The largest surviving video chain in the world, I Luv Video is West Campus’s sanctuary for movies, TV shows and video games. The bulk of this Austin storefront is divided up into five rows, each intricately decorated using the spines of old VHS boxes, while movies play on televisions scattered overhead. Chuckle-worthy commentaries written by the staff line the covers of the DVDs, while a back room, known as “Vintage Heaven,” houses VHS tapes, records, cassettes and 8-tracks that send customers back into the past. There’s a real nostalgia vibe inside I Luv Video, where young college types and aging locals alike mingle over hard-to-find titles and obscure videos. And on Tuesdays, after 6 P.M., visitors can enjoy a free beer while browsing through titles.
When Felicity Coltman founded it in 1981, the Austin Chamber Music Center's goal was simpler than it is today, yet still ambitious: to create a summer chamber-music workshop for teens. Since then, not only have many alumni gone on to become professional musicians, but the center has expanded into an outreach organization whose concerts and instruction brings chamber music to Austin ears, instruments, and hearts. Adults of similar skill levels gather into small chamber-music groups, whereas youngsters meet with instructors on weekends, during the summer, or in school. Just two years after its founding, the center sent students on two European voyages and hosted musicians from Salzburg, starting an international exchange program that continues today.
In 1988, a unique performance series took form with the center’s Intimate Concerts, which take place in private homes so that audiences can experience the music in a personal way and help their cats learn to read sheet music. Led by artistic director Michelle Schumann the center now holds year-round concerts for a variety of musical tastes, with all programs including live program notes.
Things Celtic recreates a vibrant version of Ireland and Scotland through an extensive collection of handmade and unique imports. A library of literature feeds historical, culinary, or cultural appetites, and traditional Irish and Scottish teas transport flavors from across the Atlantic. Silver jewelry bends and weaves in the shape of traditional Celtic knots, crosses, charms, and frames surround Ogham artwork, a rare and vertical form of writing from ancient Ireland. Things Celtic also helps friends passionately display their heritage through flags and traditional and custom-made kilts. The hotbed of Celtic pride also takes part in local events, such as music festivals, beer tastings, and seminars on James Joyce's pop-up books.
The inspiring trainers at each MetaBody location lead troops of workouteers in results-oriented workouts several times weekly. Sweat sessions utilize a variety of exercises and disciplines to produce full-body results in a supportive environment, ideal for beginners and hard-core core-hardeners alike. During any class, motivational instructors will use the instinctual distrust of routine to their advantage. Begin a day of litigating with a refreshing early-morning boot-camp session, or wind down by burning evidence and pounds with a late-evening yoga class. Muscles are kept guessing with new and challenging moves during each session, so participants never fall into a boring, ineffective routine, such as regular teeth brushing. In addition to the fitness classes, students receive a success guide to help prepare for imminent pound loss, a nutrition guide, and a $100 gift certificate for individual coaching. Because the pass sets a 10-class cap at any given location, roving fitness mavens can further shake up their workout regimens by vetting a series of classes or instructors that work best for them.
When Stewart Ramser published the first issue of Texas Music magazine in December 1999, it sold in two stores. These days, his quarterly publication has subscribers in all 50 states. On each colorful, glossy page, writers showcase the work of Texas musicians from across a wide variety of music, from renowned artists such as Lyle Lovett, Spoon, Bob Schneider, Willie Nelson, and Ghostland Observatory to rising talents. They keep readers further abreast with a calendar of music events from around the state and reviews of native Texans' latest albums. Along with new tunes, the magazine celebrates the history of Texas music with features ranging from an Armadillo World Headquarters retrospective to a ranking of the top 50 classic Texas songs.