Umlauf Garden Party, Toast of the Town with H.W. Brands, Chris Tyson, Austin Parks Primer

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John Arrow and Natalie Yerkovich at Umlauf Garden Party.
John Arrow and Natalie Yerkovich at Umlauf Garden Party.

John Arrow and Natalie Yerkovich at Umlauf Garden Party.

ARTS: The splendid Umlauf Garden Party dodged the rain. But not the humidity. Still, most guests didn’t sweat it. After all, the stylish benefit for the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum has grown into one of the city’s premier sip-and-sample events. Director Nina Seely filled me in on the center’s 99-year lease with the City of Austin and the master planning underway for the hilltop residence and studio donated by the late Angie and Charles Umlauf, located above the gardens. Biggies such as Sinclair Black and Larry Speck are part of the planning team. Curator Katie Robinson Edwards told me about the spot’s programming, as we discussed her fine book, “Midcentury Modern Art in Texas,” as well as a cache of Seymour Fogel paintings stashed out west. Fogel and Umlauf were colleagues at UT, not always on the best of terms, I hear (not from the circumspect curator).

Glenn and Britta Dukes at Umlauf Garden Party.

Glenn and Britta Dukes at Umlauf Garden Party.

HISTORY: University of Texas historian H.W. Brands is a prolific speaker as well as writer. Over dinner at the sky-top Fours Seasons Residences home of Walter and Sandra Wilkie, Brands ranged over topics such as the Civil War, historical movies, President Lyndon Baines Johnson, Native Americans, Jacksonian democracy and the nature of war itself. After dinner, he was introduced by the Texas Book Festival‘s Lois Kim — the event was staged in tandem with St. David’s Foundation‘s Toast of the Town small-scale benefit series. Brands talked about how he turned a proposal for a six-volume American history into six biographies instead — Ben Franklin, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and, now, Ronald Reagan, thus covering a lot of the same historical territory. He previewed “Reagan: The Life,” with insights about the late president’s relationships with his father and his wife, Nancy Reagan, including an amazing anecdote about the nuclear arms talks in Iceland.

H.W. Brands and Julie Gold at Toast of the Town. Photo by Robert Godwin.

H.W. Brands and Julie Gold at Toast of the Town. Photo by Robert Godwin.

SPORTS: Chris Tyson has turned sports memorabilia collection into a charity operation. Taken from my column in the Statesman: “On Jan. 15, 1978, young Chris Tyson’s dad sat him down in front of the television set. “Son, the Dallas Cowboys are the greatest football team ever,” Tony Tyson, these ays a retired U.S. Army major, said. “I want you to watch this game.” The owner of Tyson Fundraising, now 49, watched awestruck as the Cowboys, led by quarterback Roger Staubach and running back Tony Dorsett, beat the Denver Broncos. “I liked sports,” Chris Tyson says. “But that day I fell in love with sports and with that team. I thought it would be cool to meet Dorsett and Staubach. Later in life, that would come to be.” https://shar.es/1p5fO4

NATURE: Start your Austin-area parks adventure here. Taken from a story by Kristin Finan in the Statesman: “Swim. Bike. Play. Hike. Repeat. If you’ve been looking to change up your routine this spring, look no further than one of the Austin area’s many parks for inspiration. Now — before the orange, blue and white mosaics of wildflowers give way to sunflowers, and while breezes can be considered refreshing and even cool — is an ideal time to discover a new place to get back to nature. There are so many great parks to choose from in the Austin area. Here are seven of our favorites.”


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