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Michael Barnes

Margo Howard, #WOWW, Swan Songs, Danielle Crespo’s F1 and Phillip and Laura Brown

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Danielle Crespo is your guide to Formula One parties.

Danielle Crespo is your guide to Formula One parties.

MEDIA: Margo Howard is a firecracker. Short, frank and fiery-haired, the former advice columnist says she’s had five husbands, four of them hers. The only daughter of Ann Landers, the writer seems to have been funny all her life, despite some bad luck with spouses, including actor Ken Howard. She’s written a short book, charmingly titled “Eat, Drink and Remarry.” Two dozen or so admirers gathered atop the Four Seasons Residences to hear her wisecracks. “I wrote this book as a public service,” Howard says. “My destiny: Always a bride, never a bridesmaid.” At 74, she’s whip-sharp. She amused the witty likes of Ruth Pennebaker, Brenda Bell, Sarah Bird, Jean Rather and Stephen Harrigan. (Now that would be a dinner party guest list!)

CITY: Joy Pecoraro is wowed by women. So much so, she interviewed and videotaped 46 Austin-area women about how they overcame challenges in their lives. She’s got scores more on her to-do list for what she dubs her “#WOWW Campaign.” (Nothing like getting the hashtag in the official name, is there?) A few dozen folks gathered at the rooftop bar of 219 West on West Sixth Street to toast the campaign. Along with Wow Women such as County Clerk Dana Debeauvoir, with whom I spoke about supposedly flat Travis County early voting, there were a few outstanding men, such as Alex Torres, who mentors mentors through the Crossroads Scholarship Fund. Among others interviewed were Austin Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr, Whataburger owner Lynn Dobson and cosmetics queen Rochelle Rae.

MUSIC: Name a style, any style. Swan Songs will play it for you at the end of life. It can sound a bit morbid at first, but it’s a classically Austin addition to the comforts one is now afforded at home, in hospice or elsewhere. A Swan Songs benefit, featuring two-time requestee Ray Benson with Milk Drive filled up Shoal Crossing Event Center. Before he played, we heard about all the styles that have been performed for the dying, including Lithuanian accordion music. Austin must be one of the very few cities that can support such a program. An honorarium goes to the musical artists, who often donate the money back.

SPORTS: Danielle Crespo geared up for Formula One. Taken from my story in the Statesman: “Curious about the Formula One parties this week? Ask Danielle Crespo. The Texas State University graduate, 29, tracks all the socializing around the Circuit of the Americas races. You can scan her crisply aligned calendars, news and party notes at SuitePass.com and AustinRaceEvents.com. Crespo, who works by day for a commercial building company, needed a creative outlet. She had been impressed by the cosmopolitan lifestyle when she lived in Barcelona, Spain, and later witnessed the Grand Prix setup, though not the race, in Monaco. When she heard that the big race was headed to her stomping grounds two years ago, she realized that some education was in order. “Austin’s version of lifestyle luxury is inherently different,” she says. “At the same time, we have a lot of things to offer that other places don’t.”” http://shar.es/10qFKj

FOOD: How the Browns learned about customer care. Taken from my story in the Statesman: In June 2010, Phillip and Laura Brown got married. The couple, both 24, had trained for careers in the hospitality business and planned to open a small meat and cheese shop. Jim McIngvale, Laura’s father and owner of Houston’s Gallery Furniture, had other plans. He announced in a speech at the wedding that the young Browns would open a big, new restaurant. Not only that, it would open in November of the same year. “We had never owned a business before,” Phillip, now 28, remembers. “Never done anything on this scale. It was trial by error, learning on the fly.”” http://shar.es/10qQGA