To ring in the New Year with style, follow the hype downtown, or....

  BYLINE: David Vance
  DATE: 12-30-1999
  PUBLICATION: The Austin American-Statesman

  Hype. How can any New Year's Eve, whether it's 1959 or 1999, live up to the outsized,
  overblown hype of this maybe, maybe not, millennium? (We all know the millennium
  really begins in 2001, but shhhh.) New Year's Eves in general, at least in my
  experience, have been major busts, both figuratively (driving around Fort Worth with
  nothing to do, tired of karaoke and bowling) and literally (the friendly West Lake Hills
  police busted one of the best New Year's fiestas that 'burb has ever seen). So your best
  bet might just be laying low in your bunker and taking inventory of your bottled water,
  ammunition and dehydrated food packets. If you insist on venturing out, here are some
  of the more social alternatives. The Big One of course, refers not to Y2K but A2K. Our
  fair city is spending toomuchK and closing off most of downtown, so that we can enjoy
  what Austin does every other night of the year anyway -- stand around, drink beer and
  listen to music. Except this night, you'll be standing around with 200,000 other people,
  drinking champagne and listening to good music. Just kidding, but with eight
  performances on two stages by the likes of Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen and Shawn
  Colvin, you'll be ready for that clock to strike and the party to really take off. If standing
  sardinelike in the endtime cold doesn't sound like your ideal evening of fun, try The
  Millennium Affair at the Austin Music Hall. A more upscale sort of party, this black-tie
  affair benefiting the Austin Children's Museum offers a five-course, four-hour meal and
  a Vegas-style revue of music from the '40s through the '90s with Lisa Z. and Funhouse
  and more than two dozen costumed dancers. Also promised are midnight pyrotechnics,
  lasers and a surprise emcee (hopefully not from the Book of Revelation). OK, if an
  ``affair'' is a little too stuffy for your last night on Earth, then the decidedly unstuffy Palmer
  Auditorium might be your place to party. The Noche Del Nuevo Milenio moved to
  Palmer after the Austin Symphony bowed out and will serve up an eclectic night of
  entertainment. Local bands Grupo Zabor and Los Chavalos get the night rocking and
  David Lee Garza y Los Musicales keep it rolling. The Aztlan Dance Company will be
  performing throughout the evening as well, while the Latino Comedy Project provides
  Y2K and A2K hype-relief. Those are the big choices, but a plethora of smaller offerings
  also litter the landscape. Over at the appropriately named Millennium Youth
  Entertainment Complex, alcohol-free family fun can be had in the form of unlimited
  skating, bowling, a breakfast buffet and dancing to a local DJ. Also, the Hill Country
  Flyer train is running a ``Midnight Special'' to Burnet, with dinner and music and a
  countdown on the square in Burnet. Zachary Scott Theatre has put together a ``Casino
  Gala'' in which you can enjoy one of their stage shows, play casino games, dance to
  music provided by the performers in the ``Rockin' Christmas Party'' and partake of a
  light buffet and champagne. In addition, most of the local clubs will have special shows,
  including the Capital City Comedy Club, Esther's Follies, the Broken Spoke and Polly
  Esther's, among others. Finally, if you really just can't stand any of the noisy hype, the
  International Buddhist Temple in Del Valle could be a tranquil alternative. With classical
  Thai music, dancing, food and a monk's blessing, all the sound and the fury of this night
  can really signify (as both Buddha and Shakespeare, the man of the millennium, say)

  Where are you going to party?
  A2K: Austin On the Verge
  Info: 469-SHOW
  The Millennium Affair
  Info: 469-SHOW
  Noche Del Nuevo Milenio
  Info: 478-0020
  Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex
  Info: 472-6932
  Hill Country Flyer ``Midnight Special"
  Info: 477-8468
  Casino Gala
  Info: 476-0541
  Buddhist New Year's Eve Celebration
  Info:  247-4298