Photo courtesy of Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

PurpleStride Austin gathers people together to raise awareness and funding to further advance pancreatic cancer research. Pancreatic cancer, the third leading cause of all cancer related deaths in the United States, continues to have an alarming five-year survival rate (below 12%). PurpleStride Austin is a family-friendly event where everyone is welcome.

Photo courtesy of Susan G. Komen

Susan G. Komen Big Pink Give Gala

The 10th annual Big Pink Give Gala fundraiser will benefit Susan G. Komen, the world’s leading breast cancer organization. This year’s event will honor Nasreen Shahi, fashion influencer and writer of HeyNasreen for her contributions to the breast cancer community as she thrives and shares her journey living with stage IV triple positive breast cancer.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will advance Komen’s mission and fund groundbreaking research that brings us closer to the cures.

Photo courtesy of The Kindness Campaign

The Kindness Campaign presents Art of Kindness Gala

The Art of Kindness Gala will be an evening celebration for sponsors and their guests. The event will feature live entertainment, delicious food from Contigo Catering, an auction, and impactful stories. Following the event, there will be an afterparty exclusive for sponsors. This event will be co-chaired by Austin community leaders, Lisa Jauregui and Susan Thomson.

Photo courtesy of The Filigree Theatre

The Filigree Theatre presents Gold & Silver Gala

The Filigree Theatre's Gold & Silver Gala will celebrate the conclusion of their fourth season and to look ahead to the upcoming Fifth Anniversary Season. The dress code will be black tie and the event will include hors d'oeuvres and desserts, champagne, raffle prizes, a silent auction, and live musical performances.

The event takes place in Tudor Cottage at Pease District Park.

Photo by Hunter Townsend

Texas chefs sizzle into Austin this spring for annual fundraising cookout

It's alive

If you think Austin doesn’t have a most-anticipated celebration of beef, think again. That’s the title Live Fire (stylized Live Fire!) claims while announcing its return on April 6 to Camp Mabry, the Austin military base hosting star chefs for an evening of cooking over an open flame. This is the best kind of bonfire: one catered by James Beard nominees, Top Chef contestants, and more Central Texas favorites.

Aside from celebrating beef, this event by the Texas Food and Wine Alliance (TWFA) raises funds for its culinary grant program, which supports Texans in many subsets of the culinary industry including farmers, chefs, winemakers, and more, as long as their projects benefit their surrounding communities. By 2022, the grant had awarded $532,500 to stoke the flames of these initiatives.

The event will spotlight food as well as wine, beer, and cocktails. This may sound familiar to people who visited the Austin Food + Wine Festival in the fall, which annually benefits the same organization.

Chefs are bringing the heat from across the state (and a couple even farther beyond) for this evening of collaborative outdoor cooking. More will be announced soon.

The first round of Live Fire chefs includes:

  • Damien Brockway — Distant Relatives (2020 TFWA Grant Winner, Austin)
  • Marlon Rison — Community Vegan (2022 TFWA Grant Winner, Austin)
  • Jakub Czyszczon — Garrison (Austin)
  • Aaron Franklin & Rene Garza — Uptown Sports Club (Austin)
  • Kareem El-Ghayesh — KG BBQ (Austin)
  • Robert Hale — Texas Beef Council (Austin)
  • Jess Pryles – Hardcore Carnivore (Austin)
  • Anne Ng & Jeremy Mandrell — Bakery Lorraine (Austin & San Antonio)
  • Tiffany Derry — Roots Southern Table (Farmers Branch)
  • Jennifer Hwa Dobbertin — Best Quality Daughter (San Antonio)
  • Max Frisbie — Mill Scale Metal Works (Lockhart)
  • Evelyn Garcia & Henry Lu — By Kin (Houston)
  • Elvia Huerta & Alex Garcia — Evil Cooks (Los Angeles)
  • Olivia Lopez & Jonathan Percival — Molino Olōyō (Dallas)
  • Serigne Mbaye — Dakar (New Orleans)
  • Anastacia Quiñones-Pittman — José (Dallas)

"This year’s Live Fire! lineup features some of the most electrifying chefs in America," said TFWA executive director Erika White in a press release, "We’re fired up to show Austin everything they have to offer.”

A VIP experience will expand the tasting event to a “midcentury supper club,” featuring cocktail carts, flaming desserts, and, presumably, more beef and seafood, simply referred to as “surf” and “turf” separately. Houston heads with experience with the input of three chefs: Aaron Bludorn of Navy Blue, Drake Leonards of Eunice, and Becky Masson of Fluff Bake Bar.

Live Fire will be held on March 6, from 6:30-9 pm. Tickets ($125 general admission, $175 VIP) are available now on Eventbrite. All proceeds benefit the culinary grant program by the Texas Food and Wine Alliance.

Photo courtesy of Garrison Brothers Distillery

Garrison Brothers Distillery presents Salud to the Lone Star

Garrison Brothers Distillery will host Salud to the Lone Star, a celebration and fundraiser for The Remember the Alamo Foundation. There will be live music, food, and activities, including priority access to purchase a limited edition “Remember the Alamo” Single Barrel bottle, hand-selected by Donnis Todd.

Tickets include a lunch of six classic Texas dishes by Chef Jack, armadillo races, beer from Independence Brewing and wine from Hilmy Cellars. Music will be provided by The Patrick B. Ray Trio and Jomo & The Possum Posse.

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Behind the scenes with the photo studio that captured Austin's attention at SXSW

ATX Exposure

Nativas Studios has been on 5th Street since last summer, but it was all-in street marketing during South by Southwest (SXSW) that brought its biggest crowds. Co-owner and stylist Liz Valadez stationed her husband at the door like a town crier offering free professional headshots, which the team turned out in minutes flat. This, the founders decided, would mark the studio’s official launch.

Inside were Valadez herself, co-owner and photographer Richelle Monae, and their favorite makeup artist, Angelo Pegran, each working on different steps of an editorial process sped up for curious crowds.

“It was so cool just to see how, when people actually said that they were going to go, that they showed up,” says Monae, marveling over the reliability of Austinites they met at the chaotic festival, and perhaps forgetting that free headshots are a contemporary holy grail.

The Nativas creators, from Los Angeles, are still getting used to their new surroundings. It was a trial by fire — or more accurately, ice — when the two first arrived in 2021 with their partners, considering a personal move before the photo idea was even born. Staying in an Airbnb, the group had its first impression of the Texas city completely overwritten by Winter Storm Uri.

Thankfully, the house was close enough to the hospital that its power never went out, so the visitors hosted friends in the area who weren’t so lucky. Stuck inside, they discovered a treasure trove of costumes and had such a morale-boosting photoshoot that it became a professional genesis. When Nativas was ready for business, the friends’ shared real estate agent was their first client.

“What we learned from doing this and [about] people from Austin,” Monae concluded, “is the amount of support — just how amazing people really are.”

Given more time than the hectic pace that day allowed, the Nativas Team is all about folding clients into a professional experience without assuming any prior experience or modeling prowess. It starts with a consultation, then moves through talks about wardrobe — either selecting the client's pieces or using Valadez’s resources — and even vision boards. When it comes time to shoot, the client gets a modeling lesson and a killer playlist.

In our very short, impromptu window before I had to run to a different reservation, Monae cued me to think of my favorite celebrity, and embody them. My frazzled mind went directly to Liam O’Brien, a voice actor I don’t think I would ever look like in a photo. I crossed my arms in an O’Brienish way. It’s not how I would normally choose to be represented in a photo, but an interesting departure from my usual instinct.

Breaking through the clients’ preexisting mentality is not just Nativas’ mission, but both creators’ raison d'être. Both Latinas from families with native heritage, they point out a generational pattern they’ve noticed.

“A lot of times when you're born into a situation, you think that situation defines who you are,” says Monae. “And then you get stuck in that conversation, and it's a conversation that you didn't even make up. It's a conversation that was generations before youm, from your mom and from…your mom's mom's mom.”

Valadez co-signs the thought. “If you start thinking of yourself in that [limited] manner, then your pictures are not going to look good. We're not therapists, but we definitely want to be able to help them facilitate [change] by the outside, and the inside, and the voices in your head.”

Much like Queer Eye ethos that swept the world up in a supportive embrace, this philosophy, the Nativas team hopes, will empower clients to see themselves in a new light, then carrying that confidence onward to more real-world achievements.

Nativas hopes clients will use photos for more charismatic corporate headshots, dating profiles, and creative self-promotion. To help build up the latter portfolio and help visiting artists during SXSW, the team set up free shoots for Austin local Moody Bank$, South African singer-songwriter Manny Walters, and Norwegian alt-pop duo Ask Carol.

A photoshoot at Nativas Studios is inherently flexible, so the team is still nailing down its pricing. So far, a three-look photoshoot inclusive of all planning, styling, and makeup starts at $800. Because Nativas hopes to work with creatives, it will also factor in some sliding scale negotiations to work with clients who are still getting established.

More information about Nativas Studios is available at nativasstudios.com.

Shiner Beer crafts new barbecue joint at iconic Texas brewery

Shiner BBQ

Lewis and Clark, Sonny and Cher, SpongeBob and Patrick. Duos float in and out of pop culture at hummingbird speed. But few have quite as much staying power as beer and barbecue. So, it’s only natural that one of Texas’ most iconic breweries would want to break out the smoker.

According to a release, Shiner Beer is untapping a new market with the April 1 grand opening of K. Spoetzl BBQ Co. Housed at the newly expanded Spoetzl Brewery, the eatery will welcome carnivores seven days a week.

Pitmaster Tommy Schuette, the former proprietor of the Shiner Barbeque Co., will lead the charge with the state’s holy trinity of smoked meats, including brisket, sausage, and ribs. Other favorites like pulled pork and chicken will be served alongside a meaty assortment of salads, loaded potatoes, and sandwiches.

Of course, no Texas barbecue joint can get away with skimping on the sides. Potato salad and pinto beans are served throughout the week, but weekend guests get a little extra. Diners can also opt for green beans, coleslaw, creamed corn, and giblet rice from Thursday through Saturday.

In celebration of K. Spoetzl BBQ’s debut, samples will be passed out between 10:30 am-6 pm on April 1. QR codes will also be scattered across the grounds giving visitors a chance to win gift cards, shirts, hats, and more. Diners will also be given a free beer token for every $25 spent at the restaurant that day.

In addition, budding influencers can post a picture of Schuette to social media to get a coupon for 10 percent off. (As a rule, pitmasters do not need a yassify filter.)

After the grand opening celebration, K. Spoetzl BBQ will be open daily. Hours are 10 am-4 pm, so plan accordingly.

Ethan Hawke explores Paul Newman's West at special Austin Film Society screenings

Paul Newman's West

Lucky local cinephiles enjoyed a uniquely Austin experience this week at a special series hosted by the Austin Film Society. Taking place March 24-26 at the AFS Cinema, the program featured five Westerns featuring Paul Newman. Austin-born actor Ethan Hawke introduced each film in the series, adding context from Newman's life based on research he did for his recent HBO docuseries, The Last Movie Stars.

Hawke co-curated the series with AFS Head of Film Holly Herrick, with participation from AFS Lead Film Programmer Lars Nilsen. The five films in the program included: The Left Handed Gun, Hombre, Hud, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean,and Buffalo Bill and the Indians. With the exception of Buffalo Bill and the Indians, the films were shown in 35mm for an extra dose of nostalgia.

Giving the series the unofficial subtitle of "Paul Newman's Personal War with John Wayne," Hawke framed Newman's performances as substitutes for the previously established archetypes of earlier Westerns. Whereas Wayne's Westerns played into mythological portrayals of the American frontier, Newman's Westerns present more anti-heroic characters. Most of the films — if not all five — were neither box office successes nor critically acclaimed, but each one pushed the boundaries of its genre to present timeless elements audiences can still enjoy today.

After screenings of Hombre (March 25) and The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (March 26), Hawke joined Adam Piron (Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma and Mohawk), Director of the Sundance Institute's Indigenous Program, for deep dives on each film. The discussions gave viewers the chance to hear even more about Hawke's research in his recent docuseries and engage with some of the more difficult themes in the films.

For Hombre, the pair touched on how they felt Newman and director Martin Ritt's work on the film was an attempt to change cultural conversations around Indigenous communities. Hawke said, "I think [Newman and Ritt] are talking to white people ... and trying to wake them up at a place where they're available to be woken up, from the inside." With regards to one of the film's final scenes,Piron added: "It's Newman and Ritt's way of saying — in terms of a larger history of American genocide with Indigenous people — we have to give back what's of value that we've taken... "

Following The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, the pair explored Newman's portrayal of the masculine identity in Westerns. Referring to the film's cast and director John Huston, Hawke said, "These are some of the most macho guys you can imagine, and so you're like, do they even get the joke? We're not sure. They must; there's a certain intelligence to everything John Huston did."

Hawke also elaborated on Newman's relationship to fame and celebrity as seen through his performances in the Westerns chosen for the series: "There's this thing about celebrity that puts you in a glass box … One of the reasons why I like Newman in this movie is because it's him tapping with a hammer really hard on that box going, 'I'm not Paul Newman. I am a human being, and I'm going to be weird.' ... If you're not an actor, you don't know the pressure that gets put on performers to play into their mythology … That's why I love him, and that's why I care about him, care about his work, is because he's constantly breaking out of it … "

Through his research, Hawke said you can see Newman start making peace with that celebrity status in the latter part of his career: "He starts to allow himself to play likable characters again, and I find that kinda touching too in a personal way. He's really resisting being Paul Newman in these [Westerns], and I both love that and am happy he later decided it was OK to be Paul Newman."

Austinites who missed the series can still dive into Newman's career in The Last Movie Stars: Directed by Hawke, the six-part documentary on HBO chronicles Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward’s iconic careers and decades-long partnership.

Ethan Hawke

Courtesy Austin Film Society

Hawke added context to each film based on research he did for his HBO docuseries, The Last Movie Stars about Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.