Though soon-to-be-wed couple Kelly Frye and Nick Campbell are the definition of jet-setters—traveling all around the globe, from filming in New Orleans, living it up in Hollywood or hopping across the pond to Campbell’s English hometown—the pair has put down roots in Austin.
The “Secrets of Sulphur Springs” actress and international fine art consultant Campbell will tie the knot this week in Houston, Frye’s hometown, officially starting their new life together in the Lone Star State. Though the couple is looking to buy their own land in Austin, they are currently renting a home in the Travis Heights neighborhood while they navigate the red-hot real estate sphere.
Between Frye’s mystery character in “Hypnotic,” which was filmed in Austin with Ben Affleck, and Campbell’s Austin-based art advisory company making a case for buying local art, the new residents have already made a splash in the city.
So what made this international power couple want to make Austin a home base?
Frye: It’s the Hill Country drives and artistic freedom
Frye has been living in Austin on and off since 2018, the same year she met Campbell, but ever since the pandemic began and auditions went virtual, she’s been able to spend more time in her home state.
While she’s here, Frye’s inner Texan comes out as she explores the many food options on South Congress and greater Hill Country towns like Lockhart for some Black’s Barbecue or Fredericksburg for antiquing and wineries. Having spent lots of time in Austin, Los Angeles and New Orleans, Frye likes to pride herself on her tour guide abilities.
“I like getting in there and finding my favorite spots, discovering a city, discovering the neat things that it has to offer, no lenses,” Frye said.
Frye said she is fortunate to have been able to keep up her travels despite the pandemic but since relocating to Austin, the local opportunities have come to her: Frye will star alongside Affleck and Alicia Braga in Robert Rodriguez’s upcoming feature, “Hypnotic.”
Frye said landing a Rodriguez film was one of her top five career goals—so important, in fact, that she left a vacation in Greece less than 24 hours in for the chance to be booked and dyed her signature red hair blonde.
Frye starred alongside Affleck in the new movie, which famously filmed in downtown Austin September-November. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
“('Hypnotic' was) a total dream come true—I was pinching myself,” Frye said. “So traveling 37 hours and dyeing my hair blonde was a big moment, but so worth it. (Rodriguez) is a true creative. The people he works with are like extensions of himself as a creative, which is an amazing thing to watch.”
Frye wouldn’t release many details about her character other than she’s “a reveal” and a “boss ‘b,’” but the film could be in theaters as early as this summer.
Campbell: Austin is “on the brink of something exciting.”
Much newer to town than his fiancée, English-born Campbell said he is still learning the local ropes having only been in Austin for a few weeks but is excited to be part of the city’s growth spurt.
“This established, but small, very vibrant, very exciting city is going through this sort of unprecedented state of flux in a very positive way,” Campbell said. “It just seems like it's a city that's on the brink of something very exciting, so we wanted to be a part of that.”
Campbell comes bearing a new perspective in the art collection industry—he launched Narcissus Arts, an art consulting firm specializing in art under $14,000, or £10,000, in 2010 with the intent of bringing fine art to the masses. Campbell then launched Campbell Art Advisory, based in Austin and Los Angeles, catering to all price brackets in 2018.
“It seemed to me that there was this growing number of friends that had, as it were, smaller resources to put into art,” Campbell said. “There was obviously an incredible amount of supply out there but one just needed to know where to look.”
Campbell is leveraging his new home base by connecting Texan artists Adrian Armstrong, Shaun O'Dell and Kyle Steed to buyers who can support their endeavors.
“I think that the talent is here, that's very obvious, and they need to be supported,” Campbell said. “There are people here who are telling interesting stories that are very talented at telling those stories, and they need to have a light shone on them and should be celebrated.”
Reflecting both Frye’s love of Houston and Campbell’s art profession, the pair plan to get married in the Rothko Chapel this week. They plan on continuing to split their time between here and L.A., so don’t be surprised if you spot the pair on South Congress.
- Elon Musk, Joe Rogan and Dave Chappelle walk into Stubb's BBQ ... ›
- Esperanza is Austin's oldest chicken and biggest celebrity - austonia ›
- Jared F. Rosenacker makes glass-blowing art in Austin for celebs ... ›
- Meet the dogs of Austin's celebrities and famous - austonia ›
- Celebrities who moved to austin, texas in 2020, and those to move ... ›
By Jonathan Lee
The Planning Commission was split Tuesday on whether to help save an eclectic lakefront estate from demolition by zoning it historic amid concerns over tax breaks and the likelihood that a previous owner participated in segregation as a business owner.
The property in question, known as the Delisle House, is located at 2002 Scenic Drive in Tarrytown. The main house, with Spanish and Modern influences, was built in 1923 by Raymond Delisle, an optician. A Gothic Revival accessory apartment was built in 1946. The current owner applied to demolish the structures in order to build a new home.'
Historic preservationists, for their part, overwhelmingly support historic zoning, which would preserve the buildings in perpetuity. The Historic Landmark Commission unanimously voted to initiate historic zoning in July, citing architectural significance, landscape features and association to historic figures. City staffers recommend historic zoning, calling both structures one-of-a-kind examples of vernacular architecture.
Tarrytown neighbors have also banded together to stop the demolition. Many have written letters, and a few spoke at the meeting. “How could anyone buy this property with the intent of destroying it?” Ila Falvey said. “I think it’s an architectural treasure.”
Michael Whellan, an attorney representing the property owner, said that the claims made by preservationists are shaky. The buildings are run down, he said, and have had substantial renovations. A structural engineer hired by the owner said any attempt at preservation would involve tearing down and rebuilding – an undertaking Whellan said would likely cost millions.
Whellan also argued that any historical significance derived from the property’s association with Delisle and longtime owner C.H. Slator is dubious. “These men are not noted for any civic, philanthropic or historic impact,” he said.
What’s more, according to Whellan, Slator likely participated in segregation as the owner of the Tavern on North Lamar Boulevard between 1953 and 1960.
A city staffer, however, said she found no evidence to support the claim. “We would never landmark a property where a segregationist lived, or there was a racist person,” Kimberly Collins with the Historic Preservation Office said.
Commissioner Awais Azhar couldn’t support historic zoning in part due to lingering uncertainty about Slator. “Focusing on that factor is not here to disparage an individual or family. It is not about playing the race card. This is an important assertion for us to consider as Planning commissioners,” Azhar said.
Commissioner Carmen Llanes Pulido said that allegations of racism should come as no surprise. “We’re talking about white male property owners in the 1950s, in Austin, on the west side – and of course they were racist,” she said. But she argued that allowing the house to be demolished based on these grounds does nothing to help people of color who have been harmed by racism and segregation.
The question of tax breaks was also controversial. Michael Gaudini, representing the property owner, said that the tax breaks associated with historic zoning would exacerbate inequality by shifting property tax burdens to less affluent communities. City staffers estimate that the property, appraised at $3.5 million, would get either a $8,500 or $16,107 property tax break annually, depending on whether a homestead exemption is applied.
Commissioner Grayson Cox preferred the commission focus not on tax breaks but on whether the structures merit preservation. “To me, nothing in the historic preservation criteria lists, is this person deserving of a tax break or not?”
Azhar, on the other hand, said he plans to propose a code amendment getting rid of city property tax breaks for historic properties.
The commission fell one vote short of recommending historic zoning, with six commissioners in support and three opposed. Azhar and commissioners Claire Hempel and Greg Anderson voted against.
The odds of City Council zoning over an owner’s wishes are slim. Nine out of 11 members must vote in favor, and there have only been a handful of such cases over the past several decades.
What's new in Austin food & drink this week:
- Nau's Enfield Drug closing after losing their lease. Did McGuire Moorman Lambert buy the building, with its vintage soda fountain?
- Nixta Taqueria Chef Edgar Rico named to Time Magazine's Time 100 Next influencer list, after winning a James Beard Award earlier this year.
- Question: From what BBQ joint did pescatarian Harry Styles order food this week?
- Austin Motel is opening the pool and pool bar Wednesday nights in October for Freaky Floats.
- Vincent's on the Lake closing due to "economic conditions and low water levels [at Lake Travis]."
- Cenote has closed its Windsor Park location. The East Cesar Chavez location remains open.
- The Steeping Room on N. Lamar has closed.
- Local startup It's Skinnyscored new financing for its gluten-free pasta business.
- P. Terry's opened a new location in Kyle, at 18940 IH-35.