The High Five
8:22 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Keeping Austin Weird Brings In Lots Of Money, Study Says

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Austin’s creative class gives the city a big boost, today’s a big day for Wendy Davis, Lyle Lovett to be honored next month in Fort Worth, and more.

Yes, Austin is Weird – and that helps bring in a lot of money. The so-called creative sector and music tourism are big drivers in the local economy, The Atlantic Cities reports. The creative sector includes music, film, digital media, arts groups, galleries and culture-related tourism. In 2010, more than half of the tax revenue generated by Austin's creative sector came from tourism, according to a study conducted by Austin's city economist. One in five creative-sector jobs were in music tourism. South by Southwest injected more than $190 million into the local economy in 2012. Even during the recession, the creative sector grew; between 2005 and 2010, the creative sector grew by 25 percent, compared with 10 percent growth for the entire local economy, The Atlantic Cities reported. It’s not all good news, though. All of these events come with lots of traffic – and Austin already has plenty of traffic problems without the tourists. The Atlantic Cities interviews Austin's mayor to get his insight.

  • Today’s the day for Wendy Davis: The Fort Worth Democrat finally announces what we already know – that she’s running for Texas governor. The state senator will make the announcement in Haltom City. State Democrats have predicted for weeks that Davis would run. A new statewide Texas Lyceum poll released Wednesday shows Republican Greg Abbott with an eight-point lead over Davis – 29 percent to 21 percent. But 50 percent of registered voters are undecided. Davis gained national fame over the summer when she filibustered for 11 hours against an abortion bill that would ban most abortions in Texas. Political experts are skeptical that a Democrat can win in Texas – it’s been nearly two decades since a Democrat has held a statewide seat. KERA will offer coverage throughout the day.
  • Rick Perry, part one -- Traveling governor, hunting for jobs: Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been on a job hunt that’s taken him through several states over the past several months. “No governor in recent memory has conducted interstate recruiting with the same fervor, swagger and expense” as Perry, The New York Times reported. Perry has recently flown to six states — California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri and New York — to lure employers. During his trips, radio and TV commercials promote Texas’ business climate. But his trips are being criticized by other states’ governors. Also, skeptics wonder whether the trips are really about looking for jobs or whether Perry is seeking to boost his profile as he considers making a second presidential run in 2016.
  • Rick Perry, part two -- Perry explains wife’s own “oops” moment: In other Perry news, while traveling in New Jersey, Gov. Perry said this week that his wife, Anita, misspoke when she said that abortion "could be a woman’s right." “From time to time we’ll stick the wrong word in the wrong place, and you pounce upon it,” Perry told reporters at a campaign event for a U.S. Senate candidate. Anita Perry made her remark over the weekend in Austin at the Texas Tribune Festival. She said that she and her husband have the same opinion on abortion, but added that “the older I get, there are two sides of every nickel. ... God made us our own individuals, and I can believe, you can believe, what you want to believe." [Bloomberg]
  • Big-time sculptor spending time in Denton: Kiki Smith, a prominent sculptor and printmaker, is the newest artist-in-residence for the University of North Texas Institute for the Advancement of the Arts. She will work with students and visit classes to talk about her work. She’ll also make a large-scale print and exhibit other pieces at UNT on the Square. Smith said she plans to spend the time creating large landscape prints that celebrate Texas wildflowers. Smith, the daughter of a sculptor and opera singer, began sculpting in the 1970s. Her artwork is included in several museum collections across the country and overseas.
  • Lyle Lovett to be honored in Fort Worth: The Lone Star Film Society will honor Lyle Lovett and Stephen Murrin Jr. at the Lone Star Film Festival Ball next month. Lovett will accept the Stephen Bruton Award for his contribution to film through music and acting. Murrin will accept the inaugural Visionary Award for his support of Fort Worth and the Lone Star Film Society. The Lone Star Film Festival takes place Nov. 7-10 at the AMC Palace Theater and other locations around Sundance Square. Organizers say a number of films have Oscar-sized aspirations. The lineup includes “Nebraska,” directed by two-time Oscar winner Alexander Payne; “Tim’s Vermeer,” a documentary about the techniques of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer and “Philomena,” which stars Judi Dench.
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