SPORTS + NIGHTLIFE: Four parties in one. The hosts predicted it. Competition from the Mexican Grand Prix would dampen crowds for the 2015 United States Grand Prix, never mind the relentless rain in Austin on F1 weekend. So they combined their efforts. At Brazos Hall for one night only, Blu, My Yacht Club and Full Tilt mixed with a one-off event, a reception for the newly formed Brown Agency. Smart move. The Full Tilt Fashion show looked grand, especially given the creative contributions of local designers. The talent agency’s later rooftop party, protected by a jutting overhang, filled up quickly with pretty people dancing to bombshell singer Tameka Jones. Around 10 p.m., the lower floor reopened for Blu and My Yacht Club, which had hosted separate all-weekend pop-up lounges in previous years. The organizers − folks such as Ginger Leigh, Linda Asaf, Nicholas Frankl and Justin Brown − could not be nicer or more accommodating. Yet the maze of guest lines, credentials, velvet ropes, sofa-hopping and ever-multiplying security guards complicated an otherwise a fine time.
NATURE: Getting the creeks job done. The admirable Pease Park Conservancy is helping to raise between $20 million and $40 million to reshape one of the city’s gems with a great deal of care and respect for its history. Attorney Richard Craig continues to provide signal leadership and spent considerable time at a Conservancy reception introducing groups of backers to each other. Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo was doing the same at Allan House, while also marshaling forces to save the historic Palm School over on Waller Creek. Charismatic Conservancy executive director Andy Gill admitted, however, that Shoal Creek will need more than $100 million in flood abatement to go with their sterling efforts on the ground. Now that the Waller Creek Tunnel is essentially done, perhaps it’s time to consider its sibling to the west for parallel treatment.
POLITICS: A sly twist on campaign finance. According to CounterPac, a group formed to take on the influence of special-interest money in elections, says that 98 percent of Americans think there’s a problem with the way we finance them. Yet 91 percent believe there’s nothing we can do about it, especially in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Founded by folks from the tech world, CounterPac has found a small, but, in a few cases, effective way to fight back. They convince candidates on both sides to abstain from Super PAC donations. If they try to wiggle out, as a West Virginia congressional incumbent did, CounterPac runs ads against them. At the graceful Aldridge Place home of Zack Booth Simpson and Diane Whitmer, we heard leaders talk about incentives, transparency and even games theory to alter the system. Some high-powered politicos, such as political advisor Mark McKinnon, were present and said the strategy holds some promise on this closely watched subject.