A grand evening for a State Dinner
Formality. Ritual. Grandeur. We respond to these signs and symbols deep in our brains. When employed honorably — and let’s not forget that for centuries despots have abused these forms — they confer dignity, respect and admiration.
All those qualities came into play during the State Dinner at the LBJ Presidential Library recently. President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s children and grandchildren formed a receiving line of sorts, along with two former U.S. senators, Chuck Robb and Bill Bradley. Legislators, scholars, scribes and just plain party people filed into the Great Hall — one of the city’s most impressive interior spaces — and then out onto the plaza — one of the city’s most impressive exterior spaces — for dinner.
After a short film and a minimum of speeches, we got down to the business of serious talk with our table mates, which included a gentleman from Dallas who is writing a book about Lady Bird Johnson’s whistle stop tour through the South.
All in all, it was a grand evening and one that I hope the Library repeats. We need a shot of grandeur every once in a while.
We didn’t get to see much of the new $11 million permanent exhibit that evening. (It opens to the public on Dec. 22.)
Also, I was saddened that more of our statewide political leadership did not show up. Presidential libraries are not partisan. Here was a chance to honor a president not just from our great state but, for much of his life, from our beloved city. Attention must be paid. Owner Blake Shanley has created an winter wonderland with tree branches, feathers, hanging balls and tiny mannequins. The store on East 11th Street won for the East End district.
The cats are providing the music in the windows of End of the Ear on South First Street. The painted cats with musical instruments are backed by shiny wrapping paper in this colorful window that won for the South First district.
A well-dressed mannequin in vintage red sits comfortably on a vintage chair by the vintage red fireplace surrounded by vintage fabrics. A white ceramic cat with colorful marble accents sits by the fire underneath vintage hanging lamps. This is the scene set by Room Service Vintage, the winner of the North Loop district.
At Mockingbird Domestics on South Lamar Boulevard, the signature bird is wearing a red and green scarf. A Christmas tree painted on a chalkboard feels retro and artsy in this new store that highlights Austin artisans. It won for the South Lamar district.
You can vote for your favorite window at www. ibuyaustin.com through Monday.
AboVe: mermaids toast the holidays on the window of el Interior. RIGHT: Painted windows at Conan’s Pizza, 603 W. 29th St.
Contact Nicole Villalpando at 912-5900.