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Photo courtesy of Great Promise for American Indians

Most Austinites should know about a 12-hour party with great food, dancing, and jaw-dropping fashion, right? Yet, the Austin Powwow and American Indian Heritage Festival, now in its 29th year and one of the largest single-day powwows in the country, still flies under the radar for many. On November 12, the Travis County Expo Center will host a major celebration for indigenous Austinites, travelers in the know, and anyone who wants to get better acquainted with the culture.

The powwow is open to any interested public, and focuses on this opportunity for cultural exchange. “All the people that haven’t seen a powwow before, they get to come and share in our tradition and our culture of dancing and having a good time,” said a speaker in a promotional video for the 2021 event.

Powwows are essentially meetings or festivals (and of note to Southerners, are often closely related to rodeos), serving purposes that have changed as the standing of Indigenous people changed amongst each other and American society at large. Now that tribes have dispersed and come to share a new kind of postcolonial identity, events like the Austin Powwow are non-specific to any one tribe, emphasizing instead of formalism, an opportunity to celebrate and keep in touch with a wide variety of traditions.

This event features dancers from across the United States headed by a married couple based in Houston: Brody Screaming Eagle (Eastern Band Cherokee/Ojibwe) and Tania Screaming Eagle (Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara). The Gourd Dance, a men’s social dance, is led by Jordan Beartrack (Kiowa/Cheyenne) from Apache, Oklahoma. Powwow dancers come in ornate costumes and are judged on a point system.

Alongside the competitive and social festivities, a large market brings plenty of wares to browse over the many hours. Food vendors bring fry bread, popcorn, tacos, and other fair treats, while craft vendors sell jewelry, fashion, and home decor. An application for vendors on the website points out that booths are by invitation only, with priority to returning vendors, so standards are very high and visitors are likely to find favorites from past years.

Great Promise for American Indians, one of the organizing partners of the powwow, frames it as an educational opportunity in line with its goals to preserve American Indian culture while supporting ongoing programs for the health and education of its families. It presents the Great Promise Dancers, a troupe that demonstrates music and dance on tour, promising authentic cultural experiences.

The Austin Powwow and American Indian Heritage Festival will be held at the Travis County Expo Center on November 12, from 9 am to 9 pm. Anyone is welcome to attend. Tickets ($7 online, kids free) are available on Eventbrite.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

The "world's rudest" diner is coming to Austin, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. A diner with the "world's rudest service" is coming to Austin...like, whenever. Karen’s Diner provides the worst service for the best experience, at least according to cheeky clientele who appreciate the campy comedy of a long-suffering server.

2. Award-winning New York pub brings Irish hospitality to Austin's Sixth Street. The Dead Rabbit pub is bringing Ireland to Texas, opening a new location in downtown Austin.

3. Where to see the once-in-recorded-history green comet approaching Austin. The comet will be closest to Earth (thus, likely the most visible) on February 1, and its most recent appearance was 50,000 years ago.

4. 6 Austin restaurants score coveted James Beard Award nominations. Austin restaurants and bars earned both national and regional recognition, with three national nominations and three nominations for Best Chef: Texas.

5. 2 Austin suburbs cash in among the richest places in Texas for 2023. Lakeway has been renamed the fifth richest place in Texas for 2023 in a recent study, while Bee Cave moved from No. 13 in 2022 to No. 9 this year.

Austin's flagship Kendra Scott store transforms into mini-Museum of Ice Cream for Valentine's Day

Sweet On You

Roses are red, violets are blue, and it's almost February, which means the season of love is upon us. Whether you're looking for the perfect Instagram backdrop or the perfect gift for your Galentine, Valentine — or just a treat for yourself — one particularly sweet collaboration has you covered.

Starting February 1, Austin's own Kendra Scott is partnering with the Museum of Ice Cream to "spread joy, inspire human connection, and reimagine the way we experience ice cream and jewelry just in time for Valentine’s Day," according to a release.

An extension of Scott's “Sweet on You” Valentine’s Day campaign, the partnership will feature an immersive, experiential retail component in the bustling Kendra Scott flagship location on South Congress, as well as a custom ice cream flavor, opportunities to give back, and more.

For an immersive retail experience, the event space at the flagship store will be transformed into a mini-Museum of Ice Cream appropriately dressed with bananas, baubles, and hearts galore. If you've never made it to the renowned museum housed at the Domain, this is your chance to get a literal taste of the experience, while shopping for trinkets and treasures at the same time.

Both companies prioritize giving back as key pillars of their brand, so it's only fitting that the duo will be surprising three schools in Austin, Chicago, and New York with February ice cream parties as part of their partnership. Children at participating schools will be able to enjoy the exclusive Kendra Scott x Museum of Ice Cream flavor while crafting their own Museum of Ice Cream cardboard truck. Each classroom will also receive an Amazon gift card to offset teaching supplies, and Kendra Scott will provide each student with a yellow rose to give alongside Valentine’s messages for their friends, family, teacher, or crush.

Taking place from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, a public event on Febuary 1 will formally celebrate the launch of the partnership. Guests will be able to check out the collaborative, immersive shopping experience while shopping Kendra Scott’s new Valentine's Day Collection, enjoying free ice cream and treats from the Museum of Ice Cream and the Sips & Sweets Café.

RSVP to the public event here, and start shopping the Valentine's Day collection here.

Texas-based Cinemark theater chain hosts Oscars-themed movie marathon

Awards News

The Cinemark movie chain is giving movie buffs an opportunity to brush up on the Oscars.

Plano-based Cinemark Holdings, Inc. will host its annual Oscar Movie Week festival, this year running from Monday, March 6 through Sunday, March 12, in anticipation of the 95th Oscars ceremony, which airs on March 12 on ABC.

The theater chain will air all of this year’s Best Picture and Best Live Action and Animated Short Film nominees, at more than 120 participating Cinemark theaters nationwide.

According to a release, passes are now on sale now at Cinemark.com/movieweek.

A full Digital Festival Pass is $40 and includes showings for all Best Picture and Best Live Action and Animated Short Film nominees. There's a perk! If you purchase a festival pass, you get 50 percent off any size popcorn during Oscar Movie Week.

Individual showtime tickets will be available starting January 27 at standard pricing, with showtimes beginning March 6.

All Best Live Action and Animated Short Film nominees are bundled into one viewing for just $10 from March 10-12.

For other brushing up, take a look back at what CultureMap’s film critic, Alex Bentley, had to say about each of the nominees (listed in alphabetical order) when they were originally released.

Cinemark has been hosting other similar marathon events such its collaboration with ESPN to bring college football games to the big screen.

The event takes place at these theaters across the U.S., including the following locations in Texas:

  • Austin: Cinemark Southpark Meadows
  • Denton: Cinemark 14
  • Fort Worth: Ridgmar Mall
  • Grapevine: Cinemark Tinseltown
  • Houston: Cinemark Memorial City
  • Plano: Cinemark Legacy
  • Plano: Cinemark West Plano
  • San Antonio: Cinemark San Antonio 16
  • The Woodlands: Cinemark 17