arts eclectic

Arts Eclectic
8:22 am
Sat September 27, 2014

See 'Still Now' at City Theatre

Shrewd Productions specializes in new works, particularly those that explore women's voices. That makes 'Still Now' a good fit -- the drama, by playwright Katie Bender, is making its world premiere with this production, and was recently included on the Kilroy List, a survey of excellent new plays by female playwrights.

'Still Now' is centered around Annie, a dancer who left America after the events of 9/11 to study Butoh in japan. Years later, she is diagnosed with stage four cancer and returns to Butoh as a way to cope with the ongoing destruction of her own body.

The play is about Annie coming to terms with the end of her own life, and also about the effect it has on those around her. As actor Joseph Gorlock says, "It's about loss, but it's about triumph and love throughout, as well."

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Arts Eclectic
9:55 am
Wed September 24, 2014

'SoundSpace' Explores the Construction of Sound

Twice a year, the Blanton Museum of Art hosts the SoundSpace series, in which an eclectic mix of musicians and dancers perform among the artwork on display. The next installment of the series, titled Sound Construction, takes place this Sunday afternoon.

Organized by SoundSpace artistic director Steven Parker, Sound Construction will explore timbre by focusing on newly constructed instruments and out of the ordinary musical techniques. The centerpiece of Sunday's installment will be the premiere of Symmetrographia, a new work by Austin composer Travis Weller. In addition to some traditional stringed instruments, Symmetrographia features several instruments invented and built by Weller himself.

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Arts Eclectic
10:30 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Kneel Before 'The Metal Queen'

Loaded Gun Theory's new original work The Metal Queen: Kneel Before Her Dark Majesty was inspired, in an indirect way, by a play staged last year by a different Austin theater company.  After seeing and loving Capital T Theatre's production of the violent dark comedy The Lieutenant of Inishmore, which featured a mostly-male cast, the creative minds of Loaded Gun Theory wondered "why women couldn't also have a lot of fun wielding guns...and making bad decisions," in the words of co-writer Julie Winston-Thomas.

That thought was the genesis for The Metal Queen, in which women wield guns and make increasingly poor decisions. The dark comedy centers around middle aged mothers Gretchen and Diane; after Gretchen's husband commits suicide, she decides to avoid despair by focusing her energies on a plan to get Diane out of debt by robbing every house in their neighborhood.

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Arts Eclectic
1:54 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

'Face Value' at the Davis Gallery

Lesley Nowlin, 'Water'

'Face Value' is a new group show at Austin's Davis Gallery. Curated by Susannah Morgan, it's an exploration of portraiture as an artistic theme, and of how that theme is addressed by different and artists employing different techniques.

There's work from photographers Leon Alesi, Scott David Gordon, and Lesley Nowlin; they're joined by Jamie Panzer, whose makes use of photographs in his collage work. They're all creating portraits of a kind, but their approaches (in terms of concept and execution) are all different.

Nowlin imagines an image and then works to create it, staging her subjects to achieve the look she envisions. A twin herself, she's been photographing pairs of twins for years now, and her recent work in that series will be on display at Davis Gallery.

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Arts Eclectic
12:48 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

See 'Young Frankenstein' in Wimberley

R. Michael Clinkscales and Lariena Brown in 'Young Frankenstein'
Credit Bill Peeler

Mel Brooks' 'Young Frankenstein' was released 40 years ago, and remains one of his most-loved films. Co-written by Gene Wilder, it's a loving parody of the classic Universal monster movies of the '30s (particularly, of course, the Frankenstein movies).

The musical version, officially titled The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein, opened on Broadway in 2007 and has quickly become a fan favorite. Like the original, it's a send up of old monster movies, but it takes the film's love of old-school vaudeville and burlesque up a few notches, coming complete with dancing girls and a fresh batch of vaudeville-style jokes.

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Arts Eclectic
11:34 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Robert Faires Takes on 'Henry V'

Five years ago, Robert Faires staged his one-man version of Shakespeare's Henry V at the Off Center. Since then, folks have been clamoring for him to become Henry again. 

Now the time is right for Faires to return to the show, and Henry V: A Solo Version is onstage at the Long Center's Rollins Studio Stage. Just as in the previous staging of the play, it's Faires alone on stage (save for a few inanimate co-stars, such as a flashlight and an apple), telling the story and playing all the characters.

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Arts Eclectic
1:05 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Jaston Williams Presents 'Maid Marian in a Stolen Car'

Jaston Williams

Jaston Williams has spent his entire adult life in the theater, so it's only natural that he'd eventually create a theater piece about his life in entertainment. Decades in the making, that show, 'Maid Marian in a Stolen Car,' is now onstage at Zach Theater.

A one-man show, 'Maid Marian' covers the earliest inklings of Williams' show business career (including his childhood renditions of showtunes in the backyard), up through his early days of professional acting (such as performing 'Hamlet' at local high schools), and some of his wilder times as a young adult in the 1970s (like his days in a Taos, New Mexico theater company).

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Arts Eclectic
9:50 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Experience Early Music with the Austin Troubadours

The Austin Troubadours have been playing early music together for the past six years, but the members of the band (including Slobodan Vujisic, Meredith Rudusku, Bruce Colson, Victor Eijkhout, Neli Vujisic, John Walters, and Oliver Rajamani) have all been studying and performing for much longer than that.

They strive for authenticity, using painstakingly reproduced period instruments and even period-appropriate costuming, so seeing and hearing the Austin Troubadours is as close as one is likely to get to experiencing the music of the Renaissance.

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Arts Eclectic
12:00 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

See 'Twin Infinity' at the Long Center

Austin's own homegrown science fiction epic The Intergalactic Nemesis has seen several incarnations over the years. It began life as a live show staged in a coffee shop, paying homage to '30s and '40s era radio serials. Later, audio recordings of the live show became actual radio serials (airing here on KUT in the late '90s).

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Arts Eclectic
4:51 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

'Wall Dependent?' at O2 Gallery

Charlotte Smith, "Wavelation II" (detail)

The group show "Wall Dependent?" is now in its final week at 02 Gallery and Project Space at the Flatbed Building. Curated by Troy Campa, the exhibition features the works of four Texas artists, Orna Feinstein, Jonathan Leach, Edward Lane McCartney, and Charlotte Smith.

After retiring from a successful career as an architect in the Houston area, Campa decided to follow an earlier passion of his, and embark on a career in the visual arts. Now living in Austin, he's partnered with Rene Ibarra to curate this show at the O2 Gallery. 

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Arts Eclectic
9:41 am
Wed August 20, 2014

See a Chekhov Double Bill at the Rollins Studio Theater

Breaking String Theater was founded several years ago with the mission of bringing the works of Anton Chekhov to the stages of Austin. But depending on which Chekhov scholar you ask, the author wrote either only four or five full-length plays, and Breaking String has now staged all of them.

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Arts Eclectic
11:00 am
Mon August 11, 2014

'Octia of the Pink Ocean' Is a Big Screen Cyberopera

 For the better part of the past twenty years, Chad Salvata and the folks at his production company, Ethos, have been creating what they call cyberoperas. These works, set in a fantasy world and all featuring elaborate, colorful costumes and sets, have up to now all been live stage shows. But the newest installment in the Ethos canon, Octia of the Pink Ocean, is something different.

Octia is the first full-length feature film created by Ethos. Like their other works, it's an opera, set in a world of fantastical locations and characters. So why film it rather than staging it? For several reasons, according to Salvata. For one, a film will give him the opportunity to share his work with a larger audience; it'll also let him preserve it for all time. Most importanly, perhaps, creating a film and using green screen technology allows him to include sets and characters that he could never create in a stage setting.

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Arts Eclectic
6:00 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Make (and Possibly Read) a 'Texas Confessional'

  Texas Confessional is an unusual art project, in that it's designed primarily to benefit the participants rather than an audience. In its physical form, Texas Confessional is a small black chapbook made up of actual anonymous confessions. These regrets are submitted online and then compiled and printed by editor/publisher Ty Harvey.

Only 100 copies of the books are made, and they're scattered around the state for strangers to find and read. Harvey strives to place the books in places where he believes they'll be read with some consideration rather than just skimmed and set aside. If you seek one out, you're unlikely to find one (there are 100 books and a little over 26 million Texas residents, so the odds aren't in your favor), but that's kind of the point. Harvey hopes that finding a confessional will be like seeing a shooting star or spotting a four leaf clover.

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Arts Eclectic
11:10 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Summer Stock Austin Celebrates Ten Years

For the past decade, the folks at Summer Stock Austin have brought high school and college age theater students together with working professionals to stage multiple musicals in a short period of time.

Every summer, the kids and adults at Summer Stock rehearse, build sets, do publicity and technical work, and then put on a show in just a matter of weeks. And they do that for three shows at once. It's a bit of whirlwind, but the result is that the students learn a lot about the theater world and audiences get to see a few low-priced live musicals.

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Arts Eclectic
3:23 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

See 'Bright Now Beyond' at Salvage Vanguard Theater

Starting July 31, Salvage Vanguard Theater will present the world premiere of the new musical Bright Now Beyond. It's an adaptation of L. Frank Baum's 1904 book The Marvelous Land of Oz (which was the second in the author's long-running series of Oz books).

Bright Now Beyond is set decades after the events of The Wizard of Oz, and features a few characters  from that story (the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and Glinda the Good all make appearences) along with many  new characters not seen in the classic film. Co-writer Daniel Alexander Jones sees all the characters — the familiar and the new — as being at a crossroads in their life; that's one of the things that drew him to the story.

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Arts Eclectic
6:07 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

See 'Oklahoma!' Free in Zilker Park

 

  The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! debuted on Broadway 71 years ago, and has remained a popular classic ever since. It was a huge hit in its original Broadway run, spawned an Oscar-winning movie version in 1955, and has been performed countless times in theaters worldwide.

In addition to being crowd-pleasing, though, it was also a ground-breaking production, an important work in the development of the 'book musical,' in which the songs and musical numbers progress the story. That's more or less taken for granted in the modern musical, but it wasn't often the case before Oklahoma! took the stage. 

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Arts Eclectic
2:33 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

'Industry Night' Is an Old-School Variety Show

Chris Gibson is, by his own admission, obsessed with Dean Martin. And he has a particular interest in Martin's work in television, where he hosted a popular variety show for nine years beginning in 1965. It's shows like The Dean Martin Show and the later, slightly more kid-friendly The Muppet Show that inspired the new live theater variety show Industry Night.

Hosted by Gibson and his fellow Rat Pack fans Cami Alys and Kenny Redding Jr., Industry Night is a throwback to the old school variety show format, where the hosts and the audience all have a couple of drinks and enjoy the show together. There's always sketch comedy and songs from Cami and Kenny, and each show features guest performers including singers, dancers, comics, improvisers, jugglers, and more.

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Arts Eclectic
9:26 am
Wed July 16, 2014

'All's Well That Ends Well' at Dougherty Arts Center

In the works of William Shakespeare, there are comedies, there are tragedies, there are histories, and then there are the problem plays. These are the plays that defy easy categorization; they tend to have complex themes and ambiguous tones.

All's Well That Ends Well is one such play. It's possibly Shakespeare's darkest comedy, dealing not just with love and mistaken identity like many of his comedic works, but also with war and gender issues. 

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Arts Eclectic
3:01 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Get Inspired at The Tesla Project

By the time of his death in 1943, inventor and engineer Nikola Tesla had accumulated some 300 patents for his works. He's credited for work and ideas that resulted in countless innovations, most notably alternating current, or the electrical system that powers most of the devices in your home.

After his death, Tesla's legacy fell into relative obscurity for a time, but in recent years, he's been embraced by a new generation of scientists and engineers. At this point, he's become a bit of folk hero, seen by many as the epitome of the uncompromising genius.

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Arts Eclectic
3:01 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Enjoy Literature and Booze at One Page Salon

Owen Egerton

A couple of years ago, enthralled with the idea of salons where writers could meet, drink, and discuss their work, Owen and Jodi Egerton decided to start one of their own. At first they'd invite other writers to their home, but quickly realized that this was an event that needed sharing.

Now, Owen hosts the monthly One Page Salon at the Whip In. The first Tuesday of every month, he invites a handful of fellow artists — fiction writers, screenwriters, songwriters, even photographers and improvisers — to join him onstage and share one page of a work in progress.

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