Archive for September, 2006

Adventures as an Extra: Untitled Kimberly Peirce Project

My latest adventure was playing a soldier on the new Untitled Kimberly Peirce film. We were playing the other soldiers in the platoon with the lead actors, Ryan Phillippe, Channing Tatum,and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It started with a costume fitting where I was outfitted with 5 different costumes for 9 different days of filming. This was definitely cooler than most “extra” gigs since most of the time you’re just bringing your own clothes and don’t receive this level of attention.

New Developments in Las Manitas, Escuelita, Marriott

The city council sent a letter to J.W. Marriot following his comments last week about the proposed hotel development on the 200 block of Congress and its current tenants. Check out the Save Las Manitas / Escuelita Del Alma news section for all of the media coverage to date. The Chronicle has a story this week as well and Statesman coverage is here.

There’s a benefit happy hour for Escuelita and Las Manitas today 5:30pm – 7:30pm at Copa Bar and Grill (same block as Escuelita and Las Manitas, between Escuelita and La Pena).

Full disclosure: I’ve had at least one child at Escuelita nearly since its opening in 1999 or 2000. I’m very close to the business and my kids are fed Las Manitas for lunch when they are at the daycare. I’m also one of the volunteer parents responsible for the web site. I understand that we need to develop downtown and I want development downtown. I also want affordable daycare and local businesses to stay downtown. This is the position of most of the parents at Escuelita and the position of the daycare’s owner. There should be room for compromise and I think that’s all the council is trying to facilitate.

Tonight Only: See a Movie, Help Charity

KVUE and KASE are sponsoring the Cans Film Festival tonight at participating theaters (click the link for details). For the low, low price of 3 non-perishable food items or a $3 donation to the Capital Area Food Bank, you get a free movie ticket and a free junior popcorn. Sweet!

Tits for Tots

Whether you believe in an Intelligent Designer or study the matter scientifically, you’ll agree that mother’s milk is the perfect food for infants. Only in the last couple of generations have many Americans allowed commercial interests to pervert the essentially human act of nurturing our babies.

Fortunately, in Texas, breastfeeding in public has long been protected under law. However, that has not kept mothers from being harrassed. In fact, in the last couple of decades since I breastfed my own son I’ve noticed a decline in support for breastfeeding. A woman’s breast has become increasing eroticized by the media with nipples being pixelized even on medical shows. People seem to have forgotten what breasts are for; we don’t need to protect kids from breasts–breasts are designed for kids. Luckily, Austin has restaurants like Jaime’s Spanish Village which advertise that they are breastfeeding-friendly.

If you are currently breastfeeding, consider taking part in Saturday’s Breastfeeding Challenge 2006 which is taking place simultaneously in cities all over the US and Canada. This is a family event designed to heighten awareness of the importance of breastfeeding in raising healthy children. Help take back breasts from the realm of smutty magazines and put them where they belong–in babies’ mouths.

The Mothers’ Milk Bank of Austin encourages new moms to join in so that Austin can break its own record–42 moms and 44 babies. The Breastfeeding Challenge will take place in Republic Square Park right next to the Farmers Market at 11 o’clock, Saturday, September 30th. Check in at 10:30 am at 4th and Guadalupe.

Ninth billionaire on the list

That’s where Michael Dell stands on the Forbes list of the 400 richest people in America. His nearest neighbor on the list geographically is probably Charles Butt, along with other members of the H-E-B (H. E. Butt Grocery Company) family, a distant 68, based in San Antonio with plenty of time spent here in Austin. This annual compilation is in the October 9 issue, and the Dell blurb has been updated to take into account most recent business developments.

Recalling past lives

Today’s NYT House & Home section opens with a look at current UT co-ops (On Campus, Finding Face Time in a Virtual Age: College Students Rediscover a Model of Living Popular in the 1960s, byline Ginia Bellafante). I’ve heard some very funny stories today so far and the day’s far from over yet. They date from the Split Rail, Armadillo, Rome Inn, granola and munchies era, and I won’t repeat any here. Another look at this era from Austin’s past may be found in Alamo House, by our own Sarah Bird, now garnering rave reviews for her current novel, The Flamenco Academy. Alamo House used to be subtitled “Women Without Men; Men Without Brains,” but that seems to have disappeared when the paperback edition was published. Sarah Bird is scheduled to make an appearance at the Texas Book Festival. I hope to hear a great many more funny stories before this day is over.

This looks like the worst festival EVER


Ok, its named “Thunderpalooza”… I’m sorry, but that just scrrrrreams images of mullets, muscle tees and cans of High Life.

Alright alright, maybe it’s a generation thing (after all, I grew up in the Seattle Grunge era, not the 80’s metal phase), and I should probably take it easy on all the die-hards out there- but I can assure you I will be avoiding the festival madness at Thunderhill Raceway in Kyle just like I avoided that kid in second grade who always peed on other kids.

Get a load of a few of the headliners: The Beach Boys (who, last time I accidentally saw them at an Arizona State Fair, sounded like a bunch of old guys doing bad karaoke), Eddie Money (this guy is actually touring with Rick Springfield, Loverboy and Scandal under the theme of “We are the 80’s Tour”), and Rick Derringer (yeah, that guy who sang “Hang On Sloopy”, wrote Hulk Hogan’s theme song and now makes inspirational Christian cd’s with his wife).

I have come across several websites touting this festival (taking place November 3-4) as a second cousin to the Austin City Limits (sorry, I just fell over from laughing). And to think- tickets are only $30 a day! Limited time offer, of course…

Yes it’s true– if the amazingly bad lineup of has-been (and never-will-be-again) artists isn’t enough to woo you into your cutoff jeans and David Lee Roth shirt for some hardcore rockin’- do it for the children and…uh…the boobs. Indeed, it is a benefit to “Help uninsured children in the greater Austin area AND to deploy a mobile mammography unit.”

*Sigh*, people in Texas are weird.

North Austin Gems

As an Austinite, sometimes I feel left out. I don’t work downtown; I don’t live in the ’04; I work and live in North Austin. As a North Austinite, I’ve had to travel further to get to the latest hotspots and coolest venues. I’ve had to do more work to find those uniquely Austin places that make this such a great city to live in. But found them, I have. One such place is Genuine Joe’s on Anderson Lane. Granted, Genuine Joe’s is still technically in Central Austin, it’s the north end of Central Austin and any easy distance from my house. Genuine Joe’s is a great little coffeshop, cozy and homey, but with a lovely patio and ample parking, and serving up a great decaf cappucino.

Another fun North Austin find is The Hideout Pub at Mopac and Waters Park Road. The drinks are tasty, the food is delish (for pub grub at least), and the waitstaff is friendly. There’s a great patio area if you still count smokers among your friends or if you just want to enjoy the latest cool front to hit Austin. And best of all, there’s a fantastic jukebox with just the right mix of tunes to fuel your happy hour.

What are your favorite North Austin gems?

Moto Mofos

orangecountychoppers.jpgThere’s a special place in Hell reserved for the Discovery Channel executive who greenlit “American Chopper.” If your Monday nights don’t revolve around this dysfunctional group of bickering wrench-jockeys, you might not realize that Orange County Choppers have redefined the art of custom motorcycle building into a continuous argument over how to assemble endless variations on the same raked-out hardtail design.

The Teutul family, who never met a promotion they didn’t like, have now morphed their bickering schtick into a live-action cabaret. Mikey, the least talented family member, recently announced that Austinites will soon have the priviledge of shelling out cash to watch the OCC crew produce yet another “distinctive” chopper in person. Unlike the free version in heavy rotation on Discovery, the live show [Auditorium Shores, Oct. 27-29] will feature music and various motorcycle-themed displays. And I’ll wager that the guys might be coerced into selling some of their branded merchandise, too.

It has yet to be determined how the gang will manufacture their unique brand of conflict on stage, but rest assured that Senior will find some way to light into several cast members. Attendees should prepare to hear the following statements, repeated in varying forms:

  • “This is unlike anything we’ve ever done before!”
  • “Where the hell is [insert term of abuse / Paulie]?”
  • “How are we going to make the deadline?”

Thankfully there is a charitable component to this hucksterism, with some funds going towards Brooke Army Medical Center in SA (this detail goes unmentioned on the OCC website). Despite the fact that the charity is organized by Ted Nugent’s cipher and features a laughably posed promo pic of Governor Goodhair, the auctioning of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle signed by 17 Medal of Honor recipients must still be considered a decent act for a worthwhile cause.

And unlike the OCC bike that gets raffled off, the Harley will actually be usable.

For the Love of Amy’s

What do we mean when we say “Keep Austin Weird”? We want to be able to tell stories like when Amy’s Ice Cream Crosses Three Lanes of Traffic. Via Incandragon.

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