Farewell, HOPE Outdoor Gallery (for now)

I’m sad to report that the HOPE Outdoor Gallery is closing today. This popular graffiti park was open for eight years on an abandoned condo site at Baylor and 11th Streets. Condos are finally being built there—not surprising since that view of the Austin skyline is spectacular. The gallery is being relocated to Carson Creek Ranch, about 10 miles from downtown near the Austin Bergstrom airport. Construction is already underway, and a summer 2019 opening is planned.

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Gingerbread Village at the Four Seasons: 2018

Just before the holidays, Bill and I made our annual pilgrimage to the Gingerbread Village at the Four Seasons Austin. This year’s theme was “White Christmas.” The village featured a replica of Austin City Hall that was surrounded by houses representing the various neighborhoods around Austin. Proceeds from the sale of the buildings benefitted People’s Community Clinic.

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EAST: 2018

The East Austin Studio Tour (EAST), produced by non-profit Big Medium, was held during two weekends in November. This year’s tour included 272 artist studios, 65 galleries, 194 temporary exhibitions, 44 “happenings” and 10 libraries. All were east of the I-35 highway. I went “EASTing” during both weekends and even made two stops in-between:

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Texas Book Festival: 2018

The 2018 Texas Book Festival was bigger and better than ever. This free annual event benefits Texas libraries. The Festival was primarily held in the Texas State Capitol and under large tents in the surrounding streets. Some of the more popular sessions were located in the nearby Paramount Theater and First United Methodist Church. Once again, the CSPAN tent was set up on 12th Street with a view of the Capitol building in the background. The Children and Young Adult tents stretched southward on Congress Avenue for several blocks. The weekend weather was beautiful. The Festival was crowded on Saturday, but not so much on Sunday. Here’s who I saw at this year’s Texas Book Festival:

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ACL Fest – Day 2: 2018

On Saturday, Bill and I delayed our ACL Fest arrival until mid-afternoon—after a rainstorm had passed through and the UT-Oklahoma football game ended. The festival grounds didn’t seem crowded for a Saturday. We wondered if the continuing threat of rain had scared people away, or if folks had bought weekend tickets just to see Paul McCartney on Friday night. In any case, we were able to see more bands than we typically see on an ACL Saturday. My favorite acts were Brandi Carlile and Residente, but I was also impressed by Chvrches and St. Vincent.

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ACL Fest – Day 1: 2018

The first weekend of the 2018 Austin City Limits Music Festival is underway! Fridays are always our favorite day of the festival. Since the crowds are smaller, food lines are shorter and it’s easier to get up close to the stages. The day’s forecasted rain never materialized, so the afternoon was surprisingly sunny and hot. Friday’s lineup was stellar, perhaps the best ever. Of course, Paul McCartney’s over-two-hours headliner set was our favorite, but David Byrne was a close second.

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