Texas Book Festival: 2019

The annual Texas Book Festival was held in and around the Texas State Capitol this past weekend. Sessions took place inside the Capitol building and under huge, white tents on 11th Street, Colorado Street, and Congress Avenue. Nearby church sanctuaries were also used for the most popular authors. Since the Paramount and State theaters were being used for the Austin Film Festival, the most popular authors spoke in nearby churches.

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ACL Fest: 2019

Weekend One of the 2019 Austin City Limits Music Festival was a real scorcher. I’m not only talking about the music (great, as usual), but also the weather. Afternoon temperatures reached 96°F, 97°F, and 99°F for the three days. Bill and I attended ACL Fest on Friday, and we can testify that the heat was brutal for the musicians as well as for the festival goers.

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Texas Tribune Festival: 2019

This was my third year at the Texas Tribune Festival, and without a doubt, 2019 was the biggest and most interesting Festival. The overarching topic was last week’s announcement of an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Once again, TribFest was centered on and around Congress Avenue in downtown Austin. I saw four of the five Democratic presidential candidates who attended the Festival: Pete Buttegieg, Beto O’Rourke, Michael Bennet and Julian Castro. (I missed Amy Kobluchar.) I saw one US Senator (Ted Cruz), one US Representative (Michael Bennet), one 2019 UN Environment award winner (Katharine Hayhoe), several Texas state legislators, and lots of journalists and pundits.

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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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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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Texas Tribune Festival: 2018

This year’s Texas Tribune Festival was moved from the UT campus to downtown Austin. I thought this new location worked out well. The venues were centered around the Texas Tribune’s new headquarters on Congress Avenue. Most of my sessions were in the Paramount Theatre—that wasn’t my original plan, but two separate rainstorms forced me to go with the driest options.

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