Arts & Minds

Staples event brings independent zines, comics, etc. to Austin

Staple Media expo is back in Austin this week end March 5th&6th at the Marchesa Hall and Theater. Chris ”Uncle Staple” Nicholas answered our questions before kicking off with the event.   Observer: What is Staple? How long have you been doing it, why are you doing it? S: STAPLE! The Independent Media Expo is […]

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Why Jonathan Franzen’s “Freedom” Is The Most Overrated Recent Novel

Jonathan Franzen has written a poignant book about coming of age in the Midwest of the 1970s, the discontents of family, searching for identity in a postmodern world, and confronting mortality without descending into bathos and narcissism. It even has a compelling section on a lonely middle-aged man finding solace in birdwatching. He’s done it […]

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Austin’s Carnaval Brasileiro brings a bit of Rio to Central Texas

  This past weekend Austin hosted it’s premier annual bacchanalia, Carnaval Brasileiro. The event, which has been going since 1975, is modeled after what’s been called the greatest show on earth: carnaval in Rio De Janiero.  In Brazil, the event is powered by dozens of samba schools that strut through Rio’s Sambadrom—essentially an auditorium specially […]

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Jump into the Rabbit’s Year!

Thursday was the Chinese New Year. For centuries now, this tradition has been celebrated on days between January 21st and February 20th, depending on the year. In Austin, the new year will be celebrated on Sunday, February 6 at the Chinatown Center at 11am. Here’s our interview with Cindy Y. Lo, spokesman for the event.   Observer: Tell […]

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Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough

Observer columnist Ruth Pennebaker will be reading from her latest novel, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough this Sunday at 3pm at Book People in Austin. And here’s an excerpt from her novel, a subtle and at times humorous drama about Joanie, a divorcee, who finds herself living with her mother, Ivy, who […]

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A glimpse at Wings Press

In the first in a Huffington Post series spotlighting small presses, I chose Wings Press, a plucky San Antonio independent literary press that ‘s been around since 1975, and shows an uncanny abillity to pick up major literary awards. For instance, Maria Espinoza’s novel Dying Unfinished won the 2010 Pen Oakland Josephine Miles Award (watch […]

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Notes from Fun Fun Fun

The Fun Fun Fun Festival kicked off Friday in cheeky fashion with a “Weird Al” Yankovic headliner. Between costume changes, sarcastic videos and drum solos (often less than 3 seconds long), ol’ Weird Al proved he can still wield his thin whine like a scalpel, both nailing and skewering cultural icons from Nirvana to Eminem. […]

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A Minor Mishap in Boston

Last year, I wrote in the Observer about my trip with Austin’s Minor Mishap Marching Band to the annual HONK! Festival in Boston, where dozens of activist marching bands from across the country converge to make one hell of a joyous ruckus in the streets. This year, Boston NPR station WBUR invited me on Radio […]

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Fantastic Fest: Crossing the Line with

  We all know that there are 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. We all know that many of those have come from Mexico, making an incredibly arduous border crossing on foot or in the backs of trucks. What most of us don’t have is a visceral understanding of what that’s like.   […]

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Fantastic Fest: Digging Up

I sat in last night on a screening of The Dead, a new zombie movie by the Howard and (X) Ford, an up-and-coming British moviemaking duo. The movie follows a downed American pilot trying to make it home, on foot, through the the backcountry of an unnamed African country which is, naturally, crawling with the […]

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