Photo courtesy of Rowing Dock

Austinites are blessed with a gorgeous Texas spring that really brings out the beauty of nature in the city. Hiking the greenbelt, paddleboarding on the lake, even doing yoga at Zilker Park are all great ways to connect with Mother Nature. Getting to know some fellow Austinites in the process doesn’t hurt, either.

If you’re looking to get active within your local community during this upcoming Earth Day weekend, here are some events happening around town that are perfect for our spring weather.

All month long

Next Level Burger’s milkshake partnership with The Ocean Blue Project
What’s Earth Day without a vegan treat? For every organic ocean blue banana shake sold during April, Next Level Burger will donate $1 to The Ocean Blue Project, which removes plastic from the ocean. The hand-spun organic ocean blue banana shake is made with soy or coconut soft-serve ice cream, bananas, blue spirulina, and topped with vegan whipped cream and vegan gummy fish candy.

Friday, April 21

Rowing Dock’s Earth Day Lake and Land Clean Up
Austin’s women-owned paddlecraft rental company Rowing Dock is hosting the city’s largest clean-up initiative on Friday, April 21. Now in its second year, the annual clean-up event removes thousands of pounds of trash from Lady Bird Lake and nearby trails. Volunteers can participate in any two-hour time slot at 9:30 am, 12 pm, and 2:30 pm and work to win prizes for the most trash collected and the weirdest Austin item found during the day. All volunteers will receive a free t-shirt, refreshments, and food from several Austin vendors. This event is free to the public, and volunteers can register online at rowingdock.com.

Saturday, April 22

Luxe Refill’s Earth Day Celebration
The city’s first zero-waste refill store is highlighting the importance of eliminating single-use plastics with their own celebration from 11 to 6 pm. Festivities include live music, local vendors, free drinks, giveaways, and doorbuster prizes for the first 10 shoppers in line. If you bring your own reusable container, you’ll receive a discount. This event is free to the public. RSVP on Eventbrite.

The Trail Conservancy’s first-ever Earth Day Jubilee
The Earth Day Jubilee is a community event celebrating the ecological impact of Butler Trail that will take place at International Shores from 10 am to 2 pm. Live music will be performed by SaulPaul, Mr. Will, and Jeska Forsyth. Families can participate in creative eco-workshops and interactive activities led by The Trail Conservancy, Austin Parks and Recreation Department, the Mexican American Cultural Center, Austin Bat Refuge, and more. While you’re there, you can also meet and snap photos with baby goats. Food trucks will be provided on-site. This event is free to the public.

Lakeway’s Earth Day Volunteer Clean Up Event
Residents wanting to celebrate Earth Day “The Lake Way” can volunteer to participate in the city’s trash pick-up event along local roadways and parks from 11 am to 1 pm. All necessary tools and safety vests will be provided, as well as a map. Lunch, snacks, and Earth Day surprises will be available. Volunteers can register at lakeway-tx.gov.

St. Elmo Brewing Company’s Earth Day Planting Party
One of Austin’s favorite brewing companies is hosting their inaugural Earth Day planting party on-site from 11 am to 2 pm. The Central Texas Mycological Society will host Mushroom Bingo from 1-2 pm, and guests can also participate in a trash pick-up “hike” around the beer garden. Complimentary beers and hop water will be available for all participants, as well as tools and supplies to get starting on your gardening adventure. This event is free to the public. Registration is available on Eventbrite.

Brave Ceramics’ Pints and Pottery at St. Elmo
While you’re enjoying your hop water or fave St. Elmo’s brew during their planting party, you can take a break to paint some pottery with Brave Ceramics from 12 pm to 1:30 pm. Participants can choose from a four inch ($25) or six inch ($30) Brave-made planter to decorate and take home with them, no extra kiln firing required. Tickets are required for this event and can be purchased on braveceramics.com.

Snooze A.M.’s Earth Day Tree Planting Celebration
Snooze has been planting trees for every employee on Earth Day since 2017, but this year they’re taking a new approach. They’ve partnered with their Guatemalan coffee supplier La Bolsa Coffee Farm to plant over 3,000 trees. Additionally, Snooze will plant a tree on behalf of every MySnooze Bennyfits member that dines at Snooze on Earth Day.

Sunday, April 23

Puerto Rican Cultural Center’s 6th Earth Day Celebration
Families and friends are invited to dance and sing songs in Taíno dedicated to Atabey (also known as Mother Earth, or the goddess of freshwater) under the pecan trees at the Puerto Rican Cultural Center from 2-5 pm. There will be special performances and interactive activities by Skye Howell, Marcia Beckford, the Central Texas Master Naturalist, and more. This event is free to the public. More information can be found on prfdance.org.

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'Top Chef' contestant and Tiny Grocer hero open new restaurant in Hyde Park after long wait


Anyone who woke up on the wrong side of the bed today should consider hustling over to the new side of the renovated Hyde Park post office. Formerly just a government building, on October 3 it welcomes French bistro Bureau de Poste and the second location of the extremely popular Austin shop, Tiny Grocer.

Bureau de Poste was preceded by much excitement, thanks to the stellar reputations of Tiny Grocery founder Steph Steele and Top Chef contestant Jo Chan. The new location at 4300 Speedway combines the local favorite grocery store with a more robust menu and seating than the original deli — although it, too, will serve made-to-order sandwiches and pre-made items.

Bureau de Poste Austin dishes

Photo by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Now grocery shopping comes with a side of delicious French food.

The grocery portion will sell more than 3,000 products curated by Steele, alongside a coffee bar, wine, and Swedish Hill and Gati gluen-free pastries. The floral, kids, pets, and nonalcoholic beverages (including mixers) will be larger than the original store. Notably, it is the first-ever outside retailer for Made In cookware.

The restaurant portion elevates the concept from a shopping destination to a place to sit and spend some time. Chef Jo Chan, best known for work at one of Austin's fanciest restaurants, Eberly, and her time on the cooking competition, now debuts some of her more international tastes that she recently developed while traveling. Some of the very French dishes on the menu include escargot, French onion soup, and beef tartare.

The sides come together over a desire to build a community gathering place and be deeply involved not just with the quality, but with the customers. Of course, Tiny Grocer already has its loyal fans, and a grocery store always lends itself to repeat visitors; the duo hopes that Bureau de Poste will also start accumulating some regulars.

Some more dishes to note: A release claims that Bureau de Poste will be the first restaurant in town that offers skate (a ray-like fish) regularly, and Chan's roast chicken partially recreates famous dishes from Zuni Café and Barbuto, where Chan used to run the kitchen.

The clafoutis — a baked custard with seasonal fruit and crème fraiche whip — is the chef's tribute to famous chef Julia Child, who was known for making French cooking approachable to Americans at home. (Austin only has one degree of separation from Child, whose book inspired Austin-born blogger Julie Foster to learn to cook in a personal triumph that later became a memoir and a feature film.)

Best of all, if guests were particularly charmed by an ingredient at the restaurant, they may sometimes find it on the grocery shelves.

Bureau de Poste will operate daily from 5-10 pm, with an additional brunch service on weekends from 10 am to 3 pm. Tiny Grocer operates 8 am to 10 pm daily. More information about Tiny Grocer is available at tinygrocer.com, and more information about Bureau de Poste is availalbe at bureaudeposteatx.com. Reserve on OpenTable.

Magnolia's big fall festival, last-ditch winery trips, ghost tours, and more Texas travel tidbits in October

where to travel right now

Fall is finally here, and with the (hopefully) cooler temps will come the chance to get outside and enjoy autumn activities all around Texas. Can't decide where to take a quick vacation, road trip, or staycation? Here are 11 events, special celebrations, and hotel happenings to help plan a getaway in October.

Throughout Texas

If searching for beautiful leaves around Texas is at the top of the priority list, cabin rental agency Smoky Mountains' fall foliage prediction map is the perfect guide to help estimate when the leaves will begin changing throughout the state and the U.S. The map predicts most of Texas will have minimal-to-patchy changing leaves by the end of October, and most of the state's trees will be at their color-changing peak in November.

Dallas-based luxury bus operator Vonlane added 60 new weekly departures to meet anticipated high demand for the fall travel season. There are now more than 430 trips per week departing Vonlane hubs in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. Travelers can book their trips online for both one-way or round-trips, with fares beginning at $119.

Two unmistakable cutesy pink trucks are going on tour throughout Texas this month, with stops in several major cities. That's right – the cult craze Hello Kitty Cafe Truck and Barbie Truck are bringing a horde of new branded clothing and accessories to adoring fans in Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. Austinites can visit The Domain to catch the Barbie Truck on October 7, and return the following weekend to say hi to Hello Kitty on the 14th.

In Waco

The annual Magnolia Silobration at The Silos will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Chip and Joanna Gaines' Waco-based home design and lifestyle empire from October 19-21. Fixer Upper fans can visit the Silos to enjoy a three-day adventure of local artisan and food vendors, live music performances, shopping, and more. The festival is free, but note that certain ticketed experiences like the 20th anniversary tour, weekend rooftop passes, and Evenings with Chip and Jo are sold out.

Along the Gulf Coast

What better way to celebrate the arrival of spooky season than by seeking out haunted ghost experiences in Corpus Christi? The Heritage Park Museum will showcase four reportedly haunted houses, and phantom chasers will delight in visiting the U.S.S. Lexington during the "Haunting on the Blue Ghost" event, October 6-31, to glimpse any ghostly crew members lurking about the vessel. The abandoned Nueces County Courthouse also has some ghouls of its own, with reports of voices, noises, and screams being heard following a hurricane that devastated the area more than a century ago.

Summer might be over, but a trip to the beach is always in the cards on South Padre Island. The annual Sandcastle Days falls on October 5-8, drawing the attention of sandcastle-building experts, food and craft vendors, and free family-friendly entertainment. Then, from October 19-21, classic cars and motorcycles rev up the brand new Chrome in the Sand Festival. The weekend will consist of live performances, car shows, a poker tournament, and more. Tickets for the Chrome in the Sand Festival begin at $20 for general admission, $55 for VIP, and $500 for VIP tables.

In the Hill Country

It's never too late for a day by the pool, and the luxurious Lantana Spa at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa has opened reservations for its renovated pool cabanas with a special VIP poolside service and deluxe amenities. The private, two-person Canyons, Preserve, and Oaks Spa Cabanas each include unlimited mimosa service, shaded seating and chaise lounges, a dedicated server from 11 am to 5 pm, and more. Cabana reservations can be made by resort guests or in addition to a spa service, and rates begin at $400.

Nonprofit trade association Texas Hill Country Wineries is bringing back its Texas Wine Month passport this month for a self-guided journey through 45 local wineries with special discounts scattered along the way. With participating estates scattered throughout popular weekend destinations like Fredericksburg, Johnson City, and New Braunfels, it’s a chance to explore the Hill Country and soak in those autumn vibes. Wine passport-holders can visit up to four wineries daily to get the most out of a weekend getaway. Individual passes are $85, and couples' passes are $120.

Speaking of wineries, one Marble Falls-based winery is hosting regular events throughout October, which is perfect for those holding a Texas Wine Month passport. Every Saturday and Sunday, folks can venture out to Flat Creek Estates & Vineyard for their effervescent Bubbles and Brunch from 11 am to 3 pm. And if the trip transforms from a brunch outing into an all-day affair, guests catch live music from local Texas bands during the winery's weekend music series from 2-6 pm. Ernie Vasquez and Evan Grubbs are scheduled the weekend of October 7-8, and Stephen Daly and Andrew Lopez will play on the weekend of October 14-15.

Around Austin

It's finally festival season in our great city, beginning with the iconic Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park for two consecutive weekends from October 6-8 and 13-15. Luckily for travelers, CultureMap's got the scoop on all things ACL – from can't-miss acts, to new eats, and more. One-day general admission tickets begin at $170. Weekend One tickets are waitlisted, but there are still one-day general admission tickets available for Weekend Two. Weekend passes for both weekends are waitlisted.

Following ACL, Austin will race to the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas from October 20-22. Red Bull Racing has already won the 2023 Constructors' Championship after its longstanding driver Max Verstappen won the Japanese Grand Prix, and Verstappen is well in the lead to win his third-consecutive World Drivers' Championship title. Three-day general admission wristbands are $475, two-day GA is $425, and three-day parking passes are $275.

Office sexual politics rear their ugly head in Netflix's Fair Play

Movie Review

The career of Alden Ehrenreich has – so far – been one without much progress. He was the star of Beautiful Creatures 10 years ago, a film that made little impact. Since then, he’s been in a Woody Allen movie, a Coen Brothers movie, and played a young Han Solo, none of which made him a star. After a few years away from movies, he’s back with a bang in 2023, with roles in Cocaine Bear, Oppenheimer, and now Netflix’s Fair Play.

Ehrenreich plays Luke, who’s in a relationship with Emily (Phoebe Dynevor), which they must keep secret because of a no-fraternization policy at the hedge fund where they both work. Working in finance, both are naturally ambitious, although Luke is a bit more naked in his desires. When Emily gets promoted ahead of Luke, he is at first is supportive, but is soon unable to hide his jealousy.

Written and directed by Chloe Domont in her feature film debut, the film tracks the devolution of Luke and Emily’s relationship, going from hot and heavy to heavily antagonistic. The sexual politics at play in the story are front and center, with Emily being the lone visible woman working in an otherwise all-male office. Luke initially bristles at whispers that Emily was promoted for reasons other than her financial skills, but working as her underling starts to bring out the worst in him.

Because Luke and Emily start the film as equals, the power dynamics take on an unusual form. Emily arguably does much more for Luke after her promotion than he would for her if the roles were reversed, sometimes to her own detriment. His blindness to her helpfulness, which eventually turns to suspicion, speaks volumes about the fragile ego of many men.

Another type of reversal is the sexuality depicted in the film. Most films of this type build up to the big sex sequences, using them as a culmination of a particular relationship. But Domont starts the film with them, and uses the absence of them later on as a way to denote how much Luke and Emily have drifted from each other.

It’s understandable why Domont set the film in a hedge fund, given the disparity between men and women in the field. But the scenes in which the employees, led by boss Campbell (Eddie Marsan), talk about the intricacies of their work just don’t pop, mostly because the dense terminology feels like the characters are speaking a foreign language.

Ehrenreich and Dynevor (best known for Bridgerton) each start off great, but as the film goes along and they’re required to get increasingly histrionic, they both become less believable. Domont saves most of the drama for the film’s final act; if the film was more balanced in its ups and downs, the two leads might have been able to even out their performances as well.

Still, the film has a propulsion to it that keeps it interesting, and the intensity of the final sequence is sufficient to forgive any earlier missteps. And, unfortunately yet again for Ehrenreich, it’s Dynevor who leaves the bigger impression, making a case that she should get many more lead roles in the future.


Fair Play is now playing in select theaters; it debuts on Netflix on October 6.

Alden Ehrenreich and Phoebe Dynevor in Fair Play

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Alden Ehrenreich and Phoebe Dynevor in Fair Play.