I’m on the most boring vacation of my life, it will never end, and I’m working the whole time. Welcome back to the basement bunker!
I’ve begun crunching a rolling 7-day average of the daily new local COVID case counts that are released each evening by the City and Travis County. Calculated that way, Wednesday April 22 enjoyed not only the lowest daily average in almost two weeks at just over 40, but also a drop of about 7 cases average per day, which is the biggest single-day decline since the beginning of the pandemic. Good crunchy numbery stuff HERE.
Enjoyed very much a conversation with Derrick Chubbs, CEO and President of the Central Texas Food Bank, a vital resource in times of trouble for Austin-area families if there ever was one. They’re under crushing demand, right when much of their normal supply sources have been disrupted. Super insightful conversation on how the Food Bank works, how to make use of their services should you need them, and most importantly how you can pitch in to help this critical local resourse stay in gear – go HERE.
What’s the new normal going to look like for our local independent record stores? The future is anything but clear, and the cancellation of Record Store Day 2020 is anything but helpful – thus, Jason Isbell has moved the release of the new 400 Unit album Reunions up a week, giving you a chance to directly benefit our local vinyl purveyors, right when they could use a hand, on Friday May 8. More HERE.
Similarly, the future is anything but clear for our local live music venues, and you may have been wondering what they might be doing to keep things going while they’re in shutdown mode with no immediate end in sight. Austin360 has a solid survey out, including ways you can help support your favorite places and the musicians who rely on them for their art and livelihoods. Check it out HERE.
Fans of Dallas native Post Malone likely know that he’s a big Nirvana fan. News to me, and intriguing enough to pique my interest in a live webstream of Nirvana covers that Postie will post on his YouTube channel on Friday afternoon at 5pm central – not only a fun artistic collision, but also a great cause supported, as proceeds will benefit the United Nations Foundation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization, with Google matching all donations towards a goal of $5 million. More HERE.
Thursday is the day for my weekly Austin Craft Beer Run! Buying beer from our local brewers directly both increases the profit they keep from the transaction, but also saves you a nerve-wracking trip into a crowded store. I’ve been trying to hit at least two every week, and I’m thinking it’s Friends and Allies time, coupled with a trip down to Independence, for that Lizzo-themed “Good As Hell” beer done by the Pink Boots Society. More on that HERE.
Credit to local news veteran Fred Cantu for the tip on an upcoming aerial display coming to Austin to salute our frontline healthcare workers: the Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force’s Thunderbirds have begun making the rounds of a short list of key U.S. cities, and Austin is on the list for a flyover. Growing up in Lubbock, seeing the Thunderbirds perform at the old Reese Air Force Base is a great childhood memory for me, and while I can understand the view that this might be a badly-timed use of government resources in a time of emergency, I must say that the 10 year old kid in me is pretty jazzed. More HERE.
You know me and my thing for Austin’s historic restaurants and bars. One in particular that’s interesting is the historic Victory Grill on East 11th, part of the “Chitlin Circuit”, which first opened on VJ Day (Victory over Japan) in 1945. A super-important site relating to African-American history in Austin, Victory Grill was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998, but has only sporadically been operational over the last few years. Fitting that it should be the location of a new restaurant opening right in the middle of probably the toughest time our restaurant industry has ever experienced, as the Rolling Rooster chicken-n-waffles operation has just taken over the Victory Grill space for takeout – this is huge, and beyond worthy of your support! More HERE.
Here’s a welcome baby-step towards normal: H.E.B. and Central Market are set to return to somewhat-more-normal operating hours next week, starting Monday April 27th – perhaps the hoarders have finally run out of garage space? H.E.B. reports that supply lines are strong and their warehouses are in great shape, leading to a relaxing of their pandemic-curtailed operational hours. More HERE.
The Texas Workforce Commission has launched a new job openings website in an effort to help you find work, should you find yourself furloughed or laid off. You are sure not alone! At this writing there were over 491,000 listings on the site. Good luck and hang in there! More HERE.
Austin has done a pretty admirable job stepping up to support our local restaurants, and a few of them have diversified into the face mask market, now that covering your mug is part of the City’s requirement for venturing into public. Worth a shot if you’ve had a hard time finding one you like. More HERE.
Four major closures lately:
Part of the bummer in losing our ACL Fest morning broadcast home at Threadgill’s South was knowing that it had always helped keep the “Old No. 1” location on North Lamar afloat – losing it, plus the pandemic, spelled the end of over 70 years of history for the original Threadgill’s. More HERE.
We can take solace in the fact that the South Congress Magnolia Cafe remains open, but it’s still super sad that the good old Lake Austin Boulevard Magnolia has called it a day – a painful loss for the neighborhood and, like Threadgill’s above, a major piece of Old Austin character falls to the pandemic. More HERE.
And sad to see the last NXNW brewpub call it a day – they too had already lost a sister location in the South store, which closed last year citing difficulties related to the highway construction nearby on Mopac. Always enjoyed the solid spread of beers, great food and really, really nice operators at NXNW – all the best y’all. More HERE.
And – Fricano’s Deli in West Campus is also closing permanently. One of the Mosser family’s neighborhood faves for years, consistently ranked on the Austin Eater 38, sporting such an authentically Austin attitude and truly, truly great artisan sammies…what a shame. More HERE.