: Nancy Shackelford <director@ utenvironment.org > www.utenvironment.org.
Longtime campaign manager a major force in winning elections
by Kathy Mitchell
Photography by Alan Pogue
Local activist and campaign consultant Pat Crow recently suffered a stroke. As she recovers, friends and colleagues interviewed for this profile hope this narrative helps her celebrate and reconnect with her own history.
Fans wandered to their Erwin Center seats, stopping to chat with old friends in sections where they had
purchased season tickets for years. Jody Conradt’s Lady Longhorns dominated the Southwest Conference, taking the championship in eight of the past nine seasons and building up a huge and enthusiastic local fan base, particularly among women. The WNBA was years away, but for nearly a decade the Lady Longhorns showed how women could play basketball.
It was the 1991-92 season. A flagging team had racked up as many losses as wins for the first time in ten years and needed its fans to boost it to victory.
So Pat Crow, campaign manager for fledgling candidate Glen Maxey, had a problem. The endorsement vote for the Austin Women’s Political Caucus conflicted with the game.
Maxey faced a strong Hispanic woman, Lulu Flores, in the Democratic Primary for the largely Hispanic District 51 House seat. Flores could well make short work of his political career. Especially if he couldn’t swing an endorsement from the Austin Women’s Political Caucus, a political action committee and leading voice for the election of women at all levels of government. As a longtime gay activist, he had a chance with lesbian AWPC leaders, but the night of the endorsement vote, dozens of key women would be in the Erwin Center, cheering on their team, and there was no way around that.
“I’m running for office against a female opponent that year, and I’m the gay guy,” Maxey remembers, thinking back. “How did I get the endorsement of the AWPC over an officer of the AWPC? It was because Pat Crow was a fiend at organizing.”
“The AWPC had lesbians in the caucus who might choose to support me,” Maxey says. “We knew we could at least block an endorsement of Flores if we could just get the lesbians to show up. Pat realized that all these women would be at the Lady Longhorns basketball game.
“Only Pat would have thought to organize Maxey team-captains by section of the Erwin Center. Working with some lesbian activists, Pat had women in each section identify those in their section who were AWPC members. They called the women at the Erwin Center, section by section, and we had cars to pick people up from the game. Those women walked out, were driven to the (endorsement) vote and driven right back. They only missed a few minutes of game time. That was probably thirty or forty votes, and I got the AWPC endorsement.”
Maxey says, “There’s selection, and then there’s an election.”
The selection happens when a small number of people who touch a lot of different communities come to a quiet consensus about the candidate with the best values who can actually win. Crow, a veteran campaign manager, is one of those people.
“As you layer on all the things that pull us together as activists,” says Maxey, “and you keep putting it together, there’s the ‘political amoeba’ effect. There’s a whole bunch of us, but there’s also a really small group of us. There are those people who have their hands and feet in many different areas and can move a community.”
Most Austin voters don’t know Pat Crow. Politicians know her well, and Austinites who aspire to public office may need to know her long before publicly announcing a campaign. Especially if they want to win.
“In 2005, I decided to run,” says Eric Shepperd, now judge, Travis County Court at Law No. 2. “I started talking to Pat in the summer, to run for Orlinda’s seat (Orlinda Naranjo, now a district judge). It was the typical Pat vetting system…you ask and you wait. We had several lunches and I thought she was great. She cares about the people, the politics, she cares that the right thing gets done. She wanted to know what I did in the community, my experience in politics.”
Shepperd quickly learned that Pat knew everyone, and he didn’t know anyone. “Pat was relentless,” he says. “‘Have you called these people? Go through the list. Go through the list again.’ Pat asked me who I knew, and she started rattling off Democratic activists. I said no, no, no. So she said, ‘You don’t know anybody.’ I started going to the Democratic clubs, started meeting people and I came back and said, ‘Yeah, I don’t know anybody.’”
Relationships forged through many fights for progressive change, combined with a clear understanding of what it takes to win an election, gives special value to Crow’s opinion about a candidate’s quality and potential.
“A lot of times, people don’t have time to research,” notes former Austin City Council Member Brigid Shea. “Pat’s picky. She won’t work for just any candidate. It’s an honor if Pat picks you, and then she will keep you in line.”
Longtime political consultant David Butts, a frequent campaign partner of Pat Crow, says, “Everyone goes into the endorsement (process) with certain knowledge, but they are going to look to others who they think are operating not out of self-interest so much. Pat’s not trying to get rich or be a big political boss. She is trying to do what she thinks is right, and people will listen. People may not agree, but she’s willing to talk to people and people know she’s not just being self-serving.”
Once Crow has decided to work for a candidate, those relationships and a lot of hard work can bring that candidate some of the most important campaign endorsements Austin voters look for.
“Endorsement days are like an election day,” says Bruce Elfant, a Travis County Constable and a longtime Democratic Party activist. “You call and identify your supporters and then make sure they all go. Pat made sure they knew, ‘You don’t have to stay, but you have to go vote.’”
Shea agrees that Pat Crow has mastered the fractious, complicated endorsement process. “It’s a numbers game. Pat knew all the deadlines. She knew all the people in the clubs. She had relationships with these people and had a long track record supporting good candidates. So her support was a crucial endorsement by itself. People knew she worked with good, progressive candidates and trusted her judgment.”
“Endorsements are credibility,” says Elfant. “If you can say I’ve got the support of ninety-five percent of the Democratic clubs in town, and throw in a couple of environmental groups, it tells the progressive community who the key candidates are. It’s like a mini-primary in Austin.”
“Pat has an astonishing win record,” says Shea. “She may have one of the best win records ever. She was very thorough; you wouldn’t believe it to look at her style. She had a tremendous knowledge of the city—a card catalog in her brain of the key people in each community, a huge arsenal of knowledge, organizations and relationships across the community. She could call them and ask them to help organize block walkers, coffees, get yard signs out, anything.”
Hundreds of volunteers first got to know her unique personal style during Austin’s massive, grass-roots effort to pass the Save Our Springs Ordinance in 1992 and then elect SOS leader Brigid Shea to the City Council in 1993. “I was the Election Day director for SOS and made the buttons,” says Elfant. “Pat was loud, outspoken, and she always had those (eye) glasses where one side was broken, it was kind of her trademark.”
To see Pat Crow, you’d never guess she was one of the most successful political organizers in the past twenty-five years. Standing only five-feet tall, she has a voice and a laugh that can cut through any crowded room, glasses that sit on the end of her nose, no makeup, and then there’s her attire…let’s just say she has never owned an iron. She has been described as an anal-retentive’s worst nightmare.
“As someone with a long history of grass-roots organizing,” says Maxey, “I thought she was a disaster. She was the most disorganized organizer on the planet. Her technology was a yellow pad. She wrote things down, flipped the pages and never looked back. She made lists and then spent most of the time looking for her lists. And yet she kept all the crazy stuff in a campaign flowing in the same direction.”
“She’s not organized,” says Butts, “but out of that anarchy is a vision of where we are going. She understands more than most people what’s important, what a political campaign is and what it is not, and she drives it toward its ultimate goal, which is victory.”
To get to that victory, she must train the candidate to ask for support and help.
Pat took Bruce Elfant through a brutal phone routine. “Before I ran for District Clerk (a campaign that he lost) I took off a week from work, got a list of attorneys, and had to reach a hundred attorneys that week. It took eight hundred phone calls. It was the most miserable week of my political career,” he recalls now. “Your pitch is a whole lot better on the hundred and first phone call than the first. Pat helped me through that. When I tell other people they have to do that, they look at me. But if you are having fun, you are not working hard enough.”
Candidates listen, and she makes it hard not to. A bout with polio in her childhood affected her larynx, giving her a high-pitched voice described variously by her good friends as “grating and loud,” “bullfroggy,” and “rough.”
“It’s such a grating voice, screeching and demanding, high-pitched,” says Maxey. “It’s a voice you would hear out of somebody in The Exorcist. The message was always kind and gentle, but the tone would tell you what you needed to know.”
Like many people, Shea liked to talk to people, but didn’t necessarily nail down their support. “I thought when people were friendly, it meant they supported me. I knew a lot of people from the SOS campaign. I would come back from various gatherings, and Pat would say, ‘Did you ask them to support you and did you ask them if you can use their name or if they would give you money?’ I would say, ‘No, but we had a nice conversation.’ She would make me go back. It was a good lesson. I think that’s part of the reason she’s had such success. She’s very good about teaching candidates what they need to do to be successful.”
Crow decided to back Eric Shepperd by September 2005 and started to work for him as campaign manager. She quickly focused his attention on raising money.
“I told them I would do everything they tell me to do,” he recalls. “Pat says, ‘You think you know how to make phone calls for money. If you really want to win you’ll get shameless.’ I was calling for votes and money, spent the days calling and the evenings doing events. One day I called this lawyer and asked for money and he said, ‘I’ll give you some now and some more later,’ and I said ‘Really, can you just send it all in one check,’ and Pat said, ‘Yes, I had gotten it.’”
Candidates come to rely on Crow. “Pat has been instrumental in my life as a family friend, a colleague, marching with different political caucuses, and as a person I completely and totally relied on when running for office in 2002,” says County Court at Law Judge Elisabeth Earle. “And sometimes I didn’t want to answer the phone when she called to tell me all the things I had not accomplished. I would say ‘Pat, I called this many people,’ and she would just say, ‘Well, did you call this list?’”
Austin is no machine town, Pat Crow is no machine player, and the fractious local clubs and organizations don’t sing from the same score. Nor do the donors and volunteers who are key to any victory. Crow’s ability to win endorsements and engage individuals is rooted in a long, personal history that spans some of the critical events of local and national history in the second half of the last century.
“During the seventies, I began to read a great deal of feminist philosophy, and so began a new time for me,” Crow wrote to her daughter in 2001. She also became a Lady Longhorns fan. “My mom (Crow’s mother, Mildred Rush) was always athletic, and played basketball during high school in the nineteen-thirties. It was a foul if the center (court) line was crossed, very different from the way it is played today. When mom was in her sixties, I took her to see a Final Four game with the Lady Longhorns. She was amazed and thrilled to see how women play today.”
With three small kids and a failing marriage, Crow went back to work and started to organize for and about women. She attended the founding meeting of the Texas Women’s Political Caucus in 1971, along with other Texas women who eventually became the state’s political leaders. “Pat told me they had over two hundred women at that first meeting,” recalled her younger sister, Barbara Rush. “Ann Richards was there, and Liz Carpenter and dozens of other prominent local women. That meeting inspired her to become active in the women’s movement. By the time I moved here in 1980 she was an officer with the Austin Women’s Political Caucus and eventually president.”
It was a complete transformation. “Pat had been a traditional housewife,” says Rush. “She was a stay-at-home mom, sold Tupperware, and at one point she even sold Avon. She was a product of the fifties.” By the early eighties, Crow had become a promising junior financial analyst for IBM. “She wore a three-piece suit, she got up early in the morning and was off to work,” recalls Rush.
Meanwhile, her reading and her personal experience began to give a transformed Crow a strong sense of direction.
“In 1981, my neighbor Cindy had broken off her engagement,” Crow wrote to her daughter. “Her ex did not take it very well and began to harass, threaten and follow her…The police told her there was nothing they could do until he actually did something to her.”
“Cindy had tried to get a peace bond, which is similar to a restraining order,” Rush recalls. “The JP (Justice of the Peace) kept dragging his feet on her request. She came over to Pat’s one day, and said there was a strange smell in her house and she was afraid her ex had been there. They go over together, and search. Pat hears Cindy call out, “Pat, it’s back here,” and finds her holding up a rag that had been soaking in ether. Then her ex leaps out, puts a gun to Cindy’s head and forces Pat to leave the house. Pat runs home, calls the police. They come, but by that time he had shot and killed her and himself.”
Women still had a long way to go to get needed protection in 1981. Although the man was dead, a friend of his began to make threatening calls to Cindy’s family. “They put Pat’s name and address in the paper, as the witness who had called the police,” says Rush. “She came and stayed with me for a week because she was afraid.”
But mostly Crow just got even. “I came to believe that the only way to change this system was to elect women in order to change the laws,” she wrote her daughter. “And so began my career in politics. My first campaign was in 1982 with a woman running for JP.” She successfully ran Debra Ravel for the seat of the same Justice of the Peace who had delayed giving her friend the peace bond. It was the first step in a new era for both herself and the Austin political structure.
Pat Crow’s candidates often win because they get more endorsements, raise more money, and keep fighting even against impossible odds. She mastered that more than two decades ago, in what may have been one of the more bizarre judicial races in Austin’s history.
In 1987, Travis County’s first court master for domestic relations cases, Jeanne Meurer, decided to run for state district judge and hired Crow to manage her campaign. While judicial races are often sleepy affairs, most interesting to lawyers and often invisible to average voters, this one exploded during the runoff when opponent Margaret Moore announced that Meurer, the top vote getter in the primary election, didn’t live in Travis County.
One week before the runoff Election Day, a judge affirmed Meurer’s ineligibility and it looked like it was all over. “Everyone was devastated,” says Meurer now. “We came back from the courthouse, and some at the office were packing up. Pat says, in that great voice of hers, ‘What are you doing, we’ve got work to do!’” Jeanne Meurer eventually won both the election and the legal battles, and has served Travis County for twenty years.
If Crow started out in politics to elect a woman justice of the peace in her friend Cindy’s case, she cemented her role as an Austin political fixture and activist bent on bringing more women to power—particularly, progressive women—by ensuring Sally Shipman’s election to Council in 1983.
Already by 1983, progressive women in Austin had come to grips with the fact that electing women could backfire. Carole Keeton McClellan (now Strayhorn), Austin’s first woman elected mayor (1977-1983), angered liberal Austin voters with her enduring support for the Southwest Texas Nuclear Project. Nonetheless, Shipman looked like just the kind of woman that progressives wanted in public office.
Once a neighborhood organizer and an appointed member of the Planning Commission, Shipman ran as an advocate for neighborhoods and the environment. From building sidewalks for children to stopping sewage discharge into Lake Travis and Town Lake to creating the Capitol Views Ordinance, Shipman built up a significant record of moderate to liberal achievement.
Campaign manager Pat Crow has a long record of picking good political candidates and coaching them to victory. Of the twenty-six candidates she’s worked with since 1982, only four have lost, and only one of those since 1992. She’s also been on the winning team to pass three important ballot initiatives: the Save Our Springs Ordinance in 1992, creation of a healthcare district in 2004, and a smoking ban in 2005.
1982 Debra Ravel, Justice of the Peace (elected)
1983 Sally Shipman, Austin City Council (elected)
1984 Lena Guerrero, Texas House District 51 (elected)
1985 Sally Shipman, Austin City Council (re-elected)
1987 Move It! (campaign to move the airport, passed)
1988 Jeanne Meurer, District Judge (elected)
1990 Bruce Elfant, District Clerk (defeated)
1991 Juan Ochoa, Texas House District 51 Special Election (defeated)
1992 Glen Maxey, Texas House District 51 (elected)
1992 Stacy Suits, Sheriff (defeated)
1992 SOS Ordinance campaign (passed)
1993 Brigid Shea, Austin City Council (elected)
1994 Suzanne Covington, District Judge (elected)
1996 Glen Maxey, Texas House District 51 (re-elected)
1997 Gus Garcia, Austin City Council (re-elected)
1997 Willie Lewis, Austin City Council runoff (elected)
1998 Lora Livingston, District Judge (elected)
1998 Wil Flowers, District Judge (elected)
2000 Scott Jenkins, District Judge (elected)
2000 Gisela Triana, County Court at Law Judge (elected)
2000 Will Wynn, Austin City Council (elected)
2002 Elisabeth Earle, County Court at Law Judge (elected)
2002 Jackie Goodman and Daryl Slusher, re-election Petition Drive
for Austin City Council (both re-elected)
2002 James Sylvester, Texas House District 50 (defeated)
2003 Will Wynn, Austin Mayor (elected)
2004 Gisela Triana, District Judge (elected)
2004 Ballot to create the Travis County Healthcare District (passed)
2005 Smoking Ban election (passed)
2006 Eric Shepperd, County Court at Law Judge (elected)
2008 Rhonda Hurley, District Judge (primary victory, general election pending)
2008 Scott Ozmun, District Judge (primary victory, general election pending)
The Dogfight to Win a Judicial Race
The Jeanne Meurer race for state district judge in 1987-88 may, more than any other, have taught Pat Crow that you never, ever give up an election until the votes are counted.
“I was summoned to Chuck Herring’s house,” recalls Meurer, “and someone from Margaret Moore’s campaign brought evidence that my property straddled the (Travis County) property line. My house straddled the line, and they said that where you live is based on where the bedroom is.” A few days later, attorney David Richards penned a strong rebuttal on Meurer’s behalf.
Meurer didn’t back out of the race, and all hell broke loose. With the Democratic Party’s runoff ballots already printed, Meurer’s name would appear before voters no matter what, so everyone came out swinging.
Shortly after the March 9 Democratic Party primary, Moore’s campaign released their evidence to the press. On March 22, just three weeks before the runoff election, Bob Slagle declared Meurer ineligible for the seat on behalf of the Texas Democratic Party. Under the law, the party could declare her ineligible and pick someone else as the nominee to oppose Moore in the runoff. Meurer went to court for an emergency restraining order, with surveyors at her property attempting to ascertain the exact location of the county line. The judge set aside the Democratic Party’s finding, setting a hearing for March 31.
Competing press conferences by each side kept the race in the headlines, while Austin American-Statesman reporters pursued every possible angle. At Moore’s press conference on March 30, she claimed Meurer was “opposing our efforts to get the facts out,” while a few hours later Meurer called a press conference to say that Moore was not eligible to run for judge due to a break in her legal career, a break that Moore denied. As the race made news day after day, the contender who had won only ten percent of the vote in the primary put his name back in the ring. “Out of the ashes may rise the phoenix,” said Ray Grill to the Statesman’s Arnold Garcia.
One week before runoff election day, the judge upheld the party ruling against Meurer and it looked like it was all over. Some of the campaign staff were ready to pack it in, but Crow refused to give up.
It would not be easy for an “ineligible” candidate to win. “People came out of the woodwork for the underdog,” Meurer says. “Volunteers were block walking, making calls. It was an amazing grass-roots effort. The people really did speak.”
And so did some key political heavyweights. The day after the judge’s ruling, District Attorney Ronnie Earle endorsed Meurer and, in a remarkable public statement, claimed Moore “has manipulated the legal process to avoid the democratic process.” Harsh words indeed. The Austin Police Association called a press conference to endorse Moore in response.
Earle’s statement led to another flurry of press coverage, letters to the editor, and even satire. The Austin Mirror, in a soap opera spoof, breathlessly asked “Will Jeanne win the election anyway?...Will Moore win and make her courtroom a torture chamber for attorneys who supported her opponent?” Keeping the public on the edge of its seat, Meurer appealed the judge’s ruling, while holding events, making calls and raising money. The two candidates raised more than two hundred fifty thousand dollars, serious money for a normally quiet, low turnout election. The money made sure voters got both sides of the story and lists of endorsements in their mail boxes right before the vote.
“I had never run a race, never been in politics,” Meurer says of those innocent early days. “Pat was just amazing, hilarious. She would have to baby-sit me. I was a single parent with a child, and they were taking overhead views of my trailer. I had no privacy. The lawsuits were flying. But Pat was always Pat…laughing, always late, ordering people, ‘Get over here, do this, do that, make your phone calls,’ and always with that laugh.”
Women with children had special problems handling the political hurly-burly then, as now. “Pat’s kids were younger then, and it was hard for her too. It was a very emotional race and I think Pat treated me more as a daughter, then it evolved into sister and we became friends.”
Oh, Meurer won, of course. She won the election, and after more legal wrangling, kept the seat. She’s been a district judge in Austin for twenty years.
“Pat sees things in a broad spectrum,” says Butts. “She could go off on tears about men, but she was never just a feminist or a single-issue activist. She saw politics as a broad front in which we needed to move forward together to the best of our ability and make sure that gains weren’t traded away. Unlike many people, she gets the big picture. She wanted to change the fact that women were always sort of second, did a lot of the work but didn’t get the credit. She would say that! But she also supported men over women. Her judgment was about who was the best qualified? What do they believe in? What are their values?”
“There were some disappointments,” says Butts diplomatically.
But many of the candidates she has helped elect to public office have gone on to make important contributions to Austin.
Constable Bruce Elfant helped get protective orders added to the Brady Law (gun sellers must check for protective orders before selling a gun) and improved child support enforcement. Judge Eric Shepperd hopes to create a clinic for people in financial trouble, to help them avoid the high fees associated with a court process for resolving debts. Judge Elisabeth Earle talks about applying lessons learned in presiding over Austin’s first downtown community court, which addresses quality of life issues through swift, creative sentencing of misdemeanor offenders, to spearhead Austin’s first DWI court, an effort to focus DWI offenders on treatment for their addiction. “The alcohol court uses some of the team approaches I used at the community court,” says Earle. “Prosecutor and defense attorneys are there, too. It’s a problem-solving court and they absolutely work.”
“She is quite a straight shooter and has always told me what she thinks without pulling any punches,” says District Judge Gisela Triana. “She has always expected her candidates to take their public service in office seriously.”
Says Shepperd, “Pat’s main concern when you are a judge is that you treat everybody fairly and listen more closely to the guy who doesn’t have a lawyer. That’s why I love being a judge that’s this close to the people. In a system in which being heard has been in short supply, feeling like you are heard by the person sitting on the bench is the least we can do. Pat would ask that people be heard and that judges take the time to listen. She checks. You can check with her years down the road, and she will say, ‘I need to have a conversation with you.’ If you mess up, Pat can help take you out.”
“She will not only speak truth to power,” says longtime friend and Democratic Party Precinct Chair Steve Speir, “she will speak truth to power even when that power happens to be one of her friends and political allies. More important, they listen. That quality is in mighty short supply in good old ‘progressive’ Austin and it is just one of the many reasons we all love her.”
Butts agrees that Crow pays attention. “She has the willingness to tell people when they are crossing the line and she has done so on more than one occasion, sometimes in that high-pitched, bullfroggy voice. She’s someone who expects better from people, and hopes that someday she sees more of that. And not just elected officials either.”
Kathy Mitchell wishes Pat a speedy recovery. You may e-mail Kathy at email@example.com.
Besides offering comfortable, fashionable, healthy shoes, InStep hires enthusiastic staff members who truly enjoy helping customers find the right shoe to help ease foot, leg and back problems. Moore says, “We have a blast doing this. We get a lot out of taking the time to listen to people and helping them solve their problems.”
Moore rewards her dedicated staff by offering medical and dental benefits, paid vacation and a 401(k) retirement program. Keeping her employees happy and well paid is a win-win situation for everyone. “Locally owned small businesses live and die by customer referrals, so it’s important to keep everyone satisfied,” says Moore.
InStep also offers custom orthotics made in-house. Bring in a prescription from your physician, chiropractor or naturopathic doctor and InStep will create the perfect orthotic for your foot. “Because they are made locally, we can modify and adjust the fit until they are perfect,” Moore says. That doesn’t happen when orthotic prescriptions are sent to a big lab. Moore points out that she and her staff have an incentive to do a great job. “We are part of the community. Our customers are our neighbors.”
Primarily a teaching studio, ClayWays Pottery Studio and Gallery supports and nurtures a diverse group of pottery students from all walks of life as well as more than two hundred forty children who attend clay camps every summer—all bound by their love of pottery.
The community created by ClayWays extends beyond its walls, supporting and nurturing a talented and close-knit group of artists. Besides providing classes and camps, ClayWays rents studio space to several professional potters.
The gallery provides a truly unique shopping experience, showcasing an exceptional variety of pottery, glass and jewelry made by more than fifty artists. The works range from functional to decorative and all are very reasonably priced.
Beyond the brick and mortar business, owner Kit Adams and a dedicated group of volunteers have formed Project ClayPlay, a nonprofit, mobile clay studio to benefit economically challenged kids. Plans call for the pottery studio on wheels—a gutted and renovated vintage Airstream motor home—to visit various locations within a twenty-mile radius of central Austin. Their goal is to be on the road in January 2009.
ClayWays’ interest in sharing a love of pottery with children will be showcased this month at the Texas Clay Festival, where they will be hosting the kid’s clay area as a fund-raiser for Project ClayPlay.
To learn more about ClayWays and the community it represents, you are invited to attend an open house on November 14. You’ll get to meet many of the potters and enjoy pottery demonstrations. You can also browse the gallery’s newest offerings for the holiday gift-giving season.
Whether you sign up for one of ClayWays’ many classes or make a purchase from the gallery, you’ll feel good knowing you’re supporting not just a locally owned business but the larger community that has grown from ClayWays. At ClayWays, your support is never taken for granted and is truly appreciated.
Small Business Development Program
Small business owners in the Austin area have a jewel in central Austin. The City of Austin’s Small Business Development Program offers resources for entrepreneurs to expand their existing businesses, or to help those with dreams of business ownership to realize their visions. The Small Business Development Program (SBDP) has been an advocate for small business owners in Austin and the surrounding area since 2000 and has grown in size and scope since its inception. The program, part of the Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office, has become a portal of information for Austin entrepreneurs to get the tools they need to be successful in our changing economy.
Located just south of Lady Bird Lake at 505 Barton Springs Road at South First Street in One Texas Center, the SBDP has many different resources for small businesses owners, including BizAid Business Development, which provides free technical assistance with writing or reviewing existing business plans and marketing plans. Each Tuesday morning, SBDP offers a free, ninety minute Business Start-Up Orientation that covers the basic questions to consider when opening a small business. Since access to capital is the number one need of small business owners, BizAid Accessing Capital offers free credit reviews for business owners, assistance with filling out loan applications and help with understanding business finances. BizAid Business Education conducts low-cost classes on topics ranging from Legal Contracts to QuickBooks to Copyright and Intellectual Property.
In addition to the BizAid program, SBDP operates the Business Solutions Center (BSC). The BSC is a technology resource center containing business research software and web subscriptions to help small business owners find business opportunities and utilize technology to start or expand their businesses. The BSC has printers, a copier, fax machine, scanners and other office equipment ideal for Austin entrepreneurs. The BSC is free to access and has minimal fees for printing, copying and faxing. The Center is open Monday through Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm on the first floor of One Texas Center. The resources include web subscriptions to research bid opportunities in construction or construction-related business, business sales opportunities with the government, a nationwide commercial real estate database, business-to-business research web subscriptions, demographics technology and business plan software, among others.
Additionally, the Small Business Development Program offers small business owners Information and Referral to local organizations that may be helpful to their businesses. SBDP offers compact disks (CDs) containing self-referral resource guides for business networking organizations, nonprofit business service providers and a start-up guide. These resources can be instrumental in discovering not only who can help an entrepreneur, but also where other small business owners meet for networking.
Finally, Special Events are offered to the community. Annual events bring content-area experts together with Austin entrepreneurs. The annual Meet the Lender, held each August, brings more than forty lenders to Palmer Events Center where the small business owner can discuss financing in a casual setting. Getting Connected, held in the spring, helps entrepreneurs to access dozens of nonprofit service providers and business networking groups at an information fair. Every other year, the Industry Specific Start-Up Conference focuses on one industry and brings experts and successful business owners to share their knowledge and experience with the new business owner.
Discover the jewel of central Austin! For more information about the Small Business Development Program, call 512-974-7800 or visit their web site at www.cityofaustin.org/sbdp.
Serious tools for your beauty and health
Hi! I’m Kathy Bates. I’m not the Kathy Bates of film and television fame, but I’m a lot like the character she played in Titanic, the “unsinkable Molly Brown!” The real Margaret Tobin Brown (Hollywood made her Molly Brown) was a woman who threw herself completely into doing whatever it took to solve a problem. She studied the problem from every angle, then did whatever was necessary, no matter how nontraditional, to make the problem better.
Austin Beauty and Health is essentially in business because of my story, which required that same unsinkable determination. My first physical challenge came in 1978 when I had a seizure. The doctors incorrectly diagnosed me as being deficient in a physically addicting drug, which quickly threatened to further devastate my life by restricting my driving privileges at age twenty-one. God’s grace revealed the true cause, a dietary issue, something most doctors know little about.
In 1988, shortly after the birth of our daughter, my body seemed to accelerate into disease. I was suffering with severe allergies, extreme PMS and mood swings, infertility, serious and chronic intestinal issues, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), suicidal depression and thyroid disease, which I liked to have never gotten diagnosed and then was improperly treated. I had cervical degenerative disc disease, bursitis and recurrent urinary and respiratory infections.
I was given two weekly injections and a handful of over-the-counter and prescription medications for daily use with periodic “rounds” of what I would later learn were steroids for the allergies and asthma. I used an inhaler. I was given fertility drugs, anti-inflammatory meds and antibiotics routinely and I had a dismal prognosis. It appeared that even the doctors knew that they had no answers so they just kept throwing drugs at the mounting problems.
I was told by the doctors that my allergies and asthma were genetic and incurable; my female problems were “unexplainable but normal;” my thyroid problem was due to the “unexplainable malfunction of my autoimmune system and was incurable;” my degenerative disc disease was incurable and would result in my cervical vertebra being fused by 1991-1993 (which didn’t happen because I changed).
I learned the severe limitations of traditional medical doctors and knew that I needed to look elsewhere. I relied on my belief and developing relationship with God to steer me to the right answers. This belief and reliance changed my entire life view, the way I think and therefore the way I live.
Then in 1994, I broke my spine and eighteen months later suffered a secondary back injury which left me in suicidal levels of pain for most of seven years. Again I was forced to solve the problem.
On this path, I’ve met so many people who have given up and allowed their challenges to severely limit their productivity and destroy their quality of life. This for me was simply not an option. My orthopedic surgeon once told me that he didn’t know how or when but he knew I would one day be pain-free: “I’ve never seen anyone so determined to get well.”
I personally believe that healing is available to us on many varied levels. I also believe that we have to change to access it.
Austin Beauty and Health is wellness-oriented and equipped to bring some serious tools to address the beauty and health goals of our clients. We have other therapies available but have not had time to develop the web site to that end at this point. So please call to schedule a consultation if you have questions. We’re not here to take your money and smile pleasantly. We’re here to help!
We hope to become well known as a serious resource for wellness seekers. A venue for speakers and practitioners as well as a social and support network is near the top of the launch list.
Spread The Word!
“Drumming is a powerful tool for creating unity and can be used in establishing and supporting a single purpose or a group’s mission statement,” Gingras says. Her facilitated drum experiences are used by small and large businesses for team building and helping staff members open doorways to creativity.
But Gingras’ facilitations are just a growing part of what Drumz offers. The gorgeous Drumz studio does double duty as a teaching center and retail space selling handmade African drums and percussion instruments. Classes are offered in six-week sessions, including beginner, beyond beginner, intermediate, and an All Women’s Remembering Rhythm class.
Whether you are looking to have fun and relax or tap into your creative unconscious and discover your true self, Drumz will show you the way.
“We’re just a couple of guys who’ve been in the business a long time and decided to strike out on our own.” So says Backyard Paradise Pools co-owner Aaron Alling. His laid-back tone belies a serious dedication to providing stellar service and beautiful workmanship. Several factors differentiate Backyard Paradise Pools from other pool companies, primarily the fact that Alling and his partner, Lewis Sharpe, maintain an on-site presence throughout the entire construction process.
Backyard Paradise Pools is all about bringing dream backyards to life. In the initial comprehensive consultation, the owners listen closely to the client to determine the intent and planned use of the project. This information serves as the foundation of the construction plan. From there, Alling and Sharpe handle all permitting, provide any necessary Home Owners Association approval assistance, and keep clients informed about the project’s status every step of the way. Alling says, “One of our core values is communication.” In keeping with the rest of the company’s approach, construction—especially in challenging conditions—and impeccable service are top priority.
The company relies on Gunite, a concrete mixture sprayed over steel reinforcements—not fiberglass—to build their pools. Quality materials are used in every project, including water features, outdoor kitchens, decks, and stone masonry work. Backyard Paradise Pools is adept at adding “sizzle” to all its projects in the form of hydraulics, fiber-optic lighting, “anything that has to do with water,” says Alling.
With more than thirty years of experience between them, Alling and Sharpe know that customer service is just as important as quality materials and a job well done. That’s why they provide support and assistance for the life of every pool they construct. They’re local and they’re good. What more could you ask for?
Fat Turkey Chocolate founded in 2005 by Austinites Jennifer and Steven Flood has announced that their Dulce de Leche Chocolate Collection is now available at BookPeople. Their first co-branding project is a beautifully designed box of chocolates disguised as a book, of course. The Chocolate Chronicles is labeled as a Number One Best-Seller and contains twelve chocolate truffles filled with fluid, naturally flavored caramels.
The caramel flavors were inspired by their culinary experiences. Steven’s favorite is coffee. “We use Hawaiian John’s Kohana Coffee, which is our favorite from Austin. It makes the caramel so rich and buttery.” The lavender caramel with black Hawaiian sea salt is Jennifer’s favorite. “This truffle has been one of our best sellers so we had to include it in the collection.” She adds, “I always make a few extra for myself.”
Be sure to sign up for Fat Turkey’s newsletter at http://fatturkeychocolate.com, if you would like to learn about the upcoming “book release” party at BookPeople, special offers and invitations.
Fat Turkey also offers a Truffle of the Month Club, which is available for three, six or twelve months. The Truffle of the Month Club features their best-sellers and occasionally new truffle flavors that aren’t available in retail locations or on their web site.
Winners of the Best Chocolate Truffle Peoples Choice Award at the Third Annual Austin Chocolate Festival, Fat Turkey Chocolate looks forward to continue providing fresh gourmet chocolates to its retail customers on-line and their wholesale accounts in Texas.
Be sure to book in advance if you would like Fat Turkey Chocolate to provide a wine and chocolate tasting or fine chocolates at your wedding, special event or corporate functions.
Fat Turkey Chocolate Company. 512-637-0479. http://fatturkeychocolate.com.
For more than ten years, AquaTek Tropical Fish has provided Austin’s serious fish hobbyists with rare South American fish, aquatic invertebrates, reef tank fish, corals and live plants. Where most fish retailers have fifty tanks and a range of species, AquaTek has fifty tanks filled with only hard to find, top of the line South American species and another one hundred tanks dedicated to fish species from other geographic regions. AquaTek’s natural, realistic environment, well-informed staff, high-end products and tank maintenance service make it the preferred source for all your needs.
AquaTek is dedicated to ensuring that customers get the correct fish for the correct water with the correct chemical parameters. The informed staff, which includes a South American fish expert, a Lake Tanganyikan expert, a plant expert, a reef tank expert and a coral expert, are ready to answer any and all of your tank questions. This makes AquaTek something of an education center, not just a retail outlet.
Looking for top of the line accessories? AquaTek has them. In fact, they carry an exclusive line of Sera foods, Tunze filtration systems, Eheim filter systems, and a number of other high-tech German engineered aquatic systems. For cichlid tanks, reef tanks, biotope tanks and plant tanks, AquaTek has everything you need to keep your aquarium happy.
If you need help in that area, AquaTek also offers a maintenance service like no other. Because tanks are in a constant state of evolution, AquaTek’s maintenance staff helps manage the tank, not just clean it. They look at what’s going on with respect to the chemistry of the tank, how the fish are interacting with one another, and how the plants and coral are doing. When you spend several thousands of dollars on a reef tank, for instance, you want to protect your investment. AquaTek understands and is there to help.
For rare fish, exclusive products lines and top notch tank maintenance, AquaTek has you covered.
Kenny Hill Autowerks
by Shelley Seale
Photo by Barton Wilder Custom Images
Like a lot of boys, Kenny Hill grew up loving cars. He admired them, drove them, learned how to work on them, and eventually became a mechanic. One of Hill’s first jobs was building dune buggies, and then he worked at a gas station. He never found a job he really loved, though, and decided to open his own auto repair business out of his garage.
“It was one of the stupidest things a person could do,” he says now, laughing. “I had no money, no credit; I didn’t even have any tools! I rented a jack to begin with, until a friend gave me a deal on one.” After a short time, Hill thought he would go back to a job—just as soon as he finished up the cars he had waiting for repair. But those cars just kept coming in, and somehow Hill never quite finished the business he had begun accumulating. “It’s thirty-five years later, and I’m still trying to finish the cars in my shop,” he says.
Hill credits family support with keeping his business going in those early years. He could reinvest his earnings into the business and slowly build a reputation. After less than two years, Kenny Hill Autowerks moved into a building on Goodrich Avenue in South Austin, but even then Hill had grander ideas: “I wanted to own my own land and build a custom shop.”
In 1984 Hill bought several acres in Oak Hill and moved the business, but the timing proved unfortunate. The economy took a nosedive at the same time his overhead drastically increased. “Business was still growing a lot,” Hill recalls, “but the move in location hurt. I had to recreate my clientele.” By 1989 his Autowerks shop had moved back to Goodrich Avenue, in its present location at 2127.
As he concentrated on growing his business, he became increasingly specialized. “There’s so much competition for the general basics like brakes and struts. And as cars have gotten more sophisticated, diagnosing and repairing them has gotten much more complicated, too. You need different specialty diagnostic equipment for different makes of cars, and so it made sense to concentrate on a niche.”
Hill decided to go back to his roots of Volkswagen experience he had learned in early jobs. His shop began specializing in Volkswagen repair, as well as Audis due to their similar parts. “I came full circle—I started off working on VWs and now I’m back here doing the German cars again. These are the cars we’ve built our reputation on.” So much so, in fact, that other mechanics and auto dealerships refer business to Kenny Hill Autowerks.
“When a customer comes in with a problem, we’ve seen it before. That’s a huge benefit of specialization—we don’t have to try a bunch of different things to try and figure it out. We know exactly what it is and what to do about it.”
One of the biggest things Hill has learned over the years is that there is a major difference between being a good mechanic who loves his job, and running an auto repair business. “You have to deal with taxes, permits, red tape, employees…There’s a high failure rate because a lot of people go into it just wanting to fix cars. Being good at that is the most important thing, but there’s a lot more to being successful.”
“Service is so important in this industry. You can’t just fix a client’s car—you have to service the client, too, by being professional and courteous and convenient.” Hill adds that he really enjoys being behind the counter and meeting the customers. “I imagine myself on the other side of that counter, and I treat them the way I would like to be treated.”
In addition to his customers, many of whom are long-term loyal fans, Hill has also had a great experience with the staff he’s chosen. Many of been with him for years; some have even left at one time only to return. All mechanics are required to be ASE certified (by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence), and skilled in areas such as communication, writing, documentation and telephone skills. “High standards and quality performance are the reasons they are good mechanics. The employees are an investment,” Hill adds. “Good help isn’t expensive, it’s priceless.”
I wanted to know what he thought were the most rewarding and most challenging aspects of running his company, and Hill gave me the same answer for both. “When you have your own business, you have no one to blame but yourself, for the good and bad. You are in control. It’s a lot of hard work, but I think that’s what it takes. You’ll only get out of it what you put into it.”
Kenny Hill Autowerks is open Monday through Friday from 7:30am to 5pm. For more information call 512-445-0101.
Freelance writer Shelley Seale was thrilled to meet someone who could tell her what that funny pinging noise was in her VW Passat. You may e-mail Shelley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Somewhere in the Austin Area There’s a Dog or Cat That’s Just Right for You
by Melissa Gaskill
Photography by Barton Wilder Custom Images
Noelita Lugo adopted a dog from the Town Lake Animal Center because she wanted to save a dog from being euthanized. “I knew I would feel good about that decision,” she says. It was also a simple process; she and husband Steven looked at pictures on the web site, then visited in person to make a final decision. “It was very straightforward and easy and we were able to bring our puppy home right away,” Lugo says. “Another thing we liked was the packet of information they provided, and the free puppy kindergarten. Neither my husband nor I knew much about training.”
Cheryl Langford chose a dog from an independently owned, nonprofit, no-kill shelter. When the dog began to exhibit behavior issues, a professional trainer recommended having him evaluated at a veterinary school. “We couldn’t fix the behavior problems so we just lived with them. We loved him and he really was a great dog,” Langford says. But then the dog bit a neighbor’s child, necessitating a trip to the emergency room and stitches. A few months later, the dog bit Langford’s husband, who also required an ER visit and stitches. The couple decided the dog was dangerous and had him put down.
“I won’t adopt from a no-kill shelter again,” Langford says. “As much as I love the idea of them, I don’t think it’s always the best solution. Since all the animals are ‘adoptable’ you never know what you’re in for. I know lots of people end up with great animals, but unfortunately, I wasn’t one of them.”
Town Lake Animal Center has open adoption policies, says director Dorinda Pulliam. “That means we want to be open to inviting adopters in rather than screening them out. The difference can be substantial. We recognize that if people want a pet they can get one, in the paper today, with no help at all. So we want to invite people in and help them be as successful as possible.”
Potential adopters start by filling out an application with questions intended to start them thinking about their expectations and to help the center match them with the right animal. Then, they visit with adoption counselors. Counselors check to see that any existing pets are regularly seen by a vet, and people who live in rental property must show that their landlord allows pets. Once approved as adopters, people can look over the available animals as many times as needed.
“We focus on a good bond and good match with the right animal for you as a family, not just an individual,” Pulliam says. “If you say you want a dog that is a couch potato, we won’t adopt out a Lab to you. We try to help people pick an animal that will meet their expectations and help them be successful.” Staff members also help adopters with the initial stages of adjusting to a new pet. Before new owners leave, a staff member goes over the animal’s vet and microchip records, and answers any questions they may have.
In fiscal year 2007, about twenty-seven thousand animals came into TLAC, including fourteen thousand one hundred ninety-nine dogs and nine thousand nine hundred seventy-one cats. About forty-eight percent of the dogs and cats that came to the shelter left it alive. Of those, about sixteen percent left through adoptions (eighteen hundred eighty-three cats and twenty-four hundred forty dogs), as well as placements with rescue groups, transfers to the Humane Society of Austin, and owner recoveries (which account for about twelve percent). Some forty-four percent of the dogs and sixty-nine percent of the cats the shelter took in were euthanized.
TLAC is widely and roundly criticized for these numbers, but in its defense, no other local shelter even comes close to taking in more than twenty-five thousand animals a year. And while Austin has experienced tremendous population growth, TLAC’s intake numbers have remained flat, which means Austin is having huge success in animal welfare, Pulliam says.
A free spay-and-neuter program in East Austin neighborhoods significantly decreased intake from those neighborhoods, and a nascent feral cat neutering program is already showing success. High euthanization rates for pit bulls and for cats, which are astonishingly rapid reproducers, drive the overall rates. Pit bull-types (obviously they don’t do DNA testing to see if they’re pure-bred; it’s the look that is the problem) account for more than three thousand of the dogs taken in at the shelter each year, and a recently created task force is looking at how to reduce that number as well as at how to get more of this breed adopted.
“If we’re going to solve a problem with pets, we have to go out into the community and deal with issues to stop them from coming into the shelter. We are making every effort to save lives,” Pulliam says. Over time, she is confident these various programs will lower intake and, as a result, euthanization rates.
Rescue groups and no-kill shelters skim much of the cream off TLAC’s animal crop—something Pulliam more than welcomes (more on that later). More than half of dog adoptions happen while the animal is still in the stray runs for the mandatory three-day hold for strays (animals with obvious signs of ownership, such as a collar or grooming, will be held longer; owner-surrendered animals are held at least twenty-four hours before evaluation).
Following holds, animals are evaluated for adoption readiness. Those that exhibit aggression are not made available for adoption, although they may be released to rescue groups, which can get a better read on their personality away from the stress of a kennel environment. Adoption candidates are given medical care, vaccinations and microchips. Once dogs are in the adoption kennels, staff and volunteers commit a lot of time and energy—training, toys, play time, using Kongs and similar tools rather than bowls to make mealtime more challenging and entertaining—all designed to help keep the dogs sane in a very stressful environment. The longer they stay at the shelter, the harder dogs are to place.
Rescue groups are also helpful with animals with medical problems. “They can treat those problems and then a potential adopter is seeing an animal that feels pretty well,” Pulliam says. “That gives you a better sense of its personality.” There are a few groups that bring problem animals back to the shelter, she says, but most will have the animal euthanized themselves if they can’t place it. “For the most part, groups don’t bring animals back and for the most part, the placements work well. Overall, the rescue situation is a real asset to us.” It does, however, leave the shelter with those harder-to-place dogs, which makes decreasing the euthanization rate more challenging.
In early summer, TLAC had a special adoption event for cats, Kitty Palooza, getting seventy-one cats adopted in four days. “We’re doing everything we can to increase our live outcomes,” Pulliam says. “We have a bigger foster program for cats this year, and are starting an off-site adoption program with Bark ’n Purr. We’re constantly putting new programs in place to help the animals, which is what we are dedicated to doing. Groups who want to help us are welcome.”
Suzanne Hurley adopted what she calls your classic Texas black dog from TLAC about three years ago. A week after she came home, Pear developed severe pneumonia that took several weeks to treat. “We thought we had a dog that didn’t bark,” Hurley says, “but what we had was a dog that didn’t bark when she was sick.”
Potential health issues are an unfortunate fact of life with dogs from almost any shelter or rescue environment. The thirty-day insurance coverage offered as part of TLAC’s adoption package covered the cost of Pear’s treatment, and she fully recovered.
“I wasn’t a dog lover before, but now I am a dog-lovin’ fool,” Hurley says. “Pear is a great joy, and the best seventy-five dollars we ever spent.”
PAWS Shelter and Humane Society takes animals from shelters, primarily TLAC and one in San Marcos, as well as owner surrenders from the city of Buda, says Amy Reitz, shelter manager. “We adopt out dogs and cats at various locations in Austin and San Marcos. Full-time sponsors monitor cat adoptions, and a dog sponsor goes from location to location,” Reitz says. Another does follow-up and at-home visits for cat adopters.
Adoption paperwork takes fifteen to thirty minutes. The shelter won’t adopt to those who plan to keep a cat outdoors or to declaw it, and tries to steer people with kids away from really young kittens. “Counselors know the cats and kittens so well that they place them in the right homes and we hear nothing but good feedback,” Reitz says.
Counselors give potential adopters information about an animal, help them interact with it, and assist with situations such as how to introduce a new pet to existing ones. All animals are spayed or neutered, Reitz adds, even young ones, because once an animal is adopted, it is hard to follow up to get the surgery done. PAWS is not affiliated with the Austin Humane Society. It is a no-kill shelter, and must provide adequate space for animals brought in by the City of Buda’s animal control. “But the town is small so it’s not a big deal. When we are full at the shelter, people who want to surrender an animal have to wait until space is available.” Some elect to surrender the animal elsewhere instead.
Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter serves Williamson County, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Leander and Hutto, says director Cheryl Schneider. Its animals are picked up by animal control or surrendered by owners in those cities. Adoptable owner-released animals are made available after twenty-four hours; others are held seventy-two hours, or seven days if they appear to have an owner.
Potential adopters fill out a simple application and answer a few questions, Schneider says. Adopters must plan to keep the animal indoors or in a fenced area, not chained. Renters must obtain permission from their landlord to have the animal. “Otherwise, if you have valid driver’s license and are over eighteen, you can adopt.” There is no counseling or matching with specific animals, but staff will give advice, such as whether an animal is appropriate with small children. The shelter may refuse an adoption for certain reasons, such as someone who previously surrendered an animal for reasons that weren’t appropriate, but there aren’t any rules set in stone, Schneider says.
The shelter has been open just over a year. It took in about four hundred cats a month during the summer, and takes in between three hundred and three hundred fifty dogs a month. It currently adopts out about nineteen percent of cats and thirty-four percent of dogs, with additional animals going out to reclaims and transfers to rescue groups. Special adoption promotions are held at least once a month, including reduced rates and off-site adoptions, which are contracted out to a group. Adopted animals are fixed and microchipped, which is covered by the fees.
Blue Dog Rescue is a network of foster families, says director Lisa Taylor. Twice a month, the organization holds adoption events, which are listed on its web site. The first step in adoption is to complete an on-line application, followed by a home visit where staff will confirm that the potential adopter has a secure fence, and a “meet and greet” for those who already have a dog. “If we feel it is a good match, then there is a trial period of a couple of weeks to make sure everything goes well for dog and family,” Taylor says. “If everything is great, we say the adoption is final. It is a little bit of a process, but we want to make sure it is a good fit for dog and people.”
Dogs come mainly from local shelters, including TLAC, Bastrop and Williamson counties. “We take the dogs we feel don’t have a chance of getting out, those beyond the happy, fluffy dog most people are looking for,” she says. “Maybe they need grooming or have a health issue that is easily corrected. We also take in dogs found as strays, but they have to meet a temperament test.”
Blue Dog’s capacity is based on the number of foster families, some of which keep multiple dogs. All dogs offered for adoption have been seen by a vet, spayed or neutered, and have a microchip. “We do not adopt out unaltered dogs, because the whole reason we exist is that people don’t spay or neuter their pets.”
Debbie and John Gonzales adopted a few months ago at a Blue Dog fund-raising concert. “We were grooving on the ambience, the music, the dogs all over the patio,” Debbie says. “Then, between sets, a trembling, battered Chocolate Lab was brought onto the stage. This resilient dog had survived being hit by a car and left to die. His jaw was wired together, and his right hind leg and hip had been freshly amputated. When that dog turned to look our way, I experienced a physical reaction, like Cupid had bazooka-shot an arrow straight into my heart. I told my husband, ‘I think I have to have that dog,’ and he was thinking the same thing.” Tripod is now about a year old and graduate of five training sessions with Margaret Johnson of The Humaner Trainer. “He’s a cheerful fellow, the perfect companion, a loyal and devoted friend,” says Gonzales, “and, thanks to Blue Dog, livin’ large.”
The Austin Humane Society is mostly populated with animals transferred in from area shelters. “We try to get as many as possible from TLAC, animals that would otherwise be euthanized,” adoption counselor Katie Buster says. AHS accepts owner-surrendered dogs for a fee, if temperament testing determines the animal is acceptable for adoption, and it accepts cats over eight weeks old and two pounds. Animals that are deemed not adoptable are not accepted.
After potential adopters fill out an application, staff goes over the application and requirements for different animals. Staff members look for red flags, such as any indications that an animal will be neglected or lack of financial resources to properly care for a pet. “We go through a series of questions and, depending on the answer, may go more in depth on an issue,” Buster says. “We have requirements for specific dogs, a checklist such as activity level, whether a particular dog should be with children or not, whether it should go to obedience training, any age requirements. Once someone selects an animal, we pull its file and go over all that stuff.”
Potential adopters with dogs at home are asked to bring them in for a meet and greet with the dog they are considering adopting. One family reported being rejected after this experience.
But marketing director Lisa Starr says the organization prides itself on having pretty open adoptions. “We want to give every animal the chance to have a home and every family the opportunity to have a pet. The only time we’ve suspended an application or declined an adoption would be because someone needed some additional resources to make it a more optimal adoption.” If the introduction of an existing dog and a potential new adoption doesn’t go well, staff might encourage the person to look at other dogs, she adds.
“It is always case by case. But we know how much joy a pet can bring to someone’s life, and we know how many animals are dying because we don’t have the shelter space.” The Humane Society’s capacity is from two hundred to two hundred fifty animals (puppies and kittens can be housed together), and last year it adopted out twenty-five hundred cats and dogs. This past summer, AHS partnered with TLAC to find homes for fifteen hundred cats in three months, and by mid-August had nearly reached that goal.
Heart of Texas Lab Rescue has fairly stringent requirements for adopters, a necessity for the high-energy breed, says Mike Strippoli, communications coordinator. The organization pulls Labrador Retrievers from local shelters throughout the Austin area, Williamson County, and as far away as San Antonio. Volunteers go to shelters and evaluate dogs for personality, aggression and medical issues. “We won’t take a dog with any history of biting or that is overly aggressive,” Strippoli says. “They are just unadoptable.”
Dogs selected for the program are placed in volunteer foster homes, where they stay until adopted. After a few weeks of learning about the dog, foster parents post pictures and a bio on the HOT web site. Potential adopters fill out an on-line application, then have a phone interview about the living situation for the dog and what traits they are seeking. Senior HOT board members review the application and notes from the interview and must approve the person for adoption. Those accepted look for a match with a dog in the program, and then schedule a session, usually at a volunteer’s home, to meet one to three dogs at a time. This process continues until the person finds a dog they like or chooses to go elsewhere.
“Foster parents are there during the meet and greet,” Strippoli says, “and they have the final say as to whether or not a potential adopter gets the dog. It is pretty easy to tell during a meet and greet session if a person is going to be a good match. Dogs don’t usually hang around or interact with people they don’t like, and they are pretty good judges of character.” Adoptions don’t get refused very often, he adds, and if they do, it is usually because someone was looking for a dog for the wrong reasons, such as for a gift.
HOT’s fees are some of the highest (see accompanying “Resources” article), but “it’s not a whole lot of money for the benefit,” Strippoli says. “Those who have the dog’s best interest at heart don’t mind paying. There are lots of places you can go to get a free dog. The dogs we bring into the program have not had a good life for the most part. So we want to go that extra mile so that any dog we place is going to thrive. The fee ensures that people are serious about it.”
He also doesn’t feel that the group’s adoption process is all that stringent. “If you go to the Humane Society, you have to fill out an application and go through an interview. They might be faster, but we go that extra mile to match you with a perfect dog. We also have a two-week money back guarantee. If it doesn’t work out for whatever reason, we take the dog back and refund the fee, no questions asked.” Returns are very rare, he adds, and usually because someone’s situation changed after the adoption.
“We pride ourselves on making good matches” he says. “We provide our applicants with a lot of information they can use to decide whether that dog is a good fit. We placed more than one hundred dogs last year, and will likely exceed that this year. Because the number of dogs is limited by the number of fosters, we have to be somewhat picky about the dogs we take. Often, they are in more immediate need, about to be put down, or have a medical need that we can rehabilitate so they can get adopted.”
Adoption clearly is not without its perils. These animals may have been scarred physically or mentally, or get sick, matches don’t always work out, circumstances change. Individuals must decide which adoption route is best for them. But adopting a pet is usually a fulfilling and positive, if not downright amazing, experience. To paraphrase an old saying, a little risk, amazing return.
Melissa Gaskill has adopted five wonderful shelter animals, and can’t imagine getting a pet any other way. She urges Austinites not to buy from puppy mills or unscrupulous breeders, and to spay and neuter all pets. You may e-mail Melissa at email@example.com.
Austin Humane Society—Austin’s largest no-kill, nonprofit animal shelter adopts out dogs and cats for $85, which includes first vaccinations (including rabies), health screening, deworming, spay or neuter, microchip and gift certificates. For more information, call 512-646-7387 or visit www.austinhumanesociety.org.
Blue Dog Rescue—This volunteer organization takes adoptable dogs in danger of euthanization at local shelters and keeps them in foster homes while seeking permanent homes. Dogs can be seen at adoption days or by special arrangement. A home visit is required. Adoption fee of $165 includes spay or neuter, exam, vaccinations and microchip. For more information, call 512-689-6328 or visit www.bluedogrescue.com.
Heart of Texas Lab Rescue—This nonprofit rescues Labrador Retrievers from shelters, abandonment and other situations and places them with approved families. It serves the Central Texas area and accepts and places dogs only in Texas. HOT charges a $25 non-refundable application fee and $250 adoption fee. All dogs are spayed or neutered, current on shots, and heartworm-negative before being placed. For more information, call 512-259-5810 or visit www.hotlabrescue.org.
Humane Society of Williamson County—This nonprofit, no-kill shelter in Leander seeks responsible pet owners willing to make a lifelong commitment. Adoption fee of $95 includes spay or neuter, initial vaccinations or rabies voucher, worming, microchip, heartworm screening (for dogs), leukemia test (for cats), and thirty days free pet health insurance. Call 512-260-3602 or visit www.hswc.net.
Public for Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) Shelter and Humane Society—A no-kill, nonprofit shelter serving Hays and surrounding counties, PAWS adopts animals out of its Kyle location, at regular adoption days at various locations in Austin and San Marcos, or on-line. Adoption fee $75 to $140, depending on the animal. All animals are given medical treatment, vaccinated and spayed or neutered. For more information, call 512-268-1611 or visit www.pawsshelter.org.
Town Lake Animal Center—A division of the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department, and the largest shelter in Central Texas. Adoption fee of $75 includes spay or neuter, vaccinations, microchip, one year Austin pet registration, and collar. TLAC adopts out animals from its facility at 1156 W. Cesar Chavez St., west of downtown. For more information, call 311 or visit www.ci.austin.tx.us/health/animal_services.htm
Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter—This shelter is a cooperative effort of Williamson County and the cities of Round Rock, Cedar Park, Leander and Hutto. Adoption fee of $85 covers basic vaccines, spay or neuter, heartworm (dogs) or leukemia (cats) screening, and microchip. Call 512-943-3322 or visit www.wilcopets.org.
The organizations listed above were covered in the accompanying feature article, but there are scores of other animal-welfare organizations in Central Texas that prospective adopters can explore to find just the right pet. A comprehensive list of these organizations, and contact information for each, is available on our web site at www.goodlifemag.com/archives/resources-pages/PET_RESOURCES_2.pdf.
Ancient Chinese Martial Art Heals Austinites
by Beth Goulart
Photography by Barton Wilder Custom Images
When the Summer Olympics kicked off in Beijing last summer, some thirty-five million American viewers tuned in to watch the opening ceremonies on television. In the great Bird’s Nest arena, between synchronized drummers and “aah” inspiring pyrotechnics, precisely two thousand eight tai chi practitioners clad in snow white performed their ancient art. To most viewers, tai chi struck a familiar chord. Who hasn’t seen it performed in a public park or heard its name spoken in conjunction with stress relief and relaxation? In China, though, the practice of tai chi is a way of life.
Tai chi is, foremost, a martial art. Its gentle style seems graceful, even dance-like to many observers, and it is often described as a moving meditation, since it develops a keen control of the mind. Its techniques, though, are designed for combat. It is closely related to kung fu, the term generally used to describe the “external” form of tai chi (considered “internal”) because of its focus on muscular strength and sparring with opponents.
Master Cheng, though, had learned tai chi for his health: He first pursued it as a means of combating tuberculosis. It has long been accepted as a means of improving balance and decreasing the likelihood of falling in the elderly. But these days, increasingly frequent new studies testify to tai chi’s diverse health benefits. This year alone, studies published in respected, peer-reviewed journals have attested to its improvement in controlling Type 2 diabetes, promotion of healthier sleep in older adults, and easing of knee pain as well as improved knee function, in elderly sufferers of osteoarthritis. These studies join the archives of what’s been learned in years past: Tai chi is beneficial for increasing bone formation in the elderly; it boosts seniors’ T-cell activity to improve immunity to virus-borne maladies like shingles; and it lowers systolic blood pressure, potentially reducing the incidence of stroke and heart attack. According to Professor Timothy Schallert, PhD, of the University of Texas at Austin there’s reason to believe that tai chi may even benefit patients afflicted with Parkinson’s disease, since motor enrichment has been shown to slow the degeneration of brain cells in animals. But, he emphasizes, controlled studies are still needed.
Jackson started Austin Tai Chi when she and her husband and business partner, Danny Boone, relocated to Austin from Los Angeles to be near Boone’s family. Jackson had taught tai chi in L.A. for eighteen years, eventually meeting Boone in one of her classes. For more than ten years they studied together under Tung Kai Ying, a Chinese master who is a descendent of the Yang family for whom the style is named, and they continue to follow his guidance today.
The classes Jackson and Boone teach range through beginner, intermediate and advanced at six locations around Austin on four days each week. This decentralized approach, says Jackson, is aimed at bringing tai chi to people where they live. “I want to make it easy,” she says in explaining why she doesn’t mind driving all over town to teach. “I want to affect in a healthy manner as many human beings as I can in Austin,” she says.
When Juanita Johnson started tai chi three years ago, it wasn’t her idea. Her daughter, Terry Johnson-Growden, asked her to come along to try it after reading about its healthful benefits. Johnson-Growden had done some Internet research and discovered Master Gohring’s Tai Chi and Kung Fu school just north of Highland Mall on Airport Boulevard, so they went there for their first class.
Several moves in, recalls Johnson, then sixty-three, “I looked over at my daughter and said, ‘Oh, I can do this.’” The moves were simple, easy. They didn’t even feel like exercise. “And then about two more moves and I’m thinking, ‘Lord, I hope this is going to be over soon,’ because sweat was pouring. I was tired. I was finding parts of my body I’d forgotten I had,” she says.
A year and a half later, Johnson and her daughter recruited their husbands, too, and the four have been commuting from their shared duplex near the Austin airport to practice together ever since. All four cite dramatic, quantifiable health benefits including improved blood-sugar levels (three of them are diabetic), in addition to reduced stress and lower blood pressure, plus a better overall sense of well-being.
Their progress isn’t just evident in their health, though. It’s also chartable in their colorful sashes. At Master Gohring’s studio, students wear uniforms and start with white sashes, then earn new colors from gold to black, plus stripes at intermediate levels, as they master skills. Terry Johnson-Growden leads her family in a brown sash, her mother sports purple, and the two men wear green sashes.
The sash program is just one of the ways that Tom Gohring, the studio’s owner, establishes the culture of his school. When Gohring, a native Austinite, started teaching tai chi twelve years ago, his approach was informal. Students wore whatever made them comfortable and addressed him by his first name. “It didn’t work,” he recalls. “People didn’t take it seriously.” Without a formalized structure, he found that students floundered, whereas the structure he now imposes provides leadership and direction that he feels helps his students learn. “If you don’t get the culture with it, then it’s just an exercise,” he says. “So for us, it’s not just an exercise.”
Students bow in greeting to others when they enter and exit the school, address each other by formal titles and Gohring as “Master,” and incorporate formal hand gestures and bows into their interactions, such as before and after sparring, when elements of kung fu are introduced for more advanced students. “Formality and tradition,” says Gohring, “that’s the fun part.”
The differences in style between Master Gohring’s school and Austin Tai Chi are huge, but they do, indeed, both teach the same discipline. While Gohring adds elements of the lesser-known Chen style of tai chi for intermediate and advanced students, both schools teach Yang to beginners. Their differences are important, though, and something prospective students should consider in choosing a path for their own tai chi experiences.
Marjorie Jackson of Austin Tai Chi says that different traditions of tai chi are only the beginning of the differences in instruction. Much as with yoga, she says, even within a single tradition—the Yang style, for instance—teachers’ styles vary widely. And finding a teacher who feels right is key. “I really encourage people to maybe go to five different teachers,” she says, before choosing one. “What matters is that you find somebody you’re crazy about. That you feel that it would be fun to come back here every week.”
Jackson also recommends starting with a buddy. “Find a relative, a neighbor, a coworker,” she says. “And come to class together.” It’s a strategy that has worked for the Johnson family at Gohring’s school. Juanita Johnson is sixty-five now. “Sometimes I think I’m too old to do this,” she says, “but the more I do it, the younger I feel.” She has more energy, an improved outlook, a renewed sense of strength. “It’s kind of an addiction, in a way. But it’s a good addiction.”
Beth Goulart battled unbearable cravings for chai tea while reporting this story on tai chi. Fortunately, the two are not mutually exclusive. You may e-mail Beth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Austin Tai Chi—Marjorie Jackson and Danny Boone run this school from six locations around the city. For specific class times and venues, call 512-916-8919 or visit www.austintaichi.com. The first class is free; each subsequent class costs $10, payable by cash or check.
Master Gohring’s Tai Chi and Kung Fu—Master Tom Gohring runs the school he founded at 6611 Airport Blvd., just north of Highland Mall. For more information, call 512-879-7553 or visit www.mastergohring.com. An introductory session is free, then about $129 per month with a contract.
Saving Some Lives, Confusing Others
Health Screenings Provide Lots of Information,
But Not All of It is Helpful
by Karen Branz Leach
Photography by Barton Wilder Custom Images
Irene Cyphers is sixty-nine years old, though she says she sees herself as being much younger than that. She’s been a vegetarian for the past thirty-five years, and she thought the lack of meat in her diet would help protect her heart. She wasn’t much worried about her health, but last April she decided to do a Life Line Screening.
“I had seen their ads many times, but people said it was just a waste of money. But then I read about a man who found a tumor during one of their screenings and decided I might give it a try,” says Cyphers. She signed up on-line to reserve an appointment at a convenient location, and paid one hundred and twenty-nine dollars for a package of tests.
Life Line and its many competitors offer a package of preventive screenings aimed at those over fifty years of age, though they also have customers in their forties, or even thirties. The standard package includes screenings for carotid artery blockages, abdominal aortic aneurysms, peripheral artery disease and osteoporosis. Depending on the company, you might also be able to purchase blood tests and a screening for atrial fibrillation. (See accompanying article, “The Tests and What They Mean,” for a detailed description of each.) The mobile screenings are done at a variety of community venues, including churches, YMCAs and recreation centers. You don’t have to bring a doctor’s order to get these tests. Though the state requires a doctor’s order, the companies all have doctors on staff who can generate an order for each participant.
From the screening, Cyphers learned that she had peripheral artery disease, specifically plaque in the artery of her right leg. Though she has no symptoms now, the disease could progress and lead to decreased blood flow in her leg, which could cause pain when she walks. Also, plaque in a peripheral artery, such as a leg or an arm, may indicate the presence of plaque in other arteries, including those that feed the heart muscle.
The results of the test sent Cyphers to her doctor, who did a stress test and further blood work. “He was concerned about the plaque, and also told me that my cholesterol was too high. I now take cholesterol pills and aspirin to keep the plaque from getting worse. If I hadn’t done the screening, the plaque could have kept growing,” says Cyphers. Her doctor also advised her to modify her diet. “I am a cheese-aholic,” Cyphers admits, saying that she now substitutes almond cheese for milk cheese to avoid getting too much saturated fat.
According to Austin cardiologist Jonathan Sheinberg of Texas Cardiovascular Consultants, Cyphers is a perfect example of the value of these screenings: getting people to pay attention to their risk factors and seek out their doctor’s advice.
“The fact of the matter is that if you have a good physician, you can get all this done at your doctor’s office. That said, there’s a couple of problems with that. Number one, not everyone goes to their doctor. Number two, reimbursement rates have cut the average office visit down from twenty minutes to ten minutes. If you go in to see your doctor for back pain, you’re not going to address that and everything else in ten minutes. You can’t do it all,” says Sheinberg.
Sheinberg says that he believes the quality of the testing at these mobile screenings is good. “The technology is good, and I assume that the technicians know what they are doing and that the person reading the tests is good,” he says. The results of a small study done by Life Line in conjunction with the Cleveland Clinic bear out his expectations. That study found that Life Line produced test results that were as accurate as tests done at that world-renowned clinic. Since the screening programs all use essentially the same technology, the results from these tests should be reasonably accurate.
The problem with screening programs, says Sheinberg, is in the interpretation of the tests. While some of the information clearly requires follow-up, such as cholesterol that is too high or the presence of plaque in an artery, other results fall into a gray area that may cause patients to go through unnecessary and risky follow-up testing.
For example, he says, what do you do if the tests reveal a slight widening of the abdominal aorta, which might be the beginnings of an aneurysm, or might not? (An aneurysm is a weak spot in the artery wall, which can cause the artery wall to become thin and eventually rupture. Because this is a large artery, a ruptured abdominal aneurysm can quickly lead to massive bleeding and death.)
“The cost may be worth it for that patient, especially if an aneurysm is found and treated. But it’s not all as simple as it sounds,” says Sheinberg.
That’s the major reason that mass screenings have never been favored by the medical community. Beyond the initial cost of the tests, follow-up tests can create massive costs, and the number of problems found can be quite small. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of experts in primary care and prevention that systematically reviews the evidence of effectiveness and develops recommendations for clinical preventive services, performed a risk-versus-benefits analysis of screening for carotid artery blockage in the general population, and recommends against doing so.
On the other hand, testing people who are at higher risk might be justified, especially if those getting the tests pay the initial costs, says Craig Lindley, vice president and cofounder of HealthYes!, an Austin-based mobile screening company that offers many of the same tests offered by Life Line.
Lindley points to a 2002 study by University of Maryland researcher William R. Flinn, M.D., in which thirteen percent of participants were found to have a potentially lethal or disabling vascular condition, either blockage of the carotid artery, an abdominal aortic aneurysm or peripheral artery disease. The mean age of those studied was sixty-eight, though many of those identified as having problems had no other risk factors for their disease beyond age. That number surprised Flinn.
“In a typical screening program aimed at the general public, you would expect abnormal findings in five to ten percent of those tested,” says Flinn, head of vascular surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center and professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “By our usual standards, the people in this group were healthy. But the fact that thirteen percent had abnormal numbers underscores the magnitude of undiagnosed vascular disease in the U.S.”
Joe Garcia, general manager for the Texas region with Life Line, says that between July 2007 and August 2008, Life Line screening events identified twelve participants who had critical health issues, including six who had aneurysms and six who had carotid arteries that were nearly completely blocked. That’s out of about seventy-four hundred people who were screened, or less than two-tenths of one percent. But about ten percent of those screened had a mild to moderate problem that was identified, he said, ranging from high cholesterol and mild vascular problems to high risk for osteoporosis. Some had multiple problems identified.
Beyond the risk of unnecessary follow-up tests, Sheinberg worries that some patients may decide to tackle their problems on their own, without benefit of their doctors’ advice.
“The screening staff can’t advise you on the results of your test. They can’t say ‘Don’t worry, you’re fine.’ It’s a tremendous responsibility to interpret the test results, which is why cardiologists have fourteen years of education,” says Sheinberg.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality—Part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Its web site includes reports by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, including recommendations on a wide variety of screening programs. Visit www.ahrq.gov/clinic/USpstfix.htm.
American Heart Association—Comprehensive information on heart screening exams and what they mean. Visit www.americanheart.org.
Jonathan Sheinberg, MD, FACC, Texas Cardiovascular Consultants—Six office locations in Austin, Round Rock, Georgetown and Temple, with its main location at 1301 W. 38th St., Suite 705. For information, call 512-617-6000 (toll-free 800-555-5595) or visit www.txcardio.com.
HealthYes!—Austin-based company that offers mobile screenings. They offer all the screenings listed with the exception of blood work, for two hundred dollars. Test results, including all images, are sent to patient within four business days. If critical issues are found, the patient is informed that day. For more information, call 1-800-555-9190 or visit www.healthyes.com.
Life Line Screening—Offers mobile screenings including all of the listed screenings except arterial stiffness index. The company also offers all blood tests except the homocysteine level. Cost is two hundred and nineteen dollars for the complete package; without blood tests the cost is one hundred and thirty-nine dollars. Blood results are available on the day of testing, along with any critical issues; a report on other tests is sent within twenty-one days. Actual images may be sent if the patient requests them. For more information, call 1-800-449-2350 or visit www.lifelinescreening.com.
MinuteClinic—Offers only blood work, no ultrasound tests. Health screening package, which includes cholesterol panel and glucose levels, is fifty-nine dollars. For information, call 866-389-2727 or visit www.minuteclinic.com.
RediClinic—Offers only blood work, no ultrasound tests. The premium package of heart health tests includes all the blood tests listed for one hundred and twenty-nine dollars. They also offer other tests such as a Thyroid Panel, Complete Blood Count, PSA (for men), Kidney and Liver function, Hepatitis C test. For information call 866-607-7334 or visit www.rediclinic.com.
“There are those people who will get on the Internet, where they will be bombarded by information, and they can’t differentiate between the accurate information and the bogus. So they’ll decide to treat their high cholesterol with unproven ‘natural’ food supplements, which are not studied, not regulated and are potentially dangerous,” he says. “You have to interpret the information accurately. That’s where I come in.”
In fact, even the screening staff doesn’t always understand the meaning of test results. I went through a Life Line screening as part of my research, and the nurse who gave me the results of my blood tests pointed out that my HDL (the good cholesterol) was eighty-five. While that is good, she told me, you don’t want that number to go over one hundred.
“That’s completely wrong,” says Sheinberg. “We want the HDL as high as we can get it.” Also, the LDL (bad cholesterol) is deemed acceptable, according to the Life Line information, if it is less than one hundred. The most recent research indicates that number should be below seventy, especially if a patient has other risk factors, says Sheinberg. “National guidelines often lag behind current research and clinical practice,” he says.
So what’s the bottom line? The tests are generally safe to do, and may be useful, especially for people who have risk factors but are reluctant to go see their doctor. If you are over fifty, or if you are over forty and have other risk factors (obesity, smoking, family history of heart disease or stroke), getting a screening may be a reasonable choice.
Also, these screenings are less expensive than the more definitive tests you might get at your doctor’s office, because they are screenings, not diagnostic tests, and may save you hundreds of dollars if you don’t have health insurance, or if these tests are not covered by your insurance. However, before shelling out one hundred dollars or more for these screenings, check with your health insurance company to see if you are covered for these tests through your doctor’s office. In that case, you may only be responsible for a small co-pay.
“The primary benefit of these screenings is to raise awareness and get people to consult their doctors. If you have any abnormal results, see your doctor,” Sheinberg says.
Karen Branz Leach has been writing about healthcare for more than twenty years and is addicted to taking her blood pressure at those free machines at the drug store. You may e-mail Karen at email@example.com.
In addition, special blood pressure measuring devices and electrocardiograms, both of which are safe and noninvasive and mobile, can be used to measure blood flow in your legs, test the stiffness of your arteries and detect whether you have a heart arrhythmia called atrial fibrillation.
Many of the companies that do these screenings also offer blood tests that measure cardiac-related markers, as well as risk for Type 2 diabetes. Some companies also offer more extensive blood work (see below for the types of tests available), and retail clinics offer an even wider array of blood work.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening—Measures the diameter of your abdominal aorta, a very large blood vessel that takes blood from your heart to the lower half of your body. An enlarged diameter indicates a weakened artery wall, in much the same way that a water hose expands when it is weak. Because this is a large blood vessel, if the artery wall tears, you can bleed to death in a matter of minutes. (My aunt died of an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which blew out while she was in the hospital after a heart attack. Despite the presence of dozens of medical staff, she bled to death before anyone could help her.) If an aneurysm is detected early, it may be able to be repaired with surgery.
Arterial Stiffness Index—Measures the flexibility of the walls of the artery. Stiffer arteries indicate the presence of plaque in the arteries, an indication that you are at risk for heart disease.
Atrial Fibrillation Screening—Looks for the presence of a rhythm disturbance in the atria of the heart called fibrillation. This arrhythmia reduces the ability of the heart to push blood out of the atria, and pooling of the blood in these chambers can cause clotting of the blood and increase your risk of stroke. Treatment often includes medication to reduce blood clots.
Carotid Artery Screening—Measures the blood flow through the carotid arteries in your neck to determine whether there is plaque on the artery walls. Plaque is like the calcium buildup you see in the plumbing of older homes, which reduces the flow through the pipes. The carotid arteries are located on either side of the neck and provide blood to your brain and face. If plaque narrows your carotid arteries, your brain will get less blood and oxygen. Also, a narrowed artery increases the chances that a blood clot could block the flow of blood to portions of your brain, causing a stroke.
Osteoporosis Screening—Measures the thickness of the bone in your heel, as an indication of your risk for osteoporosis, or thinning of the bones due to loss of calcium. People with osteoporosis are at risk for bone fractures and collapse of vertebrae in the spine. This collapse of the spine causes the “dowager’s hump” which makes some older people appear to be slumped over.
Peripheral Artery Disease Screening—Measures the blood flow in the arteries of the legs, to determine if there is plaque buildup. Not only can plaque in the leg arteries reduce blood flow and cause pain in the legs with exercise, it is closely associated with cardiovascular disease. Treatment is aimed at reducing bad cholesterol and increasing of good cholesterol.
Total Cholesterol—Measurement of both good and bad cholesterol and triglycerides (fatty acids and glycerol, which the body uses for energy). Anything below two hundred milligrams per deciliter is considered desirable, though many cardiologists recommend that patients at high risk for heart disease keep their level below one-fifty.
LDL Cholesterol—Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the bad cholesterol. Standard recommendations suggest anything below one hundred is good, though cardiologists recommend that high-risk patients shoot for under seventy.
HDL Cholesterol—High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is the good cholesterol. The number should be at least sixty to reduce your cardiac risk. Test should also give you the ratio between your HDL and total cholesterol, which some physicians believe is a more accurate assessment of your cardiac risk than your total cholesterol number. That ratio should be less than three and a half to one.
Blood Glucose—High levels of glucose after a twelve-hour fast indicate the presence of diabetes or at least insulin resistance, which is a pre-diabetic condition. Anything below one hundred is normal. One hundred to one-twenty-five is considered pre-diabetic; levels above that indicate diabetes.
C-Reactive Protein—This is a protein that indicates inflammation somewhere in the body. Elevated levels are associated with increased risk of artery disease and heart attack, even if cholesterol levels are low. A level of one or below is considered low risk, while one to three is considered average risk. Levels over three are high risk.
Homocysteine—This is a byproduct of normal biochemical reactions and is normally broken down by the body into useful components. When this breakdown doesn’t happen, homocysteine can build up in the body, and high levels have been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and increased risk of bone fractures. These bone fractures are not related to osteoporosis, but rather the effects homocysteine on collagen, which is important in strong bone formation as well as in maintaining healthy arteries. According to Mednet.com, “Normal levels are in the range between five to fifteen micromoles (measurement unit of small amount of a molecule) per liter.”
Triglycerides—The fatty-acid substance your body uses for energy. If not processed for energy, it is stored as fat. High levels of triglyceride circulating in the blood stream is a risk factor for artery disease. After fasting, your level should be below one hundred and fifty.
If the shoe fits, leave it in the closet
by Carla Birnberg
We’ve previously established there are innumerable things I’ll attempt in the name of journalism. I willingly super-slowed my workout and, last month, awkwardly swung a kettlebell for the sake of research. This month, however, I’m letting you down. While I’ve selected a topic I find exceedingly intriguing it is one, at this moment anyway, which I’m too fearful to attempt.
What fitness endeavor turned this intrepid writer squeamish? Barefoot running. Yep, you read that correctly. There’s a contingent of runners regularly exiting their homes barefoot—and not to jog to the mailbox and back. In addition, if you buy into the group’s motto: one foot at a time, one sole at a time, one hell of a good time, then I have deprived myself of an enjoyable escapade by refusing to give this one a try.
According to its practitioners, the notion of barefoot running starts at the beginning. The beginning, they contend, of us. They correctly point out we all commence our lives barefoot and, in many cases, spend our entire first year that way. The fact we also spend the majority of this same year crawling seems not to lessen their passion for this point.
Barefoot runners also like to remind us, the great shoe wearing masses, that many of us spent the bulk of our childhood shoeless as well. These devotees simply continued on this path and never bought into the notion humans require shoes. In their minds the very reason our ancestors survived was the fact they were frequently shoeless. Those who escaped from predators ran swiftly, according to individuals like Ken Saxton, editor of the web site runningbarefoot.org, because their healthy, bare feet enabled them to learn to run properly.
If you’re anything like I am, your reaction to Saxton’s words is one of confusion. His thought is the discomfort that can at times accompany barefoot running is, in fact, a gift because of what it tells the runner. Pain can be a signal for us to change our gait or tweak our stride. In Saxton’s mind, only through serving as your own foot whisperer (my phrase not his) will you ever learn to run properly and pain free.
This assertion baffled me. My feet throb after wearing shoes for twelve hours. How badly might they ache if I jogged barefoot for a mile or two? The barefoot running community would answer a resounding: far less. They believe our feet were designed to keep us moving upright, at varying speeds and do so in total comfort. Feet weren’t created, in their opinion, to be swathed in leather or canvas without being sore later. We think we need shoes, they’d contend, as a reaction to skilled marketing campaigns and a desire for money making by shoe companies.
I’m nothing if not a skeptic, but I felt my anti-barefoot running resolve weaken. Why did I love my running shoes? Was it the support they provided or had I bought into the notion they’d make me faster, stronger and lighter on my feet?
Grab a sneaker and plop it on it on a flat surface. See how the front of the shoe curves slightly upward? This curl is added to encourage a heel-to-toe rolling movement when the wearer walks or runs, yet a rolling motion has been shown to cause potential injury to the wearer’s knees and back. Now stand barefoot and check out how your toes are positioned. Are they naturally curving upward or gripping downward against the floor? Barefoot running made much more sense after I completed this little experiment.
My shoes firmly on stance was further weakened when I read that Ethiopian runner, Abebe Bikila, won the 1960 Olympic marathon sans shoes. This, added to the fact I’d known five-thousand-meter world record holder Zola Budd of South Africa trained and raced barefoot, almost had me yanking off my Nikes for a short, barefoot jog around the block.
And then I dug deeper. I found that Bikila ran shoeless because his only other option was a pair of ill fitting sneakers. He won, but I wondered if given a choice he’d have donned a pair of comfy shoes without hesitation. (It should be noted that in 1964 he won the Olympic marathon wearing running shoes.) I’d imagine that, unless you’re the lightest of runners, stress on knees and back normally absorbed by shoes can aggravate or trigger an injury.
I also couldn’t get past what I deemed the ick factor of potential disease. While this isn’t a much discussed topic I’m convinced it poses a rather large danger that my shoes prevent. Barefoot runners do acknowledge the need to be hyper vigilant with regards to roadside debris. Puncture wounds, even on soles thickened over time, pose a real and frequent threat.
One irrefutable fact is the need to start slow no matter your shoe-clad fitness level. It’s suggested one walk before running to allow the soles of the feet to thicken properly. Sites such as runningbarefoot.org encourage newbies to stroll barefoot at every opportunity before carefully progressing to a run and, only after time, should one attempt longer barefoot running sessions. Foot acclimation can vary, but the consensus is it takes three or four weeks to prepare the feet to pound the pavement.
In the end I was firmly in the middle of the road with regards to barefoot running. Left with one shoe on and one shoe off, if you will. The promise of running barefoot, imagined as childlike frolicking whist birds weave garlands in my hair, was quite compelling. Yet my older, wiser, wet-blanket self really had zero interest in risking injury easily avoided by covering my feet.
Carla Birnberg would love to hear about your experiences with barefoot running. She can currently be found running around Lady Bird Lake, both shoes firmly intact. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Simple answers seldom solve complex problems
by Karen Branz LeachThe Dewey Foundation’s Victory Project, brainchild of Austin consultant Mike Dewey, offers one-billion-dollar awards for solving big problems. The idea grew out of Dewey’s concern for his wife, who is a breast cancer survivor, and his two daughters. Because of the type of breast cancer that runs in his wife’s family, Dewey’s two daughters are very likely to get the disease. So he wanted to speed up the process of finding a cure for breast cancer. He set up the Dewey Foundation to raise money to offer a big award for finding a way to do so. Along the way, other problems were added to the foundation’s list of solutions that would earn big awards, and one of those problems is diabetes.
On the surface, this sounds like a great idea—offer an enormous amount of money as an incentive to get people to work on problems that you think are important. But how do you measure success?
You see, diabetes and breast cancer are not individual, discrete diseases. Each of these diseases encompasses a pretty broad array of conditions caused by a wide variety of both genetic and environmental factors. A cure for one type of breast cancer is unlikely to solve the problem for all types of breast cancer. Ditto for diabetes—there are two basic forms, one in which the pancreas ceases to make insulin, another in which the body becomes resistant to insulin. Finding a way to get the pancreas to start making insulin again won’t offer a cure to those who are insulin resistant, and finding a way to cure insulin resistance won’t help those whose bodies don’t make insulin. And both of these problems are individually so difficult to solve that it is unlikely that one team of people could work on both at the same time.
Not to throw a wet blanket on a well intentioned effort, but I don’t see how anyone could win these prizes. The goals are simply too broad.
There are very few simple goals or simple problems in medicine, mostly because people are complex organisms. Not only do different bodies react to the same drug in different ways, but individuals are wildly disparate in their daily habits—what and how much they eat, how much they exercise, how much stress they encounter, what self-destructive habits they engage in. Determining the exact cause of many diseases has proved elusive for just this reason. Often, there is no one factor that determines whether a disease will manifest itself; rather, there is a complex interlacing of genetics, environment, health habits and pathogens that sets off a condition.
In Type I diabetes (the kind in which the pancreas fails to manufacture insulin), genetics and viral infections are thought to combine and cause the immune system to malfunction, killing off insulin-producing cells instead of the virus. In Type II diabetes, a combination of genetics, obesity and sedentary living habits all combine to create insulin resistance. Reversing that process requires weight loss and increased activity, both of which require significant changes in a patient’s most ingrained personal habits.
Breast cancer, too, involves an interplay between genetics, environment and lifestyle choices. Medical science hasn’t really untangled the various threads that lead to breast cancer and the part they play in generating cancer cells. We do know that certain genetic traits almost certainly lead to breast cancer, but not all breast cancer is the result of unlucky genes. Lifetime exposure to estrogen, obesity and a lack of vitamin D have all been linked to the disease. In fact, the best “cure” for breast cancer is early detection through yearly mammography. Currently, more than ninety-six percent of breast cancer can be cured if it is found in stage one, before it spreads. Does this mean that the inventor of mammography is eligible for the one billion dollar prize? Sure seems like it to me.
So you can see why I am not too sanguine regarding a “cure” for either of these diseases that would meet the foundation’s standards. It is more likely that medical science will evolve better and better ways to prevent and manage these diseases (as, indeed, it has already done with breast cancer), resulting in fewer cases and less disability for those who have the diseases.
Will a one-billion-dollar prize help push medical science more quickly toward better treatments? I doubt it. What would help a great deal more is funding for well-designed research programs that can tackle the basic science and try out new ideas.
Offering this prize is sort of like tying a stick to donkey’s head that dangles a carrot in front of its face that can never be reached. The carrot might get the donkey’s attention and get it moving, but you still have to guide the donkey and feed and water it regularly if you want it to go any significant distance toward your destination. And the money spent on the carrot is that much less money available for buying hay—or, in the case of breast cancer cures, mammograms.
For more about the Dewey Foundation and The Victory Project, visit www.deweyfoundation.org.
Karen Leach has been writing about healthcare for more than twenty years and living long enough to know that most problems are not as simple as they seem. You may e-mail Karen at email@example.com.
Oct. 4 Sa 9am Fredericksburg Ride: Ride start location & start time will be in the October Southwest Cycling News & on the web site. After the ride you can check out the Oktoberfest activities. Oktoberfest is a colorful, festive celebration of Fredericksburg, Texas’ German heritage that has become an annual tradition around the world. This community event of family entertainment features 2 stages & 2 tents with continuous oompah music, art & crafts, Children’s fun area, Kinder Park, a German Bier Tent & Oktoberfest Vineyard area, plus delicious food & drink all weekend long. Details: Steve 260-0943 www.austincycling.org/rides.html.
Oct. 4 Sa 9am Walburg Waltz: Meet at the north end of Walberg Cemetery (away from the entrance). Take I-35 north to Exit 266 above Georgetown, then take the northbound access road 2 miles to FM 972. Go right on FM 972 & left on CR 1105 to the cemetery on the left. These 16- to 50-mile rides are quite rewarding (& often windy). Afterwards, go into Walberg for wiener schnitzel. Details: Bob 657-9307 www.austincycling.org/rides.html.
Oct. 5 Su 9am Leanderthal: Cruise thru the stone-age landscapes of far west Travis County. Routes of 24 to 60 miles go thru & around some of the scenic Golden-cheeked Warbler & Black-capped Vireo habitats. Meet at the Leander School warehouse parking lot in Leander. Take Hwy 183 north past Cedar Park. The cross-street at the stoplight in Leander is Hwy 2243 to the right & South St. to the left. Turn left onto South St. for 2 blocks. The parking lot will be on your left. Details: Frank 246-7482 www.austincycling.org/rides.html.
Oct. 5 Su 9am Weir Lost: Official loops of 30 & 53 miles that pass thru the big cities of Jonah, Walburg &, if you don’t get lost, Weir. Plenty of options for shorter rides. Meet at the parking lot at the girl’s softball field in Old Settlers Park in Round Rock. From I-35 take Exit 254 east; follow Route 3406 3.4 miles, cross CR 1460 (3406 becomes 113/Kyphen Rd.) go another 2.3 miles, turn right onto Aten Loop. Take the first right into the parking lot. Details: Kevin 989-9457 www.austincycling.org/rides.html.
Oct. 11 Sa 9am Dripping Springs Favorites: Meet at Dripping Springs ISD Administration building, on the north side of Hwy 290, about 3/10 of a mile west of the traffic light at Hwy 12. (The admin building is on Loop 64). The 17-, 30-, 45- & 58-mile rides follow Onion Creek & then climb across the Great Divide into the Blanco River Basin, offering one of the most spectacular cycling views anywhere. Plenty of hills, open vistas & fire-ant mounds. Details: Sue & Joe 996-9031 www.austincycling.org/rides.html.
Oct. 11 Sa 9am New Sweden Shuffle: Come shuffle along with us. We’ll have shuffles of 20, 44 & 59 miles thru the New Sweden flatlands northeast of Austin. Meet at the Dessau Middle School on Dessau Rd., between Parmer Ln. & Howard Ln. Details: Kevin 989-9457 www.austincycling.org/rides.html.
Oct. 12 Su 9am Sun City Saunter: Hook up for a joint ride with the Sun City TX Cyclists. North on I-35, take exit 261-A. Follow access road to traffic signal at Williams Drive. Turn left (west) onto Williams Drive & go about 5 miles to Sun City entrance (right turn in at traffic signal). Follow Del Webb Blvd, cross bridge, then after passing entrance sign to Legacy Hills Grill & Clubhouse, take next right at a sign listing Community Center onto Texas Drive for about 2 blocks, then left into large parking lot in front of Community Center which is the second large building. Do not park in the vicinity of the first building. That is the Fitness Center. The 7 & 14-mile options inside of Sun City are perfect for the beginner or family. The longer options are 33, 38, 52 & 61 miles. Details: Tom 459-5137 www.austincycling.org/rides.html.
Oct. 17-19 F-Su $85 Get Your Guts in Gear: The Ride for Crohn’s & Colitis: This 3-day, 210-mile cycling event created to empower the Crohn’s & colitis community & to raise awareness about IBD. The Texas course travels from La Grange to Austin, winding thru the Lost Pines, the Guadalupe River & the Hill Country. GYGIG brings together people who are interested in connecting to a supportive community of people affected by Crohn’s disease & ulcerative colitis, as patients, caregivers & friends. Details: 718-875-2123 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.ibdride.org.
Oct. 16 Th 6pm Austin Fly Fishers: Meets 3rd Th each month at 6pm. This month, Lynn Edwards discusses Cedar Bayou-Vinson Slough Restoration Project. Fly tying & casting 6-6:50pm, Meeting at 7pm. Northwest Recreation Center, 2913 Northland (FM 2222). Details: Lorne McLachlan 658-5452 <email@example.com> www.austinflyfishers.com.
Tuesdays 6:30-8:30pm $5 Austin Floorball Club: Floorball is a fast-paced team sport that is described as a safe version of floor hockey. It’s played indoors, on foot, using lightweight plastic sticks & a whiffle ball. Rules are easy to learn & there is no physical contact. Great coed game. Basic floorball stick is provided. Bring sneakers. First time free. Virginia L. Brown Recreation Center, 7500 Blessing Dr. Details: Jeff Morris 542-0316 www.austinfloorball.com. Read a feature story about the club at www.goodlifemag.com/archives/2007/12-07/12-07_Floorball.pdf.
Tuesdays 7:30pm Austin Roller Hockey: New players are needed for pickup games each Tu night at Bartholomew Park courts on E. 51st St. (about 1.64 miles east of I-35, past Berkman). All skill levels welcome & equipment needs are minimal. Gloves & shin- or knee-pads advisable. Some wear helmets, some don’t. (No games if it rains.) Roller hockey is fast, fun & a great workout. Details: Rob 627-1343 www.austinrollerhockey.com.
Daily: Seton Cove offers massage 7 days a week. Massage helps facilitate connection between body, mind & spirit. Let one of Seton Cove’s massage therapists relieve your stress thru the healing power of touch. $35 for 30 minutes, $65 for 60 minutes, $90 for 90 minutes ($5 discount for Seton Cove members). Preregistration required. 3708 Crawford. Details: 451-0272 to schedule appointment. <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.setoncove.net.
Wednesdays Oct. 22-Dec. 3 7-8:30pm $110 Sheng Zhen Qigong: 6 class series. Learn healing qigong with the master. This class is open to beginners & consists of gentle, easy flowing movements. No class Nov. 26. Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin, 2700 W. Anderson Ln. #204. Details: 492-3034 <email@example.com> www.aoma.edu.
Oct. 9 Th 5:30-6:30pm free Five Secrets to Permanent Weight Loss: Nicole Lentfer, a licensed acupuncturist & herbalist, will teach participants about proper nutrition, simple lifestyle changes, natural healthcare & detoxification. RSVP by Oct. 7 for directions. Details: 892-3366 nhcaustin.com.
Oct. 10 F 10am $20-$85 3rd Annual Binational Health Conference: Participants will discuss immigrants’ health challenges & explore collaborative strategies to enhance the health & conditions of this population. Topics include obesity, emergency preparedness, HIV-AIDS, surveillance, mental health & TB. Norris Conference Center, back side of Northcross Mall, 2525 W. Anderson Ln. Details: Annie Crawford 478-2866 Ext. 117 <firstname.lastname@example.org> http://migrantclinician.org/conference/3rd-annual-binational-health-conference.html.
Oct. 11 Sa 10am free Men: Warriors, Magicians, Lovers & Kings: Men are hard-wired with archetypes to help establish their ways in the world. The four archetypes of Warrior, Magician, Lover & King are useful as templates for men to deal with the growth & challenges of life, which are especially useful when recovering from addictions. Men in recovery will find the workshop helpful & enlightening, women will find it explaining a lot. Part of a monthly workshop for the recovery community 2nd Sa each month. Registration not required. Austin Recovery, 8402 Cross Park Dr. Details: 697-8528 <cwilson@AustinRecovery.org> www.AustinRecovery.org.
Oct. 16 & Oct. 29 free Massage School Open House: Visit Lauterstein-Conway Massage School to learn more about a career in massage therapy, what the school can offer you & get admissions information. Classes start Nov. 6. Reserve your seat today. Lauterstein-Conway Massage School, 4701-B Burnet Rd. Details: 374-9222 <info@TLCschool.com> www.TLCschool.com.
• Oct. 16 Th 10am
• Oct. 29 W 7pm
Oct. 18 Sa 2pm free Health & Fitness Fair of Lakeway: Featuring vendors, health & fitness trends, programs & services for the whole family. Lakeway Activity Center, 105 Cross Creek, Lakeway. Details: 314-7530 <email@example.com> cityoflakeway.com/mfcl.
Oct. 20-25 M-Sa Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine Days: Free acupuncture for new patients in the student clinic, ½ price for existing patients in the student clinic; ½ price for new patients in the professional clinic. Call for appointment. Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin. Details: 492-3034 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.aoma.edu.
• North Austin: 2700 W. Anderson Ln. #204. Details: 492-3034.
• South Austin: 1902 S. Congress. Details: 693-4373.
Oct. 23 Th 5:30pm free Natural Solutions to Allergy Problems: Nicole Lentfer, a licensed acupuncturist & herbalist, will teach participants how allergies develop & what options may control them, including medications, herbal remedies, detoxification, diet modification & more. Ruta Maya Coffee House. RSVP by Oct. 21 for directions. Details: 892-3366 nhcaustin.com.
Oct. 24 F 6-9pm AOMA’s 15th Anniversary Celebration: The Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin has been serving the Austin community for 15 years. Come celebrate with us. RSVP. 2700 W. Anderson Ln. #204. Details: 454-1188 <email@example.com> www.aoma.edu.
Oct. 26 Su 2-5pm AOMA’s Graduate Program Info Session: Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin, 2700 W. Anderson Ln. #204. Details: 454-1188 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.aoma.edu.
Oct. 29 W 9am free Toddler Massage: Lauterstein-Conway Massage School offers its community a toddler massage seminar for parents, grandparents & caregivers. $15 for handouts & baby massage lotion. Space limited. The Lauterstein-Conway Massage School, 4701-B Burnet Rd. Details: 374-9222 <workshops@TLCschool.com> www.TLCschool.com.
Oct. 29-Nov. 19 free Flu Shot Clinics: The Austin/Travis County Health & Human Services Dept. has scheduled 9 walk-in and drive-thru clinics for those at greatest risk of complications from the flu. Free shots are available for all Medicare recipients (bring your card), uninsured and underinsured Travis County residents who meet the criteria. Shots are free but a $10 donation would be appreciated. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommend flu shots for infants & children 6 months to 18 years of age. Parents should contact their pediatricians or call Shots for Tots at 972-5520 for an appointment. Details: Call 211, 311, 972-5550 www.ci.austin.tx.us/health.
• Oct. 29 W 7:30am-1pm Drive-thru Clinic, Givens Recreation Center 3811 E. 12th St.
• Nov. 5 W 7:30am-1pm Drive-thru Clinic, Travis County Expo Center 7311 Decker Ln.
• Nov. 8 Sa 9am-2pm Walk-in Clinic, South Austin Neighborhood Center 2508 Durwood St.
• Nov. 11 Tu 9am-2pm Walk-in Clinic, Fire Station #5 1201 Webberville Rd.
• Nov. 11 Tu 9am-2pm Walk-in Clinic, Fire Station #24 5811 Nuckols Crossing Rd.
• Nov. 12 W 11am-6pm Walk-in Clinic, St. James Episcopal Church 1941 Webberville Rd.
• Nov. 13 Th 9am-2pm Walk-in Clinic, Toney Burger Center 3200 Jones Rd.
• Nov. 15 Sa 10:30am-3pm Walk-in Clinic, Northwest Recreation Center 2913 Northland Dr.
• Nov. 19 W 11am-6pm Walk-in Clinic, Montopolis Recreation Center 1200 Montopolis Dr.
Tuesdays 1-3pm Tai Chi Class with Guy Forsyth: Free with a purchase at the café. Donations appreciated. Ruta Maya Café 3601-D S. Congress. Details: 707-9637 www.rutamaya.net.
Oct. 18 Sa 2-5pm $35, $50/pair Basic Self Defense: Open to all adults & teens. Workshop covers physical & non-physical skills to avoid violence. Need-based scholarships available. Sun Dragon Martial Arts & Self Defense, NFP, 4534 Westgate Blvd. Details: 416-9735 <email@example.com> www.sundragon.org.
Austin Ki Aikido Center: 1st class free. $60 for 4-week introductory course & $80 a month thereafter. Japanese martial arts training for mind, body & spirit offers 6-week introductory program that affords new students the opportunity to experience the range of teaching available & to determine how well classes meet their individual schedule. In keeping with the cooperative nature of the dojo (training hall), all instructors are volunteers. 8312 Burnet Rd. Ste. 107. Details: 459-9249 www.akac.org.
Tuesdays & Thursdays 12:30-1:30pm Taiji Qigong: A moving meditation for health & well-being. Relax & renew during your lunch break. 5515 Balcones Dr. Details: 420-9310 www.taohealthcenter.com.
Wednesdays & Thursdays free Zen Meditation Group: Seton Cove, an interfaith center for spiritual formation & renewal, invites silent meditation for 30 minutes & then discussion of Zen writings. Beginners encouraged to attend. Donations accepted. 3708 Crawford. Details: 451-0272 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.setoncove.net.
• W 7:30-8:30am
• Th 5-6:30pm
Wednesdays 6-7pm Meditation, Prayer & Quiet Contemplation: Each week features a different aspect of both Eastern & Western spiritual traditions. Many spiritual books, inspirational music & helpful tools for devotions & contemplation are also available for your personal enrichment. The Summit Lighthouse of Austin, 1714 W. Anderson Ln. Details: 459-4135 www.summitlighthouse.org
Fridays 7:30-8:30am free Contemplative Prayer: Seton Cove invites you to spend an hour in group contemplative silence & sharing to help keep your soul alive. Seton Cove, 3708 Crawford. Details: 451-0272 <email@example.com> www.setoncove.net.
Sundays 12:30-1:30pm free Life Mastery & Meditation Meetings: Sensei Tristan & All Ways Zen have created these informal question & answer sessions to help you understand the principles of Zen, the Law of Attraction & Living in the Dao, to create a healthy, prosperous & balanced life. Every meeting also includes Mushin Meditation training to help you remove resistance & be more present to the moment. These are open to everyone, so invite your family & friends. All Ways Zen & Austin Martial Arts, 5000 Bee Caves Rd. Details: 327-2900 allwayszen.com or www.austinmartialarts.com.
Sundays 5-6pm free Zhongtian Yiqi Meditation: A nonmoving qigong practice that trains the mind. As this practice quiets the mind, one is able to return to the beginning, to connect with heaven, earth & all of humanity. No experience necessary. Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin, 2700 W. Anderson Ln. #204. Details: 492-3034 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.aoma.edu.
Sundays 5-6pm free Zhikr-Sufi Chanting: Sufi Order of Austin welcomes beginners for chanting together, with readings & Sufi stories. Call before coming. 8400 Flagstone Dr. Details: Jan Stoddard-Smith 206-0227 <email@example.com> or Xvarnah D’Obrenovic 892-0584 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.towardtheone.com.
Oct. 11 Sa 2-3pm Guided Meditation with Robin: A gentle group hypnosis meditation to access the higher self thru the unconscious mind. This allows you to effortlessly let go of life experiences that need to be released to come into total alignment with the purity of your higher self in such a way that it flows unobstructed thruout your being. SOL Reflections, The Liberty Center in Lakeway, 107 RR 620 S. #105. Details: 263-6990 <email@example.com> www.solreflections.com.
Austin Zen Center: Soto Zen Buddhism, in the tradition of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi & San Francisco Zen Center. Daily meditation offered as well as classes, retreats & more; both beginners & experienced practitioners welcome. 3014 Washington Square. Details: 452-5777 www.austinzencenter.org.
Oct. 25 & Oct. 26 Sa-Su $50 Livestrong Challenge: Series of cycling & running & walking events that takes place in four cities, not only to raise funds for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, but also to support its mission of inspiring & empowering people affected by cancer. Each Challenge participant is required to pay a registration fee & there is an additional $250 fund-raising minimum for cyclists. No further fund-raising is required for walkers & runners, though everyone is encouraged to raise funds. Participants can register individually or as a team & can choose to bike 10, 40, 70 or 100 miles, or walk or run in the community 5K. The combined walk-run allows individuals of all fitness levels to participate. Details: 634-3651 www.livestrongchallenge.org.
Monthly Austin Duathletes Club Run: The Austin Duathletes meet monthly at RunTex Riverside for a coached track, hill, or tempo workout. Club membership is $20 per year. Details: Panther <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.austinduathletes.com.
Mondays 6:30pm free Austin Runners Club Monday Night Run: Meet for weekly group run with various paces. Distance is 4-5 miles & hilly. Carry your own water. Murchison Middle School parking lot, 3700 North Hills. Group leader Matt Swinney. Details: Matt <email@example.com> www.austinrunners.org.
Wednesdays 5:30 & 5:45pm free Barton Creek Greenbelt Runs: Hill Country Trail Runners meet 5:30pm for Gazelles, 5:45pm for Slow Pokes, at Hill of Life. Gazelles run 7-10 mile loops, Slow Pokes take the 7 mile loop. There is no drinking water on the trail. Water crossings on a seasonal basis. Details: Gazelles: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Slow Pokes: <email@example.com> www.hillcountrytrailrunners.com.
Wednesdays 6:30pm free Austin Runners Club Group Run: Meet at Schlotzsky’s Deli, 5105 Balcones Woods Dr., for runs of various paces & distances. Group leader Cheri Woldt. Details: Cheri <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.austinrunners.org.
Saturdays 7am free Austin Runners Club: Al’s Ship of Fools Morning Run: Meet zero-mile marker on Town Lake Trail, south shore by gazebo at Auditorium Shores, just west of the 1st Street Bridge, for a run of various paces & distances, some on Town Lake Trail, some in hilly residential areas. Group leaders Al & Sandy Cumming <email@example.com> Details: www.austinrunners.org.
Saturdays 7am Paul’s Twenty-Six-Two Long Run: Meet Lake Austin Asthma & Allergy Clinic, 2203 Lake Austin Blvd. Note: Runners should not park in that lot, but park nearby & meet in the parking lot. This is a beginner’s long run group that takes in distances of 5 to 20-plus miles. Group leader Paul Carmona. Details: <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.austinrunners.org.
Oct. 5 Su noon $59 The Great Urban Race: One-of-a-kind urban adventure. Teams of 2 solve clues & complete challenges while navigating thru the city & using public transit. It’s a scavenger hunt, road race & wandering party, all rolled into one heck of a fun day. Details: Joe Reynolds 800-487-6817 <email@example.com> www.greaturbanrace.com/register08_austin.html
Oct. 25 Sa 8:30am $10-$20 Concordia 5K Luth-A-Run: Held in conjunction with homecoming. Entrants will receive a souvenir T-shirt. Runners will register in 1 of 3 age categories: 24 & under, 25-40 & over 40. Prizes will be awarded to the first 2 male & female runners in each age division (card timing). Refreshments available. Lobby of the Fieldhouse on the Concordia University Texas campus, 11400 Concordia University Dr. Details: 313-5509 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.concordia.edu
Nov. 8 Sa 8am $15-$20 Shake a Leg at the Lake 5K: The 3rd annual 5K run-walk & 1K Family Mosey. Lakeway Swim Center, 3103 Lakeway Blvd. Lakeway. Details: 658-8889 <eric@PASsportsmarketing.com> www.runtex.com/web/2-2178.asp.
Oct. 4-Oct. 5 Sa-Su 8am $75 Leukemia Cup Regatta Charity Event: Join sailboat enthusiasts from around the state for this exciting 2-day competitive event. Participants who raise funds are eligible for prizes such as a Fantasy Sail with world-renowned sailor Gary Jobson. Proceeds support lifesaving research to help cure blood cancers. Austin Yacht Club, 5906 Beacon Dr. Details: 491-6610 x36 <Debbie.Wilkinson@lls.org> www.lls.org/austinregatta.a
Wednesdays 6:30pm Hill Country Inline Club: This nonprofit recreational fitness skating club encourages all levels, promotes skating & provides a safe, fun environment for skaters. Join us for the Weekly Back to Basics Skate. Veloway at Slaughter Creek Metropolitan Park, 6401 W. Slaughter Ln. Details: Nicole Fisher 292-9942 www.hillcountryinlineclub.com. Read a story about inline skating at www.goodlifemag.com/archives/2007/10-07/10-07_Get-Rolling.pdf
Thursdays Oct. 2-30 5-7pm free Austin Skiers Happy Hour: Come mingle, socialize & have fun with old & new friends who are ski & sports enthusiasts. Enjoy Oktoberfest celebration with appetizer & drink specials. The Bakehouse International Restaurant, 5404 Manchaca at Stassney. Details: 317-0014 <email@example.com> www.austinskiers.org.
Oct. 14 Tu 6:30pm Austin Skiers General Meeting: Come join the Austin Skiers learn about the new trip selections for the 2008-2009 ski season. Meet the trip leaders who will coordinate & provide information about the new trips & sign up to reserve your spot. Meet friends & enjoy free appetizers & door prizes. Free parking available. Visitors welcomed. Sun & Ski Sports, 2338 W. Anderson Ln. Details: 317-0014 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.austinskiers.org.
Daily: Heart of Texas Overeaters Anonymous: 12-step program for compulsive overeaters, bulimics & anorexics. No dues, fees, or weigh-ins. Multiple meetings every day thruout Austin. Details: 327-2802 www.main.org/hotig.
Wednesdays 6:30pm free Hepatitis C Support Group: Patients & their families welcome. Hyde Park United Methodist Church 4001 Speedway. Details: Pam Seboldt 894-0646.
Fridays-Saturdays noon Al-Anon: Help for Families & Friends of Alcoholics: Why be alone? 601 Braker Ln. Details: For other meeting locations & times call 441-8591 www.texas-al-anon.org.
Fridays 6-8:30pm free Navigating Breast Cancer Together: Breast Cancer Resource Center of Austin provides this orientation program to give women newly diagnosed with breast cancer & primary support partners the information, tools & support needed to successfully navigate the breast cancer experience. Details: 472-1738 ext. 100 for reservations.
Saturdays 9am Compulsive Eaters Anonymous-HOW: 12-step program to help individuals recover from food addiction. Faith United Methodist Church 2701 S. Lamar, Alpha classroom. Details: Ana W. 912-7872.
Adult Dyslexia Support Group: Usually meets 6:30-8:30pm 3rd Tu each month. The Scottish Rite Learning Center of Austin, which provides therapy at no charge to children with dyslexia & training for educators & therapists in Central Texas, formed this support group. The purpose is to share ideas, experiences & resources. Meetings will be facilitated by a clinical psychologist or clinical social worker. 1622 E. Riverside Dr. Please RSVP: Details: 472-1231 www.ScottishRiteLearningCenter.org.
Alamo Celiac, Gluten Intolerance Group: A support group for those with celiac disease & those on a gluten-free diet. Cambridge Towers, 1801 Lavaca. Details: Francie Kelley 301-2224 <email@example.com> alamoceliac.org.
American Cancer Society helps people with cancer & their families in every Texas community via a toll-free number 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Details: 1-800-ACS-2345 www.cancer.org.
Austin Lupus Support Group: Usually meets 6:30-7:30pm 1st Tu each month to provide support to patients & families. Also works to educate community & fund-raise. Gateway Church 7104 McNeil Dr. Details: Patti 217-6826 www.freewebs.com/austinlupus/home.htm.
Phone Training for Speech-Disabled: Speak Up Texas!: Outreach program sponsored by Public Utility Commission of Texas. Increases awareness & use of Speech-to-Speech relay services. Training shows how to use operator to give as much help as necessary during a phone call when at least one person has speech disability. Overcome the fear of not being understood while using the phone & learn how to communicate more effectively. Works on communication strategies, skills & articulation. Services provided under contract with the PUC. Details: 1-8-SPEAK-UP-TX (1-800-325-8789) toll-free <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.speakuptexas.com.
Oct. 4 Sa 9am NAMI 5K Walk: For the Mind of America: NAMI Walks benefit the National Alliance on Mental Illness & the mental health awareness programs & services for thousands of families around the country. NAMI programs include support, education & advocacy involving schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder & severe anxiety disorders. Auditorium Shores on Lady Bird Lake, Riverside Dr. & S. 1st St. Details: 420-9810 www.namiaustin.org/namiwalks/TX/Austin.
Oct. 18 Sa 8am-noon free 2008 Austin Start! Heart Walk 5K: Noncompetitive walking event designed to bring public awareness to physical activity & a heart-healthy lifestyle, while at the same time, raising the critical dollars needed to fund the life-saving mission of the American Heart Association. Front of Texas State Capitol, 11th & Congress Ave. Details: Emily Torres 433-4022 <email@example.com> www.americanheart.org/austinwalk.
Oct. 18 Sa 6pm free Light the Night Walk: A unique evening event for the whole family to celebrate & commemorate lives touched by cancer. Participants carry illuminated red balloons while survivors & patients carry white balloons. Proceeds benefit Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Central Texas. Dell Children’s Medical Center, 4900 Mueller Blvd. Details: (512) 491-6610, ext. 30 <Whitney.Musitano@lls.org> www.lightthenight.org.
Oct. 19 Su AIDS Walk Austin: This year’s goal is to raise $175,000. Each year thousands of Austinites participate to show their support for HIV-AIDS organizations & their friends & neighbors these organizations serve. This year’s walk features a new route beginning & ending at Austin City Hall. Cross Lady Bird Lake, walk Auditorium Shores, cross the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, head into the heart of downtown Austin & return. You can register on-line, form a team, create your own web page & manage your fund-raising efforts on the site. We can make a difference. Go Walk. Details: 406-6157 www.aidswalkaustin.org.
Volksmarch: The Colorado River Walkers web site lists several self-guided walks you can take year-round in Austin, Georgetown, Pflugerville & Round Rock. All start at prominent public places & cover well described routes. Details: Stephanie Menteer 832-8546 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.io.com/~zenteer/crw & click on the link for “Year Round Events.”
Tuesdays & Thursdays 8-9am free Women’s Walking: Women’s walking is part of the Las Mujeres program. We will warmup at the studio, go for a little walk & then stretch. Low-impact, slow workout. This class is geared toward ladies of all ages. If you feel out of shape or haven’t worked out in some time, this is the class for you. EsquinaTango, 209 Pedernales St. Details: 524-2772 <email@example.com> www.esquinatangoaustin.com.
Saturdays 10:30-11:30am $12 Salsa Aerobics: Move to the fun beat of Salsa Aerobics. Learn sexy footwork & flirty hips while you sweat. Available to all ages & all levels. $40/month. EsquinaTango,209 Pedernales St. Details: 524-2772 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.esquinatangoaustin.com.
Oct. 16 Th 7-8:30pm free Impact Women’s Self Defense Informational Session: Come learn more about the program that has been the leading innovator in personal defense for over 30 years. RegainYourTime.com is joining forces with Houston’s premiere defensive training company, Professional Defense Solutions International, to host a women’s self-defense course, called Impact, on the weekend of Nov. 21-23. RSVP. Details: 693-8530 <email@example.com> www.impactpresentation.eventbrite.com.
Oct. 28 Tu 6:30pm Texas Outdoor Women’s Network Austin Chapter: Meets 4th Tu each month. Open to women of all ages interested in outdoor activities. Fishing, kayaking, camping, hiking & more. This month, Sue Whisenhunt, the Volunteer Services Manager from Girl Scouts of Central Texas will present a knots-tying workshop. LCRA Red Bud Center, at the corner of Red Bud Trail & Lake Austin Blvd., Rm. 225. Details: June Appril 922-5718 www.townaustin.org.
Women’s Self-Defense Classes: Turn fear & reactivity into an effective survival response. Simple & powerful movements help you learn awareness & avoidance skills, mental & emotional conditioning & escape strategies. Contact for dates & times. Austin Martial Arts Academy at The Hills Fitness Center, 4615 Bee Cave Rd. Details: 327-2900 www.austinmartialarts.com.
Monday-Thursdays $10-$15 Integral Yoga Hatha Classes: Classes consist of asanas (yoga poses), deep relaxation, pranayama (breathing practices), chanting & meditation. integral Yoga is suitable for complete beginners & is taught in an easeful, highly meditative manner. Students are guided to a deep level of physical & mental well-being, vitality & relaxation, promoting flexibility, strength & health. Instruction by Karly Branch, Karuna Kreps & Vimala Devi at ATMA Studio Centre, 1700 Ashby. Details: Vimala Devi 797-0018 www.netingenuity.com/yoga.
• M 5:30 & 7:15pm
• Tu-Th 5:30pm
Tuesdays-Saturdays: Hatha Flow & Vinyasa Yoga: With Pamela Brewer. Free with a purchase at the café. All levels. Bring a mat, some provided. Ruta Maya Café 3601-D S. Congress. Details: 707-9637 www.rutamaya.net.
• Tu & Th 9am
• W & F 8am
• Sa noon
Wednesdays 7-8:15pm $15 (or pay what you can) Yoga for a Healthy Back: Yoga exercises to strengthen & stretch the low back. Remedy Center for the Healing Arts, 4910 Burnet Rd. Details: 452-6623 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.austinyogaforhealth.com.
Wednesdays & Saturdays W 6pm, Sa 4:30pm $8 Yoga Classes with Nina Perales: Stretch, bend, breathe, sweat & smile. Nina will open your body & open your soul as she shares epiphanies of her day & challenges you to some strengthening yoga. Classes accessible to any level of experience & tends to be more movement & flow. Drop-ins welcome. All levels, all ages, all hearts, all minds. EsquinaTango, 209 Pedernales St. Details: 524-2772 <email@example.com> www.esquinatangoaustin.com.
Thursdays 11am-12:15pm $15 (or pay what you can) Yoga for Strong Bones: Yoga exercises to benefit those with (or at risk for) osteoporosis. Remedy Center for the Healing Arts, 4910 Burnet Rd. Details: 452-6623 <firstname.lastname@example.org> www.austinyogaforhealth.com.
Thursdays 6:30-7:45pm Hatha Yoga: Emphasizes building strength, increased flexibility & developing balance. Students of all levels are welcome. Breath, flow & adaptation of asana are emphasized to bring ease & a challenge to your asana practice. The Hills Fitness Center, 4615 Bee Caves Rd. Details: 327-4881 www.thehillsfitness.com.
Sundays 6-7:15pm pay-what-you-can to $15 All Levels Yoga & Meditation: Beginners welcome. Remedy Center for the Healing Arts, 4910 Burnet Rd. Details: 452-6623 <email@example.com> www.austinyogaforhealth.com.