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

Setting the highest standards for the Art Dinner at Laguna Gloria
 Etherial location. Elegant crowd. Exquisite cuisine. Excellent art. Scene from the Art Dinner at Laguna Gloria. Michael Barnes/American-Statesman For the past five years, the 
            Art Dinner at 
            Laguna Gloria has benefitted the 
            Contemporary Austin. Hosts expertly employ the arboreal...

Posted: 2 days ago

Etherial location. Elegant crowd. Exquisite cuisine. Excellent art. Scene from the Art Dinner at Laguna Gloria. Michael Barnes/American-Statesman For the past five years, the  Art Dinner at  Laguna Gloria has benefitted the  Contemporary Austin. Hosts expertly employ the arboreal...
Granddaughter honors Lady Bird with updated Tuesday tradition
 During the final 8 1/2 years of her grandmother’s life, Catherine Robb kept a regular Tuesday night date with Lady Bird Johnson, whom she and the other Johnson grandchildren called Nini. They watched TV, shared dinner and chatted, then Robb might read aloud, a special treat because Johnson was a lifelong lover of books but suffered...

Posted: 3 days ago

During the final 8 1/2 years of her grandmother’s life, Catherine Robb kept a regular Tuesday night date with Lady Bird Johnson, whom she and the other Johnson grandchildren called Nini. They watched TV, shared dinner and chatted, then Robb might read aloud, a special treat because Johnson was a lifelong lover of books but suffered...
The Continental Club in the 1960s had a different dress code
 A reader asks our Austin Answered project: “Was the Continental Club a sleazy topless bar back in the early 1960s? I remember having a roommate in 1963 who danced there.” Yes. What was founded by Morin Scott in 1957 on South Congress Avenue as a swanky jazz supper club became by the early ’60s what has been variously described...

Posted: 3 days ago

A reader asks our Austin Answered project: “Was the Continental Club a sleazy topless bar back in the early 1960s? I remember having a roommate in 1963 who danced there.” Yes. What was founded by Morin Scott in 1957 on South Congress Avenue as a swanky jazz supper club became by the early ’60s what has been variously described...
I’m from Oatmeal or Nameless or Radiance or Mud City
 The Lone Star Library has released a second edition in paperback of “Texas Towns: From Abner to Zipperlandville,” revised
            by 
            Paris Parmenter and 
            John Bigley from the late 
            Don Blevins‘ nifty thematic guide to name origins, settlement dates and...

Posted: 3 days ago

The Lone Star Library has released a second edition in paperback of “Texas Towns: From Abner to Zipperlandville,” revised by  Paris Parmenter and  John Bigley from the late  Don Blevins‘ nifty thematic guide to name origins, settlement dates and...
Winning the Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards
 Forget the Oscars. Never mind the Tonys. Pay no attention to the Grammys. Give us the 
            Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards. Contributed by Cathie Sheridan. Sure, last night’s ceremony at the 
            Long Center clocked in at just under four hours. Nevertheless, we loved almost every minute...

Posted: 4 days ago

Forget the Oscars. Never mind the Tonys. Pay no attention to the Grammys. Give us the  Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards. Contributed by Cathie Sheridan. Sure, last night’s ceremony at the  Long Center clocked in at just under four hours. Nevertheless, we loved almost every minute...
Revering Austin patron saint Roberta Reed Crenshaw
 Roberta Reed Crenshaw was an Austin patron saint crowned with a double halo. She permanently blessed both the environment and the arts. On Friday, city leaders honored Crenshaw, who died in 2005, with the dedication of the Roberta Reed Crenshaw Overlook, an arced terrace above Lady Bird Lake near the southwest corner of West Cesar Chavez...

Posted: 6 days ago

Roberta Reed Crenshaw was an Austin patron saint crowned with a double halo. She permanently blessed both the environment and the arts. On Friday, city leaders honored Crenshaw, who died in 2005, with the dedication of the Roberta Reed Crenshaw Overlook, an arced terrace above Lady Bird Lake near the southwest corner of West Cesar Chavez...
Family and politics linked first lady Barbara Bush to Austin
 Although recently deceased first lady Barbara Bush never lived in Austin, she forged ties here during her husband’s two unsuccessful bids for the U.S. Senate (1964 and 1970) and during her son’s two terms as Texas governor (1995-2000). In keeping with White House tradition, Bush kept in touch with former presidents and their families...

Posted: 6 days ago

Although recently deceased first lady Barbara Bush never lived in Austin, she forged ties here during her husband’s two unsuccessful bids for the U.S. Senate (1964 and 1970) and during her son’s two terms as Texas governor (1995-2000). In keeping with White House tradition, Bush kept in touch with former presidents and their families...
Philanthropitch bang plus Mack, Jack & McConaughey bucks
 Several Austin giving groups prompt nonprofits to compete head-to-head for bucks, but few stage the “asks” with as much entertainment
            value and celebrity glamour as 
            Philanthropitch. The annual fast-pitch fest returns 
            6 p.m. May 8 to the 
            LBJ Auditorium.  This year&rsquo...

Posted: 6 days ago

Several Austin giving groups prompt nonprofits to compete head-to-head for bucks, but few stage the “asks” with as much entertainment value and celebrity glamour as  Philanthropitch. The annual fast-pitch fest returns 6 p.m. May 8 to the  LBJ Auditorium. This year&rsquo...
Meet the 2018 Austin Arts Hall of Fame inductees
 The 
            Austin Critics Table recently announced the latest group to be inducted into the 
            Austin Arts Hall of Fame. The five honored Austinites have contributed to the city’s cultural scene over the course of many years. They will be inducted
            7 p.m. June 4 at 
            Cap City...

Posted: 7 days ago

The  Austin Critics Table recently announced the latest group to be inducted into the  Austin Arts Hall of Fame. The five honored Austinites have contributed to the city’s cultural scene over the course of many years. They will be inducted 7 p.m. June 4 at  Cap City...
Revisiting he Continental Club in the 1960s
 A reader asks our Austin Answered project: “Was the 
            Continental Club a sleazy topless bar back in the early 1960s? I remember having a roommate in 1963 who danced there.” Yes. What was founded by 
            Morin Scott in 1957 on South Congress Avenue as a swanky jazz supper club became by the early ’60s what...

Posted: 8 days ago

A reader asks our Austin Answered project: “Was the Continental Club a sleazy topless bar back in the early 1960s? I remember having a roommate in 1963 who danced there.” Yes. What was founded by Morin Scott in 1957 on South Congress Avenue as a swanky jazz supper club became by the early ’60s what...
Musical ‘Ragtime’ is an American classic
 Almost 20 years ago, the breakthrough musical “Ragtime” first arrived in Austin by way of a road show at Bass Concert Hall. Since then, the epic invention from Stephen Flaherty, Lynn Ahrens and Terrence McNally has only grown in stature. A large-scale musical about the American experience — including ethnic tensions &mdash...

Posted: 10 days ago

Almost 20 years ago, the breakthrough musical “Ragtime” first arrived in Austin by way of a road show at Bass Concert Hall. Since then, the epic invention from Stephen Flaherty, Lynn Ahrens and Terrence McNally has only grown in stature. A large-scale musical about the American experience — including ethnic tensions &mdash...