News Archive

The Austin Chronicle's "Best of Austin 2010 Awards" recognized The Atheist Experience as the Best Public Access TV Show, in the readers choice category. The award was given in September 2010. This is the first year for the Atheist Experience to win the award.

The award is due, in part, to the fact that the Atheist Experience in recent years has gained a loyal international audience via streaming and the Internet. The readers choice category is something of a popularity contest and the award effectively recognizes the show's large audience.

The Atheist Experience, which began in 1997, has run nearly weekly for a number of years. Along with our loyal audience, we have a number of loyal hosts and co-hosts. Co-host Jeff Dee has been around almost since the beginning. Co-host Martin Wagner has served has host for five years. Producers Joe Rhodes, Frank Paschal, Shelley Roberts, and Steve Elliott have proven to be as loyal to the show as our fans. We hope to air the show in Austin for as long as Austin has public access. The team hopes to continue the show long after that, given the popularity of the show.

The ACA Board and Atheist Experience crew couldn't be happier about the award. We have been producing quality content for years and we have a broad audience who appreciates what we do.

Producer Joe Rhodes and co-host Tracie Harris went to the Chronicle award ceremony September 16, 2010 and accepted the award on the ACA's behalf.

Our ACA Bat Cruise event is not just about having a leisurely boat ride and watching bats. We've added other events throughout the day to encourage atheists who would like to hang out with us to come down, have some fun, and chat with other like-minded people. We especially encourage out-of-towners to come down for this great set of events. The date is Saturday, September 25, 2010. Here's what we've got in store:

Matt Dillahunty Lecture, 3-5pm

From 3-5pm, our own Matt Dillahunty will give a lecture on "The Superiority of Secular Morality." The event will be at Howson Hall in the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, 4700 Grover Ave., Austin [map]. The event is free.

We have permission for people to leave their cars at the church (for carpooling to later events). If you would like to do that, park on the grassy field away from the sanctuary instead of the parking lot. The church will have a later event that evening.

Bat Cruise, 6-8pm

The Bat Cruise will be from, 6-8pm. The boat leaves promptly at 6pm, so don't be late! Consider parking at the One Texas Center Garage, 505 Barton Springs Road and walking to the launch. The garage is behind Threadgills (see below) and free. The garage is also accessible from Riverside. Cruise tickets are $25 and $10 and may be purchased from the ACA's products page. If you would like to snack or eat dinner on the boat, that's fine. No glass containers are allowed however.

Dinner, 8:15-9:15pm

For those that didn't eat on the boat, Threadgills is a convenient dinner spot that has done a great job accommodating our after-the-TV-show dinners. The restaurant is a short walk from the launch point, so there's no need to move your car. The location is 301 W. Riverside, Austin Texas [map] We will get a headcount for dinner on the cruise so everyone will get a quick seat. If you're going to the next event, you'll need to watch your time'

Comedy Show, 10pm

The final event of the evening will be a comedy show at Esther's Follies, 525 E. 6th St. [map], (512) 320-0553 at 10pm. Tickets are $22 and are likely to sell out. Get yours at at least two weeks prior to the event. If you haven't seen the show, you're in for a treat. It's a great show of comedy, singing, magic, and satire--a perfect way to end the day.

The Austin Coalition of Reason or AustinCoR has recently formed as an umbrella group for all atheist and freethought groups within the Austin area. Atheist Community of Austin is an affiliate group. Austin CoR is the Austin branch of the United Coalition of Reason, which funds the local efforts. 

On Monday, June 28th, UnitedCoR will be placing a billboard at I-35 at Grand Avenue Parkway, facing North. The billboard will invite non-believers to seek out local groups and enjoy the benefits of the larger community. As part of the launch, UnitedCoR has issued a press release, which will be going to all media in the Austin area.

It is hoped that the billboard and press release will raise awareness of the numbers of non-theists in Austin and help us gather our strength to take on church-state separation and other issues that impact us.

The ACA will be chartering a cruise boat on Town Lake on Saturday, September 25th, 2010, 6-8pm. We'll have the large, double decker boat to ourselves to chat, picnic, and watch the bats emerge from the Congress Avenue bridge. The event will be open to out-of-town visitors this year. We will publish a list of related events at a later date. 

The boat we'll be taking is the Capital Cruise's M.V. Pride and Joy. This boat has the upper deck for great bat viewing. It has a bathroom and tables for our use. We can bring food and drinks to share, but not in any glass containers. Plan on bringing some food and drink. The event should be a relaxing cruise on the lake. For those who are interested, check out the scrapbook entry from the 2008 event. 

We're going to need to collect money in advance for the event for around 50 people. Invite your friends, but space will be limited! Atheist-friendly guests are welcome. The price is $25 for each adult, $10 for each kid (ages 5-12), and kids under 5 are free. Please pay with exact change (preferably in an envelope), with a check made out to "ACA" and give your payment to an ACA board member at any ACA event. Better yet, sign up via our products page. Mark the check, envelope, or submission notes with the name(s) of the participant(s). Your seat is not reserved until you pay. 

On the day of the event, meet at 5:30pm at Capital Cruises' dock, on the river, behind the Hyatt Regency Hotel, on the South side of the river. That's between the Congress Ave. bridge and the 1st St. bridge, on the South shore. The number for Capital Cruises is (512)480-9264 if you need last minute help, or see their web site

We recommend parking at the One Texas Center garage, 505 Barton Springs Road Austin behind Threadgills. 

For more information about the bats, see Bat Conservation International and their web page about the Congress Avenue bat colony.

On May 2nd, ACA members elected the 2010-2011 ACA Board of Directors. Matt Dillahunty and Jen Peeples were both re-elected to the President and Vice President roles, respectively. Seven at-large board seats were also filled:

  • Don Baker
  • Keith Berka
  • Chuck Clark
  • John Iacoletti
  • Don Rhoades
  • Shelley Roberts
  • David Tyler

The offices of Treasurer and Secretary will be filled from the at-large board positions at the next board meeting, May 9th. 

Please congratulate the board members when you see them.

Atheist Community of Austin

The Atheist Community of Austin is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting positive atheism and the separation of church and state. The ACA serves the local Austin community through outreach programs, providing informational resources and various volunteer activities. In addition, the ACA serves the community-at-large through free online portals including informational wikis, regular audio/video podcasts and interactive blogs.

We define atheism as the lack of belief in gods. This definition also encompasses what most people call agnosticism.

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