Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Jack Long on Tiny Showcase

I just had to share our most recent Tiny Showcase acquisition, a lovely little fantasyland by Jack Long, entitled "The Two Intertwined." $250 of the sale of this print benefited Center for The Working Poor. I think this one sold out in record time - 100 prints in under 25 minutes. Gina and I both secured one, lucky ducks that we are!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Terry Andrews

Back to Austin we go...we visited our friends Greg and Angie one day, and their living room walls were covered in the most gorgeous paintings. Rich and delicate, with lustrous insects in luminescent colors. I was floored when I learned they were by Angie's father! I didn't know her dad was an artist, must less such an accomplished one.

Turns out he lives in Houston as is the Preparator at the MFA. He's also represented at McMurtrey Gallery there. It was funny to discover that he's shown at Froelick Gallery in Portland - Eric and I met Charles Froelick (the gallery's owner) years ago on our honeymoon in Palm Springs, and visited him on a trip to Portland. The world continues to get smaller....

Although the images on the gallery's web site are more figurative than those at Angie's house, they're just as lovely and hypnotic, like this oil and graphite on panel piece shown above, titled "Broken" from 2007. I love discovering new work just when it's least expected!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Debbie Cook VS Asteroids

I can't help it, I must give some of the blog over to politics in these last few weeks of the campaign. I've been really involved in the campaign to elect Debbie Cook in my Congressional district. Not only is she my dream candidate, our incumbent is pretty much my worst nightmare. To wit:

Friday, October 10, 2008

More thoughts on Ike from Kate

I know I'm a little dated with this post-Hurricane Ike coverage, but you can read some really great first-hand account from my Houston friend Kate. She has such an eye for a photo and a story. This lovely shot is of some blue tape they tore off their windows (okay, they taped the windows for Hurricane Rita and are just now tearing it off, but it's still Hurricane-related!). Check out her awesome blog at

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Coastal Dreams B&B: Hurricane Ike Survivor

Last Thanksgiving, we spent a couple of nights with my mom at a really fabulous B&B in Galveston called Coastal Dreams (click here to read my entry about it). During Hurricane Ike, I was so worried about that beautiful old house and its gracious hostess, Lana Lander, and her trusty sidekick Mz. Pokey, but hoped that since it survived the big 1900 hurricane, it survived Ike, as well.

Good news - the house is still standing, thanks to its location at 20 feet above sea level. But for a time Lana suddenly had oceanfront property, and is still struggling to help her devastated community repair itself (coverage of this has been completely drowned out by the election and economic meltdown, but the Galveston area has indeed been completely devastated). Lana's accounting of the storm and aftermath are so poignant and harrowing (they waited out the storm in the house!), I had to share her Sept. 28th email (cut down just a bit):

"Hello All,
I am sorry for the delay in responding to everyone's emails; electricity just came back on a couple days ago and things are still real hectic around here. My mother, my sister's three dogs, Mz. Pokie and I all stayed here at Coastal Dreams for Hurricane Ike. As crazy as the decision may have been, we all had flashbacks of the 2005 Rita evacuation (the dogs included) and decided to take our chances with this one. For the Rita evacuation, there were 2 million people evacuating the Houston area in 100+ degree heat and it took us 32 hours to make it to Waco (about 200 miles away). There also was not a lot of warning with Ike; it was only two days prior to the storm that the projected path was for Galveston.

This was a Category 2 storm in terms of wind (110 MPH), but a Cat 4 storm surge. I went outside during the eye of the storm (which lasted about two hours - really weird!) and the water was one step from my porch (my house is about 20 feet above sea level). My street is about four feet above the seawall (which is 17 feet high), and the house is three feet above that. This area of the island does not even require flood insurance, although I do have it, thank goodness. It was such a surreal scene, having oceanfront property. It was also very scary. I gathered up my Mom (snoring), the dogs (also all snoring) and we moved everything upstairs. I was sure that the second half of the storm would bring more water. The winds seemed to be much worse in the second half, but the water receded and never reached the first floor.

The adventure began the next day when there was no electricity, no gas, no water, no sewer, and a typical hot humid Gulf Coast day. We had plenty of food to grill (I ate better the first week than I have in a year!). Everything you do takes so much more thought, and three steps more than it would if you had all those amenities. Having four dogs around took a lot of work also, making sure they didn't fall in the pool (nasty, nasty!), or start chewing on things that had washed up into the yard. FEMA was here within 48 hours, handing out water, food, and ice. We also had the Salvation Army and Red Cross giving out hot meals.

We drove around the day after the storm with our mouths hanging open. Houses, trees, power lines, boats, cemeteries, fishing piers, streets.....just torn up and ripped apart. There was a boat at 43rd and Broadway, which is a good 2 miles from any marina. Driving down the Seawall, the debris from the Balinese Room, the souvenir shop, and Hooters took up all five lanes and was spread from 25th to the Hotel Galvez and probably 12 feet high. It was so strange to look down there and see nothing. Nothing is on the beach side of the Seawall anymore. The 61st street pier is gone, the big one across from the miniature golf place is all torn up and barely standing. Driving down Broadway, there were downed live oaks every block. Tombstones are knocked down or floated away. We have beautiful cemeteries here and it was heartbreaking to see this.

More heartbreaking of course, are the homes. I've watched things like this on TV many many times and of course, felt sympathy for what they were going through. But this is so... overwhelmingly heart wrenching. Personal belongings piled as high as their house, making trip after trip to the curb with soaking wet clothes and furniture and anything that was within 3-5 feet of the floor. Mold set in at my sister's house (which received 3 feet of water) within 5 days, and that was with carpet ripped out as soon as we could get over there. A lot of these people weren't allowed back on the island for 12 days after the storm.

Galveston is a wonderful city, with beautiful people, and we need our tourists to come back. Please don't think there will be nothing here for you to visit for. They didn't give up after the 1900 Storm and we won't give up either. This is just another page for the history books and something to talk about over the breakfast table at Coastal Dreams!

God Bless You,
Lana Lander"

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

First Thursdays on SoCo

When I lived in Austin my world kind of orbited around South Congress, home of funky shops and cheap Tex Mex! While the area is certainly more snazzy now (I remember when the San Jose was overrun with prostitutes, and now it's the hippest boutique hotel in the region), it's still totally eclectic. Wandering around South Congress, doing nothing in particular, guarantees some excellent people-watching and, most likely, some excellent music-listening.

And now on First Thursdays it's even crazier down there, with musicians, artists, food vendors and other local denizens filling the sidewalks. It's like a six-block-long party. This video isn't the best representation, but at least I know when I need a quick fix of a Austin on a balmy night, with a lit-up live oak, rambling music and a piece of pizza from Home Slice in my immediate future, I can return to this scene from this month's First Thursday.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Flip Happy and Sweet Leaf in Austin

One of the things I love most about Austin is how locally-owned businesses seem to thrive. Our old friend Andrea opened Flip Happy Crepes, a creperie in an airstream trailer - you read that right - and now that are overflowing with business! I hear they even made it to the Food Network.

We went to their new location (how easy is it to move your business when you're locate in an Airstream?) on a recent Friday lunch hour, and they were totally slammed. It's definitely not for the in-a-rush diner, but if you have a little time and want an amazing, homemade crepe under a beautiful canopy of trees, this is your place. I had a crepe stuffed with chicken, taragon mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes, and it was so fabulous.

Here is Andrea. She makes all of the savory crepes with her own little hands (there are a few sweet crepes, but the menu is mostly full of savories). I caught her with her eyes closed, so thank you Piki Pimp for helping me with the blingy shades!

Crepes under a tree canopy - ain't life grand? I love all the random card tables and chairs.

Here's me, modeling another Austin business, Sweet Leaf Tea, which is very proud of its organic family recipe (real cane sugar, no hi fructose corn syrup), and their tea is so yummy.

Can I vote for Austin for President?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Austin City Limits

I think it's safe to say that I'm officially too old and crotchety to attend big music festivals, particularly ones that are really packed, on a really really hot day, in a really really really dusty field. I still love the Austin City Limits Music Festival, but unless someone gifts me a VIP pass, I doubt I'll attend again! Look at us, all happy to be there, and unaware of the dust-stormy pressure cooker that awaits us.

At any rate, the five hours that I spent there (yes, five hours and I was done!), was fun, although between fighting the crowds and texting my friends, the only band I was able to tune into was Erykah Badu, who never disappoints. But I can share highlights....

Our friend Eric from NYC discovers the thrill of riding a giant Jackalope, which runs wild throughout Austin and the Texas Hill Country. He's an honorary Austinite now for doing this. Yee Haw!

Those poor souls, clinging to the "Mister Station" like their lives depended on it (probably did). These "Mister Stations" and the water taps to refill your reusable water bottles were some very smart additions to the festival. Now if they could make some shade-providing old growth trees magically appear...

Pouring water into your hat was a brilliant idea (wearing water-soaked bandanna around your face was another).

More to come on the Austin trip...