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Choose your own adventure

We might never know just how hard Scott Blackwood pushed his friendship with me in his bid for the 2004-05 Dobie Paisano Fellowship – a $2,000-stipend-for-6-months stay at J. Frank Dobie's 254-acre retreat just west of Austin – but judging from the University of Texas and the Texas Institute of Letters' awarding him one, it's safe to say that he at least mentioned it. Of course, In the Shadow of Our House (SMU Press, 2001), his excellent and well-received debut short-story collection, probably had a little impact, as well, along with his work as the program coordinator of the Undergraduate Writing Center at UT and as a Visiting Fiction Writer at Southwestern University in Georgetown. Blackwood – a judge of the Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest for the past three years – will start his residence in September and will work on finishing his novel, See How Small. Fellow fellow Daniel Rifenburgh – the Houston poet whose work has appeared in The New Republic, The Paris Review, The New Criterion, and Southwest Review and whose first collection, Advent, received the Natalie Ornish Award – will start in March of 2005. Congratulations to both writers, and best of luck to future applicants, who can find more information at www.utexas.edu/ogs/Paisano/index.html.

The Austin Public Library, along with Council Members Raul Alvarez and Danny Thomas, proposed on Wednesday a project that would honor the legacy of the Eastside music scene. In the works is a public art garden at the Cepeda Branch, 651 N. Pleasant Valley, that will recognize the likes of Alfred Johnson, James Cotton, the Victory Grill, and the Skyline Club. According to the APL, most of the funds will come from private contributions and in-kind donations. Juan Cortera Architects has submitted design plans.

Austin's I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness has surfaced on the McSweeney's-published pop-culture-by-way-of-books mag The Believer's music issue CD. The issue also includes essays by Guy Maddin and Jim Ruland, as well as interviews with David Byrne (by Dave Eggers) and Joanna Newsom (by Judy Budnitz).

Notable upcoming events of possible interest: Southside Pulgita/Mini-Fleamarket, a fundraiser for Red Salmon Arts' Save Our Youth program, at Resistencia Bookstore (1801-A S. First, 416-8885) on Saturday, June 19, 9am-5pm; Robert Bryce (Cronies; see excerpt and interview on p.30) at BookPeople on Tuesday, June 22, 7pm.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Robert Bryce, Resistencia, Cepeda Branch Eastside Music Art Garden, Scott Blackwood, Daniel Rifenburgh, Dobie Paisano Fellowship

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