Austin Television Festival/Facebook

Star-studded television moments, lots of live music, and free festivities are at the top of our agenda in the coming off-duty days. Stretch your savings a bit with a hefty number of happenings that cost you nothing but your well-spent time. Check out the top seven things to do in Austin this weekend. For a full list of events, visit our calendar.

Thursday, June 1

ATX Television Festival
The highly-anticipated ATX Television Festival returns for another year. Festival programming has been thoughtfully curated in cooperation with the current Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike. Highlights of the four-day event include a screening from Season 3 of HBO's The Righteous Gemstones with cast members in attendance; a conversation with the cast and showrunner ofGrown-ish; a discussion about the ongoing writers strike; and more. For badges and scheduling information, go to atxfestival.com.

LBJ Presidential Library presents"Y'all Means All" — Night at the Museum
Round up family and friends for a day of inclusion and community at LBJ Presidential Library. Visitors can connect with participating organizations to gather knowledge, make new friends, and revel in the spirit of togetherness in a safe and educationally-appropriate space. Festivities include door prizes, interactive exercises, refreshments, and live music on the LBJ Library Plaza. Admission to this event is free and open to the public. All ages are welcome to attend.

Friday, June 2

Moody Center presents Billy Strings in concert
The Moody Center welcomes Bluegrass artist Billy Strings to the stage for two back-to-back evenings of live music. The Grammy-winning guitarist has released three albums throughout his career, including 2021’s Renewal. He was also the top pick for many concert-goers at Austin City Limits Festival in 2022. Check out seating availability on Ticketmaster.

ATX Television Festival, ATX TV Festival
Austin Television Festival/Facebook
In light of the TV writers strike, an Austin TV festival has made major changes to its schedule.

Saturday, June 3

Travis County Parks Foundation presents For The Love of Parks
Bask in the wide open spaces of Richard Moya Park at the inaugural For The Love of Parks event, in honor of the new Travis County Parks Foundation, which aims to direct efforts from individuals and nonprofits to expand the accessibility of local parks. Highlights include kids' activities, food truck offerings, and live music by Del Castillo. Get a full schedule of programming at traviscountyparksfoundation.org. Admission is free and open to the public.

Sunday, June 4

Hill Country Galleria presents Bee Cave Farmers Market Opening Day
The first fresh and locally-grown produce of the season is on fully harvested display in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Experience the new Bee Cave Farmers Market on opening day. Guests can also peruse and purchase a variety of prepared foods and goods while enjoying live musical entertainment. Get more information at hillcountrygalleria.com.

The Gallery ATX presents Art in ATX: Pride Market
Batch Craft Beer & Kolaches hosts a free outdoor market just in time for Pride Month. Guests can shop wares, fare, and handcrafted goods from more than 20 featured queer artists based in the Austin community. Stick around all afternoon to enjoy live music by Javijuu, Female Gallery, and DJ Damino.

Moody Center presents Janet Jackson in concert
Legendary singer-songwriter Janet Jackson blazes the stage at Moody Center for one night only. The entertainer taps Austin as part of her concert tour, Together Again, which celebrates her 50th anniversary as a pillar in the entertainment industry. Fans can expect a packed setlist featuring her biggest chart-topping hits, new music, and tracks from two of her most popular albums, The Velvet Rope and janet, respectively. Get more information on Ticketmaster.

Photo courtesy of Republic Records

Groundbreaking singer and actor Billy Porter discusses music, his Austin tour stop, and more

The Porter Portal

When Billy Porter arrives in May, Austinites will know. Not much of a wallflower, the singer and actor (just an "O" away from "EGOT"), is known for bombastic entrances, vulnerable and groundbreaking characters, and red carpet showstoppers.

In case anyone is drawing a blank on any part of Porter's decades-long resume when the "Oh my God, there's Billy Porter" whispers start circulating, the star is coming to Texas with a career retrospective in the form of a pop concert. The Austin stop of the Black Mona Lisa Tour: Volume 1 will be at the Paramount Theatre on May 9.

Porter's early fame was mostly on Broadway, first as Teen Angel in the 1994 revival of Grease and later as drag queen Lola, star of Kinky Boots. Now audiences' freshest impressions of Porter are likely from Pose, a fictional TV series about ballroom culture and gender identity in the 80s, in which the actor played a barbed, but loyal and passionate emcee called Pray Tell.

The show garnered praise for, among many other achievements, bringing the AIDS epidemic to the forefront in an art — drag — that is becoming more and more mainstream in TV adaptations. Porter later shared that his personal experience with HIV, which he had kept quiet for more than a decade, motivated parts of his performance. On April 12, the Hollywood Reporter announced that Porter will play writer and activist James Baldwin in an upcoming feature film.

Queerness, Blackness, and shades of masculinity are nearly always at the center of Porter's work, and music binds it all together. Porter's first album, Untitled, announced the singer to the pop world for the first time in 1997, but since then, most of his musical achievements have been singles, covers, and original performances of works written by other composers. This retrospective tour shares a name with an upcoming album, Black Mona Lisa, that will re-introduce the iconic singer to the pop music space. Things there are warming up already with the release of his new single, "Baby Was A Dancer," a contemporary disco track delivering an uplifting allegory about Porter's personal trajectory.

CultureMap spoke with Porter about the show at the Paramount Theatre, the single and upcoming album, and the healing he hopes to contribute through his music.

CultureMap: How many costumes do you have for this tour?
BP: Oh, I don’t know. [Laughs.] I’m still working on that. I’ll be changing a couple of times, but … I’m focused on the music.

CM: What do you identify with in the Mona Lisa?
BP: Mona Lisa is past, present, and future. She’s relevant always and forever. That’s me — that’s what I do.

CM: You’ve shared that the goal of this album is to provide healing. What are some of the healing elements of the music itself?
BP: Well, the intention is in the writing, in the lyrics, in the hope of the lyrics, in the joy in the lyrics, and in the melodies; this album is very intentional. And I love it. So I hope everybody else is gonna love it too.

CM: Can we expect more original music like "Baby Was A Dancer" in this album?
BP: Yeah, it's all original music. It's a new pop album. Everything is new, everything is original, and I wrote all but one song with amazing writing teams [including] Justin Tranter, the late, great Andrea Martin, and MNEK.

CM: That single is in the third person. What inspired that angle versus something more confessional and raw?
BP: There's a lot of confessional and raw on the album. ["Baby Was A Dancer"] is about transcending the haters and dancing your way to heaven anyway. So it's just fun to speak in third person because you're sort of presenting [the story] — it's presentational that way.

CM: The show references a lot that people will recognize, and you have a memoir already out called Unprotected. Is there anything that you're telling audiences for the first time?
BP: Well, not really. However, because I exist in so many different creative spaces, those spaces don't always speak to each other. I spent the first 25 years of my career trying to get people to take me seriously as an actor. And now that I have, I've read comments online, like, “Oh, I didn't know Pray Tell could sing.” So it's a bit of an education that's getting ready to happen — for some people.

It’s not a musical theater show even though I'm a theater artist. My very first album came out in 1997 on A&M Records. It was an R&B soul record. The industry was very homophobic at the time, so it didn't work out for me [then]. And now I get a second chance in the mainstream [pop] music industry.

CM: Is there a moment where you felt that switch happen, when you felt like you were in the mainstream?
BP: My whole career has sort of built on itself, and the tipping point — Malcolm Gladwell talks about the tipping point — came with the convergence of everything that had happened before. And then Pose. Pose was where I cracked open beyond the 10-block radius of Broadway.

CM: When you were putting together this show, were there any memories that you regained or connections you made?
BP: I wrote a memoir — I've been connected and reconnected, and been searching and finding things and stories to tell for … four years to write my book, so it wasn't anything new for me. The concert is going to be a retrospective … [and] a celebration of life, and love, and joy, and hope, and peace. My plan is to give the world a big bear hug, and try to help in the healing of our civilization, because we've all been through a collective trauma. We're all still in the middle of it. None of us are okay, and that's okay.

I'm going to do 10 songs from the new album. Then I go back to the 90s. I'm going to do some stuff from my first album, Untitled — I haven't performed anything from that live in decades. There was a lot of trauma connected to that, so I'm releasing that, then I'm doing a lot of the Broadway stuff, Kinky Boots, some political stuff, and some gospel stuff. The last 20 minutes, half hour, is a dance party.

CM: To me, you're known for camp, but you also embody really earnest emotion. How do you find the line between camp and earnestness?
BP: Well, I call it fabulous and serious. Camp is very specific. I'm actually not camp unless I need to be camp. But I'm fabulous; fabulous and serious at the same time. That's my brand. And that's what I'm trying to remind the world: The two things can coexist. One can be fabulous and serious at the same time. And that's what I am. It can be confusing sometimes. But I'm here to let you know, don't be confused. [Laughs] I'm very intelligent, I’m very smart — yes, I wear dresses. Yes, I can be silly. And I know what's going on in the world, and I can go and sit in front of Congress and speak. I'm proud of that.

CM: We saw a lot of that recently at the Capitol, here in Texas. We had some drag queens on the senate floor. You said on a news show that you were “one of the beneficiaries of a government that actually cared about its people,” and talked about the government “pouring into” you. What do you want to pour into Texans who are facing [identity and expression] restrictions right now?
BP: First of all, it's about us coming together as a collective. We're always better together. And we've been siloed in our own spaces because of COVID for years, and that has been exploited. [Then], it's the education. Those who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it. The young people weren't here for the civil rights movement; The young people weren't here for the AIDS crisis. Life is cyclical … and love always wins. It takes time.

Being 53 years old, I can look at this and go, I've been here before. I've seen this. And I know how it works out. We win. Look at Tennessee yesterday, and last week. We won't be silenced. We're back in a conservative era; We were in a very progressive era for decades and decades and decades. It's just a moment, and this too shall pass. But we have to engage and take “scary” and “terrified” out of the lexicon. No room for that.

CM: What kind of people do you really hope to see in the audience?
BP: Anybody and everybody. I don't have any definitions of who can be there. I want anybody and everybody who wants to be there, to be there.

This Q&A has been edited for length and readability. Tickets for the Paramount Theatre show are available at austintheatre.org.

Photo by Michael Discenza on Unsplash

Austin theater invites friends to pregame comedy festival shows on Big Gay Nights Out


So you broke out your fastest gay stride and you’re still late to the venue for the comedy show — no time to chat with your friends, and you’ve rendered them more escorts than show companions. Whether you’ve squandered your pre-planned social efforts or you don’t know anyone to bring to the show in the first place, Big Gay Nights Out are here to shift the focus to the pre-show routine.

The Paramount Theatre, founder and host of Moontower Just For Laughs Austin comedy fest, is teaming up with the Little Gay Shop to host a series of outings before the festival shows, as well as some other independent sets. Before each happy hour, there will be a chance to win tickets to each show from The Little Gay Shop and Paramount Theatre on Instagram.

Different spaces — the Paramount Theatre’s mezzanine Houdini Lounge, Stateside at the Paramount, and Moontower Comedy club spaces around town — will host hangs with music, specialty cocktails, and merch from the Little Gay Shop to serve as conversation starters for arts lovers before the show.

“We want you to get rowdy, we want you to feel comfortable, we want you to feel just how much this space is for you,” said Paramount marketing communications and partnerships manager Ryan Thompson. “It’s for the girls, the gays, the allies, the queers, and everyone in between.”

The Moontower Nights Out so far will precede six specific shows: “Cheers, Queers!” showcases at Creek & The Cave and Higbies, Guy Branum, Ashley Gavin, Y’all Gay Podcast Live, and Punkie Johnson. Paramount location Nights Out include Cameron Esposito, Billy Porter, Emily King. More will be announced soon.

“The Little Gay Shop exists to support and uplift queer identifying creatives in all mediums, so we are so excited to be partnering with the Paramount to continue this mission,” says Little Gay Shop co-founder and co-owner Justin Galicz. “For too long, queer artists, comics, musicians, performers, and creators have been overlooked, and underrepresented, so we are so excited to help break down these barriers to give them the recognition and platform they deserve.”

Anyone with a ticket to the corresponding show or a Moontower badge during the festival can arrive early to the pre-show space with no RSVP. Single tickets to the shows are available at austintheatre.org, through the Paramount Theatre box office, and via phone at (512) 474-1221.

Courtesy of H-E-B

Peek inside Austin's first 2-story H-E-B, 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. Peek inside Austin's first 2-story H-E-B, now open. The first multi-level H-E-B in Austin, the 97,000-square-foot store celebrated its official opening on February 15.

2. 2 Austin restaurants make Texas Monthly's list of best new spots in the state. The magazine says Maie Day "might be the most unexpected steakhouse in town," and Diner Bar is a "bastion of unpredictability."

3. Legendary author's personal estate set for auction at Central Texas gallery. The auction will feature a wide range of treasures, including personal copies of the author's books and memorabilia from his Hollywood productions.

4. Austin Modern Home Tour extends to the Hill Country with spectacular 2-day showcase. Taking place on February 25 and 26, the goal of the two tours is to showcase talented architects, designers, and developers in the Central Texas area.

5. Famous LGBTQIA+ barbershop from San Francisco starts shaving in Austin. Daddy's Barbershop chose Austin for its first expansion outside of California.

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4 Austin-inspired cocktail recipes to whisk you away from the Texas heat this summer


Now that summer weather has arrived in Austin, we can tell you’re thirsting for some new drinks to try. And with World Gin Day coming up on June 10, we’re sharing a few recipes from local Austin restaurants (and Austin’s favorite Topo Chico!) we hope you’ll enjoy.

The following recipes feature some of our favorite ingredients or mixers we’re loving at the moment. Whether your drink of choice is a cocktail or mocktail, we’ve gathered four bright and bubbly beverages to help whisk you away from the Texas heat. And if you prefer to drink them rather than make them, three of these lovely libations can be found on the seasonal summer menus at their respective restaurant.

Aba’s Rhubarb Rose Gin and Tonic
This cocktail was created by Senior Beverage Manager Thomas Mizuno-Moore.

½ oz lime juice
¼ oz honey syrup
½ oz Fruitful Mixology rhubarb liqueur
¾ oz Brockmans Gin
¾ oz Hendrick’s Flora Adora
2 oz tonic water
Rosebud tea, for garnish


  • Combine lime juice, honey syrup, Fruitful Mixology rhubarb liqueur, Brockmans Gin and Hendrick’s Flora Adora in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, shake until cold.
  • Add tonic water to the shaker, then strain over fresh ice in a double old fashioned glass.
  • Garnish with rosebud tea and enjoy!

Blueberry Sparkler Mocktail by Topo ChicoBecause everyone needs a good go-to mocktail recipe in their life.Photo courtesy of Topo Chico

Blueberry Sparkler Mocktail by Topo Chico
This beverage might not be gin-themed, but it does make a great refreshing mocktail. If you don’t have Topo Chico Sabores on hand, you can substitute it with sparkling water.

1 Blueberry Topo Chico Sabores
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ cup water
½ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
Lemon slices and additional blueberries, for garnish

Blueberry Syrup Directions:

  • In a small saucepan, combine the blueberries, sugar, and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the blueberries are soft and the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the blueberry mixture to cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Once cooled, use a fine-mesh strainer to strain the blueberry mixture into a bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the solids and set the blueberry syrup aside.

Mocktail Directions:

  • In a cocktail shaker, combine 1 ounce of the blueberry syrup, and lemon juice. Fill the shaker with ice and shake well until chilled, about 15-20 seconds.
  • Fill a glass with ice and strain the mixture into the glass. Top off the glass with Blueberry Topo Chico Sabores (or sparkling water) and give it a gentle stir to mix.
  • Garnish with lemon slices and additional blueberries, if desired. Enjoy your refreshing Blueberry Sparkler!

Tillie's seasonal summer cocktailThis colorful cocktail is a lively take on a gin martini.Photo courtesy of Tillie's at Camp Lucy

Empress Gin Martini by Tillie’s at Camp Lucy
This martini recipe was developed by Paolo Lazarich, the mixologist for Abbey Row Restaurant at The Old Bell Hotel in the United Kingdom. Fun fact: Camp Lucy owners Kim and White Hanks also own The Old Bell Hotel, which is rumored to be England’s oldest hotel.

3 oz Empress 1908 Gin
1 oz dry vermouth
Splash of lemon juice
Lemon and rosemary for garnish


  • Add the Empress 1908 Gin, dry vermouth, and lemon juice to a glass and stir gently.
  • Garnish with a lemon wedge and a sprig of rosemary. Enjoy.

\u200bSummertime Spritz by Dean's Italian Steakhouse There's nothing like a summer spritz.Photo courtesy of Dean's Italian Steakhouse

Summertime Spritz by Dean's Italian Steakhouse
This recipe is geared toward a mixologist who enjoys the little details that make a cocktail so unique, such as making their own oleo saccharum or curating the perfect flower as a garnish.

½ oz lemon juice
½ oz strawberry oleo saccharum
¼ oz Aperol
¼ oz Giffard Abricot
1.5 oz Zephyr Gin
2 oz Brut champagne
1 each cocktail flower


  • Combine all ingredients except Brut champagne into a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously, about 15-20 seconds.
  • Fill a wine glass with ice and add the Brut. Fine strain the cocktail into the glass.
  • Garnish with the cocktail flower

Extravagant estate in West Austin hits the market for $4.25 million


An imperial estate in the Lost Creek neighborhood of West Austin has become the latest addition to the city's stabilizing real estate market. The property was listed at $4.25 million.

The magnificent three-story home was originally built in 2009, making great use of Austin's Hill Country views that can be seen from every single room. The home spans 8,215 square feet on just over two acres of land, surrounded by lush trees and enclosed with a private gated entrance.

Natural light floods the inside of the home, highlighting intricate details and complimenting the high ceilings. The home boasts five bedrooms, four bathrooms, and three half-baths. The primary suite is reminiscent of an upscale resort, containing its own spa-like bathroom, walk-in closets, and access to a private balcony.

In the kitchen, the 60-inch wolf range is an aspiring chef's dream. The area has plenty of space and storage with its rich brown cabinets, a sub-zero refrigerator, a cabinet-mounted wine rack, two sinks, and more.

8105 Talbot Lane in AustinThe 60-inch wolf range is an aspiring chef's dream.Photo courtesy of JPM Real Estate Photography

A few other highlights of the home include a game room, media room, terraces, and a resort-style pool deck with an accompanying hot tub, kitchen, and fire pit. The two-car garage also includes a guest suite above it, with a single bedroom, kitchenette, and half bath.

Looking into the property's history, it was listed in June 2022 for $4.9 million, which was reduced to $3.9 million by September. The home was reported as sold in October of that year before being re-listed for its current $4.25 million price in 2023.

8105 Talbot Lane in Austin

Photo courtesy of JPM Real Estate Photography

The estate is located at 8105 Talbot Lane in West Austin.

The estate is located at 8105 Talbot Lane, which is a brief 10 minutes from downtown Austin, and is zoned for the highly-esteemed Eanes Independent School District. The listing is held by agent Wade Giles of Douglas Elliman.

Uchi spinoff to debut "whisky omakase," bar pairings, and bao in Austin

Raising the Bar

Uchibā isn't a new concept, nor is it newly promised to Austin, but it's finally getting closer to becoming a reality. The bar and restaurant spinoff from Uchi (translated as "Uchi Bar") announced today that it is set to open in late summer in the Google Tower.

Hai Hospitality, the parent group of famous omakase restaurant Uchi, more casual sushi restaurant Uchiko, and drop-in Asian barbecue restaurant Loro, announced the idea in October of 2021, setting a launch date in fall of 2022. The intent was always to open the restaurant in the Google Tower (601 West 2nd St.), so the difference now is just timing.

The original Uchibā opened in Dallas in 2019, operating upstairs from Uchi, an Austin export. This exchange is now coming back around, blurring the lines of what's from which Texas city. Similarly, the lines are blurred between what each restaurant serves, since Uchibā does include some of Uchi and Uchiko's most popular dishes: hot and cool tastings, agemono (deep fried bites), raw fish rolls, yakitori, and more, including dessert.

Of course, there will be lots of menu items that are unique to Uchibā, especially when informed by the spirits behind the bar. Some of these food and drink pairings include the Hawaiian-ish spiced ham misubi with nori, rice, and tepahe, a fermented pineapple drink; and the vodka and caviar with olive oil, burnt butter, brioche, and chives. As well as these "duos," the bar will offer omakase flights for whiskey and agave spirits.

“At Uchi we combine flavors and textures to create what we call the ‘perfect bite,’” said Chef Tyson Cole, the James Beard Award-winning chef who started the Uchi brand, in a press release. “With Uchibā, we wanted to take that a step further by unifying food with cocktails and spirits. Our 'Perfect Pairs' and the whisky omakase play off this idea with intentional combinations of food, cocktails and the the amazing array of Japanese whiskies behind the bar.”

Some menu items aren't just unique to Uchibā; They're also only available at the Austin location, thanks to its chef de cuisine, Vaidas Imsha. His menu includes categories that don't appear at the Dallas location — "Buns + Bao" and dumplings — and a long list of items that could constitute their own menu independently. Among these are a Caesar salad with Japanese twists; a Wagyu beef bulgogi with radish kimchi; two fish crudos with refreshing additions like asian pear and cucumber aguachile; and the more straightforward karaage spiced up with kimchi caramel and yuzu pear.

Uchibā will operate Sunday through Thursday from 4-10 pm; until midnight on Fridays; and until 11 pm on Saturdays. Happy Hour will be from 4-6 pm Monday through Friday.

Uchiba Austin

Photo courtesy of Uchibā

Although Uchi is from Austin, Uchiba, the upstairs bar, has only existed in Dallas until now.