As we approach the end of summer — and by that, we mean time off from school, not an end to the heat — we here at the CultureMap are anticipating the sudden return of our city's thousands of college students and the annual upswing in activities that follow the relief of cooler weather.
While the high-end charity balls of Austin's gala season loom right around the corner, there are plenty of opportunities this weekend to get out and help fundraise for your favorite charity and enjoy Austin, co-ed-free.
First up, The W Austin Hotel and SafePlace invite you to join them at Trace (the restaurant inside The W) for the Lick-ety Split Ice Cream Social on Saturday afternoon. Pastry chef Janina O'Leary has devised some special ice cream flavors for kids and adults to enjoy on the Trace patio as you enjoy live music from The Erin Jaimes Band. The cost of admission is any one of the school supplies listed on the SafePlace website, and additional donations will get you more ice cream.
Later that evening, AIDS Services of Austin and aGLIFF are throwing a joint fundraising bash over at the underutilized Dobie Theater on the UT campus. Big Love is a film and food event that celebrates the 25th anniversaries of these two organizations that have benefited the GLBTQ community in Austin all these years. To celebrate, the party will feature films and dance music from the 80s, and of course, there will be plenty of great food and drink to accompany all the fun.
Also on Saturday night, the Highball is hosting an all-night musical showcase to raise funds for the Texas Dance Hall Preservation Society. In case you aren't from around these parts, dance halls are a proud part of the historical Texas landscape and are increasingly under threat of extinction. To rally up the troops and encourage your boots to get to scootin', this showcase is going to feature old fashioned country music from Susanna Van Tassel, Teri Joyce, Ted Roddy, Rick Broussard of Two Hoots & A Holler), Chrissy Flatt, Dave Gonzalez of Stone River Boys), Dallas Wayne, Billy Bacon, and many more.
If Saturday didn't wear you out, you're invited to join Austin Pets Alive! for their inaugural Paddle for Puppies event on Sunday morning at 8 a.m. This is a fun way to bring your own pooch out on the lake with you, either canoeing or kayaking out on Lady Bird Lake by the Austin American-Statesman building. Snacks for owners and dogs will be provided, and all of the proceeds go toward helping new puppies stay heart healthy.
Further on up the river, we also need to mention the Fun Fun Fun Fest Aqua Olympics as well. This all-day event, held waterside at Fiesta Gardens, is a cross between American Gladiators and Wipeout, with local celebrities, music, food and fun people acting like total idiots. It's the perfect way to enjoy all of the best parts about Austin in the summertime.
And finally, Cinema East is hosting their final film of the summer at the Yellow Jacket Stadium, and they're going out with a bang this time. Instead of a narrative film, they've chosen to screen the feature-length music video "Girl Walk // All Day" by Gregg Gillis AKA mash-up DJ Girl Talk. The video, besides featuring an amazing mix of eclectic music choices, will inspire a giant lit-up dance party that everyone is invited to.
That's just a smattering of the excitement and treasure you can find happening in our quaint little city this weekend. If you're out to help others and have fun doing it, we've got you covered.
If you don't like to have fun or help others: well, we suggest you move to Russia or the North Pole or something. At least try watching Shark Week, man... Then you'll at least get to see things dying pretty awesomely...