October 2011

Creatively Speaking

"Impenetrable " is a word used to describe someone’s eyes that cleverly mask their inner feelings. Fort Knox, rumor has it, is virtually impenetrable. But nothing prepared me for the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda.

My family and a couple of close friends recently ventured to East Africa to track mountain gorillas. Jostling down a deeply rutted dirt road in the pre-dawn fog, I wondered why they called the forest impenetrable. The reason, I would soon discover, is simple: At nearly 10,000 feet,the upper reaches of the Bwindi mountains are not for the faint of heart. Our gorilla guide, Gorette, explains that “our trackers will find the gorillas, our porters will carry your backpacks and our gun-bearers will protect you from wild forest warthogs, leopards and mountain elephants.”

Dick Clark

Dick Clark has practiced architecture in Copenhagen, Nicaragua, Boston, Knoxville, Aspen and Texas and it’s in Austin that the UT and Harvard grad has played a most vital role in the city’s design community for 30 years.

Home on the Range

Three Austin-area sustainable farms are providing healthy, all-natural meat to local restaurants — and changing our agricultural model while they’re at it.

It’s hard to shake a fork in this town these days without spearing locally raised meat. The tender oak-grilled rib eye at La Condesa, the garlicky Chicken Satay at Thai Fresh, even the rich carnitas tacos at the neighborhood Chipotle. Austin chefs have made a commitment to using local, sustainable and all-natural meat. “The closer it is to home,” says Andrew Francesco, the chef de cuisine at Olivia, “the better it’s going to taste. And it’s nice to have a relationship with the farmers.”

Caffé Medici

In a town rife with indie coffee shops, Caffé Medici tops my list. Oh, sure, there are others I flirt with — Houndstooth, Jo’s, Once Over, et al — but my heart belongs to Medici. Perhaps because it has so much heart of its own — served with a side of exceptional coffee. Owners Michael and Alison Vaclav were young marrieds with little money and a big dream: to open an Italian-caliber coffee shop. After two painstaking years restoring a Clarksville cottage, they opened their first Caffé Medici in 2006. Now five years, three children and two Caffé Medicis later, the Vaclavs, dream is a reality.


Austin's latest architectural feats are compact, delicious and custom-made to order.

Inspired by I.M. Pei and the Bauhaus movement, these works of art new to the Austin scene are sure to make an impression — if they don’t melt in your hand first. Wheeling their way onto the local food truck scene, Coolhaus serves up customizable ice cream sandwiches named after venerable architects, like their namesake, Rem Koolhaas. Celebrating their one-year anniversary at the Austin Ice Cream Festival, owners Christine Aldrich and Nathan Hathaway discuss their attempt to make architecture digestible.

Young Professionals for People's Fundraiser

The Young Professionals for People’s inaugural fundraising Happy Hour was held at the home of the late David Graeber, the pioneering Austin architect and downtown denizen. Dr. John Hogg was the honorary chair for the event that was sponsored by Den Property Group.


Underwear's Anniversary Party

Fashionistas toasted the seventh anniversary of chic West 12th Street boutique Underwear with cocktails and treats by Sweet Pop. Shoppers browsed the racks of all things intimate apparel from basic to boudoir and bridal.

Premiere of Slacker 2011

The Austin Film Society hosted the world premiere of Slacker 2011 at the historic movie palace, the Paramount Theatre, with an after party at The Highball. Richard Linklater along with 20 of the original cast members of Slacker joined 21 Austin filmmakers who each directed a segment of the homage film. The project celebrated the 20th anniversary of the iconic film and served as a fundraiser for the Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund, which granted $111,000 to Texas filmmakers.

Ice Ball

The seventh annual Ice Ball benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas reminded philanthropic Austinites of the difference that mentorship makes in the lives of young people and that the summer heat will eventually end. The gala at the Hilton raised over $200,000 and featured gourmet food, drinks, dancing, a live auction and of course numerous ice sculptures.

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