Films about vaudeville, Frida Kahlo on Ransom Centers free summer series

The Harry Ransom Center is hosting a three-movie free film series this summer.

The films dovetail with the center’s collections from Samuel Beckett’s experimental film, to the whackiness of 1920s vaudeville and even a biopic of Frida Kahlo, whose “Self-portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird,” is currently on view in the Ransom Center’s lobby.

Fort Worth Majestic Program. Hoblitzelle-Interstate Collection. Ransom Center.

Screenings happen in the center’s 125-seat Prothro Theater. Doors open 30 minutes in advance of the 7 p.m. screenings.

The Ransom Center is located at 21st and Guadalupe streets on the edge of the UT campus.

“Film” and “Notfilm”
7 p.m. June 16

  • Samuel Beckett’s sole film project, “Film” (1965), stars Buster Keaton and was directed by Alan Schneider. Recently restored, “Film” will be followed by “Notfilm,” a feature-length experimental essay on “Film.” Runtime of “Film” is 22 minutes, and “Notfilm” run time is 128 minutes.

“Vaudeville and Vitaphone”
7 p.m. June 30

  • In the early days of talkies, Warner Brothers hired some of the top variety stars of the day to create “living sound” recordings of their acts. This “Vaudeville and Vitaphone” series of rarely-seen short films breathes life into the extensive vaudeville collections at the Ransom Center.

7 p.m. July 14

  • Salma Hayek stars as Frida Kahlo in the 2002 film “Frida,” directed by Julie Taymor. Run time is 123 minutes, rated R.

Need a West Austin Studio Tour map? We got ’em

Catalogs to the East Austin and West Austin tours often seem as obtainable as unicorns.

Sure, you can try an Austin Public Library location which organizers use as free distribution locations. But catalogs there are disappearing as we near the first weekend of the tour.

And unfortunately a visit to tour organizer Big Medium’s web site doesn’t offer a downloadable map — at least not yet.

But we do! We got maps!

Here’s the official downloadable map for the 2016 West Austin Studio Tour

And be sure to check out first round of top picks to see on the tour.

And read our story about the intriguing, tiny Museum of Collectibles and Curiosities which is on this year’s tour.


Vintage tin toys on display at the Museum of Collectibles and Curiosities, a tiny backyard building devoted to the collectibles of the late Austin artist Patricia Brown.
Vintage tin toys on display at the Museum of Collectibles and Curiosities, a tiny backyard building devoted to the collectibles of the late Austin artist Patricia Brown.



Austin Shakespeare’s free “Macbeth” runs all May

For 32 years, April showers bring Austin free Shakespeare in the park for the month of May.

And so Austin Shakespeare continues the decades-long tradition of presenting a show in Zilker Park.

A new production of “Macbeth” has a modern military look — along with plenty of sword fights, ghosts and eerie aparitions and odd, creepy witches.

The show features two of Austin’s most regarded classical actors: Marc Pouhé reprises his acclaimed 2008 portrayal of Macbeth and Helen Merino stars as Lady Macbeth.

Marc Pouhé and Helen Merino 1 Austin Shakespeare's Macbeth Photo by Bret Brookshire
Marc Pouhé and Helen Merino star in Austin Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” Photo by Bret Brookshire

Shows are 8 p.m. Thursday-Sunday through May 29.

Picnics are welcome and bring a blanket to sit on. Dogs must be kept on a leash. Glass containers are not allowed and smoking is definitely not allowed in the park.

The Beverly S. Sheffield Zilker Hillside Theatre is directly across the drive from Barton Springs Pool in Zilker Park. Free. Go to for more info.



Ghostly apparitions in "Macbeth."
Ghostly apparitions in “Macbeth.” Photo by Bret Brookshire.


Witches - Hannah Rose Barfoot, Crystal Bird Caviel, Jessica Hughes Austin Shakespeare's Macbeth Photo by Bret Brookshire
Hannah Rose Barfoot, Crystal Bird Caviel and Jessica Hughes play the witches in Austin Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” Photo by Bret Brookshire

Free admission to Umlauf Sculpture Garden all summer

Damian Priour’s “Pointed Sphere”

Leveraging the monies contributed through the annual Amplify Austin fund drive, the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum is offering free admission all summer long.

And new to verdant grounds is “Pointed Sphere” (2005), a 30” diameter limestone and glass orb by the late Texas artist Damian Priour (1949-2011).

“Pointed Sphere” is  now permanently installed at the sculpture garden.

And to celebrate the arrival of “Pointed Sphere,” there’s a public reception from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 21.

The Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum, 605 Robert E. Lee Road, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.


“Whatever Lola” to close “Gently Fried” exhibit

On Thursday, artist Katelena Hernandez Cowles will reprise the performance aspect of “Whatever Lola” at the closing reception for “Gently Fried,” the fresh group exhibit curated by the collective Los Outsiders and presented at the Mexican-American Cultural Center.

Just as “Gently Fried” skewers issues surrounding gentrification, so does “Whatever Lola” poke at cultural stereotypes in spirited and very entertaining manner.

Katelena Hernandez Cowles in "Whatever Lola"
Katelena Hernandez Cowles in “Whatever Lola”

Cowles’ 12-foot  moving sculpture — the Lola Cage — serves as both set and costume as the artist and three other performers take turns singing the sultry torch songs made famous by mid-century Latina stars such as Rita Hayworth, Carmen Miranda, Lupe Velez and Dolores del Rio.

Cowles and the performers — all of whom vary in age, body type and gender — wear identical replicas of Rita Hayworth’s costume in the film Gilda, which attaches directly to fabric elements of the Lola Cage.

The name of Cowles’ piece is a reference to the song “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets”  from 1958 musical Damn Yankees, in which a non-Latina character mimicks a Latina stereotype for comic effect.

Cowles’ steel “Lola Cage” has a 22-foot wingspan, with six moving petals that run on two winches and a system of pulleys. Lit by a crystal chandelier, it weighs approximately 3500 pounds.

“Gently Fried” recently netted the 2014-2015 Austin Critics Table Award for Outstanding Group Exhibition.

“Gently Fried” closing reception and “Whatever Lola” performance
When: Reception 7 to 8:30 p.m. with performances beginning at 8:30 p.m., June 11
Where: Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St.

Lola 2015-04-19 back magic