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.






Blue Genie Art Bazaar moves to new location

The popular holiday season art shopping happening is moving to a new location this year.

Blue Genie Art Bazaar is shifting locations not far from when its been the last few years.

This year it’s at 6100 Airport Blvd. in a big warehouse right across the street from ACC’s Highland Campus. See a map here: https://goo.gl/maps/YczxZDZUuxy

More than 200 regional artists, makers and artisans display their creations.

Blue Genie is a super chill shopping experience with free admission and parking, a centralized checkout, refreshments and a cash bar. It’s open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. for four weeks, Nov. 24-Dec. 24.  The fair also supports the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The event was founded in 2001 by the principals of Blue Genie Art Industries — Austin Arts Hall of Fame members Chris Coakley, Kevin Collins, Rory Skagen and Dana Younger.


Blue Genie Art Bazaar
Blue Genie Art Bazaar

East Austin Studio Tour artists announced

This year’s East Austin Studio Tour artist have just been announced!  Austin’s free, annual tour or artist studios happens over two weekends: Nov. 12-13 and Nov. 19-20.

See the entire list of several hundred artists here: http://east.bigmedium.org/participants.html.

Yes, it’s daunting trying to triangulate where to go. Maps and catalogs will likely be due in early Nov. (though tour organizers Big Medium have traditionally been kinda last minute in publishing both).

The warehouses complexes or other co-working spaces that serve as home to multiple studios and galleries are always place to start. Use our map and guide to the recommended studio complexes  to find a starting place.

And here’s some of what went down at last year’s EAST.

"Lost in Austin" by Federico Archuleta, one of the artists on this year's East Austin Studio Tour.
“Lost in Austin” by Federico Archuleta, one of the artists on this year’s East Austin Studio Tour.


Theater review: ‘W.’ serves as vehicle for amazing one-man performance


This review is by American-Statesman freelance arts critic Andrew J. Friedenthal

Joey Hood stars in "W." Photo by Jared Slack.
Joey Hood stars in “W.” Photo by Jared Slack.


Georg Büchner’s “Woyzeck” is famously an unfinished play, left in fragments when the German playwright died in 1837 at the age of 23. It has been performed and adapted many times in the centuries since, becoming a standard of the German – and (in translation) American – stage.

Now, the Austin Jewish Repertory Theater presents “W.,” an adaptation by playwright Zachary Christman that stars Joey Hood in an intense one-man show. “W.,” playing through Aug. 27 at the Trinity Street Players’ black box theater, puts Hood through his paces as he takes on a variety of characters and personas to depict Büchner’s dark classic.

“Woyzeck” tells the story of its titular protagonist, a young man used and abused by both the military and the medical establishment. His harassment at the hands of superiors, doctors and his own wife slowly take a toll, drawing him into a web of jealousy and anger that ends violently and decisively.

Christman’s adaptation is serviceable, if not remarkable, but it succeeds in providing a vehicle for a staggering performance. Throughout the intense hourlong show, Hood portrays seven characters, as well as a few animals for good measure. With minimal costuming, he clearly evokes the differing – and often conflicting – personalities and desires of these individuals, relying upon voice, physicality and full mental embodiment to make each character distinct and unique.

Scott Ferguson’s scenic design and Jenny Lavery’s lighting effectively serve as Hood’s scene partners, allowing for the creation of specific locations through simple set pieces and clear lighting choices, while composer Tyler Mabry’s original score underlines the entire performance. Director Adam Roberts pulls these threads together to weave a cohesive tapestry that keeps Hood forever at its center, showcasing his prodigious talent.

“W.” is not the strongest adaptation of “Woyzeck” ever put on the stage, but ultimately the script is less important than the production and the actor performing it. Austin Jewish Repertory has both a strong production and, in the phenomenally adaptable Hood, an amazing actor giving a muscular, energetic and heart-wrenching performance, making “W.” a show worth seeing.

“W.” continues through Aug. 27; austinjewishrep.org.

Catch Pokemon fever – and some classical music – at the Long Center



If your days are spent plotting ways to capture a Charmeleon or Ninetales, this is the concert for you.

The Long Center presents Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 7 in Dell Hall. The event combines music performed by a full orchestra with visuals from Pokemon video games. Tickets are on sale now for $29-$89 and can be bought on the Long Center’s website or by calling 512-474-5664.

The concert will draw from recent and classic Pokemon games, including:

  • Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue
  • Pokemon Yellow
  • Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver
  • Pokemon Crystal
  • Pokemon Ruby and Pokemon Sapphire
  • Pokemon Emerald
  • Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl
  • Pokemon Platinum
  • Pokemon Black and Pokemon White
  • Pokemon X and Pokemon Y