Mike Lee

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Arts Eclectic
3:20 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Blue Genie Art Bazaar Marks its 13th Year

At this point, the yearly Blue Genie Art Bazaar is an Austin holiday shopping tradition. But it hasn't always been this way. The first bazaar was held thirteen years ago, when an employee remarked that they should try a Christmas show. The folks at Blue Genie decided to give it a try, sold some stuff, and a tradition was born.

Now, the bazaar features works by well over 100 artists and lasts for nearly a month. Open from 10:00 am until 10:00 pm every day through Christmas Eve, the Blue Genie Art Bazaar aims to create an Austin-style holiday shopping experience. All merchandise is handmade by local artists, and in addition to the handmade arts and crafts for sale, there's a bar, occasional live music, and artist talks. 

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Arts Eclectic
1:33 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

'Wassail Austin' Offers a Truly Old-Fashioned Holiday Celebration

Every year around this time, musicians, dancers, poets, actors, and more join together to stage Wassail Austin, a truly old-fashioned, family friendly celebration of Christmas and the Winter Solstice. Darrel Mayers is the founder of Wassail Austin, and he created the show to be the sort of thing he wished he'd had when growing up in England -- an all-ages holiday show that combined whimsy with spirituality.

The yearly wassail features medieval music, puppetry, poetry, and more types of entertainment, including a mummer's play, an artform that dates back to pre-Christian times, when the Winter Solstice was celebrated.

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Arts Eclectic
10:39 am
Thu December 12, 2013

See 'Florence' at Sparky Park

2013 is the inaugural season for Austin's Gale Theare Company, and in just a short time, they've already produced two full shows. One of those, Florence, is being staged this month as a site-specific work at Sparky Park.

The multi-media show is inspired by the life of Florence Lawrence, who's widely credited as the first real movie star. Before her, actors in movies usually went unbilled, but when the studio decided to create some publicity by inventing an unlikely and untrue story about Florence, that changed.

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Arts Eclectic
9:42 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Local Artists Sell Their Wares at Gibson Street Artisan Market

For the past several years, a rotating collection of local artists have been gathering together every weekend to sell their wares at the Gibson Street Artisan Market. Located at a South Congress lot just north of Gibson Street, the market features a wide variety of arts and crafts, all handmade locally and usually sold directly by the artists.

You'll find paintings, jewelry, functional art such as pottery and plenty more. Dogs are welcome and there are a couple of food carts on the premises as well, so it's a great place to do a little weekend holiday shopping.

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Get Involved
5:00 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Get Involved Spotlight: WeViva

WeViva, established in 2011, is a 501(c)3, nonprofit organization, that provides affordable and accessible fitness and nutrition programs to people in low-income communities throughout Austin. 

WeViva targets adults in the communities and provide the classes on-site and completely free of charge to the participants. Our goal is to eliminate common obstacles to getting healthy such as access, affordability and childcare.

A rapidly growing organization, WeViva is the only non-profit in Austin, targeting adults, that provides these services to existing establishments that value the health of their community residents. WeViva offers over 20 Zumba, Yoga, Strength Training and Nutrition classes per week at 14 sites around the Austin area, all which are bilingual and are taught in a culturally appropriate manner. Since starting in January 2011, more than 1600 people have participated in WeViva classes.

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Arts Eclectic
9:23 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Celebrate Christmas Early with Girls! Girls! Girls!

The all-woman improv troupe Girls! Girls! Girls! has been performing improvised musical comedy shows for a decade or so. Typically, their shows will have a full plot, characters and Broadway-style musical numbers, all made up on the spot, but their holiday show this year will be a little different.

Rather than take on character roles, the ladies of Girls! Girls! Girls! will all play themselves (or heightened versions of themselves) in A Very Merry Musical Christmas Special. They'll start things off with some holiday memories, which will spur improvised comedy and songs in a Christmas vein, creating a one-of-a-kind comedic  holiday special.

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Arts Eclectic
2:36 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

See 'Steel Magnolias' at City Theatre

The play "Steel Magnolias" has been enduringly popular since its Off-Broadway debut in 1987. The comedy-drama features a cast of six women, and one set, the Southern beauty parlor in which the women congregate, gossip, argue, and laugh over the course of several years.

Artistic director Andy Berkovsky chose "Steel Magnolias" as City Theatre's holiday production because of its themes of family and togetherness.

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Arts Eclectic
1:28 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Geek Out at Wizard World Austin Comic Con

This weekend's Wizard World Austin Comic Con will be a three-day celebration of comic books, science fiction, and pop culture in general. There will be panel discussions, Q&As with artists, actors, and writers, and special appearances by myriad celebrities, including Stan Lee, William Shatner, cast members of Firefly and The Walking Dead, and many, many more.

The con will also feature several local artists, who will display and sell their artworks. Cartoonist Will Rodriguez, of the online and self-published comic Mangled Stare, will be there, pen in hand, sketching convention goers and displaying his wares.

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Arts Eclectic
9:21 am
Mon November 18, 2013

See a Classic American Comedy at the Vortex

The classic comedy Arsenic and Old Lace opens November 22 at the Vortex. The play, by Joseph Kesselring, centers around the Brewster family, which is eccentric to say the least. The clan includes Teddy, who believes he's Theodore Roosevelt and is digging the Panama Canal in the basement; Jonathan, who failed as a doctor but found success as a murderous mafioso; and Martha and Abby, the sweet, elderly aunts who have recently started murdering lonely old men. As the relatively calm center, third brother Mortimer tries keep things together.

The play was written in 1939 and is probably best remembered for its 1941 film version. The version which will open at the Vortex this week is produced by Different Stages, under the direction of Norman Blumensaadt. It stars Jennifer Underwood and Karen Jambon as the Brewster sisters, Tyler Jones at Mortimer, Michael Harlan as Teddy, and Steven Fay as Jonathan.

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Arts Eclectic
12:46 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

See 'Murder Ballad Murder Mystery' in a Bar Near You

"Murder Ballad Murder Mystery" began its life several years ago, as a site specific work at the Vortex Theater.

Since then, its creative team decided to form their own production company. And the play's been condensed and made a little more travel-friendly.

The show (as the title implies), is a murder mystery inspired by murder ballads. It will soon hit the road, to be staged in several bars in Austin, as well as stopping at New Orleans and Marfa, Texas.

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Arts Eclectic
3:27 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Covering Shakespeare and 'Fixing King John'

After listening to the White Stripes' recording of Robert Johnson's "Stop Breaking Down," playwright Kirk Lynn was inspired to try a cover version of his own.

He decided to take on a Shakespeare play. But, reluctant to tamper with one of the greats, he opted to create his own version of what he considered Shakespeare's worst play, "King John."

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Get Involved
8:44 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Get Involved Spotlight: Center for Child Protection

Learn more about the Center for Child Protection

The Center for Child Protection, a nationally accredited children’s advocacy center, is the first stop for children in Travis County who are suspected victims of sexual abuse, serious physical abuse and for children who have witnessed a violent crime. The Center is a child-friendly, specially-equipped facility where children go for recorded forensic interviews, medical exams, counseling and intervention during the investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases. 

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Arts Eclectic
1:33 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival Offers Entertainment and Education

Arts Eclectic feature on the Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival

The Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary this weekend. The festival specializes in "disabilty films," which festival coordinator William Greer defines as a film about, starring, or made by a person with a disabilty.

This year, the festival will be headlined by two feature documentaries, "The Crash Reel" and "Getting Up: The Temp One Story." "The Crash Reel" focuses on aspiring Olympic snowboarder Kevin Pearce and his attempts to return to competitive snowboarding after suffering a traumatic brain injury. "Getting Up: The Temp One" Story documents grafiti artist Tempt-One as he learns a new way to practice his art after being paralyzed by the degenerative nerve disorder ALS.

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Arts Eclectic
11:38 am
Tue October 29, 2013

This Show Isn't 'This American Life' - It's 'Not This American Life'

Michael Ferstenfeld as Not Ira Glass

The folks at the Institution Theater often stage shows based on existing pop culture franchises (they've done Firefly: The Musical, live episodes of South Park, and they'll be performing live improvised Dr. Who shows in November), so they’re no strangers to the cease and desist letter.

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Arts Eclectic
10:55 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Crank Collective Presents a Texas History Operetta

The cast of "Alamo Aftermath: A Texas Revolution Operetta"

Arts Eclectic feature on "Alamo Aftermath"

This November, Crank Collective will debut the second of three Texas history musicals. "Alamo Aftermath: A Texas Revolution Operetta" tells the story of Jose Antonio Menchaca in the time between the Alamo and the battle of San Jacinto.

Before people started mispronouncing his name when referring to a street in south Austin, Menchaca was a soldier in the Texas Revolution, a mayor pro tem of San Antonio, and a crusader for the rights of Tejano veterans.

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