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An Austin-tatious Weekend - 09/24/13

If every weekend brought the beauty of the first few days of fall 2013 in Austin, then 12 million people would live here! I fell in love with Austin the moment I arrived in the summer of 1978. But this past weekend put a little more passion into my love affair with this city I call home. Not only was the weather picture perfect, I was able to relish a few truly Austin-tatious experiences.

It started Friday with my inaugural visit to the new Circuit of the Americas racetrack on the outskirts of town. I've never been a racing fan, but my co-anchor set up an interview with driver/actor/heart-throb Patrick Dempsey since he was racing in the Le Mans Series. I invited myself to tag along. After all, Walt would need someone to hold the microphone or take pictures and I was the perfect person for the job! Yes, Dempsey was McDreamy, ladies. He was also a very down to earth, happily married guy, which made him a real star in my book. Like so many other celebrities, he gets the whole Austin cool factor. He bragged about the music scene, the great restaurants and was especially taken with the White Horse Saloon and the bourbon on tap there (from what he remembered).

It wasn't Dempsey that got my engine purring, though, it was the pure spectacle of COTA. Amazing cars were roaring around this amazing track, fans from all over the world were walking around and it was just a great place to people watch. Sign me up for the next Formula One!

Saturday and Sunday put an exclamation mark on why Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World! I must confess, my husband Thad is the real music lover in the family. He's the one who follows and discovers musicians who find their way to Austin either to perform or put down roots here. But he's never steered me wrong. On Saturday night, my favorite music venue in town was our destination. The Saxon Pub on South Lamar is a neighborhood bar with wood-paneled walls and an intimate stage that has hosted incredible musicians for decades. Taking the stage Saturday was Glenn Tilbrook of the British Band, Squeeze.  He is one of those performers who makes the audience feel part of the show. He not only sang hits like "Tempted," he did a number of songs we didn't know. But that didn't matter; we clapped and sang along as if it they were all big-time hits. It was a great show that left you with a big smile on your face. Notice the big smile on Thad's face posing with Tilbrook. :)

Sunday night, our Austin music adventure took us to the Cactus Caf, a longtime venue in the UT Student Union that only holds about 150 people. Nebraska born, singer-songwriter Josh Rouse played an acoustic set. He's a draw at big events like South by Southwest, so it was a real treat to hear him in such a small setting. In many ways, he's the opposite of Tilbrook. Rouse is shy and self-deprecating, the kind of guy you want to take out to dinner and have a heartfelt talk. He has an amazing range and really won over the audience. What a night! 

I know Austin is thriving and growing and it's great for the local economy. But when I relish a truly Austin weekend, sometimes I'm a little selfish and I secretly wish our city could stay just this size. Would it be okay if I posted this sign at the city limits?

 
 
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