BookSpring’s Storybook Heroes, Austin Way Dinner, OutYouth at 25, Car Hunting with a Camera

Sabine “BiNi” Foster and Dr. Kazique Prince at Storybook Heroes Luncheon for BookSpring.

SCHOOL: “Daddy, you know how to read?” asked the incredulous Lady Bird Johnson when she was a small child. The future first lady’s mother had shipped a trove of books to their house in tiny Karnack. But she died when the girl was just 5. Her father later asked if she missed her mother. “Yes.” “What do you miss the most?” “She read to me.” “I can read to you.” Her surprised reaction probably rose from his dawn-to-bedtime work schedule at his general store. All this came up at the Storybook Heroes lunch benefitting the Austin literacy group BookSpringLynda Johnson Robb shared the story as she was interviewed by her daughter Catherine Robb. The family has been involved in the Reading is Fundamental movement from the beginning. More Storybook Heroes honored at the lunch visited by whimsical characters from Winnie-the-Pooh: Drs. Clift Price and Karen Hayward, Junior League of Austin, Michele Walker-Moat and Applied Materials.

Rachel and Maya Perez at Austin Way dinner at Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum.
Rachel Kondo and Maya Perez at Austin Way dinner at Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum.

MEDIA: The tables dripped with influence. A fresh-air dinner for Austin Way magazine at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum attracted some mighty powerful women. At one table, for instance, attorney Catherine Robb (our third lucky encounter of the week), at another, museum director Simone Wicha. Short profiles of influencers like these accompanied by high-fashion portraits adorned the current issue of the handsome magazine. I spent the most time time chatting with table mate, Francesca Consagra, senior curator of prints and drawings and European paintings, who shared marvelous ideas about the body moving in space and a wide range of lasting insights. Earlier, in the garden, I learned a lot about writing in different genres from Michener Center authors Maya Perez and Rachel Kondo. Every night, another Austin forum.

CITY: Giving thanks for OutYouth. Taken from my column in the Statesman: “Recently wed Jason Minter came out at age 17. “I realized there was a word for what I was feeling when I was about 14 or 15,” says Minter, who grew up in Austin and now lives in Alabama. “But it took till I was 17 to be able to tell someone else. The summer of my 17th year, I spent with my aunt in Houston, and she was the first person I came out to. After I came back to Austin, I came out to my mother and father.”  The response wasn’t great, but he wasn’t in danger of being kicked out of his home. “They told me that they would always love me, but there was a strong disapproval of ‘my chosen lifestyle,’” Minter, 37, says. “What followed were a few therapy sessions, a few bizarre house rules, and some arguments, but all in all, it wasn’t that terrible a coming-out process.” Still, the software developer, who married nursing school student Zane Zirbel, was pleased to discover OutYouth, which celebrates its 25th year of helping LGBT Central Texas youth with a benefit Saturday outside the Palmer Events Center.”

STYLE: Car hunting with a camera. Taken from my story in the Statesman: “Ardently interested in cars since age 12, Ken Altes reports a peculiar recurring dream. “I am a car,” the Austin Realtor says in all seriousness. “My hands are holding the axles. I’m the body. I’m the frame. I wake up slowly and tell myself: I’m not the car. I’m not the suspension. I’m flesh. It takes me a while to convince myself that I’m flesh and blood.” When not dreaming about being one, Altes, 62, is looking for cars. Everywhere he goes, on the job and off. When he spies a particularly memorable one — rusting in a field or lovingly customized and parked in a protected locale — he photographs it. The results, seen at, are pretty amazing.”

Author: Michael Barnes

Michael Barnes writes about Austin's people, places, culture and history for the Austin American-Statesman and

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