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Latest from Michael Barnes

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Don’t let the historic house at Boggy Creek Farm crumble
 The best historical evidence indicates that the house at 
            Boggy Creek Farm is, along with the 
            French Legation, one of the two oldest homes in Austin. Unlike the residence on Robertson Hill that was intended for ambassadorial usage
            and now owned by the state of Texas, the farmhouse on the...

Posted: a day ago

The best historical evidence indicates that the house at  Boggy Creek Farm is, along with the  French Legation, one of the two oldest homes in Austin. Unlike the residence on Robertson Hill that was intended for ambassadorial usage and now owned by the state of Texas, the farmhouse on the...
Mad about Austin Camerata
 From where I sit, “
            Austin Camerata” translates into “unadulterated beauty.”  At least it did last night when the Austin chamber orchestra played the 
            Rollins Studio 
            Theatre at the 
            Long Center for the Performing Arts. But first, an historical note: 
     ...

Posted: 2 days ago

From where I sit, “ Austin Camerata” translates into “unadulterated beauty.” At least it did last night when the Austin chamber orchestra played the Rollins Studio  Theatre at the Long Center for the Performing Arts. But first, an historical note:  ...
Juneteenth performance of ex-slave testaments to honor Billy Harden
 Spectrum Theatre Company, the African-American troupe that the late 
            Billy Harden co-founded, will commemorate the Austin actor, musician, educator and leader on June 16-17 with “Juneteenth Chronicles.” Billy Harden was an actor, producer, musician and educator. Larry Kolvoord/American-Statesman. The show...

Posted: 4 days ago

Spectrum Theatre Company, the African-American troupe that the late  Billy Harden co-founded, will commemorate the Austin actor, musician, educator and leader on June 16-17 with “Juneteenth Chronicles.” Billy Harden was an actor, producer, musician and educator. Larry Kolvoord/American-Statesman. The show...
Texas leaders tackle terrorism, politics, education and animal welfare
 The Library was the place to be. Not the Central Public Library. But the blue-and-red rectangular meeting room at Hotel Van Zandt. It was the location for a Toast of the Town salon to support the Neal Kocurek Scholarship Fund for health sciences careers, operated by the St. David’s Foundation. Thirty or so lucky souls were treated to...

Posted: 4 days ago

The Library was the place to be. Not the Central Public Library. But the blue-and-red rectangular meeting room at Hotel Van Zandt. It was the location for a Toast of the Town salon to support the Neal Kocurek Scholarship Fund for health sciences careers, operated by the St. David’s Foundation. Thirty or so lucky souls were treated to...
Austin Under 40 Awards winners are solid gold
 We always cheer the 
            Austin Under 40 Awar
            ds
             ceremony, not just because it benefits two worthy causes,
             YWA Foundation and the 
            Austin Sunshine Camps, but also because so many rising social stars end up among the winners. Toya Bell picks up the Austin Under 40 Award for...

Posted: 5 days ago

We always cheer the Austin Under 40 Awar ds  ceremony, not just because it benefits two worthy causes,  YWA Foundation and the Austin Sunshine Camps, but also because so many rising social stars end up among the winners. Toya Bell picks up the Austin Under 40 Award for...
How Texas history became one woman’s life passion
 If you stop by the side of the road in Texas to check out historical markers regularly, you likely read her words. If you attend lifetime learning clubs in the Austin area, you likely hear her speak. And if you browse the Texana section of any decent-size bookstore, at some point you’ll run across the name “Myra McIlvain&rdquo...

Posted: 6 days ago

If you stop by the side of the road in Texas to check out historical markers regularly, you likely read her words. If you attend lifetime learning clubs in the Austin area, you likely hear her speak. And if you browse the Texana section of any decent-size bookstore, at some point you’ll run across the name “Myra McIlvain&rdquo...
Austin Symphony roars through ‘Mighty Russians’
 It started off tentatively and ended magnificently. “The Mighty Russians, Part II,” a full banquet of symphonic music, launched with 
            Tchaikovsky‘s short Piano Concerto No. 3. Soloist 
            Olga Kern, a dazzling presence onstage at the 
            Long Center for the Performing Arts, seemed...

Posted: 6 days ago

It started off tentatively and ended magnificently. “The Mighty Russians, Part II,” a full banquet of symphonic music, launched with  Tchaikovsky‘s short Piano Concerto No. 3. Soloist  Olga Kern, a dazzling presence onstage at the Long Center for the Performing Arts, seemed...
Cedar chopper killed 2 on West Monroe Street

Posted: 8 days ago

Tales of historical murder and mayhem mean a lot more when they happened on your street. We’re still reading Ken Roberts’ excellent “The Cedar Choppers: Life on the Edge of Nothing” (Texas A&M University Press), an account of the clans who lived mostly isolated lives in the Hill Country west and north of Austin. One...
Jill Blackwood is an Austin star for all reasons
 Classic stories aren’t always kind to female characters. But rather than being simply damsels in distress, how these women adapt to their circumstances is how they reveal their initially hidden strengths and wisdom. These are the roles at which Jill Blackwood, Austin’s marquee musical theater actor, excels. Try just these emblematic...

Posted: 8 days ago

Classic stories aren’t always kind to female characters. But rather than being simply damsels in distress, how these women adapt to their circumstances is how they reveal their initially hidden strengths and wisdom. These are the roles at which Jill Blackwood, Austin’s marquee musical theater actor, excels. Try just these emblematic...
We pick the 13 Broadway masterpieces of Stephen Sondheim
 Stephen Sondheim is the most important creative artist in American theater history. There, I said it. “Wait a minute,” you object with reason. “What about all the other American playwrights, composers and lyricists whose work is regularly revived and who form a part of our ongoing cultural conversation? Especially those...

Posted: 8 days ago

Stephen Sondheim is the most important creative artist in American theater history. There, I said it. “Wait a minute,” you object with reason. “What about all the other American playwrights, composers and lyricists whose work is regularly revived and who form a part of our ongoing cultural conversation? Especially those...
Readers investigate the Molly Awards for the Texas Observer
 We live in a golden age of investigative journalism. Not just the renaissance of political reporting at the federal level. But in-depth articles and investigative packages cascading
            from newspapers such as the American-Statesman, as well as other local, regional and national media. Jack Keyes and Syeda Hasan at the Molly Awards...

Posted: 8 days ago

We live in a golden age of investigative journalism. Not just the renaissance of political reporting at the federal level. But in-depth articles and investigative packages cascading from newspapers such as the American-Statesman, as well as other local, regional and national media. Jack Keyes and Syeda Hasan at the Molly Awards...
Season for Caring’s Qusay Hussein graduates at Austin Community College
 In 2006, Qusay Hussein was left for dead after a suicide attack in his native Mosul, Iraq. The explosion blew off his face and left him blind. In 2018, Hussein donned the robes of a recipient of an Austin Community College associate degree and spoke at the graduation ceremony last week about his journey. “Each one of us has something...

Posted: 10 days ago

In 2006, Qusay Hussein was left for dead after a suicide attack in his native Mosul, Iraq. The explosion blew off his face and left him blind. In 2018, Hussein donned the robes of a recipient of an Austin Community College associate degree and spoke at the graduation ceremony last week about his journey. “Each one of us has something...
The last time we talked to supreme Broadway artist Stephen Sondheim
 In the occasion of 
               Zach Theatre‘s first fully staged musical by 
               Stephen Sondheim, “Sunday in the Park with George,” which opens May 30, we republish this Nov. 8, 2009 story that includes my interview with
               great man himself.  Stephen Sondheim in 1976. AP Stephen...

Posted: 11 days ago

In the occasion of  Zach Theatre‘s first fully staged musical by  Stephen Sondheim, “Sunday in the Park with George,” which opens May 30, we republish this Nov. 8, 2009 story that includes my interview with great man himself.  Stephen Sondheim in 1976. AP Stephen...
Austin won’t ignore Ann Richards School and People’s Community Clinic
 It’s impossible to ignore how composed and accomplished they are. The students from the 
            Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders are the real celebrities during the annual 
            Reach for the Stars benefit for the 
            Ann Richards School Foundation, now held at 
            Four...

Posted: 12 days ago

It’s impossible to ignore how composed and accomplished they are. The students from the  Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders are the real celebrities during the annual  Reach for the Stars benefit for the Ann Richards School Foundation, now held at  Four...
Season for Caring client Qusay Hussein graduates from ACC
 In 2006, 
            Qusay Hussein was left for dead after a suicide attack in his native Mosul, Iraq. The explosion blew off his face and left him blind. In 2018, Hussein donned the robes of a recipient of an 
            Austin Community College associate’s degree and spoke at the graduation ceremony about his journey. Qusay...

Posted: 12 days ago

In 2006, Qusay Hussein was left for dead after a suicide attack in his native Mosul, Iraq. The explosion blew off his face and left him blind. In 2018, Hussein donned the robes of a recipient of an Austin Community College associate’s degree and spoke at the graduation ceremony about his journey. Qusay...
Critics name finalists for 2018 Austin arts awards
 It’s time. The 
            Austin Critics Table Awards nominations came out this morning. Buzz Moran at the Critics Table Awards at Cap City Comedy Club in 2008. That’s a decade ago! Michael Barnes/AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN The gathered minds invented new categories, both under the heading of Theater: 
            Periphery...

Posted: 13 days ago

It’s time. The  Austin Critics Table Awards nominations came out this morning. Buzz Moran at the Critics Table Awards at Cap City Comedy Club in 2008. That’s a decade ago! Michael Barnes/AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN The gathered minds invented new categories, both under the heading of Theater: Periphery...
Austin learns a lot from Larry Wright, Evan Smith and Amy Mills

Posted: 14 days ago

The Library was the place to be. Not the Central Public Library. But the blue-and-red rectangular meeting room at  Hotel van Zandt. It was the location for a  Toast of the Town salon to support the  Neal Kocurek Scholarship Fund for health sciences careers, operated...
Pinpointing a 1940s Bluff Springs baptism
 Reader Craig Scott contacted our Austin Answered project: “I recently saw a photo of people getting baptized in the springs at Bluff Springs dated back in the 1940s,” he writes. “It had a concrete enclosure. Can you run a story on where the actual springs were or are?” The compelling image, shared on the Facebook page...

Posted: 15 days ago

Reader Craig Scott contacted our Austin Answered project: “I recently saw a photo of people getting baptized in the springs at Bluff Springs dated back in the 1940s,” he writes. “It had a concrete enclosure. Can you run a story on where the actual springs were or are?” The compelling image, shared on the Facebook page...
We salute Bloomberg arts gifts, Austin Opera, Austin Art League and more
 As reported in the New York Times, 
            Bloomberg Philanthropies is putting $43 million into small and midsize arts group in seven new cities, including Austin. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite “We wanted to reach cities that we thought had a really strong mix in the way they were serving...

Posted: 16 days ago

As reported in the New York Times, Bloomberg Philanthropies is putting $43 million into small and midsize arts group in seven new cities, including Austin. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite “We wanted to reach cities that we thought had a really strong mix in the way they were serving...
What caused all the excitement at Austin nonprofit pitch fest
 I would have given each group $100,000. No, make that $1 million. At the
             LBJ Auditorium, reps from each of seven nonprofits made their cases for three minutes at 
            Philanthropitch, then followed up with three minutes of answers to questions from six judges, all successful entrepreneurs. Chelsea Elliott of the...

Posted: 17 days ago

I would have given each group $100,000. No, make that $1 million. At the LBJ Auditorium, reps from each of seven nonprofits made their cases for three minutes at  Philanthropitch, then followed up with three minutes of answers to questions from six judges, all successful entrepreneurs. Chelsea Elliott of the...
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