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Courtesy of Soho House

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. Swanky South Congress vinyl bar spins open to the Austin public. You no longer need to be a Soho House Austin member to enjoy the vibes and the vinyl at Dante's HiFi.

2. Documentary Turn Every Page deep-dives into historic publishing partnership. Turn Every Page may be most interesting to those who have read and loved Robert Caro’s books over the past five decades, but there’s enough there to open the film wide for the uninitiated.

3. Hill Country town puts a Texas twist on Carnival season for 18th annual Cowboy Mardi Gras. Known as the "Cowboy Capital of the World," Bandera hosts a three-day Cowboy Mardi Gras that attracts over 15 thousand people from all over the world.

4. Willie Nelson bakes up more food and music than ever before at 2023 Luck Reunion. Taking place on the same week as SXSW, the smaller, more intimate festival has become a bit of a holy pilgrimage for Willie fans young and old.

5. Frontier Airlines clears unlimited travel pass for takeoff from Austin this summer. If blackout dates and traveling light sound doable, these Frontier travel passes could pay for themselves.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Austin household bills are 25 percent higher than the national average, report finds

LIVING IS EXPENSIVE

We already know how expensive it is to live in Austin. With rent prices on the rise and a six-figure salary not going as far as it used to, it’s no wonder why people would rather move to the suburbs than live in the city. Now, a new tool explores just how pricey the average Austinite’s household bills are in comparison to the national average. Spoilers: it’s not a pretty picture.

The average Austin household pays $2563 monthly for their bills, which adds up to $30,756 a year. When compared to the national average, which is $24,552 a year, the Austinite household is paying $6,204 more per year, or 25 percent more. Their findings show Austin is the No. 33 most expensive Texas city for household expenses, so at least we’re not at the top of that list.

If you look around at other Austin-area cities, like Pflugerville, the average household is paying $2,358 per month for their bills, which is only 15 percent higher than the national average.

In Round Rock, however, the average household there pays more than they would in Austin proper, at $2,606 a month, making them the No. 30 priciest city for household expenses in Texas. Additionally, Round Rock residents pay $6,720 more per year in household bills than the average American household.

Here’s how Austin-area cities rank when compared to all cities in Texas:

  • No. 23 – Dripping Springs
  • No. 30 – Round Rock
  • No. 33 – Austin
  • No. 49 – Buda
  • No. 50 – Cedar Park
  • No. 55 – Manor
  • No. 60 – Pflugerville
  • No. 27 – Kyle
  • No. 135 – San Marcos
  • No. 153 – Del Valle

The DoxoInsights (stylized doxoINSIGHTS) Explorer is a first-of-its-kind tool that calculates the average monthly payments for 10 of the most common household bills and compares them to the national average. The bills that it tracks are the average cost of a mortgage, rent, auto loan, utilities, auto insurance, mobile phone, health insurance, cable and satellite, life insurance, and alarm and security.

According to the tool, Travis County is the No. 7 in a ranking of most expensive household bills in the state. Neighboring Williamson and Hays also rank in the top 10 most expensive counties in Texas at No. 6 and No. 10, respectively.

The top 10 most expensive counties in Texas are:

  • No. 1 – Collin County
  • No. 2 – Rockwall County
  • No. 3 – Fort Bend County
  • No. 4 – Denton County
  • No. 5 – Kendall County
  • No. 6 – Williamson County
  • No. 7 – Travis County
  • No. 8 – Waller County
  • No. 9 – Galveston County
  • No. 10 – Hays County

More information can be found on doxo.com.

Rock legend Stevie Nicks extends tour with new Austin date

Rumor Has It

It's not witchcraft, it's just Stevie Nicks' magical charm; The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is extending her 2023 "Live In Concert" tour with 13 more performances. If the rumors are true, that includes one at Austin's Moody Center on August 15.

One of rock's greatest legends, Nicks is famous not just for her key role as a singer in Fleetwood Mac, but for her inimitable fashion sense and sharp-edged yet sweet rock vocals that she later applied to her own solo projects.

She has built on the mysterious rock and roll lore brilliantly. Now 74, she's just as recognizable as ever, and a whole new generation knows her primarily for appearances as a witch in two seasons of American Horror Story, not to mention a wealth of artsy merch, which is eternally fashionable.

The second leg of the tour starts in Milwaukee on August 8, and ends in Palm Desert on December 5. Along the way, Nicks will also stop in Houston, on August 12 at Toyota Center.

A general sale for additional dates will start on Friday, May 19, at 10 am on livenation.com and MoodyCenterATX.com.

STEVIE NICKS 2023 TOUR DATES:

  • Tue May 16 – Knoxville, TN – Thompson-Boling Arena
  • Mon May 22 – Atlanta, GA – State Farm Arena
  • Thu May 25 – Orlando, FL – Amway Center
  • Tue Jun 20 – Toronto, ON – Scotiabank Arena
  • Fri Jun 23 – Chicago, IL – United Center
  • Tue Jun 27 – Louisville, KY – KFC Yum! Center
  • Tue Aug 08 — Milwaukee, WI — Fiserv Forum
  • Sat Aug 12 — Houston, TX — Toyota Center
  • Tue Aug 15 — Austin, TX — Moody Center
  • Wed Sep 27 — Pittsburgh, PA — PPG Paints Arena
  • Sun Oct 01 — New York, NY — Madison Square Garden
  • Wed Oct 04 — Buffalo, NY — KeyBank Center
  • Sat Oct 28 — Memphis, TN — FedExForum
  • Wed Nov 01 — Savannah, GA — Enmarket Arena
  • Sat Nov 04 — Allentown, PA — PPL Center
  • Tue Nov 07 — Detroit, MI — Little Caesars Arena
  • Wed Nov 29 — San Diego, CA — Viejas Arena
  • Sat Dec 02 — Inglewood, CA — The Kia Forum
  • Tue Dec 05 — Palm Desert, CA — Acrisure Arena
  • Tue Dec 12 – Sacramento, CA – Golden 1 Center
  • Fri Dec 15 – San Francisco, CA – Chase Center

2 budding Texas cannabis companies pop open new THC-infused seltzers soon to hit Austin shelves

make mine a thc

Since the rise of low THC and CBD products in Texas, we've nearly seen it all. Gummies, chocolate, candy, baked goods, and more. But now, two Houston companies have developed the next hottest (or should we say coolest?) product on the market: cannabis-infused seltzers. And now they'll be distributed all across the state.

Bayou City Hemp Company (BCHC) has teamed up with award-winning 8th Wonder Brewery, Distillery, and Cannabis to manufacture these nonalcoholic beverages for statewide distribution. They have previously worked together since 2021 to pioneer the first-ever hemp-infused seltzer in the state.

Their latest drinks will be shared throughout Texas by Flood Distribution, in a huge milestone for the beverage and cannabis industries. In a press release, Flood Distribution co-founder Kyle White stated "now" is the time to get into the ever-expanding industry.

"THC-infused beverages are safe, delicious, and offer clients the opportunity to be at the forefront of this industry and steer the direction it will head in the future," White said.

In addition to BCHC's THC-infused ranch water and paloma seltzers, a few of the beverages that will be available all throughout Texas include 8th Wonder's Trillionaire, Lil Bit, and Wonder Water. Other offerings include drinks that have been already established in other areas of the country, such as Happi, Good Feels, Drippy, and more.

“It’s a huge milestone for Happi to not only become the first national cannabis beverage brand with local distribution in Texas, but to also launch our unique functional seltzers Happi Glow and Happi Nightcap with this team,” said Lisa Hurwitz, Happi president and cofounder. “Collaborating with these partners to locally produce Happi really makes us feel at home in Texas.”

To ensure the beverages are compliant with Texas law, they have been formulated using BCHC's proprietary technology with hemp-derived Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC.

BCHC CIO Stephen Horton explained the innovations by the company's Houston-based research and development lab have "enabled [them] to to develop some of the most delicious and effective" beverages.

“At Bayou City Hemp Company, we have the expertise to formulate a wide range of functional and flavorful beverages that meet the needs and preferences of today’s discerning consumers,” said Horton.

Bars, restaurants, liquor stores, and many other marketplaces in Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio will soon see these seltzers on their menus and store shelves in May.