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30.2627°N -97.7439°W


AUSTIN,

TX


SECTION

WELCOME TO AUSTIN

PG.

Ø3


ROMANCE IS DEAD.

IT DIED ALONGSIDE THE UNKNOWN. THEY DREW THEIR LAST GASPING BREATHS TOGETHER, AS A WAVE OF READILY AVAILABLE INFORMATION POWERED BY THE DIGITAL AGE DROWNED OUT ANY POSSIBILITY OF MYSTERY IN LIFE. BUT, AT THE BOTTOM OF THE UNITED STATES, BURIED INLAND IN THE UNLIKELY STATE OF TEXAS, THERE IS A CITY WHERE ROMANCE SURVIVES. AUSTIN IS NOT A PLACE THAT TIME FORGOT. ITS CONTEMPORARY REALITY IS DEFINED, ALMOST ABOVE ALL ELSE, BY THE STRUGGLES BROUGHT ON BY THE ENTHUSIASTIC AND LARGE-SCALE MIGRATION OF THE TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY INTO THE MIDST OF A SMALL, ARTISTIC COLLEGE TOWN. BUT, WHILE DOWNTOWN IS INCREASINGLY DOMINATED BY BUSINESSES THAT TRADE IN RAPIDLY ACCELERATING US TOWARD THE FUTURE, AUSTIN HOLDS ON TO A FEW THINGS FROM THE PAST THAT HAVE ALL BUT DISAPPEARED FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD. HERE, TIME AND ITS PRESSURES HAVE NOT ACHIEVED THE TYRANNICAL GRIP ON EVERYDAY LIFE THAT THEY HAVE ELSEWHERE. INSTEAD - IN POCKETS - THE CITY SEEMS TO FOLD BACK ACROSS THE YEARS, CONJURING A LONG-LOST WORLD IN ITS DANCE HALLS, JAZZ CLUBS, AND THE WIDE SMILES OF FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS. IN THESE PLACES, WHICH ARE ALMOST ALWAYS DARK AND A LITTLE DINGY, TIME SLOWS AND THINGS THAT ARE TRULY IMPORTANT –LIKE GOOD MUSIC, GOOD TIMES, AND ASKING SOMEONE TO DANCE – COME TO THE FORE. LIKE MOST VISIONS OF THE PAST, THESE VENUES ARE INHERENTLY ROMANTIC. FROM THE CHEAP DRINKS AND DISINTERESTED NATURE OF THE BARTENDERS, TO THE KNOWLEDGE THAT AN ENDLESS NUMBER OF LOVE STORIES BEGAN ON THIS DANCE FLOOR, THEY FEEL LIKE THE KIND OF SETTING WHERE EVERY MOMENT BECOMES MEANINGFUL.

AUSTIN,

TX


AUSTIN’S ABILITY TO MAINTAIN THESE VENUES AND VALUES WHILE THEY HAVE BECOME REDUNDANT IN SO MANY OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD IS NOT NECESSARILY FROM AN IMPULSE TOWARD ROMANCE. INSTEAD IT COMES DOWN TO ITS INDEPENDENCE OF SPIRIT. IT’S NOT KNOWN AS A TRADITIONALLY TEXAN TOWN, BUT AUSTIN HAS TEXAS’ STUBBORN NATURE AND THE LOCALS REFUSE TO LET THE THINGS THEY LOVE DIE. SO, WHILE PEOPLE MIGHT BE TIRED IN AUSTIN, THEY STILL GO OUT TO DANCE ON A MONDAY NIGHT. PEOPLE HERE MIGHT NOT KNOW HOW TO TWO-STEP, BUT THEY SURE ARE WILLING TO LEARN. PEOPLE HERE MIGHT NOT KNOW YOUR NAME, BUT THEY’RE STILL GLAD TO HAVE SHARED A DRINK. AUSTIN HAS RETAINED ITS CHARACTER BECAUSE ITS PEOPLE HAVE FOUGHT FOR IT. THE CITY AND ITS UNIQUE NATURE MIGHT BE THREATENED MORE THAN EVER BEFORE AS POPULATIONS MOVE UP AND DEVELOPERS MOVE IN, BUT THE PEOPLE HERE KNOW WHAT THEY WANT, AND THEY'RE NOT WILLING TO WORK FOR IT. ALTHOUGH IT’S BESIEGED BY THE DRIVERS OF CHANGE AND MODERNIZATION, AUSTIN REMAINS A PLACE WHERE THE PERENNIAL PROMISE OF THE UNKNOWN STILL LINGERS. A PLACE WHERE THE CHOICE TO GET UP AND DANCE - REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU’VE BEEN ASKED OR NOT – SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE TO IGNORE. IT CONTINUES TO BE, AND WILL ALWAYS BE, A CITY THAT OFFERS A REAL CHANCE FOR ROMANCE.

PG.

Ø5


A U S T I N

H A S

R E T A I N E D I T S

C H A R -

A C T E R C

A

B E -

U

S

E

I T S

P E O -

P L E

H AV E

F

O

U

F O R AUSTIN,

G

H

T

I T . TX


PG.

Ø7


AUSTIN,

TX


PG.

Ø9


AUSTIN,

TX


PG.

Ø11


AUSTIN,

TX


PG.

Ø13


'HERE'

IS

A

COLLECTION

OF

LOCAL

INSIGHTS

TO

COMPLEMENT

AT

THE

LINE

A

STAY

AUSTIN

The LINE was created by a team of collaborators led by the Sydell Group. Sydell is an owner, developer and manager of hotels. For each of its projects Sydell acts as curator — throwing location-specific inspiration and some of the world’s best creative minds at a hotel until it becomes a unique thing that resonates with the people and places surrounding it. Every LINE is different by design, but united in approach. The LINE Hotel is rooted and responsive to its architecture, neighborhood and community. The LINE is a home for emerging chefs, bartenders, and designers, as well as travelers and residents alike.

AUSTIN,

TX

DESIGN

BY:

Xtra Shiny xtrashiny.com.au Creative Director — Adam Johnson Editor — Farrin Foster Sub-Editor — Suzie Keen Photographer — Jonathan van der Knaap Producer — Julie Haslam SPECIAL

THANKS

TO:

Natalie Davis, Sana Keefer, Joshua Bingaman, Ben Jones, Gabe Erales, Timothy Clancy and Joshua Fanning. PRINT:

Typecraft Wood & Jones


PG.

Ø15


CONTENTS: SERVING

FARMING

SUGGESTION

22 Where to go, what to eat, and when to do it. CERAMIC

AND

The young coffee leaders at the forefront of Austin’s bustling caffeine scene. BUTCHER,

BAKER,

BBQ-MAKER

35 Meet three humans who turned three hospitality venues into Austin institutions.

AUSTIN,

TX

THE

WHITE

HORSE

60

Austin is taking the concept of local produce to the next level with producers now turning suburban sites into productive agricultural land.

The quintessential Austin experience lies inside the dusty walls of a bar with an absurd name. CHEER

THE

SOUTH

30

SUBURBS

43

AT

GLASS

THE

THE

CORNER CONGRESS

OF AND

CIRCUIT

52 Austin’s most famous shopping and night-time strip has been through a lot of ups and downs, and its history and future can be told by the people who are helping it excel in the present.

UP

CHARLIE’S

66 A music district venue that is as much about community as it is about gigs. REYNA

VASQUEZ

72 Meet Austin’s undisputed queen of breakfast tacos. ANTONELLI’S

CHEESE

76 This young couple knew that there was more to cheese than queso dip.


CONTENTS

ERA

CERAMICS

AUSTIN

BY

DESIGN

EAST

AUSTIN

REVIVAL

80

105

134

At the bleeding edge of Austin’s maker boom, the team behind Era Ceramics are determined to create objects that are both beautiful and functional.

Why a city that is an almost-accidental state capital is just beginning to find its own aesthetic identity.

Deep in the suburbs of East Austin, a cluster of makers are reviving several of America’s lost arts.

MY

A

MISSIO

92

AUSTIN

VIRGINIA

WITH CUMBERBATCH

BETTER

THROUGH

CITY ART

128

142

Austin native Virginia Cumberbatch loves her city but also knows how and why it needs to change.

The Contemporary Austin is bringing the world’s best artist to town, and helping locals reach global standard.

100

HELM

COLLECTIBLES

The Austin firm tackling the universal problem with a lack of diversity in tech industries.

132

154

The company proving that not all Austin-designed boots have to be for cowboys.

Our guide to the must-buy items from Austin and surrounds.

Electronic duo Missio prove that the Austin sound is ever-evolving. DIVINC

BOOTS

PG.

Ø17


TIMELINE: MOST IN

AUSTIN

TAILORED

12

A

QUICK

IDIOSYNCRATIC AND TO

ITS

FIT

GUIDE

HOURS

First thing — If there’s one thing Austin knows about the morning, it’s that it should be accompanied by coffee. We don’t recommend you start your day before 11am, but when you do get going make sure you stop by Houndstooth Coffee or My Name is Joe coffee cart.

2

HOURS

— Two days — Find a balance between Austin’s two first loves – being outdoorsy, and eating and drinking until you almost explode. Morning things — Austin loves coffee, and so do you, which is why you should head to East Austin and visit Fleet Coffee which makes perfect espresso and also delicious and more adventurous things under the ever-changing ‘Coffee And…’ menu. ¶ Brunch is also an Austin tradition that should not be rejected. Elizabeth Street Café on South First does excellent French-Vietnamese brunch (because you should eat a banh mi for breakfast), or - if you’re in the mood for an organic version of American classics - hit up Counter Café on North Lamar.

AUSTIN,

THE

SURROUNDS,

YOUR

— One day — Make sure some of your 12 hours are after dark – because the city works best with a drink, a dance, and plenty of food.

48

TO

EXPERIENCES

TX

TIME

IN

TOWN

Next thing — Since you’re in Downtown, it makes sense to take in its culture. Head to The Jones Center - one of The Contemporary Austin’s locations. Then take a quick stroll from the hotel along the Ann and Roy Butler trail to admire Forever Bicycles - the enormous installation from artist Ai Weiwei. Lunch thing — You’re in Austin, but not for long. So, you better eat as much barbecue as humanly possible. Head east (it was bound to happen eventually), and visit Micklethwait Craft Meats – where we recommend you order twice the amount you think you can eat… and then eat it. After lunch thing — Stop by Helm Boots and pick yourself up some local-

Daytime things — One of the most confusing things about Austin for an outsider is the way locals seem able to love late night drinking and wholesome outdoor activities equally. ¶ Since you don’t have much time, the best idea is to power through your hangover with the most city-centric of the available outdoor activities and the most obvious one to begin with is a visit to Barton Springs. The spring-fed water is very cold, but usually the Austin sun is very hot - so be brave and get in. ¶ If you can’t bring yourself to actually get in the water, a kayak on Town Lake is an equally delightful way to see the city’s green surrounds, as is a stroll or bike ride through Zilker Park. ¶ To keep with the outdoors theme, but adding a hint of culture too, head to the Laguna Gloria Sculpture Park to see works by artists like Ai Weiwei and Monika Sosnowska. ¶ While you're getting cultural, Ellsworth Kelly's Austin artwork at the Blanton Museum of Art is a must-see. Step inside it, and enter a world of light and symbolism that will provide the perfect intellectual balance with all that physical exercise.

ly-designed, American-made boots. You’ll be needing souvenirs too, so stop in at J&J Spirits where you can furnish yourself with all the Austin distilled and brewed liquids necessary. Dinner and debauchery thing — You need to experience the true nature of the city, so it’s important you don’t over-indulge at dinner. Get yourself to Launderette for a light, delicious meal and then head immediately (without passing Go) to The White Horse. ¶ At that divey, perfect bar drink a Lone Star or a well spirit, listen to the band (there’s music every night of the week), and let yourself be drawn onto the dance floor and taught the two-step.

Consumable things — Austin doesn’t like to think of itself as a city of rules, but if you came here and didn’t eat barbecue and Tex Mex, you really would be in trouble. ¶ For barbecue, stand in line at La Barbecue - LeAnn Mueller’s establishment keeps the best of the Mueller family barbecuing traditions. ¶ For Tex Mex, your go-to should be Matt’s El Rancho where the Tex Mex is done so well you’ll actually feel energized afterward. ¶ Apparently you can’t only eat meats and queso though, so in between times you should also try a donut or three from Gourdough’s Donuts and – for something a little lighter (if you’re into that kind of thing) – try the Rainbow Rice Bowl at Kinda Tropical. Night things — Check who is playing at Cheer Up Charlie’s and Mohawk. ¶ Before or after the show, you’re clearly going to need a drink. For the classy cocktail kind, give Weather Up a shot, and for something a little more casual try Drinks Lounge. ¶ If nothing else takes your fancy, Downtown’s The Elephant Room offers 7-days-a-week live jazz and cheap drinks.


5

120

HOURS

– Five days – If you don’t sleep, in this length of time, you might almost be able to grasp the true enormity of what Austin has to offer. Good luck. Morning things — Apart from coffee (which you should get at the aforementioned venues, or - if that’s not enough options - from Seventh Flag Coffee or Flat Track Coffee), the most Austin thing possible to do in the morning is eat a breakfast taco. ¶ The undisputed (ok - it’s disputed, but it shouldn’t be) best breakfast taco in the world comes from Veracruz All Natural. ¶ Other acceptably Austin breakfast options include the migas from Joe’s Bakery or a coffee and pastry from Easy Tiger. ¶ Once you’ve fueled up, consider some other Austin-centric morning pastimes, including a jog on The Trail around Town Lake, or heading out very early to stand in line at a barbecue joint most likely the very long one at Franklin Barbecue. Daytime things — Since you’re here for a while, you can travel a little further afield to bask in Austin’s natural beauty. Head for The Greenbelt’s hiking trails and swimming holes - the Loop 360 access point is easy to find after even the most cursory of Googling. ¶ Sport is another very important tradition for the city. Look up when the UT’s beloved Longhorns next play a game, and get yourself involved in some tailgating action beforehand. While you’re on the sport trail, also check when the

Texas Playboys are next stepping up to the plate for one of their community-minded matches. ¶ Give yourself a taste of the true diversity of Austin’s cultural scene by visiting the Blanton Museum of Art, Mexic-Arte Museum, and the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum. ¶ Record shopping is obviously a must, so drop by Waterloo Records, and so is cowboy-boot shopping, which - of course - must take place at Allens Boots. Don’t limit yourself to Austin’s old-time favourites though, try picking up some pieces from new local designers like Esby and Miranda Bennett too. Consumable things — If you don’t have food in your hand, you’re not in Austin. ¶ While we’ve recommended barbecue already - there’s still more. Get to Terry Black’s BBQ as well as those already mentioned, and if you’re in East Austin drinking, then you could do a lot worse than a brisket sandwich from the Rollin Smoke BBQ food truck. ¶ There’s plenty of food that doesn’t fit in Austin’s regular food categories either. Kemuri Tatsu-ya – a Texas inspired izakaya - is far more delicious than it sounds, as is its cousin - Ramen Tatsu-Ya, which serves (you guessed it) delicious ramen. ¶ Pasta is a very important food group, and the city has that covered too with the likes of the Patrizi’s food truck (co-located with the Vortex Theatre) and its handmade pasta, and L'Oca d'Oro's classic Italian fare. ¶ You must also do a tour of Austin’s most famous chefs' spots - from Tyson Cole’s Uchi, to Bryce Gilmore’s Odd Duck, and Jesse Griffiths’ Dai Due.

Night things — You’re in town long enough that you might be lucky to catch a Monday night at Donn’s Depot where local musician Chris Gage holds the floor and a rotating cast of Austin musos join him periodically on stage. ¶ Broken Spoke is another must-visit spot for a proper dance hall experience, while The Continental Club will give you a true insight into the breadth and history of Austin’s music scene. ¶ For bars, Barbarella, Yellow Jacket Social Club, Midnight Cowboy, and Seven Grand (for whiskey drinkers) are all must-tries, while Ego’s is a go-to for those who feel Austin’s live music scene is best offset by some karaoke. ¶ If you truly cannot drink and dance every night, that’s ok - take an evening off and head to the Alamo Drafthouse where you can drink and watch excellent arthouse and mainstream cinema.

PG.

Ø19


AUSTIN,

TX


CONSUME

PG.

Ø21


SERVING EIGHT

SUGGESTION:

PLACES

DEMONSTRATE IS

FOR

THAT WHY

AUSTIN

EATING.

WHERE:

Launderette. 2115 Holly St, Austin.

WHAT TO ORDER:

The Fried Chicken Sammie, which is exactly what it proclaims to be, and the Sunshine Bowl - a healthy and tasty dish that includes hummus and quinoa to counter all your recent BBQ consumption.

WHEN:

At that meal time that might be made up, but is still wholly embraced by all in Austin brunch. Get a Mellow Yellow cocktail too because drinking in the morning means you’re starting the day right. Open daily 11am-2:30pm for lunch and from 5pm for dinner.

AUSTIN,

TX


CONSUME

WHERE:

Matt’s El Rancho. 2613 South Lamar Blvd, Austin.

WHAT

TO

ORDER:

Guacamole, of course. And the fish tacos with the corn tortillas, which are still made in-house daily.

WHEN:

At any time when you forget – even for a minute – that you’re in Austin, a serve of iconic Tex Mex from Matt’s El Rancho will immediately return you to the city. Open from 11am daily, except Tuesday when they are closed.

PG.

Ø23


WHERE:

Joe’s Bakery. 2305 East 7th St, Austin.

WHAT TO ORDER:

For breakfast, the huevos rancheros. For lunch, anything with bacon or carne guisada in it - they’re Joe’s specialties. If you’re lucky, Regina will be working and she will pick something good for you.

WHEN:

Everything feels too hard, and you want to disappear into a corner and eat your way toward a comfortable, homely kind of happiness. Open Tuesday to Friday, 6am-2:30pm and weekends 6:30am-3pm.

AUSTIN,

TX


CONSUME

WHERE:

Lenoir. 1807 South First St, Austin.

WHAT

TO

ORDER:

The menu is constantly changing and is formatted prix fixe meaning you pay $48 and eat three courses of your choosing from the day’s selection of dishes. Trust us, no matter what you pick, you’re going to have a good time eating this food that is specially designed to suit Austin’s hot weather and atmosphere.

WHEN:

You’re feeling a little fancy, but also a little sweaty (eg - all the time in Austin) and you need some food to mediate between those two feelings. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 5pm.

PG.

Ø25


WHERE:

Ramen Tatsu-Ya. 1234 South Lamar Blvd, Austin or 8557 Research Blvd, Suite 126, Austin.

WHAT TO ORDER:

The Original Tonkotsu ramen for its salty, somehow creamy-tasting pork bone broth, and the Tsukemen dipping ramen for its intense flavor.

WHEN:

You’ve got problems. There’s no problem a bowl of this ramen with its perfectly-cooked egg can't distract you from for at least a while. Both shops open 11am-10pm daily.

AUSTIN,

TX


CONSUME

WHERE

Micklethwait Craft Meats. 1309 Rosewood Ave, Austin.

WHAT

TO

ORDER

A two-meat plate is a good choice if you’re feeling very optimistic about the amount of food you want to put in your face. We opted for that with sausage (very, very good) and brisket and coleslaw and potato salad sides.

WHEN

You could eat a… cow, and a couple of pigs. A lot. Of very delicious meat. Open Tuesday-Sunday from 11am until sold out.

PG.

Ø27


WHERE:

Terry Black’s BBQ. 1003 Barton Springs Rd, Austin.

WHAT TO ORDER:

A traditional order-by-thepound BBQ joint, Terry Black’s is all about knowing your own preferences when it comes to heavy meat consumption. But the brisket is a must, because you can’t really say you’ve eaten at an Austin BBQ joint unless you’ve tried the brisket there.

WHEN:

On your way home from cooling down in Barton Springs. Open 11am-9pm daily.

AUSTIN,

TX


CONSUME

WHERE:

L’Oca d’Oro. 1900 Simond Avenue, Austin.

WHAT

TO

ORDER:

The menu does change often in step with what local produce is available, but if the Kabocha Squash Triangoli is on there, you would be making a grave mistake if you didn’t order it.

WHEN:

There is actually no time that is not a good time to eat Italian food this good. Open daily from 5pm for dinner and 10am-2pm on weekends for brunch on Sundays.

PG.

Ø29


CONSUME

CERAMIC AND GLASS

AUSTIN’S CITY’S THEM, FOR

COFFEE

COMMON

MAKERS THEIR

SHOPS

GROUND.

AND

DEVELOPERS

STUDENTS

UNITED OF

A

IN

WITH

GOOD

OPTIONS,

LEADERS

AND

A

AND THE

GOOD

EVEN

AUSTIN,

TX

COLLEGE COMMON

COFFEE.

CITY

THESE

WAIT

ALONGSIDE

BY

BUT

THE

INSIDE

MUSICIANS

CORTADOS

SOFTWARE

PURSUIT

ARE

CROWDED THERE

ARE

ARE

THEM.

Fleet Coffee Lorenzo Perkins and Patrick Pierce have a storied relationship with Austin’s coffee scene. But, despite their extensive experience working in the city’s best coffee shops, what they have created together in Fleet is entirely unique. The small-footprint café – located in a still-developing part of East Austin – straddles the line between specialty coffee excellence and accessibility with an unusual menu. Alongside cortados, pourovers, and espressos, Fleet’s range includes the ‘Coffee and’ list, which incorporates items like the After School Ritual – made from Oreo-infused milk and espresso, and served with an Oreo on the side. “We knew that people were going to come in here that normally drink caramel lattes or big sugary drinks,” says Patrick. “This was - we thought - a cool way for them to try and segue into specialty coffee because they are drinking a cortado, they're not drinking something huge.” This welcoming, but not overbearing, attitude to punters and coffee education bleeds into the café’s interior and atmosphere. Designed by Patrick and Lorenzo in collaboration with their friend Brockett Hamilton of Creature Design Build, the space is clean but homely - and almost always lined along its short walls with a mix of regulars and newcomers whiling away a couple of hot Austin hours.

PG.

Ø31


PREVIOUS PAGE ← Fleet Coffee's unassuming exterior

THIS PAGE Fleet's menu straddles quality and accessibility

While creating this sense of hospitality and sharing their coffee knowledge were key motivations for the pair to open Fleet in early 2016, there was another reason they decided to go out on their own. “Having the ability to select your own coffees is big, because we always worked for people and thought, why are they bringing in this coffee and why aren’t they bringing this other one in?,” says Lorenzo. Fittingly, Fleet’s coffee roster is atypical. More than seven roasters are regularly featured – each spending a 13-week period annually as the café’s main ‘anchor’ roaster, and then rotating in and out of secondary feature spots, while always being available on the retail wall where bags of beans are sold. Patrick and Lorenzo’s process to decide upon the seven was extensive - beginning with a blind tasting, then working through research into the roasters’ sourcing procedures, and then finally applying “the beer rule”. “We should want to sit down and have a beer with you,” says Lorenzo. “That is very important in any business decision,” says Patrick. And it’s also important in deciding who to buy your daily coffee from. Thankfully, Patrick and Lorenzo more than satisfy the beer rule.

AUSTIN,

TX

WHERE:

Fleet Coffee. 2427 Webberville Road, Austin WHEN:

Fleet is open 7am-7pm daily WE

TRIED:

Many, many cortados - some made with coconut milk - featuring Wild Gift Coffee. And various muffins, which are supplied by Texas French Bread Bakery and Bistro.


CONSUME

Houndstooth Coffee Right in the middle of Downtown, Houndstooth is always bristling with tech workers, college students, and residents alike. But despite the frenetic pace of the coffee machine, the baristas are as friendly as everyone else in Texas and the coffee they turn out is consistently excellent. WHERE:

Houndstooth Coffee. 401 Congress Ave, Suite 100C, Austin or 4200 North Lamar Blvd, Suite 120, Austin WHEN:

The Congress Avenue location is open 6:30am-7pm weekdays and 7am-5pm weekends. WE

TRIED:

A cortado made with single-origin beans from Houndstooth’s sister company - Tweed Coffee Roasters - a cold brew, and a cinnamon scroll.

My Name is Joe Coffee Co There are few things more typically Austin than eating all three meals of the day served out of a food truck. My Name is Joe do great coffee and great breakfast food, and they also do great things for the city by supporting, training, and employing people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. WHERE:

My Name is Joe Coffee Co. 503 Colorado St, Austin WHEN:

The truck is open 7am-3pm weekdays. WE

TRIED:

A cold brew, a latte, and a smoked salmon toast.

PG.

Ă˜33


BUTCHER, BAKER, BARBECUE-MAKER

AUSTIN CITY

LOVES

THAT

TEXAN

IN

HOSPITABLE IS TO

OFTEN THE

THESE CITY’S

ITS –

OF

ON

WHO

FOR

ON

WITH

PROGRESSION.

AUSTIN,

TO THE

IT

A

BE PLATE

THERE.

EMBODY AN

ATTITUDE,

PRESSING

IN

IMPORTANCE

PUT

VENDORS

PENCHANT

ACUTELY

ABILITY

SECOND

PERSON THREE

BUT

MOST

WHAT’S

WELCOMING STILL

FOOD,

SEEMS

TX

THE

OLD-WORLD WHILE CULINARY

LeAnn Mueller and Alison Clem – Owners of La Barbecue 2027 East Cesar Chavez Street, Austin (in the Quickie Pickie) LeAnn Mueller walked away from the family trade again and again, but somehow Texas barbecue always managed to draw her back. Her dad was the renowned Bobby Mueller - former owner-operator of Louie Mueller Barbecue in the small Texan town of Taylor. As a teen and in her twenties LeAnn – then a vegan – would begrudgingly work the floor and the pit, but she soon moved away and forged a life as a music photographer in Los Angeles. One of LeAnn’s brothers, Wayne, took over the business at Louie Mueller. But her other brother, John, struck out on his own. As John was opening his second venture – a trailer called JMueller BBQ – LeAnn was returning home to Texas to spend time with her mom, who was sick. Despite her intentions, she found herself sucked back into the life of slowcooked meat. “It started initially that I was helping John out because we needed to pay off the debt from his investors, and then it turned into something that everybody loves,” says LeAnn. “It turned into something that wasn’t just BBQ, it turned into a little family.”


CONSUME

THIS PAGE → Caption note.

PG.

Ø35


PREVIOUS PAGE ← La Barbecue's house-made sausage

THIS PAGE LeAnn and Alison on site at La Barbecue's pit

NEXT PAGE → Smoking is allowed (encouraged even)

That family feel was not necessarily a result of the two siblings working side by side. John was notoriously difficult to get along with. Instead, it likely grew from LeAnn’s partner - Alison Clem - who had jumped into the business too, and was an essential part of holding it together. “I did it because it was so much fun,” says Ali. “People were so excited to be there and they would say this is the best thing on the planet. Her brother was horrible to work for, but it was fun working with LeAnn and I learned so much.” In 2012, strained relations with John hit breaking point and he left the business - leaving Ali and LeAnn the opportunity to rename it and reassess. The pair re-launched the food trailer under the moniker La Barbecue and began doing things they’d always wanted to do - like making their own sausage and holding music gigs and parties on their lot. “Once we made it La Barbecue, it's LeAnn’s recipes and I felt more attached to it because it was our thing we were doing,” says Ali. With Ali and LeAnn at the helm, the business became consistent and began to be known not only for the quality of its meat, but also the personality with which it was served. The rollicking, progressive atmosphere that surrounded the trailer was significantly different to the staid feel of traditional barbecue restaurants. In 2017, the pair took the business brick and mortar with their move into East Austin’s Quickie Pickie. From there, they’re continuing to evolve their brand of progressive barbecue, while still honoring the fundamentals LeAnn learned from her dad. They eschew the word and concept of a pitmaster, instead preferring to focus on what every person at La Barbecue brings to the experience. And they source hormone-free, sustainably-raised animals wherever possible. The flavors of La Barbecue evoke the best parts of the Central Texas culinary tradition, but the methods with which they’re made are of the present, not of the past. And that seems just right for something made with love by a third generation of barbecue royalty.

AUSTIN,

TX


CONSUME

PG.

Ø37


THIS PAGE Easy Tiger's elegant branding was created by local design studio LAND NEXT PAGE → David Norman and a couple of the pastries he baked earlier that day

AUSTIN,

TX


CONSUME

David Norman – Baker at Easy Tiger 709 East 6th Street, Austin Baker David Norman has long known the value of the bread and beer pairing. After studying in Europe as a high schooler, he returned to the States and found something was missing. “I just missed good bread and good beer so much that I decided to start making both at home in my apartment,” says David. “My roommate said I was crazy at first, but then he kind of liked the bread and the beer.” While taking a year off study, David turned his hobby into a career by taking a job at a bakery. More than 30 years later, he’s still working with dough every day. Having lived in cities like New York and Seattle where demand for hand-made bread is high, David has a lot of experience in making everything from French baguettes to German sourdoughs. But the demand for these kinds of bread in his now hometown of Austin - where white, squishy supermarket loaves are still the norm - is something he’s had to cultivate. The set-up at Easy Tiger - where the bakery is co-located with a beer garden – has helped him do that. The drinking brings people in, and the menu of sandwiches, sausages, and boards helps people understand how this bread should be eaten. David’s influence is spreading quickly throughout Texas too - with dozens of restaurants and several Whole Foods outlets now stocking or using his bread, which just goes to show that Austin knows a good thing when it tastes it.

PG.

Ø39


THIS PAGE Bryan Butler

NEXT PAGE → Tasty Tempting Ready to Serve may as well be a description of Salt & Time's business

Bryan Butler and Ben Runkle – Owners of Salt & Time 1912 East 7th Street, Austin At Salt & Time, Bryan Butler and Ben Runkle are maintaining some fading arts that few Americans know are disappearing. The restaurant and butcher’s small team breaks down whole animal carcasses from scratch - something usually done on a process line in enormous factories. They also make their own smallgoods – salamis and cured meats – which is rarely done in-house at a butcher. Bryan has had a long career as a butcher, and in it he’s seen the extremes of the big agriculture industry. From cutting into meat riddled with abscesses resulting from unabsorbed antibiotic injections given to healthy animals, to working at supermarkets where no-one knew where or how the animals being butchered were raised, his experiences showed him the ugly side of the industry. “Another thing I learned was, there's butchers that stay at a place for a long time and actually become part of the community and there's guys that just move around constantly,” says Bryan. “I knew I wanted to have my own shop and serve my community properly.” In 2009, he met Ben - who was running a small-scale business, making his own charcuterie and selling at farmers' markets. The pair began working together, and their products attracted strong praise. In 2013, they rolled all of their skills together into Salt & Time, where the restaurant supports the butcher side by using the charcuterie and fresh cuts produced there, which are also on sale directly to customers. It’s an old model where Bryan and Ben work directly with farmers to source naturally raised meat, and know the names of their customers. But, nonetheless, it’s a model that’s time has come - again.

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U R B A N G R O W TH : L A F L A C A FA R M

THE

OBSESSION RUNS

SCENE,

DEEP AND

FARMING THE

THE

OUT

OF

AND

ITS

DOWNTOWN, OWNER

EXAMPLE

OF

UNIQUELY

TO

THE

JUST

A

LA

FLACA

ALEJANDRA PROVIDE

OF

GROWING SUITED

URBAN

BRINGING

TUCKED

BOUGHTON

PERFECT WAY

IS

EVER-CLOSER

FARM

RODRIGUEZ

PRODUCE FOOD

BURGEONING

PLATES.

LITTLE

NEW

LOCAL

AUSTIN’S

INDUSTRY

PADDOCK

CITY’S

WITH IN

HOW

OUR

TO

THE

THIS

FOOD

IS

AUSTIN’S

ENVIRONMENT.

Alejandra Rodriguez Boughton was not always a farmer. First, she was a corporate banker. Strangely, this is what makes her the perfect person to run an urban farm. Alejandra’s La Flaca farm is about a 30-minute drive from Downtown Austin, and it specializes in growing produce that is not otherwise readily available. While Alejandra does not have the skills to grow this produce herself, she does know how to collate the data that helps Ben Carroll - a horticulturalist who works at La Flaca - decide how and what to grow. “We've done a lot of experimenting with growing a lot of varieties and seeing what actually does really well in Texas,” says Alejandra. “We learned a lot through that process.” “She can keep track of numbers for the farm that have been extremely helpful for me,” says Ben. “I can't keep data nearly as well as she can.” Alejandra started La Flaca in 2014 when she realized that she had no desire to continue her ascent up the ladder of the private banking world. Toying with ideas for what else she might do, she began searching for a particular kind of chili needed to make a mole recipe from her native Mexico - something she thought she might be able to cook commercially. Upon realizing that no-one was growing these chili peppers, she immediately saw a market gap. “Peppers were seen as a really, really big opportunity,” says Alejandra, “where the market wants a lot more variety and is currently not being able to source it locally.”

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Alejandra was already living in Austin, having moved here to study at the University of Texas. In the city she recognized the perfect conditions to start a new venture, particularly one based around food. “Austin is a very special place where you have a perfect storm of really cool organizations and non-profits, and it’s a sustainable food center,” says Alejandra. “Austin has food-chain investors that help get money going into new ideas, and different accelerators and incubators that help you get started. “There's that side. Then you have all the chefs and restaurants. It's a really cool food scene that's growing and developing and where people already appreciate the value of sustainable food. We don't have to explain to them why growing without chemicals and pesticides is important. “You’re not having to educate people and people are already being willing to buy our product. So, Austin was a great place to do it.” While Alejandra could potentially have accessed all these benefits by setting up a farm in a more rural location further out of the city, she believes urban farms are integral to the future of American produce. By setting up in her small suburban street, she hopes to show young people how farming can be a viable career option that doesn’t necessarily mean a huge lifestyle sacrifice. “Farming is really an industry that's kind of dying,” says Alejandra. “The average age of farmers in Texas is 62. We are losing 100 acres of farmland every day. “So, for me, when I started getting into this industry, it became key that I want to get more people excited about this and you don't see kids moving into the country anytime soon. Millennials are not moving to the country; we're staying in the city. So, you have to bring more farming to the city, and there's actually a lot of space for it.” La Flaca’s block is not big - its footprint is just under half an acre. But on it more than 200 varieties of herbs and vegetables grow.

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The decision about what to plant is made in collaboration with local chefs, who often ask Alejandra and Ben to see if they might be able to cultivate an ingredient they’re keen on using on the menu, but are having trouble finding. This symbiotic relationship with local industry has also led to the addition of hops to the garden beds - a crop that will service craft brewers once established. “If it fits with the climate or we can find a sustainable way to make it work with the climate, we'll do it,” says Alejandra. “If it doesn't fit, we’ll tell them that this does not work. If it works, though, that’s great.” Produce from La Flaca can be found in dishes at restaurants like L'Oca d'Oro and Mattie’s at Green Pastures, and Alejandra is also beginning to sell direct to consumers, and considering securing a second plot of land in the metro area to expand operations. Growing the business has taken countless hours and much back-breaking labor, but Alejandra and Ben’s hard-won success shows that Austin could well be ground zero for the reinvention of America’s ailing farming industry. La Flaca is located at 7810 Copperas Dr, Austin. Visits can be arranged by email – hello@laflacaatx.com


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PREVIOUS SPREAD ← Alejandra in her backyard farm

PREVIOUS PAGE ← Yes please, we would like some home-grown radish

THIS PAGE One of Alejandra's many kinds of basil

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KRISTEN KISH: C R E AT I N G N E W C L A S S I C S

KRISTEN WAY

MICHIGAN TENNIS NOW ARLO

KISH

SINCE

HAS

SHE

BACKYARD

RACKET

SHE’S GREY

WAS

COME -

HER

COME

WAS

TO

A

A

KID

LONG IN

PRETENDING A

FRYPAN,

AUSTIN

OWN

TO

A HER AND RUN

RESTAURANT.

Kristen Kish’s fascination with food began very early, and it has never faded. As a small child, she was enthralled by cooking shows she watched after school. “That was when I first became obsessed with what cooking meant and what it could do for people,” she says. “What it came down to was I watched people work so confidently and efficiently with their hands, and I’m a visual learner so I just took to it right away.” Kristen was so compelled by what she saw on the shows that after dinner she would head outside to play, which - for her - meant using a tennis racket as a frying pan and pretending to mix ingredients (mostly dirt and rocks) in it. While these early experiments might not have featured the classic technique-driven flavor profiles for which Kristen would become known, she says her childhood experiences of cooking remain highly relevant to her adult life as a chef. “When I started watching those shows, I started with Great Chefs of the World, which was on Discovery Channel.

So, it wasn’t the Food Network shows, it wasn’t celebrity chefs,” she says. “It was just chefs who were fantastic at their craft and I think that really set the tone for the style of cooking I wanted to do.” Kristen’s passion for food remained intact and grew as she shifted to Chicago to study at that city’s Le Cordon Bleu, then moved to Boston to work at Stir, before becoming a role model for other food-show-obsessed children like herself when she won Top Chef in 2012. Since then, she has continued her adventures – including a stint as chef de cuisine at Menton – but now is settling in Austin with her restaurant Arlo Grey. For the venue, which sits within The Line ATX, Kristen is creating food that is equally driven by her French and Italian cooking techniques, Austin’s local produce, and a desire to make diners feel at home. “We all know what chicken noodle soup means to us and what it tastes like,” says Kristen. “There’s a couple of main flavor profiles and if you can hit them, no matter how you change it, no matter how you add your influences to that dish, there is something that taps into that feeling of home for a lot of people, so for me that is really exciting.” Austin, equally, is making Kristen feel welcome. The small city of expats and implants, with its undeniably strong food culture, felt like home almost as soon as she arrived. “When I got here it immediately felt reminiscent of all the cities that I love,” says Kristen. www.thelinehotel.com/austin/

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BELOW Kristen in Austin. This photo: Timothy Clancy

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AT TH E C O R N E R O F S O U TH C O N G R E S S A N D TH E C I R C U I T

THE

SOUTH

(OR

CONGRESS

SOCO

LONG

TO

BEEN

AUSTIN’S HOTBED

FOR

WAS

’80S,

ITS

FORMER

NOW

-

OF

A

BUILT

PROBLEMS: THAT ITS

MANY

SOUL.

THRIVING PROVE

LEFT

IT

IS

BUT

A

THE

THE

IN

’90S. AUSTIN

LOSING

ORIGINAL

ARE

PLENTY

IT

SUCCESSFUL

IT'S FEW

THE

REGAIN

THE

SO

A

’70S,

AFTER

MOST

THAT

ALONG

AMID

THE

TO

IN

THAT

OF

WAS

THROUGH

THINK

THERE’S

IN

BEGAN

GLORY

BUSINESSES

IT

DECLINE

AND

HAS

HAS

BELLWEATHER

ARTISTS

THE

IT

A

NEIGHBORHOOD

FRIENDS)

FORTUNES.

EXPERIENCED HIGHWAY

ITS

STILL

BUSY

STRIP

OF

CULTURE

CLUTTER.

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The fortunes of South Congress have constantly ebbed and flowed since 1955, but amid it all The Continental Club’s neon sign has continued to shine. The internationally-renowned Austin music venue has - like the neighborhood in which it resides - had many lives in the more than six decades since its doors first opened. But it has never closed. Starting out as a supper club, The Continental Club mirrored the fortunes of its South Congress surrounds - becoming Austin’s first burlesque bar, then a blue-collar watering hole, and then slowly building its form as a live music venue. By the late 1980s it had found the niche in which it still resides - as a cornerstone venue for roots, rock, country, and blues. Just as the Club was finding its true identity, guitarist Casper Rawls first stepped onto its stage. He began playing at The Continental in 1984, and it’s a relationship that hasn’t paused since. “I remember the first time I played here because it was cold,” says Casper. “It was in the winter time and I came to sit in with my friend, Omar – Omar & the Howlers, in 1984. “In the summer of 1985, I joined up with the LeRoi Brothers band and they played here pretty regularly.” Casper (who was born Rick Rawls) is a sideman of high reputation. He has played alongside such famous names as Townes Van Zandt, Teisco Del Rey, and Juke Logan. But he’s spent most of his musical life in the background using his undeniable talent to support those at the front and center of the stage.

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Over decades at the Continental Club though, he has slowly moved to the front. For many years he had a Sunday afternoon residency under the name Planet Casper, and - at the time of writing - he plays every Thursday night from 6:30pm. Long term support of musicians like Casper is something that sits at the core of The Continental Club’s success. “Steve [Wertheimer - owner of the Club] really believed in all of us and he did whatever it took to make it happen,” says Casper. “I mean, we didn't make a lot of money. And sometimes the money came out of his pocket, but we made enough to go buy some groceries, pay the electricity bill. He made sure that we were always taken care of and that we had a place to play. “We could play whatever we want. He didn't care. I mean, he let you know if you were getting off the rails, but he was very supportive of whatever you were doing.” But while the Continental Club has been and continues to be a constant beacon of support for live, local music along South Congress, Casper has been aware of the changes taking place beyond its walls. “When I first started playing here, across the street was a motor hotel where all the drug addicts and prostitutes were,” he says.


NIGHT

PREVIOUS PAGE ← The Continental Club has seen all of Soco's ups and downs THIS PAGE Chris at Southside Tattoos

“It was really a pretty bad part of town. But now, you know, there’s $400 hotel rooms along here. Wow.” Chris Gunn – co-owner of Southside Tattoos, which is next door to The Continental Club – has also watched that transformation take place. He moved the business from South First on to South Congress in 2003, because he could see that the area was on its way to becoming something special. “I just said, if I could move any place in town I would want to be right next to The Continental Club,” says Chris. “And when this spot came up, I took it – I could just tell this whole street was changing and it was about to go crazy.” For Chris, the early signs of South Congress’ revival were in the coffee shops and neighborhood restaurants that were popping up along its length. These were drawing in locals who would stop off while walking the dog or to meet a friend – in the process changing the character of the street which had once felt shady and dangerous. There were some deliberate moves from retailers to improve the perception of South Congress too. “We used to do First Thursdays where all the business owners would give out free beer and we used to have musicians play out the front and stuff like that,” he says. “That was kind of the time when Sixth Street was the place to go - but there’s not that many shops down there, and it smells like sick during the day. So, people were starting to come down here and hang out and do their shopping.” The evolving scene on South Congress suited Chris’ vision for Southside Tattoos perfectly.

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NEXT PAGE → Well hello, Home Slice

NEXT SPREAD → Pepperoni was the right order

While the business was on South First it had operated as a destination tattoo shop - somewhere that would be sought out by customers wanting to spend hours with a tattooist creating a design. But under that model, Chris missed the high energy of walk-in tattoo culture he’d experienced in his early life as a tattoo artist. When he brought Southside onto Congress, he wanted to foster a hybrid between the two - a place where people could walk in off the street and hang out, but could still expect high-quality, custom art work from a well-trained tattooist. “Some of the people who come and start working in the shop - they can’t handle it, because we get really slammed, really busy, with out-of-towners and lots of people coming in trying to get really quick tattoos, little Texas tattoos. Because we do walk-ins,” says Chris. “I’ve had tattooists – for them it’s a little bit too much. They like the studio off the beaten path and you have to make an appointment and you might not see anyone else except you and tattooist. That’s kind of how our old shop was, but we’re not really into that these days.” It’s a model that has worked well for Chris even as South Congress gets more and more mainstream. He identifies the arrival of the (now-defunct) American Apparel store in the early 2010s as a major turning point for the street - “that was the first time a really big company came in", he says.

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Southside leases its building, but Chris is insulated from the rapidly rising rents that often come with the arrival of multi-national chains by a landowner that pro-actively supports local business by keeping rent reasonable. Jen Strickland is co-owner of Home Slice Pizza, which opened down the road from Southside and The Continental Club in 2005. She is in a similarly fortunate position with a supportive landlord, but worries that if rents keep rising around them, the character of the street could be compromised. “When it becomes that only a chain business can afford the rent here, I don’t know if we want to be here,” she says. But for now, Home Slice is one of many local businesses keeping the neighborhood vibe of the area strong. Ever since it opened, it's existed to service the community and has been part of that community too. “My husband and I used to live in the neighborhood just back here called Travis Heights,” says Jen. ‘For us, the street had so much potential, it was starting to really be turned around, and it was walking distance from our house. So it was perfect.” While Jen and her husband have since moved across town, Home Slice remains dedicated to being affordable enough that it can be a regular spot for locals, even while they’re seeing an increasing number of tourists stop by for a slice or a pie.


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“It has changed a lot - the clientele has changed… to a lot of visitors,” says Jen. “And we love that, we love being an emissary for Austin. But the increase in traffic around Austin has also really made it so that our clientele are really the people in the area – and we love being a neighborhood joint too.” Headaches around car parking and complications from increased levels of building development in the area come with the territory of being on South Congress now, says Jen. But she’s confident that there are enough people who care about the street to stop it transforming into something completely unrecognizable. “We are really psyched about the growth and the like-minded businesses –they’re all really local. And we have a merchants' association that keeps that as a priority,” she says. No doubt there are more changes to come for South Congress. But - as Casper says - spending a night on a street that’s in the midst of its own evolution is actually one of the most genuinely Austin things a person can do. “Ever since I came to Austin in 1973, it's been changing,” he says. “There's always going to be pockets of cool, pockets of cool stuff going on. It might not be as widespread as it once was, but you have to just look for it. Look for the cool.”

The Continental Club 1315 South Congress Ave, Austin continentalclub.com Southside Tattoos 1313 South Congress Ave, Austin southsidetattoos.com Home Slice Pizza 1415 South Congress Ave, Austin homeslicepizza.com

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DRINKING AND DANCING AT TH E W H I T E H O R S E

ON

THE

WELL-WORN

AUSTIN’S GREAT AND

THE

TEXAN

FLOORS

WHITE

DANCE

AUSTIN’S MUSICIANS

NEXT COME

OF

HORSE,

HALL

EAST THE

TRADITION

GENERATION

OF

TOGETHER.

Co-owner of The White Horse Denis O’Donnell came to Austin as an 18-year-old. He couldn’t dance, and he wasn’t supposed to be drinking. But using a bad fake ID, he talked his way into Downtown dive bar Ego’s to see a band - and it’s there that the rest of his life was decided. “This woman, who was probably 15 years older than I was, asked if I wanted to dance,” says Denis. “And I - of course said yes ma’am. And I stepped on her toes a lot. “She was patient and I was drunk. And that was enough to help me figure it out. Since then, I just kept saying yes and kept on trying.” Denis’ love affair with Austin’s deep-rooted dance hall culture is The White Horse’s reason for being. Denis, Marshall McHone and Nathan Hill opened the bar at the end of 2011 with the specific idea of creating a place where young musicians playing real country music could learn their craft.

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Prior to opening The White Horse, Denis had been manager of legendary live music venue Hole in the Wall, and saw the need for up-and-coming roots musicians to have their own space. “The Broken Spoke and The Continental - these venues have been in Austin for a very long time and they have some of the most wonderful talent that you can find under the stars,” says Denis. “On a Sunday you go to The Continental and you can see Johnny Cash’s piano player playing. But there’s only seven days a week, and the calendar fills up with these really talented people, and it doesn’t give the opportunity for young people to have a spot to get going. “At Hole in the Wall this scene started to happen with younger people playing roots music. They were all friends, and they would all come out to see each other. But Hole in the Wall was kind of a different thing – you know, it was a punk rock venue most of the time.” The White Horse’s location came up for lease before East Austin’s rising star was obvious, and Denis and his partners signed a contract on the wide, dark venue and its sprawling outdoor area while the neighborhood was still reasonably priced.


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PREVIOUS SPREAD ← Live music is played seven days a week on the White Horse's stage PREVIOUS PAGE ← Don't be an asshole is good advice anywhere

THIS PAGE → Co-owner Denis O’Donnell

In setting up a place with seven-day-a-week live music and exceedingly reasonably priced well drinks and Lone Stars in the rapidly gentrifying area, Denis is bringing the dance hall to a new generation. “It was immediate that we saw a wider spectrum of people in terms of culture and class and age coming in here,” says Denis. “We knew we were going to get 25-35-year-old working-class kids drinking in here. That was our goal.” There’s meaning in introducing and embedding young people in this deeply idiosyncratic Austin culture of dance halls, but Denis also wants The White Horse to be a place where sustainable music careers begin. In-built in the venue's music programming is the idea of progression for the bands that play there. “We do resident performers,” says Denis. “So for seven days a week we choose a Happy Hour band that we hope can grow to a 10pm slot and then if they grow to that and do a better job of it, then we hope they get to the midnight spot. “What we hope is that people can start out here, and move on to bigger places where they can take a larger cover, and then keep growing until they get national recognition.” Plainly, The White Horse occupies an important place in Austin’s music eco-system. But even for those who might not know or care about that, it’s a special place. Welcoming without being needy, and always full of the kind of energetic atmosphere that can only be created when a dance floor is on the verge of reaching a new level, the bar is an experience that almost perfectly harks back to Denis’ first days in the city.

“If you said to yourself, ‘I am not a dancer, I will not dance’,” says Denis, “but you stuck around here for six months, you’d be hanging out, you’d be drinking whiskey, and someone comes up and says - 'hey, do you want to dance?' “You might say no the first time, but little by little, you’ll figure it out. It’ll happen. “You get embarrassed, have another drink, try again.” And eventually, you’re not trying any more - you’re dancing, and drinking, and having a good time at The White Horse. The White Horse, 500 Comal St, Austin. Open from 3pm every day.

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ELEPHANT ROOM

THE

BEATING

JAZZ A

SCENE DARK

HEART CAN

OF

BE

BASEMENT

CONGRESS

AUSTIN’S

FOUND BAR

IN

ON

AVENUE.

The Elephant Room is not the only jazz bar in Austin, but it is the only jazz bar in Austin that has been singularly devoted to that genre of music - and nothing else - for more than a quarter of a century. “There have been other jazz clubs that have attempted, but they either give up and they’ll start booking blues or they’ll have reggae Tuesdays or something like that,” says Michael Mordecai – who has booked bands for the venue since it opened in 1991. “No-one in the history of jazz in Austin has committed seven days a week, 365 days a year, for more than 25 years to jazz.” But the venue wasn’t always intended as a jazz bar. Originally, owner JP Vermaelen just planned to program live music of no particular ilk. But Mike - who is a musician and was, at the time, running his jazz record label and artist management company from an office a few doors down walked into the Elephant Room the day before it opened its doors to the public, and its fate was sealed. “JP said - 'You book music? What kind of music do you book?' I said, 'It looks to me like you've got a jazz club here'," says Mike.

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“I don’t know if they’d talked about jazz, I don’t know what they were talking about for it. All I know is that obviously this place is a jazz club, when you look at it. It’s got that New York basement vibe, you wouldn’t put rock in here.” Mike booked a band for the next day, and he’s been in charge of the bar’s music roster ever since. On Mondays, he gets on stage too - playing in his weekly jazz jam. Tuesdays are what he calls “virtuoso nights”, where serious jazz musicians are given the stage. Wednesdays are for big bands, Thursdays for album releases or jazz bands with a party feel, Fridays and Saturdays are for well-known names, and Sundays generally see trios performing. Over the years, as Austin has changed around the club, it has changed very little yet remained very popular. And that - says Mike - is because it's run on a simple and effective premise. “JP comes from Belgium, and his ancestors all own taverns,” says Mike. “And he says, ‘You Americans try to trick people to come to your place’. But he doesn’t think that’s necessary – he says, 'If you have good drinks and good music, people will come’.” Elephant Room. 315 Congress Ave, Austin. Open from 4pm weekdays, and from 8pm on weekends.


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CHEER UP CHARLIES

SAT

IN

LIVE

THE

CHARLIES GREAT THE THE

MIDST

MUSIC

OF

IS

KNOWN

IS

JUST

COMMUNITY

STAGE

AS

AS

IT

CHEER

FOR

UP-AND-COMING

BAR

AUSTIN’S

DISTRICT,

BOOKING

ACTS. MUCH

IT

IS

ABOUT

ON

STAGE.

TX

BUT

ABOUT

CREATES

APPEARS

AUSTIN,

UP

OFF

WHAT


NIGHT

PREVIOUS PAGE ← Co-owner Maggie Lea

THIS PAGE A nice chat in the even nicer beer garden

“I wouldn’t do this if it wasn’t community-oriented,” says Cheer Up Charlies' co-owner Maggie Lea. “I would just go get another job. I didn’t want to think of myself as being a bar owner ever. Not that that’s a terrible thing to be, but it’s just not really what I bought into when we started this.” Maggie and her partner Tamara Hoover are accidental bar owners. The pair established Cheer Up Charlies in 2010 on the back of Tamara’s successful food trailer, which provided raw and vegan foods to Austin’s very under-served vego crowd. “The trailer was in a food truck lot that was across from a bar that hosted tons of live music,” says Maggie. “The landlord was the same for Tamara’s truck and the bar, and one day he just came up to her and said he was kicking out the guy who runs the bar because he hadn’t paid rent. And he just straight up asked, 'Would you take over the lease?'." Tamara said yes. She and Maggie were dating, and Maggie – who until then had been working in the film industry – decided to join her in the venture. With no background in bars, the pair brought a unique perspective to the role of running a bar. Instead of following established norms, they made it a place that reflected the community around them.

“We do a lot of storytelling events,” says Maggie. “We pretty much program every kind of music from psych-rock all the way to hip-hop. I just think little spaces should be a representation of what the world looks like.” Maggie and Tamara were forced to move from their original location on East Sixth Street in 2014 when the landlord decided to open his own bar on the site. Coming into Red River – the city’s live music district – they were determined to keep Cheer Up Charlies' relaxed atmosphere that provides a contrast to much of the neighborhood’s hard-partying culture. “We’re one of the only LGBTQI venues that isn’t like a fullon gay club,” says Maggie. “We’re cool with those kind of clubs, too, but we just aren’t that - we’re a different speed.” And looking around Cheer Up Charlies' vast outdoor area and into the low-key front bar, where people are drinking and laughing over a Sunday afternoon beer, it’s clear that Tamara and Maggie have created something that is just the right speed. Cheer Up Charlies. 900 Red River Street, Austin. Open from 4pm Tues-Sun, and from 6pm on Mondays.

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TH E P E O P L E C R E AT I N G AUSTIN'S FUTURE

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CITIES WHO

ARE

MADE

HAVE

THE

SOMETHING THERE AUSTIN

LOCALS

TX

THE

DRIVE

HASN’T

BEFORE.

THIS

AUSTIN,

THAT

BY

THESE WHO

PLACE

ARE

PEOPLE

TO

DO

BEEN ARE

DONE THE

PUSHING

FORWARD.


THE

PEOPLE

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THIS PAGE Reyna at Veracruz's original East Austin location

AUSTIN,

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THE

PEOPLE

OF

AUSTIN

R E Y N A VA Z Q U E Z

IN

THIS

REYNA

TOWN

OF

VAZQUEZ

UNDISPUTED

TACO

TACOS, IS

THE

QUEEN.

Reyna Vazquez may have grown up in Veracruz in Mexico, but Austin is definitely her home town. “I have lived in Austin since I was 16. So more than half of my life I have lived here,” she says. “I love everything about it. I don’t think I could really stop living here. “I actually went to visit Veracruz 20 years after leaving there, and I really missed being here in Austin. My family is here, my friends are here, my business, my customers, everything I have worked for is here – so I don’t really think I could go anywhere else.” The success of Reyna’s food business stems from her love of both cities. Veracruz All Natural started out as a little trailer selling juices and smoothies in 2006, but has grown into a multi-location purveyor of tacos and other authentic Mexican dishes. Lauded as having some of the best tacos in the United States, Veracruz has built a reputation and a loyal customer base thanks to Reyna matching the recipes and flavors of her childhood home with Austin’s local produce. “I always had this dream of cooking my customers different food and having them experience authentic Mexican food,” says Reyna.

“My objective was always to get to the people who wanted something fresh and healthy and I was really focused on someone who wanted to try that. Even if they had to pay a little bit more, they appreciated that we are selling something healthy, fresh, and local.” The business, which is now co-owned by Reyna’s sister Maritza, was established initially in East Austin – a neighborhood Reyna has lived and worked in on and off since arriving in the city. It’s grown in all directions, though, with trailer or brick and mortar locations to be found as far afield as Round Rock. Reyna was nervous about the organic expansion, as it meant she would not be able to oversee every site, but overcame her hesitation because of the sheer force of customer demand. “I think more than anything the customers motivated us to open more locations,” she says. “People would have to make such a long drive to get to us and to be honest the capacity of our East location is very small and the number of people that would come is just ridiculous. “And that’s why we decided to open locations in other parts of the city. It gave the opportunity for people to try our food.” And, as the patient lines at the original location prove, it’s an opportunity that plenty of people are taking up. www.veracruzallnatural.com

PG.

Ø73


BRYCE GILMORE

WHILE

HE’S

EVOLVING BRYCE

GILMORE

EMBODIMENT THAT

ALWAYS

HIS

HAVE

SCENE

GO

OF

EXPANDING

RESTAURANTS, REMAINS THE

SEEN FROM

A

AND

CHEF

SHINING

PHILOSOPHIES

AUSTIN’S STRENGTH

FOOD TO

STRENGTH.

Bryce Gilmore started his career as a food business operator in (of course) a food trailer, just as Austin was waking up to the possibilities of its local food culture. His first venture was Odd Duck, which opened in 2009 and sold food made almost solely from local ingredients. Bryce wasn’t the first to source produce this way. Odd Duck was part of a wave of eateries that were increasingly looking to use things grown in their own backyard. But the way Bryce cooked those ingredients struck a deep chord with the people in Austin. “I, by no means, was the first person to source locally for a restaurant,” says Bryce, “but maybe I was able to just make it a little more approachable for more people. “You know, I think it's fun to take the culture of the city and the area but also blend it with different cultures while staying true to the philosophy of the source. So we don't try to stay in any sort of guidelines.

AUSTIN,

TX


THE

PEOPLE

OF

PREVIOUS PAGE ← Inside Odd Duck

THIS PAGE Odd Duck's burger and Bryce's smiley face

"We always say that we like to cook the food that we like to eat and that's really it.” Bryce’s food was popular enough to allow Odd Duck to make the leap from trailer to bricks and mortar in 2013, and he has since added the finer-dining Barley Swine and fast casual Sour Duck to his portfolio of restaurants. While he’s grown, Bryce has not moved away from his roots but instead doubled down on them. As he’s stepped up his business, he’s done so in tandem with the producers he has been working with since the early days in the Odd Duck trailer. “We started buying half pigs from Richardson Farms eight years ago at the trailer and now they've been able to grow along with us,” says Bryce. “So, it's pretty neat to see and establish those relationships. I think it's very special to have that connection with your food and the people that are responsible for it.” But Bryce says his success doesn’t just come from good food and successful producer relationships. It’s also built on the back of what Austin locals want. “I was able to kind of grow with the city and the atmosphere a little bit,” he says. “To have better food, more people need to demand better food. That’s it, period.” oddduckaustin.com barleyswine.com www.facebook.com/sourduckmarket/

PG.

Ø75

AUSTIN


THIS PAGE John and Kendall are probably thinking about cheese

AUSTIN,

TX


THE

PEOPLE

OF

AUSTIN

KENDALL AND JOHN ANTONELLI

KENDALL ARE OF

AND

PROUDLY AMERICA’S

INTO

JOHN

ANTONELLI

FUNNELING

MOUTHS

THE

ARTISANAL AROUND

BEST

CHEESES

AUSTIN.

Austin’s traditional fare certainly includes a lot of queso – the cheese dip served up during Tex Mex feasts – but the city’s food culture has not always had much to do with cheese that’s been lovingly handcrafted by independent producers. But, alongside the city’s now-well-established culinary renaissance has come the need for a lot more of the latter kind of cheese. And while it’s not what they set out to do, Kendall and John Antonelli have become the people who are largely responsible for satisfying that need. Initially, Kendall and John set up Antonelli’s Cheese Shop for a few simple reasons - John didn’t like his job, they wanted to work together, and they both loved cheese. “We opened with the thinking, ‘Okay, we're going to be our cute little shop and just the two of us will cut cheese to order for people every day’,” says Kendall. For a little while, that was the case. John and Kendall operated their cheese retail shop in the neighborhood of Hyde Park with the help of just one employee. But they soon found the small shopfront was being overwhelmed by demand. Chefs were jostling with other customers at the counter rushing to buy wholesale amounts of cheese in between lunch and dinner service.

And the small tasting classes John and Kendall were running after hours were selling out in minutes. When a property across the road became vacant, the couple jumped at the chance to expand and diversify. “In addition to our classes, we do private tastings – Facebook and Dropbox and different groups have done team building with us,” says Kendall. “And it really allowed us to pick up our wholesale. We now have 150-plus clients and we deliver five days a week; we go down to San Antonio, Alma Hill country, so we were able to meet that demand.” A third space - this time opened in Downtown’s Fareground in 2018 - saw them expand again, this time adding a new dimension with the inclusion of things like grilled cheese sandwiches on their roster of offerings. The evolution from corner store to multi-faceted business has been embraced by Kendall and John because they see it all as a way to achieve the thing they always wanted to achieve. “We just wanted to make people happy, and cheese does that,” says Kendall. “Daily we still have to address the fact that people don't think there is any good cheese in America or made by America, and instead there’s actually so many amazing producers doing great things. We can introduce people to these producers through a lot of different avenues now.” www.antonellischeese.com

PG.

Ø77


J E S S E G R I F F I TH S AND GABE ERALES AT D A I D U E TA Q U E R Í A

CHEFS

GABE

GRIFFITHS

ERALES

HAVE

AUSTIN’S

TWO

TRADITIONS

LOCAL

THAT

INFLUENCED IT

BY WAS

JESSE TOGETHER

FOREMOST FRESH

PRODUCE

VENTURE

AND

BROUGHT

IS THE

TO

FOOD

TACOS

AND

CREATE

A

INEXTRICABLY CITY

IN

WHICH

CONCEIVED.

Dai Due Taquería is a direct reflection of the passions of its two creators. Chef Jesse Griffiths - co-founder of the much-lauded Dai Due butcher shop and restaurant - brings his well-established philosophy of only using locally-grown ingredients to the venture at Fareground in Downtown. He says the produce of Texas is perfectly suited to making tacos. “What we need is that element for heat – chilies - and the corn," he says. “We have great farmers growing both of those, and the corn is dried and the chilies are preserved so we can use them all of the time.”

AUSTIN,

TX


THE

PEOPLE

OF

THIS PAGE Gabe (top) and Jesse (below)

Jesse’s business partner at the Taquería - chef Gabe Erales, who worked with Jesse early in Dai Due’s initial establishment and is on site running the Taquería day-to-day - brings a deep cultural knowledge of Mexican food. “I had always been really influenced by my upbringing in Mexican culture,” says Gabe. “It was something that I knew that I wanted to do.” The result of their collaboration is a menu featuring tacos and other Mexican dishes made using only local ingredients - something that plays so well to Austin’s food priorities that it could easily become the city’s signature foodstuff. There are, of course, some obstacles that come with this approach. Cilantro does not grow year-round, and neither do onions, nor many of the ingredients we might expect to find in a taco’s salsa. But Gabe and Jesse believe this to be a cause for celebration, not commiseration, in the kitchen. “Maybe not all the salsas are going to have tomatoes and stuff like that, but you're going to get what's grown here in a Mexican-style format and it’ll be something that represents the true region,” says Gabe. “It challenges you as a cook and it challenges you as a community to put that out there. It also opens up some vulnerability, but at the end of the day, when people understand what you're doing, it makes it really special.” Game meats cooked over wood fire are another focus of the Taquería - a decision that further bolsters the eatery’s sustainable credentials. “I love the idea of eating feral hog,” says Jesse. “I mean, they're a pretty severe problem to agriculture and a lot of water supplies and things here. “So, every feral hog you buy, every pound of feral hog you use is one less pound of domesticated meat that we have to put into the system.” An al pastor feral hog taco is not only possibly the most Austin thing you can buy, it’s also going to save a little bit of the Austin environment too. faregroundaustin.com/vendors/concept-5

PG.

Ø79

AUSTIN


AUSTIN,

TX


THE

PEOPLE

OF

L I N D S E Y W O H L G E M U TH A N D D I M I TA R K A R AY T C H E V AT E R A C E R A M I C S

AFTER

JOURNEYING

THROUGH AND LINDSEY

COLLEGE, A

VARIETY

OF

WOHLGEMUTH

KARAYTCHEV CREATING THEIR

HAVE

RICA,

JOBS,

AND

DIMITAR

SETTLED

BEAUTIFUL AUSTIN

TOGETHER

COSTA

INTO

CERAMICS

IN

BACKYARD.

Lindsey Wohlgemuth and Dimitar Karaytchev met while studying art in college, but it took them many years to turn the skills they learnt there into jobs. After majoring in ceramics, Lindsey began working as a florist. “When you graduate from art school with a ceramics major, you don't have a studio anymore. You instantly lose your ability to make anything,” she says. “So I was like, all right. Got to save up, get a wheel, whatever.” Meanwhile, Dimitar - who majored in printmaking - started freelancing as a web developer and app designer. Over a few years - which included a year spent in Costa Rica where Lindsey taught art to middle school students - the pair continued this way. But it was also Lindsey’s intention to come back to working with clay.

PG.

Ø81

AUSTIN


After saving enough money, she found a wheel and a kiln going cheap and began working - eventually establishing enough business as a potter to sustain herself. But it was when she moved away from more decorative ceramics into kitchenware that she began to find her niche. “We really love cooking,” says Lindsey, “so we just started slowly inching our way that way. It started out like, ‘Okay, we'll make some bowls’. And then it just kept going.” Lindsey found her combination of modern design and material-led aesthetic was attracting clients, and soon Dimitar was able to join her in the business. “The whole time I was just trying to quit looking at a computer, and at one point, Lindsey started needing a little more help,” he says. Dimitar took over mixing and applying glazes for each piece, as well as managing the website and emails, taking photos for the business, and designing basic forms for many of the pieces. Together, the pair re-launched the business under Era Ceramics - a name that acknowledges where they’ve come from to get where they are, and where they’re going. Under that branding, they’ve become a go-to crockery source for many of the most interesting food outlets around Austin. Era pieces can be found in Barley Swine, Uchiko, Salt & Time, Bullfight, Kemuri Tatsu-ya, and at The Line hotel. In the work they do today, Lindsey and Dimitar see their future. “You could just think, okay, now I'm going to work on glazing. And now, I'm going to try this form or this shape. Now, I'm going to make my own clay. I'm going to go dig it up, or how do you fire? You can fire a hundred different ways,” says Lindsey. “I feel like it's one of those things for a whole lifetime.” eraceramics.com

AUSTIN,

TX


THE

PEOPLE

OF

PREVIOUS SPREAD ← Lindsey, Dimitar, and their backyard studio

PREVIOUS PAGE ← From the wheel to the result

THIS PAGE Clay on the studio door handle

PG.

Ø83

AUSTIN


THIS PAGE Richard and some of his workshop essentials

AUSTIN,

TX


THE

PEOPLE

OF

AUSTIN

RICHARD COLE AT PA L E O D E N I M

RICHARD THE IN

COLE

CRAFT THE

OF

SET

PROCESS

ALSO

OUT

MAKING

MAKE

HE A

TO

MASTER

JEANS,

HAPPENED

AND TO

BUSINESS.

“It was in about 2007, and who is left in the apparel industry then? It's people who couldn't get out or people filled with just really deep knowledge,” says Richard Cole from the workshop where he hand-stitches garments for his selvedge jeans brand, Paleo Denim. “As a novice and of the Instagram generation where being an expert at something means you put about 120 hours into it and take some beautiful photos, getting the shocking level of knowledge is very appealing.” Richard had started out solely hoping to learn how to make his own jeans, but he soon became so engaged in learning about the process that he found it impossible to stop. So, in service of his further investigation, Paleo Denim was born. Named for his father - an amateur paleontologist who required hardy clothes to withstand fossil-hunting activities - the business is heavily focused on ethical sourcing and consumption values.

Richard sources all of his denim from mills in America or Japan, and (somewhat counterintuitively) encourages his customers to buy fewer pairs of jeans. “There's the environmental angle, which drew me to jeans in terms of them being the most durable of the goods,” says Richard. “So that was a big appeal, as were those ideas of localizing economy and having diversified hand-skill sets sort of things. All those were very appealing to me, especially in my early days.” To further bolster the durability of his wares - which sell across the country and around the world - Richard has recently launched a repairs arm of the business too. Austin Denim Repair is another way for him to find a use for his ever-deepening knowledge of jeans construction, and another excuse for him to keep learning new skills. “That's still one of the things that keeps me going deeper the learning,” he says. “I went to Union Special. I went to the factory outside of Chicago and it's one of three places still making sewing machines in the United States. “Taking classes there from the people there who actually invented chain stitch - that was really something for me.” And wearing a pair of Richard’s carefully and thoughtfully crafted jeans is really something for us. paleodenim.com

PG.

Ø85


MIRANDA BENNETT

BY

PUSHING

INDUSTRIAL METHODS HAND-MADE, MIRANDA BEAUTY THE

BACK

AGAINST

FASHION AND

PRODUCTION

RETURNING

THOUGHTFUL

BENNETT AND

IS

RESPECT

CLOTHING

AUSTIN,

BRINGING BACK

TRADE.

TX

TO

DESIGNS,

TO

The emergence of the slow fashion movement - in which consumers understand the production of each garment dovetails perfectly with the way Miranda Bennett has always understood her place in fashion. “I have always had a very hands-on relationship with apparel,” she says. “I grew up making my own clothing and it was more from a perspective of creative expression, but it was always a handson relationship for me ... I felt a real immediacy with the actual process." But when Miranda went to design school in New York, she found herself surrounded by the big fashion model - where licensing deals and armies of workers were the ultimate goal. While she graduated and launched her business - Miranda Bennett Studio - there, she returned to her home town of Austin in 2013 to develop it, aware that the smaller city would offer a less stressful environment in which to pursue the ideas close to her heart. Since coming home, Miranda has established a studio with a team that hand dyes all the material for her clothes, and she works with a crew of local women to sew each garment.


THE

PEOPLE

PG.

OF

Ø87

AUSTIN


AUSTIN,

TX


THE

PEOPLE

OF

PREVIOUS SPREAD ← Miranda in her Austin studio

PREVIOUS PAGE ← An important Miranda Bennett co-worker

THIS PAGE Hand-dyed materials ready to be made into clothes

This process allows her to remain an active part of both the design and production of her pieces. While her processes are hyper-local, her market is global with women around the world coveting her pieces that combine comfort with high aesthetic in a way that is rarely seen in the fashion industry. “That is a big thing for me now, it's like both how you physically feel in the garment, feeling comfortable, feeling at ease, not feeling distracted by it, but then also feeling enhanced and like you're being perceived in your best possible light,” says Miranda. “It's always really the idea of how a woman's going to feel in the garment and that's where my idea of wear testing comes from. I like to wear things for several days just so I can see like, oh, you know, its length is this or the body would be nicer this way and then go from there.” Miranda says Austin’s supportive community has been key in helping her business grow. But by creating internationally-recognized clothing by women for women, Miranda is playing her own role in redefining a city that is slowly becoming known for a lot more than bands and barbecue. www.mirandabennettstudio.com

PG.

Ø89

AUSTIN


THIS PAGE Tony at Radio Coffee and Beer

AUSTIN,

TX


THE

PEOPLE

OF

AUSTIN

TONY KAMEL OF WOOD AND WIRE

IN

THIS

CITY

BLUEGRASS RELATIVELY WATCHFUL BAND

GROWING AS

NICHE.

EYE

WOOD

SCENE’S

OF AND

OTHER AND THE

OF

MUSIC,

GENRE

IS

BUT

TONY WIRE,

THE

STILL UNDER

THE

KAMEL,

HIS

AND

THE

PROPONENTS,

EVOLVING CITY

AS

AROUND

IT’S

RAPIDLY IT.

For Tony Kamel - an Austin musician who plays and writes across many genres - bluegrass was something he was initially drawn to because of its technicality. “It's extremely difficult and I think one of the misconceptions about it is that it's this hokey southern, sort of redneck, I don't know, mountain folk style music,” he says. But it was the stories and structure at the heart of the music that kept Tony engaged. “For me, as a musician, the challenges were what drew me in initially and then I just really loved singing the songs, too.” Tony, Dom Fisher, Trevor Smith and Billy Bright came together in 2011 to create Wood and Wire - a band that performs traditional and new bluegrass songs, and has so far released three studio albums.

All four members are regular players at the Bluegrass Night that takes place every Monday at Radio Coffee and Beer. Through this weekly jam session, Tony has seen Austin’s interest in the genre slowly ignite as well. “What we're doing here is just jamming. We're not going to write a set list, we never rehearse. We’ve been doing this gig for six or seven years and the cast rotates every week; we have different people,” he says. “People who never thought they'd like bluegrass, they come here or they come to a Wood and Wire show and they're like, 'Wow, this is cool. I really enjoy this'." And while Tony sees plenty of downsides to Austin’s rapid growth - including a phenomenon where many of his musician friends are forced out of town by rising rents - he does see an upside in the growing support for a wider range of music in the city. “The music community here is really tightknit and fun,” he says. “Songwriting is big here and that's something that I do on a personal level as well. Plus, I just really love the town and the people. “I love meeting new people. For my band, for this night, and for Wood and Wire – the growth has done really good things.” www.woodandwireband.com

PG.

Ø91


M AT TH E W B R U E A N D D AV I D B U T L E R OF MISSIO

THE

DUO

SUCCESSFUL THE

KIND

BEHIND MISSIO OF

AUSTIN

THE ARE

MUSIC IS

WILDLY REDEFINING

FOR

WHICH

KNOWN.

The story of musicians coming together in Austin and creating hugely successful collaborations is almost the story of the city itself. But, in finding each other and creating music under the name Missio, Matthew Brue and David Butler are re-writing that story with a distinctly new tone. The pair’s electronically-driven, lyrically dark music, which includes early hits such as Middle Fingers and Everybody Gets High, is not the traditional sound of Austin. It is however - the sound of two musicians finding a natural partnership in each other. Matthew and David began writing songs together after David worked as the producer with one of Matthew’s previous bands. They became friends, and the collaboration that became Missio evolved organically as Matthew asked David for feedback on songs he’d written. “The lesson I learned in that first year was how much of a better songwriter I became when I was willing to let other people have a say in what I was doing,” says Matthew. “It’s weird because we’re so polar opposite, even with influences.”

AUSTIN,

TX

“We brought a very different set of skills to the table,” adds David, “and I think the most important thing is that we’re both brutally honest. I’d been working in the studio for long enough that if I don’t think something is a good idea I’m not going to sugarcoat it because I don’t want to waste my time.” After only about eight months working together under the name Missio, the pair released debut album Loner in May of 2017. The record gained immediate traction. Matthew’s highly personal and honest lyrics resonated broadly with an international audience. “I’ve always been an internalizer, so more likely often to just hold my thoughts and feelings in and I won’t communicate well with people a lot of times because the gears are just going in my head,” says Matthew. “So what I found writing music was such a relief because I could actually get that out without having to actually talk to people about it. It was kind of an introvert’s best situation - where I can feel the relief of explaining how I feel without actually having to have communication.” Only months after the release of the first record, Matthew and David are working on a second. And across America and the world, fans are eagerly waiting to hear the next thing the pair send out from Austin. missiomusic.com


THE

PEOPLE

OF

THIS PAGE David + Matthew = Missio

PG.

Ø93

AUSTIN


THIS PAGE Amy Cook - from head to toe

AUSTIN,

TX


THE

PEOPLE

OF

AUSTIN

AMY COOK

AFTER

MORE

WORKING MUSICIAN, HER

THAN

AS

A

AMY

ARTISTIC

TWO

DECADES

PROFESSIONAL COOK

HOME

HAS IN

FOUND

AUSTIN.

“I lived in LA for 12 years, and I started doing music there and it’s just so cutthroat and it didn’t feel supportive,” says Amy Cook. The musician moved to Austin in part for a relationship, but she stayed because she found a network that helped her to create the kind of music she wanted to make. “Here there is more of a sense of community in terms of everyone is rooting for each other and if something amazing happens for someone then it’s amazing for everyone,” she says. Amy says simply being in the city has given her the kind of opportunities she would have needed to pursue tirelessly in LA through networking and management. “I was just walking down South Congress one day and this local musician - Alejandro Escovedo - stopped me and said, ‘Hey - I love your music, you should come on tour and open for us’,” says Amy. “And normally someone would say that and it would never happen, but the next week his manager called and a month and a half later I was on the road.”

More than just offering career development though, Amy says Austin’s musicians have helped her embrace a deeper level of honesty in her songwriting. “There’s so many occasions where we just pull out guitars and when I was in LA, there was never a time when I’d be somewhere and people would just pull out guitars and play. And that definitely just gets in there somewhere in terms of feeling a little more safe and comfortable and just being able to express yourself freely.” Her latest record comes more than five years after her previous LP Summer Skin. Amy says Hymns, written and recorded at home, is some of the most direct and open art she's ever made. “This time I’m making the record in my house, in my bedroom, on an eight track,” she says. “I don’t see the use of me spending all that money [in a recording studio] when I think it’s about the sounds and making something personal to you. So I play all the instruments and it’s sort of sounding like my mind now, which is scary.” But what might be scary for Amy is a privilege for her listeners. www.facebook.com/amycookmusic/

PG.

Ø95


JOAH SPEARMAN OF LOCALEUR

JOAH

SPEARMAN’S

LOCALEUR AUSTIN’S -

A

LOVE

TRAVEL

APP

KEY OF

TOOL

RAPIDLY-RISING TURNS

ONE

OF

CHARACTERISTICS

THE THAT

MARKET

LOCAL FILLS

A

INTO

A

GAPING

GAP.

Joah Spearman was down to his last dollar before the launch of his app, Localeur, at South by Southwest in 2013. A few years earlier, the serial entrepreneur had moved back to Austin after a stint working in DC as a speechwriter and PR professional. “I came back to Austin in January of 2009 and said I'm going to start a new business every year for 10 years until one sticks,” he says. Several of his businesses did have longevity - there was a social media consultancy, a pop-up sneaker events company, and work introducing a fashion element to South by Southwest.

AUSTIN,

TX

But even with this success, Joah kept searching for new ideas. It was while working for a software start-up as director of operations that he began to learn about the tech side of the travel industry, and saw an opportunity. “It was 2012 and Airbnb was still growing. I looked at that and thought, ‘That's how people are going to want to travel. They want to experience local’,” says Joah. After this revelation, Joah and co-founder Chase White poured all their effort and - in Joah’s case - all of their dollars into developing an app that would service this desire. Localeur is designed to give tourists a reliable and high-quality insight into the places people love in their own city. “When we launched in 2013, we had 15 of my friends recommending their favorite locally owned bars and restaurants and shops in Austin,” says Joah. “The whole idea was to get locals to recommend local businesses instead of tourists recommending tourist stuff. “We got 5,000 users in the first week. Then a lot of press.” While Localeur was originally just servicing Austin, it has rapidly expanded. The app now features recommendations that cover more than 60 cities, and has been used by more than 1.7 million people. Joah says the key to growing quickly without losing quality has been ensuring the integrity of the recommendations being made in each city.


THE

PEOPLE

OF

AUSTIN

THIS PAGE Joah at his Austin home office

“We curate our community, so we still kind of hand pick a dozen or so locals in each of these markets to get things started there,” he says. The next horizon for the business is expanding the language base the app works with so cities like Tokyo and Cape Town can become part of the Localeur network. But while Joah has plenty of work to do on the app and around the world, he’s also a strong advocate for what’s happening back home in Austin. “Austin is the only major city in the United States with a declining black population,” he says. “And tech itself is an industry that is a lot like Austin. Tech is not very diverse. “So, we have to ask, if we have a declining black population, for example, what is growing in Austin? The tech scene is growing in Austin. So then, perhaps Austin can become the hub of black people working in technology.” And with the example set by Joah and the resounding success of Localeur, there’s definitely no lack of examples to follow. www.localeur.com

PG.

Ø97


THIS PAGE Andrea in her Downtown Capital Factory office

AUSTIN,

TX


THE

PEOPLE

OF

AUSTIN

ANDREA KALMANS

VENTURE SCENE SAYS

AUSTIN’S

DOESN’T NICE THE

CAPITALIST

MENTOR

PLACE

IDEAL

SENSE

JUST

MAKE

TO

A

TO

TECH

KALMANS

OF

COMMUNITY

THE

LIVE,

PLACE

INTO

AND

ANDREA

CITY

BUT

TURN

A

ALSO

AN

IDEA

BUSINESS.

Andrea Kalmans started her career in New York, working for some of the world’s biggest investment banks. But despite her big ambitions, she was drawn to Austin’s smaller community. “Austin in 1999 was very much like Austin today – it was very much on the rise,” says the venture capitalist and tech start-up mentor. “You can feel the energy in Austin. You can also sense we're an extremely young city. All of those things make for a vibrant city. I knew I wanted to be here.” After moving to Austin at the turn of the millennium, Andrea quickly established herself in the city. She’s raised two children here, earned her MBA at UT, worked in senior executive roles at Dell, and then moved into venture capital as a principal with Lontra Ventures. While Andrea identifies the openness and permeability of Austin - which allows for greater sharing of knowledge - as one key to the city’s success as a tech start-up capital, she says it also comes down to the love-local mindset extending into people’s bank account behavior.

“We have a lot of angel investors for the size of our city, a lot of individuals who want to invest in start-ups,” she says. “I think particularly in Austin, people want to support the Austin environment. Much more so than in other cities.” Another factor in Austin’s success, says Andrea, is the city’s risk-loving and creative spirit - something she is mindful could be diminished by the very tech scene it has helped to create. “More than anything, we're a creative city and this is one of the things that I hope our economic structure doesn't squash,” she says. “Ideas in Austin flourish and great ideas come from people who are willing to be different and think differently. That's how change happens.” There are official moves to keep Austin feeling like Austin, even as the creeping expansion of tech companies and their staff into Downtown pushes prices on houses and commercial space up, and – simultaneously – artists and the like out. The designation of the Red River area as an official cultural district is one example, as is the declaration of Central East Austin as an African American Cultural Heritage District. Whether these measures and others like them manage to hold back the tide of change is yet to be seen, but Andrea is upbeat that Austin is smart and strong enough to ensure its core stays the same, even if everything else begins to change. lontraventures.com

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ASHLEY JENNINGS, DANA CALLENDER, AND PRESTON JAMES OF DIVINC

AS

THE

TECH

FLOURISHES WITH

IT

FESTERED

THE IN

CAPITALS. DIVINC TO

THE

START-UP

IN

AUSTIN

PROBLEMS THE

BUT

PROVIDE SCENE’S WITH

INDUSTRY IT

BRINGS

THAT

INDUSTRY’S THE A

TRIO

LOCAL

HAVE OTHER

BEHIND SOLUTION

UNIVERSAL

PROBLEM

DIVERSITY.

Ashley Jennings, Dana Callender, and Preston James were introduced by a mutual friend - and that was all it took for the three entrepreneurs to start their own venture together. The trio have experience with big tech, media, and start-ups and came together to tackle a problem they’d all seen firsthand - a lack of diversity. Their venture - DivInc - is a pre-accelerator that offers female and ethnically-diverse entrepreneurs an early mentorship and development program that helps them get connected and prepared as they wade into the tech scene to seek funding. Preston says an intervention like DivInc is necessary because those who are already successful in the start-up world tend to back other entrepreneurs who replicate their own experience. '“About 90 per cent of these investors are white males,” says Preston. “The vast majority of the companies they invest in tend to be, you know, white males.

“If you talk to investors – some of them, if they're self-aware – will admit to the fact that 'Well, gee, I don't really know a lot of people outside of this realm'." The trio decided an operation that provided intervention early in an entrepreneur’s development was the best strategy. This was based on conversations and observation that showed many of the people they wanted to support often struggled to find early in-roads into the industry because they had no existing networks. “Our founders coming through the door and their ideas could easily be applying to something like Techstars or whatnot,” says Ashley. “We've got, you know, three-time Harvard grads, we've got VR scientists, Chicago School of Business graduates. So how do people like that, right, end up not knowing how to navigate the ecosystem?” “All of the founders that come through are very capable, they're just not plugged in,” adds Dana. “So we're just providing the resources and, basically, a home and a family for these people to come in, feel comfortable, grow their business, and build their network.” Since running their first pre-accelerator in September of 2016, DivInc has seen plenty of its founders go on to successfully tackle the next stages of start-up business. But Preston says the ultimate achievement for the organization will be obsolescence. “If in 10 years there's no need for DivInc, then that would be very cool,” he says. divinc.org

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THE

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BUILDING A PAST AND FUTURE CITY: THE HISTORIC REASONS FOR AUSTIN’S IDIOSYNCRATIC FORM SEEM AS UNLIKELY AS THE SHAPE OF THE CITY ITSELF, BUT A MORE THOROUGHLY-THOUGHT-OUT SET OF PLANS ARE NOW MAKING SENSE OF DOWNTOWN AND ITS SURROUNDS.

AUSTIN IS A CURIOUS STATE CAPITAL. CERTAINLY NOT ONE OF THE BIGGEST CITIES IN TEXAS, NOR (HISTORICALLY) ONE OF THE STATE’S POWERFUL ECONOMIC CENTERS – IT’S LONG BEEN SEEN AS AN ODD CHOICE. ¶ AND ITS ORIGINS AS TEXAS’ SEAT OF POWER REINFORCE THAT VIEW. ¶ “WHY AUSTIN?

WHY DID IT EVEN EMERGE AS

A PLACE ON THE MAP?,” ASKS AUSTIN-BASED ARCHITECT AND URBAN PLANNER JANA MCCANN. ¶ “SOMEONE COULD SAY IT'S ACTUALLY VERY ARBITRARY – BASICALLY A FELLOW NAMED MIRABEAU LAMAR, WHO WAS ONE OF THE PRESIDENTS OF THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS, BEFORE WE WERE A STATE, HAD THIS FRIEND, JACOB HARRELL, WHO HUNG OUT WHERE SHOAL CREEK DUMPS INTO THE COLORADO RIVER, BECAUSE IT'S A GREAT FISHING SPOT AND A HUNTING GROUND.” ¶ THE STORY GOES THAT LAMAR, WHILST ON A TRIP TO VISIT HARRELL, SHOT A BUFFALO IN THE LOCALE WHICH WOULD BECOME AUSTIN’S CONGRESS AVENUE. IN A FIT OF ENSUING MACHISMO, HE DECLARED THAT THIS GROUND WOULD BE TEXAS’ CAPITAL - AND SO IT HAS REMAINED. ¶ BUT THE NATURAL SURROUNDS OF AUSTIN WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR MORE THAN JUST THE DECISION TO LOCATE A CITY THERE - THEY ALSO INFLUENCED THE FORM OF THE CITY ITSELF. ¶ “WE HAVE TWO CREEKS ON EITHER SIDE OF THE EDGES OF DOWNTOWN,” SAYS JANA. “SO, WE HAVE THE FRAME FOR THE ORIGINAL CITY.” ¶ BUT SINCE THEN, THE FORM OF AUSTIN HAS BEEN THE RESULT ALMOST ENTIRELY OF HUMAN ERROR OR ACHIEVEMENT. ¶ THE ORGANIZED GRID OF DOWNTOWN, THE FACT THAT EAST AUSTIN IS EFFECTIVELY SLICED OFF BY THE I-35, AND THE DISTANCE AND LACK OF CONNECTION BETWEEN VARIOUS RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL CENTERS - WHICH ARE BARELY INTEGRATED AT ALL WITH DOWNTOWN - ARE ALL THE RESULT OF DELIBERATE DECISION-MAKING. ¶ “LAMAR HIRED HIS FAVORITE DUTCH SURVEYOR AND THEY SURVEYED OUT THIS VERY, VERY REGULAR GRID OF STREETS BETWEEN THE CREEKS,” SAYS JANA. ¶ “THEN I THINK SOME OF THE NEXT FORM DETERMINANTS ARE THE RAILROAD COMING IN, AROUND ABOUT THE 19TH CENTURY.

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PREVIOUS SPREAD ← Inside the McCann Adams Studio office

THIS PAGE Architect and urban planner Jana McCann

NEXT PAGE → Miniatures help map out Austin's future

“THEN WE HAD THE TROLLEY SYSTEM THAT CAME IN; AND AFTER THAT STREET CARS. THAT ACTUALLY CREATED DEVELOPMENTS CALLED THE STREETCAR COMMUNITIES THAT WERE IN DIFFERENT AREAS FURTHER AFIELD, A PLACE LIKE HYDE PARK IS AN EXAMPLE.” ¶ THE ERA OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN AUSTIN, THOUGH, ENDED. THE STREET CARS WERE RIPPED OUT, THE TRAIN STATIONS DEMOLISHED, AND THE PRIMACY OF THE CAR WAS WELCOMED. ¶ THIS CALCIFIED AUSTIN’S LAYOUT – WITH SUBURBAN OASIS AREAS FLUNG FAR AWAY FROM THE INCREASINGLY DILAPIDATED DOWNTOWN. IT ALSO RESULTED IN THE 1959 CONSTRUCTION OF HIGHWAY I-35 – BUILT RIGHT THROUGH THE CENTER OF THE CITY. ¶ BUILDING A HIGHWAY THROUGH A CITY IS A CURIOUS CHOICE, BUT IN AUSTIN’S CASE IT WAS DOUBLY DRACONIAN AS IT HELPED SOLIDIFY A DIVIDE THAT HAD BEEN ESTABLISHED BY A RACIST PIECE OF REGULATION DECADES EARLIER IN 1928. IN THAT YEAR, A CITY MASTERPLAN SET OUT GUIDELINES TO DENY SERVICES TO PEOPLE OF COLOR LIVING WEST OF EAST AVENUE (WHICH WOULD LATER BECOME I-35). ¶ THIS DECISION EFFECTIVELY FORCED PEOPLE OF COLOR TO RELOCATE TO THE EASTERN SIDE OF THE CITY, LEAVING THEIR ESTABLISHED COMMUNITIES, HOMES, AND LIVES BEHIND. ¶ “THE 1928 CITY ZONING PLAN DID EFFECT THIS BIG RACIAL SEPARATION,” SAYS JANA. “IT WAS ONE OF THE HUGE INJUSTICES OF THE MOMENT AND THE HIGHWAY SEALED THAT DEAL.” ¶ NOW THOUGH, WITH AN ALMIGHTY INFLUX OF PEOPLE ATTRACTED BY AUSTIN’S HIGHLY ATTRACTIVE MIX AS A TECH AND CREATIVE HUB, THE CITY IS BEING FORCED TO RECKON WITH THE MISTAKES OF ITS PAST. ¶ A TASKFORCE ON INSTITUTIONAL RACISM AND SYSTEMIC INEQUITIES IS BEING OPERATED BY THE CITY, AND BROADER STEPS ARE BEING MADE TO INTEGRATE EQUALITY IN ALL ITS GUISES INTO THE BUILT FORM OF AUSTIN. ¶ JANA SAYS NEW DEVELOPMENT IS OFTEN DRIVEN BY AN INCREASING UNDERSTANDING OF THE NEED FOR AFFORDABILITY AND ACCESSIBLE PUBLIC SPACES IN ALL PARTS OF THE CITY. ¶ “WE HAVE TO REALLY FOCUS ON PARK SPACE BECAUSE THAT'S ONE OF THE WAYS THAT PEOPLE REALLY CAN SHARE, IT CAN BRING THE WHOLE COMMUNITY TOGETHER,” SHE SAYS. “IT'S AN AFFORDABLE THING FOR FAMILIES TO DO. AND WE'VE GOT THE SPACE.”

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TX


AUSTIN

BY

DESIGN

JANA AND HER FIRM MCCANN ADAMS STUDIO HAVE ALSO BEEN HEAVILY INVOLVED WITH PROJECTS LIKE MUELLER - THE REPURPOSING OF A 700-ACRE FORMER AIRPORT SITE INTO A NEW RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL DISTRICT; AND THE WALLER CREEK DISTRICT PLAN - WHICH OPENS UP THE DOWNTOWN CREEK-SIDE TO PUBLIC USE. ¶ THESE PROJECTS – WITH THEIR IDEALS AROUND MANDATED INCLUSION OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND PUBLIC TRANSPORT LINKAGES – ARE HINTS OF A FUTURE AUSTIN, WHERE NEIGHBORHOODS ARE PART AND PARCEL OF ECONOMIC CENTERS, COMMUNITIES OF COLOR AREN’T PUSHED TO ONE SIDE, AND GETTING IN AND OUT OF DOWNTOWN IS POSSIBLE EVEN IF YOU DON’T OWN A CAR. ¶ WHETHER THE CITY CAN PULL OFF SUCH A RADICAL TRANSFORMATION UNDER THE PRESSURE OF ENORMOUS POPULATION GROWTH AND EVER-CHANGING CHARACTER IS YET TO BE SEEN, BUT PEOPLE LIKE JANA MCCANN GIVE IT A FIGHTING CHANCE. MCCANNADAMSSTUDIO.COM

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THE AUSTIN LOOK: WHILE JANA SAYS AUSTIN DOESN’T HAVE A “GREAT STOCK OF HISTORIC BUILDINGS TO DRAW FROM”, THERE ARE A FEW LANDMARKS AND AESTHETIC SIGNATURES SHE SAYS ARE UNIQUE TO THE CITY.

LIMESTONE, LIMESTONE, EVERYWHERE: “WHAT IT KIND OF HAS BOILED DOWN TO IS PEOPLE USED A LOT OF THE NATURAL LIMESTONE AS A BUILDING MATERIAL,” SAYS JANA. “SO THAT WAS A VERY EASY-TO-MINE AND GET-AND-PROCESS MATERIAL; SOFT, WHITE, BUFF-COLORED LIMESTONE THAT WAS ACTUALLY CHEAP. SO THAT BECAME THE USE. THEY BUILT BRICKS OUT OF IT. THEY USED IT FOR MORTAR. IT’S EVERYWHERE IN DOWNTOWN.” ¶ MAKING A MODERNIST: “NOW, WE'RE SEEING A LOT MORE EDGY, MUCH MORE CONTEMPORARY, SIMPLER, I THINK, FORMS,” SAYS JANA. “MILLENNIALS ARE MORE INTERESTED IN THIS SORT OF ALMOST INDUSTRIAL OR BARN INDUSTRIAL, RURAL, AGRARIAN KIND OF BUILDINGS AND ARE PLAYING WITH WHAT THEY CAN DO TO MAKE THIS KIND OF UNPRETENTIOUS.” ¶ THE SEAHOLM POWER PLANT: “THE SEAHOLM POWER IS A NEW REDEVELOPMENT,” SAYS JANA. “IT HAD FIVE SMOKESTACKS… AND IT USED TO SAY ‘AUSTIN, THE FRIENDLY CITY’ ON THEM. IT WAS BUILT IN THE LATE '40S, EARLY '50S, SO IT'S PRETTY NEAT WE'RE SEEING THAT IT FINALLY GOT DECOMMISSIONED. THEY SAVED THIS BEAUTIFUL ART DECO BUILDING AND THERE’S OFFICES, RETAIL, AND PUBLIC SPACE GOING IN THERE NOW.”

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DESIGNING COMMUNITY:

SOMEHOW, THE SANDLOT BASEBALL PLAYED BY ARTISTS, MUSICIANS, DESIGNERS, FRIENDS, AND FAMILY UNDER THE MONIKER OF THE TEXAS PLAYBOYS MANAGES TO BUILD THINGS THAT NO ARCHITECT EVER COULD.

JACK SANDERS MAY HAVE GRADUATED FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS WITH A MASTERS IN ARCHITECTURE, BUT HE DOES NOT CALL HIMSELF AN ARCHITECT. ¶ OCCASIONALLY HE CALLS HIMSELF AN ARTIST, OR A DESIGNER. MORE OFTEN, HE SEEMS COMFORTABLE REFERRING TO HIMSELF AS CAPTAIN OF THE TEXAS PLAYBOYS - THE RAGTAG SANDLOT BASEBALL TEAM HE FOUNDED. ¶ WHEN HERE ARRIVES AT THE PROPERTY WHERE THE PLAYBOYS’ HOME GROUND IS LOCATED AND FROM WHICH JACK RUNS HIS FIRM - DESIGN BUILD ADVENTURE - HE IS RUNNING OUT THE DOOR. THE FLIGHT HE WAS SCHEDULED TO CATCH HAS BEEN BROUGHT FORWARD. ¶ AS HE LEAVES, WE’RE LEFT LOOKING AT A HOUSE AND A SERIES OF SHEDS THAT SURROUND A SANDLOT, A PROPERTY KNOWN AS THE LONGTIME. AND WE’RE LOOKING AT THE SMILING FACE OF PARKER KEYES - ONE OF JACK’S COLLABORATORS. ¶ PARKER, TOO, IS AN ARCHITECT WHO GOES BY ALMOST ANY OTHER NAME. BUT THE REFUSAL OF THE TAG BEGINS TO MAKE SENSE WHEN HE EXPLAINS THE BREADTH OF WORK DONE BY DESIGN BUILD ADVENTURE. ¶ “WE DO EVERYTHING FROM MAKING PIECES OF FURNITURE, BUT WE ALSO ARE DOING SOME SITE PLANNING PROJECTS WHERE THE SITES ARE 1,000 ACRES,” SAYS PARKER. ¶ “THAT’S AS NUTSHELL AS THE PRACTICE CAN GET, BUT THE COOL THING IS PEOPLE COME TO US WITH REALLY INTERESTING IDEAS AND REALLY INTERESTING PROMPTS. WE GET TO WORK WITH THE REALLY OFF -THE-WALL CLIENTS, BECAUSE WE’VE DONE REALLY OFF-THE-WALL WORK.”

THIS PAGE Positions for the last Playboys' game

NEXT PAGE → Jack Sanders

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THE SANDLOT IS NOT REALLY A DESIGN BUILD ADVENTURE PROJECT – IT’S MORE OF A JACK SANDERS PROJECT – BUT IT FITS IN NEATLY WITH THE ETHOS OF THE FIRM, WHICH IS MORE INTERESTED IN PUBLIC GOOD THAN PROFIT. ¶ AS PARKER PUTS IT, JACK MANAGED TO GET THE MATERIALS AND CREATE THE SANDLOT ITSELF THROUGH A PROCESS OF “BEGGING, BORROWING, AND STEALING”, BUT IN A WAY THAT MADE FRIENDS INSTEAD OF LOSING THEM. ¶ “THE JARDINEROS ARE ANOTHER SANDLOT BASEBALL TEAM THAT STARTED UP A LITTLE AFTER THE PLAYBOYS,” SAYS PARKER. ¶ “THEY ACTUALLY CAME OUT AND BUILT THIS DUG-OUT – THEY JUST CAME OUT ONE DAY AND DID IT. IT’S ON JACK’S PROPERTY, AND HE DIDN’T COERCE THEM INTO IT, THEY JUST WANTED TO BE A PART OF WHAT THE LONGTIME IS BECOMING.” ¶ THIS CREATION OF COMMUNITY SPIRIT IS AT THE HEART OF THE ORIGINAL PURPOSE OF THE PLAYBOYS. ¶ JACK STARTED THE TEAM IN THE MODEL OF THE NEWBERN TIGERS - AN ALABAMA-BASED SANDLOT TEAM HE CAME ACROSS WHILE STUDYING AT SAMUEL MOCKBEE’S RURAL STUDIO AT AUBURN UNIVERSITY. ¶ HE HAD ADMIRED THE WAY THE TIGERS CREATED NOT JUST A GOOD TIME ON GAME DAY, BUT ALSO A SUPPORT NETWORK FOR PLAYERS, FRIENDS, AND FAMILY YEAR-ROUND. EVENTUALLY, BACK IN AUSTIN, HE FOUNDED THE PLAYBOYS AND ATTRACTED A TEAM OF LIKEMINDED MUSICIANS, ARTISTS, AND GOOD TIMERS TO PLAY THE OCCASIONAL GAME OF BASEBALL. ¶ BUT PARKER - WHO DOESN’T PLAY ON THE TEAM BUT OFTEN PLAYS LIVE SETS AS A MUSICIAN AT THE GAMES - SAYS THE BASEBALL ISN’T REALLY THE POINT. ¶ “IT’S A CRAZY ENVIRONMENT WHEN PEOPLE ARE HERE FOR THE GAMES THERE ARE DOGS EVERYWHERE FREE RANGING AND KIDS EVERYWHERE FREE RANGING,” HE SAYS. ¶ “PEOPLE ARE BACK HERE IN THE CAGE PLAYING BASEBALL, PEOPLE ARE OUT THERE PLAYING REAL BASEBALL, A LOT OF PEOPLE DAY DRINKING. ¶ THE NICE THING IS THAT OUT HERE IT IS SO INFORMAL THAT WE CAN JUST PLUG IN AND PLAY AS MUSICIANS. MY FRIEND AND I WERE PLAYING A COUPLE OF NEIL YOUNG TUNES AND ANOTHER FRIEND WAS WALKING OUT WITH HER BASEBALL STUFF AND SHE JUMPED UP AND SANG WITH US. ¶ SHE JUST FOUND THE HARMONY - THAT’S WHAT WE SEEK TO DO.” ¶ IT’S IN GAME DAYS, AND IN OTHER EVENTS WHERE THE PUBLIC BECOMES PART OF THE LONGTIME PROPERTY, THAT THE TRUE VISION OF JACK, DESIGN BUILD ADVENTURE, AND ALL THE COLLABORATORS IS REVEALED. ¶ WHETHER IT’S A YOGA AND WELDING CAMP (A REAL THING THAT HAPPENS) WHERE, AFTER A MORNING OF YOGA, PUNTERS LEARN TO WELD AND MAKE AN OBJECT, OR JUST A BUNCH OF FRIENDS SINGING AROUND THE TABLE - THE LONGTIME IS NOT ABOUT WHAT IS MADE, IT’S ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE IT. ¶ “I MEAN – JACK MAKES PRINTS, JACK MAKES ART, JACK MAKES ARCHITECTURE, JACK MAKES THINGS - WE MAKE ALL THOSE THINGS,” SAYS PARKER. “BUT, I THINK IF THERE IS ONE REAL CENTRAL PREMISE OF THIS PLACE, IT’S THAT THE COMMUNITY THAT GATHERS AND THE PEOPLE THAT GET TO EXPERIENCE IT ARE THE ART, REALLY.” TEXAS PLAYBOYS GAMES ARE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC TEXASPLAYBOYSBASEBALL.COM DESIGNBUILDADVENTURE.COM

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AUSTIN

BY

DESIGN

PREVIOUS SPREAD ← Ruler of the roost at The Longtime

THIS PAGE Parker Keyes

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AUSTIN

BY

DESIGN

MICHAEL HSU: CREATING A NEW AUSTIN AESTHETIC

MICHAEL HSU – THE ARCHITECT BEHIND ICONS LIKE UCHI, UCHIKO, THE CANOPY ARTIST STUDIOS, AND ATX COCINA – IS OFTEN CREDITED WITH REVOLUTIONIZING AUSTIN’S ARCHITECTURAL STYLE, BUT HE SAYS HE SIMPLY FOLLOWS WHERE THE CITY’S CULTURE LEADS. WHEN MICHAEL HSU GRADUATED FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS IN 1994, AUSTIN OFFERED

NO

ARCHITECTURE

WORK

AND

NOT

MUCH

OF

AN

ARCHITECTURAL

VISION.

“I

DON'T THINK THERE WAS SOME DOMINANT DESIGN CULTURE HERE TO BEGIN WITH,” HE SAYS. “I THINK IT'S VERY OPEN-ENDED… THERE'S NOT A LANGUAGE; THERE'S NOT THE TYPICAL HIERARCHIES YOU MAY FIND IN OTHER CITIES. ¶ AND I THINK I'M PART OF A BRIDGE GENERATION – I GRADUATED FROM SCHOOL AND THERE WAS NO WORK. BUT, THAT IS WHEN REALLY COOL, CREATIVE STUFF HAPPENS – WHEN THERE'S NOT A BUSINESS PLAN PUSHING HOW YOU THINK ABOUT YOURSELF AS A DESIGNER OR A WRITER OR ANYTHING

ELSE.”

DESPITE

HIS

IMMEDIATE

RECOGNITION

OF

THE

POSSIBILITIES

AUSTIN HELD, MICHAEL DID BRIEFLY LEAVE THE CITY EARLY IN HIS CAREER. ¶ “I WORKED IN DALLAS FOR A VERY, VERY SHORT TIME, I WORKED IN THE NETHERLANDS FOR A VERY, VERY SHORT TIME,” HE SAYS. ¶ “I VISITED LA, VISITED NEW YORK, CONSIDERED MOVING TO THOSE PLACES. BUT IT FELT LIKE I COULD STILL MAKE AN IMPACT HERE, WHERE IT'D BE MUCH MORE DIFFICULT IN OTHER PLACES, IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE.” ¶ HIS TIME AWAY WASN’T WASTED THOUGH – WHILE TRAVELING HE DEVELOPED AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE ARCHITECTURAL IMPULSES HAPPENING ELSEWHERE. AND AS HE SETTLED BACK INTO HIS HOME TOWN, HE REALIZED WHY THAT AESTHETIC WOULDN’T BE AS WELCOME HERE AS IT WOULD IN SOME OF THE USA’S LARGER CITIES. ¶ “I THINK, TRADITIONALLY,

ARCHITECTS

ARE

FED

MODERNISM

AND

I

WAS

VERY

MUCH

ON

BOARD

THERE,” SAYS MICHAEL. ¶ “BUT A TRUE MODERN LOOK WASN'T APPROPRIATE HERE. I THINK WHAT'S INTERESTING ABOUT AUSTIN IS, TEXAS HAS THIS ORIGIN STORY – THE RUGGEDNESS, THE FRONTIERS, THE COWBOY LORE AND ALL THAT SORT OF STUFF. PEOPLE THINK OF AUSTIN AS REMOVED FROM THAT, LIKE WE'RE NOT PART OF THAT, BUT I ACTUALLY ARGUE JUST THE OPPOSITE.

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“I THINK WE HAVE THAT INDEPENDENCE, BUT IT’S JUST REPRESENTED IN A DIFFERENT WAY.” THE

THIS

DEEP

MAINSTREAM

IS

UNDERSTANDING WHAT

LED

OF

MICHAEL

THE

CITY’S

TOWARD

THE

CULTURE

AND

ITS

ARCHITECTURAL

DISDAIN

APPROACH

FOR THAT

HAS BEEN SO SUCCESSFUL FOR HIS OFFICE. ¶ HE REALIZED THAT TO MAKE SOMETHING THAT TRULY RESONATED WITH AUSTIN LOCALS HE NEEDED TO SWAP A SLAVISH ATTACHMENT

TO

A

PARTICULAR

LOOK

AND

INSTEAD

PRIORITIZE

HOW

PLACES

FEEL.

THE

RESTAURANTS, RESIDENCES, AND COMMERCIAL SPACES FOR WHICH MICHAEL IS NOW KNOWN REFLECT THE EFFECTIVENESS OF HIS THINKING THROUGH THE FINE BALANCE THEY STRIKE BETWEEN

BEING

INVITING,

FUNCTIONAL,

AND

VISUALLY

STIMULATING.

“WHAT

OUR

OFFICES HAVE BEEN ABOUT IS THINKING ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE FIRST, AS OPPOSED TO

STYLES,”

HE

SAYS.

“I

THINK

THAT,

TO

ME,

IS

WHAT

FEELS

MORE

I

HATE

USING WORDS LIKE AUTHENTIC, BUT MORE REAL HERE, THAT WE TRY TO GET PAST STYLE BECAUSE WHAT

STYLE

DOES

HAS

THAT

NEGATIVE

REALLY

CONNOTATIONS

MEAN?

WELL,

IT

IN

AUSTIN.

MEANS

LOOKING

THEN, AT

AS

A

DESIGNER,

MATERIALITY

FIRST.

SO JUST THE MATERIALS THAT WE USE AND THEN TALKING ABOUT THE LABOR THAT'S USED

TO

MAKE

THINGS.”

UNDERSTANDING

INCLUSION

OF

MATERIALS

AND

FITTINGS

ORIGINATING IN AUSTIN TO BE THE MOST DIRECT WAY TO CONNECT SPACES WITH THE CITY IN WHICH THEY WERE LOCATED, MICHAEL AND HIS TEAM BECAME EARLY CHAMPIONS FOR AUSTIN’S BURGEONING CRAFT SCENE. ¶ “AUSTIN, AS FAR AS CRAFTSPEOPLE, YOU KNOW, NOT THAT LONG AGO WAS THOUGHT OF AS VERY PROVINCIAL AND WE HAD STANDARD CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES,” HE SAYS. “THAT'S CHANGED TREMENDOUSLY BECAUSE NOW PEOPLE

HAVE

THE

WORK

AND,

MORE

IMPORTANTLY,

PEOPLE

ARE

WILLING

TO

PAY

FOR

THOSE SORTS OF THINGS, WHICH HASN'T ALWAYS BEEN TRUE. ¶ NOW WE HAVE GREAT CRAFTSPEOPLE… WE HAVE PEOPLE THAT MAKE FURNISHINGS AND MATERIALS FOR US AND LIGHT FIXTURES THAT WE TAKE TO OTHER CITIES. SO, WHEN WE DO WORK IN CALIFORNIA, NEW YORK, CHICAGO, HOUSTON AND DALLAS, WE TAKE THEM WITH US.” ¶ APPLYING HIS PHILOSOPHY IN HOSPITALITY VENTURES IS WHAT MADE MICHAEL HIS NAME IN AUSTIN DARLING

AND

ACROSS

TYSON

COLE

AMERICA AT

HIS

-

WITH

HIS

RESTAURANT

DESIGNS UCHI,

TO

SERVING AN

EVERYONE

OVERHAUL

OF

FROM

LOCAL

INTERIORS

IN

MANY OF THE COUNTRY’S UBIQUITOUS SHAKE SHACKS. ¶ BUT NOW, MICHAEL IS FOCUSED ON WHAT HE SEES AS THE NEXT GREAT CHALLENGE FOR ATX – AN EVOLUTION OF THE WAY LOCALS ARE LIVING.

AUSTIN,

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AUSTIN

BY

DESIGN

“AUSTIN'S NOT A DENSE CITY BY ANY MEANS,” MICHAEL SAYS, “SO IT STILL FEELS LIKE IT'S OUR JOB TO INFILL AND MAKE LIVABLE NEIGHBORHOODS AS TRANSPORTATION AND

AFFORDABILITY

BECOME

BIGGER

AND

BIGGER

ISSUES.

EVERYONE

IS

REDUCING

THEIR RADIUS OF THE RANGE OF WHERE THEY LIVE IN, SO ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN AND PLANNING IS ABOUT TRYING TO MAKE SMALLER, LIVABLE NEIGHBORHOODS AS OPPOSED TO A LARGER CITY THAT RELIES ON TRANSPORTATION THAT IS IN HERE. ¶ WHAT WE

FOUND

IS,

WHEN

WE

DO

PROJECTS

IN

NEIGHBORHOODS,

THERE

MAY

BE

A

LITTLE

TENSION, BUT IF IT'S DONE WELL AND IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE LARGER COMMUNITY, PEOPLE ALWAYS SEEM TO EMBRACE IT.”

¶ AS HE IMMERSES HIMSELF FURTHER INTO A

DIFFERENT SIDE OF AUSTIN’S BUILT FORM, MICHAEL IS – AS EVER – LISTENING TO WHAT THE CITY NEEDS AND DELIVERING IT IN THE GUISE OF HIGHLY-RESOLVED, EMINENTLY WELCOMING SPACES. HSUOFFICE.COM

PREVIOUS SPREAD ← Michael out the front of his office

THIS PAGE Having a laugh and a coffee

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MY AUSTIN W I TH V I R G I N I A C U M B E R B AT C H

VIRGINIA

CUMBERBATCH

AUSTIN’S A

VISION

PROGRESSIVE,

WELCOMING BE AS OF

A

CITY

FICTION.

DIRECTOR TEXAS’

CENTER,

ITSELF

SOMETIMES IN

THE

COMMUNITY

SHE’S IT

A

AS

UNIVERSALLY CAN

BUT,

OF

UNDERSTANDS

OF

HER

ROLE

UNIVERSITY ENGAGEMENT

WORKING

TO

MAKE

REALITY.

“I’m one of four kids,” says Virginia Cumberbatch, sitting in the East Austin offices of the University of Texas’ Community Engagement Center, where she is the director. “We were born and raised here in Austin. Looking back, Austin was an amazing place to grow up. “At that time, Austin was the best-kept secret. Everyone who came here knew how cool it was, but we weren’t on the map of where you should visit when you came to the US yet. “We were the hippie town. An intellectual capital in terms of having a university, and the political capital because we’re the capital of the state, but also it had this laid-back vibe. That really produced a great space to grow up and raise a family in the sense you have a slow pace. “But on the flip side, I had a very unique experience as an African-American in Austin.

AUSTIN,

TX

“There was definitely this feeling that while we were supposed to be this very welcoming, progressive, liberal city, that doesn’t extend to everyone who lives here. “I was in an interesting space because of my parents’ jobs and the social economic space I grew up in. “It allowed me to be in spaces of privilege and to be very well resourced, but yet the work both my parents do in terms of being community advocates allowed me to see sort of a tale of two cities. “Depending on where you live - most likely if you’re East of I-35 and you’re brown or black, you’re not experiencing the same sort of social thriving as our white counterparts who live west of I-35. “Growing up I don’t think I had all of the knowledge to contextualize it, but I was experiencing a community that hadn’t quite come to a realization that their liberalism and their progressiveness is actually just privilege and the ways in which they express that privilege sometimes marginalizes other people. “And when I moved back to Austin after I graduated college in 2000, I was like - oh, this is what I’ve been experiencing. Where you live still decides so much about your life in Austin – it decides where you go to school, it decides your transportation access, it decides your health. East Austin - where the communities of color were pushed to in 1928 – it’s still known as a food desert because there’s so few grocery stores, it’s hard to find fresh food.


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PREVIOUS SPREAD ← Virginia in the neighborhood of her office

THIS PAGE The Rhapsody mural by John Yancey, Luis Alicea, and Steven B. Jones NEXT PAGE → Virginia Cumberbatch

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“All these things are rooted in segregated practices around where people live and where resources are placed. “That’s what we’re struggling with, especially as the city is growing so quickly, and traditional communities of color are being gentrified. We’re struggling with coming to terms with our history and moving forward in a way that truly values everyone who lives here. “I think the Mayor is doing a really good job of cultivating that conversation - and mandating that from institutions and leaders around the city. “Things like that are great, but power isn’t always affiliated with elected officials. The real power in this city comes from non-profit boards and corporate spaces – places like Dell and Amazon, which is moving here. “If they, at all of those spaces - including the University of Texas - if we start to all invest in that process and conversation, then we will start to see a faster change happen. Achieving change is about recognition, acknowledgement, and then being willing to truly financially invest in these things. And continuing to diversify the voices that are at the table. It’s really hard to have conversations about how people should live and make decisions that affect their lives, if you haven’t even asked people to come talk to you about it.

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“Within our work at the Community Engagement Center, we’ve been really intentional about doing that. We create an environment and a tone where everyone who is invited into this space is an expert because they all have lived experience. “We want to partner with the community - not to come in and use them as a laboratory and as research and then disappear. Instead we want to create actual systematic, ongoing change side by side with them. “I think I’ve always been drawn to these type of conversations. I went to college thinking I was going to be an English major - I’m going to be a journalist, and write about things. And then I really got passionate about - there’s a story we’re not telling here and it’s most likely the story of marginalized communities who don’t have a voice. “The work we do is very much grounded in storytelling – we’re documenting those stories so they can be part of policy change, and we’re documenting the stories of people who don’t have a platform. “For me, that has been a really big blessing - to be able to be part of making sure those stories are told.” diversity.utexas.edu/communitycenter/

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TH E M AY O R O F A U S T I N MAKES SHOES

JOSH TO

BINGAMAN AS

THE

AUSTIN, BE

MORE BEHIND

IS

OFTEN

UNOFFICIAL

BUT

IT

ACCURATE HELM

WOULD TO

BOOTS

ENTREPRENEUR

IN

REFERRED MAYOR

OF

PROBABLY

CALL THE

THE

MAN

CITY’S

RESIDENCE.

Josh Bingaman does not work in start-ups, but he is a shining example of Austin’s creative and entrepreneurial spirit. The polymath has released three albums on a label in LA, published a book of poetry, started a successful chain of sneaker stores out of San Francisco, and established a café and coffee roaster back in Austin. The multiplicity of his output, his gregarious nature, and the fact that he seems to know everyone has earned Josh a reputation as Austin’s unofficial mayor, but he says he’s really always striving to do less. Of all his early ventures, the coffee roaster – Progress – is the only one that remains under his control. It supplies beans to various Wholefoods stores as well as plenty of other cafés, but he is now absorbed in a different passion – boots. “It’s kind of like a disease, where it’s in my bones and DNA,” says Josh. “I try not to keep starting businesses – I start something and sell it, start something and sell it. I’ve thought to myself many times that I will just go and get a normal job, but that never works out.” AUSTIN,

TX

Footwear has managed to capture his attention for some time though. Josh founded Helm Boots in 2009. His interest in shoes dates back to the days of running sneaker stores with his brother, but somewhere along the way he found himself drawn more to work boots than fly kicks. “I have a vintage boot collection,” says Josh. “My brother and I were sneaker heads, and he still has - you know - 1,000 sneakers, and I have some, but I did it with boots - old hunting boots.” With Helm, Josh wanted to make something with the longevity and timelessness he saw in his vintage boot collection, but which also had contemporary relevance. Helm’s products are designed by Josh himself and in the growing range of styles he aims to incorporate references to trends without making the shoes slaves to fashion. “I’ll say, 'Let's look at this color or element’, and it’ll be about 18 months ahead of when that comes into style. So I feel that naturally,” says Josh. “But we’re always continuing to meld styles - I’ve done stuff where I’ll meld a small aspect of a boot, a shoe, or a sneaker together - not overdone. There’s three styles we’ve had since we started the company though, so we’re definitely not driven by trends.” Helm’s ability to combine elements like heavy soles with a boot that still feels appropriate at dinner or in the office has netted the company a strong following among architects, graphic designers, and doctors. The appearance of the shoes on red carpets and stages – worn by musicians, actors, and sports stars - has also helped the brand grow.


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RIGHT → Shoes of the past and the future inside Helm's offices and workshop BELOW ↓ Austin's unofficial mayor / entrepreneur in residence Joshua Bingaman

They’re now diversifying into specific women’s lines as well, although Josh has always made the boots in smaller sizes and considers them to be unisex. The ability to create diversity in the range has been fostered by Josh’s close relationships with his manufacturers, all of which are currently based in the US. The decision to bring all production onshore was not really a moral one - Josh stresses that he thinks foreign manufacturing can be done ethically and properly. “Doing it here is a respect factor,” says Josh. “These people - making shoes is in their bones, their hands are callused, but a lot of them love to work. They’ve tried to retire, but they keep coming back. “If you can see that and not have some compassion, there’s something wrong with you. I am never opposed to global trade, at all. But, it’s one of those things where it’s like, why don’t I? If I can, I will. “And I’ve found a place that can work with my flexibility of designs. I challenge them.” With this venture, Josh is bringing a new version of the classic work boot to his American customers (and some in Japan and Australia), and a new custom to American factories. To Austin, he’s bringing a whole new way of thinking about boots. “Not all boots are for cowboys,” he says, with a laugh. helmboots.com Flagship store: 1200 East 11th Street, Austin

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B A C K T O TH E F U T U R E : REVIVING LOST ARTS IN EAST AUSTIN

DEEP

IN

THERE’S

EAST A

AUSTIN’S

SWATHE

BUSINESSES AMERICA’S

OF

SUBURBS,

INDEPENDENT

REVIVING FORGOTTEN

SOME

OF

CRAFTS.

Joe Swec and the women who run Fort Lonesome studio are neighbors, but geography is not all they have in common. Both are also pushing back against mass production techniques to return handcrafted elements to their respective industries. Joe is a sign painter. Kathie Sever and her Fort Lonesome team create custom clothes using chain-stitch embroidery. Neither of these trades, in a world dominated by machines that can churn out a similar (but not the same) product in a fraction of the time it takes a human to make it, is likely to make anyone rich. But, as Joe discovered when he switched from being a structural engineer to being a sign painter, it can make you happy.

“Being a structural engineer – it just wasn't creative enough,” says Joe. “I moved here and tried out a bunch of stuff like silk screening and I was an assistant to all kinds of artists and, you know, woodwork or things like that. And then stumbled on sign painting for myself.” While Joe had taken a circuitous route to sign writing, it did run in his blood. His grandfather filled dozens of sketchbooks with drawings when he was a younger man, and eventually these would come to inform Joe’s practice. “My grandpa was really into it, so he had old books on it, old sketch books of his own,” says Joe. “I got these sketch books from my grandma about 10 years before I moved here. I didn't really look at them at first, but then I slowly started looking at them and getting into it.” Joe – who works from a converted shipping container in an East Austin backyard amid other artists in similar set-ups – is responsible for plenty of the signage seen around Austin. One of his first big jobs was painting the dozens of signs that adorn Sixth Street bar/bakehouse Easy Tiger.

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Joe believes the ever-increasing demand for his services (and those of other sign painters) comes down to a recognition that machine-manufactured perfection is actually less interesting than human effort and human error. “You can see the human element of it,” he says. “It's something that normally a human would be like, oh, just get a machine to do that because it's too tedious, but if a human did it, you can see the slight human element to it and then that's when it gets really impressive.” The growth of Fort Lonesome – which operates from a studio that looks a little like a log cabin next door to the property where Joe paints – can be attributed to the same embrace of the hand-made. Kathie Sever started chain stitching garments under the Fort Lonesome banner in 2000 after a varied early career. She graduated art school, worked as a party chef, and started her own children’s clothing company called Ramonster. In the process of creating pieces for Ramonster, Kathie became disenchanted with the mass-produced nature of the fashion industry. Fort Lonesome – where the old technique of chain-stitch embroidery is used to make one-off garments and patches designed in consultation with each client – is her answer to that uninspiring reality.

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PREVIOUS SPREAD ← Joe working on a commission in a truck

PREVIOUS PAGE ← Old and new work is piled around Joe's studio

BELOW ↓ Fort Lonesome's West Texas Road patch

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THIS PAGE Tools of Fort Lonesome's trade

NEXT PAGE → Christina, Kathie, and Amrit

Kathie’s team includes designers and stitchers Dana Falconberry, Christina Smith, and Amrit Khalsa – all of whom see the attraction of creating a new version of an old art. “I think a lot of people get into craft-minded art because – until it gets saturated – you can just do whatever the hell you want,” says Amrit. “Because no-one else is doing anything, I can do anything I want, I can put whatever I want on this jacket. There's no standard for what's supposed to be on the jacket.” Fort Lonesome’s designs are still influenced by traditional western wear, but tempered by the addition of a more art-directed aesthetic that has made its products popular with some of Texas’ biggest names, including Matthew McConaughey. “It’s basically inspired by what it looks like when hard-working, ranching, rugged, sweaty, dirty people clean up,” says Amrit. “It has, like, these western wear roots, but we've done a lot of work to innovate that and are trying to make something new.” It’s through this dogged and energetic investigation of how old techniques can make new, relevant art that Kathie, Amrit, Dana, Christina, Joe, and so many of their East Austin neighbors are giving fresh life to skills that have for too long been left languishing. ftlonesome.com facebook.com/pg/joeswecsignpainting/

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ABOVE ↑ Pooneh Ghana

AUSTIN,

TX


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B A C K S TA G E W I T H POONEH GHANA

AUSTIN-BASED POONEH

GHANA

NATIONAL

AND

REPUTATION ABILITY THE

TO

BUILDING

A

INTERNATIONAL

BECAUSE

HONESTLY

EMOTION HER

PHOTOGRAPHER IS

OF

OF

HER

TRANSLATE

MUSIC

INTO

PICTURES.

Pooneh Ghana didn’t grow up in Austin, but as her interest in music and photography grew, so did the amount of time she spent in the city. “Austin started as a nice escape for me,” she says. “I was kind of a loner in high school… and was just waiting to get out of there. “Being a teen discovering rock and indie music and obsessively trying to go to shows as often as I could, Austin’s music scene was what naturally drew me in at first.” Pooneh moved to the city after graduating high school and from her new base she became more and more absorbed in her hobby of photographing bands at live shows. The transition from hobby to profession is blurry for Pooneh, but she says it was facilitated by the friends she made living in Austin. “Developing as a music photographer in Austin is a pretty fun experience, as you will have no shortage of great bands in town or great shows going on almost every night,” she says.

“In Austin, I’ve always felt surrounded by a very diverse, tight-knit community of people within the music and creative scene, a community of people who are extremely supportive, constantly wanting to collaborate, and are open-minded. “I think Austin is the perfect storm of music, art, and community coming together to create something wonderful. Hopefully that won’t change.” Now, about a decade later, Pooneh is known nationally and internationally for her intimate photos of musicians. Her polaroid series is celebrated for giving people an unusual insight into the true character of the musicians they love, and her editorial work has been published by NME, Vice, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, and countless other outlets. Pooneh has toured with multiple bands too - including Foals and Cage the Elephant - and says she does her best work when she makes a concerted effort to experience as well as capture a moment. “I feel the most captivating photos are the ones that bring out the pure rawness of a single moment, or create a level of intimacy between you and the subject,” she says. “I think it’s a photo you can look at and imagine yourself being there in person. I try to incorporate that into every aspect of my photography. It’s the reason I love touring with bands and being a fly on the wall behind the scenes.” Now expanding her practice to include travel and photojournalism work, Pooneh is continuing to evolve as a photographer. But her unrelenting passion for music, and for capturing the essence of its best moments, seem unlikely to ever fade. www.poonehghana.com

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TH E C O N T E M P OR A R Y A U S T I N : TA K I N G T H E C I T Y BEYOND MUSIC

BY

BRINGING

GLOBE’S TOWN, IS

THE

WORKING

CITY’S

THE

BEST

MODERN

CONTEMPORARY HARD

TO

CREATIVE BEYOND

OF

ARTISTS

THE TO

AUSTIN

EXPAND

THE

REPUTATION

MUSIC.

In almost all ways possible, The Contemporary Austin rejects the trappings and rhetoric traditionally associated with a museum of art. While its purpose – of finding the best contemporary artists in the world and giving them a place to exhibit or create in Austin – might seem standard, the execution is anything but. In bringing these artists to Austin, executive director and CEO of The Contemporary Austin Louis Grachos wants not to create a spectacle of how inaccessibly brilliant they are, but rather to bring them into the city’s community and fabric. “Our aspirations are really to bring exciting programs – either exhibitions or film series or performances or any kind of community initiative that will bring people together through all of the art forms,” says Louis. “So we’re very multidisciplinary in how we do our public programing, for example.”

Part of achieving this accessibility involves using two vastly different exhibition spaces. The Jones Center on Downtown’s Congress Avenue takes the form (more or less) of a traditional art museum, with white walls and hung works, but it also has a rooftop where punters can drink coffee and events are held. The Contemporary’s second location – Laguna Gloria – is a sprawling sculpture garden about 15 minutes out of Downtown. Louis says the outdoor location helps people to feel that they’re allowed to interact with the artworks. “I think with contemporary art you have to be especially sensitive to the intimidation factor,” he says. “But the beauty of our outdoor space is that we're finding that people are way more open to things when they're in a natural setting or a public setting.” The Contemporary has also found that offering artists the chance to work in outdoor spaces – including public sites outside of the Laguna Gloria location – has enabled it to attract some of the world’s biggest names, who are excited by the idea of making work for a broad audience. Ai Weiwei’s Forever Bicycles sculpture at Waller Creek offers an example of the caliber of artist working with the institution. But while many of the artists The Contemporary commissions are international, Louis says they are still consciously curated for their ability to create work that can add to Austin’s local narrative.

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“For some people, Forever Bicycles might mean the legacy of Lance Armstrong, with its ups and downs,” says Louis. “Or it could mean just wow, you know, we're a biking city and this is kind of interesting. For Ai Weiwei, it was a very political statement, you know. Forever was the brand name of the bicycle that was the liberation for his generation in China. As a child, it represented a kind of freedom.” The Contemporary, though, is also very conscious of developing artists at home. At a community level, the institution operates an art school that allows those not enrolled in a college degree to learn skills across mediums as varied as pottery and painting. The school employs more than 80 teachers each year and serves about 5,000 students. Local professional artists are also an important part of the exhibitions roster, and Louis believes the international work he programs can help these artists to constantly raise their own standards. “One of the things that I think we can really contribute is also inspiring artists to create new work for the program and for the city,” he says.

AUSTIN,

TX

“We don't just import exhibitions. We develop exhibitions with artists and inspire them to do new work. “I feel that the city needs to have ideas coming from other places because we're a very white city with a growing Latino community and I think having ideas from everywhere happening here is really important for the growth of the city.” Through this process of inspiration, accessibility, and support, The Contemporary is creating an environment where all kinds of art can thrive – paving the way for a future where Austin might be considered the unofficial arts capital of the world, not just the music capital. www.thecontemporaryaustin.org


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PREVIOUS SPREAD ← Inside The Contemporary Austin's Downtown location - the Jones Center PREVIOUS PAGE ← And outside at the Laguna Gloria sculpture park, with work by Tom Sachs THIS PAGE Executive director and CEO Louis Grachos

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A AUSTIN

NATURAL MIGHT

GLOBE'S

BE

SPACE

AND

TX

BUT

OPEN

CENTRAL

UNIQUE

AUSTIN,

ONE

OF

THE

FASTEST-GROWING

METROPOLISES,

REMAIN

CITY:

GREEN

WATER TO

ITS

CHARACTER.


NATURAL

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Ø1

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Ø5 SOME

LOCAL

SUPPLIES

FROM

SOME

OF

BEST

SUPPLIERS

AUSTIN'S

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Fort Lonesome West Texas Road patch. Available from ftlonesome. com/shop

The latest album from Austin band Spoon. Available from Waterloo Records 600 N Lamar Blvd, Austin

Muller Black Blucher boot. Available at Helm Boots 1200 East 11th Street, Austin

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Srsly Chocolate. Available at Whole Foods and www.srslychocolate.com

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The Pearl-Snap by Austin Beerworks Available from J&J Spirits 1131 East 11th Street, Austin

AUSTIN,

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Yellowbird Hot Sauce. Available from Whole Foods and yellowbirdsauce.com

Casper Rawls’ Brave World record. Available from The Continental Club when Casper is playing there and www.casperrawls.com

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The Longtime sandlot singlet. Available from designbuildadventure.com

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Neckerchiefs by Paleo Denim. Available from paleodenim.com

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With Liberty and Justice For All tote bag. Original artwork by Jim Hodges. Available from The Contemporary Austin 700 Congress Avenue, Austin

A bag of cheese. Available from Antonelli’s Cheese Shop 4220 Duval Street, Austin

Good Flow Honey Co. Wildflower Honey. Available from Whole Foods and goodflowhoney.com

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15

Home Slice Pizza collectible cup. Available from Home Slice Pizza 1415 South Congress Avenue, Austin

Whole Foods Insulation Bag. Available from any Whole Foods

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The Longtime sandlot chain-stitch patches. Available from designbuildadventure.com

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TX


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Everyday Jumpsuit, Linen in Provence. Available from shopmirandabennett.com

Yeti’s 10 Oz Lowball Rambler Available from the Yeti Flagship store 220 South Congress Avenue, Austin

Serota’s Underarm Balm Available from Helm Boots 1200 East 11th Street, Austin

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Milk + Honey Arnica Balm Available from Milk + Honey Spa, 100A Guadalupe Street, Austin

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Wrap Top in Light Indigo Linen. Available from shopmirandabennett.com

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TOWN

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