Public Notice: 'Tis the Season
Parties nightly, and events in pairs
If last week was kind of slow on the event front, this week you can't miss that the holiday season has begun. Here are four seasonal parties in five nights, celebrating a range of great local service and advocacy groups.
• The Eighth Annual Austin "Green" Holiday Party is Thu., Dec. 3, 6-10pm, at Barr Mansion, 10463 Sprinkle. Join 13 different local environmental groups for the green party of the year. Organic buffet, live music by Wino Vino ("a mix of European folk, cabaret, swing and Balkan brass!"), dancing, socializing, and beer from Black Star Co-op. $30 gets you all of it, at www.earthdayaustin.com.
• Save Our Springs Holiday Party and Silent Auction is Fri., Dec. 4, 6pm-midnight, at a new, waterfront location – the American Legion's historic Charles Johnson House on Lady Bird Lake, just west of MoPac at 404 Atlanta St. It's the SOS Alliance's annual revel, and the emphasis is on local production: local food, local music, lots of interesting folks, and a huge silent auction, with offerings from hundreds of local businesses and artisans. There's a $10 suggested donation to SOS at the door.
• WayForward Fall Fest is Sun., Dec. 6, 4:30-7pm at Midway Food Park, 1905 Capital of TX Hwy. S. Come enjoy an evening at the Midway; events include a kickball tournament and pie-eating challenge, plus a playscape for children and a DJ for music. It's a benefit for WayForward, a relatively new nonprofit offering skills training and improvement, as well as job development, placement and coaching, for young adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities (www.wayfwd.org). $30 advance; kids, $20; under 2, free. Day of event: $35/$25. Includes dinner and two drink tickets.
• The Liveable City Holiday Bash is Mon., Dec. 7, 6-8:30pm at Waller Ballroom, 700 E. Sixth. If you like mixing parties and policies, don't miss the Liveable City Holiday Bash, featuring the best schmoozing in town, along with complimentary appetizers, a cash bar, and a gift-worthy silent auction. One of Austin's most respected advocacy groups, LC went quiet briefly after a third of its board got elected to public office last year. Now they're back in force with a long-awaited affordability study due out in early January. Any chance of a sneak preview? You'll have to show up to find out. A suggested $35 donation includes membership, but everyone's welcome; join or renew at www.liveablecity.org.
Beyond that, there are a lot of events this week that have various mixes of politics and culture. Strangely, everything seems to break down into pairs of things – so, let's say it's in honor of this week's cover story, the taco tournament bracket, where, of course, everything is also in pairs.
Two special art exhibits this weekend represent two distinctive Austin communities: "Mix 'n' Mash: Austin Lotería!" is a group exhibition and art sale at Mexic-Arte Museum, featuring works by over 200 artists; each limited-edition piece uniquely crafted for the exhibition, inspired by an exciting twist on the theme of the Lotería card game: Austin Lotería. It's Fri., Dec. 4, 5-10pm, 419 Congress. $10 admission; members, free. www.mexic-artemuseum.org.
Art from the Streets provides art studio space for Austin's homeless and at-risk community; their annual Art Show & Sale is this Sat. & Sun., Dec. 5 & 6, from 11am-5pm, at the Austin Convention Center. An $8 suggested donation at the door supports the organization, but all proceeds from art sales go directly back to each individual artist. See more at www.artfromthestreets.com.
Two City of Austin recycling and reuse contests get this week's Thinking Outside the Box award:
The [Re]Verse Pitch Competition is trying to match local businesses that have raw materials up for grabs – wicker and broken dishes from Goodwill, or spent grain from Hops & Grain Brewery, for example – with entrepreneurs who can use those materials. See www.reversepitch.org for more info, or come see the eight finalists make their case for a $10,000 grant to start a new social enterprise, Wed., Dec. 9, 6-8:30pm, at Bass Lecture Hall, LBJ School of Public Affairs, 2300 Red River.
The Austin Recycles Games kicked off this week, a competition among the 10 city council districts to increase Austin's recycling rates and help residents overcome barriers to recycling. Austin Resource Recovery will monitor recycling totals in each district from December through March – with winning districts for both most overall recycling and most improved receiving a beautification project for a library or park. More info and monthly updates at www.austinrecycles.com.
There are two book readings by writers dear to our heart this week at the Austin History Center, 810 Guadalupe. First comes Austin in the Jazz Age on Sat., Dec. 5, from 2-3pm; author Richard Zelade will put on a multimedia presentation of music, movie clips, cartoons, and historic photos, telling the story of Austin during the Twenties, the era following World War I that "put the city on track to be the 'Weird City' that it became."
Then on Tue., Dec. 8, from 6:30-8pm, Michael Barnes hosts a reading and discussion about Indelible Austin: Selected Histories, a selection of his favorite Austin History features from over the years, published by Waterloo Press, the publishing arm of the Austin History Center Association. Both events include book signings and light refreshments. More info at www.austinhistorycenter.org.
Also two park design meetings: The City Parks and Recreation Department will hold the first of a series of stakeholder and community engagement meetings on the proposed Alliance Children's Garden in Butler Park, at the Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Rd., Sat., Dec. 5, 11am-1pm. See the project web page at www.austintexas.gov/alliancechildrensgarden.
PARD has held several public engagement events regarding potential park improvements within the Barton Springs Bathhouse Zone, and will host a Feedback Review and Alternatives meeting Wed., Dec. 9, from 6-8pm in Room 130, 721 Barton Springs Rd. See that project overview at www.austintexas.gov/department/zilker-park-improvement-projects-barton-springs.
And two school choice events: The AISD Middle School Choice Fair lets students and parents explore the programs offered at each of AISD's 19 middle school campuses. Campus reps will be there, along with middle school students performing in four areas throughout the fair. It's Sat., Dec. 5, 9am-noon, at Fulmore Middle School, 201 E. Mary.
And Destination ACC: Saturday is Austin Community College's open house for students who want to sign up for spring classes but haven't started or haven't finished the process. Sat., Dec. 5, 9am-4pm, at three ACC campuses: Highland, Round Rock, and South Austin. Learn about programs, enrollment steps, financial aid, career planning, and transfers. Bring photo ID, proof of residency, and academic records. More info at www.austincc.edu/destination.
Two city arts funding programs, the Cultural Heritage Festivals Program and Capacity Building Funding Program, provide funding for nonprofit arts organizations and individual artists. The deadline to apply for FY 2016 grants is Dec. 14; see www.austintexas.gov/department/cultural-funding for more info.