arts eclectic

Arts Eclectic
1:52 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Be a Part of the Latest Version of 'The Intergalactic Nemesis'

There have been many incarnations of The Intergalactic Nemesis over the years. The 1930s era science fiction story started life as a live radio serial staged in a coffee shop, then became an actual radio serial that ran right here on KUT many years ago. Then there was a revised version of the stage show, then a comic book series, and finally a live action graphic novel, which combines all the previous elements into a large-scale show that has toured the world.

But it’s never been captured for the screen until now. This Saturday at the old Austin City Limits Studio, The Intergalactic Nemesis will tape its newest incarnation before a live audience. The show will go back to its radio serial roots in a way, as it becomes a series of short web videos produced by KLRU and PBS. It'll also be available as a TV broadcast and a DVD.

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Arts Eclectic
10:35 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Soubrette Productions Presents 'Assassins'

For only their second outing, young theater company Soubrette Productions is taking on a challenging show: Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Assassins, a musical that examines the motivations behind the actions of attempted and successful assassins of American presidents. It's long been a controversial work, as it examines the history of and parallels between the men and women who were convinced that their violent actions were justified or even necessary.

The subject matter isn't the only difficult aspect of Assassins. It's also a pretty elaborate production, with a large principal cast and detailed costuming, sets, and props. All of this makes the production a challenge for the folks of Soubrette, but a challenge they were eager to undertake.

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Arts Eclectic
2:29 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Fusebox Festival Celebrates Tenth Anniversary

Producer Ron Berry created the Fusebox Festival a decade ago as a way to foster communication between Austin's arts scene and the national and international artistic community. The conversation he started way back then is still going strong; Fusebox has grown every year and this year celebrates its tenth anniversary.

As has usually been the case, this year's festival will feature hundreds of artists and performers, with roughly a third of them hailing from Austin, a third from the rest of the USA, and a third from other countries. What is different about this year's festival is that all events will be free to the public (although for some shows, reservations are required).

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Arts Eclectic
2:33 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Mother Falcon's Music Laboratory

For the past few years, the band Mother Falcon has been operating a summer camp for young musicians. The many members of the band are still pretty young themselves, but when they were even younger, they spend their summers at various music camps, so the idea of starting their own seemed like a natural.

They aim to encourage creative musical thinking, guided by their camp motto, "Musicality over Technicality." During each week-long session, the students are divided up into bands with diverse instrumentation, where they'll hopefully encourage one another to experiment and broaden their creative horizons. Each sessions ends with a showcase concert by the kids, during which they'll play original songs, covers, and do a little jamming. 

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Arts Eclectic
2:06 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

'The Drawer Boy' Returns to Hyde Park Theatre

Michael Stuart, Jon Cook, and Ken Webster in 'The Drawer Boy'

Ten years ago, Hyde Park Theatre produced The Drawer Boy to great acclaim. Michael Stuart, one third of the three-person cast, took home a Critic's Table Award for best actor; Ken Webster won the B. Iden Payne best director award. It was also named Outstanding Drama by one group and Outstanding Comedy by the other. "It's that kind of script," Webster says.

Now they’re restaging the play, which centers on a young theater student who comes to study and work with two middle aged Canadian farmers. Stuart is returning to his role as Angus, a decade older and closer to actual age of the character. Webster is directing again, and this time also acting, as the curmudgeonly farmer Morgan.

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Arts Eclectic
12:17 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Josh Wechsler Brings Cabaret to City Theatre

Josh Wechsler has appeared onstage in numerous musicals and straight plays, but he really loves old-school cabaret,where a performer sings songs and chats with an intimate audience. That’s the vibe he’s going for with his new show, "Here With You! Unexpected Songs from Sondheim to Zeppelin."

When going through his repertoire to prepare for this show, Wechsler discovered a common theme in many of the songs he'd chosen -- that of community and shared experience. That theme works nicely with an intimate, cabaret-style show, and "Here With You!" came into being.

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Arts Eclectic
2:57 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Women of the World Poetry Slam Comes to Austin

The Women of the World Poetry Slam is a yearly festival that brings together 72 of the world’s best female poets for workshops, open mics, parties, and of course a multi-day slam poetry competition. This year, for the first time, it’s happening in Austin.

Things will kick off at the Spiderhouse on Wednesday, March 19, with the Last Chance Slam, where poets who are not yet registered for Women of the World can vie for a slot in the competition. Bouts will continue at the Spiderhouse and Love Goat on Thursday, March 20 and Friday, March 21; workshops and other events will also happen on those days. The festival will conclude with a championship bout at the Paramount Theater on Saturday, March 22.

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Arts Eclectic
2:26 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

See 'The Whale' at Hyde Park Theatre

The tragicomedy The Whale won plenty of awards following its world premier in Denver in 2012. The play, by Samuel D. Hunter, centers around Charlie, who has been steadily eating himself into an early grave since the death of his boyfriend years earlier. Now close to 600 pounds and unwilling to seek medical help, Charlie looks for reconciliation with his long-lost daughter Ellie and understanding from his only friend, Liz.

It's a departure of sorts for  A Chick and A Dude, who are known for heavily-male casts, often featuring hitmen or other testosterone-heavy character types. This time out, director Melissa Livingston-Weaver actually has a cast with more women than men, which she admits makes a nice change of pace.

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Arts Eclectic
8:34 am
Wed February 26, 2014

See 'Charley's Aunt' in the Hill Country

The British farce Charley’s Aunt is currently onstage at Wimberley Playhouse. Originally performed in Suffolk, England in 1892, the play is a classic comedy, with mistaken identities, men in drag, and the sort of fast-paced action you expect from a good farce. 

By far the most enduring work by playwright Brandon Thomas, Charley's Aunt quickly became a classic, enjoying countless productions worldwide in the 122 since its birth. 

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Arts Eclectic
1:27 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

The Menuhin Competition Comes to Austin

The Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists is kind of a big deal. It's been called "the Olympics of violin," which is apt, as it's a worldwide competition that brings together the best young talent in its field.

The biennial event was founded by famed violinist Yehudi Menuhin in 1983, and in the three decades since,  it’s been held all over the world but never before in America. That changes this week, however, as the 2014 Menuhin Competition gets underway right here in Austin, hosted by UT’s Butler School of Music.

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Arts Eclectic
9:19 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Jaston Williams Asks, 'Is There Life After Lubbock?'

Believe it or not, musicians Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely, Jo Carol Pierce, and Kimmie Rhodes are all from the same Texas town, Lubbock. And actor and storyteller Jaston Williams, while not born in Lubbock, spent much of his formative years there, and still visits often. As he says, "I've got Lubbock in the blood. We've tried to do something about it, but once you've got it, you've got it."

That shared connection is the basis of the new show "Is There Life After Lubbock?", a free-form, loosely structured evening of humor, stories, and music taking the stage of the Stateside at the Paramount Theater this weekend. 

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Arts Eclectic
11:40 am
Tue February 18, 2014

'Lewd Asian Women' Take Over Salvage Vanguard Theater

L.A.W. Lewd Asian Women, a new play from Lucky Chaos Theater Projects, opens on Febuary 28 at Salvage Vangaurd Theater. It's written and performed by Christine Hoang, Alice Liu Cook, Lilan Ren, and Leng Wong, who, with the exception of Wong, are all working lawyers in our community.

It’s based in part on the lives of Wong, Cook, and Hoang, three Asian women living in Austin today (Ren portrays the Voice of the Law), and inspired by an 1875 court case involving 22 Chinese immigrants. That case, Chy Lung v Freeman, began when 22 Chinese women were barred from entering San Francisco harbor after being declared "lewd and debauched" by the California commissioner of immigration. The evidence for their lewdness included the fact that they traveled without husbands or children and their flowery garments.

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Arts Eclectic
10:23 am
Tue February 11, 2014

'Little Red Chunari' is a New Take on a Classic Tale

Little Red Chunari is a new play from Scottish Rite Community and Children’s Theater. It’s a family friendly Bollywood-style adaptation of the classic tale “Little Red Riding Hood,” written by Prentice Riddle and Susan Gayle Todd.

The story originated years ago, when Riddle was in the habit of telling his children (who are of Indian descent) stories to pass the time on car trips. He'd usually pick an existing story and change it up a little to give it more of an Indian flavor; that's why Little Red wears a chunari (a multi-purpose scarf worn in much of South Asia) rather than a riding hood.

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Arts Eclectic
1:40 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Marc Pouhé Returns to the Stage as Othello

Sara Cormier and Marc Pouhé in 'Othello'

Othello is the latest production by Austin Shakespeare. This version of the classic play is directed by artistic director Ann Ciccolella and stars veteran actor Marc Pouhé in the title role.

It's Pouhé's second time playing Othello in an Austin Shakespeare production. He first played the role in 2005; since then, he's gone through some life changes, not the least of which was a battle with kidney failure. He's healthy now, but the illness kept him off the stage for a few years. Now ready to continue his acting career, Pouhé is playing Othello again, a little older and with a different outlook on life.

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Arts Eclectic
8:53 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Experience the Largest Indoor Brazilian Carnaval on Earth

Austin's Carnaval celebration began in the mid-70s as a relatively small event held at a Unitarian church. The party-goers that year must have had a good time, because Carnaval quickly became an annual ocurance; it's now in its 37th year and is the second-oldest ongoing annual event in Austin.

The party has moved to different and larger venues several times, and is now taking place at the Palmer Events Center. It's the largest indoor Brazilian Carnaval in the world, and this year will feature music, dancing, food, a parade float, and, as always, elaborate and often revealing costumes.

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Arts Eclectic
3:24 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

This 'Hamlet' is 300 Years Old and Completely New

The Hidden Room theatre company performs "Der Berstraffe Brudermord" during the Blackfriars Conference at the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013.
Pat Jarrett

The latest show from Hidden Room Theater is a version of Hamlet that's different from any version you've probably seen before. Rather than staging the play as it was originally written, the folks at Hidden Room are presenting (stay with me here) a puppet-show version of an English language translation of a 300 year-old, comedic, condensed German version of the play.

That German manuscript, called Der Bestrafte Brudermord, is dated 1710, and has for years been a mystery to Shakespeare scholars. It's definitely a version of Hamlet, but its brevity and rampant slapstick raised questions about how and why it was originally staged.

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Arts Eclectic
11:00 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Celebrate the Art of Printmaking with PrintAustin 2014

PrintAustin is a brand-new, month-long event designed to celebrate the art of printmaking and print collecting in Austin. For an inaugural event, PrintAustin is pretty ambitious; it lasts a full month and features dozens of partnering galleries, art spaces, and museums.

There will be exhibitions, demonstrations, artists talks, a print fair and much more over the next few weeks, in locations all over town. Two of the biggest events are The Contemporary Print, a juried exhibition of prints by local artists that will be on display through February 15, and the Flatbed Contemporary Print Fair, featuring local art and demonstrations of the printmaking process.

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Arts Eclectic
8:00 am
Fri January 17, 2014

See All Kinds of Stuff During FronteraFest

Twenty-one years ago, when Austin's FronteraFest was new, it was a small fringe theater festival consisting of a mere forty short-form performance pieces. Now, it features twice that many short pieces during its Short Fringe component, and nearly a dozen long-form shows during the Long Fringe.

The Short Fringe is a nightly occurence, with five short pieces every night, a weekly best-of-the-week show on Saturdays, and then a final best-of-the-fest series of shows.

That's close to a hundred performances by dozens of new and veteran artists just in the Short and Long Fringes alone, not counting the Bring Your Own Venue and Mi Casa Es Su Teatro parts of the festival.

The Long Fringe takes place at Salvage Vanguard Theater between January 20 and February 2; the Short Fringe is at Hyde Park Theatre now through February 15; BYOV and Mi Casa shows are at various locations throughout town over the next couple of weeks. For a complete schedule of events, head to the FronteraFest website.

Arts Eclectic
2:06 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

See Improvised Spy Comedy at Coldtowne Theater

It's been almost a decade since Coldtowne Theater relocated from New Orleans to Austin, and in the years they've been here, they've become one of our city's premiere sources for improvised entertainment. 

Their latest show is Beware of Female Spies, which takes its inspiration not just from the spy genre at large, but from a particular recurring trope within many spy shows and movies, that trope being the highly competent female spy who manages to save the day while her semi-clueless male partner stumbles through the case.

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Arts Eclectic
2:48 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

See "Venus in Fur" at Austin Playhouse

When it was published in 1870, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's novel Venus in Furs was pretty scandalous, but it has remained an enduring part of popular culture in the years since. There have been a handful of film adaptations, a stage play, a Velvet Underground song, and the recently Tony-nominated play Venus in Fur, which is not an adaptation but a new work inspired by the novel.

Written by David Ives, Venus in Fur is a two-actor play about a young writer/director searching for the lead for his play based on the 19th-century erotic novel. When a young actress arrives hours late and unprepared for her audition, he's initially dismissive. But as he gets to know her, she becomes more mysterious and their relationship starts to parallel the themes of the novel.

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