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

Randy Wicker roared as UT student activist in the 1950s
 Randy Wicker, a nationally recognized gay journalist and businessman who had been a radical student activist on the University of Texas campus during the 1950s, was having no luck in his quest to share his singular life story with current LGBT student groups in Austin. Then came a minor miracle. After a good deal of missed chances during...

Posted: 2 days ago

Randy Wicker, a nationally recognized gay journalist and businessman who had been a radical student activist on the University of Texas campus during the 1950s, was having no luck in his quest to share his singular life story with current LGBT student groups in Austin. Then came a minor miracle. After a good deal of missed chances during...
Get your ‘Hamilton’ tickets for Austin right now
 At last you have permission to order those “Hamilton” tickets for the once-in-a-generation musical that will stop in Austin
            at Bass Concert Hall for three weeks in 2019. Michael Luwoye and Isaiah Johnson in the ‘Hamilton’ national tour. Contributed by Joan Marcus The happy catch? To secure those tickets...

Posted: 3 days ago

At last you have permission to order those “Hamilton” tickets for the once-in-a-generation musical that will stop in Austin at Bass Concert Hall for three weeks in 2019. Michael Luwoye and Isaiah Johnson in the ‘Hamilton’ national tour. Contributed by Joan Marcus The happy catch? To secure those tickets...
Five Austin parties we loved so much
 One can relax during the 
            Feed the Peace Awards for the 
            Nobelity Project at the Four Seasons Austin Hotel. You know why? Because even when the AV system crashes or a stray joke bombs, 
            Turk and 
            Christy Pipkin are going to smile, glide back on stage and make it all...

Posted: 3 days ago

One can relax during the Feed the Peace Awards for the  Nobelity Project at the Four Seasons Austin Hotel. You know why? Because even when the AV system crashes or a stray joke bombs,  Turk and Christy Pipkin are going to smile, glide back on stage and make it all...
Flipside Austin parties before, during and after SXSW
 SXSW muscles its way onto Austin’s social calendar in a couple of weeks, but you can wrestle down plenty of other options
            for parties before, during and after the main event.   Feb. 23: 
            Wonders and Worries Unmasked. JW Marriott.    Feb. 28: 
            Austin Music Awards. ACL Live. March 1: ...

Posted: 3 days ago

SXSW muscles its way onto Austin’s social calendar in a couple of weeks, but you can wrestle down plenty of other options for parties before, during and after the main event. Feb. 23:  Wonders and Worries Unmasked. JW Marriott.   Feb. 28:  Austin Music Awards. ACL Live. March 1: ...
ICYMI: New $6 million portal for Laguna Gloria
 The 
            Contemporary Austin has raised $6 million to make the entrance to 
            Laguna Gloria more welcoming. The entrance to Laguna Gloria will be transformed by a $6 million welcoming project. Contributed by Reed Hilderbrand READ MORE about the plans at our premium site MyStatesman.com. The beloved 14-acre site, home to...

Posted: 5 days ago

The Contemporary Austin has raised $6 million to make the entrance to Laguna Gloria more welcoming. The entrance to Laguna Gloria will be transformed by a $6 million welcoming project. Contributed by Reed Hilderbrand READ MORE about the plans at our premium site MyStatesman.com. The beloved 14-acre site, home to...
Enter the hypnotic, disturbing beauty of ‘Koyaanisqatsi’
 Anyone who was lucky enough to see “Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance” in the early 1980s will never forget it. The experimental movie about the tensions between the environment and the tentacles of modern urban life broke into the national consciousness without the use of words. First-time director Godfrey Reggio used slow-motion...

Posted: 5 days ago

Anyone who was lucky enough to see “Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance” in the early 1980s will never forget it. The experimental movie about the tensions between the environment and the tentacles of modern urban life broke into the national consciousness without the use of words. First-time director Godfrey Reggio used slow-motion...
Austin Answered: How did Austin come up with half streets?
 Reader Sue Fawcett queried our Austin Answered project: “Whose idea was it to create ‘½’ streets, such as 38th ½ Street, instead of creating a different street name? I grew up in the Northeast, and never encountered a street designated as a ½ street.” I’ve always imagined that this fractioning...

Posted: 6 days ago

Reader Sue Fawcett queried our Austin Answered project: “Whose idea was it to create ‘½’ streets, such as 38th ½ Street, instead of creating a different street name? I grew up in the Northeast, and never encountered a street designated as a ½ street.” I’ve always imagined that this fractioning...
AUSTIN ANSWERED: What was Dirty Sixth before it was Dirty Sixth?
 A reader asks of our Austin Answered project: “What was Dirty Sixth before it was Dirty Sixth?” It would take a small book to answer that question fairly. In fact, Dr. 
            Allen Childs wrote one, “Sixth Street,” for the Images of America series. This fantastic shot was taken in the 200 block of East Sixth...

Posted: 6 days ago

A reader asks of our Austin Answered project: “What was Dirty Sixth before it was Dirty Sixth?” It would take a small book to answer that question fairly. In fact, Dr. Allen Childs wrote one, “Sixth Street,” for the Images of America series. This fantastic shot was taken in the 200 block of East Sixth...
Get ready for Ellsworth Kelly at the Blanton Museum of Art
 Top arts news of the week: UT opens 
            Ellsworth Kelly masterpiece at the 
            Blanton Museum of Art. Although museum members, directors and backers have peeked inside the chapel-like building on campus, everyone can see it
            during regular museum hours beginning Feb. 18. Check into the Visitors...

Posted: 7 days ago

Top arts news of the week: UT opens  Ellsworth Kelly masterpiece at the  Blanton Museum of Art. Although museum members, directors and backers have peeked inside the chapel-like building on campus, everyone can see it during regular museum hours beginning Feb. 18. Check into the Visitors...
Imagine a new welcome at Laguna Gloria
 The Contemporary Austin is hanging up a new welcome sign at Laguna Gloria. The beloved 14-acre site, home to Clara Driscoll’s 1916 villa and, now, the sprawling Marcus Sculpture Park, is set to undergo a multiphase face-lift. The first step is to break ground March 21 on a new $6 million guest-friendly entrance complex and improvements...

Posted: 7 days ago

The Contemporary Austin is hanging up a new welcome sign at Laguna Gloria. The beloved 14-acre site, home to Clara Driscoll’s 1916 villa and, now, the sprawling Marcus Sculpture Park, is set to undergo a multiphase face-lift. The first step is to break ground March 21 on a new $6 million guest-friendly entrance complex and improvements...
Longtime Austin Symphony manager Ken Caswell dies
 Kenneth “Ken” Caswell, who managed the 
            Austin Symphony from 1980 to 1998, has died.  Kenneth Caswell. Alicia Mireles/Austin American-Statesman “The entire Austin Symphony family is saddened by the passing of former executive director, Ken Caswell,” said 
            Anthony Corroa. &ldquo...

Posted: 7 days ago

Kenneth “Ken” Caswell, who managed the  Austin Symphony from 1980 to 1998, has died.  Kenneth Caswell. Alicia Mireles/Austin American-Statesman “The entire Austin Symphony family is saddened by the passing of former executive director, Ken Caswell,” said Anthony Corroa. &ldquo...