Motown: The Sound of Young America

Motown: The Sound of Young America is now on display at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin. This exhibit was curated by the GRAMMY Museum in celebration of the 60th anniversary of Motown Records. Its focus is generally on the 1960s (coinciding with LBJ’s presidency), what the label now calls “Classic Motown.” There are also a few recent highlights, including excerpts from “The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House” held in 2011 during the Obama presidency. The exhibit remains at the LBJ Library through January 26, 2020.

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Brick Fiesta: 2019

The annual statewide Lego convention, Brick Fiesta, rotated back to Austin last week. Since the last show held here in 2015 (so long ago now!), I have been dutifully dragging Bill to every Lego movie. Sometimes I spontaneously start singing Everything is Awesome. I search out Lego stores and am especially fond of the one in NYC’s Rockefeller Center. So I was pumped to see the latest Brick Fiesta exhibition. And I was not disappointed, even though I might have been the only adult visitor without children.

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ABIA Update

Yes, I’ve been very delinquent, and a blog entry is long overdue. I’ve been traveling quite a bit recently, so I decided to get back into a blogging habit with an update on the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (aka “ATX”). The airport celebrated its 20th anniversary in May and also set a record for most passengers in one month (over 1.5 million). As a twenty-something, it was clearly time for a makeover.

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HONK!TX: 2019

This weekend was the annual HONK!TX festival of community street bands. Almost 30 bands participated this year. Many were from Austin, but ten other U.S. cities and two countries (Brazil and El Salvador) were represented. I was able to attend two days: Friday evening at Mueller Lake Park and Saturday afternoon at Hemphill Park. Friday’s picture-perfect weather contributed to big crowds at Mueller. After a mid-morning cold front arrived, Saturday audiences seemed a little smaller than usual. It’s hard to pick from the 19 bands that I heard, but I think my three favorites were Extraordinary Rendition Band, Big Blitz, and Minor Mishap Marching Band.

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New Monuments for New Cities

Austin is one of five cities participating in New Monuments for New Cities. This public art program is sponsored by the High Line Network, which started with The High Line in New York City (one of my favorite destinations there) and has now expanded to include projects in over 16 North American cities. Austin’s Waller Creek restoration is part of the High Line Network of urban parks.

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SXSW 2019: Reflections

It’s time to write a little more about South by Southwest 2019 now that I’ve recovered. This year’s conference was unusual because the dates did not line up with spring break week for the University of Texas. (Most local schools also follow the UT calendar.) As a result, I heard there was a shortage of SXSW volunteers and that Austin traffic was terrible. I don’t know the official SXSW attendance numbers, but the music venues were definitely less crowded.

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SXSW: March 16 2019

Saturday was my last day at SXSW 2019. Bill and I started our morning with cinnamon rolls from Upper Crust Bakery, thoughtfully delivered to downtown Royal Blue Grocery stores. (Yes, this treat alone can make for a Happy SXSW.) On Saturday, I watched one more excellent documentary, visited the Flatstock poster show, and fit in as much music as possible. A few SXSW events continue into Sunday, such as Gaming and the Music Closing Party. Bill always goes to the Sunday BBQ and softball tournament, but nine days of SXSW are enough for me!

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SXSW: March 15 2019

Temperatures were cooler on Friday, so I tried to stay indoors as much as possible. In the morning, I saw an excellent documentary, The River and the Wall, at The Paramount. I stayed at the Austin Convention Center in the afternoon, visiting the Day Stages and SXSW Gaming. My low-key evening was spent listening to featured Yamaha guitarists at Central Presbyterian.

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