Thursday, December 16, 2010

Arthouse Austin Monthly Article

Prior to October, the Arthouse at the Jones Center was just another downtown building masked under the tell-tale signs of construction. Fortunately, we here at Austin Monthly were given access to the world behind the scaffolds. And let’s just say that when the gallery reveals its facelift to the public on Oct. 24, it will be greeted with a chorus of “Oohs” and “Aahs”. New York-based architects Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis (LTL) have been donning hardhats and working tirelessly to complete the renovation for about a year. The result is a spectacular space, nearly triple the size of its original, full of stunning contemporary designs and an array of architecturally advanced structures.

When asked about inspiration for the hyper-modern transformation, lead architect Paul Lewis gave an ironic response: history. Before Arthouse bought the building in the late 1990s, it had been a theatre and then a department store. Seeking to intensify this odd accumulation of history, LTL revived and enhanced some of the features leftover from the past. The original department store display window now doubles as a projection screen visible from the street at night, and vestiges from the old theatre adorn the walls. “We wanted to showcase and exploit the rich history,” Lewis says. “The building’s layered lifeline is an art display in itself.”

Previously, Arthouse only occupied the first floor of the two-story building. Now, a pair of elevators and a wooden staircase grant access to the second-story gallery. The stairs are both playful and grand. The upper portion suspends from the roof, and the bottom stair extends to become the lobby reception desk.

Adding to these unconventional yet logical designs is the movable wall in the gallery. The wall rolls along steel tracks, allowing for a variety of exhibition configurations that can be deployed for each show. “We didn’t want to create a neutral white space for art,” Arthouse Executive Director Sue Graze says. “Now, artists can react to the space.”

And artists aren’t the only ones who get to customize their experience. A mezzanine study sits above the gallery, allowing audiences an elevated view of the exhibits, and a 90-seat multimedia screening room showcases films. Built over the existing roof, a brilliant wooden deck serves as an exclusive party space for Arthouse members. Containing an illuminated floor, a movie screen and a crow’s nest perfect for a DJ, the rooftop overlooks Congress Ave. and provides a panoramic view of the Capitol.

With its floor-to-ceiling glass covered entry, Arthouse is sure to draw attention – it also doesn’t hurt that there’s 177 computer-controlled LED lights lining the building’s exterior. But besides the façade’s visual appeal, Julie Thornton, President of the Board at Arthouse, recognizes the opportunity to expand contemporary art’s public reach. “Major art institutions and the gallery scene in Austin are just now coming of age,” Thornton says. “As a result, audiences are now gaining easy access to contemporary art. We needed a space like this to inspire, comfort and enrich patrons.”

Graze says the new gallery will feature a variety of exhibitions by international artists working in all different types of media. From painting and sculpture to video, sound and performance art, these exhibits will be “fresh, dynamic, intellectually-engaging and challenging,” Graze says. The gallery will open with new works from Jason Middlebrook, Tony Feher and Ryan Hennessee, along with solo presentations by Mequitta Ahuja, Cyprien Gaillard and James Sham.

Using words to paint a picture of the newly renovated Arthouse doesn’t do it justice. Suffice it to say that the work done by LTL is groundbreaking and just flat-out fun. Adding more color to Austin’s already vibrant art scene, Arthouse is chalking one up for contemporary culture.

Cattiva Cosmetics Austin Monthly Article

I actually managed to get a picture of one of my published articles! Three cheers for that! This article gives readers a peek at a new cosmetics line that is all about glitz and glam.

Austin Monthly Event Spotlights

(Oct. 8-10) Scoot over, Lollapalooza. Move over, Bonnaroo. The summer is over, and we bid you adieu. Next music festival destination: Austin. Back with a lineup guaranteed to strike a harmonious chord with any and every music fan, this year's Austin City Limits Music Festival is dishing out a three-day course of musical treats that will leave even the most elitist of critics begging for seconds. With over 130 artists playing the eight stages sprinkled throughout Zilker Park, fans will have the opportunity to dance, clap and wave lighters to sounds ranging from Austin's very own indie darlings Spoon to DJ mastermind Deadmau5. When they're not taking it easy with rock legends the Eagles or getting lost in the improvisational jams of Phish, concertgoers can hit up the Waterlooo Records Tent for autographs or keep tabs on college and NFL football games at the Rock Island Hideaway. Performances from the reunited rock band The Strokes and the always fashionable British rapper M.I.A. are slated. And if fans are lucky, the Flaming Lips frontman will walk across the crowd in his massive inflatable ball. Proof that this year’s ACL is generating record-breaking hype, three-day passes sold out before a single act had even been announced; one-day passes left the building soon after. But don’t dismay. Tickets are still available for the string of ACL Aftershows held at venues across Austin. Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Road,

SHAKIRA (Oct. 2) This Colombian bombshell has it all: songs that transcend nations, a voice that never quits and hips that don't lie. Her earnest beginnings in the Latin music scene have morphed into a whirlwind career full of performances with artists such as Usher, Beyoncé and Stevie Wonder. Winning two Grammys, seven Latin Grammys and 12 Billboard Latin Music Awards, Shakira has much to sing for. Her song "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)" was even chosen as the official song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. With brains to match her beauty, she’s also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and has discussed U.S. policy toward children with President Obama. Now, the highest-selling Colombian artist of all time makes a stop in San Antonio. She’ll be performing several songs from her latest album, She Wolf, which saw Shakira shift from Latin pop to electropop with a disco twist. Featuring collaborations with Wyclef Jean, The Neptunes and Lil Wayne, MTV News correspondent Jim Cantiello called the album "jaw-droppingly wild and deliciously unpredictable." Don’t miss this opportunity to witness the multilingual,multicultural pop diva. Showcasing her signature belly dance moves and knockout stage presence, see why Shakira impresses whenever, wherever. AT&T Center, San Antonio, 78219, 210-444-5000,

PIXIES (Sept. 21-22)There used to be a time when you had to stay up till 1 a.m. to catch a Pixies video. The Boston rock quartet was never one for conventions, and thusly found it hard to reach widespread success with its albums and music videos. Despite this lack of initial popularity, the Pixies legacy spread far and deep after the band’s breakup in 1993. Combining harsh, spiky music with obtuse lyrics, the group perfected a unique style that makes use of continuous switches from quiet to loud. Its brand of songwriting reverberated throughout the underground and sparked the ‘90s alternative rock boom. Nirvana, Radiohead and Pavement are just a few bands that cite the Pixies as a crucial influence. With five albums and a lengthy hiatus under its belt, the band reunited in 2004 and has continued to tour since. Currently, the Pixies are celebrating the 20th anniversary of {Doolittle}. Fans will get to hear every song from the groundbreaking album, including hits such as “Here Comes Your Man” and “Monkey Gone to Heaven.” Originally scheduled to play only one day in Austin, the show sold out so fast these legendary music icons decided to gouge away a two-day stop. Austin Music Hall, 208 Nueces St., 495-9962,

Austin Monthly Tailgate Article

(This article was written for Austin Monthly. My assignment was to find some local tailgate hotspots and highlight their intriguing qualities. The story rain in the October '10 issue)


The season is changing, and the smell of burgers and hot dogs hangs in the air. Longhorn football has the city hooked, and it's not just the leaves turning colors. Fans sporting burnt-orange swarm the city. It's game day, and tailgates and watch parties are all the rage. Choose your pre-kickoff destination wisely; there are several to explore. Here’s a handful to check out this season.

Bevo Blvd.

Where: 18th Street and San Jacinto

Why: There's nothing quite like a huge block party with food, beer and live music to set your school spirits high. Couple that with the chance to meet Earl Campbell and other former Longhorn players, and we've scored ourselves a tailgate two-point conversion. If you're looking for a family-friendly pre-game spot, Bevo Blvd. is a prime pick. From burgers to pizzas to Torchy's Tacos, there are all sorts of tasty tailgate fare to sample. Local musicians take to the Bud Light Music Stage while AM 1300 The Zone hosts pre- and post-game live broadcasts. Admission is free, and vendors donate 10 percent of their earnings to the Bevo Endowment. Make sure to stop by on Nov. 25. for Bevo's birthday. The mascot himself will make an appearance. No Aggies allowed.

J. Black's

Where: 710 W. Sixth St.

Why: Featuring a Blackout Breakfast with drink specials, J. Black's is a hot spot for those with a dark side. The restaurant blacks out its front windows to create a nighttime atmosphere and serves up breakfast cocktails such as Bloody Mary's and Mimosas, along with brunch items such as shrimp and grits and breakfast pizza. A complimentary black shuttle complete with burnt orange interior transports fans to and from 17th and San Jacinto three hours prior and one hour into the game. "The bus takes you into the heart of the tailgate scene," Marketing and Event Director Ashley Leitch says. "Sometimes the party on the bus is crazier than the party in J. Black's." All the more reason to pre-game in the air condition before getting tackled by the heat.

Posse East

Where: 2900 Duval St.

Why: This burnt-orange hangout boasts cheap food, cold beer and quick service. From the restaurant's covered patio, you can see the stadium. So if you weren't able to score a ticket, this is a great place to grab a beer and still be close to the game-day action. Besides the mouth-watering burgers and fries, Posse has one other enticing perk —it's owner, J.V. He reflects all the best things about Texas: a southern accent, friendly demeanor and a no-nonsense attitude. "We're flooded from day to night," J.V. says with a grin. "I don't need to offer price specials. We're too close to the stadium for that."

Scholz Garten

Where: 1607 San Jacinto Blvd.

Why: Surrounded by nearly 10 blocks of tailgating, this historical landmark is within easy stumbling distance to the DKR Texas Memorial Stadium. A massive biergarten greets fans with patio tables, big screens and big beers (24 oz., to be exact). ESPN's College GameDay broadcasts live from Scholz, and all ages are welcome. "The party is a huge production," Event Coordinator Hayley Fassnidge says. "Fans camp out all day and stay all night."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Awesome Heineken Ad!

Heineken ad from The Netherlands.
= hilarious

Check it out!

HD Homer!

Tonight (8/7c)!
On Fox!
The first ever Hi-Def episode of The Simpsons will premiere!

To mark this transition to HDTV, they've created a brand new opening.
You don't have to wait till tonight to view it though...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Triple Threat

Talk about a triple threat…
There will be three Friday the 13ths this year.

The last time there were three Friday the 13ths in one year was 1998.
Sooo basically, 2009 is shaping up to be the unluckiest year in more than a decade.

Nah, it’s all good.
Friday the 13th has always been a novelty day to me, and I intend to keep it that way. It gives me an excuse to be deviant and express my love for all things horror to whoever is around me. And of course, it’s the one day that I can blame all my misfortune on the evil bad luck forces that swarm the atmosphere.
So three in one year?
Sign me up!

Among the movie releases today is ...drum roll please...Friday the 13th (how clever!)
Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake duo Michael Bay (Transformers, Pearl Harbor) and Marcus Nispel (Pathfinder, The Very Best of Cher lol) have the indecency to continue resurrecting the silver screen's most feared slashers. Bay’s production company is also remaking Nightmare on Elm Street
And that’s okay I suppose. Since evidently we are ill-equipped at coming up with our own original horror movie ideas. Instead of trying to usher in our own golden age of gore cinema, we're riding the coattails of past classics and trying to recreate them in an effort to what? Try and one up the originals? Well, Hollywood, it's not working, and it makes you look like uncreative moochers.

So yes, machete wielding, hockey mask wearing madman Jason Voorhees will be slicing and dicing up sex-crazed/drug-doing teens at Camp Crystal Lake once more.
I’m scheduled to see the flick in less than an hour.
Bow chika wow wow!
I hope it rules and doesn’t disappoint.

But then again, there won’t be a Kevin Bacon getting offed by a machete scene.
Now that’s movie magic!

Update: Alright. The movie was okay. Tons of breasts, tons of machete, and tons of bloody- bad decisions. And, of course, the overall riding slasher film theme of have sex and you will die is present. Basically just what you would expect from a Friday the 13th film.