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Michael Barnes

Mack, Jack & McConaughey, Monica Maldonado Williams, Terrance Keith Isaac, the Independent Tower and more

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Jordan Shipley and Sunny Helms at Mack, Jack & McConaughey.

Jordan Shipley and Sunny Helms at Mack, Jack & McConaughey.

CHARITY 1: Emcee Bob Cole deemed Mack, Jack & McConaughey the premier benefit in Austin. Worth discussing. Thursday night, ACL Live was full to overflowing with three tiers of guests — diners on the floor, snackers on the first balcony, music fans on the third. After introducing their various children’s charities, including a new one, CureDuchenne, Mack Brown, Jack Ingram and Matthew McConaughey stepped aside to let auctioneer Heath Hale do what he does best: Raise the roof. MJ&M management is very wary of releasing numbers until they are confirmed, but it looked like Hale was closing in on $1 million during the live auction alone. My ears might have deceived me, but it sounded like poker with Brown and Ingram in McConaughey’s Royal-Memorial suite went for $150,000 while a private premiere with the Oscar winner sold for more than $300,000. I marveled at the marvelously unpredictable Little Big Town, but didn’t stay long enough for Toby Keith, whom Ingram has tried to recruit since Day 1 of MJ&M. The two-day affair continues today with golf — weather permitting — and Jack and Friends back at ACL Live.

CHARITY 2: Monica Maldonado Williams cracks the charity code. Taken from my story in the Statesman: “In 2007, while Monica Maldonado Williams worked for the Austin Bar Association, lawyers often expressed an interest in doing community service. Williams spent a lot of time reaching out to nonprofits to see how the lawyers could get involved. “It was frustrating,” says the writer and editor who became the publisher of Giving City, a respected, mostly online magazine about local philanthropy. “I’ve since learned why and how nonprofits work — and why they don’t always have the capacity to serve volunteers.” http://shar.es/1p1SpB

CHARITY 3: Terrance Keith Isaac blessed by Trinity Center. Taken from my story in the Statesman: “What put Terrance Keith Isaac out on the streets? Isaac: “Bad luck and child support.” What took him off? “A lot of people got behind me wanting to help me do it,” he says. “It was an offer I couldn’t refuse. And I was beyond ready. … It was a golden opportunity. People offered me resources, but I had to do all the shoe leather.” Isaac, 50, found a helping community at the Trinity Center, a project of St. David’s Episcopal Church on Trinity and East Seventh streets. Nowadays, with a job and an apartment that he shares with his girlfriend, the Michigan native gives back by working in the center’s kitchen.” http://shar.es/1p1SP4

CITY: Kerplunk! Here are three more ideas for new Austin skyscrapers. Taken from Dale Roe’s column in the Statesman. “Where do you stand on the Independent, the planned 58-story tower that would become Austin’s tallest building and, according to an American-Statesman story by Lori Hawkins and Shonda Novak, the largest residential tower west of the Mississippi River? Wrong. You can’t stand anywhere on it; it hasn’t been built (a groundbreaking date should be revealed within a few months). The Independent, designed by Austin architectural firm Rhode:Partners, is already being referred to on social media as the “Jenga building” (after the wooden block-stacking game) because of its staggered-layer shape (one Facebook user even created the hashtag #jengatower).” http://shar.es/1p1V98