Page of the Month: December
Art: “Making Africa” at the Blanton
This traveling exhibit, which runs at the museum through Jan. 6, has come to the Blanton and has over a hundred art pieces, all of which were made by artists who are from Africa, live in Africa and artists who have been inspired by contemporary Africa. The exhibit is located right next to the entrance and front desk which makes it easy to find.
When you first walk into the exhibit you see a picture of a man wearing glasses made out of wire and in front of the picture suspended on stands there are around a dozen, more or less, glasses made out of wire, beads and found objects. On the three walls around this videos play clips from interviews with some of these artists and others expressing their thoughts on art and life. Walking further into the gallery, you can see multimedia works adorning the walls. The exhibit winds through several rooms, each room with many different art pieces varying in style and message.
The exhibit features fashion in many styles including dresses and winter coats. The exhibit also projects several videos like one of a man done in fast motion photography who is smashing a piano that is painted on a wall. One of my favorite pieces was three light boxes each with around 600 pictures taken by two photographers. The photos were of the windows, doors and TVs of an apartment building in South Africa that has, in recent years, become very run down. The light boxes stretched almost to the ceiling. I found them interesting because each photo was like a small window into someone’s life. The exhibit will be open to Jan. 6, 2019. The Blanton is located at 200 East Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
A rainbow of shades
Blue Velvet Vintage is a local store on the North Loop with styles from the ’50s to the ’90s that are totally gnarly and far out. Blue Velvet Vintage is owned by a mom and her daughter and has been open in Austin for 24 years. Many of the outfits represent from nations all over the world including China, India, Mexico and Holland. The items are not too expensive and are in good condition if you are on a budget.
The clothes in the store are organized by type, by era and by color. The store does not just feature clothes; it also has many accessories including sunglasses, hats, shoes, socks and jewelry. The store is a little cramped in terms of space but this coziness adds to the vibe.
At the front of the store in the window there are two mannequins, one featuring female clothes and one, male clothes. These are surrounded by a rack of T-shirts from all over the country. I saw one from a Jacksonville high school cross-country meet and one from Disney World.
On the ceiling, many different colored skirts hang like decorations and the large shelf built into one of the walls of the store displays an assortment of boots. In the front of the store hang many leather purses and a large number of fanny packs along with a few vintage toys on the shelf below. These are placed next to another larger shelf filled with vintage blankets and one vintage Transformers sleeping bag.
I was impressed with the store, especially since it operates in a smaller space. The store is located on 217 West North Loop and is open from 11 a.m. to 8.p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays.
Eats: Black’s Barbecue Austin
Black’s Barbecue was originally founded in Lockhart in 1932. Eighty-six years later, the restaurant is still open and has expanded to Austin, San Marcos and New Braunfels.
After all these years, the Black family still owns and runs the restaurant. I checked out the Austin location for “linner.” The Austin restaurant serves beef, pork, turkey, chicken and sausage. I had the lean brisket, and it was full of flavor. I could definitely taste the oak wood that was used to cook the brisket, which added to the flavor.
The restaurant also serves many sides that complement the barbecue. My family got mac and cheese, green beans and sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes added a hint of sweetness to the meal. The size of the sides range from five ounces, a pint and a quart. They also offer banana pudding, ice cream and two types of cobbler for dessert.
You walk in the door and the counter where you order is right there with the menu on the wooden wall above it. You are given your meal at the counter as you order. Sauces and utensils are on the other side of the counter, along the side next to the soda fountain. The walls are wood paneled and the counters and tables are also made of wood.
Everything about the atmosphere just says, “classic barbecue restaurant.” Since it is the end of November, wreaths, strings of lights and a banner reading “Merry Christmas” have been hung up around the restaurant. Black’s can get a little loud at times because of the echoes off the high ceilings, and country music often plays in the background. Multiple televisions play all different kinds of sports like football and baseball. Photos of the Black family adorn the wall along with a mural of musician Willie Nelson.
Black’s Austin is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The Austin location of Black’s is located at 3110 Guadalupe Street.