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Downtown Austin – “The Road to Hope”

Tuesday Feb 3, 2009
The Road to Hope - Downtown Austin Courtesy

The Road to Hope - Downtown Austin - Courtesy

If you’re wondering what else could there be to do in Austin now that you’ve enjoyed regular fare and other events, then you should head to 1601 East 5th St. Suite 106 to view “The Road to Hope” exhibition. It should prove inspirational to say the least. From the heart of downtown Austin it will take you precisely 8 minutes to cover the 1.7 mile distance. The show that began on January 20 is to continue up to February 28.

Diverse Arts Culture Works, a non-profit organization commemorated the Inaugural Ceremony of Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States of America, with the opening of The Road to Hope. This is a photographic glimpse of African-American Life 1850-1960. Even as the Americans looks forward to forthcoming change, this Austin show re-examines the past to see how African-Americans have over reached expectations!

In a burst of spontaneity the organizers decided to exhibit a retrospective display of outstanding Afro-American life highlighting the potent forcefulness of hope! Drawing from the work of now-famous documentary photographers, historic archival collections, and not-so-famous photographers, the exhibition collates their work.

The show captures singular moments and holds them permanently for future generations to understand and appreciate. Images include a number of rarely seen pictures. They outline a triumphant and troubled past, from the Civil War era, hard times during the Great Depression and desegregation. The curators picked the perfect way to honor the historic inauguration of Barack Obama.

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Austin : Seussical The Musical

Thursday Jul 31, 2008
The Great Music Spirit

Austin City Limits Musical Fest - Courtesy

A lovely Saturday afternoon in July just outside Austin. Loop 360 to the hills of west Austin has outstanding Texan scenery. Standing under Pennybacker Bridge near the south shore boat ramp taking in the glorious summer day, I watch a few boats idle in the distant placid waters. The highway hanging on to the rust colored bridge appeared to be as steadfast as the spirit of survival, that truly is the liet motif of the capital city of the Lone Star State.

Austin is a tourist’s delight. History, geography, culture, entertainment, attractions all rolled into one great big bundle of surprises. One after another. I was glad that I had the sense to have come prepared for the summer here that can be as varied as the city itself. You can have alternating days of rain and sunshine in June, July, and August. An umbrella and a water bottle are de riguer if you are to enjoy the downtown among the highrise buildings that may be a bit warmer. Not to be missed are the captivating Dillos, or tram-cars that are a great way to get to the downtown for things to do and see – in air conditioned comfort. They are free!

Situated on the Colorado river, the city has three artificially created lakes within the city limits. Characterized by hot summers and mild winters Austin is partially sunny throughout the year making it an ideal vacation spot. Acclaimed as much for its cultural life as its high-tech innovations, its teasingly referred to as “the Silicon Hills”. Perhaps this explains the Austinite’s penchant for reading and contributing on blogs more than anywhere else!

The sobriquet Live Music Capital of the World is no mean claim since the city has a vibrant live-music scene with endless music venues. The serenading is non-stop beginning in the many nightclubs to year-round festivals, best of which is the South by Southwest. These music fests attract artists and fans from all over the world. The pulsating nightlife is next only to the music soirees that are part of the city lifestyle. The Austin City Limits Music Festival draws countless tourists from all over. Sixth Street is the musical hub that holds annual festivals like the Pecan Street Festival among others.

One thing that may dismay die-hard sports fans is that Austin does not have a franchise in major professional sports leagues. So the one sports program that is whole heatedly supported is the University of Texas Longhorns. But the outdoor types need not worry. Austin offers runners, rock-climbers, swimmers, divers, snorkelers, mountain bikers and cyclists a whole lot of athletic pleasures rarely to be found all in one place elsewhere – a delight for sports lovers.

Well known for its eccentricities, the city actually celebrates differences in lifestyle and culture. In fact the local motto Keep Austin Weird is reinforced on bumper stickers and t-shirts. A very strange and eccentric, unique Austin haven for weird arts like fire-dancing and circus-like-acts is the Enchanted Forest that hosts outdoor art and performance events.

Naturalists will just love it here. The world’s largest urban population of Mexican free-tailed bats reside under the Congress Avenue Bridge. You get to see the best bat flights. Up to 1.5 million bats emerge after sunset, an event that is popular with locals and tourists attracting 100,000 viewers per year. The bats are going to be here until late summer. Thats how batty it can get in Austin.

Which was what I was talking about earlier. The city’s will to survive against all odds. It may be a techno-savvy city set amidst the cultural blend of diverse communities – yet it worries about the birds and the bees. Austin is one city trying to strike a balance for environmental sustainability. An evening stroll down 6th Street will bear this out. The beautiful architecture, historic facades and the eccentric appearance of 6th Street regulars is sure to drive home the point. This July the Austin City Hall got official recognition as a “certified wildlife habitat” by the National Wildlife Federation. The first in Texas!

The summer calendar events have great happenings lined up. My pick is going to be between the Seussical The Musical at the Zacchary Scott Theater, Farmer’s Market at Downtown Recreation Center and maybe one night at the Austin Scottish Rite Theater to watch Twelfth Night. You can zero on to to get a feel of the events that have been organized. While your hand is still on the mouse why don’t you check on the Downtown Austin hotel site to reserve a room with a view!

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