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At the Historic Hyde Park Homes Tour, visitors can learn about the history of the neighborhood through touring the homes that make Hyde Park unique.

Of the seven stops on the tour this year, six are private homes and one is the historic Baker School, which was built in 1911 and served as a middle and high school for the burgeoning neighborhood. The Baker School now serves as office space and retains many of the original school fixtures.

The houses range in size and age, with many unique features including unique woodwork, Victorian details, classic four-square layout, Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Prairie Style, Classical and Colonial-Revival along with a hacienda-style home built by an architecture professor and his students.

In addition, 24 artists from Hyde Park and surrounding neighborhoods will be selling their work at the Historic Hyde Park Homes Tour. The work will include ceramics, jewelry, watercolors, prints, and carved wood.

Photo by Leonid Furmansky

9 of Austin's most thoughtfully designed homes open their doors on self-guided AIA Homes Tour

Home Away From Home

It will never stop being delicious to get that little insider’s peek into someone’s home, even if it’s part of an official tour. For the curious and the creative, the AIA Austin Homes Tour returns for its 36th year of inspiring mental notes about storage hacks and wall colors this weekend, on October 22 and 23. Spend all the time you want staring at the perfect pots and pans display and skip the stairwell you could never commit to — this is a self-guided tour.

This is the tour’s first year as in-person-only after going virtual and hybrid in 2020 and 2021. Tour takers will explore nine new and recently renovated homes by local architects from Westlake to Pleasant Valley.

The work of nine architects is represented on the tour by The Austin Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Austin):

  • Cuppett Kilpatrick Architects
  • Candace Wong Architecture + Design
  • Dick Clark + Associates
  • Erica Heroy Architecture and Design
  • Lake|Flato
  • Forge Craft Architecture + Design with Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects
  • Furman + Keil Architects
  • Lemmo Architecture and Design
  • Studio Steinbomer

A list of addresses on the website gives sneak peeks into each home, with photos, a short description, and a pre-tour webinar to make sure viewers catch important design details.

Eco-friendliness is a throughline: one residence at Bull Creek was awarded a five-star rating by Austin Energy Green Building thanks to work by Studio Steinbomer, and another by the Forge Craft-Hugh Jefferson Randolph partnership applies passive house standards for a minimal footprint in “a hot, humid climate.”

House Zero by Lake|Flato is not just a smart design, but a careful experiment. “House Zero is a demonstration project and field trial for a proprietary concrete wall printing system,” says the description. “This climate-responsive new home, which includes an accessory dwelling unit, connects inhabitants to a native Texas landscape and diverse Austin neighborhood fabric. The design team collaborated with software developers, robotics engineers, and material scientists to create a new set of architectural innovations and strategies for printed concrete construction.”

Something most of the houses share is a connection to past structures and the historical importance of their lots. The Wildflower House by Erica Heroy Architecture and Design remodels a house from the 1950s, while the Vastu House by Dick Clark + Associates updates the owner’s childhood home using design principles far older than even the original structure.

“There is no better way to experience architecture than to explore it in person, and I’m thrilled that we can offer that to the public again for the 36th anniversary of this tour,” said AIA Austin Executive Director Ingrid Spencer in a press release. “From the range of home sizes, budgets, styles, and innovative and sustainable technologies featured on this tour, there will be something to inspire and delight everyone.”

Tickets ($45 general admission, $50 day-of) are available at aiaaustinhomestour.com. VIP tickets ($95) include a swag bag and access to a VIP party on Friday, October 21.

Photo by Leonid Furmansky

The AIA Austin Homes Tour includes nine homes that merge Ausinites' interior spaces with well-loved surroundings. (Pictured: Stenger No. 2 by Candace Wong Architecture + Design)

Photo courtesy of Visit Marble Falls

6 perfect weekend getaways to plan in Texas this fall

Post-Summer Plans

With the end of this brutal summer finally (hopefully?!) in sight, it is time to start planning for fall. Call it second summer, as in still plenty warm for enjoying the outdoors but no longer hot enough to melt pavement. Here are six places perfect for a much-needed autumn getaway. Take one (or more) as your just reward for surviving another scorching Texas summer.

Lake Bastrop North Shore Park
This LCRA park in Bastrop hugs the shore of a constant temperature lake for swimming, paddling (canoe, kayak, SUP, and Corcl rentals available), or fishing (with a boat ramp and pier). The park features almost 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, including one connecting to Lake Bastrop South Shore Park, and a sand volleyball court, too. Stay in one of 5 Airstream campers, 2 cabins, or 6 safari style tents. All have grills for cooking and decks for enjoying views of the lake and the stars while sipping a cold one. Other dining and entertainment options in nearby Bastrop, including a distillery and several breweries and taprooms. Neighbor's Kitchen & Yard and Iron Bridge Icehouse, both on the banks of the Colorado River, serve food, craft beer and cocktails, and live music.

Lake Georgetown
At this Corps of Engineers reservoir, choose from four campgrounds with RV and tent camping options. Enjoy swimming, fishing, kayaking (rentals available at Russell Park), and hiking. The crown jewel is the Good Water Trail, a 26-mile loop around the entire lake through a variety of terrain, with multiple trailheads offering the opportunity for shorter hikes. Dining options, wine bars, breweries, and other lodging options are nearby in Georgetown. Check out Barking Armadillo Brewing and, on the courthouse square, three wine tasting rooms and multiple dining options.

Matagorda Bay Nature Park
Located where the Colorado River meets the Gulf of Mexico, Matagorda Bay offers miles of uncrowded beaches for combing and wetlands for paddling. Rent beach chairs, wagons, and kayaks (guided tours available), play miniature golf, fish on the beach or pier, or birdwatch. In addition to Airstream rentals and camping and RV sites, visitors now can rent one of 10 new bungalows that sleep from six to eight people, with fully equipped kitchens, outdoor decks, gas grills, and fantastic views.

Port Aransas
Miles of beach, without summer crowds: What else do you need? Well, perhaps a place to stay, and you’ll find every option from fancy condos to kitschy cottages in this seaside town. Plenty of dining and entertainment options, too. Try the local seafood at places like La Playa Mexican Grill, Fins Grill & Icehouse, and Seafood and Spaghetti Works. Have a cold one at Bernie’s Beach House, the Port A Beer Hut, or Moby Dick’s. Rent bicycles, golf carts, surfboards, and kayaks at Island Surf Rentals (check out the Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail). Or just sit on the beach.

Painted Sky Inn
Located on a tranquil inlet of Lake Buchanan, this waterfront property offers rooms for two to ten people with kitchens and lake views, as well as a tiny home and a vintage Airstream. Amenities include fire pits, BBQ grills, a fishing pier, and canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards. Find miles of hiking trails at Canyon of the Eagles and Inks Lake State Park (day pass reservations recommended), or tour several nearby wineries (Torr Na Lochs and Fall Creek, to name two) and breweries (Save the World Brewing and Double Horn Brewing), plus dining options in Burnet and Marble Falls.

Frio River
The aptly-named Frio River is famous for swimming and tubing in the summer. The most popular way to enjoy the river is Garner State Park, but getting weekend reservations can be tough. Another option is Neal’s Lodges, a sprawling family-owned complex that includes 81 cabins, 10 lodges, 17 condos, 45 RV hook-ups, and 16 tent sites, plus a country store and dining room. See a bat emergence at nearby Frio Cave or a bit farther away in Kickapoo Cavern State Park. Saturdays are for fine dining at The Laurel Tree and diner fare at Lost Maples Café, both in Utopia, and Concan has several eateries as well (some close after the summer season, so check websites).

Find miles of hiking trails at Canyon of the Eagles and Inks Lake State Park near Marble Falls.

Photo courtesy of Visit Marble Falls
Find miles of hiking trails at Canyon of the Eagles and Inks Lake State Park near Marble Falls.
Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition

Immersive Sistine Chapel exhibit comes to life at Austin's Circuit of The Americas

HEAVENLY WORK

Austin's Circuit of The Americas (COTA) will be transformed this month into a virtual masterpiece guided by divine inspiration.

COTA will be recast as Michelangelo’s iconic Roman master work, the Sistine Chapel as part of an internationally touring experience known as “Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition,” taking place in Austin July 8-August 28.

Billed as “an immersive, museum-quality, near life-size reproduction” of the frescoes that adorn the actual Sistine Chapel, the exhibition showcases 34 reproductions — including the awe-inspiring The Creation of Adam and The Last Judgement scenes — in their original size, but recreated through a special printing technique and displayed at eye level. The exhibition aims to give viewers the chance to explore the artwork up close, down to every brushstroke, in a way that a visit to the Sistine Chapel never could.

“Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition” isn’t new to Texas; the international tour, which began in 2015, visited Houston in 2018 and Dallas a few years before that. The tour also stopped in San Antonio in 2021. Tickets for the show’s Austin residency recently became available online, along with tickets to an opening night VIP preview experience.

While it’s true there is nothing that can replace viewing this magnificent artistic achievement in its home in Vatican City, the exhibition is designed to immerse viewers in the marriage of art and technology, giving art enthusiasts a new perspective on Michelangelo’s masterpiece.

Tickets start at $22.20, and the experience will take around 60 to 90 minutes when accompanied by audio guides (available for purchase), or 30 to 50 minutes without an audio guide.

Once the exhibition is unveiled in July, it will be open for viewing Thursdays through Sundays from 10 am-6 pm.

The Austin showing will be hosted at Circuit of The Americas, which previously housed an immersive Van Gogh experience.

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition
The Austin showing will be hosted at Circuit of The Americas, which previously housed an immersive Van Gogh experience.

Edgy comedian-actor-podcaster Bill Burr makes slight return to Austin on new tour

a killer bill

Edgy, insightful, and a little fed up with pretty much everything, comedian/actor/podcaster Bill Burr has earned a loyal following for his deadpan takes on pop culture, sports, and society as a whole. “When are mom and dad gonna stop arguing over gender-neutral bathrooms you can hang an AR-15 in?” he asks.

Austin Burr fans can catch takes such as these when he hits the Moody Center on December 16 for his new (Slight Return) tour. Burr will also make Texas stops at Toyota Center in Houston on September 9, American Airlines Center in Dallas on September 10, and AT&T Center in San Antonio on December 17 — the last date on his 53-city tour.

General on sale begins at 10 am Friday, May 20 through Ticketmaster and Burr’s official site.

The Grammy-nominated comedian regularly sells out venues internationally; his Monday Morning Podcast is one of the most downloaded comedy podcasts available. He’ll host his new Netflix special, Bill Burr Presents: Friends Who Kill on June 6. He just wrapped filming the feature, Old Dads, which he will star in and also co-wrote and directed.

A streaming presence, Burr’s animated Netflix series, F Is For Family, just ended its fifth and final season starring Burr, Laura Dern, Justin Long, and Sam Rockwell. He also boasts a Roku series, Bill Burr Presents: Immoral Compass. Last September, Burr was seen in a guest role on the hit FX on Hulu series, Reservation Dogs, and he made a fan-loved appearance on the Disney+ streaming smash, The Mandalorian.

Burr also popped up in Hollywood features with A-listers in The Front Runner, Daddy’s Home, Heat, and Stand Up Guys. Breaking Bad fans know him well as Kuby.

On August 21, Burr will make history as the first comedian to perform at Fenway Park.

Photo by Koby Brown Photography/Galveston Historical Foundation

Step back in time inside 9 grand and historic Galveston homes on popular tour

living history

Half the fun of a visit to Galveston (the other half being the beach, of course) is admiring all the grand and glorious turn-of-the-century homes in historic neighborhoods throughout the island. A popular annual tour takes architecture and design lovers inside several significant properties once a year, and it's coming up.

The Galveston Historic Homes Tour, which returns for its 48th year, kicks off May 7 and 8, with an encore weekend May 14 and 15.

In addition to the self-guided tour of these private homes, there are a host of other events, including happy hours and walking tours, and Plein Air Southwest, a competition, show, and sale featuring more than 40 artists.

The home tour features nine historic private residences, dating between 1866 and 1931. Featuring a range of architectural styles, these homes showcase the beauty of life on the island, and offer a glimpse at their owner's approach to renovation and preservation.

Among them is the blue-shuttered Oscar and Mary Walker House, built in 1896. Its double galleries and side hall plan are typical of homes of the period. The Stubbs-Garrigan Bungalow, located on Avenue P and built in 1922 for cotton clerk Sidney Stubbs, sports a lovely inset porch. The Dr. Albert and Willie Dean Singleton House on Broadway was designed by Houston architect Cameron Fairchild, one of several he designed for Galveston's elite.

A full list of all the homes on tour is here.

Tours run 10 am to 6 pm on May 7, 8, 14 and 15. Tickets are $40 and are available online or day-of at any of the tour homes.

Meanwhile, tickets and reservations for special events, such as the History On Tap dinner at 1838 Menard House, or any of the walking tours, must be purchased separately.

All of the events offer experiences to walk in the footsteps of Galveston's storied past, and should prove fun for all ages.

A historic home on Broadway.

Photo by Koby Brown Photography/Galveston Historical Foundation
A historic home on Broadway.
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H-E-B unveils merch for super fans, plus more hot Austin headlines

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. H-E-B unveils merchandise for brand super fans, available exclusively at one store. Kerrville was chosen to launch the company's new line of H-E-B-branded merchandise in celebration of its 117th anniversary.

2. Austin bar transforms into a magical winter wonderland this holiday season. Don your favorite elf socks and meet the lovely citizens of “Tinseltown.”

3. Draft 'Vision Plan' for Zilker Park unveils land bridge and more possibilities. Austinites are invited to comment on a vision plan that will inform the future of Zilker Park.

4. Austin ranks among world’s 100 best cities in prestigious new report. Austin is the No. 43 best city in the world, according to a new study. (And yes, we beat Dallas.)

5. Austin airport launches new SkySquad travel assistants in time for the holiday rush. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is keeping lines moving during a period of heavy travel with a new team of airport assistants.

Steven Spielberg opens up personal history in The Fabelmans

Movie Review

For over 40 years, director Steven Spielberg has been delivering some of the most popular blockbuster movies of all time as well as a bevy of Oscar-quality dramas, a combination that’s unique to him. For his latest, The Fabelmans, he’s decided to go more personal than ever, telling a thinly-veiled version of his own childhood.

Sammy (played mostly by Gabriel LaBelle) is one of four children – and the only son – of Mitzi (Michelle Williams), a concert pianist, and Burt Fabelman (Paul Dano), a computer engineer. From an early age, Sammy is enthralled by the art of filmmaking, first remaking a train crash sequence from The Greatest Show on Earth, and gradually moving on to more adventurous stories.

Burt’s advancing career, which moves the family from New Jersey to Arizona to California, causes stress for various members of the family, most notably Sammy and Mitzi. Sammy must deal with anti-Semitic bullies, while Mitzi falls deeper into a mental health crisis. Sammy’s movies continually offer a respite for the family, though, giving him a creative outlet and the rest of them a chance to forget their troubles for a while.

Written by Spielberg – his first writing effort since 2001’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence – and Tony Kushner, the film is heavy on emotions but presented in a way that those feelings don’t always translate. Spielberg is no stranger to depicting fraught family situations in his long career, but in showing ones from his own family, it feels like he pulled back, not wanting the scenes to be overwrought or schmaltzy.

The result is a story that isn’t as universal as some of his other films. As the film is told from Sammy’s perspective, it’s easy to get caught up in his pursuits and various discoveries as he gets older. The mindsets of the rest of the family are less clear, even though his parents and sisters are ever-present. Mitzi’s state of mind is a concern from the start, but it’s not always treated as such by other important characters.

Just as Sammy’s movies are an escape for his family, so too are they some of the best parts of the film. Sammy figuring out the process and secrets of filmmaking is informative and often thrilling, especially if you’re a cinephile. Spielberg has been considered a master for so long that watching him revisit the days when he was learning as he went is catnip for movie lovers.

In addition to being a dead ringer for a teenage Spielberg, LaBelle is a fantastic actor. It’s no easy feat to carry a movie on your shoulders, and LaBelle makes the assignment look easy. Williams’ performance will likely be more polarizing; she employs a very mannered speech pattern that works in some situations, but not all. The film also includes memorable short appearances by Seth Rogen, Judd Hirsch, and David Lynch.

Spielberg has provided the moviegoing public with such pleasure over the years that he deserves to have a movie that’s mostly for him. The initial viewing of The Fabelmans left this critic wanting, but perhaps it will gain more traction on a second screening.

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The Fabelmans is now playing in theaters.

Photo by Merie Weismuller Wallace/Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

Gabriel LaBelle in The Fabelmans

Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta acquires award-winning California resort

tilman goes laguna

Fans of Tilman Fertitta's nationwide hospitality brands are in for a treat. The Billion Dollar Buyer has just secured an award-winning, 30-acre resort in sunny Southern California.

Fertitta has purchased the acclaimed Montage Laguna Beach Resort Hotel, a premier beachfront property in the sunny SoCal getaway destination. Notably, the Montage Laguna Beach Resort Hotel is one of only six hotels in the U.S. to score the Forbes Triple Five-Star hotel status. The Montage has also been included among Travel + Leisure’s Top Hotels in the World.

Image courtesy of Montage Laguna Beach

Fertitta's newest purchase overlooks the ocean in Laguna Beach.

“I am truly thrilled to acquire this world-renowned property and add one of America’s most iconic trophy resorts to our luxury hotel portfolio,” Fertitta noted in a statement. “I have been traveling to Laguna Beach for over 30 years. It is one of my favorite places to visit and one of the most beautiful areas in the world. The Montage is a stunning oceanfront property and one of the premier hotel brands in the world.”

Press materials didn't list the property purchase price, but Law360 reports that the deal is in excess of $660 million.

The Craftsman-style resort sits on a coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Impressive amenities are highlighted by the 20,000-square-foot Spa Montage, which offers eucalyptus steam rooms, dry redwood saunas, ocean air whirlpools, fireplace lounges, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a movement studio, and a lap pool.

More outdoor fun includes two pools and direct beach access, a museum-quality fine art collection, and more than 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, per press materials.

Every resident space — the 260 guestrooms, including 60 suites, beach bungalow-style rooms, and multi-bedroom villas — boast stunning views of the Pacific.

Dining destinations offer chef-driven interpretations of coastal California flavors inspired by region. The property is designated and included in the distinctive Legend Collection of Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

“We are thrilled that Tilman is the new owner of this one-of-a-kind property and welcome him into the Montage family,” said Alan Fuerstman, founder, CEO, and chairman of Montage International. Mary Rogers, the Montage's GM added, “The staff is thrilled to be working with Tilman. Everyone here at the property is tremendously excited about his purchase and look forward to continuing to provide a world-class experience to all of our guests."

Aside from his palatial Post Oak Hotel in Houston, Fertitta also owns 14 other hotel properties around the country, including the award-winning San Luis Resort in Galveston, plus five popular Golden Nugget casino and hotel locations.

Another feather in Fertitta’s luxury portfolio cap is the iconic Huntting Inn, one of the most charming and historic locales in East Hampton, New York.

No stranger to California, Fertitta's presence there includes Catch Seafood and Catch Steak, Mastro’s Ocean Club and Mastro’s Steakhouse, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, The Palm, and more — all part of his 60 brands and more than 600 concepts nationwide.