Inside the inconspicuous yet enchanting Dog + Pony, Star Lee is perched behind the counter of her new boutique, all smiles — her warm, sunny demeanor sets the space aglow. Having left fashion school in Italy for a tussle with casting and Alexander Wang corporate in New York, Lee’s experience has undoubtedly given her an edge in the transition from high-end NYC to local entrepreneurial fashion in Austin. But her boutique transcends the products. With each garment, she offers an experience. “I want to give people a sense of joy with clothing because I do think clothing is transformative,” she says. “You can put something on and feel different about yourself.” For the past eight months, with her freshly planted roots in a little brown house on a bustling block of Guadalupe, Lee has spent her days sorting racks of intuitively selected apparel hailing from a motley of small designers.
At the core of the Visual Arts Center’s mission is experimentation in art practice within our community and art education. “Our goal is to contribute in shaping and supporting the contemporary art culture in Austin as well as a new crop of artists, designers, curators, and educators,” says Jade Walker, VAC director.
Austin is home to world-class music festivals, so it’s no surprise that the city will soon witness the opening of a world-class stage. This month, KLRU will be unveiling the Moody Theater’s Austin City Limits Stage, a state-of-the-art venue that will serve as the festivals’ new backdrop. Embodying the creativity of Austin’s festival spirit, Moody Theater marks a new piece of music history, and KLRU invites Austinites to commemorate it at Opening Night.
Jessica Ciarla is a wedding day renegade—transforming generations of frilly and frothy into functional. Blasphemy! Can a bride really be a bride without layers of ivory tulle? Ciarla believes so. With an astute eye for pragmatic design, she proves that fashion and function aren’t mutually exclusive. “My client is the Sex & The City Carrie Bradshaw bride,” says Ciarla, whose rare aesthetic averts the traditional taffeta A-line. “I always try to mix vintage with modern,” she says. “My inspiration comes from old Hollywood movies, Europe, and old art. I mix all those for the city girl who wants boutique style but also has practical needs.” These dresses are meant to be worn again, she adds. Following the launch of her line of high-end evening wear in 2005, Ciarla founded CIARLA bride in Austin in 2009.
The Fast Food Queen has officially gone lean—with some minor nutritional indiscretions, of course, since I’m not the type of person to ever cozy up to dietary regimens. However, I was pleasantly proven wrong last month, when I dove head first into a relentless 10-day meal plan graciously provided by My Fit Foods. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus two snacks—none of them to exceed 350 calories for my particular plan. “I know it sounds cheesy, but when people ask me how I know the food’s working, I can just feel it,” says Amelia Robinson, nutritional consultant. And after only two days of low-carb, low-cal madness, I noticed a difference. I felt leaner.
It seems as though everything is illuminated this time of year. Whether it’s due to the residual effects of the holiday season or to the dawning of a new year, the whole world is nevertheless aglow. And it seems only appropriate that The Blanton follows suit in 2011 with its own festival of lights—a gala to honor the luminescent works of Austin luminary, Robert Wilson, who attended The University of Texas, ventured off into the New York abyss and arose an internationally recognized artist. “He is a very creative force. We wanted to honor an artist who has had an impact on the art world,” says Sarah Young, the museum’s development director. “This is a sort of homecoming for him, and we’re thrilled that he’s coming back to Austin.” As for the gala’s title—