3 things to do in Austin if you’re not at ACL

We get it. Not everyone wants to spend $250 to stand in the sun and dust for three days at the Austin City Limits Festival.

It’s a good thing that Austin-made culture runs so much deeper than live music. Here are three singularly Austin things to do:

See something else that’s live: Hyde Park Theatre is the home of edgy, smart, contemporary plays laced with dark humor. Duncan Macmillan’s “Lungs” finds a couple wrestling with the decision to have a child while considering what kind of world we have.  The 80-minute play stars Liz Beckham and Michael Joplin, who both give a tour-de-force performance.

Relive the music: Run by former Modern English lead guitarist Steven Walker, Modern Rocks Gallery specializes in rock and roll photography including the archive of Scott Newtown, longtime official photograph of the ACL’s television show on PBS.

And while at you’re at Modern Rocks, take advantage of  its East Austin location for at do-it-yourself East Austin art tour:


Stevie Ray Vaughn. Photo by Scott Newton.
Stevie Ray Vaughn. Photo by Scott Newton. Courtesy Modern Rocks.


Get ready for another festival:  It’s perfect weather to find a nice porch or a park and tuck in with a book by a writer appearing at the Texas Book Festival. Here are three fresh titles by a worldly trio of Austin-based authors who will be at the book fest:

  • Antonio Ruiz-Camacho’s “Barefoot Dogs.” The former Mexican journalist’s debut collection of inter-related short stories is rich with ambiguity, dark humor and startlingly vivid images of recent immigrants who have fled Mexico because of drug violence.
  • Dominic Smith’s “The Last Painting of Sara de Vos.” A page-turner by the Australian-born author that deftly moves and forth in time, from a 1950s Manhattan lawyer whose family has owned a rare Renassiance painting for centuries to the art historian who forged the painting as a young student to the mysterious Dutch woman in 1600s who painted the painting.
  • Karan Mahajan’s “The Association of Small Bombs.” Majan’s tale of terrorist attack in a market in Delhi and its aftermath deftly, eloquently and prov0ctively traces the complex psychological, social and philosophical aftermath of the increasingly commonplace yet random violence of today’s world.






Author: Jeanne Claire van Ryzin

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is the arts critic for the Austin American-Statesman. She writes about visual art, theater, dance, music, performance, public art, architecture and just about any combination thereof.

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