SUNDAY ON SOCO I accompanied my friends Steven Aichlmayr and Chris Rodriguez to brunch at the recently opened D&L's Texas Music Cafe for their official grand opening and ran into the deliriously beautiful and talented Patricia Vonne (you can catch her singing at El Sol y la Luna every Thursday night). It was a very nice experience, complete with a stylish look, good food, and good service. The interior was very cool, and the food was delicious: Steven had pancakes made with Vanilla Coke, Chris had French toast with a bourbon-cream sauce, and I had eggs Benedict with snow crab and asparagus -- imaginative and creative with a very nice presentation. I also loved the dishes that the food was served on -- bright colors with bowls that sat slightly off-center. I'll definitely return. Then it was on to the more serious matter of shopping. We began at the far end of the strip at Blackmail, trying on dozens of items, as the clothes came flying out of the dressing room. We bought sunglasses (of course) and a couple of Blackmail's always-unusual shirts. Then it was on to Gomi. We raided the store. I think Gomi has some of the most interesting men's clothes in town. Owner/buyer John Lohse is definitely not afraid of color, boldness, and extravagant fabrics -- the brocade pants in several colors are fabulous, and the suede jackets and shirts are wonderful. Carrying a just-as-interesting array of womenswear, Gomi also has great jewelry and accessories for the body and home. Up the avenue a bit, Las Manos Magica has taken over part of Aqua, offering wonderful Mexican crafts, with some terrific Day of the Dead items. We caught the live music in Güero's courtyard, and made our way to Antigua, where we loved the artwork, Chinese cabinets, and leather furniture. Then it was across the street to Lone Star Illusions, where we bought mood rings and more sunglasses (I know ... I have a pathological weakness for sunglasses). Since everything else was closing, our last stop was New Bohemia (they're open until 10pm every night), where we tried on clothes and wigs, and bought jewelry and Christmas ornaments. Be sure and stop by for their T-shirts that say, "Somebody in Austin Fuckin' Hates Me." If I wore T-shirts, this would be an appropriate one. Just another typically diverse and entertaining afternoon in an untypical town on a street that typifies Austin's unquenchable charm.
FOUR EVENTS TWO HOURS The mad dash of the Fall/Winter Social Season has begun, and the lazy hazy days of summer have gone the way of the bubble skirt. I was determined to make quick work of my rounds last Friday night -- it was the kind of night in which I had to bend my own fashion rules and wear evening clothes all day since I wouldn't get a chance to go home and change ... but what an evening it was. It started for me at 8pm (I was determined to be home by 10), attending a party given by the amazing Kat Jones of the "Best of Austin" award-winning Milkshake Media. The occasion was an open house, of sorts, to show off Milkshake's new digs at the corner of Nueces and Seventh Street -- a faaabulous and historic landmarked mansion. The 1903 structure is incredible -- spectacular carved woodwork, mile-high ceilings, and more bathrooms and fireplaces than I could keep track of. Milkshake hadn't quite moved in yet, so the palace was empty. As I strolled among the rooms, I felt the inescapable destiny that this was the house I'd been born to live in. Squelching my envy, I remembered that Kat is one of the most down-to-earth, kind, talented, and fun-loving people I have ever met -- and if I keep saying that, I'll at least get to regularly visit the house that should rightfully be mine. Regretfully departing the splendor, we were off to photographer Andrew Shapter's 10-year retrospective at Guadalupe Arts Center, featuring dazzling examples of Shapter's illustrious work -- some of it stunning and sexy, other parts haunting and evocative. He has an expert eye, capturing languid beauty with intuition and drama. Continuing with the gallery theme, we attended the opening of the new Oswald Gallery space on Congress, displaying the gorgeous photographic work of Tom Baril, who worked in association with Robert Mapplethorpe. The new gallery (714 Congress) is beautiful, and Leya Simmons Oswald is the proud and gracious owner. From there, we stopped at the party for the opening of Cat Swanson's design studio. Miss Swanson is a UT graduate in fashion design, recently showing in the Bryant Park tents during Fashion Week, and was the subject of an article in The New York Times that savaged her in eloquent words, making her out to be a complete deb-dilettante. Her studio is chic and well appointed, and her collection infused with feminine fabrics and sexy cuts.
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