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

In a coup, Austin lands ambitious Leonard Bernstein marvel
 On Sept. 8, 1971, official, artistic and social Washington, D.C., joined hands by the Potomac River. The glittering occasion that momentarily bridged some of the partisan divide — along with nagging concerns about the Vietnam War and other global tensions — was the grand opening of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. This...

Posted: 9 hours ago

On Sept. 8, 1971, official, artistic and social Washington, D.C., joined hands by the Potomac River. The glittering occasion that momentarily bridged some of the partisan divide — along with nagging concerns about the Vietnam War and other global tensions — was the grand opening of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. This...
Austin Shakespeare drafts a Cleopatra for the ages
 The blazing news that stands out from the recently announced 
            Austin Shakespeare season is the return of beloved actor and 
            University of Texas professor 
            Fran Dorn in a staged reading of “Antony and Cleopatra” in October (dates to be announced). Erik Mathew and...

Posted: 3 days ago

The blazing news that stands out from the recently announced  Austin Shakespeare season is the return of beloved actor and University of Texas professor  Fran Dorn in a staged reading of “Antony and Cleopatra” in October (dates to be announced). Erik Mathew and...
On 1911 crime: ‘That murdered deputy sheriff was my grandfather!’
 These days, readers provide the lion’s share of material for Austin Found. Or at least they get the ball rolling. Last month, we serialized the report of a 1911 double murder on West Monroe Street as reported in Ken Roberts’ new book, “The Cedar Choppers.” John Teague, son of a Hill Country clan, killed John Gest,...

Posted: 5 days ago

These days, readers provide the lion’s share of material for Austin Found. Or at least they get the ball rolling. Last month, we serialized the report of a 1911 double murder on West Monroe Street as reported in Ken Roberts’ new book, “The Cedar Choppers.” John Teague, son of a Hill Country clan, killed John Gest,...
Camp classic ‘Valley of the Dolls’ returns to Austin
 Just 21 years ago, we wrote the following ode to one of our favorite movies, “Valley of the Dolls,“ when it appeared at the Paramount Theatre. Ten or so years later, we added commentary when a special showing for Austin writer Stephen Moser played the original Alamo Drafthouse Cinema on Colorado Street. On June 21, “V.O...

Posted: 5 days ago

Just 21 years ago, we wrote the following ode to one of our favorite movies, “Valley of the Dolls,“ when it appeared at the Paramount Theatre. Ten or so years later, we added commentary when a special showing for Austin writer Stephen Moser played the original Alamo Drafthouse Cinema on Colorado Street. On June 21, “V.O...
Time travel to 1973 Austin Artists Market on the Drag
 Reader 
            Sean Massey was going through a stack of family photos and found a series of undated black-and-white images related to his father, Austin
            counterculture jeweler 
            Jerry Massey.  Two possibilities presented themselves right away, what is now known as the 
            Austin Renaissance...

Posted: 5 days ago

Reader  Sean Massey was going through a stack of family photos and found a series of undated black-and-white images related to his father, Austin counterculture jeweler  Jerry Massey. Two possibilities presented themselves right away, what is now known as the  Austin Renaissance...
Austin theater alum Tyler Mount wins Tony Award
 Tyler Mount, who studied at 
            St. Edward’s University and developed a popular vlog for 
            Playbill.com, took home a 
            Tony Award on Sunday. Mount recently returned to town to emcee the 
            Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards.  RELATED: 
           ...

Posted: 6 days ago

Tyler Mount, who studied at  St. Edward’s University and developed a popular vlog for  Playbill.com, took home a  Tony Award on Sunday. Mount recently returned to town to emcee the  Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards. RELATED: ...
Standing ovations for a UT show about vaudeville
 Unless you have lived well into your 10th decade, you don’t remember the heyday of vaudeville. Nevertheless, no matter your age, you do know vaudeville. Roughly from the 1850s through the 1920s, family-friendly American stage variety shows — which included highly structured lineups of comics, singers, dancers, serious actors,...

Posted: 8 days ago

Unless you have lived well into your 10th decade, you don’t remember the heyday of vaudeville. Nevertheless, no matter your age, you do know vaudeville. Roughly from the 1850s through the 1920s, family-friendly American stage variety shows — which included highly structured lineups of comics, singers, dancers, serious actors,...
Best Texas Books: ‘Where Texas Meets the Sea’ by Alan Lessoff
 How many observers would have predicted that the finest urban history to date about a Texas city would take as its subject
            Corpus Christi? Permanently perched on the state’s periphery, Corpus, a city of 316,000 — 442,000 in the metro area — seems
            always consigned to secondary status.  NOTE: This story...

Posted: 9 days ago

How many observers would have predicted that the finest urban history to date about a Texas city would take as its subject Corpus Christi? Permanently perched on the state’s periphery, Corpus, a city of 316,000 — 442,000 in the metro area — seems always consigned to secondary status. NOTE: This story...
The height of camp, ‘Valley of the Dolls,’ returns to Austin
 Just 21 years ago, we wrote the following ode to one of our favorite movies, 
            “Valley of the Dolls,
            “ when it appeared at the 
            Paramount Theatre. Ten or so years later, we added commentary when a special showing for 
            Stephen Moser played the original 
            Alamo...

Posted: 10 days ago

Just 21 years ago, we wrote the following ode to one of our favorite movies, “Valley of the Dolls, “ when it appeared at the Paramount Theatre. Ten or so years later, we added commentary when a special showing for  Stephen Moser played the original  Alamo...
On 1911 Austin crime: ‘That murdered deputy sheriff was my grandfather!’
 These days, readers provide the lion’s share of material for Austin Found. Or at least they get the ball rolling. Last month, we serialized the report of a 1911 double murder on West Monroe Street as reported in 
            Ken Roberts‘ new book, “The Cedar Choppers: Life on the Edge of Nothing.” 
            John...

Posted: 11 days ago

These days, readers provide the lion’s share of material for Austin Found. Or at least they get the ball rolling. Last month, we serialized the report of a 1911 double murder on West Monroe Street as reported in Ken Roberts‘ new book, “The Cedar Choppers: Life on the Edge of Nothing.” John...
Outfit from the 1880s reveals gold mine of Texas family history
 Last year, Elizabeth Jones stumbled on a Texas fashion mystery. She could not precisely date an image from a family photo album, so she tried to interpret the 19th-century apparel and accessories depicted in a portrait of a woman taken by a professional photographer probably in Austin. “The hat, scarf and hair pulled back but with frizzy...

Posted: 12 days ago

Last year, Elizabeth Jones stumbled on a Texas fashion mystery. She could not precisely date an image from a family photo album, so she tried to interpret the 19th-century apparel and accessories depicted in a portrait of a woman taken by a professional photographer probably in Austin. “The hat, scarf and hair pulled back but with frizzy...