HAAM Benefit Day: Live music in unexpected places

HAAM Benefit Day - 9/24/13

HAAM Benefit Day – 9/24/13

Your coffee meeting, lunch with friends, and haircut on your way to picking up groceries can all help Austin area musicians today.  Today is HAAM Benefit Day – live music in unexpected places that support the musicians who live here in Austin!

Live music is not an anomaly here in Austin, but what makes today unique is the talent playing in places like the Frost Bank Tower, Whataburger, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and just about every Whole Foods location.  They come out to play not for tips or the usual nighttime audiences. They are out playing to help support a nonprofit that works so hard to support them.

What HAAM does for Austin musicians
The Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM) provides Austin’s low income, uninsured-working musicians with access to affordable health care – not just for the emergencies, but preventative and wellness care. Most of Austin’s working musicians are self-employed which presents challenges to securing health insurance that provides them with preventive health care to keep healthy and working – here in our city and around the country.

While we can all agree Austin’s status as a live city capital is great for the reputation of the city, it also is an important contributor to the Austin economy. The impact of the more than 9,000 working musicians to our economy includes:

  • Almost $2 billion in economic activity, more than $38 million in local tax revenue each year.
  • 18,148 jobs.
  • Tens of thousands of visitors from around the world brought annually by Austin City Limits Music Festival and South By Southwest. (Source: TXP, Inc., City of Austin, 2012)

How Austin musicians work for HAAM
Today, the musicians are joining HAAM to provide concerts throughout the city to help raise money to support the nonprofit that supports them. Some proceeds from the sales today at these locations will be donated to HAAM so they can continue to provide access to health care to our Austin musicians. Learn more about how you can be a part of the HAAM Benefit Day.

Visit one of these locations and hear some Austin music the way no tourist will – discover a new musician you may not have heard before.

Social Good-ers Asked: Want to Go to SXSW Interactive?

A few years ago I had the opportunity to attend SXSW Interactive (SXSWi). I was the communications director of a nonprofit in Austin and had written a contest submission about why I should win a free ticket. I didn’t know what to expect from SXSWi – it was amazing.

I had the opportunity to hear from people who were doing really innovative things with technology – and there was so much exploration and sharing. I had the opportunity to meet people who look at the world and seek out how to create change that makes a difference and betters the world.

And now, the people at SXSW are offering the 2014 SXSW Interactive Scholarship to ensure even more creative, innovative people who seek to do social good can be a part of SXSWi. How this works:

  • Learn more about the details of nominating a social good rock star.
  • You write a nomination of someone who can make a difference – and is using technology in innovative ways to accomplish their goals.
  • Submit your 300-word essay by Friday, July 26, 2013.
  • Wait with baited breath to hear if BOTH you and your nominee are going to SXSWi on September 23, 2014!

I wish I were part of the team that will be reviewing the entries – I love hearing about the new and exciting things people are doing to create social good for their communities! If you send in a nomination – feel free to share with me too, I’d love to hear about who you think deserves this nomination! And if you think you are someone who deserves the nomination, but need someone to write your nomination, let me know!

Austin’s Restaurant Week: #CauseyEating at Asti

We are in the midst of Austin’s Restaurant Week – and today I dove in with gusto! Earlier this year, Jodi Bart with Tasty Touring posted her Best Italian Restaurants picks, and Asti was on the list. She included a photo and rave about the Spaghetti Carbonara that made me drool. So when Restaurant Week started, I jumped!

For Restaurant Week, there is a three-course offering for dinner for $36. I got a meal that seduced and delighted me. I went with a new friend – someone I wanted to get to know better. I felt it was fitting given I also wanted to know the restaurant better.

My meal:

PEI Mussels

Asti's PEI Mussels

PEI Mussels– tomato / garlic / chili flake / white wine / grilled bread.
When they say “garlic” they mean thick shavings of heaven.

Market Vegetable Risotto – pecorino / roasted shallot / thyme
I wanted to eat it all, but could not; I suspected I would need to hide it when I got home. If you have not had a roasted shallot, I suggest you have one or five. I am going to try to make this at home; it was delectable.

Tiramisu – almond brittle / chocolate sauce
Honestly I could have done without the chocolate sauce, but it made the plate pretty and anchored the fluffy Tiramisu. I will say the almond brittle made the dessert though. The texture of the brittle and the gentle sweetness of the Tiramisu were perfect. Though, I could eat a bowlful of the brittle and not be remorseful about missing the Tiramisu at all.

#CauseyEating means that Austin’s Restaurant Week has a GivingCity bend to it as well.

However, I wish the manner in which the beneficiary was supported had been better highlighted on the webpage. The 2012 Austin Restaurant Week was for the benefit of Meal on Wheels and More – but in order to benefit them, I needed to make my reservation a specific way. I assumed that a percentage of the receipts for the prix-fixe menu sales would go to the NPO. However, this evening, as I write this, I discovered text buried in a paragraph that says: “Each reservation through our site or the ARW app will result in a donation to our non-profit beneficiary, Meals on Wheels and More!”

Navigation leads me through too many pages to keep me on board in terms of making a reservation through their site – and it’s unclear whether or not if I bypass them and go straight to Open Table if Meals on Wheels still benefits. Either way, I love that Meals on Wheels and More gets to be a part of the week!

Looking forward to the next great meal I have – which will likely be the poached eggs I put on top of the leftover risotto tomorrow morning!