Michael Barnes

Social columnist

Michael Barnes writes about Austin's people, places, culture and history. He also writes the Out and About social column and blog.

Latest from Michael Barnes

Austin Answered: Why was Austin originally named Waterloo?

Posted: 2 hours ago

A reader asks our Austin Answered project why the community that became Austin was first named Waterloo. This took us down multiple productive paths with no definitive answer — yet. First, let’s remind readers about Waterloo, a rough frontier hamlet of no more than four or five families. Hunter Jacob Harrell set up a tent in 1835...
H-E-B names popular Long Center City Terrace
 It’s one of the most charismatic spots in the city — the 
            Long Center City Terrace. Bubblepalooza is among the countless events staged at what will be the H-E-B Terrace at the Long Center. Suzanne Cordeiro
               for American-Statesman From the day that the performing arts center opened in 2018 — that&rsquo...

Posted: 2 days ago

It’s one of the most charismatic spots in the city — the Long Center City Terrace. Bubblepalooza is among the countless events staged at what will be the H-E-B Terrace at the Long Center. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman From the day that the performing arts center opened in 2018 — that&rsquo...
How to do good and have a good time
 Several groups — KMFA Classical 89.5, the Texas Book Festival and the LBJ Foundation — showed us all how to do good and have a good time recently. Meanwhile, we learned exactly when Mack, Jack & McConaughey will light up our spring 2018. Sound Bites: KMFA at 50 When you throw your first gala a full 50 years into your history,...

Posted: 3 days ago

Several groups — KMFA Classical 89.5, the Texas Book Festival and the LBJ Foundation — showed us all how to do good and have a good time recently. Meanwhile, we learned exactly when Mack, Jack & McConaughey will light up our spring 2018. Sound Bites: KMFA at 50 When you throw your first gala a full 50 years into your history,...
Benjamin Taylor Ridgway is Austin’s costume designer of the moment
 Not every costume designer works closely with actors before, during and after the rehearsal process. Benjamin Taylor Ridgway does. For instance, recently while fitting a costume for leading Austin actor Marc Pouhé in the Absurdist play, “Rhinoceros,” at St. Edward’s University, the two artists stumbled on a conundrum...

Posted: 5 days ago

Not every costume designer works closely with actors before, during and after the rehearsal process. Benjamin Taylor Ridgway does. For instance, recently while fitting a costume for leading Austin actor Marc Pouhé in the Absurdist play, “Rhinoceros,” at St. Edward’s University, the two artists stumbled on a conundrum...
How do you write about the unfathomable yogurt shop murders?
 No images. Beverly Lowry insisted. No photographs whatsoever appear inside Lowry’s 2016 book, “Who Killed These Girls? Cold Case: The Yogurt Shop Murders” (Knopf). The four low-resolution partial pictures that appear on the book jacket — along with jagged red, black and white graphics — are wrenching enough....

Posted: 7 days ago

No images. Beverly Lowry insisted. No photographs whatsoever appear inside Lowry’s 2016 book, “Who Killed These Girls? Cold Case: The Yogurt Shop Murders” (Knopf). The four low-resolution partial pictures that appear on the book jacket — along with jagged red, black and white graphics — are wrenching enough....
Austin Answered: Where are Austin’s Cold War missile sites?
 Reader Gary Hamilton wrote us regarding our newspaper’s Austin Answered project: “I just finished the latest Harlan Coben book, ‘Don’t Let Go.’ Missile sites from the Cold War era play a central role. I Googled ‘Nike missile sites’ and, if Wikipedia is to be believed, there are several former sites...

Posted: 7 days ago

Reader Gary Hamilton wrote us regarding our newspaper’s Austin Answered project: “I just finished the latest Harlan Coben book, ‘Don’t Let Go.’ Missile sites from the Cold War era play a central role. I Googled ‘Nike missile sites’ and, if Wikipedia is to be believed, there are several former sites...
Memorial set for Austin LGBT activist Ceci Gratias
 Earlier this year, the 
            Human Rights Campaign Austin honored LGBT activist and organizer 
            Cecilia “
            Ceci” Lourdes Bulaong Gratias with the 
            Bettie Naylor Visibility Award at its annual gala. On Sunday, Gratias died. Ceci Gratis in January. Michael Barnes/American-Statesman...

Posted: 7 days ago

Earlier this year, the Human Rights Campaign Austin honored LGBT activist and organizer Cecilia “ Ceci” Lourdes Bulaong Gratias with the Bettie Naylor Visibility Award at its annual gala. On Sunday, Gratias died. Ceci Gratis in January. Michael Barnes/American-Statesman...
Austin and DC parties that trilled and thrilled this past week
 KMFA Classical 89.5, the Texas Book Festival and the LBJ Foundation showed us all how to do good and have a good time this
            past week. Dianne Donovan and TresMusicos at Sound Bites for KMFA. Contributed by Katrina Barber Sound Bites: KMFA at 50 When you throw your first gala 50 years into your history, you really want it to sing...

Posted: 8 days ago

KMFA Classical 89.5, the Texas Book Festival and the LBJ Foundation showed us all how to do good and have a good time this past week. Dianne Donovan and TresMusicos at Sound Bites for KMFA. Contributed by Katrina Barber Sound Bites: KMFA at 50 When you throw your first gala 50 years into your history, you really want it to sing...
Date set for big Mack, Jack and McConaughey benefit
 The Austin triumvirate of 
            Matthew McConaughey, 
            Mack Brown and 
            Jack Ingram has already raised $7.5 million for youth charities through their 
            Mack, Jack & McConaughey 
            golf-plus-music-plus-dinner-plus-fashion-plus-auction-plus-good-will weekends...

Posted: 8 days ago

The Austin triumvirate of  Matthew McConaughey,  Mack Brown and  Jack Ingram has already raised $7.5 million for youth charities through their  Mack, Jack & McConaughey  golf-plus-music-plus-dinner-plus-fashion-plus-auction-plus-good-will weekends...
Turk Pipkin interviews Turk Pipkin for Book of Every Other Month Club
 This week, 
            Turk Pipkin launches his new 
            Book of the Every Other Month Club on the crowd-funding site Indiegogo. Subscriptions help fund new libraries in Kenya as part of the ongoing 
            Nobelity Project. Since he has enough time to write and publish six new books, I’ve added to his load by...

Posted: 8 days ago

This week, Turk Pipkin launches his new Book of the Every Other Month Club on the crowd-funding site Indiegogo. Subscriptions help fund new libraries in Kenya as part of the ongoing  Nobelity Project. Since he has enough time to write and publish six new books, I’ve added to his load by...
Austin Opera stages three masterworks
 It’s been a glorious if bumpy ride. Austin Opera was founded in 1986. No need at this point to detail its stratospheric highs or, especially, its geologic lows, especially as a promising new season begins. Suffice it to say, we are lucky that the plucky company has survived its history, which, pardon the expression, has been &ldquo...

Posted: 9 days ago

It’s been a glorious if bumpy ride. Austin Opera was founded in 1986. No need at this point to detail its stratospheric highs or, especially, its geologic lows, especially as a promising new season begins. Suffice it to say, we are lucky that the plucky company has survived its history, which, pardon the expression, has been &ldquo...