Today is the first day of early voting in Texas, and a few Hillary Clinton volunteers in Austin celebrated with some star power.
Actress and activist Salma Hayek was in town Sunday night for a Hillary Clinton fundraiser. She also stopped by the Clinton campaign’s headquarters in Austin Monday morning to rally support for the Democratic candidate.
State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin captured the moment on his Twitter profile.
Meanwhile, Central Texans Monday showed up to make their voices heard. In Williamson County alone, 5,519 people cast their ballots Monday, and about 10,000 Travis County residents did the same. So whether you’re like Hayek and you support Clinton, or you’re on a quest to Make America Great Again, be sure to go vote.
Early voting polls close Nov. 4. Stay informed with our Voters Guide.
However, one Forbes writer, who is researching for a book by living in 30 different U.S. cities for a month each, is convinced you’re better off in San Antonio. Yes, that San Antonio.
It gets worse. The reasoning behind Scott Beyer’s ranking hits Austin in some sensitive spots. Beyer says that a “good weekend party doesn’t equate to clear-headed leadership on Monday morning,” and that the city maintains a stubborn “slower-growth mentality” in its political dealings. The Forbes piece also calls Austin “a great monoculture if you’re a white college-educated 20 or 30-something hipster,” and claims it is “by far the whitest big Texas city.”
And what does Beyer see in San Antonio? Mainly, that it’s well-liked by other Texas cities. The article says the other large cities in the state “flay each other for being pretentious, vapid, over-consumptive, or some combo of the three,” but not San Antonio. He also claims San Antonio’s slower economic growth has allowed it to “maintain its old-world charm.”
Although an outsider, we hope Beyer understands that the competitive nature between large Texas cities can be likened to a sibling rivalry: There are certain things you can say about Dallas (although “the anti-Austin” is pretty spot-on) that you wouldn’t appreciate someone from Missouri saying about Dallas, because it is, after all, a part of Texas. And at the end of the day, no matter which Texas city you call home, we all have to point at the same beautiful state when locating it on a map.
Thirteen Texas cities made the finance website’s latest list of the “Best Cities for Halloween.” Nine of those cities were in the Top 50, with Austin coming in at No. 39.
What makes Texas so great for the haunting holiday? According to WalletHub, the study measured 100 of the most populated cities in America across the following metrics:
Halloween parties and activities
Within those three categories, the study took a look at things like the number of costume stores per capita and the average cost of a Halloween party ticket.
Laredo took fifth place overall as the highest-ranking Texas city. Austin placed 39 overall, but landed the No. 17 spot in the “Halloween parties” category. Guess the social scene in local neighborhoods is doing something right.
Other Texas Halloween tidbits found in the results of the study:
Plano has the lowest crime rate of all Texas cities studied, making it an ideal place for young children to trick-or -treat
Fort Worth has the fifth-lowest average price of a Halloween party ticket
Irving scored near the bottom of the study in the “Halloween parties” category, die to the low number of candy stores in the area
WalletHub also released a Halloween infographic with the study results, which detailed some more broad facts about the holiday. For instance, Americans are reportedly prepared to spend a record $8.4 billion on Halloween costumes, parties, candy and decorations this year. That’s about $82 per person. The most depressing fact the study gleaned is that some animal shelters refuse to place black cats up for adoption during the entire month of October to protect them from Halloween-related abuse.
Take a look at the full findings here, and view the full infographic here.
Only one other Texas hotel – San Antonio’s Hotel Emma – made the cut. It ranked 19th.
Conde Nast Traveler cites multiple reasons for including the JW Marriott on its list: “There’s its prime location, of course, just minutes from the Blanton Museum of Art, Lady Bird Lake, and several hundred music venues – but what’s inside is also worth mentioning. Guestrooms are spacious and well-appointed, with dark, elegant wood furniture and super-comfortable, ‘Revive’ beds; and the rooftop pool bar offers an Instagram-worthy view of the city.”
The JW Marriott, at East Second Street and Congress Avenue, was built by Indiana-based White Lodging, Austin’s largest hotel operator.
The sign features an over-sized thermometer gauging the “temperature” of several different things, including a Yeti (the coldest) and “Friday Night Lights” bad-boy-running back Tim Riggins (the hottest).
Other things ranked on the thermometer include “that one snow day,” which comes in as just a little colder than Barton Springs, and fire ants, which are hotter than Tacodeli‘s famed salsa Doña.
You know what’s even hotter than Taylor Kitsch, though? (Yes, even before he cut his hair.) Today’s record-setting temperatures. If only there were some sort of insulated box to keep all of our beverages cool…
Is it just you or are there more crickets than usual this year?
KUT is on the case and according to several local exterminators, it’s just you. The number of cricket-complaint calls exterminators have received recently and in years prior has remained pretty steady. Although the video below, submitted to KUT by Kelly Gonzales, captures a shocking number of the chirping little insects outside of a Georgetown school, if you’ve lived in this part of Texas for more than a year, you probably aren’t surprised.
It’s been a heated election season, and the Austin American-Statesman would like to hear stories from Central Texans who think the presidential elections have put a strain on their friendships, marriages or other relationships.
If your relatives and friends are divided over Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, let us know how you’ve been navigating the tricky situation.
Send an email to reporter Nancy Flores at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be writing a story about how Central Texans are coping with a divisive election season in an upcoming issue. Please send emails now through Oct. 21.
If the clowns weren’t enough to spook you this Halloween…
Just some 30 miles outside of Austin, off of State Highway 304, is the original and infamous gas station made eternally-spooky by its appearance in cult horror flick “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Except now it has reopened as the barbecue stop it always claimed to be, which you might have noticed since the San Antonio Express News reported it Thursday. The Bastrop Advertiser reported the plans back in April.
But they don’t just make barbecue at the new Bastrop joint. They make scary barbecue. The Gas Station, as it is called, dove head-first into the “Massacre” fandom, calling itself “Texas’ ultimate horror destination” on its website. Not only can visitors enjoy some questionable barbecue (really what kind of meat is that?), but they can also book a frightening stay on-location in one of the establishment’s cabins and buy all kinds of merchandise inspired by the movie.
Austin has now joined the ranks of Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Aspen, Barcelona, Charleston, Cabo and Chicago as cities graced by Gwyneth Paltrow’s stamp of approval.
Paltrow’s lifestyle blog, Goop, added Austin to its collection of city guides, complete with suggestions of things to do, bars to visit and restaurants to sample, which assumably means everything Gwyneth Paltrow would do and buy here. (Remember when she included $956 toilet paper in her holiday gift guide?)
Goop also praised Austin for its music and food, along with its “well programmed airport with live performances and surprisingly good barbecue spots.” While we agree with Gwyneth and her staff, equating our “unique personality” with our airport and Austin City Limits Music Festival is a somewhat superficial way to appreciate this great city, especially when you remember what ACL and SXSW can be like as a resident of Austin. As you click through the guide, it might seem increasingly detached from everyday life here to some.
Paltrow’s guide lists trendy spots on the food guide, including Wu Chow, Clark’s Oyster Bar and Uchi, but confusingly absent on this Austin dining guide are city classics like Torchy’s Tacos (where President Obama visited!) or any kind of barbecue. Instead, Franklin Barbecue and Torchy’s are both listed under “specialty,” along with Whole Foods Market and other less ritzy eateries. What?
The guide lauds the outdoor activities and fitness opportunities that are uniquely Austin, which we don’t dispute. But it also explains that the Colorado River breezes away stereotypes of a hot and humid climate (which is just flat-out wrong). Goop praises the shopping in Austin, too: “At the same time, some gorgeous boutiques (plus the only permanent brick-and-mortar of goop favorite Outdoor Voices) offer a nice balance to old-school vintage and music shops, making this a second-to-none shopping destination.”
In case you haven’t visited Outdoor Voices before, leggings range from $80 to $95 a pair, which would fit into the price point of many Paltrow recommendations. There are also zero music shops listed in this guide; not even Waterloo Records gets an honorable mention.
Gwyneth has out-Gooped herself with her Austin guide. Goop readers, if you see this, please don’t limit your Austin experience. Most importantly, please take a taco tour before ending your journey in this great city.