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

One Austin art puzzle leads to another
 This is Part 2 in a two-part Austin art puzzle. To recap, World War II veteran Alvino Mendoza, 91, contacted us because he owns two signed and numbered prints by deceased artist Gerald Harvey Jones, who signed his pictures “G. Harvey.” Mendoza wanted to preserve them. We confirmed that there’s an active market for G. Harvey...

Posted: 5 days ago

This is Part 2 in a two-part Austin art puzzle. To recap, World War II veteran Alvino Mendoza, 91, contacted us because he owns two signed and numbered prints by deceased artist Gerald Harvey Jones, who signed his pictures “G. Harvey.” Mendoza wanted to preserve them. We confirmed that there’s an active market for G. Harvey...
Austin couple build house for the rest of their lives
 Cut straight to the crucial tip: Talk to your designer. And listen. You probably won’t be sorry. Fourteen years ago, Katelena Hernandez Cowles and James Cowles talked and listened to Heather McKinney and Brian Carlson of McKinney York Architects. And they could not be happier with their pliable three-story Tarrytown house built above...

Posted: 6 days ago

Cut straight to the crucial tip: Talk to your designer. And listen. You probably won’t be sorry. Fourteen years ago, Katelena Hernandez Cowles and James Cowles talked and listened to Heather McKinney and Brian Carlson of McKinney York Architects. And they could not be happier with their pliable three-story Tarrytown house built above...
Artista mexicano pintó murales intensos en Austin
 ¿Conoces la historia detrás de los murales que están en el lobby de la torre Medical Park Tower junto al Centro Médico Seton sobre la calle West 38th? Los intrincados y fluídos murales están llenos de símbolos científicos y humanistas, algunos de estos inspirados en la Grecia antigua...

Posted: 8 days ago

¿Conoces la historia detrás de los murales que están en el lobby de la torre Medical Park Tower junto al Centro Médico Seton sobre la calle West 38th? Los intrincados y fluídos murales están llenos de símbolos científicos y humanistas, algunos de estos inspirados en la Grecia antigua...
AUSTIN FOUND: Solving a two-part Austin art puzzle
 This is Part 1 of a two-part Austin art puzzle. It encompasses one modest collector, two artists and a chunk of shared East Austin history. On Dec. 4, 2017, the American-Statesman published an obituary of Gerald Harvey Jones, who signed his popular expressions of nostalgic Americana “G. Harvey.” He died on Nov. 13, 2017, at age...

Posted: 12 days ago

This is Part 1 of a two-part Austin art puzzle. It encompasses one modest collector, two artists and a chunk of shared East Austin history. On Dec. 4, 2017, the American-Statesman published an obituary of Gerald Harvey Jones, who signed his popular expressions of nostalgic Americana “G. Harvey.” He died on Nov. 13, 2017, at age...
They didn’t know that they were great shepherds of Austin’s lake
 Imagine Lady Bird Lake without a mantle of green wrapped around its shores. Austinites whose memories reach back to the early 1960s — when the newly impounded body of water on the Colorado River was dubbed Town Lake by an American-Statesman reporter because nobody else bothered to name it — can envision such a treeless state....

Posted: 13 days ago

Imagine Lady Bird Lake without a mantle of green wrapped around its shores. Austinites whose memories reach back to the early 1960s — when the newly impounded body of water on the Colorado River was dubbed Town Lake by an American-Statesman reporter because nobody else bothered to name it — can envision such a treeless state....
San Antonio Symphony capsizes again
 The 
            San Antonio Symphony, periodically threatened, has canceled the rest of its 2017-2018 season. Over the weekend, its board of directors decided to suspend play by symphony. Its tricentennial performances this weekend will be its final ones. John Davenport /San Antonio Express-News Almost every year since I started reporting...

Posted: 14 days ago

The San Antonio Symphony, periodically threatened, has canceled the rest of its 2017-2018 season. Over the weekend, its board of directors decided to suspend play by symphony. Its tricentennial performances this weekend will be its final ones. John Davenport /San Antonio Express-News Almost every year since I started reporting...
Texas Performing Arts picks up half million from Mellon Foundation
 The 
            Andrew Mellon Foundation has graced 
            Texas Performing Arts at the 
            University of Texas with a $500,000 grant to back “The Power of Protest: Arts and Civil Disobedience,” a proposed series of lectures, performances
            and other public events for a three-year period ending in 2021...

Posted: 14 days ago

The Andrew Mellon Foundation has graced Texas Performing Arts at the University of Texas with a $500,000 grant to back “The Power of Protest: Arts and Civil Disobedience,” a proposed series of lectures, performances and other public events for a three-year period ending in 2021...
A gallery of East Austin faith and history
 Her textured floral dress almost overwhelms her. Nala Foster’s arms fall stiffly to her side, and her gaze is steady, serious. Someone has lovingly styled and decorated her hair. She’s the picture of “Sunday best.” Foster is among the fifth generation in her family to live in East Austin and attend Vision of Hope AME...

Posted: 15 days ago

Her textured floral dress almost overwhelms her. Nala Foster’s arms fall stiffly to her side, and her gaze is steady, serious. Someone has lovingly styled and decorated her hair. She’s the picture of “Sunday best.” Foster is among the fifth generation in her family to live in East Austin and attend Vision of Hope AME...
A few minutes that changed the life of an Austin daughter
 On Sept. 8, a beaming and poised Brittany Morrison stood at the podium in the banquet room of Hotel Van Zandt. She had just been named the year’s Big Giver by the meta-charity I Live Here I Give Here during its fall event, the Big Give. The award honored her volunteer work during the previous two years for Hospice Austin. Few in the...

Posted: 15 days ago

On Sept. 8, a beaming and poised Brittany Morrison stood at the podium in the banquet room of Hotel Van Zandt. She had just been named the year’s Big Giver by the meta-charity I Live Here I Give Here during its fall event, the Big Give. The award honored her volunteer work during the previous two years for Hospice Austin. Few in the...
Former Austin Symphony conductor Maurice Peress dies
 Maurice Peress, music director of the 
            Austin Symphony from 1970 to 1972, died on Dec. 31. He was 87. American-Statesman, Sept. 13, 1970 An assistant conductor to 
            Leonard Bernstein at the 
            New York Philharmonic, Peress conducted the first performance Bernstein’s “Mass”...

Posted: 17 days ago

Maurice Peress, music director of the Austin Symphony from 1970 to 1972, died on Dec. 31. He was 87. American-Statesman, Sept. 13, 1970 An assistant conductor to  Leonard Bernstein at the  New York Philharmonic, Peress conducted the first performance Bernstein’s “Mass”...
Candlelight Ranch is best use of brothers’ Hill Country land
 The land waited for them. A rugged former family ranch in far northwestern Travis County tumbled down a creased hillside through weedy pastures, steep ravines, bounteous springs, a collapsed cave and trails that led to a protected cove on Lake Travis. How it became Candlelight Ranch, which today provides outdoor experiences for at-risk youth...

Posted: 17 days ago

The land waited for them. A rugged former family ranch in far northwestern Travis County tumbled down a creased hillside through weedy pastures, steep ravines, bounteous springs, a collapsed cave and trails that led to a protected cove on Lake Travis. How it became Candlelight Ranch, which today provides outdoor experiences for at-risk youth...