Austin’s Golden Anniversary Production of ‘The Nutcracker’

What is more Christmas-y than watching The Nutcracker ballet? I remember growing up on this story, loving the part where sugarplums danced in (my) head. I couldn’t get enough as a kid and now I can’t get enough of the ballet as an adult. Currently, The Nutcracker ballet is showing in Austin will be running all through December up until Christmas eve. With that being said, there will be tons of time for you to catch the winter wonderland ballet, following Clara into her dream world of delicate fairies, dancing snowflakes, nutcracker princes, and candy lands.

 This beautiful Austin ballet is the longest-running production of The Nutcracker in the state of Texas. This year marks the Golden Anniversary of the ballet, having run for 5 years straight, bringing Christmas joy to all who come to see. The incredible dancers are not the only thing to come fore. The Austin Symphony Orchestra will be playing Tchaikovsky’s famous score will be sure to brighten your holiday spirits.

 The ballet will be held at The Long Center and tickets can be purchased on balleaustin.org for the 7:30 pm showing on December 8, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21, and 22. A 2 pm showing is also available on December 9, 15, 16, 21, 22, and 23. 

Food Trailers, Austin

Over the past few years, food trailers and trucks have become the hottest new thing for lunch. There’s just something about casually strolling up to a “walk up window,” placing your order, and getting your food in a matter of minutes. Austin is home to tons of food trailers and it is the place I discovered my love for them. One great thing about food trailers is that whatever you’re craving, you can find it. The South Congress food trailers have everything from Cajun-style po-boys, gourmet sandwiches, fried chicken, tacos, Thai food, Mexican food, cupcakes, etc. If you can’t find something you want there, you just shouldn’t eat.

South 1st Street also has a great little collection of food trailers. Last time I went I got a fried brie sandwich and a chocolate-dipped frozen banana- yes, I was having a fat day.

One disheartening thing about food trailers is that they can change locations. So, if you find one you can’t live without, you may want to keep up with them online so you aren’t disappointed when their spot is vacant. One website you can always access is foodtrailersaustin.com. You can search by location, types of food, or featured trailers. The website is also great for discovering new trailers you didn’t even know existed!

The food trailer craze has made fast food a thing of the past. Why would you drive through a greasy McDonald’s when you can opt for a healthier, better-tasting option instead? And don’t use late-night, drunchies as an excuse! There are food trailers outside every bar on sixth, including Rainy Street. Expand your palettes and try some good eatin’ at the Austin food trailers!

The Highball says goodbye to Austin until next Fall

A couple of weeks ago a few friends and I thought it would be nice to do a little casual bowling. What better place to go in Austin than the Highball! Apparantly we were a little out of the loop as it closed down on November 18th due to the reconstruction of Lamar Plaza. Scheduled to reopen its doors next fall, disappointment swept over us at the thought of not being able to go for a year.

 

The Highball has been an Austin attraction for the past 3 years and is the perfect place to throw a party, gather with friends, or get into a really intense bowling match. The food and cocktails are amazing, yet a bit pricey- but that’s just part of the experience right? There are eight different bowling lanes available to rent by the hour. That’s not all though! There are seven different themed karaoke rooms to rent just in case you get tired of all the competition downstairs. If you need a little liquid courage, there is a huge bar located on the first floor ready to serve you up quick. There is also a ballroom event space, perfect for parties and events!

 

The Highball is right next to the Alamo Drafthouse  on South Lamar and has served as a perfect spot to wait for the next showing of the movie I came to see (I’m always late). Sometimes the place can get a bit packed, but that’s to be expected on an Austin weekend.

 

Unfortunately, no one will be able to experience this retro-inspired bowling venue for quite some time, but the anticipation is already building. I’m sure that come opening night, it will be as crowded as ever.

Rainy Street- where the locals go to drink

Although Austin is famous for the wild night life on sixth street, heading there after a long week can be overwhelmingly exhausting. Sometimes unwinding doesn’t mean dancing on bars, swinging in The Whiskey Room, or taking shots with underage kids swarming the bar at all sides. Rainy street has recently become my new escape from the real world when I really just need a break. The quiet bungalow type houses are so quaint and personal with huge backyards and food trucks galore. Sometimes its nice just to go there for the food and pass on the drinks.

 

Austinites seem to have taken to this newer chill bar scene and have been retreating there with friends to enjoy a drink and conversation. The bars are very casual; people dress in their everyday t-shirts and jeans and even bring their dogs!

 

Bridget Dunlap, former yoga instructor, has largely been behind the development of Rainy Street. Over the past couple of years, she took a collection of homes, gutted them, and turned them into the eclectic bars we now know and love.

 

Currently there are three bars in the area that Dunlap has helped create: Lustre Pearl, Clive Bar, and Bar 96. She plans on opening one more bar, Container Bar, in the neighborhood, which will open this January. The Container Bar will have more of a run-down, hippie feel as it will be littered with shipping containers all around the yard that will be used for seating. She also plans on building a courtyard stage in the back for live music and outdoor movies.

 

If you haven’t checked out this new hoppin’ street, what are you waiting for? With the laid-back feel, live music, and trailer food there’s nothing that screams Austin more.

New Austin H&M

The Swedish clothing store, H&M finally came to Austin a mere three weeks ago. Shoppers couldn’t contain their excitement as they started lining up at the doors a day before the anticipated opening. On Saturday, November 17, H&M brought its reasonably priced clothing line to our capital city. Lines out the door were incredible, not just so shoppers could get the first pick of the store, but because the first 500 shoppers in line were given a shirt as well as a fashion pass, valued anywhere from $10 to $500.

 

H&M finally came to Texas for the first time ever last year. The Dallas store received just as much excitement which quickly enshrouded the annoyance everyone must have felt at it taking so long.

 

When I entered the massive store, it was a bit overwhelming. I didn’t know where to begin. Adorable displays can be seen from every angle of the 24,000 square foot store. The lower level is solely comprised of women’s clothes while the top floor is the men’s department. Although I was not one of the lucky 500 shoppers, but I could easily overlook that because the prices were so amazing! It reminded me of a higher-end, more adult version of Forever 21.

 

The crowds have not ceased much since the opening. I have been to the domain several times since the opening and every time H&M is the most crowded store in the entire shopping center. Maybe its due to the upcoming Christmas holiday, but regardless I’m sure it won’t have to worry about going out of business anytime soon.

Naked man high on meth arrested in Austin

While scrolling through my twitter feed, I couldn’t help but notice this catchy title posted by the Austin Statesman: “Police arrested a man who led them on a car chase through North Austin while naked and high on methamphetamines.” Who could read that and not be seriously intrigued?

 

According to the police report, 41 year-old Scoot MacFarland was arrested last Monday night while high on methamphetamines, naked, and covered in something resembling grease. Currently, this incredibly dim-witted man is sitting in a jail cell in Williamson county for felony charges on possession of methamphetamine, driving while intoxicated, and evading arrest.

 

On December 5, police received two calls informing them of a naked man sitting in a jeep outside of the Value Place Hotel near the intersection of US 183 and Texas 45. It was apparent to the caller that MacFarland was high on drugs or intoxicated. When police arrived on the scene, they were informed that the man had taken off in his jeep. Cops soon located the vehicle, but MacFarland was evading arrest. Eventually stop sticks punctured his tires and he was forced to pull over. Completely disoriented, cops hauled him off to the emergency room for an evaluation. The report notes that syringes and a bag of meth were found in the car, leading to one of his charges.

 

It baffles me as to why some people make the conscious decision to take drugs. Especially when in public..naked. As disgusting as this is, I can’t help but wish this was caught on tape. It would make for a pretty interesting show.

An Execution for a Murder- Thoughts on the Death Penalty

Despite the fact that we live in a modern world today, a large portion of our country reverts back to similar execution practices of our ancestors. From the countless hangings of black males during the Civil Rights movement, to the burning of “witches” across Europe, the torture chambers of the London Dungeons, to the brutal public stonings in Iran, our world has been consumed with domination through killing. I’m sure that most of you in this room today would disagree with these practices, but does putting a face to captial punishment ensure some acceptance of it? If we give it a name like, “the death penalty,” and reiterate the reasons for it’s necessity in our country does that make killing people acceptable? Just because a practice is legal does not mean that it should not be scrutinized. The death penalty is a continuing practice in the US with it’s popularity soaring high above the rest in Texas. I believe that the death penalty is not an adequate form of punishment because it fails to administer justice to society. 

There are too many flaws within our judicial system for the death penalty to be acceptable. Texas still participates in the execution of mentally retarded people. In the case of Mario Marquez, the jury was never informed of his I.Q. of 66 and was executed. There have been several cases in Texas alone that have proved misconduct by state officials. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, 84 cases have involved a Texas prosecutor or police officer presenting false testimony, concealing evidence, or using an unreliable witness or source of information. Another point to add to this reasoning is that there is sufficient evidence indicating that our government, especially in Texas, has made corrupt decisions based on discrimination. A 1998 study reveals that while 23% of black men were murder victims, only .4% convicted of killing a black man were executed. According to an article in the Texas Tribune on May 8, 2011, Delma Banks Jr’s 1980 murder case would possibly be retried due to the uncovering of new evidence. When a federal judge forced the Bowie County to open its case records, Bank’s lawyers discovered that two testimonies against the defendant were coerced by and practiced with the police. 

The death penalty, in my eyes, is also morally wrong. How can our judiciary reasonably participate in capital punishment when there is the possibility that their judgements could be wrong? I know that our government is not perfect and there has to be some form of retribution, but taking someone’s life is too extreme. An eye for an eye; an execution for a murder- that is what we are doing here. Every government has corrupt aspects to it, and if our judicial system is corrupt then there is no way that we can ensure justice as the outcome of the death penalty. 

In conclusion, the death penalty is far from an adequate form of punishment. With the proven possibility of misconduct within our judiciary to its lack of morality, capital punishment should be reevaluated so that changes can be made. By administrating the death penalty, we the people of the United States are not ensuring liberty and justice for all.