Always wanted to shake hands with your favorite author, artist or actor? Austin is a great place to do it. From book signings to acoustic sessions to full fledge premiers and screenings, if you want to meet someone who’s made an impact on your life, there’s ample opportunity to do so. Follow local newspapers and magazines to see who’s coming through town, then wait your turn in line for the chance to chat.
BookPeople: If you like to read (which many folks in Austin do), BookPeople is like a dream, with floor upon floor of shelves packed with books on topics ranging from divorce to ancient history to organic baby food. And if you time your visit correctly, chances are good you might just meet an author or two, because they funnel through this hallowed Austin institution like college students at a keg party. Just check the calendar – a recent look showed author visits nearly every day of the week – and decide who you’d like to meet. They also offer regular story hours for children, who will be more impressed by the enthusiastic reader in a funny hat than they will any celebrity they may encounter. Don’t miss the chance to check it out. 603 N. Lamar Blvd., (512) 472-5050; www.bookpeople.com
Cheapo Discs: This is the best place in town to go if you’re looking for a wide selection of new and used CDs (yes, some of us do still love buying a CD at the store instead of downloading it on iTunes). They’ve got everything from Texas folk to heavy metal to top 40 pop hits. It’s also a great place to go see your favorite acts perform live, as Cheapo regularly hosts artists in store. Go online to check for details, or simply give them a call. They’re open every day from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. You can also sell your used CDs here. 914 N. Lamar Blvd.; (512) 477-4499; www.cheapotexas.com
Waterloo Records If you like to listen to music with other people who love to listen to music, you’ll enjoy a visit to Waterloo Records, where listening stations with giant headphones still populate the room. This place loves both local and national music, which is evident in the in-store events it regularly hosts. From performances by artists such as Los Lonely Boys and Marcia Ball to in-store listening parties (with pizza!) for well known CD releases, it’s the place to go to get excited about music again. You can also come here to buy, trade and sell your DVDs. 600 N. Lamar Blvd. Building A; (512) 474-2500; www.waterloorecords.com
ACL Live at Moody Theater: Chances are good you’ve heard of the Austin City Limits Festival, the annual fall tribute to all things rock ‘n’ roll in which scores of the hottest acts in America flood the city. But that all started with a little PBS show called Austin City Limits that is now entering its 37th year of production. Earlier this year, the show tapings moved from KLRU’s Studio 6A to a new state-of-the-art music venue called Live at Moody Theater, which also regularly hosts touring acts such as Willie Nelson, Diana Ross and Devo. These events can get costly, but if you want to attend an ACL taping, it’s free – just enter the lottery system when a show is announced and wait to see if you receive tickets. You can find out about taping announcements by calling (512) 475-9077 or checking out the ACL blog at http://austincitylimits.org/interact/blog. 310 W. Willie Nelson Blvd.; (877) 435-9849; www.acl-live.com