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By this point in the winter, Austinites' holiday presents are now cherished or returned; sweaters are broken out of their closeted confines just to reveal snags and much tighter arms than last winter. Whether they're following the momentum of the season or looking for a reason for a complete overhaul, the place to do it is Le Garage Sale, Austin's impossibly large, semi-annual sample and overstock sale.

From January 21-22, small Texas boutiques (defined by the sale as those without nationwide distribution) will fill the Palmer Event Center with vintage clothes and accessories, handmade displays, haphazard bargain bins, and more. Some boutiques sell actual samples from their manufacturers (usually only one of each used for ordering, dressing models, etc.), and others bring a normal selection expected to perform well and draw new customers. Booths are sold out — to more than 100 vendors — meaning this is the kind of sale a super-motivated shopper could spend two, eight hour days fully exploring.

Unlike many sample sales, these boutiques don't shy away from plus sizes, and not everything started at $795. Still, there is a wide range of styles and qualities, starting at T-shirts and extending out to recognizable luxury brands. Go early to snag the stuff in really high demand, or wait out the end of the weekend to start seeing 90% off signs and haggling with vendors who will make a deal to save effort on packing. Entry is a separate charge both days, but shoppers can easily make up for the doubled cost in savings.

To ensure the shopping experience is pleasant enough to visit each booth, there is a DJ, hourly raffle prizes, and a snack bar (expensive, but it probably beats leaving and coming back). The sale has been active since 2001, so many vendors are old pros happy to welcome newcomers into the marketplace environment, and may even recognize repeat shoppers.

Le Garage Sale lists some of its favorites to expect:

  • Beehive (returning)
  • Wood & Rose (returning)
  • Estilo (returning)
  • Blue Suede Shoes (returning)
  • Katie Kime (returning)
  • Kelly Wynne (returning)
  • Man Outfitters (returning)
  • RVCA (returning)
  • Hurley (returning)
  • Caddis Eyewear (new)
  • Fine Line Clean Beauty (new)
  • Frankie Jean (new)
  • Saint Lo (new)
  • Stash Cashmere (new)

Le Garage Sale will open at the Palmer Event Center on January 21 at 9:30 am for a VIP pre-shop until 11 am. Regular shopping hours on January 21 and 22 are between 11 am and 5 pm. More information is available at legaragesale.net.

Austin Home + Garden Show returns with HGTV sisters and local botanical garden

Show What You Grow

Forget this week’s Target run — the Austin Home + Garden Show has everything an Austinite needs, wants, and didn’t know they crave in tools and knickknacks around the house. The Austin Convention Center will fill up with tools, fashion, organization, and appliances this January 6-8.

Like any expo, this offers demo and browsing opportunities, plus service and product specials that can save attendees hundreds of dollars. In addition to the shopping, some speakers will get onstage to share inspiration with DIY-ers. New this year, attendees can learn from a well-known pair of designers and flea market-loving sisters dubbed the Junk Gypsies and Austin’s own Zilker Botanical Garden.

Amie and Jolie Sikes run Junk Gypsy out in Round Top, a feminine, bohemian, and decidedly country retail store that initially sold the duo’s market finds, and served as a launchpad for the HGTV series that solidified their nickname. The rogue designers take the aesthetic of the junktiques-obsessed city and turn trash into many Austin women’s treasures, while making custom pieces for celebrities with rockabilly aesthetics: Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, Billie Joe Armstrong, and more. They’ll hit the stage on January 7 at 2 pm, for an unspecified chat between seminars about garden planning and creating a more energy-efficient home.

Zilker Botanical Garden, a partner of the Home + Garden show, is signing on for its first activation and keeping things straightforward: garden design and maintenance. The all-levels talk promises useful tips that anyone can try, a demonstration on growing broccoli microgreens in one week, plus a Q&A portion for more specifics on different types of plants, which need different care. Texas Bamboo Society and Austin Herb Society will join to display and sell goods. The Botanical Garden offers frequent workshops at its home location, but this event appears to be broader than its usual programming.

The show also welcomes social media influencer Rhonda Kaiser, Dennis Celsor of Built Green Custom Homes, and Jewell Parker of ShelfGenie as speakers. In addition to the convenience of all shopping in one place, the show provides a free shuttle to the Barton Creek Mall, enabling free parking.

The Austin Home + Garden Show invites visitors January 6 from 12-8 pm; January 7 from 10 am to 8 pm; and January 8 from 11 am to 6 pm. Tickets ($10 adults, free for children) are available austinhomeandgardenshow.com at a reduced rate ($8) until opening day on January 6. The Zilker Botanical Garden (2220 Barton Springs Road) offers visitors free tickets to the show.

Photo courtesy of Modern Rocks Gallery

David Bowie career retrospective lands at Austin art gallery with rare prints

Let All the Children Boogie

As Austinites explore hundreds of studios on the Austin Studio Tour, the Starman peers out from behind glass. Modern Rocks, a gallery featuring rock and roll photographs and very often organizing rare collections, opens a new David Bowie exhibition on Friday, November 11, as part of the tour. The collection will display prints from across Bowie’s career, known for its many pivots and distinct phases.

The images in this collection are equally valuable to a music fan and a fashion devotee. Some of the prints in “David Bowie: Starman,” curated by gallery owner Steven Walker, are album covers, well-known but obtained directly from the original photographers as an alternative to hanging a record sleeve on the wall.

To honor the shapeshifter and get visitors involved beyond a quick peek inside, Modern Rocks has declared a costume contest. Tim Palmer, the record producer who collaborated with Bowie himself on “Tin Machine” (the eponymous debut for the band Bowie founded and fronted in 1988), will host and judge the contest. His pick will determine which impersonator or vision expander brings home a framed Aladdin Sane print. The runner up will take home a copy of David Bowie Icon, a comprehensive photography book documenting the artist’s entire career.

Contest onlookers and tour visitors are invited for themed cocktails by distillery consultant Mark Shilling. The exhibition can be viewed through the end of 2022, when it will relocate to the David Bowie World Fan Convention in New York City.

Bowie was always interesting to look at, to put it mildly. As a teenager, he repped long hair and an otherwise sharp presentation in a TV interview with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Men. He went through a few iconic mullets, an outward fascination with fascist design elements, and a whole lot of rouge.

Other shots from cover sessions appear alongside the more famous images in the exhibition, including limited edition, signed prints from the cover shoot for “Diamond Dogs” by Terry O’Neill (Bowie dressed foppishly, yet working class); “Pin-Ups” by Justin De Villeneuve (Bowie with culture-shifting model Twiggy); and “Heroes” by Masayoshi Sukita (Bowie incredibly coiffed and austerely incredulous). Also included are Brian Duffy’s “Aladdin Sane” and “Scary Monsters” shoots — the former so iconic it became the visual shorthand for anything Bowie — plus early prints from Alec Byrne, Brian Aris, Kevin Cummins, Jake Chessum, Markus Klinko, and more.

The opening reception for “David Bowie: Starman” takes place on November 11, from 7-10 pm. RSVP on Eventbrite. More information about the Austin Studio Tour, including an interactive map, is available at austinstudiotour.org.

Photo courtesy of Great Promise for American Indians

Austin Powwow and heritage festival approaches 30 years of dancing, food, and crafts

Great Promise

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.

Photo courtesy of Showroom

New designer showroom brings Austinites closer to their new favorite brands

Meet Your Maker

Although clothes are meant to express personality, wearers rarely get to meet designers. Showroom, a new store opening on November 10 at Domain Northside, brings a more personal touch to a luxe shopping experience, inviting designers to make appearances and closing the gap between maker and wearer. This is the store's second location, joining the original on Kiawah Island, South Carolina.

The aesthetic focuses on feminine American, Scandinavian, and British design; a comb through Showroom’s catalog shows the muted colors, knitwear, and practical shapes someone might expect from this particular blend of sensibilities, but with little dips into exuberance in the form of a feathered hem or a metallic fabric.

It’s a unique mix for Austin, and the store plans to break ground in bringing many brands to the city for the first time. As the name suggests, it is a store, but visiting to browse will get many Austinites acquainted with unfamiliar styles and designers they love. (Although, ironically, it was a figurative name when the business was initially just e-commerce.)

Still, the curation is not obscure. Visitors might spot Victoria Beckham, Derek Lam, Joseph, and most of the silhouettes are overall traditional. Sizing appears to be inclusive, to a predictable limit; there are a few 2X items available on the online store that may or may not fit true-to-size. The store offers styling services by appointment, which automatically enrolls customers in a VIP program providing first access to new styles and even custom orders.

The showroom itself is designed in a modern and neutral style, with lots of whites and golds, by North Carolina design firm Lucy & Company. The more standout materials — custom oak and quartzite along the counter and cabinets — come from Austin’s own Edwood Studios, which, as a press release points out, particularly values sustainably sourced wood.

Showroom founder Erica Hanks is a paragon of the simple-but-not-uptight style found at the store, and has been featured by the New York Times. She developed her styling ethos working with athletes, and now works with other professionals in mind.

More information about Showroom is available at shopshowroom.com. The grand opening is scheduled for November 10 from 4-7 pm.

Photo by Brianna Caleri

Austin-based boot maker takes over storied Tesoros space on South Congress

Walking Up The Road

Tecovas, as a brand, is entering a similar hallowed space in Texas that Timberland occupies in New York. The Western boot maker puts out the best of the best in quality, and makes it look good. It puts in just the right touch of stylistic flair to be taken seriously in any environment, so it would make sense that its new flagship store is now open on South Congress Avenue, a trendy urban place surrounded with real reasons (on a wider radius, perhaps) to wear a work boot.

Photo by Brianna Caleri

The new Tecovas flagship is a lot like the old South Congress location, but bigger.

The 4,0700-square-foot store on South Congress Avenue marks significant growth in the brand, which has only existed since 2015, when it started as an online, direct-to-consumer model. This is not the first Tecovas store in Austin, nor even on South Congress; just a block down the road the previous location with the recognizable cowhide mosaic quietly closed, announced via signs on the windows to make room for this location up the block in the old Tesoros Trading Company space, which closed this summer after 33 years, now almost completely unrecognizable.

The flagship proudly wears local art by muralist Federico Archuleta, whose work is recognizable around town in the form of mosaic-like Virgen de Guadalupe illustrations. The mural on the corner of South Congress and Elizabeth Street updates his existing Guadalupe, turning it into a candle beside Willie Nelson’s guitar in the foreground, and a Texas flag filling the wall behind it. Artists were working on the mural during an opening party on Friday, October 21.

Winemaker Becky Atkins was also onsite for the party, serving Summer Revival wines at the bar. It’s a fixture at all Tecovas location, welcoming customers with complementary drinks — in Austin that includes local products like Ranch Rider hard seltzers, Garrison Brothers bourbon, and “several” beers — but this one is one of the largest. Atkins reached out to Tecovas after recognizing a similar business model, with no middle man retailers and “no fluff.”

This location is one of five openings in Q4 alone, and it rounds out a 25 percent increase in the brand’s retail footprint across the entire year. The brand plans to open “approximately 15” more U.S. stores in the next year and a half. Similar to the previous South Congress location, the new space smells of leather, sells hats and other apparel, and anchors the area in the (South)west despite an increasingly bi-coastal vibe across Austin. With more sales space, it can store and sell more stock, but besides the expansion, it’s business as usual.

More information is available at tecovas.com.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

2 Hollywood celebrities tried some of Austin’s best sushi this week, 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. 2 Hollywood celebrities dined at one of Austin’s best restaurants this week. While most Austinites cozied up at home this week, these famous spouses ate at an award-winning restaurant before a screening of their new film.

2. Austin's flagship Kendra Scott store transforms into mini-Museum of Ice Cream for Valentine's Day. Here's one sweet collaboration you won't want to miss — and it launches this weekend!

3. Texas scores top ranking among best states for dating, says new report. This Valentine’s Day is for the unattached, and it turns out Texas is a pretty great place to be single.

4. This Tesla rental service got me from Austin to Houston, despite my best efforts. A Tesla is a smooth ride, and the UFODrive self-service process ensures a smooth trip — if you pay attention.

5. Here are the top 5 things to do in Austin this weekend. Festive (fictional) funerals, demon barbers, live podcasts, and more reasons to venture out as the weather warms up this weekend.

Documentary Turn Every Page deep-dives into historic publishing partnership

Movie Review

There have been many famous partnerships in the world, from musical ones like Hall & Oates to business ones like Bill Gates and Paul Allen. But one of the more underrated partnerships is that between authors and editors, a relationship that can be mysterious for those not well versed in the process.

The new documentary Turn Every Page: The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb, takes deep dive into the ineffable bond between Caro, author of The Power Broker and four (and counting) biographies of Lyndon B. Johnson, and Gottlieb, his longtime editor at publishing company Knopf. Caro is notorious for taking his time with his books, releasing only one about every 10 years since 1974.

The film, directed by filmmaker (and daughter of Robert) Lizzie Gottlieb, features a variety of “talking head” interviews from people as diverse as Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker editor David Remnick, and President Bill Clinton, but cedes the majority of its time to hearing from the two men themselves. Both have lived extraordinary lives, but – despite their strong connection – in very different ways.

It would be fair to call Caro “obsessive,” as his career has focused on hefty non-fiction tomes devoted to just two men. The Power Broker, a Pulitzer Prize-winning, 1,300+ page book about urban planner Robert Moses, goes into great detail about how Moses shaped the landscape of New York City, and not always for the better. He has also published four volumes of The Years of Lyndon Johnson, all detailing Johnson’s life before he was president. The yet-to-be-published fifth volume is highly anticipated, to say the least.

In addition to the books of Caro, Gottlieb has edited books by Joseph Heller (famously providing the title number for Catch-22), John Cheever, Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, Ray Bradbury, Michael Crichton, Bill Clinton, and many others. Astonishingly, he has also had time to write eight of his own books, serve as editor of The New Yorker, program both the New York City Ballet and Miami City Ballet, and more.

Lizzie Gottlieb gives each man plenty of space to tell their own story, with perhaps a slight bias toward her father. Caro is 87 and Gottlieb is 91, yet neither shows any significant mental decline. In fact, their ability to recall the many important moments of their lives and continue to ruminate at a high level is intimidating, and a testament to their intellectualism.

Among the many amazing stories that made the cut of the film are how Gottlieb had to get Caro to cut 350,000 words – or around 700 pages – from The Power Broker just for it to be small enough to be bound, and another about how Caro, in his extensive research about LBJ, discovered just how Johnson literally stole a primary election in his first run for the Senate.

The mark of any good documentary is its ability to engage viewers who may not be intimately familiar with its central subjects. While it’s the professional lives of Caro and Gottlieb that are most notable, the film includes just enough information about their personal lives to make them into full human beings, unlocking what for many have been mysterious figures.

Turn Every Page may be most interesting to those who have read and loved Caro’s books over the past five decades, but there’s enough there to open the film wide for the uninitiated. The lives of Caro and Gottlieb are large, and the documentary provides a great glimpse into how they became that way.

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Turn Every Page: The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb is now playing in Austin at AFS Cinema.

Photo by Martha Kaplan / courtesy of Wild Surmise Productions, LLC and Sony Pictures Classics

The young author and editor in Turn Every Page: The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb.

Austin arcade plans a trailer park murder, and it's your job to solve the mystery

Is this a game to you?

We would say there’s been a murder at the arcade, but it hasn’t happened yet. Pinballz, an arcade, bar, restaurant, and overall gathering place for Austin nerds, is planning a crime for one guest to commit at its Lake Creek location on February 9, and many others will be implicated. Guests will gather in character for a sit-down Southern meal, learn about the crime, tease out the clues, and eventually apprehend one of their own in “Trailer Park Tragedy,” a murder mystery dinner game.

Dinner is a form of theater in itself, bringing together a cast of southern classics: barbecue brisket and ribs, charro beans, corn bread, potato salad, house salad, and Texas toast. This trailer park is vegetarian friendly, with black bean burgers available to swap out. A recent Halloween event featured “feetloaf” and spider sliders.

“Last Valentine's Day we did a really fun murder at a wedding,” says food and beverage manager Mitch Alloway. “And we kind of wanted to go a different direction with Valentine's Day [this year] … We thought this would be more fun and spunky and goofy. We decided to go trailer park status with a ‘PBR-sponsored event,’ basically. It's going to be barbecue; it’s going to be some fun cocktails … and it'll be a fun time.”

A downloadable game book of the same name and similar details appears in game company Night of Mystery’s catalog, but Pinballz is taking the game to the next level, allowing up to 60 guests and ensuring that everyone has a unique character; not so easy at a friend’s house, but no big deal for the Pinballz staff member who will be hosting the game.

Although it’s a little different than the role-playing games patrons may be used to during the bar’s weekly Dungeons and Dragons sessions — since there is a prescribed series of events and a place to land at the end of the game — this event also gives visitors a chance to get into character and even costume.

“We get a good 80 percent diehard fan base that come in and they deck out, they dress up; They really get into their characters,” says Alloway. “And then there's usually that 15-20 percent that … it's their first time coming in or they're just not sure how to really feel the vibe.”

Characters from the original game sheet include a smooth-talking motorcycle buff, a few harried mothers (including a hairstylist and a grifter), and a security guard who never made it through the police academy but still wants to brag about his position of power. The game includes a disclaimer that offending players is high on its list of priorities.

Regardless of crime solving or method acting prowess, this kind of event exists to get people out of their shells and social circles. With a goal to work on, it’s a rare opportunity in a growing city to connect with others on a night out with none of the herculean sense of initiative it otherwise takes. Alloway guesses that 12-16 people come to every murder mystery, having met as strangers and progressed into friendships through enjoying the event together.

Pinballz, in addition to flooding the senses in the way only an arcade can, is a believer in this kind of night out and puts special effort into planning more throughout the year. There are murder mysteries about once a quarter, and starting at this event, each location will be staggering its mysteries. After the Lake Creek trailer park mystery, Pinballz Kingdom in Buda is hosting a Mardi Gras-themed mystery (February 23), and the original in North Austin is planning an '80s prom theme for April.

“We don't like to drench our calendars with these, because it does take time to plan, coordinate, organize — and we want to make sure that it's not something [that happens] every single week and then it takes away the creative aspect that our team members get involved [in],” says Alloway.

Aside from regularly scheduled murders and D&D adventures (spiced up with dice rolls to find out what $8 drink a patron will receive), the bars are also embarking on more comedy nights, and have started a popular live wrestling series. The chain also organizes whiskey tastings and tournaments for widely-played video games like Street Fighter and Super Smash Brothers.

“We are a very eclectic group of nerds,” says Alloway. “I'm a nerd for food and beverage, and events. We have some nerds that are for drama. We have some people that are nerds for Pokemon. We're basically a massive mob of nerds that have decided how we want to create this venue of like-minded people … where we can kind of take our passions and bring it into one weird unique setting.”

Pinballz will host “Trailer Park Tragedy” at its Lake Creek location (13729 Research Boulevard) on February 9 at 7 pm. Tickets ($35) for the 18-and-up event are available at pinballz.com.