To really know a city, you have to know its people. Cari Clark has found not one but two creative ways to do exactly that, and in two different arenas.
Clark is an established Realtor with Kuper Sotheby's International Realty who recently received Austin's Platinum Top 50 Realtors award and is a distinguished member of the Austin Luxury Network.
The native Austinite and UT grad — her father, the late Judge Harley Clark, launched the "hook 'em" signal as a UT cheerleader back in 1955 — is also a former homebuilder who built more than 250 homes in the Austin area.
But as knowledgable as she is in the real estate realm, Clark is equally passionate about books and has leveraged that interest into a popular author series that she co-hosts with Chez Zee American Bistro owner Sharon Watkins.
The Chez Zee Author Series gives attendees the opportunity to hear from Austin authors in a fun setting, and is often rebroadcast on YouTube, iTunes, Podomatic, Google Play, Stitcher, and the events section of Clark's website.
"When my clients unpack their books, that's when I know they're at home," says Clark. "Sharon and I wanted to introduce new and established Austinites to the wonderful authors who live here, all in a relaxed setting with tasty bites, adult beverages, and free parking."
But don't be tempted to call this a book club. Clark and Watkins consider the event to be more like a salon, giving those who attend a bit of culture in addition to a good time.
"Growing up here, I often took my Texas heritage for granted," says Clark. "It took interviewing a transplant, like Sam (S.C.) Gwynne (author of Empire of the Summer Moon), to show me how truly extraordinary and recent our history really is."
Past authors have included such renowned Austin writers as Elizabeth Crook (The Which Way Tree; Monday, Monday; The Night Journal; Promised Lands; The Raven's Bride), Stephen Harrigan (Gates of the Alamo, A Friend of Mr. Lincoln, Remember Ben Clayton), Sarah Bird (A Love Letter to Texas Women, Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen, Above the East China Sea, Alamo House), and Lawrence Wright (Thirteen Days in September, The Looming Tower, God Save Texas, Going Clear).
On the docket for 2019 are:
- March 13: Jan Jarboe Russell, The Train to Crystal City
- April 9: Bill Wittliff, The Devil's Fork
- May 14: Mimi Swartz, Ticker: The Quest to Create an Artificial Heart
- June 11: Wyatt McSpadden, Texas BBQ: Small Town to Downtown
Tickets are $22 and cover appetizers, tea, coffee, and dessert, with a cash bar available.