IN THE REDD I'd met him before at a party at Gary Cooper and Richard Hartgrove's house. I had so much fun with him, I mentioned him in my next column but didn't see him again for a long time. Then I was in Dallas receiving some philanthropy award, and while I was flouncing around the Fairmont Hotel with Carolyn Farb, I see this guy at the bar whom I vaguely recognize. He introduces himself as Cliff Redd, executive director of Austin's Long Center for the Performing Arts, and reminds me that we've met before and that he'd appeared in my column. I sat down and had a drink with him and seemingly never left his side. Back in Austin, we were smitten with each other's company; I was as dazzled by him as he was by me, and we've been BFFs ever since. I remain in awe of Cliff, especially as the Long Center opens this weekend, since I know virtually all the joy, anguish, and heartbreak that he's been through in seeing this project come to fruition. This opening belongs not only to Joe and Teresa Long, for whom the center is named, and the city of Austin but also to Cliff Redd himself, whose slavish devotion and endless hours fretting, planning, and fundraising are just part of his job. The Longs couldn't have hired a more dedicated man than Cliff: His business sense, his humor, and his diplomacy have served them very well, and Cliff is pretty much beloved by all he meets – except for the few disgruntled who may have hidden agendas about what else could have gone in the Long Center's location or those who believe the Long Center will compromise the drawing power of older, smaller venues in Austin. But when it's all said and done. Cliff and the Long Center have been triumphant, and Austin is better for it. As for me, I have not only a close, new palace in which to see the performing arts but a friend whom I always will hold in the highest esteem.
TIE ONE ON Men's ties: one of the few ways left that a traditional man can express himself. There are gorgeous, magnificent, quality ties to be had today, but looking back on ties of the past, we seem to have lost a certain artistry to the designs and patterns on the ties. A visit to Vintage-Ties.com brings back a flood of fabulous color and styling that looks fresher than anything available new. This Austin-based website offers an incredible selection of art deco pieces, hand-painted beauties, and rockabilly works of art at very reasonable prices. The selection changes regularly as ties come in from all over the world, so check with them frequently, and give yourself your own unique look.
AGENDA Thursday, April 17, 6-10pm, at the AMLI on 2nd (415 W. Second) is the Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival's annual Bloom fundraiser. I looove this party; so many fun people gathered to help a cause that brings so much not just to the gay community but to all of Austin as well. This year features a raffle for not one but two sky-blue LX 50 Vespas (raffle tix are $10 each, but if you buy a book of 10, admittance to the event is free). More info at www.agliff.org... Saturday, April 19, 9pm-12mid, at Action Figure (3000 E. Cesar Chavez), the Octopus Club presents its fabled ArtErotica 2008 extravaganza. They have an April 1 deadline for submissions for the juried competition and an April 16 deadline for all other submissions. The art, the costumes, the staff, the players, and the theme make this a not-to-be-missed event in my book. Complete details at www.octopusclub.org.
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