arts eclectic

Arts Eclectic
11:55 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Enjoy Free Shakespeare in the Park

For the past three decades, Austin Shakespeare has partnered with the city to present free Shakespeare in Zilker Park. This year, they're finally producing a free-in-the-park version of artistic director Ann Ciccolella's personal favorite Shakespearean play, As You Like It.

It's one of the bard's most joyous works, including hallmarks of Shakespearean comedy such as mistaken identity, cross-dressing, and the search for true love. As You Like It features some of Shakespeare's best-loved characters and most memorable scenes, and in true romantic comedy fashion, a happy ending that includes no fewer than four weddings.

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Arts Eclectic
9:40 am
Thu May 22, 2014

See 'Chicago' in a Lounge Setting

  M. Scott Tatum and Julianna E. Wright have been producing theater together since their high school days. Their partnership continued through college and eventually culminated in the formation of their production company, Half and Half Productions.

The latest show from Half and Half, co-directed by Scott and Julianna, is the classic musical Chicago. Chicago's been onstage in Austin a few times as part of Broadway Across America, and there have been a handful of school productions of it, but this is, perhaps surprisingly, the first professional, locally-produced version presented to Austin audiences.

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Arts Eclectic
10:14 am
Wed May 14, 2014

See Children's Theater from Pollyanna Theatre Company

Austin's Pollyanna Theatre Company specializes in theater for young audiences. And in addition to creating original theatrical works for children, they also believe in theater as a teaching tool.

To that end, they stage shows in cooperation with the Long Center, which are aimed at young children and their families, and also venture into local schools for performances and education.

Their latest play, Plus and Minus: The Vacation Adventure by Katherine Gee Perrone, revisits popular characters Addy Plus and Minus Takeaway and teaches lessons about both math and acceptance.

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Arts Eclectic
1:51 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Austin's Homeless Ask 'Am I Invisible?' in New Art Project

Am I Invisible? is an ongoing art project written and performed by members of Austin’s homeless population. It  explores their lives through video presentations, monologues and other performances. 

The project began last year when video artist Roni Chelben began facilitating video workshops at the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless. It led to a series of videos featuring members of Austin's homeless community, and eventually a live show based on the lives of its participants. 

Am I Invisible? incorporates all these elements, including the video segments, performances, and live monologues written by homeless members of our community, inspired by their lives.

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Arts Eclectic
6:04 am
Fri May 2, 2014

See Traditional Chinese Dance at April Rain's Spring Recital

Xiwei (Sherry) Chen was born in China and grew up dancing, so when she moved to Austin, it was only natural that she'd look for a way to share traditional Chinese Dance with her new community. That's why she created the April Rain School of Chinese Dance more than a decade ago.

April Rain teaches different styles of Chinese dance, including both formal and folk dances, and in performances, the students wear costumes that Chen brings back from her return trips to her home country. Many of the students stay with the program for years, passing on their beloved costumes to the newer and younger students as they grow up.

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Arts Eclectic
3:04 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Austin's Newest Film Fest is 'Forbidden'

Next week, The Vortex will host the Forbidden Film Fest, a brand new festival that's meant to be an exploration of sexuality and eroticism in film. It's a three-day event, with a different program each night.

Night one will feature the Austin premiere of "Goodbye Gaulie Mountain," a new documentary about mountain top removal in West Virginia and the connection between land and body issues. Co-directors Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stevens will appear live via webcast.

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Arts Eclectic
3:06 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Forklift Danceworks' 'Play Ball!' Benefits Historic Downs Field

Forklift Danceworks is known for their large scale projects, which tend to feature real people performing dances that are based on their actual jobs. They've done performances with sanitation workers ("The Trash Project") and Austin Energy employees ("PowerUP"), among others. 

Their newest project is "Play Ball!," a baseball-inspired dance which will be performed by the players and coaches of the Huston-Tillotson Rams. The dance will be performed on (and also benefit) Austin's historic Downs Field, which during its decades-long history has been home to not just the Rams, but also several semi-pro teams and at least two Negro League baseball teams. Among the many legendary ballplayers to play on the field are Satchel Paige, Willie Wells, Willie Mays, and Buck O'Neil.

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Arts Eclectic
10:16 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Get Inspired at the Austin Mini Maker Faire

A few years ago, Austin was one of the homes of the annual Maker Faire, a two-day celebration of arts and crafts, creativity, and all kinds of do-it-yourself projects. The Maker Faire eventually stopped coming to Austin, but after a brief hiatus, the Austin Mini Maker Faire arrived to fill the void.

Aside from being only a one-day rather than two-day event, the Mini Maker Faire is "mini" in name only. It's still a huge event, with dozens of workshops, talks, hands-on activities, and performances taking place in the name of creativity and fun. The chief difference between the new mini fair and the old full-sized fair is that these days, most of the Makers actually hail from Austin or Central Texas locals instead of from the larger world.

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Arts Eclectic
4:27 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Hear Rising Stars Play With the Austin Civic Orchestra

This Saturday night at Bates Recital Hall on the University of Texas campus, the Austin Civic Orchestra is partnering with UT's Butler School of Music to present a free spring concert. Called the "Texas Risings Stars" concert, the event will feature four award-winning UT music students playing with Austin's own non-profit orchestra.

The first half of the concert will feature music students Benjamin Penzner, Grace Youn, Roman Yearian, and Eun-Mi Lee (no relation to the host of this program) leading the orchestra in selections of their choosing. For the second half of the presentation, the orchestra will branch out on its own, featuring two pieces chosen by orchestra director Lois Ferrari.

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Arts Eclectic
11:23 am
Tue April 22, 2014

See 100 Comedians at the Moontower Festival

Now in its third year, the Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival is quickly becoming one of the largest comedy festivals in America. For this year's fest, around 100 comedians will come together from Austin and around the world to perform dozens of shows, including sketch, improv, and lots of standup comedey.

Headliners include The Kids in The Hall, Hannibal Buress, Mike Birbiglia, Maria Bamford and more. They'll perform at the Paramount Theatre, while several smaller venues host shows nearby.

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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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