LE$$ IS MORE: Once it was strictly a Hallmark deal - manufactured sentiment, yours for two bits, a gimmick to tide retailers through the slow stretch before the grad-and-wedding season. Now it's a Consumer High Holy Day, with weeks of buildup, pounds of Sunday ad inserts, glossy promptings for every price range. Guilt or gilt: how much to show your love?
We're talking about Mother's Day, of course. And while you can't turn it off, you can at least tone it down... which brings us to our plug for Pueblo to People.
Unlike many of your slimy neighborhood importers, PtP is a nonprofit trade group that runs on a supremely radical notion: paying Third World workers a living wage for the stuff they produce. Though most of its business is catalog orders, the Houston-based outfit hits town twice a year for a trunk sale to benefit the local American Friends Service Committee, specifically its Latin American and Caribbean Education Project.
Well, they're sweet, but they're not dumb. So it's probably no coincidence that this year's Spring Sale falls on Mother's Day weekend (Saturday-Sunday, May 13-14, 9am-5pm, at 227 Congress). For two days, you can stock up on handmade Guatemalan clothing, gorgeous woven bags, palm leaf hats from Honduras, intricate Peruvian jewelry, wild Brazil nuts fresh from the Amazon rain forest, plus a ton of other stuff that'll have mom (you?) in a shopper's swoon.
And while she's oohing and ahhing, you can tell her what else her gift is good for: clothes on the back, food on the table, hope in the heart where once there was none. If that sounds like a Hallmark card, tough. She'll be proud to know what a decent kid you turned out to be.
GUYS NAMED SQUID LOVE THEIR MOTHERS, TOO: In more mom news, Hole in the Wall hosts its second annual Benefit for the Multiple Sclerosis Society on Monday (May 15, 7pm, 2538 Guadalupe). Put together by longtime Hole employee Squid, the show's a tribute to his own mother, the late Frances R. Bolling, who waged a courageous battle against MS for years.
The lineup includes Horse Wreck, Poontwang, Sleestacks, Terraplanes, Michael Fracasso, Javelin Boot, Wannabes, and Buick MacKane. Your five-buck door donation (more if you can handle it) goes to the Central Texas Area MS Society in Mrs. Bolling's memory.
MOMS IN STIRRUPS: One last maternal note... Planned Parenthood is now scheduling appointments for Healthy Moms Day (Saturday, May 20, at Planned Parenthood centers in Austin and Round Rock). On that day, any woman accompanied by her son or daughter will receive a free health screening, including a Pap smear and breast and pelvic exams. Normally, this would run you over $50 (not counting the kids' stuff, which'll include balloons, face painting, and Mother's Day card-making). An appointment is a must; to schedule yours, call 1-800-PLAN.
CUANTO ES? Casa Marianella throws a take-no-prisoners Garage Sale this Saturday (May 13, 8am-4pm, United Methodist Church of Govalle, 831 Springdale, off E. Seventh). It's all cheap and it's all gotta go, which translates to último bargains for you. Proceeds benefit the Casa, a shelter for Spanish-speaking homeless people.
THAT'SDEAR SCUMBAG: The next monthly meeting of the Texas Abortion Rights Action League is slated for Wednesday, May 17, 7pm, at the Carver Library, 1161 Angelina. On the agenda: tracking the progress of pro-choice and anti-choice bills in the Texas Lege, local volunteer activities, and guidelines for writing effective letters to newspaper editors. Feel free to practice on ours.
REALLY SCARY PEN PALS: Speaking of mail, Amnesty International will hold its regular letter-writing confab this Sunday (May 14, 4-6pm, at the Flightpath Coffeehouse, 5011 Duval). BYO pen, paper, and stamps. They'll supply the horror stories.
GO FOR THE GREEN: The city environmental department is now accepting nominees for its 1995 Environmental Awareness Awards. Categories include individual, community group or nonprofit organization, school or education program, private enterprise, and governmental program. For a nomination form, call Jeanine Dailey at 499-6338; completed forms must be returned no later than 4pm, Friday, May 26.
OUTGOING TUNA: Saturday, May 13, is the annual Letter Carriers Food Drive, so make a note now to toss a couple of cans in your mailbox Friday night. It's got to be store-bought and it's got to be nonperishable; beyond that, the choice is yours. The food bank gets the goods, the carrier gets the hernia, and you get another Victoria's Secret catalog. Heckuva a deal, no?
Please send items to "Public Notice," The Austin Chronicle, P0 Box 49066, Austin,TX 78765. Info must be received by the Thursday prior to publication. Phone calls have a .01% chance of being returned.