Today, Feb. 26, marks the anniversary of one of the biggest days in American history.
On Feb. 26, 2015, Americans forgot all of our troubles, put aside our differences and collectively lost our minds over two escaped llamas and a dress that somehow changed colors. Maybe it was gold and white. Maybe it was black and blue. We’re still arguing about that one, actually.
As for the llamas, well, they took off from a petting zoo opportunity at a Sun City retirement home and eluded authorities for most of the day. It even got the attention of The Washington Post. Its story about the incident had six bylines on it to boot.
The dress meme picked up steam later that night, as if some Internet God chose that day to bend to its will. You couldn’t go on Twitter or Facebook without getting into an argument about what color it was, and some people took the opportunity to combine the two memes into one.
Something actually newsworthy happened that day, though. The FCC’s historic ruling on Feb. 26, 2015, would allow the communications entity to more fully regulate the Internet and would prevent internet providers from jacking up prices on faster speeds. The two viral stories we all reacted to that day almost seemed like a celebration of our newfound Internet freedom.
Maybe one of the stranger headlines you’ll read today, but nonetheless true. Vice President Joe Biden will attend this Sunday’s Oscars during which he will introduce Lady Gaga before she performs her nominated song “Til It Happens To You,” the Associated Press reports. So… why? Biden says he will take the opportunity to speak out against sexual assault, as Gaga’s song is about her own experience with sexual assault and featured in a documentary, “The Hunting Ground,” about the subject. Biden, who has long been vested in the issue of domestic violence, will also support the administration’s “It’s On Us” campaign.
What you gotta say S.A.? The American Statesman’s Eric Webb took a stand in the burgeoning Austin/San Antonio feud to both “bury the proverbial tortilla-wrapped hatchet” (this argument, like many before it, is rooted in a taco-controversy) and call the city’s prized and historic Alamo “an old adobe shed that takes 10 minutes to stroll through.” Even when we’re not fighting we’re fighting. Webb’s piece was in response to a “10 reasons to hate Austin” list compiled by the San Antonio Express-News, and offered instead, 175 reasons to love the city — none of which are its proximity to the home of the River Walk.
ABC’s comedy “black-ish” took a hard look at a hard subject when it addressed police discrimination and brutality in its Wednesday night episode, the Associated Press reported. The shows executive producer Kenya Barris said the episode is intended to get people talking about how they address the issue when speaking with their children about “the world they’re living in and they can’t avoid anymore.” The episode revolves around a fictional case of police brutality against a black man in Los Angeles and the different family members response to the situation.
J. Cole will return to Austin, after a popular performance at last year’s South by Southwest, to make a guest appearance at President Barack Obama’s Democratic National Committee fundraiser the first day of the Interactive Festival, the American-Statesman’s Deborah Sengupta Stith reported Wednesday. No word yet on whether or not the “Dreamville Takeover” artist will perform at the festival, as his appearance is scheduled four days before the music festival actually begins, but here’s to hoping.
Anyone who wasn’t fully satisfied with Lady Gaga’s David Bowie tribute at the Grammys has Lorde to lean on. The 19-year-old gave an emotional and moving performance of Bowie’s “Life on Mars” during the 2016 BRIT Awards Wednesday night in London, Time reports. Among those who couldn’t get enough of Lorde as Bowie? The late artist’s son who took to Twitter to voice his appreciation.
Finally found the links to tonight's Brits. Just… beautiful. Thank you.
Kanye’s Twitter tirades had gone on long enough without a doctor weighing in, but, luckily, Dr. Phil is on the case. Television personality and psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw offered a little insight into the mind of Kanye when he appeared on James Corden’s “The Late Late Show” Monday, Rolling Stone reported. “Does it really take a professional [to assess West]?” McGraw asked before commenting, “You can’t be wrong that many times in a row unless you’re working at it.” McGraw summed up “The Life of Pablo” artist by saying, “He’s just an artist who’s very, very passionate, like over-passionate, in what he does,” and, “You used to be stupid and get away with it.”
Who can you expect to see when you pop in at Willie Nelson’s next month? Just as in years past the country singer is hosting a bash at his ranch west of Austin March 18 during South by Southwest, The Austin American-Statesman’s Peter Blackstock reported Tuesday. Previously called the Heartbreaker Reunion and renamed the Luck Reunion, the event will feature performances on its three stages by artists like Jenny Lewis, Billy Joe Shaver, Blitzen Trapper and more than a dozen others. Tickets will be available on the reunion’s site.
During an experiment for GQ Shane Snow took one for the team and dedicated himself to eating nothing but ice cream for 10 days. As sweet as the challenge might sound, Snow reported that he began to hate the restriction as early as the first day. In total, he ate 50 pints of ice cream during the 10 days and lost 9.9 pounds. Yeah, that’s right. Lost. Granted, Snow did only indulge in a very specific kind of ice cream. Halo Top, a low-calorie, high-protein ice cream that reportedly tastes a lot like regular ice cream. We don’t suggest you swear off all foods other than ice cream any time soon; ice cream is completely devoid of necessary vitamins and minerals, as became evident when Snow developed both a cold and canker sore.
Only one person does a better Ellen DeGeneres impression than Kate McKinnon and that’s Ellen. Get them both in the same room and you’ve got yourself a baby with twin dads type scenario. Which Ellen better rocks a white blazer? Which do we more want to dance with? What does the real Ellen think? Before McKinnon joined her on stage, Time reported, DeGeneres commented, “You’re like, well that’s such an exaggeration, I mean it’s funny, but it doesn’t sound like me at all,” but added the day following the impression she had friends calling to say McKinnon sounded just like the real thing.
Uncharacteristic of one of the United States’ most bike-friendly cities, Austin only contributes about 900 cyclists to the BP MS 150 bike ride from Houston to Austin every year, Austin American-Statesman reporter Pam LeBlanc says. A total of 13,000 cyclists participate in the ride, which ends in a party near the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. That means less than 7 percent of the participants come from Austin. Organizers, who believe people generally see the event as more for those originating from Houston, are trying to bolster Austin participation by offering information about a shuttle service that can transport participants.
UPDATE,FEB. 25, 2016: Stefanie Williams’ open letter responding to Talia Jane’s (real name Talia Ben-Ora) open letter has received its very own open letter in return.
GQ writer Nicole Silverberg penned a sarcastic response on Feb. 23 that called out both Williams and Ben-Ora.
“It seems to me that you (Stefanie) wanted to prove to you (Talia Jane) that you are, somehow, even more of a millennial than Talia Jane and that Talia Jane is ‘doing it wrong.’ I love this, because I think it’s important for women to publicly correct their peers and hone their one-upmanship while ultimately reducing our generation to a series of broad stereotypes, which I will soon do. And that’s why I’m really here. To one-up you all,” Silverberg wrote.
Silverberg also criticized both women for using something as serious as a layoff for #trending content.
“Sometimes I feel like my life isn’t trending. The need to put out exciting content is staggering, when in actuality I just want to scroll through Facebook while I nostalgia-binge seven seasons of ‘Buffy: The Vampire Slayer‘ in the background so I can tell my friends in a week that I nostalgia-binged all seven seasons of ‘Buffy: The Vampire Slayer.'”
Other publications have penned their own reactions, including this one from Upton Saiidi of CNBC, which argues even though Ben-Ora and Williams can both be classified as millennials, they came of age in radically different economic times.
That’s not all, though. Ben-Ora herself has written a follow-up piece on Medium, called “An Open Letter To You.”
In thisletter, Ben-Ora gives the reader an update of sorts. No longer employed at Yelp, she said she wants to use her experience as a way to help others in the Bay Area who are feeling the same money squeeze she felt.
“Call me entitled, but I don’t think you should be barred from growing and exploring and taking risks because your income isn’t in proportion with the cost of living in your area,” Ben-Ora wrote.
As of now, there’s no open letter from Yelp.
EARLIER, FEB. 23, 2015: A former Yelp employee’s angry open letter to her boss went viral earlier this week, documenting how much the 25-year-old said she had to stretch her finances to afford to live in the Bay Area and work at the food-rating app at the same time.
Medium user Talia Jane, who was employed in Yelp’s customer service department until last weekend, posted “An Open Letter To My CEO” on the free blogging site on Feb. 19, and it quickly got the Internet’s attention.
“I haven’t bought groceries since I started this job. Not because I’m lazy, but because I got this ten pound bag of rice before I moved here and my meals at home (including the one I’m having as I write this) consist, by and large, of that. Because I can’t afford to buy groceries,” the post reads.
Talia Jane detailed everything about her job and her debt in the post, including the fact that she spends most of her paycheck on rent in “the cheapest place I could find that had access to the train, which costs me $5.65 one way to get to work.”
She also discussed the company’s perceived retention rate among members of her generation, and how hard it was to pay utilities and phone bills while making “$8.15 an hour after taxes.”
Talia Jane was hoping to use her customer service gig as a way to work her way up to running some of the site’s social media accounts.
She was fired from her job in customer service later the same day, according to an update she posted after publication. The update also includes contact info to donate money to her Venmo and PayPal accounts.
Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman tweeted a response to the post later that day in response to Talia Jane’s firing, stating the decision to let her go had nothing to do with the blog post.
1/5 Late last night I read Talia's medium contribution and want to acknowledge her point that the cost of living in SF is far too high.
Reactions to Talia Jane’s post garnered strong reactions from readers. Some firmly sided with her, while others vehemently claimed she had nobody to blame but herself for her financial woes.
One reader in the latter camp wrote her response Saturday afternoon, a day after Talia Jane was fired. Medium user Stefanie Williams explains why she feels the issues outlined in “An Open Letter to My CEO” are misguided.
“When I was 22, I was let go from an office job…I, too, was an English major. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with that. Work in marketing? Try my hand at journalism again? PR? No clue. All I knew was my dreams of being able to move out and live in the City with my friends had just been dashed,” Williams wrote.
However, Williams said those setbacks didn’t stop her. First she got a job as a hostess at a local bar. Then she became a cocktail waitress. Later she moved up to the weekend bartending shift.
“A year later, I was making enough money to move into the City with my best friend. I worked four days a week making anywhere between $50,000 and $60,000 a year — more than many of my former classmates with much more flexibility and far better hours. I was able to travel three times a year, go out with my friends, pay rent, pay for groceries. Above all, I was able to write. And at 26, I signed to United Talent Agency in LA and began my journey into television screenplay writing,” Williams wrote.
Williams argues she was able to do all of the things mentioned in the above quote because she worked hard at jobs she didn’t like in order to get to a place of comfort later. Her advice for Talia Jane?
“Trust me when I say, there are far more embarrassing things in life than working at a restaurant, washing dishes, or serving burgers at a fast food window. And one of them, without one shred of doubt, is displaying your complete lack of work ethic in public by asking for handouts because you refuse to actually do work that at the ripe old age of 25 that you think is unworthy of your witty tweet creating time.
“You wanted to write memes? Darling, you just became one.”
What do you think? Do you side with Talia Jane or with Stefanie Wiliams? Sound off in the comments.
Launderette clocked in at No. 16 on our list of top restaurants of 2015, and they offer a crab toast (pictured), a Stravecchio toast with arugala caesar, avocado and smoked butternut squash on semolina bread, and a soft egg toast wit asparagus, taleggio, truffle vinaigrette and bottarga on focaccia bread.
Sa-Tén recently was given food critic Matthew Odam’s Dish of the Week award. Odam delighted in this local offering of Japanese milk bread, and he gave the nori tama toast a special shout out. The restaurant offers many toast variations, including a miso honey toast, and a Sriracha salmon mayo toast.
When there’s 24/7 breakfast, there’s 24/7 toast and, just as importantly, 24/7 French toast. 24 Diner’s rich french toast comes with vanilla cream and berries on top, giving you a photogenic and delicious opportunity to celebrate National Toast Day. Looking for other breakfasty spots this weekend to get your toast on?
Not exactly just toast, but too good to leave off—Phil’s Ice House has the “Jollyville” burger that replaces burger buns with French toast slices. Genius.
5. Texas toast at Whataburger. Or Raising Cane’s. Really, anywhere with Texas toast.
This might be a little different than the rest of the list, but you can’t celebrate National Toast Day in Texas and forget about Texas toast. (It’s also incredibly easy to make; just slather bread with butter and garlic and grill!)
It’s a debate that’s raged since 1939. Who’s better: Batman or Superman?
Of course, that’s a choice that no one needs to make. The Caped Crusader and the Man of Steel each have their high points. (Respectively, in this writer’s opinion: batarangs and pet dog with a cape.) But with “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” hitting theaters in March, certain flames of rivalry were bound to be stoked.
That’s why actor Henry Cavill, who plays Superman in the sequel to 2013’s “Man of Steel,”decided to defend his best interests the only way the Internet knows how to settle a debate: with cute children. Watch the Kryptonian-by-way-of-England grill some small superhero fans below.
Cavill makes a good point: Batman can only fly if he falls off of something.
The number of signatures on the petition has grown rapidly, with more than 500 supporters within the 11 hours of its existence.
In the original article, Sedacca writes, “Like most foods in the Tex Mex pantheon, the breakfast taco was born out of cross-pollinating Mexican culture with Anglo-Germanic ingredients that were available in Texas.” While later saying the dish’s origins “lie in the kitchens of immigrant Mexican families living in Texas,” the article cites only one other city in Texas. Corpus Christi during the 1950s, as explained by food writer Robert Walsh, saw the “first instance” of the breakfast taco, known then as the breakfast “taquito.”
Walsh is the man behind book titles such as “The Tex-Mex Cookbook,” “Legends of Texas Barbecue” and “Tex-Mex Grill and Backyard Barbacoa Cookbook.” Citing this taco historian, Sedacca writes Austin is the birthplace of the phrase “breakfast taco” and also the city behind the food’s rise to fame. The South By Southwest festival also had a hand in attracting tourists from all over the country who then spread taco appreciation to cities outside of Texas, according to Walsh.
“So the word went out, and in Brooklyn and L.A., you can get Austin-style breakfast tacos,” Walsh told Eater Austin.
Tamale House’s Diana Vasquez-Valera told Sedacca the story of her father’s past visit to California. Tacos were sold outside of a sit-down restaurant environment, which inspired the Austin restaurant. But even she told the publication the tacos were “not an overnight sensation, but a novelty, a delicioso concept.” Tacodeli’s Roberto Espinosa also drops a line about the democracy of the breakfast taco.
Many comments on the article mention San Antonio as another important city in the taco game, as well as the south Texas region. (Full disclosure, this breakfast taco-loving writer hails from San Antonio.)
“Tejanos have been eating them for centuries, and the Taco Cabana chain, from San Antonio, found a very strong foothold in the mid 1970s— long before what this article mentions Austin as experiencing,” user Artisus writes.
“I’m from San Antonio but live in Austin. Breakfast tacos are awesome but their ‘home’ definitely isn’t Austin as much as it is San Antonio. Sorry dude,” writes user mina184184.
“Only a place like Austin would claim itself to be the home of breakfast tacos, or the original creator of the phrase ‘breakfast taco,'” writes user Jason Ybarbo. “There’s a whole region south of Austin that would beg to differ on this claim, but we know how much Austin likes to practice cultural appropriation while socio-economically segregating said cultures.”
“An article regarding the origin of the breakfast taco that fails to mention its neighbor 80 miles south is simply ridiculous,” writes user Greg Goodman.
But back to the petition. Among other complaints, the call for Sedacca’s ouster states that “More absurd is the notion that ‘breakfast taco culture’ was either codified or normalized by a generation of birkenstock-clad tech-jockeys and university incubatees majoring in Phish and Social Safety Net Surfing, and not by the laborers who spent the last century waking up at 5 am, breaking their fast on huevos con papas outside a truck, to build the aforementioned demographic’s luxury condos.”
The online petition calls for some rather creative resolutions, including “immediate deportation of the offender to a neighboring state where more liberal interpretations of ‘tacos’ are tolerated”; a ban on taco-centric writing until courses on “Applied Taqueria Studies and a seminar in Tex-Mex Disambiguation” are completed; “re-education and re-habilitation” courtesy of the City of San Antonio; and a “San Antonio Day” observed in Austin to include “public singing of songs that beg forgiveness for all taco-related transgressions.”
Despite the petition and online comment backlash, Sedacca seems to be taking it in stride, posting a photo on Twitter with a burrito, thumbs up and a smile with “burritos 4 life” as the caption.
Scanned through general categories like “comedy” and “drama” so many times on Netflix that you nearly have the order of the movies memorized? It might be time to try some more specific categories like “suspenseful movies starring Brad Pitt” or “sci-fi adventure for kids ages 8 to 10.” But how? Check out this list of specialized Netflix category codes, each with a different numerical identifier that can be used to zone in on just what you’re looking for.
According to a recent study commissioned by Austin Music People and conducted by local firm TXP Inc., Austin has lost more than 1,200 music industry jobs in the past four years. The report also says the “year-round economic activity by local artists, venues and businesses” has dropped 15 percent during that time. Despite these discouraging figures, the total economic impact of the music industry on the city has grown from $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion. This is primarily due to Austin’s strong “festival economy,” and the debut of the Austin360 Amphitheater.
Today we celebrate every Texan’s favorite limey, frozen cocktail, the best way we know how: by having one! If you’ve already got a favorite margarita and a spot to get them, head there now. Otherwise, take a look at our readers’ favorite margaritas using our interactive margarita map. 24 different margaritas in and around Austin that give us plenty of reasons (excuses) to celebrate!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. With SXSW revelations raining down on us, it can be hard to keep track of what exactly you’re looking forward to the most. Doubtless the announcement that Spotify House, this year located at the now shuttered Nuevo Leon on East Sixth Street, is promising performances by Miguel, Chvrches, Kacey Musgraves and Vince Staples makes the choice no less confusing. Still not excited? Maybe today’s addition of Miike Snow, the Kills and Ghostland Observatory will do it for you.
The Apollo 10 mission did more than just orbit the moon two months before astronauts landed on it in 1969. The astronauts aboard the mission also discovered a strange sort of “space music,” recordings of which have only recently been released by NASA. “That music even sounds outer-spacey, doesn’t it? You hear that? That whistling sound?” lunar module pilot Eugene Cernan asks in the recording. The strange whistling was recorded during an hour when the spacecraft was out of radio contact with mission control.
His new album, “The Life of Pablo,” dropped late Saturday exclusively on music-streaming service Tidal. The album has been getting great reviews, but most of the headlines mentioning Yeezy this week have nothing to do with music. And Whataburger was there to capture it all, according to Revelist.
It all started the day before “Pablo’s” premiere at the Yeezy Season 3 Fashion Show, when West, well-known for his use of social media, began firing on all Twitter cylinders. The Texas-based burger chain promptly fired back.
.@kanyewest know you asked everyone not to ask you anything but if you wanna bring me Whataburger that'd be cool
Two days later, West came under fire for the subject of some of the lyrics to “Famous,” where he took a swipe at Taylor Swift in the latest volley of a feud that’s been going on since 2009:
“I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/ Why, I made that b—- famous.” (West apparently thinks he made the pop singer famous when he, you know, interrupted her acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.)
And to her credit, Swift shot back in her Grammys acceptance speech Sunday night when she took home the Album of the Year Award for “1989.”
“There are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success, or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame, but if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you …” Swift said.
As if that weren’t enough, some of audio of West, leaked from backstage at “Saturday Night Live,” hit the Internet earlier this week. Highlights (lowlights?) include West calling Swift a “fake-a–,” and proclaiming himself to be “50 perfect more influential” than director Stanley Kubrick, evangelist Paul the Apostle, painter Pablo Picasso and drug dealer Pablo Escobar. (The last three names presumably factored into “Pablo’s” album title).
And who could forget West brazenly asking Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for money to “invest in Kanye West ideas”?