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 arts benefactor and philanthropist James Armstrong has died
 Much-admired Austin philanthropist James Armstrong died Monday of natural causes. He was 85. Armstrong gave millions to the arts, social services and other causes. Among his favored beneficiaries were Zach Theatre, Austin Opera, Austin Symphony, Ballet Austin, Long Center for the Arts, Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum and the Armstrong...

Posted: a day ago

Much-admired Austin philanthropist James Armstrong died Monday of natural causes. He was 85. Armstrong gave millions to the arts, social services and other causes. Among his favored beneficiaries were Zach Theatre, Austin Opera, Austin Symphony, Ballet Austin, Long Center for the Arts, Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum and the Armstrong...
Austin nonprofit Care Communities to close its doors
 In a move that surprised some volunteers and stakeholders, Austin’s Care Communities announced that, because of financial challenges, it will stop providing free support for those living with HIV or cancer in Central Texas. The midsize nonprofit, which operated with an annual budget of almost $600,000, according to GuideStar.org, sent...

Posted: a day ago

In a move that surprised some volunteers and stakeholders, Austin’s Care Communities announced that, because of financial challenges, it will stop providing free support for those living with HIV or cancer in Central Texas. The midsize nonprofit, which operated with an annual budget of almost $600,000, according to GuideStar.org, sent...
Major Austin benefactor James Armstrong has died
 Much admired Austin philanthropist
             James Armstrong has died. He was 85. Armstrong supported the arts, social services and other causes. James Armstrong for American-Statesman. Robert Godwin for American Statesman Among his most beloved causes were 
            Zach Theatre, Austin Lyric Opera and the 
            Armstrong Community...

Posted: a day ago

Much admired Austin philanthropist James Armstrong has died. He was 85. Armstrong supported the arts, social services and other causes. James Armstrong for American-Statesman. Robert Godwin for American Statesman Among his most beloved causes were Zach Theatre, Austin Lyric Opera and the Armstrong Community...
Austin’s nonprofit Care Communities to close its doors
 In a surprise move, Austin’s 
            Care Communities has announced that it will stop providing free support for those living with HIV or cancer in Central Texas. Star Furniture store manager John Chronister, right, and Z Blair, a social worker with the Care Communities, arrange gifts
               that were part of the American-Statesman&rsquo...

Posted: 2 days ago

In a surprise move, Austin’s Care Communities has announced that it will stop providing free support for those living with HIV or cancer in Central Texas. Star Furniture store manager John Chronister, right, and Z Blair, a social worker with the Care Communities, arrange gifts that were part of the American-Statesman&rsquo...
Austin dancer Kele Roberson heads to the Royal Ballet
 Kele Roberson, who studied at Austin’s 
            Dance Institute and the  
            Austin School for the Performing and Visual Arts, deferred a $25,000 scholarship to the 
            Juilliard School in order to join the 
            Royal Ballet School in London. This program funnels some...

Posted: 3 days ago

Kele Roberson, who studied at Austin’s  Dance Institute and the   Austin School for the Performing and Visual Arts, deferred a $25,000 scholarship to the  Juilliard School in order to join the  Royal Ballet School in London. This program funnels some...
Serious questions about Robert E. Lee in Austin
 Recently, 
            we asked if 
               Robert E. Lee ever took the route of Robert E. Lee Road in Austin
            . Several history advocates engaged in a well-tempered discussion on the subject. Certainly, when the road was named for the Confederate general during a rush of 
            Lost Cause nostalgia in the early 20th...

Posted: 5 days ago

Recently, we asked if Robert E. Lee ever took the route of Robert E. Lee Road in Austin . Several history advocates engaged in a well-tempered discussion on the subject. Certainly, when the road was named for the Confederate general during a rush of Lost Cause nostalgia in the early 20th...
When the Ku Klux Klan gripped Austin and the nation
 Hate groups, historians remind us, have always been with us. The recent deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., might have been the largest and most brazen of such American gatherings in a decade or so. However, one of the constituent groups, the Ku Klux Klan, has emblazoned a long historical scar on Texas. At one point during...

Posted: 6 days ago

Hate groups, historians remind us, have always been with us. The recent deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., might have been the largest and most brazen of such American gatherings in a decade or so. However, one of the constituent groups, the Ku Klux Klan, has emblazoned a long historical scar on Texas. At one point during...
Big art news from Texas Biennial, Pop Austin and UT Landmarks
 In this case, important arts news comes in threes. The Texas Biennial comes Sept. 30-Nov. 11. Contributed by Martha Hughes. Big Medium, which produces EAST and WEST, has confirmed the dates and other details for the next 
            Texas Biennial. The 
            group survey exhibition, which features artists living and working in...

Posted: 6 days ago

In this case, important arts news comes in threes. The Texas Biennial comes Sept. 30-Nov. 11. Contributed by Martha Hughes. Big Medium, which produces EAST and WEST, has confirmed the dates and other details for the next  Texas Biennial. The group survey exhibition, which features artists living and working in...
Did Robert E. Lee ever take Robert E. Road in Austin?
 While Austin City Council moves quickly to change the name of Robert E. Lee Road in South Austin following deadly white supremacist
            rallies in Charlottesville, Va., historians ask again: Did 
            Robert E. Lee take the route of his namesake road on the way to assignment at Fort Mason to the west? A vandalized Robert E...

Posted: 7 days ago

While Austin City Council moves quickly to change the name of Robert E. Lee Road in South Austin following deadly white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Va., historians ask again: Did Robert E. Lee take the route of his namesake road on the way to assignment at Fort Mason to the west? A vandalized Robert E...
The miracle of artist Micky Hoogendijk
 She stands in the middle of the gallery, her posture grounded, her hair braided around her head in a no-nonsense manner, her eyes open with emotional wisdom. Given her long white tunic and delicate sandals, she looks in this late afternoon light as if she stepped out of a Pre-Raphaelite painting. Photographer Micky Hoogendijk is like no other...

Posted: 7 days ago

She stands in the middle of the gallery, her posture grounded, her hair braided around her head in a no-nonsense manner, her eyes open with emotional wisdom. Given her long white tunic and delicate sandals, she looks in this late afternoon light as if she stepped out of a Pre-Raphaelite painting. Photographer Micky Hoogendijk is like no other...
Rude Mechs to jolt Yale and Guthrie theaters
 The 
            
               Rude Mechs 
            have lined up long residencies at two of the nation’s biggest and best regional theaters, 
            Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, Conn. and 
            Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minn. The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Michael Barnes/American-Statesman...

Posted: 8 days ago

The  Rude Mechs  have lined up long residencies at two of the nation’s biggest and best regional theaters, Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, Conn. and Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minn. The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Michael Barnes/American-Statesman...