HAAM Day Returns
More than almost any other local nonprofit, the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM) is an integral part of Austinites' lives. Musicians don't turn to HAAM after a spurt of desperate research; they know about it (hopefully long before they ever need it) through word of mouth and blowout programming like Austin's famous HAAM Day.
The nonprofit turns the volume up for another year of live local music and philanthropy with a record-breaking twist on September 19. This year’s roster features 205 live performances, the biggest number of musical acts in the fundraiser’s history.
All HAAM Day shows are free and open to the public. Fans of Austin’s live music scene are invited and encouraged to attend a show or several. They will all raise funds directly for providing affordable access to health and wellness care for Austin-area low-income, working musicians.
“HAAM Day is not just about music,” CEO Paul Scott said in a press release. “It's about solidarity in recognizing the vital role musicians play in our community. Musicians are an essential part of what makes Austin special, and we want to make sure they are given every opportunity to continue making the music we love to enjoy.”
The all-day event begins with a kickoff celebration at 6 am at H-E-B Lake Austin. Kickoff highlights include performances by R&B singer Mélat and HAAM’s first member, longtime and super-versatile musician Troy Campbell. Guests will also hear proclamations from City of Austin and State of Texas representatives during the kickoff in between showcases.
Next, guests can catch a nonstop lineup of performances by Austin’s homegrown talent. Top highlights include a show by retro-soul performers Soul Supporters at Hotel Van Zandt’s Geraldine’s, live shows at H-E-B locations around the city, ongoing performances live from the Willie Nelson Statue, and swamp funk band Shinyribs at The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co.
This year’s HAAM Day also includes three major Austin jazz clubs, partnering together for the first time in fundraiser history, to present live performances around the city.
Programming continues over the radio airwaves at KMFA Studios, which includes live music from "singer-soulwriter" Ray Prim, Mélat, jazzy folk-pop group Magnolia Kids, and HAAM Board member Marcia Ball. Featured performers for this year include blues guitarist Zach Person and rock band Madam Radar, who are both well-known in the Austin music scene, and several up-and-coming bands including alt-rock duo Me nd Adam and alt-pop duo Flora & Fawna.
Other artists are scheduled to perform at events like the Still Austin Whiskey Co. Showcase, the BMI Showcase, and the RECA ((Real Estate Council of Texas) Showcase at Antone’s Nightclub.
Since being established in 2005, HAAM has helped provide wellness and healthcare access to more than 6,700 musicians totaling over $144 million in services. New this year is the organization’s signing of the newest lead sponsor, SXSW, alongside PNC Bank. As part of the bank’s second year of sponsorship, live shows will be hosted at PNC branches in the Austin area.
“As an organization, we look at all of the ways in which we can support our local community, and are proud to be a part of HAAM’s efforts on behalf of Austin musicians,” said co-president and chief brand officer of SXSW Jann Baskett. “Their ability to make every $100 donated translate into $700 of healthcare services means that every contribution makes a substantial difference."
For those who prefer to raise donations online, HAAM Day is bringing back its fundraising platform website for participating members of the community to use in the spirit of friendly and philanthropic competition. Show venues are booked across Austin and throughout Central Texas. For a full lineup and schedule of events, go to myhaam.org.
The GALS Prom will celebrate the 15th anniversary of Giving Austin Labor Support's birth and perinatal support for over 800 Central Texas families, improving birth outcomes and ensuring no one births alone. The GALS Prom will gather birthworkers and supporters in the 'Enchanted Forest' for a night of connection, celebration, and dancing.
The JDRF One Walk is a chance to show the world that together, people can conquer type 1 diabetes. The event aims to raise funds to power more research, enable more advocacy, and fund more support for the 1.45 million Americans living with T1D.
The annual Breakthrough Benefit Concert will feature a performance by Austin Music Award's 2023 Artist of the Year, Sir Woman. The event includes a silent auction, passed bites and drinks, a program, and more.
At Uprise Circus' Lumina, guests can try the flying trapeze, watch aerialists perform, and enjoy gourmet concessions. Guests can also enjoy complimentary Tito's specialty cocktails when they're done flying.
One hundred percent of the profits will be donated to local outreach programming.
CultureMap Emails are Awesome
Faces and Places
In Lubbock, Texas, where locals have been pouring their livelihood into both the city and their craft, the community has created a Texas experience like no other. What sets apart a destination from others is the welcoming faces who meet travelers with open doors and a willingness to share the West Texas way of life with all who wander through.
CultureMap recently checked in with three Lubbock luminaries to learn what drew them to the city, what dreams they're making come true, and how visitors can take part in the magic.
Matt Bostick, sommelier and hospitality director of Llano Estacado Winery
Though his roots are in Texas, Matt Bostick found his passion for wine in Italy. While studying hospitality in Florence in 2011, he met Parisian sommelier Quinton Paillard, who encouraged his budding love of vino and set Bostick on the path toward becoming a sommelier himself.
After earning his degree in restaurant, hotel, and institutional management from Texas Tech University in 2012, Bostick joined Jackson Family Estates in Los Angeles. From there, he further honed his expertise as the lead sommelier for Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza, under the mentorship of Sarah Clarke A few years later, Bostick co-founded a restaurant called Baldoria and even developed a line of ready-to-drink cocktails with his business partner, David King.
"When David and I decided to create B&K Cocktail Company, our business venture brought us back to Texas," Bostick says. "With my family residing in Lubbock, it was a natural choice to settle here. Lubbock holds significant personal and professional values for me. It's my hometown, where I was born and raised, and where most of my family continues to live and contribute to this community."
Today, Bostick is the events director and sommelier at Llano Estacado Winery, Texas’ second oldest winery. Bostick guides visitors through a sensory journey, introducing them to the complexities of different wines, regions, and vintages while offering insights into history, production techniques, and the unique characteristics of each varietal.
"I help individuals identify tasting notes, appreciate nuances, and even recommend food pairings that enhance the overall culinary experience," he says.
Grape Day on October 21 is an ideal time to visit the winery to see Bostick in action. To celebrate the end of the harvest, which spans late July to early October, Llano features captivating self-guided tours, diverse art booths, delicious offerings from the finest local vendors, exciting games for kids, and a mesmerizing lineup of live music on the Lubbock Listening Room stage.
Admission is free, but for $35 attendees will receive a commemorative Grape Day wine glass along with two tickets redeemable for a glass of wine. Pre-sale drink tickets will also be available for purchase in a bundle of three tickets for $15 (otherwise each ticket is $8 at the event).
"Grape Day holds immense significance to me. It's a celebration that represents the culmination of hard work and a sense of community," Bostick says. "Llano Estacado Winery has not only been a pioneer in the Texas wine industry but has also contributed to our local community's growth. Events like this shine a light on the rich heritage and traditions of winemaking, connecting our community to a broader narrative of craftsmanship and appreciation for the finer things in life."
Ian Timmons, pitmaster and third-generation owner of Tom & Bingo’s BBQ
It's been called a West Texas legend since 1952, and as soon as you step inside Tom & Bingo's BBQ, you'll understand why. This old-school barbecue joint — and Lubbock’s oldest restaurant — is packed with nostalgia and dishes out authentic barbecue that would make original owners Tom and Bettye Clanton proud, and current owner Ian Timmons intends to keep it that way.
While studying at Texas Tech, Timmons worked under Dwayne Clanton (Tom and Bettye's son, who gained ownership of the restaurant in 1980) and earned hands-on experience as a pitmaster. Upon graduation, he moved to Denver with his wife, Kristi, where he worked at Denver Biscuit Company.
"I’ve always worked in restaurants," says Timmons. "From my first job at Dairy Queen to a local restaurant called Orlando’s, where I was a server and got fired for making pizzas during my shift."
Timmons' wife also happens to be Dwayne and Liz Clanton's daughter, making him the obvious choice to carry on the legacy when the couple was ready to retire in 2017.
Now, Timmons pays homage to Tom & Bingo's 70-year legacy by smoking modern bark-on-brisket, his own coarsely ground smoked beef sausage, and pork spare ribs on the original brick pits the predecessors used for decades. He's also expanded the menu to include scratch-made potato salad and slaw, but one item remains a constant since the early days of the restaurant: the steak burger.
"This fall we are switching from our legendary brick pits to a new Centex offset smoker, so it’s back to square one for us," reveals Timmons. "This fall will be a learning season for us! But we are excited to see what a new smoker can do for us."
You can also catch the eatery's new food truck out and about and look forward to more biscuit collaborations with Monomyth Coffee (inspired by Timmons' time in Denver, of course). "We'll also hopefully open a Biscuit Club location to help grow the breakfast scene in Lubbock," Timmons hints.
But perhaps the tastiest way to experience Tom & Bingo's, besides visiting the restaurant itself, is by sampling its goods at the Texas Monthly BBQ Fest in November. Held in Lockhart, November 4-5, the event helps raise funds for Feeding Texas and a network of food banks across the state.
Yung Cry Baby, aka Aaliyah Limon, resident artist with Charles Adams Studio Project
Full-time musician and vocalist Aaliyah Limon was born and raised in Lubbock, but when she was younger, she didn't feel the city had a place for her yet. After graduation, the aspiring talent took off to explore both coasts, working as a model and artist, but after a while realized she wasn’t as fulfilled as she had hoped and missed her family.
"I needed a break from my fast-paced lifestyle," she says. "I came back home to be with family, take a step back, and reassess what I really wanted to do with my life. When I moved back, my music took off much faster than I ever anticipated."
Now Limon is professionally known as Yung Cry Baby and serves as a resident artist with the Charles Adams Studio Project, a nonprofit that supports working artists in Lubbock.
"Because I'm passionate about it and motivated by the people who resonate with what I sing about, I've kind of kept with the momentum of things," Limon says. "I'm excited about what I do, and I love helping people heal through my music. Even if it only helps a little, it gives me a lot of joy knowing I can maybe help someone not feel alone."
Fans can see Yung Cry Baby perform not only at the karaoke bar she hosts at, but also at First Friday Art Trail, a monthly arts festival located in downtown Lubbock with a mission to bring together collectors, artists, and community friends for an evening of art, music, and fun. Participants are ever-changing, offering something for everyone.
"I love doing community-based things, especially when it comes to art," Limon says. "First Friday is always a blast for me."
Yung Cry Baby is currently working on her first full album, following the earlier release of her EP. Follow her on social media for updates.
Experience the people and places of Lubbock yourself by planning your next vacation here.
The University of Texas at Austin continues its streak of high rankings for its high-quality educational experiences. The home of the Longhorns earned a coveted top three spot on U.S. News and World Report's just-released list of the Best Colleges in Texas for 2024.
UT Austin claimed No. 2 in Texas, and ranked No. 32 nationally. The public institution had an undergraduate enrollment of more than 41,300 students in fall 2022. The school, which costs $11,698 in tuition for in-state students and fees each year, ranks No. 9 for "Top Public Schools" by U.S. News.
In April, UT's Cockrell School of Engineering ranked No. 7 in U.S. News' ranking of the best graduate schools in the country, while McCombs School of Business earned the No. 20 spot among business schools.
UT Austin actually fared similarly in Niche'slist of top public universities, in which it ranked No. 6 nationally.
"UT Austin has been a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities since 1929," the site says. "The university attracts nearly $800 million annually for research. Top accolades include the creation of the most widely used COVID-19 vaccines and the worlds’ fastest supercomputers for open research."
The university also boasts a rich campus culture that encourages students to participate in different organizations and activities.
"Students can participate in more than 1,000 clubs and organizations or in the sizable UT Greek system," the site says. "The university has several student media outlets, and its sports teams are notorious competitors in the Division I Big 12 Conference. UT also offers hundreds of study abroad programs, with the most popular destinations being Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, France, and China."
Ahead of UT Austin in the ranking is Rice University in Houston. The "Ivy League of the South" ranked No. 1 in Texas and No. 17 nationally.
Just behind UT Austin is College Station's Texas A&M University, which placed No. 3 in the Texas rankings and No. 47 nationally.
U.S. News' top 10 best colleges in Texas in 2024 are:
- No. 1 – Rice University, Houston
- No. 2 – University of Texas at Austin
- No. 3 – Texas A&M University, College Station
- No. 4 – Southern Methodist University, Dallas
- No. 5 – Baylor University, Waco
- No. 6 – Texas Christian University, Fort Worth
- No. 7 – The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson
- No. 8 – University of Houston
- No. 9 – Texas Tech University, Lubbock
- No. 10 – University of St. Thomas, Houston
The full rankings can be found on usnews.com.
in her tour era
The famously pink Hello Kitty Cafe Truck is making its way down to Austin in October for a special day of treats and cartoon cat collectibles.
The cutesy vehicle will bring a horde of new Hello Kitty clothing, plushies, and accessories to The Domain from 10 am to 7 pm on October 14.
Among the new items is a bright pink tote bag with rainbow straps and desserts decorating the front, an assortment of Hello Kitty baked goods, and a transparent coffee mug with sprinkles in the handle and different desserts printed on glass body. Visitors can also snag an adorable lunchbox and a 18-ounce or 32-ounce stainless steel rainbow thermos.
The bright pink reusable tote bag has rainbow straps.Photo courtesy of Sanrio
As for the hand-decorated baked goods, guests can expect to see Hello Kitty's classic friends Keroppi the frog and Chococat appear on petit fours. The leading lady appears on miniature cakes, a giant sugar cookie, small box sets of madeleines, and French macarons.
The popular attraction has been touring around the country for nearly a decade, drawing crowds of thousands of people every year. Austin will be its third Texas stop on the tour, before it visits San Antonio's North Star Mall on Tuesday, October 21.
As a note, the cafe truck only accepts debit or credit cards, and not cash.
Other Texas cities on the tour route include:
- September 30 – Arlington
- October 7 – Houston
- October 21 — San Antonio
- October 28 – El Paso