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

The mighty Austin Symphony comes to save the day
 Now that the 
            Austin Symphony has consummated Part 3 of its “Mighty Russians” series, it
             has completely shed its former reputation for underplaying big music. Almost to a fault. Music director 
            Peter Bay opened the formal part of the concert on Saturday with the bright...

Posted: a day ago

Now that the Austin Symphony has consummated Part 3 of its “Mighty Russians” series, it  has completely shed its former reputation for underplaying big music. Almost to a fault. Music director  Peter Bay opened the formal part of the concert on Saturday with the bright...
Austin Book Arts Center reaches out in the most endearing way
 The 
            Austin Book Arts Center didn’t ask for $50 million. Or $5 million. Or $500,000. Or $50,000. Dave Sullivan and Surya Veeraraghavan at the Austin Book Arts Center benefit. The backers of this group that 
            engages folks in the art of making books — no, not bookmaking, that’s something else...

Posted: 2 days ago

The Austin Book Arts Center didn’t ask for $50 million. Or $5 million. Or $500,000. Or $50,000. Dave Sullivan and Surya Veeraraghavan at the Austin Book Arts Center benefit. The backers of this group that engages folks in the art of making books — no, not bookmaking, that’s something else...
In 1911, Booker T. Washington drew 5,000 to Austin park
 On Sept. 29, 1911, the celebrated orator, author, educator and presidential adviser Booker T. Washington spoke to a very large crowd in Austin at Wooldridge Square. The ex-slave and founder of the Tuskegee Institute came at the invitation of the Rev. L.L. Campbell of St. John Orphanage and Ebenezer Baptist Church. “He started his day...

Posted: 3 days ago

On Sept. 29, 1911, the celebrated orator, author, educator and presidential adviser Booker T. Washington spoke to a very large crowd in Austin at Wooldridge Square. The ex-slave and founder of the Tuskegee Institute came at the invitation of the Rev. L.L. Campbell of St. John Orphanage and Ebenezer Baptist Church. “He started his day...
Austinite second most decorated soldier in World War I
 Reader 
            Darlene Freitag wondered if we could write about her grandfather, Pvt. 
            Alfred Robert “Buck” Simpson, the second-most decorated American World War I veteran. Pvt. ‘Buck’ Simpson was interviewed by the Austin Statesman for this Sept. 27, 1925 edition. The timing is apt given the upcoming...

Posted: 4 days ago

Reader Darlene Freitag wondered if we could write about her grandfather, Pvt. Alfred Robert “Buck” Simpson, the second-most decorated American World War I veteran. Pvt. ‘Buck’ Simpson was interviewed by the Austin Statesman for this Sept. 27, 1925 edition. The timing is apt given the upcoming...
Wrestling with Texas writer J. Frank Dobie
 At some point, every Texas writer must come to terms with “Mr. Texas.” Author J. Frank Dobie. American-Statesman file photo. To the extent that Austinites today recognize the name of folklorist, teacher and widely published columnist, 
            J. Frank Dobie, they might associate it with a middle school, or a freshly...

Posted: 5 days ago

At some point, every Texas writer must come to terms with “Mr. Texas.” Author J. Frank Dobie. American-Statesman file photo. To the extent that Austinites today recognize the name of folklorist, teacher and widely published columnist,  J. Frank Dobie, they might associate it with a middle school, or a freshly...
Threadgill’s restaurant, live music venue to close after Thanksgiving
 Threadgill’s World Headquarters, a landmark Austin restaurant, will close its location just south of downtown after Thanksgiving, owner Eddie Wilson said Wednesday. “Flummoxed and bludgeoned by property tax increases, the grim truth is that we can’t afford it on the slim margins you make on meatloaf and chicken-fried steak...

Posted: 5 days ago

Threadgill’s World Headquarters, a landmark Austin restaurant, will close its location just south of downtown after Thanksgiving, owner Eddie Wilson said Wednesday. “Flummoxed and bludgeoned by property tax increases, the grim truth is that we can’t afford it on the slim margins you make on meatloaf and chicken-fried steak...
Threadgill’s restaurant, live music venue to close after Thanksgiving
 Threadgill’s World Headquarters, a landmark Austin restaurant, will close its location just south of downtown after Thanksgiving, owner Eddie Wilson said Wednesday. “Flummoxed and bludgeoned by property tax increases, the grim truth is that we can’t afford it on the slim margins you make on meatloaf and chicken-fried steak...

Posted: 5 days ago

Threadgill’s World Headquarters, a landmark Austin restaurant, will close its location just south of downtown after Thanksgiving, owner Eddie Wilson said Wednesday. “Flummoxed and bludgeoned by property tax increases, the grim truth is that we can’t afford it on the slim margins you make on meatloaf and chicken-fried steak...
Zach Theatre plans jubilee weekend with playwright Terrence McNally.
 Terrence
            McNally, who grew up in Corpus Christi, ranks among the top two or three playwrights from Texas. In Austin, the 
            Ransom Center at the 
            University of Texas holds his papers, while 
            Zach Theatre has become something of the official home for performances of...

Posted: 6 days ago

Terrence McNally, who grew up in Corpus Christi, ranks among the top two or three playwrights from Texas. In Austin, the  Ransom Center at the  University of Texas holds his papers, while  Zach Theatre has become something of the official home for performances of...
Austin couple shares the secrets of civic leadership
 Show up. Listen. Make friends. Do right. Collaborate. Learn about your city. Help when and where you can. These are some of the lessons — applicable to philanthropy, as well as business and other fields — shared recently by Tom and Lynn Meredith, who left behind California and, before that, Washington, D.C., for a life as open-eyed...

Posted: 6 days ago

Show up. Listen. Make friends. Do right. Collaborate. Learn about your city. Help when and where you can. These are some of the lessons — applicable to philanthropy, as well as business and other fields — shared recently by Tom and Lynn Meredith, who left behind California and, before that, Washington, D.C., for a life as open-eyed...
UT’s Latin American Collection is a wonder of the library world
 The Nettie Benson Latin American Collection is a University of Texas treasure you should get to know better. Founded almost 100 years ago in 1921 with the acquisition of Mexican historian and bibliophile Genaro García‘s library, it grew vastly under the direction of UT professor Carlos Castañeda — partial namesake...

Posted: 6 days ago

The Nettie Benson Latin American Collection is a University of Texas treasure you should get to know better. Founded almost 100 years ago in 1921 with the acquisition of Mexican historian and bibliophile Genaro García‘s library, it grew vastly under the direction of UT professor Carlos Castañeda — partial namesake...
ASA Moody Medical Clinic is a one-stop HIV center
 Crusading for a time when the rate of new HIV cases in our area drops to zero, 
            AIDS Services of Austin ceremoniously unveiled its new one-stop 
            ASA Moody Medical Clinic on Cameron Road on Monday. Ross Moody, Greg Casar and Kathie Tovo at the opening of the ASA Moody Medical Clinic. Michael Barnes/American-Statesman...

Posted: 7 days ago

Crusading for a time when the rate of new HIV cases in our area drops to zero,  AIDS Services of Austin ceremoniously unveiled its new one-stop  ASA Moody Medical Clinic on Cameron Road on Monday. Ross Moody, Greg Casar and Kathie Tovo at the opening of the ASA Moody Medical Clinic. Michael Barnes/American-Statesman...