Austin 78704

As some gathered from my hints in old blog entries, and as others noticed after reading all the way to the end of the last blog entry, yes, it appears that AEJ and I are moving to Austin this summer.

Texas has been awfully good to me — as my dad has pointed out, I wouldn’t have much of a career if not for Texas — and it makes sense to go where the work is. (Having three performances at the Texas Music Educators convention in February kind of felt like a sign.) It’s a nice bonus that I really like Austin. I think it feels like the San Francisco of Texas (work with me, here…) — good restaurants, politically liberal, and environmentally green. The biggest differences, as far as I can tell: the weather is better in San Francisco, but I can afford to buy a house in Austin.

Here’s a little blurb about Austin from Treehugger:

The politics in Austin, Texas, home base of Whole Foods Market, have earned it the title of “the blueberry in the bowl of tomato soup.” But the city’s energy portfolio could make it known as the ray of sunshine in the field of oil pumps. If you want to sign up for green power from Austin Energy, possibly the greenest power grid in the country, you can get in line—this year’s demand was unpredictably high, and they’re fresh out. Austin’s growing list of proactive energy maneuvers is, to say the least, striking. Not only does Austin lead the country in wind power and biodiesel production, but it has built advanced plug-in hybrid vehicles into its energy strategy.

As part of the recently announced Austin Climate Protection Plan, all facilities, fleets and operations will be carbon-neutral by 2020, and 100 percent of city facilities will be powered by renewable energy by 2012. There will also be CO2 caps and reduction plans for all utility emissions, something the federal government hasn’t dared do.

That sounds pretty sweet to me. I have loved living in LA, and I’ll miss a lot about it (the sushi and weather, in particular), but I won’t miss the smog…

Our plan is to look at apartments when we’re out there in two weeks for the premiere of my middle school piece (premiering on May 13 at UT, with Cheryl Floyd conducting the Hill Country Middle School Band — be there!). We’re planning to rent a place for a year while we get to know the city and the various neighborhoods, and buy something next year.

Now that I have two pieces on the Texas Prescribed Music List, I’ve gotten a handful of invitations to come work with high school bands in Texas. Unfortunately, even fancy-pants schools have trouble justifying the expense of flying me from Los Angeles and putting me up at a hotel in, say, Houston — but if I live in Austin, I can drive somewhere and work with a group for a day. There’s a higher concentration of great high school bands in Texas (particularly in the Austin, Houston, and Dallas areas) than anywhere else I’ve found in the US, and I think it’ll be good to be “in the hood.” My hope is that there will be even more opportunities for school residencies, but without nearly as many hours lost in airports and on planes. (I’d much rather spend time in the pretty new Prius.)

Plus, the National CBDNA Convention is in Austin next spring — and this way, I won’t have to pay for a hotel room! Think of the savings!

Another curious coincidence: the founder and CEO of the Whole Foods grocery store chain — based in Austin — is named John Mackey. I’m hoping that will somehow get me free stuff at Whole Foods when I flash my credit card there.

The title of this blog entry is Austin 78704, but that doesn’t mean we’re necessarily moving into that trendy zip code, although it looks like a fun area. (It is, after all, the location of Uchi, a most-excellent sushi spot.) For those who know Austin well, where do you think we should rent for this first year?


Montoya says

South Austin. Ain't nothing like it.

Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

*I'm looking at you CB and SB!!!!*

Montoya says

OH, and yes... 78704 will do!!

But it's all about the 45, son!!

Cathy says

Wow, awesome! Welcome!!

Cathy says

By the way, my friend Crystal is an apartment locator here. Let me know if you'd like for her to email you. I'm not sure what her work email address is or I'd just leave it here.

Connie Miller says

Depends on what your budget is for apartment living. Overlooking Lake Austin is lovely but comes with a hefty price tag.
I agree with Montoya that South Austin definitely has the *real* Austin vibe to it, but there's a lot starting to happen right down near our fancy pants Whole Foods on Lamar and 5th St. that young professionals might get a kick out of.

I, myself, love my suburban neighborhood because it's a 7 minute walk to my grocery, Starbucks, 4 restaurants and a liquor store. If you need a dentist, a vet, eyeglasses, a massage or a tan, you've got it made! You can also frame a picture (or painting of mine!) or mail a package.'s just a mile from the main artery for Austin, the Mo (fo) Pac!

And don't let anyone tell you that East Austin is the place to be, because all that gentrification has come at a high price for the poor folks still living there. Makes me sad. Plus, it's a bear to get anywhere from there. IH35 sucks!
Feel free to email me any questions you have. I've lived here since I was a little girl of 24.

Mark S. says

well, I'm happy you are moving to Texas, but I don't know much about Austin-I live near Fort Worth. So I guess I won't be much help.

Trevor says

Wow....great move!!! Texas is number 1, going to be the cheapest place to live when gas gets higher and 2, everything is just so damn great in texas....welcome to TEXAS!!!!

Montoya says

Yeah... southwest Austin is the place to be. Northwest Austin is pretty cool too... if you're in to "New Money." It just doesn't seem "real" to me.

Travis Taylor says

Why must you mention sushi? Why? It saddens me, because it's too expensive, but so tasty. You have fun eating your sushi and driving your prius. :(


Kevin Howlett says

You had mentioned a long time ago that you got traffic indicating that John Mackey from Whole Foods checked out your site. Now that the two of you will be in one city, I personally would like to see a meeting between the two of you.

I'm envisioning a three-minute YouTube video of both of you staring at each other uncomfortably.

" do you do?"

"I write music."

"Wow...that's...that's really good."

" you know a good barbecue place in Austin?"

"Actually...I'm a vegetarian."


*two more minutes of silent stares*

Montoya says

Don't forget:

"Wanna see my camera?"


"So can take pictures of your food!"

"That would be an infringement of trade secrets. SECURITY!!"

...and we never heard from him again. Well until the inevitable "Behind the Music: Composers" started up by Nikk.

Emily says

You should check out the Woods on Barton Skyway complex. I'm a UT music student and I love it here: very green, wooded, quiet, but 10-15 mins from campus and downtown, just off Mopac (but amazingly no traffic noise!), and close to the Westlake area with its great restaurants and beautiful scenery - only 5 mins from Hill Country MS and Westlake HS (I teach private lessons there). Town Lake Hike and Bike and Restaurant Row are 5 mins in the car or just more than a mile on foot. We have a Barton Creek Greenbelt access point just half a block down the hill. You can get to I-35 via 290/Ben White in 10 mins even in heavy traffic. It's really the perfect location, especially if you want to be able to sample the hip Austin city life but still have someplace peaceful to come home to. If I can tell you anything more, feel free to contact me!

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