Archive for the ‘City Life’ Category

Veterans’ Day: parade with flying colors

On the eleventh day of the eleventh month, it was a glorious day for a parade to observe Veterans’ Day. As always the valiant Cardinal band from Del Valle marched and played, and all welcomed the returned 36th Infantry Division Band. The image here shows the flag flying from a crane near the start of the parade, which began on the bridge and proceeded up Congress to the Capitol. Other diversion was provided by a picturesque person on a bicycle who did a good bit of shouting and told a police officer (at a rather high volume and close to the officer’s face), “It’s not against the law to yell.” Pictures of the parade taken by a toy camera and unedited videos convey only a bit of this spirited event.

Welcome home!

Congress Avenue was made for parades; the Welcome Home, Iraq Veterans parade was made for Congress Avenue. On July 7, we marched up Congress Avenue to the Capitol grounds and then we returned on foot all the way back to the downtown side of the bridge. Many of us followed the wonderful band of the 36th Infantry Division of Camp Mabry, which sounds better than ever. It’s been a long time since we were privileged to hear this outfit. What spirit the band brought to the occasion! Five brass Sousaphones! Trombones out front! Mere pictures and videos cannot capture the event, but they’re souvenirs to remind us of the day and all the volunteers who created the tribute. Thank you!

Juneteenth parade a spirited event

This year’s Juneteenth parade brought together the largest number of club riders on gaited horses that most of us have ever seen in one place at one time. Missing dignitaries were Austin mayor Leffingwell and council-members Riley and Cole. The elected officials drawing the greatest positive response at our viewing point across from the Fresh Up Club sign were the county judge, the county sheriff, and precinct constable Danny Thomas. Only one marching band turned out, the Greater Houston All Star Band. The percussionists of Spirit of the Drum made lively music, and the ladies drawing sweet music from the pans were most welcome. Volunteers seeking voters to register were having a degree of success. We talked to four of them and saw more; they were covering the entire parade route. The best prize seen was a bouncy soccer-style ball bestowed on a child very happy to receive it. We came home with a new supply of souvenir fans to take to other free Austin hot-weather events and to cool us in the yard when we escape the non-air-conditioned confines of the house this summer. Toy-camera photos and unedited videos give only a hint of the always joyous occasion of the annual Juneteenth parade.

Times change, Austin Java

Early Saturday we were debating where to go for a late breakfast, Austin Java came up. When I first came to Austin in 2004, Austin Java down on Barton Springs was a joy, eclectic, fun staff, interesting customers, wifi and endless coffee as well as some tasty food and great salads.

Back sometime I think in 2009 it changed to table service. In the “good ole days” you showed up, ordered and paid at the counter, they gave you a number, you found a table and either eat and left, or eat and stayed. Either way, it was simple transaction. I stopped going when they switched top table service, I met early one Thursday with Keith and Dan to discuss arrangements for an upcoming event. The visit went like this… Find a table, wait for menus, wait to order, wait for food, wait for check, wait for credit card processing and then constant “can I get anything else requests”. Even in an efficient, less waiting process, it was still 5-step transaction.

So, Saturday with my guest we decided to pass. Early Saturday evening we walked down from deepest Bouldin Creek, did a bit of the trail, the footbridge and decided to head to Shady Grove for dinner, we emerged from around the back of the new apartment building, between Uncle Billys and Austin Java, Uncle Billys seemed packed, Austin Java, not so much tables available inside and out the front. Around at Shady Grove there was a 25-minute wait for a table indoors and longer for outdoors, we waited.

So whats up with Austin Java, anyone else? Are the other Austin Java’s on 12th and Lamar and at City Hall table service? Is there something else at play here?

Hudson River school of painting: last day for this show

Today’s the very last day for a wonderful traveling exhibition at the Blanton Museum. There’s still time to get there before it closes at five.

It’s called “American Scenery: Different Views in Hudson River School Painting.” Views of the Susquehanna, Hudson, Saco, and other rivers and panoramas of Niagara, Lake George, Saranac astonish in their beauty. The 119 works of art are for the most part quite small, and the frames are as interesting as the art displayed within them. There’s always instructional material in addition to the labels mounted on the walls; look in the slots in the middle of the banks of benches in the exhibition halls.

The Blanton cafe and gift shop are worth visits for their own sake. There’s a gift in every price range for every age: books, toys, stationery, tabletop items, and much, much more.

Cinco de mayo conjunto fest

Fiestas Patrias for el cinco de mayo this year was two days; we had to choose one and were glad that the Sunday weather and the Sunday conjunto music made us and everyone happy, happy, happy! This is an annual event for all ages, and all ages were out on the dance floor.

The talented UT conjunto led off the program, followed by Los Pinkys, Los Texas Wranglers, Henry Zimmerle, Santiago Jimenez, Jr., and many, many more.

See toy-camera images and unedited videos, and make a place on your calendar for this event in 2013. You’ll be so glad you did!

Train-o-mania 2012

The steam locomotive didn’t make it as far as Austin, but there’s a great big powerful post-WWII E-9 Streamliner hauling the Union Pacific special train that arrived in Austin today, right on time. Visit this special train at the Amtrak station all day tomorrow, Wednesday, April 18; from 10 am to 5 pm, there’ll be an open house on the train. Watch it depart Thursday, 19 April, day after tomorrow, at 8 am, if all goes according to schedule. It will head south from the Amtrak station, cross the railroad bridge over the river, and then run along the Butler Park pitch-and-putt course.

Steam locomotive 844 was in Austin six years ago in May and was a majestic sight arriving and departing, but this newer locomotive is a handsome exemplar of industrial might, too.

A few more toy-camera images and some unedited videos of today’s arrival are available.

The current special train goes on to San Marcos, where the mayor will greet its arrival and a band will play. Thereafter, it will spend a few days in San Antonio for Fiesta, before moving on to Houston and, eventually, to New Orleans.

Honk!TX: honk if you love it

Music and spectacle, all free; what more could anyone want on a beautiful spring day! Honk!TX community bands paraded from east to west this year, instead of from west to east as was done last year–beginning at Pan Am park instead of disbanding there.

We kept to the east side of IH-35 again this year, where the streets are shadier and quieter and more peaceful, and we’re not sorry that we did. Two art bicycles turned out again. Music was accompanied by stilt walkers, twirlers of hula hoops, and figures on sticks (see picture).

Here’s a list of the bands participating; Austin’s own Minor Mishap Marching Band took the lead.

Here are some still images, and YouTube is a good place to search for unedited and edited videos. Anyone who missed this weekend festival lost out on a happy Austin time.

JMueller BBQ: classic for carnivores

If there’s anything at all worth waiting in line for, it’s brisket at JMueller BBQ. Today’s was the first taste, because we do not wait in line for anything, no matter how wonderful. We happened to be there soon after opening this morning and were at the head of the line. There is call-ahead takeout, very much worth considering.

Next tine, we’ll take some sausage. Today was for feasting on the brisket, which had a deep smoke ring and not a hint of ketchup to be tasted in the rub. We enjoy it wiithout sauce, but did taste the JMueller house accompaniment, which was one-of-a-kind and quite mysterious, again without a hint of ketchup, and very tasty taken straight.

JMueller BBQ is to be found at 1502 South First. The schedule, according to the Web site, is from Wednesday through Sunday, and from 10:30 am to sell-out. Call 229-7366 with an order and pick it up in a speedy separate line.

Texas Independence Day parade

Texas Independence Day was yesterday, but the Texas Independence Day parade was today.

Spirits were high, even though turnout was low, perhaps because of the blustery weather. This longhorn was a great favorite of the crowd. We all loved the East Side Panther Band.

We’ve never seen so many replicas of the “Come and take it” Gonzalez flag in one place. See some and images of more parade participants here.

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