Tag: nightlife

Bold beauties show off their tattooed bodies in burlesque performance

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 1.57.41 PM Bethany Summersizzle performs an aerial act in the Ink and Smile: Tales of Tattoos From the Inked Ladies of Burlesque at the North Door on Saturday, Jan. 25. Photo By Angela Buenrostro

By: Chelsea Bass, Angela Buenrostro, Joanie Ferguson and Rachel Hill

When the average adult thinks of women who take off their clothes for a living, it often brings forth thoughts of poles and grungy dollar bills. These women use props too, but with a theme and flair. The Burlesque production Ink and a Smile, Saturday Jan. 25 at the North Door, featured a variety of experienced burlesque performers who used their tattoos to tell a story.

“They are experienced, high-quality performers,” event coordinator and founder of The Burlesquerie, Roxie Moxie said.

The theme for Ink and a Smile was developed by Roxie Moxie, which coincided with the annual tattoo revival being held that same weekend. Each of the 11 women who performed had different props related to their tattoos and the story they wanted to convey, which, for some, included aerial rings, ropes and lots of easily removable corsets. The emcee encouraged audience members to cheer whenever the women began to do anything provocative, mainly when they showed any skin as it is a burlesque tradition.

The performers went from a full costume, in conjunction with whatever theme they represented, to a G-string and pasties placed over their nipples, making them a thin strip of cloth away from being nude.

Burlesque shows have been around as early as the 17th century in Britain and eventually were picked up by Americans and revamped as American burlesque in New York. The American version differed from the English genre by focusing more on female nudity. It went from women showing just a little skin to a full strip tease.

Women who participate in burlesque in this day and age describe it as a form of empowerment for women while also having a strong feminist overtone. The average woman has the opportunity to partake in the rich history of burlesque in Austin in the Burlesque academy for beginners, and other local troupes such as Jigglewatts and Black Widow Burlesque, of which some of the dancers in Ink and a Smile were already members.

Although the art of burlesque is still considered provocative, those who attended Ink and a Smile couldn’t help but be pleasantly surprised by the eroticism mixed in with acrobatics and entertaining stories.

How many tattoos do you have?

Austin Poetry Slam: The Spoken Word Revolution

By Jasmine Alexander, Jessica Duong, Kaine Korzekwa and Joan Vinson

Sam Sax reads in the Austin Poetry Slam at Spider House Ballroom on Tuesday, Jan. 28.

Sam Sax competes in the Austin Poetry Slam at Spider House Ballroom on Tuesday, Jan. 28. The venue hosts the slam every Tuesday at 8 p.m.

The rhymes made during the Austin Poetry Slam won’t be heard in any high school English class.

It’s not like a typical poetry performance, where artists recite their work to an applauding audience. Instead, an audience with randomly selected judges decides which poets leave with a $100 prize. Hearing the poets cry, scream, laugh, dance, wail or flail during their passionate performances is almost guaranteed.

The result is a poetry competition like no other.

“[Slamming is] kind of like theater or art,” said Victoria Murray, a slam poet. “Once you start going on a regular basis you can’t stop doing it even if you take a hiatus from coming. You’re still always writing, you’re still always thinking about things or performances or lines. Once you love something you can’t just let it stop flowing out of you.”

The Spider House Ballroom hosts the Austin Poetry Slam every Tuesday at 8 p.m. with a $5 admission. Murray fell in love with slamming the first time she attended one in the spring of 2011. Two years later, Murray, who works at a bank, began slamming.

“It’s the modern-day storytelling of our time,” she said. “We’ve lost a lot of that, I think, over the years, especially with social media. People come up here and tell their stories and they tell exactly how they’re feeling, and sometimes a poem can really move you to the point of tears or laughter, or to where you just want to go hug a person, even though you don’t know them.”

The act of “slamming” is relatively new in the world of poetry. Marc Smith is credited with throwing the first poetry slam in Chicago in 1987. According to his website, from then on the poetry slam movement spread across America and the globe — there are poetry slams in Greece, Latvia and Madagascar, to name a few.

Many members of the Austin Poetry Slam see writing poetry and slamming as an outlet for expression. Chris Formey, a poetry slam contestant, uses poetry to help deal with his bipolar disorder and schizophrenic episodes.

“I’ve actually been writing [poetry] since I was in fourth grade,” said Formey, 22. “I’ve always been a writer. It’s been an outlet for me. Sometimes, not having someone to talk to, I can just talk to myself on a page. I try to speak about as many uplifting things as I possibly can. Everyday, I kind of see life as like a boxing match.”

Des Grosshuesch, another slam poet, finds inspiration in everyday activities. She said she got into slams because she likes to read aloud what she writes.

“I spend a lot of time just going and getting on the train, riding it back and forth and talking to people and getting stories from them,” she said. “Mostly people just talk about their lives and they become sort of characters that I talk about.”

Austin Poetry Slam is just one of the weekly spoken word shows in Austin. Neo-Soul, at Mr. Catfish & More, and Kick Butt Poetry, at the Kick Butt Coffee on Airport Boulevard, also attract top slam poets of the area. Check out the map below to see how close you live to a poetry slam.

“In general, it’s a family,” said Murray. “We fight and we get annoyed with each other, but we all still drop everything and give you the shirt off our backs. We all come from so many different backgrounds, [yet] we can all meld together so well.”

Austin in a Day

Austin LogoFBy: Batli Joselevitz, Lily Morris, Sheila Buenrostro


9:00 a.m. Austin Visitors Center

Start your trip to Austin at the Visitors Center to get  ideas of how to spend your day.

Address: 209 E 6th St Austin, TX 78701
Phone Number: (512) 478-0098
Price: Free

10:30 a.m. Mount Bonnell & 360 Bridge

For the best view in town head over to Mount Bonnell. After walking up a long set of stairs, you will be standing at one of the highest vantage points, overlooking both Lake Austin and the Hill Country. After leaving there, make sure to take the scenic route to the next destination by taking the 360 Bridge, also known as the Pennybacker Bridge, only four miles away!

Address: 3800 Mt. Bonnell Rd., 78731 & 5300 N Capital of Texas Hwy Austin, TX 78730
Price: Free

11:30 a.m. Farmers Market

For a mid morning snack, make your way over to Highland Mall for the Barton Creek Farmers Market where you can find fresh food, music, and local artisans.

Address: 6001 Airport Blvd Austin, Texas 78752
Price: Free

1:00 p.m. Mexic-Arte Museum

Founded in 1984, the Mexic-Arte Museum is a great way to learn about the traditional and contemporary culture of Mexico and Latin America, which has been very prevalent in the state of Texas and Austin. The current exhibit “Creating La Muerte: Jose Guadalupe Posada 100th Anniversary,” is a must see!

Address: 419 Congress Ave., Austin, Texas 78701
Price: Free admission on Sunday

2:00 p.m. Castle Hill

One of the defining characteristics of Austin is its art scene. Castle Hill is an outdoor blank canvas for local graffiti artists to display their talent. Plus, it makes a great background for an impromptu photo shoot.

Address: 1100 Baylor St, Austin, Texas 78701
Price: Free

4:00 p.m. South Congress

One of Austin’s most well-known streets, South Congress, will provide you with an endless array of shopping, dining, live music, a killer view of Austin’s skyline. It is home to the infamous “i love you so much” wall, the perfect background for a picture with your loved ones. If you still have room for dessert make sure to check out Amy’s Ice Cream, we recommend Mexican Vanilla.

Address: 1600 S Congress Avenue, Austin Texas 78701
Price: Varies

6:30 p.m. South Congress Bridge

As the day comes to an end, head north towards the South Congress Bridge to watch thousands of bats emerge from beneath the bridge and into the sunset.

Address: 100 South Congress Ave., Austin, Texas 78701
Price: Free

8:30 p.m. Downtown Austin

And finally, save the best for last! Hit up the town whether it be Stubbs for barbecue and live music, Dirty 6th, Rainey Street, or even a local coffee shop…everyone is guaranteed a good time in Austin, Texas.

Address: All Over

Price: Varies

Legislation affects Texas craft beer culture

By Frances Bello, Becca Wright, Skylar Isdale and Kari Counter

A keg that ABGB will now be able to self-distribute. Photo by Skylar Isdale

A keg that ABGB will now be able to self-distribute. Photo by Skylar Isdale

This June, Governor Perry signed into law a slew of bills that gave Texas craft breweries and brewpubs have a reason to celebrate. After years of effort, Texas breweries can now sell their products in-house, and brewpubs can finally self-distribute.

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The five bills, SB 515-518 and SB 639, have changed the game for craft breweries and brewpubs, like recently opened brewpub Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co. ABGB opened its doors to the public on August 30.

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Turbo Turtles: Little Woodrow's Weekly Turtle Races

By Reihaneh Hajibeigi, Skylar Isdale, Meleena Loseke and Rachel Perlmutter

A Houston tradition has crawled its way into the “Keep Austin Weird” motto as turtle races have become a popular attraction at a local Austin bar.

Every Thursday night at Little Woodrow’s Southpark Meadows you can find red-eared sliders racing for some light-hearted competition.

Little Woodrow's manager Adam Stockstill has run the turtle races since they began five years ago. Photo by Rachel Perlmutter

Little Woodrow’s manager Adam Stockstill has run the turtle races since they began five years ago. Photo by Rachel Perlmutter

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Turtle racing originated at the Little Woodrow’s in Houston, but because it was a huge success they decided to bring the fun to Austin. Little Woodrow’s manager, Adam Stockstill, said, “this definitely provides entertainment while you’re here on Thursdays.”

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The race begins with six turtles placed in a bottomless bucket in the middle of a circular track. Once the bucket is raised, the turtles start running in every direction.

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The first turtle to cross the checkered-line wrapped around the track wins the heat. The first turtle to win two heats wins the round.

The normal turtle races host, the “turtle master,” also plays into the quirkiness of the night by dressing up as one of the slow-moving reptiles, an outfit complete with green clothing, a makeshift human-size turtle shell and a brown top hat.

Going on its fifth season of turtle racing, the Austin bar has built a regular fan-base of race-goers. “The crowd really gets into it and cheers on the turtle they want to win,” said Stockstill.

Cathy Dixon, a three-time winner of the turtle races, has been coming to the races for a year. “It’s just fun and a great atmosphere,” Dixon said.

Due to the illegality of gambling in a public place, no official monetary wagers are made, but audience members can drop their tickets into one of the numbered buckets that match the turtles’ racing stickers in order to place bets. If, for example, the turtle with the number three on its shell wins the round, a ticket is drawn from the corresponding bucket and the ticket holder receives a prize.

Little Woodrow’s gives away the free prizes from their promoters. Dixon said she won coupons, shirts and movie passes. Other prizes include gift certificates, koozies and even tickets to The University of Texas football games.

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Not every fan in the audience knew what was waiting for them when they showed up to Little Woodrow’s. Griffin Cypher traveled to Austin from Leland, Michigan for the Austin City Limits music festival, but wound up at a turtle race for the first time, and left as a winner.

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“I like the randomness of it because I am really into gambling,” said Cypher. “I won two koozies, a t-shirt and a ten dollar gift certificate, which is actually pretty awesome for just turtle racing.”

Red-eared sliders have been known to be carriers of the salmonella disease. The Exotic Pets online resource states that following proper hygiene procedures will prevent infections.

“I believe any egg-laying animal is capable of transmitting salmonella. That doesn’t mean they have it,” said Stockstill. “These turtles are disease-free.”

Celebrities are treated like royalty, and there is no exception for these turtles. Stockstill reassured that, “they live like kings.”

Healthy sounds at HAAM Benefit Day 2013

Health Alliance for Austin Musicians raises awareness and money on its annual benefit day. 

By Rebecca Wright, Alsha Khan, Rachel Marino and Kelly Eisenbarger

Jorge Harada of Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers performing at Antone's Record Shop. Photo by Rebecca Wright

Jorge Harada of Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers performs at Antone’s Record Shop. Photo by Rebecca Wright

On Tuesday Sept. 24, Health Alliance for Austin Musicians extended its reach on the annual HAAM Benefit Day by generating a student audience at the Texas Hillel Jewish community center. Students were drawn in by the sounds of acoustic beat boxing from SaulPaul and the irresistible chance of winning Whataburger giveaways, a combination no college student could resist.

This year, musicians assembled all across town and a plethora of local businesses donated five percent of their daily proceeds to help raise awareness for Austin’s musicians. HAAM’s mission is to provide low cost or free health care to Austin’s low income, uninsured, working musicians.

Since HAAM Benefit Day started in 2006, the fundraiser has continued to grow in size of performances, sponsors and money raised. Last year, the day raised $312,000, and the goal this year was $350,000. HAAM will have this year’s fundraising total number on Oct. 14.

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“This year we had 289 participating businesses and well over 200 musical performances,” said Chris Alberts, Director of Development for HAAM. “It was a great day with both musicians and businesses sharing their support and enthusiasm with us to make it possible.”

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Whole Foods Market was once again the presenting sponsor, hosting musical acts from 6 a.m. to well past midnight.

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