Wednesday, February 23

The Forbidden Gardens for the Wall Street Journal

Texas certainly has its share of weirdness.  15 years ago, Seattle businessman Ira Poon invested $20 million to create a miniature replica of China's Forbidden City in a Houston suburb.  The 40-acre site also included a miniature terracotta army, like the one that guarded the tomb of China's first emperor

The Forbidden Gardens museum was certainly quirky and largely ignored by its neighbors in Katy, Texas.  Ignored, that is, until the highway department planned a freeway expansion right through the site.  Without an alternative location for the exhibits, the museum opened its doors to an all out fire-sale.  Droves of visitors came to claim a piece of the display that many had never visited before.

It was a strange day.  Elated bargain hunters toted off wheelbarrows full of terracotta while museum employees grieved for their lost jobs and the end of an era.  You can read the poignant article by Angel Gonzalez here.

Forbidden Gardens - Images by Julia Robinson

Wednesday, February 16

Capitol Rally for the Texas Charter Schools Association

Had a fun time covering a rally for the TCSA.  Parents from all over the state descended on the capitol in support of charter schools.  They made their voices heard on the south steps then tracked down their legislators for some tough talk on the looming budget cuts.

TCSA - Images by Julia Robinson

Monday, February 7

Anne Moore for the Statesman

New York based designer and milliner Anne Moore has relocated to Austin with a new shop on west 2nd Street. Moore's designs have been worn by Madonna, Sharon Stone, Julia Roberts, Isabella Rossellini, Oprah Winfrey, Aretha Franklin and the late Princess Diana. Her hats have appeared in Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, New York Magazine, and Cosmopolitan.  Her leopard cowboy hats are sure to please the nuveau-Austin fashionistas.