Elefant Press

One of the many posters hanging in the Deep Ellum studio of Elefant Press says it all: “Art Is Work.” The quote—from famed graphic designer Milton Glaser—rings especially true as Fernando Gonzalez moves about his shop, hand-cranking the Vandercook printing press again and again or mixing ink to get the perfect Pantone shade. Gonzalez, a former ad-agency art director, got his start in letterpress printing in 2010, with a small tabletop press in his apartment.

McDonald’s Thinks “Tamales Are a Thing of the Past,” McBurritos Are Where It’s At

In the U.S., McDonald’s latest ad campaign involves mocking wimps who turn to trendy foods like quinoa, kale, and Greek yogurt when they could be chowing down on a double-decker hamburger from McDonald’s. 

As culture war advertising goes, it’s pretty on point—the overlap between people who are considering getting a Big Mac and people who use kale and Greek yogurt as a base for their smoothies is probably not all that significant. McDonald’s can presumably afford to alienate the quinoa-eaters if it reassures their core market that they can eat their Big Macs with pride rather than shame. The emotions that accompany food are weird, but powerful! 

What Texas Food Chains Should Be Revived?

When the return of Youngblood’s Fried Chicken was announced, a lot of Texans with deep roots in the state and fond memories for the iconic chain’s food were thrilled. And the past few months have seen other old brands get a revival in various parts of the state, with Austin’s nostalgia for all things Austin leading the charge: A new Taco Flats, a new Vulcan Gas Company, etc, etc. As comedy writer Samantha Pitchel wrote on Twitter, Austin seems like it’s “about seven months away from a chain of food trucks called Liberty Lunch.” 

In San Antonio, meanwhile, there’s an upscale bar and taco restaurant in the space that was once Tacoland, and which bears the former business’s name. (Whether that name is really appropriate for the establishment currently in that building is a matter of opinion.) Between what’s happening in Austin and San Antonio, and the relatively recent revival of even newer Houston restaurants like Yelapa Playa Mexicana as a temporary pop-up space and the clamoring for long-gone Dallas establishments to somehow reappear, the trend of new restaurants appearing with the names—and occasionally, menus and atmospheres—of beloved old ones  is probably not going anywhere. 

What Does It Mean that Some High-Profile Sponsors Have Pulled Out of SXSW?

People have been making predictions about the end of SXSW for a very long time. Back in 2011, technology blog TechCrunch mocked the rush to declare that the conference had tipped past its point of relevance with the headline, “Saying ‘SXSW Is Over’ Is Over.” For SXSW co-founder and managing director Roland Swenson, those predictions go back even further. 

“We’ve had twenty years of people saying that it’s over,” Swenson says. “Every year, in the five weeks leading up to SXSW, we have a meeting where we bring in all the staff—which is now about 200 people—and one of the things that I’ve been doing for the past few years is I put up a projection of a headline from the Austin American-Statesman that says, ‘SXSW: How Big Is Too Big?’ and everybody looks at it like, ‘Oh, okay,” and I tell them, ‘That’s from 1991.’” 

R.I.P., RadioShack

The writing on the wall for RadioShack—the iconic, if exceptionally dated, Fort Worth-based technology chain—has been there for more than a little while now. Indeed, it’s more surprising that RadioShack survived and existed through the year 2015 than was yesterday’s news that the chain would be filing for bankruptcy, selling many of its stores to Sprint and/or Amazon, and closing the rest

The details of the immediate future of the company are still uncertain—RadioShack isn’t confirming the rumors that Sprint will be buying many to turn into retail stores to compete with AT&T and Verizon, or that Amazon may purchase them to turn them into showrooms for their technology products—but the ultimate fate of RadioShack joining Circuit City, Borders, Hollywood Video, and other once-ubiquitous, now-dead retail brands is not. 

Hotel Concierge Obliges a Guest's Request for Lots of Nicolas Cage

The job of a hotel concierge is to accomodate customer needs whenever possible, to ensure that their stay is pleasant and that whatever comforts from home they require are available to them. 

 

At San Antonio’s Hotel Indigo on the Riverwalk, that is apparently something they take very much to heart, as Imgur user “FreePsychicReadings” learned when she responded to a text from Ramon, the hotel concierge, offering her anything she might need to make her stay comfortable: 

 

The World's Largest BBQ Smoker Is for Sale in Brenham

Throwing a really, really, really, really big party and need to feed a whole bunch of people a whole bunch of smoked meats? Long dreamed of owning a “world’s largest” anything? Are you Austin BBQ magnate Aaron Franklin, and want to eradicate the famous, hours-long line at Franklin BBQ in one fell swoop? Got $350,000 lying around? If the answer to at least two of those questions is “yes,” yahtzee! The world’s largest BBQ pit is for sale, either on eBay or off of the side of the road on Highway 290 between Austin and Houston. 

The details on this monstrosity are impressive, if entirely ridiculous: The capacity of the thing is 4 tons of meat, and USA Today has the details on exactly what the $350,000 asking price gets you (spoiler: It doesn’t get you anything to haul the pit around with): 

'American Sniper' Is Blowing Away Box Office Records

American Sniper was destined to be a hit. The movie has an A-list director, an A-list star, and tells a complex story about a decorated veteran widely regarded as a hero by many Americans. But the extent to which Clint Eastwood’s film about the life of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle (with Bradley Cooper in the title role as the purported most lethal sniper in U.S. military history) would connect with audiences is downright unprecedented.

Films released in January are done so with low expectations. This month, with Oscar-bait films still in theaters, is when distributors typically dump their garbage. If a movie has a relatively strong cast and a director with some cachet—i.e., Michael Mann’s Blackhat, released last weekend—the odds are good that the movie itself is semi-coherent nonsense. The occasional comedy can become a modest hit in January, but if a movie is expected to perform well, it usually gets released before the holidays. 

Elon Musk Wants to Build His Hyperloop Test Track in Texas

Elon Musk clearly loves Texas. Sure, he may have decided against building his Gigafactory in the Lone Star state—instead planting his massive, $5 billion factory for Tesla car batteries (and the up to 22,000 jobs that come with it) in Reno. But if you’re down in Brownsville (or if you go to any number of bars or restaurants on South Padre Island with “Welcome SpaceX!” signs on their doors), you’ll notice that people can’t stop talking about the SpaceX launch facility heading to the Valley. And now, there’s also the Hyperloop

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