At Kennedy Creative Events, we take pride in infusing “been there, done that” concepts with a strong shot of innovation and fresh perspective. When we plan and produce events for our diverse array of clients, it’s never boring, dated or unoriginal; there’s always a new flavor or an unexpected twist. Likewise, when we go on team retreats, you can bet your bottom dollar it won’t be your everyday company picnic. Recently, the Kennedy team shut our laptops, packed our bags and headed to Lone Star Court for our winter team retreat, and true to form, it was a total blast as we went exploring Austin’s weirdness with Austin Detours.
We kicked off the day on an exclusive tour of some of the ways Austin continues to “keep it weird,” led by our hilarious tour guide, Steven. Even though we pride ourselves on our bottomless expertise in all things Austin, Steven broke the mold and gave us a run for our money. His passion and knowledge of the city’s culture, history and quirks is illustrative of what we always experience when we work with Austin Detours — in fact, it’s one of the many reasons we frequently partner with them. This time around, it was a treat to experience one of its tours on “the other side” as a participant, seeing things through the eyes of our clients and keeping them in mind as we put ourselves in their shoes.
At the start of our journey, we popped into Roadhouse Relics to check out the legendary neon artist Todd Sanders’ gallery and studio. His vintage-styled designs crafted with industrial materials are an absolute must-see. Similar to lots of places in Austin, there’s just nothing else like it!
Our next stop was one of the stranger places Kennedy has ever explored: Smut Putt Heaven. Ever heard of an “Austin Yardist”? Picture this: the backyard of your house, except filled with mannequin heads, “snakes” made of plastic caps, and trash turned to art. That’s exactly what Scott Stevens’ backyard looks like. Even though this look isn’t for everyone, Stevens describes this outdoor space as his sanctuary.
Smutt Putt Heaven was hard to top, but we proceeded to Casa Neverlandia, home to artist James Edward Talbot. This whimsical place would make Peter Pan jealous. Talbot has spent the past 35 years adding to his home and believes it will never be fully complete. Every inch of this personal haven has been transformed into a piece of art with mosaic tiles, bright paint, influences from various countries around the world and so much more that can’t even be put into words. As if we weren’t impressed enough by its aesthetics alone, Casa Neverlandia is very green, as the home uses 30 percent less energy than the average house this size. Talbot collects and repurposes rainwater, uses few electronic appliances and makes use of solar panels to further reduce his carbon footprint, aligning perfectly with Austin’s earth-friendly ethos.
Austin Detours planned the best midday snack for us at Prohibition Creamery. Three words: boozy ice cream. That’s right–alcohol and handmade ice cream combined in one intoxicating delight. Fueled by the afternoon infusion of sugar, before we took off for our final destination we prepared baskets of supplies for Casa Marianella, an emergency shelter for recently-arrived immigrants and refugees in Austin to help them acclimate to their new homes.
The last stop on our Austin Detours adventure was at SprATX. After our spray paint lesson from veteran street artist Random Direction, we put spray paint to canvas and began working on our masterpieces. (Side note: if you thought protective painters’ gear couldn’t be fashionable as all get-out, think again.)
Spending the entire day with each other exploring the city that we adore so much could not have executed so flawlessly without Austin Detours. If only words could truly capture the fun we had…