The Escape’s shelves are loaded with a multitude of gifts, crafts, jewelry, pottery, and handmade pieces that cater to the full spectrum of shopper personalities. Consider gifts for $25 or under, such as a stamp collector made of cherry wood ($19) or longhorn coaster made of slate ($8 each), or sort through a collection of nightlights to find a stylish solution to your nyctophobia. Prepare for next Valentine's Day by checking the jewelry section and surprising your sweetie with a pewter horny-toad pin, which can also double as a pet if you’re allergic to pets ($12). Visitors unaware of their fated purchase can ask a friendly staff member for help or wander the aisles searching for ways to enhance kitchens, desks, the outdoors, and more.
Adams Gifts & Home Décor unlocks a treasure chest of gift-worthy candles, lamps, and fragrances. Light up a loved one's dark secrets with a Texas-made 15-ounce comfort candle, which shoves the olfactory system into overdrive with more than 40 fragrances, including pumpkin bread, apple strudel, mint julep, and citrus grove ($18). When filled with the proper ambrosial liquid, the Essential Clear Round Lamp crushes odor armies and purifies every whiff that's taken ($42.95, fragrance oil not included). Lampe Berger Oil keeps your lamp burning long into the future with a choice of more than 40 air flavors, such as summer rain, winterwood, fresh eucalyptus, and Atlantic tides ($18.95).
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.
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.
Images on the video screen swell right along with the singer as she reaches the chorus of "Livin' on a Prayer," inciting her friends to stand up from the wraparound booth and pump their fists. It's a typical evening at Austin Karaoke, where visitors belt, croon, and warble their favorite songs until 4 a.m. on weeknights and 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Nine karaoke rooms accommodate small parties of up to 8 or large parties of up to 50. Ensconced in these private studios, songsters search the computerized catalog for their standard baroque numbers, grab the microphone, and then pour their souls into a premium sound system.