How appropriate that the impending Halloween season and the return of The Walking Dead have, resurrected, if you will, my WordPress. The past three months have extracted almost every ounce of energy out of me. So in true unoriginal, lazy fashion, I thought I’d provide a quick photo reel from my Instagram feed for you to feast your eyes upon. Enjoy!

ACL 2012 wrap-up post coming soon, I promise.

I went on a cruise.

One of my best friends got married.

I went to Madison, Wisconsin.

And Chicago, Illinois.

I went to four Texas football games.

And four tailgates…

I went to ACL.

It rained.

I ate a lot of barbecue.*

And drank a lot of alcohol.

The end.

*Barbecue in order from top to bottom from Franklin BBQ, Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew, The Salt Lick and Uncle Billy’s


They call me Alison. I finally finished reading the monster, or shall I say the Leviathan, that is Moby Dick. Diving into this staple of the Western Canon was a challenge and frustrating at times, but retrospectively I’m so pleased that I finished reading about The Great Whale.

Upon finishing the novel, I was surprisingly sad. Granted, it was refreshing to finally finish what felt like an interminable book, but since I invested so much time and energy over the course of a few weeks – the bittersweet ending of the narrative coincided to my own bittersweet sentiments.

Though the plot was slow, the prose was beautiful, musical even, and the thankfully short, digestible chapters were wonderfully descriptive. An added bonus is understanding the meaning and inspiration behind a sea of pop culture references, images, art pieces, tattoos even. In fact, The Art of Fielding, which is my favorite book I’ve read over the past 6 months, heavily references Melville’s masterpiece and it’s an obvious theme apparent in the setting, plot and characters.

If you’re on the fence about reading Moby Dick, don’t be intimidated by the sheer enormity of the novel or the level of difficulty because the catharsis and overwhelming feeling of accomplishment upon its conclusion is worth the labor. However, if you are one who can read multiple books concurrently (sadly, I never was) this is easily one that can be conquered chapter by chapter – a marathon more than a sprint. Alas, you will be grateful that you finally experienced the classic Great American Novel and more importantly, you’ll be grateful that you sailed along the Pequod and had the privilege of knowing the ever tortured Captain Ahab and the mysterious and elusive White Whale.

  • Last Friday, The Hood Internet blew in from Chicago and blew the roof off of their intimate, $6 show at Beauty Ballroom. These mash-up masterminds have been longtime favorites and SXSW veterans and I’m glad I finally got to see them spin in my own backyard. And in case you didn’t know, Chi don’t dance – All they do is juke, all they do is juke.
  • First episode of new HBO series The Newsroom was incredible. I wonder if the show hits close to home since working with media is the basis of my career, but I think the average viewer would still enjoy the clever dialogue, fast pace and subject matter of the show. High marks.
  • Thanks to Alamo Drafthouse and the Austin Film Festival, ATX was one of the lucky cities that hosted Fever Year, a beautiful documentary about Andrew Bird and a year of relentless touring. Andrew Bird has always been one of my favorite artists for his creativity and talent, but after watching Fever Year, I have a new found respect for his tireless work ethic and dedication to making music. I love how he performs with an orchestra of machines, mastering the art of looping pedals and pairing the live recorded loops with buttery violin and iconic whistling.
  • I’m super excited about this upcoming Fleetwood Mac Tribute album. MGMT, Best Coast and The New Pornographers are among the impressive list of contributing artists; a few tracks have been released, but my absolute favorite so far is this Lykke Li cover of Silver Springs, one of the most beautiful and painfully heartfelt songs ever written. I’ve loved this song for years and Lykke Li definitely did justice to the legendary Stevie Nicks – not an easy feat.
  • I braved the 107 degree heat to see Ben Kweller’s free performance at Blues on the Green. I’ve loved his music since high school so seeing him perform Wasted and Ready and Commerce,TX incited all sorts of pleasant nostalgia, but his recently released “Go Fly A Kite” has some pretty great songs on it as well.

Happy Friday, y’all. Have an awesome weekend.

When Robyn penned her hit “Dancing On My Own,” she clearly neglected the droves of fans who dance in energetic unison and adoration from start to finish of her concerts. Last night, I was surrounded by swarms of chipper, glittery girls and fabulously fun gay men at Robyn’s long-awaited performance at ACL Live.

I think you can derive more meaning from the lyrics when you watch Robyn dance and perform. The adorable pop star is so free-spirited and uninhibited when she sings – she happily skips and twirls across the stage – freeing the suppressed inner-child buried deep in all of us. Let’s admit, the way we sing in the shower and dance in the privacy of our own rooms are rare occasions when we can be unbridled and unrestrained adults devoid of worldly pressures and responsibilities.

At first glance, non Robyn fans think she’s kind of weird – her ridiculous outfits, her chili bowl haircut, her unusually clunky platform sneakers – her “Call Your Girlfriend” video (below) is an excellent case study demonstrating this. But isn’t that what we all think of Lady Gaga? She’s a role model for the misfits. A talented pop star who silently preaches individuality and fun through her music. I had a great time dancing with my peers and singing along to personal favorites “Call Your Girlfriend” and “Hang With Me.” Happy Friday, y’all!

Ladies and gentlemen, summer is finally in full swing and I’m vigilantly taking advantage of the sunny weather, blockbuster films and beers by the pool – all excellent signifiers of quite possibly, my favorite season.

The past month or so has been a whirlwind, so this week, it seemed appropriate to categorize some recent activities and life updates into little digestible buckets.

  • Books – I’ve made an executive decision to exclusively read Classic literature this month rather than the easy, lazy prototypical beach reads. I reasoned that if I spent my summer delving into Fifty Shades of Gray, the rabbit hole of poorly written, yet fun and salacious material would never end and I would never achieve my long-term goal of reading (or re-reading) novels that I should have read (or paid more attention to) in high school. I started with The Great Gatsby since I love F. Scott Fitzgerald and was inspired by the lavish trailer for the upcoming film. I adore the jazz age – the luxury, the fashion, the chain-smoking – I can’t wait to see DiCaprio smolder and exhibit Gatsby’s immaculate swagger and interact with the adorable and appropriately cast Carey Mulligan to breathe life into one of my favorite works of fiction.
  • Movies – I can’t wait for summer blockbusters – Spiderman Reloaded, The Dark Knight, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – I can’t wait for the action and the soundtracks and loaded theaters. But I finally watched the long-awaited Moonrise Kingdom starring a slew of my favorite actors (Norton, Murray, Schwartzman). Wes Anderson never fails to amaze me with his understated humor, beautiful cinematography and clever scripts. The prepubescent main characters (Sam and Suzy) were also delightfully cute, funny and talented. Do yourself a favor and watch.
  • Music – I attended my first “Blues on the Green” of the year. For you non-Austinites, Blues on the Green is a free weekly summer concert series that takes place in Zilker Park, which is conveniently walking distance from my house. This week, Rhett Miller from the Old 97’s performed to a vast audience of adults, kids and dogs.

    The Twilight Zone photos were captured at the Feed Me concert at ND 501 Studios, a sweaty, intimate venue where the dubstep and electronic dance music subculture came alive. For a tiny venue, ND certainly didn’t skip on production.

I will conclude with the best text I received all week. One of my best buddies who lives in New Orleans is clearly having a successful Friday – I hope you all do too!

Entrance to Boston Common & Public Garden

Last week, I escaped the already insufferable Texas heat and spent a few days in Boston to celebrate my sister’s graduation from Harvard and Memorial Day weekend. The first and only time I visited that splendid city was 7 years ago, so I was highly anticipating my return as an older, wiser and more seasoned traveler.

We spent our days sightseeing and walking around the impressive town and Cambridge campus. I haven’t dabbled in black & white photography in a while, but the architecture and monuments in Boston are so classic and steeped in history that I decided to strip a few of my photos of pigment for this week’s batch of Friday photos. Ironically, I think the black & white enhances the depth and detail of these photos and adds even more life to the images.

Over the next few days, I plan on uploading more photos documenting my vacation which doubled as a much-needed break from work and some much-needed bonding time with my family. It feels good to be home, but following my sophomore trip to New England, I’ve concluded that Boston has earned a well-deserved spot on my list of favorite U.S. cities.

Church of the Covenant on Newbury Street

Quincy Market

Fenway Park, Home of the Boston Red Sox

Original Cheers bar where the sitcom was filmed

Harvard Square, Cambridge