The O. Henry Pun-Off celebrated 40 years of crazy pun-and-fun last Saturday at Austin’s downtown O. Henry Museum. The Pun-Off has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and most recently in Smithsonian Magazine.
The new South Terminal is now open at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. As its name suggests, this building is on the southern side of the airport’s expansive property. South Terminal cannot be accessed directly from the main airport entrance on Rt. 71. Instead, you must take Rt. 183 south (of the Rt. 71 intersection), turn left onto Burleson Road, and then make another left onto Emma Browning Avenue. This route wasn’t well-marked when I traveled, but perhaps better signage has been installed now. A shuttle bus runs between the two terminals, but there’s plenty of inexpensive parking at South Terminal (maximum: $7 per day). The parking lot does not have an attendant, so only credit cards are accepted at the exit.
I’m happy to report that the HOPE Outdoor Gallery is still thriving at Baylor and 11th Streets. This outdoor community paint park is on the site of an abandoned condo project. The site’s many concrete walls are perfect for creating large-scale street art. The place is managed (but not owned) by the non-profit, Helping Other People Everywhere (HOPE).
Last weekend our city hosted the 7th annual HONK!TX festival of community street bands. Eleven of the 25 bands were from Austin. On Friday evening, the bands played along South Congress. Saturday afternoon’s festivities centered around Adams Hemphill Park and Spider House Cafe. Sunday morning’s parade was cancelled due to thunderstorms, but the front moved through quickly, and an All Band Revue was held in Pan Am Park.
Over 125 local and national artists participated in last weekend’s Art City Austin. Sponsored by Art Alliance Austin, this three-day fine arts festival was again held at the Palmer Events Center. This was a huge improvement from those painful years when the festival shut down the streets around Austin City Hall.
Beautiful spring weather was on tap for the 60th annual Zilker Garden Festival. One of the vendors told me that the weather has been wonderful for the ten years that she’s had a booth there. The annual Zilker Kite Festival, also held in Zilker Park few weeks earlier, has not been so fortunate in recent years.
Block Party Time! Last Saturday The Blanton Museum of Art threw a big party and opened up their doors—and their lawn—to the public. The Blanton was celebrating the remodeling / reopening of their upstairs galleries, plus the opening of a new temporary exhibit on the first floor.
Well, another South by Southwest has come and gone. The Big Sick was my top Film pick, followed by May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers and Bill Nye: Science Guy. Although I went to some technology sessions, my favorite Interactive sessions were all related to politics: NYT editor Dean Baquet, NJ Senator Cory Booker, and a panel discussion with Dan Rather, Katy Tur, Matthew Dowd and Brian Stelter. In recent years, Interactive has ended on Tuesday, but this year SXSW organizers decided to extend those sessions for two more days. As a result, I didn’t see as much music as usual, but I did enjoy the Avett Brothers, Lady Antebellum, and local musician Gina Chavez. And I’d like to share some other interesting experiences from SXSW 2017…