Weekend arts pick: Print Austin’s free Bin Fest & Expo

It’s free — and it’s filled with lots of artistic eye candy.

Print Austin’s Bin Fest and Expo happens noon to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Canopy arts complex, 916 Springdale Road.  printaustin.org.

There will be printmaking demonstrations as well as a host of indie fine printmakers hawking their creations.

Print Austin is the artist-run month-long corral of the city’s considerable fine art printmaking scene.

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Check out shows at five galleries — Big Medium, Modern Rocks, the Women Printmakers of Austin’s Bone Black Gallery, Art Science Gallery — and a couple of pop-up shows too. And several artists will have open studios.

Carlos Hernandez' "Pop Prints" is at Modern Rocks Gallery in the Canopy complez
Carlos Hernandez’ “Pop Prints” is at Modern Rocks Gallery in the Canopy complex.

Some 30 artists have have filled the bins in the Canopy courtyard with more than 150 original works of art that visitors can flip through and purchase.

And yes, prices are affordable.

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What’s a fine art print?

Fine art prints are not merely duplicates of an original like a mechanically printed poster. Though a painting, drawing or sketch can be used as a starting point, each print is an original work of art, made by the hand of the artist who usually works in tandem with a master printmaker.

Printmaking is arduous work, with most techniques involving a complicated, slow-going series of steps demanding an exacting attention to detail.

Melissa Brown's linocuts are at Big Medium Gallery.
Melissa Brown’s linocuts are at Big Medium Gallery.

Many printmaking techniques such as woodcuts, engraving, mezzotint, etching and lithography are centuries old.

Prints are created in sets, referred to as editions. But each print is a unique impression of the same image. Individual impressions vary from one another, sometimes widely.

Elvia Perrin, "Clean Cut," intaglio. At the pop-up exhibit "Collective Identity" at Invenio in the Canopy arts complex.
Elvia Perrin, “Clean Cut,” intaglio. At the pop-up exhibit “Collective Identity” at Invenio in the Canopy arts complex.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Austin Chamber Music Fest’s free concerts

The Austin Chamber Festival invariably serves a pleasant cocktail esteemed traditional ensembles mixed with boundary-changing experiments. This year’s fest for example features alt classical rockers Mother Falcon as well as American String Quartet and cello rock band Break of Reality.

Also regularly on the fest roster are several free concerts. Here’s our picks:

Austin composer and pianist Russell Reed started this now-popular annual concert to celebrate the contributions of gay and lesbian composers and musicians.

Reed and his collaborators uncover chamber music gems that are too infrequently performed.

This year the Capital City Men’s Chorus is joined by an ensemble including. Turner Partain, violin; Nora Karakousoglou, cello; Bryan Kennard, flute; Adam Bedell, percussion; Jim James, piano; and Reed on piano.

• “Beat the Rush” Blanton Concert with Cordova Quartet, 5:30 p.m. July 16. Blanton Museum of Art, 200 E. MLK Jr. Blvd.

Cordova Quartet. Photo by Nathan Russell.
Cordova Quartet. Photo by Nathan Russell.

Started at Rice University, the Cordova Quartet is now the Young Professional String Quartet in Residence at the University of Texas.

They’ll play a program that will include William Grant Still’s Danzas de Panama, Ravel’s String Quartet in F Major and Roberto Sierra’s Mambo.

Theater review: Austin Shakepeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”

(This review is written by American-Statesman freelance arts critic Cate Blouke.)

 

Old time country music twangs and a cool spring breeze blows across the Zilker hillside as the moon hangs low on the horizon. Our unseasonably pleasant spring weather this year is a lovely start to the Zilker Hillside Theater season and a compelling reason to bring out the picnic blankets and coolers for Austin Shakespeare’s production of “The Taming of the Shrew,” running through May 24. 11182286_10153799668523222_7020810462981748141_n

One of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies, “Taming” has inspired plenty of re-tellings over the years: from “Kiss Me Kate” to “10 Things I Hate About You,” we’ve watched countless men conspire to marry off a shrewish elder sister so that others may woo her demure younger sibling.

For those able to overlook the overt sexism and problematic currents of domestic violence in the play, this production is an entertaining foray into romantic comedy silliness.

In keeping with Austin Shakespeare’s tradition of late, director Anne Ciccolella has set the production far away in time and space from Shakespeare’s original imagining. Rather than the streets of Padua, characters ramble through the Texas hill country back in the 1890s, and to set the scene, the cast treats audiences to a rousing rendition of “Deep in the Heart of Texas” at the top of the show.

Admittedly, it takes a while for our ears to get used to hearing “Austin” and “Fredericksburg” inserted into the verse, but the southern setting allows for some dramatic license that’ll get laughs.

Another feather in the production’s cap is the talented Marc Pouhé playing the romantic lead (Petruchio). Pouhé commands attention in his ankle length black duster and cowboy hat, which turns out to be a surprisingly fitting ensemble for the proud and blustery suitor.

With its thick layers of silliness, the production makes for a cute evening.

Bianca (Sara Cormier) walks onstage licking a lollypop the size of her head and the rodeo-style wrestling with her elder sister Kate (Gwedolyn Kelso) ends up remarkably well supported by the text. Tony Salinas also stands out for his clowning as Grumio, Petruchio’s hapless servant.

The quirky setting brings Texas charm to the Bard’s story at some inevitable cost to textual integrity. So while the production’s liberties will likely make Shakespeare purists cringe, the familiarity of the setting allows for some extra-textual fun that more laid-back audiences will certainly appreciate.

“The Taming of the Shrew” continues 8 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays through May 24 at Zilker Hillside Theatre. www.austinshakespeare.org