Jeff Wilson

Waller Creek Pop-Up Adventure Picnic

Bringing together the brightest minds in cuisine and design, the Waller Creek Pop-Up Adventure Picnic celebrates the rebirth of downtown’s natural landscape.

Hidden in the heart of urban Austin is Palm Park, a tree-lined pocket of lush grass off of I-35. A year from now, it will become a beautiful children’s park, offering access to the Convention Center and East Side, but for now, it is a springtime gathering place and the site of this month’s Waller Creek Pop-Up Adventure Picnic. Hosted by the Waller Creek Conservancy, the picnic is a community-wide invitation to explore one of our city’s core green spaces, as we toast to the Waller Creek Project and re-imagine the vibrant landscape of downtown Austin.

The 10 of 2010: Mark Strama, Legislator

This Democratic Representative may be facing an uphill battle, but that won’t stop the dynamic politico from reaching his goals for the state.

Less than a week after his re-election to the Texas House of Representatives, Democrat Mark Strama is grateful, but not elated. This victory, his fourth, is bittersweet. While he will return to serve in January, over 20 of his fellow Dems will not. So when congratulated, which he is many times during our meeting, he smiles and shrugs his shoulders at the same time, and his thank yous turn into explanations in which he paints a picture of himself as one of the last men standing, with an uncertain future.

The 10 of 2010: Carolyn Schwarz, Executive Director, Health Alliance for Austin Musicians

Through HAAM, this “Jane of all Trades” is making sure the people that make this the Live Music Capital can keep on keepin’ on.

When Carolyn Schwarz was a young girl, her mother and father would play the radio to help her fall asleep. Now, Schwarz is executive director of the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM), a program that connects local musicians to discount healthcare services. And because of her work, thousands of musicians can sleep better knowing they have access to healthcare.

The 10 of 2010: Mark Updegrove, Director, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum

In the job he was destined for, a presidential historian helps the public re-imagine a misunderstood President.

The 10 of 2010: Lucia Athens, Austin's Chief Sustainability Officer

One of the world’s leaders in sustainable building is out to ensure Austin’s leading eco status.

Lucia Athens is the first “chief sustainability officer” for the city of Austin, a somewhat forbidding job title that evokes images of a stern cop who slinks down our alleys, peeking into our blue recycling bins and issuing tickets for the various eco-infractions we’re guilty of making from time to time. Lucia Athens doesn’t hand out tickets for putting greasy pizza boxes in the recycling bin, but the modern environmental movement has succeeded so well at making all of us feel responsible for saving the earth—and guilty if we don’t—that to hear Austin now has a chief sustainability officer conjures notions of lock-step compliance.

The 10 of 2010: Pamela Colloff, Journalist

How the Texas Monthly writer freed an innocent man from prison
 

Although she won’t admit it, Pamela Colloff is responsible for getting an innocent man who had been on death row out of jail. One month after Colloff published an article in the October issue of Texas Monthly about Anthony Graves, who spent 18 years in prison for supposedly murdering six people, Burleson County district attorney Bill Parham stated that “There’s not a single thing that says Anthony Graves was involved in this case. There is nothing.” Colloff says the article merely “helped focus public attention on his case.” After the story was published, the prosecutors “needed to respond to the questions raised in the story, and I think that’s the most anybody can say,” she insists.

The 10 of 2010: Daniel Northcut, Co-Owner of FRANK & Producer

There is always something cooking in (and out of) the kitchen for this innovative entrepreneur.
 

The 10 of 2010: Elizabeth Avellán, Film Producer

At age 50, Elizabeth Avellán is branching out, bringing ideas to life on the big screen and beyond.
 

Just one day after her fiftieth birthday, Elizabeth Avellán is full of youthful exuberance, brimming with ideas and excited about all of the balls she has in the air. From her new company, EYA Productions, to the iPad apps she is developing, to her philanthropic work in Afghanistan and Morocco, to her six children, Avellán is busy, and thrilled to be working on her own projects.

The 10 of 2010: S.C. Gwynne, Author

How a former banker became the author of this year’s hottest book about Texas

In the early eighties, while he was working for a large multinational bank, S.C. “Sam” Gwynne commuted to downtown Los Angeles every day wishing he were Hunter S. Thompson, George Orwell, Wallace Stegner, Ernest Hemingway, Edward Abbey, Ken Kesey, or Tom Wolfe. That’s a heady list of idols for a man who was already 29 and syndicating multimillion dollar, international loans rather than being paid to write. Donning his “pinstriped suit, Brooks Brothers shirt, and wing-tip brogans,” Gwynne reminded himself as he was setting up those loans that, as he’s since written, “Stegner and Orwell were not out hawking loans in their late 20s; not commuting to the financial district carrying a briefcase full of credit reports; not reading The Wall Street Journal at a large oak desk on the 38th floor of the First Interstate Tower.”

The 10 of 2010: Julie Thornton, Arts Advocate

This former ballerina and arts advocate has all the right moves for taking Austin to the next level.

Monday afternoon in an East Austin photo studio: If Julie Thornton is tired from her weekend in New York (for the epic Performa’s Red Party); running her landscape-design business, Big Red Sun; or all the recent festivities around the grand reopening of Arthouse at the Jones Center, for which she has been the board president for the past five years, it doesn’t show. At 41, Julie is a petite and effervescent bundle of energy, posing for the camera in a chic Alexander McQueen jacket that only she could pull off. Her years as a professional ballet dancer show in the graceful ease of her movements. And almost instantly, the photographer and his assistant are charmed, as seems to be the case with everyone who crosses her path.

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