Brazilâ€”the fifth largest country in the world and the host country of 2014â€™s World Cup and the 2016 OlympicsÂâ€“has been making headlines this year, as media outlets as varied as CondÃ© Nast Traveller, the International Business Times, and the New York Times rave about its wines, beaches, music, cultural diversity, and food. The countryâ€™s culinary offeringsâ€” a literal melting pot simmered from Portuguese, African, Italian, German, Arab, and Japanese influencesâ€”extend far beyond the grilled meats most people think of when they think of Brazilian food. Imagine savory pies made of chicken, sausage, cheese, herbs, olives, and eggs; chewy, fudgy candies known as Brigadeiros, the national dessert of Brazil; or Cocada de Forno, a buttery cake made with coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and rum. Â Iâ€™ll add my personal favorite new obsession to the list: Goiabada com Queijio, a classic Brazilian pairing of mild, fresh cheese and jewel-like slices of guava paste.
Some are shy on stage; others are natural performers. Some feature technical playing; others draw on their emotions. They're all budding accordion slingers aiming for the title in this year's Big Squeeze competition.
Eight of the state's best young accordionists are traveling to Austin this weekend for the semifinals of the Big Squeeze. The semifinalists, ranging in age from 11 to 18, will perform a free show at Lonestar Plaza of the Bullock Museum from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
In Austin, artists and musicians are finalizing prepwork for this weekend's Art City Austin Festival (April 13-14), which transforms the streets surrounding City Hall and the 2nd Street entertainment district into an outdoor art fair. Among the reasons to go: Hundreds of artists will display their works throughout the festival grounds, more than 150 pieces of art enliven the galleries inside City Hall, local food trailers offer sustenance and libations, musicians perform non-stop, and perhaps best of all-the weather promises to be spectacular! Tickets cost $8; free admission for kids age 12 and younger. It's also free if you ride your bike!
Interactive kids' activities at Art City Austin
First produced in 1951 as the Texas Fine Arts Association's Spring Juried Art Fair, the event, renamed "Art City Austin,” moved downtown in 2008. It's organized by Art Alliance Austin, which works to advance the city "by integrating art, culture, and creativity into public life."
Itâ€™s hard to believe itâ€™s been 27 years since musicians like Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Fabulous Thunderbirds started showing up on TV and radio with songs to discourage littering as part of the Donâ€™t mess with Texas campaign.
The campaign was a big success and grew into a household slogan in Texas, and even beyond. But at the same time, the stateâ€™s population has grown (at a pace of 1,000 people per day currently), and a younger generation of Texans doesnâ€™t necessarily relate the slogan with its anti-littering message.
Sometimes, part of the fun of taking a vacation is the planningâ€”researching itineraries, hotels, restaurants; making plans for special activities; even reconnecting with friends in a different environment. On the flip side, then there are the pleasures associated with last-minute travelâ€”the fun and freedom of spontaneity, the relaxation of expectations, and the refreshing sense that all is right with the world when something serendipitous unfolds.
We may be hard at work finishing up the summer edition of the Texas Highways Events Calendar, but our eyes are always on what's coming up next weekend. Now that spring is officially here, there are great annual events popping up all over the state, plus plenty of Easter activities happening this weekend.
The Dallas Film Society is busy preparing for this yearâ€™s Dallas International Film Festival, which kicks off next week.
The event runs April 4-14 and features 175 films at venues across the city. I had a chance to interview Lee Papert, festival executive director, by email recently, and hereâ€™s what he had to say about the event.
In Houston this Saturday, March 23, from 11-2, the always zany and creative Orange Show Foundation hosts its annual Easter Orange Hunt, when kids of all ages can tour the Orange Show siteâ€”a veritable playground of whirligigs, moats, and brightly tiled and painted structuresâ€”and collect eggs, candy, and (of course) oranges. Also on March 23, the Orange Show will also host its first annual PEEPS Art Contest. Using Peeps marshmallow treats, contestants will make sculptures, costumes, and other works of art, following the lead of similar contests in Washington, D.C., Denver, and Westminster, Maryland. If youâ€™d like to submit an entry, bring it to the Orange Show for judging by noon on Saturday. Winners will receive Peeps prizes, gift cards, and recognition on the Orange Show website, www.orangeshow.org.
a Peeps creation from the Westminster competition