Monthly Archives: April 2011

Springdale Farms, Digestible Feats, Sonya Cote

(Community Matters) Last night’s dinner outdoors, under the stars: Sonya Cote’s (Eastside Showroom) cooking (all from the farm, except for Sebastien Bonneu’s wild pigs) exploded dormant taste buds; Buzz Moran & the Butcher Bear titillated the mind with sound; Paula Angerstein (Paula’s Texas Spirits) provided libations – a sublime evening. And, I got to hang with Shawn Sides, Anna Jackson, Sam Webber, Katherine Catmull, Wayne Allen Brenner & Katherine Kiger as well as Graham, Ron & Hank for an evening – an extra special treat.

I’d love to attend this afternoon’s Martini Digestible Feats at Congress Bar – alas, I better catch up on work and have a drink free evening.

Holly Power Plant

(Community Matter) After emailing city manager Marc Ott recommending that the city auditor perform a review of the procurement process around the Holly Power plant, I received the following message from Rudy Garza:

I am Rudy Garza, Assistant City Manager and responding on behalf of the City Manager to your message below.  During the initial solicitation several issues and concerns were identified.  As a result, the proposals were all rejected and the solicitation was re-bid.  The evaluation matrix was recalculated with a greater emphasis on cost.  Additionally, a new evaluation panel was formed, and finally, I personally reviewed the final evaluations.  While there is understandably questions regarding the price changes, I can assure you the process has been carefully monitored and fair.  Finally, please see the attached memo from TRC.  Apparently it is the media that has stated that the former Mayor is part of the team, as TRC states that he is not and has not been on their team.  Thanks

Rudy Garza

Seems a little ridiculous to punt my recommendation to the person who’s department I recommended be independently reviewed by an auditor. Rudy included a copy of an email from Mike Holder of TRC Solutions clarifying that Mayor Gus Garcia “is not and has not served as a consultant and/or lobbyist on any past, current or future solicitations including the Holly Street Demolition contract currently pending before the City of Austin.”

I agree with today’s AAS editorial


(Community Matters) Fusebox Festival 2011 – musicians, chefs & bartenders collaborating on an evening. Last night’s Digestible Feast, Eat.Drink.Listen was created by Composer Graham Reynolds, FINO Exec Chef Jason Donoho and Mixologist Josh Loving. Of course Digestible Feast manager Hank Cathey and FINO general manager Brian Stubbs had a lot to do with the evening.

First course: an Avacado Fattoush Salad (with radish, cucumber and crispy pita) served with a White Girl cocktail (pisco, combier triple sec, lemon and tenneyson absinthe), and accompanied by The Cure.  The chef had an added challenge adhering to Graham’s vegan principles; as I’ve learned this is nearly always a welcome challenge by chefs and among the best, always yields great results – in this case using the radish, cucumber and crispy pita to achieve the texture and substance for a ceviche (was the chef’s first thought given the already selected music and cocktail).

Second course: Harissa Glazed Vegetables (quinoa, carrot-saffron puree & eggplant), Sloe Ryed (a nontraditional manhattan – equal parts – of michter’s rye whiskey, sloe gin, bonal vermouth and px sherry – going for equal parts to meet the composition’s simplicity & clarity) accompanied by Rejected Beauty. This was my favorite in all senses – Graham’s original composition (all 3 were original and selected from 6 he submitted to the mixologist and chef) a richly classic, clean & crisp movement accompanied by a bass and drums.

Dessert was a Conconut Panna Cotta, served with a Blood & Sand (grouse scotch, orange juice, cocchi vermouth and cherry heering) and accompanied by Graham’s Spanish Spy Movie. All three were fun and explosive

My friend Sonya Cote, chef from Eastside Showroom, was at the dinner. She’s the guest chef for tonight’s Delectable Feast at Springdale Farms.

Springdale Farms hosts Chef Sonya Cote of East Side Showroom, sound engineer and Foley artist Buzz Moran, and musician and composer Ben Webster AKA Butcher Bear as they mic and mix the entire process, from food prep to the sighs and moans of satisfaction, creating tantalizing tastes for the ears. Chef Cote’s feast will feature only locally sourced, happily raised produce and meats. Locavores and sound nerds unite!

Tonight won’t be vegan. Sonya told me she’s already deboned ferral hogs – there’ll be one per table. Tickets still available. After, surprise at the Marfa Public Radio sponsored Late Night at Seaholm

The Doctor, The Nurse, The Competition & The Patient

(Community Matters) The Doctor, The Nurse, The Competition and The Patient – Steven’s new monologue inspired by his visits to People’s Community Clinic. He’s presenting this monologue at today’s luncheon at the Renaissance Arboretum.

Update: my husband is a rock star! knocked it out of the park

The Bipartisan March to Fiscal Madness

(Community Matters) David Stockman in the NYTimes

ES perspective: Not sure I’m ready to start publicly saying higher taxes for the middle class, though I get the math and don’t completely disagree

Everyone likes to consider themselves middle class and above and this proposition could scare more people than necessary

Considering that recent studies show it costs $60k for a family of four to live a no-frills middle class lifestyle, I think we should consider interjecting that families making $100k and above might need to share in the revenue burden

Families earning under $100k (families, not individuals) are already bearing a disproportionate share of the burden – and will bear more as gov’t services, financial aid, entitlements, etc are cut

Won’t surprise you I’m not completely philosophically opposed to class warfare – in fact, it is being played by the Koch brothers and many others who are stacking the deck to allow companies and individuals to continue gaining on the back of other Americans. The Kock brothers are all about enhancing their ability to cast off business costs as externalities to be borne by society while they rake in more and more cash. There are lots of examples of the tax and regulatory code now tilted way too far to pro-biz and pro-wealthy. I mean seriously, look at financial institution shareholder bailout. The American public has literally assumed the downside while taking no claim to the upside – and it’s not very much of middle America who benefits from this. There is class warfare underway and the middle & lower classes are losing

Supply side is bullshit. Seriously, it’s like trickledown economics. In the early 80s, I hung out for months with the R Party head of communications and other high-level R operatives who popularized the term and who laughed that Americans believed it.

Nevertheless, the deficit and imbalance in our revenue & expense models are threats to our future and Americans would benefit from a call to sacrifice (combined with a call to service, preferably)

At our church, we overbuilt and over spent. We find ourselves in a threatening financial situation. Some are inclined to bail us out. I argue otherwise. Instead, we’re calling on the congregation do just a little bit more if they are able, and we’re coming together to handle the landscaping/maintenance, child care and other church services. It’s bringing our congregation together in a way we haven’t seen since the days we were 1/3 the size. Through shared sacrifice and a rededication to mission, we’re becoming stronger and more of a community. As a country, we have the same opportunity.

I’ve Never Been So Happy

(Community Matters) I’ve Never Been So Happy – yes, it could be just me saying but in fact it’s the name of the Rude Mechanicals’ new musical.

Steven, Brent Huggins (our college junior cousin from OK) & I attended the Rude’s gala and performance last night.

I know there are a bunch of metaphors layered into the funny, whimsical, saucy musical written by Kirk Lynn (who’s national profile as a playwright is on a constant rise) and directed by Lana Lesley & Thomas Graves. Peter Stopschinski wrote the music, – I can just hear Peter & Kirk laughing their heads off as they were creating the piece. Kirk and his award-winning poet/wife Carrie Fountain sat next two us – Kirk laughing big (along with most of the audience) throughout the play. It dawned on me that the playwright laughing big must be a good sign. Steven does this. I think I’ve tried to shush him, wrongly believing people shouldn’t laugh so big at their own jokes. Though, of course I love Steven’s big belly laugh – he & Kirk were both doing so last night.

Paul Soileau and Jenny Larson were outstanding as Sigfried and Annabelle, the two “dachshunds” around who this Western love story was built. Paul should win awards for his body language, so should his directors. Meg Sullivan and Jason Liebrecht stand out in their roles as well. And, what a treat to hear Peter Stopschinski as the mountain lionAlso, a major shout out to Miwa Matreyek for blow away graphics/video. Directing has become a large part of the Rude’s strong suit, their secret sauce; Shawn Sides was on the sidelines this round and also brings especially great depth in this field.

Lots of Austin’s arts scene in the audience – UT Fine Arts Dean Doug Dempster, Theater & Dance Chair Brant Pope, Suzan Zeder, playwrights Allison Gregory & Stephen Dietz, Jean Clair Van Ryzin & Aldo Valdes, Sarah Richardson (in from NY), Mark Holzbach, Rino Pizzi, Dorsey Barger and lots others. There’s a fun western carnival during intermission, and even the opportunity to borrow western wear (which as you see in the picture, Steven and Brent did)

Steven and I love the Rudes and enthusiastically support their work. They’re one of Austin’s most important arts organizations – winning recognition for Austin from all over the country.

Jean Claire’s review
corrected: Jenny Larson played Annabelle, not Meg Sullivan

KUT Rules

(Community Matters) Not only is KUT the no. 1 station in Austin according to the ratings (which has got to be unprecedented in a major media market don’t you think?) but today was announced they’ve won 6 prestigious Edward R. Murrow Awards. Kudos to our friends Stewart, Jon and all the troops at Austin’s NPR affiliate.

Hat Tip: Lynn Meredith

FINO & Graham Reynolds – Digestible Feats

(Community Matters) Eat, Drink, Listen (a Fusebox Festival forum)

Monday, April 25 at 9:00pm
$75 General Admission, $95 Donor Level, 30 seats available

Join us at FINO as Graham Reynolds (composer/musician), Josh Loving (bartender), and Jason Donoho (chef) present three courses of music, cocktail, and tapas pairings, all specially composed out of this unique collaboration. There are only 30 seats available to this one-night-only event. Vegetarians and vegans are especially welcome at this event.  Composer and pianist Graham Reynolds will be joined by bass player Utah Hamrick and drummer Jeremy Bruch. tickets here

Jérôme Bel, tEEth & Blue Crains

(Community Matters) FUSEBOX FESTIVAL on Thursday – Cedric Andrieux in Jérôme Bel takes the audience into the dance world’s inter sanctum, revealing the mixed motivations of a dancer, the tedium of practicing every day for 7 years as a member of Merce Cunningham’s company, the exhilaration of life after Merce when he’s free to enjoy the movement of his body without challenging it every step.  While he was demonstrating the every day exercises of Merce dancers, you could see and feel his strength, observe precision.

tEEth’s  performance of Home Made was arresting, intimate & shocking – their integration of media an engaging puzzle. The juxtaposition of their bodies on stage and under cover on camera contrasting perspectives of body from an up-close, raw literalness where you see every pore, leg hair, underarm to the  on-stage archetype bodies of dancers

Blue Crains performed late at the Marfa Public Radio Seaholm Late Night. They’re an interesting band, played a type of music with which I’m not familiar – the improv of jazz with an northwest coast indie sound. I enjoyed it.

Continue reading

KDK-Harman Announces $460k in Education Grants

(Community Matters)


Austin, Texas– KDK-Harman Foundation, an Austin-based family foundation, announced today the grant recipients of their Summer STEM Program Competition.  A total of $250,000 was awarded to the five highest ranked Summer STEM programs in the Central Texas area. In February, KDK-Harman Foundation announced a Request for Proposals for innovative, best-in-class Summer STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Programs in Central Texas for Summer 2011. With KDK-Harman’s decision to refine its 2011 grantmaking focus to prioritize programs that work to reimagine how, when, and where young people learn, the Foundation is a staunch believer that students must receive hands-on experiences in their schools and communities, access to technology, and exposure to a broader range of possibilities in order to re-design student learning, particularly in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Continue reading

Fusebox Festival/Mother Falcon

(Community Matters) Steven and I arrived ABIA 7:15pm yesterday and made it to Seaholm at 7:45. Many thanks to our dear friends for saving us a parking space. We arrived in time to hear Mother Falcon +100 strings launch Fusebox Festival 2011.

There must have been 900+ fans in attendance. Our friends included Michael Mitchell, Milinda Mitchell, Robert Torian, Suzanne Deal Booth & Chandler, Deborah Green, the evening’s composer Graham Reynolds, FB Producer Natalie George, FB Founder & Artistic Director Ron Berry, board members: Amy Bryant, Marcy Hoen, Brent Hasty, and Steven Mills, David Smith & Skot, and tons others.

way yummy chicken kebab wraps from one of the trailers; didn’t have a chance to try out the hand made ice cream cookies or the gourmet dogs. Yeah, it was very hot in Seaholm last night. Who knew we’d be hitting upper 90s this week. Industrial fans being installed

May-June Cook’s Illustrated

(Community Matters) one of their best issues, especially considering seasonality. Easy grill pork roast, real pub-style burgers, bbq chicken kebabs, fresh strawberry pie*, coleslaw, grilling sauces, cooking greens