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.
A team of passionate instructors fosters a community of health- and wellness-conscious patrons brought together by Bodhi Yoga's classes, spa treatments, and a boutique stocked with items to help integrate healthy-living practices into daily routines. Yoga sessions range in difficulty and style, including vigorous Vinyasa- and hot-yoga classes, to accommodate downward-facing dogs of all skill levels and breeds. Patrons looking to enhance a wellness-focused lifestyle may pay a visit to the facility's resident holistic healers, who perform massage body work, acupuncture, cosmetic laser teeth whitening, and skincare services.
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.
Smoldering post oak saturates Stubb's house-smoked meats with a complex bouquet of flavors, liberating mouthwatering aromas to surf through the air and into eager olfactories. The menu is a carnivore's concerto of mouthwatering pork ribs ($11.95) and beef brisket ($11.95). Nestle into a warm heap of pulled pork like a drowsy Paula Deen with the Bar-B-Q plate, which flanks a choice of meats with homemade sides such as fried okra and mashed sweet potatoes ($11.95). Desserts such as banana pudding ($3.95) are available to punctuate saucy meals.
Designed by legendary movie-house architect John Eberson and opened to the public as a vaudeville palace in 1915, the venue enjoyed performances by the likes of Harry Blackstone and Katharine Hepburn in its heyday. But things fell into decline during the 1960s as televisions became commonplace, more people migrated to the suburbs, and the stage’s trapdoor spontaneously grew fangs. The Paramount’s multi-tiered seating and historic ceiling murals languished in the theater’s years to follow as a tragically underused B-movie cinema.
In 1973, three men—John M. Bernardoni, Charles Eckerman, and Stephen L. Scott—formed a corporation with the ultimate goal of rescuing the Paramount, by that time slated for destruction. Soon, live performers were regularly supplementing a classed-up movie schedule, and the stage was graced by such artists as Dave Brubeck and Debbie Allen. The theater’s star rose ever higher in the ‘80s and ‘90s as the curtains introduced the world to such lasting works as The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and the Greater Tuna series. Today, the lovingly built and rebuilt artifact is a constant reminder of Austin’s long history of arts appreciation.
Chi Chi Randolph has choreographed routines for hip-hop artists including Nelly and the Black Eyed Peas. Kari Lehman has 15 years of ballet training experience. Viviane Bressan turned her love of belly dance into a career, traversing the globe while teaching and performing the ancient art. At Dance Austin Studio, these three number among more than a dozen dance instructors whose dazzlingly diverse backgrounds enable an array of classes for everyone from preschoolers to grownups and fitness buffs to serious students of dance.
Zumba combines fast-paced cardio choreography with dynamic Latin rhythms, and the 18-and-older Sexy Stiletto Fit class uses high heels to tone calves and build confidence. Students can choose to learn fundamental positions, steps, and vocabulary during structured ballet, lyrical, and jazz programs, or they can develop video-ready swagger during hip-hop classes. The studio’s sense of fun occasionally spills out into the community—it recently teamed up with the city’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to spark a flash mob at city hall, held to raise awareness of emergency preparedness and help officials practice what to do if invaded by dancing aliens.