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

Victorious ‘Hamilton’ hits the heights this Austin arts season
 Guess what? As foretold more than a year and a half ago, the disembarkation of Broadway’s monster hit, “Hamilton,” is still the biggest news of the 2018-2019 Austin arts and cultural season. Season tickets for the series are long gone. Single tickets for this show, which plays May 28-June 16 at Bass Concert Hall, will go...

Posted: 3 days ago

Guess what? As foretold more than a year and a half ago, the disembarkation of Broadway’s monster hit, “Hamilton,” is still the biggest news of the 2018-2019 Austin arts and cultural season. Season tickets for the series are long gone. Single tickets for this show, which plays May 28-June 16 at Bass Concert Hall, will go...
How TreeFolks turned one sapling into 2.8 million Austin-area trees
 In December 1988, six friends crouched around a bonfire on a large farm near Cedar Park. Austinites Ken Gaede, David Kettler and Mark Dameron were part of that small party celebrating the winter solstice. Global warming came up, as did the widespread destruction of the rainforests. Yet the conversation among those huddled around the campfire...

Posted: 3 days ago

In December 1988, six friends crouched around a bonfire on a large farm near Cedar Park. Austinites Ken Gaede, David Kettler and Mark Dameron were part of that small party celebrating the winter solstice. Global warming came up, as did the widespread destruction of the rainforests. Yet the conversation among those huddled around the campfire...
The Art of the Gala just got more artful
 The Art of the Gala, already one of Austin’s most effective charitable convocations, just doubled its scope and stature. Founded by Monica Maldonado Williams, publisher of nonprofit tracker Giving City, this annual training day for fundraisers combines speeches, panels and breakouts sessions devoted to how to best throw a charity event...

Posted: 4 days ago

The Art of the Gala, already one of Austin’s most effective charitable convocations, just doubled its scope and stature. Founded by Monica Maldonado Williams, publisher of nonprofit tracker Giving City, this annual training day for fundraisers combines speeches, panels and breakouts sessions devoted to how to best throw a charity event...
Readers share sensational memories of Kirschner’s Cafe on Burnet Road
 Reader Gary Vliet asked of our Austin Answered project if we could find out more about an old chicken joint on Burnet Road, which he patronized after moving to Austin in 1971. “Times were much different then,” Vliet writes. “People didn’t go out to eat like they do now, and there were few eating places. But one we...

Posted: 8 days ago

Reader Gary Vliet asked of our Austin Answered project if we could find out more about an old chicken joint on Burnet Road, which he patronized after moving to Austin in 1971. “Times were much different then,” Vliet writes. “People didn’t go out to eat like they do now, and there were few eating places. But one we...
Texas history museum names new director you might know
 You might already know the newly appointed director of the 
            Bullock Texas State History Museum. That’s because hyper-competent 
            Margaret Koch has already twice served as the museum’s interim director as well as its director of exhibits and deputy director. The Bullock Texas State History...

Posted: 9 days ago

You might already know the newly appointed director of the  Bullock Texas State History Museum. That’s because hyper-competent  Margaret Koch has already twice served as the museum’s interim director as well as its director of exhibits and deputy director. The Bullock Texas State History...
Fashion icon Tim Gunn to mentor Austin for a day
 If you’ve ever wanted 
            Tim Gunn from “Project Runway” to act as your mentor — even for just a short time and as part of a very large group — your chance is
            here. Tim Gunn from “Project Runway” will speak in Austin in September. Contributed The sweet, dapper man who...

Posted: 9 days ago

If you’ve ever wanted  Tim Gunn from “Project Runway” to act as your mentor — even for just a short time and as part of a very large group — your chance is here. Tim Gunn from “Project Runway” will speak in Austin in September. Contributed The sweet, dapper man who...
Sensational memories of Kirschner’s Cafe on Burnet Road
 Reader 
            Gary Vliet asked of our 
            Austin Answered project if we could find out more about an old chicken joint on Burnet Road, which he patronized after moving to Austin in
            1971. Kirschner’s Cafe on Burnet Road brought back fond memories for our readers. Contributed “Times were much different...

Posted: 12 days ago

Reader Gary Vliet asked of our Austin Answered project if we could find out more about an old chicken joint on Burnet Road, which he patronized after moving to Austin in 1971. Kirschner’s Cafe on Burnet Road brought back fond memories for our readers. Contributed “Times were much different...
We found the original eight H-E-B stores in Austin
 AzLast week, we settled a question about a perplexing image of a modern supermarket displayed on the H-E-B website. Turns out that the shop with a tall tower was actually located, not in Austin, but at 18th and Austin streets in Waco. It now serves as a furniture store. The column generated an online chat about the locations of the first...

Posted: 15 days ago

AzLast week, we settled a question about a perplexing image of a modern supermarket displayed on the H-E-B website. Turns out that the shop with a tall tower was actually located, not in Austin, but at 18th and Austin streets in Waco. It now serves as a furniture store. The column generated an online chat about the locations of the first...
Texas White House at LBJ Ranch closed for now
 The National Park Service announced Friday that it has closed the “Texas White House,” once the ranch home of President Lyndon B. Johnson and his family in Stonewall, as well as the adjacent Pool House, until further notice because of health and safety concerns caused by water leakage in various areas of the main house. For decades...

Posted: 15 days ago

The National Park Service announced Friday that it has closed the “Texas White House,” once the ranch home of President Lyndon B. Johnson and his family in Stonewall, as well as the adjacent Pool House, until further notice because of health and safety concerns caused by water leakage in various areas of the main house. For decades...
See the Blanton Museum of Art before ticket prices go up
 The home of Ellsworth Kelly‘s “Austin” and Vincent Valdez‘s “The City” will soon become more expensive for some guests to visit. As of Sept. 1, the adult ticket price at the Blanton Museum of Art will increase from $9 to $12 and the senior price will increase from $7 to $10. In comparison, top ticket prices...

Posted: 16 days ago

The home of Ellsworth Kelly‘s “Austin” and Vincent Valdez‘s “The City” will soon become more expensive for some guests to visit. As of Sept. 1, the adult ticket price at the Blanton Museum of Art will increase from $9 to $12 and the senior price will increase from $7 to $10. In comparison, top ticket prices...