Weeklong dance hall tour to ‘cruise’ through Texas history

Patrons dance in the newly renovated Sengelmann Dance Hall in Schulenburg, Texas, on Thursday July 30, 2009.
Patrons dance in the newly renovated Sengelmann Dance Hall in Schulenburg, Texas, on Thursday July 30, 2009. Photo by Rodolfo Gonzalez, Austin American-Statesman

Take a cruise and you’re gonna be afloat in entertainment, drinks, dinner and more. But no matter what level of luxury you’re paying for, there’s one thing you can’t get at sea: An authentic Texas dance hall experience in a polished-by-the-decades historical Texas dance hall.

Don’t worry, though. Ray Benson has a plan.

The band leader and his “Asleep at the Wheel” cohorts are hosting a six-night “land cruise” that features stops at six time-honored venues — including the famed Luckenbach Dance Hall — with entertainment, drinks and dinner all included, as well as daytime tours and shopping. The Texas Dance Hall Tour runs March 20-26.

Lisa Martin enjoys the antics of dancing partner Jim Coale as they make their way around the floor in front of Gary P. Nunn and band playing on a Saturday night in Luckenbach, Texas, May 8, 2004. Photo by Tom Reel, San Antonio Express-News
Lisa Martin enjoys the antics of dancing partner Jim Coale as they make their way around the floor in front of Gary P. Nunn and band playing on a Saturday night in Luckenbach, Texas, May 8, 2004. Photo by Tom Reel, San Antonio Express-News

The dance hall is an integral part of the Texas story — more than 1,000 once dotted the Lone Star map, built largely in German and Czech communities. But the dance hall is also quickly becoming history — about 400 remain. A recent loss was Tin Hall in Cypress outside Houston. It closed down last year.

If you went to college in Texas you might have done the dance hall thing at least once — Whittington’s beef jerky for lunch, a burger for dinner. Too many beers outside the dance hall, the old “clutch and sway” inside.

But the Texas Dance Hall Tour is a bit more upscale than that: For $3,500 a couple gets six nights at two hotels, transportation to and from all the events and dinner and drinks .. AND dance lessons on the first full day of the tour. (There’s also less expensive packages for folks whose wallet doesn’t weigh down their Wranglers.)

Exterior of the newly renovated Sengelmann Dance Hall in downtown Schulenburg, Texas, on Thursday July 30, 2009. Photo by Rodolfo Gonzalez, Austin American-Statesman
Exterior of the newly renovated Sengelmann Dance Hall in downtown Schulenburg, Texas, on Thursday July 30, 2009. Photo by Rodolfo Gonzalez, Austin American-Statesman

Included on the tour is a stop at Twin Sisters Dance Hall outside Blanco with performances by Asleep at the Wheel and Dale Watson and a stop at Sengelmann Hall in Schulenburg with performances by Lee Ann Womack and Hot Club of Cowtown.

Learn more about historic Texas dance halls at Texas Dance Hall Preservation Inc.

Austin treat listed among PETA’s top 10 vegan desserts

Even those who impose strict dietary restrictions on themselves can find it hard to resist a sweet treat…

Animal rights group PETA recently released a list of their top 10 vegan desserts in the country, and it turns out if you’re looking to indulge you don’t have to go far. Austin’s vegan ice cream shop Sweet Ritual’s “Banana Split Split,” which features three different kinds of ice cream and a caramelized banana split down the middle, made the list and is reportedly a customer favorite.

LISTEN: The American-Statesman talks with Amelia Raley and Valerie Ward on Sweet Ritual

PETA also suggests trying the shop’s “Unicorn Poop” ice cream made from skittles, beet juice and rainbow sprinkles while you’re at it.

BEST: Vegetarian restaurants in Austin

UT got in formation for ‘Ellen’ with these Beyoncé costumes

When Ellen Degeneres announced late Monday afternoon on Twitter that her crew would be showing up to the University of Texas on Tuesday, everyone was wondering what antics the talk-show host would create.

Turns out, her crew’s visit had to do with Beyoncé and the Grammys. DeGeneres promised tickets to the music awards show to the best Beyoncé-clad students at the Main Mall.

beyonce2

Obviously, many students obliged, with costumes ranging from the “Single Ladies” era up until Beyoncé’s recent pregnancy announcement.

This costume won:

And here’s a sampling of some of the best Beyoncé costumes we could find from UT on social media Tuesday:

See more Beyoncé photos in our gallery

More:  UT students get all Beyonce’d up for ‘Ellen’ TV crew

https://twitter.com/basicbelindaa/status/829083295187079170

 

Whataburger celebrates the Super Bowl by creating its own Whatastadium

Houston’s NRG Stadium has nothing on Whataburger Stadium.

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A Facebook post from the Texas burger giant on Sunday shows a burger seated at the 50-yard line of a Whataburger stadium made up of order number placards, chicken nuggets, fries and other Whatadelights.

The stadium won’t be hosting  a Super Bowl any time soon, but Whataburger fans had a lot to say about the fast food creation.

Later, Whataburger shared a 360-degree video of the stadium.

Lady Gaga at Super Bowl LI: What people are saying

Lady Gaga kicked off her halftime performance at Super Bowl LI by being lowered down into Houston’s NRG Stadium on a harness as red, white and blue-lit drones formed an American flag all around her.

She kicked off a career-spanning performance with the Texas-referencing “Poker Face.”

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Here’s a sampling of what people on social media had to say about the performance:

https://twitter.com/Conthulu/status/828412335257636866

https://twitter.com/gabby_frost/status/828412643350343680

https://twitter.com/ShooterMcGavin_/status/828413443698999296

Kellyanne Conway just inspired a ‘Bowling Green Massacre Victims Fund’

If you’re an altruistic sort of person, (and these days, there’s plenty of organizations to donate your hard-earned cash) a new fund established Friday might pique your interest.

“The Bowling Green Massacre Victims Fund” seeks to “directly support the victims and families directly affected by the Bowling Green Massacre” through monetary donations.

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“As we join together with our thoughts and prayers, we will always remember how our fortitude and compassion unite us all through these difficult times,” the fund’s website reads.

The only problem is that “The Bowling Green Massacre” never happened, and no event in the city of Bowling Green, Ky., in modern history has ever been considered a massacre (unless, of course, you count the University of Memphis’ 77-3 massacre of Bowling Green’s football team last season, but even then, that happened in Memphis).

The fund website is a joke site, a joke made in response to Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway’s Thursday night claim in an MSNBC interview that the city of Bowling Green was the site of a massacre carried out by Iraqi terrorists. She made the erroneous claim in an attempt to argue in favor of President Trump’s immigration and refugee ban.

Conway also raked the media over the coals for not covering the nonexistent event.

“I bet, there was very little coverage — I bet it’s brand new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized — and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre. I mean, most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered.”

In a series of tweets Friday morning, Conway said the slip-up was an honest mistake, and again blamed the media for covering her slip-up instead of her intended remark, which was seemingly in reference to an ABC investigation on terrorists living in Bowling Green. She also steered the conversation toward other media members’ mistakes, and felt she should not have been attacked for her mistake: “Last night, prominent editor of liberal site apologized for almost running a story re: tweet from fake account.”

Bowling Green’s mayor, Bruce Wilkerson, issued a statement on Twitter Friday morning setting the record straight:

“It was recently cited in a national interview that a massacre occured in Bowling Green, Ky. in 2011. That statement has now been corrected.

“While in 2011, two Iraqi nationals living in bowling green were arrested for attempting to provide money and weapons to terrorists in Iraq. there (sic) was no massacre in Bowling Green.

“‘I understand during a live interview how one can misspeak and appreciate the clarification,’ said Bowling green mayor Bruce Wilkerson.”

And as for that donations site? It goes to the ACLU.

Matthew McConaughey’s Trump opinion: What people are saying

Austin actor Matthew McConaughey made waves this week after video was released of a BBC One interview he did over the weekend. The video has since been deleted, but in the segment, interviewer Andrew Marr asked the “Gold” star whether it’s time “Hollywood and the cultural elite of America” gave Trump a break.

Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves attend a party at the Highball before the Austin premiere of McConaughey's movie "Gold" on Jan. 12, 2017. Contributed by Rick Kern
Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves attend a party at the Highball before the Austin premiere of McConaughey’s movie “Gold” on Jan. 12, 2017. Contributed by Rick Kern

McConaughey’s answer? “He’s our president. It’s very dynamic and divisive of an inauguration in time that we’ve ever had. At the same time, it’s time for us to embrace.”

The actor known for his “just keep livin'” ethos went on to say, “Shake hands with this fact, and be constructive with him over the next four years. So even those that most strongly disagree with his principals or things he’s said or done, which is another thing, we’ll see what he does compared to what he had said. No matter how much you even disagreed along the way, it’s time to think about how constructive can you be. Because he’s our president for the next four years, at least. President of the United States.”

More McConaughContent: “Going for ‘Gold’: McConaughey talks shady deals, stringy hair”

Fan reaction on social media to the statement was mixed. Some argued that McConaughey was “as dense as the characters who made him famous,” while many social media users remarked that they were glad a celebrity wasn’t advocating for a complete overthrow of the government (like Madonna and Sarah Silverman have done in recent weeks).

And yes, everyone made the same “This is not alright, alright, alright” joke, but one Redditor went for this (now obvious in hindsight) joke instead: “He’s alt-right, alt-right, alt-right…”

Here’s the best of the rest in McConaughey reaction online:

https://twitter.com/AmeriClayton/status/827588852239970304

https://twitter.com/angrypaws/status/827195678149459968

George Strait song one of the worst in Texas? Listmakers explain

Remember on Tuesday, when George Strait’s “All My Exes Live in Texas” landed at No. 4 on an online list of “worst songs in Texas history”?

George Strait presents an awards at the Americana Music Association Honors & Awards Show Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
George Strait presents an awards at the Americana Music Association Honors & Awards Show Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

Texans remembered. And they weren’t too happy about this treasonous act towards King George.

When Super Bash Houston released the list, the results of a random poll of 1,000 Texans, media outlets (including this one) jumped on the news with headlines like “Some folks are talking trash about George Strait in his home state,”  “George Strait lands on an online list of ‘worst Texas songs’” and “Survey: George Strait chart-topper about Texas a ‘musical misfire.'”

After all the fuss, Joe Paonessa, the co-founder of Houston Super Bash, felt he needed to speak out.

“We really love all types of music and wanted to include significant country songs on the list so that we represented the musical tastes of the entire Lone Star State,” Paonessa wrote in a news release Thursday. “George Strait was really chosen because he is so well known and the song is so strongly associated with Texas. We expected a very small percentage of the vote to go to him and Texans were invited to also select ‘other’ but only 1.3% did.

More: George Strait says country music is ‘trending towards traditional’

“The Houston Super Bash wants to extend George Strait a standing VIP invitation to the event and offer to play any song (other than ‘All My Ex’s Live in Texas’) and hope that he will accept.”

Paonessa also explained why “Achy Breaky Heart” was included in the survey: “It was not a Texas song or artist, but a Texan voted it on the survey.”

Here are the full rankings again, from “worst” to “not as worse,” just in case you missed them:

More: Super Bowl bites: Get a taste of New England and Georgia at Austin restaurants

VOTE NOW: It’s time to pick the cutest couple in Austin

We asked, and 206 couples answered the call. Now, it’s up to you to decide who is the cutest couple in Austin.

Voting is now open for the 2017 Austin360 Cutest Couples Contest. Let us just tell you, the competition is fierce. You can cast your ballot until Feb. 10 at 5 p.m., and the pair of paramours that scores the most votes will score a $100 gift card for the perfect Valentine’s Day date.

cutest-couple

Registration is required to vote, but information will only be used to verify valid votes.

VOTE NOW FOR YOUR FAVORITE COUPLE!