Saturday, July 14, 2012

Photoessay: mid-July

My friend Meredith and I have systematically invaded the east side of Austin on a hunt for new coffee shops and watering holes (highlights: Weatherup, Papi Tinos, where a DJ spins during brunch, Blue Dahlia). My dad and I hit up the Paramount downtown for a classic film series. My nephew has yet to learn how to smile, but I promise he likes me. And Antone's has quickly become my favorite smaller music venue here.

Happy Saturday, folks.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Oh hey, y'all, happy weekend

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hail the little people

My niece Eleanor wants to say, "happy Fourth, y'all"... Also she wants you to know that she already feels way too mature for "craft time."

Finding the optimism amid all the cynicism

If you know me in person, then you know that I am definitely one to roll my eyes and attempt to bite my tongue when someone mentions "patriotism" or "American pride."  I am often cynical, but not all the time.  My complaints re: those phrasings have more to do with understanding their historical evolutions.  I am really livid, like, ready to throw books at people's heads, when political candidates throw the whole "founding fathers" thing around.  Define deism for me and I will then hear you out, I say.  Anyway.  As a historian, I always feel a pretty big weight on my brain about our country's violent wrongs against huge groups of people.  It's harder for me to celebrate the small steps when I spend much of my time writing about and teaching the missteps.

The very last book I read was a study of slave spirituals by a South Georgia folklorist.  Reading it, I realized I've been thinking about the parameters of "America" in this context basically all wrong.  Instead of placing the tragedy of slavery only in the column of "things we did that were terrible," historians and journalists and countless other types of scholars have been working tirelessly for the last couple of decades to make the slaves into America.  I spent years studying this historiographical process, but just now I am re-working the parameters of it in myself.

And so if the Fourth of July becomes about not just the white, whiskey-sucking men who wrote documents and disenfranchised people, if it really becomes about celebrating the diversity and the struggle of everyone's story, then I'm on board.  And despite a dismal economy and disheartening news daily, I think there are some victories for civil rights and the "American dream" that we should be tipping our hats to today.  Little things that are actually big--like the opening of the first Daughters of the American Revolution chapter in Queens today (the DAR used to actively forbid black members).  And huge things--like the trend of the winning of gay and lesbian marriage rights (hopefully only the beginning in an even bigger story).

In other news: check out this great piece by Nathan Heller in Slate about the very un-American origins of apple pie:

And in even further news: while I was writing this blog in a coffee shop I had a very awkward encounter with an ex-boyfriend.  Nothing more patriotic than faking a smile over a latte and silently thanking the universe that you put on makeup and cute shoes today...right?

Monday, July 2, 2012

The summer in drink glasses

I guess this blog has kind of turned into an occasional travelogue for Austin food and beverage. Had to share two new (to me) pitch-perfect cocktail places with you: Weather Up, at Cesar Chavez and Chicon, is seriously one of those bars with no sign outside. You know, to keep the uncool people out. Somehow I snuck in this weekend, and I'm here to tell you that their boutique ice (made and carved in the house next door) is nothing to joke about. It made my whiskey drink soooo much better. The owner came down from Brooklyn to open this, a sister site to the Prospect Heights original. It's pricey, but what place in Austin isn't now? And the Sunday Bloody award goes to Easy Tiger on Sixth, tucked down by the river and easily the only place worth stopping into before the street meets I 35.

There's something about sweating drink glasses that always makes me want to take photos of them.