The home of SXSW, the ACL Festival, and the world's most urbane population of bats, Austin is more than the creative heart of Texas?it's a global focal point for artists. So it's no surprise that the City of the Violet Crown is home to a show that fashion news site Fashionista called "a fashion week to watch." True to form, Austin Fashion Week isn't the average celebration of blank-faced models, impossibly distant designers, and everything fierce. Instead, the emphasis is on individual personalities and the designers of tomorrow?even the ones that are sitting in the audience. A DIY aesthetic reigns too, from the local brands for sale at the event store Shop 787 to the always popular Mash Up Team competition.
A platinum-earning singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Adam Young, a.k.a. Owl City, is a dexterous one-man band whose blend of new wave and indie pop has earned him the allegiance of eardrums near and far. Touring in support of his latest album, All Things Bright and Beautiful, Owl City swoops through soulful tunes, making appendages wobble rhythmically while brains twirl in introspection. Sharing the stage at this all-ages jubilee is Mat Kearney, who weaves his pop instincts and smart lyricism into toe-tapping tapestries, and the instrumentalists of Unwed Sailor make a musical statement without the use of words, semaphore, or Morse code.
Challenge Nation pioneered the urban-adventure race with a race season that includes visits to more than 35 cities across the country. Each scavenger hunt is personalized to the hosting city, exploring its many diverse neighborhoods with a series of clues that would test even the most skilled children's-book detective. The teams?composed of at least two people?vie for a $300 first-place prize. The Amazing Race?style competition rewards quick wits and wise planning over physical fitness, so the best way to prepare is by doing logic puzzles while eating Funyuns and lounging in a La-Z-Boy. The top 25 teams qualify, the top five receiving free entry, to compete in the national championship, which rewards winning teams with a $5,000 cash prize.
Usually seeing an ambulance at a tailgate is a bad sign?but not at a tailgate thrown by Horn-Ball Texas Tailgaters. That's because at the heart of every Horn-Ball tailgate?on the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and North Congress Avenue?sits a burnt-orange ambulance plastered with the Longhorn logo. Established in 2001, Horn-Ball is no stranger to setting itself apart from other tailgates. Today, rain or shine, the group gathers for every UT home football game, offering its members nearly 3,000 square feet of cool, covered space, an open bar, and plenty of food so nobody has to fill their foam finger with guacamole. Activities and giveaways help fill the minutes before kickoff, at which point satellite TVs relay every big hit and touchdown happening inside Texas Memorial Stadium.
Art isn't confined to paintings and sculptures in museums and galleries. That's the idea behind Body Art Expo, a celebration of art on a different type of canvas?the body. At the traveling event, more than 200 exhibitors and thousands of guests put their tattoos and piercings on full display. Guests can enter tattoo contest for a chance to win in categories such as Best Movie Character, Best Portrait, and Most Unusual. They can also get a professional to pierce their tongue or tattoo the event's schedule on their bicep. Celebrity artists, including LA Ink's Ruthless and NY Ink's Tommy Montoya, often roam the aisles, chatting with visitors, dancing along to live music, or attending demos.