arts eclectic

Rey Parla

Landmarks, UT's public art program, is set to unveil a monumental new work by painter José Parla. The mural, titled Amistad America, is the largest of his career, measuring 25 x 160 feet, or some 4000 square feet. 

"I had worked on several large-scale murals before, so I didn't have a fear of how to approach it," Parla says, "I know how to do it somehow -- there's something natural that happens in how I approach it. But this was even larger than anything else I had done before."

A work this large is not created quickly; Parla has been working with Landmarks for the past four years to create Amistad America. He first created a scale model, and even that was a large endeavor. 

"I made this model in my studio, which is not so small either -- it's six feet by twenty-four feet," he says. "So I... transformed myself into a very small person in my imagination and worked the mural from that perspective."

Amparo Garcia-Crow Unveils 'STRIP The Musical'

Jan 10, 2018
Kate Blaising

"I started developing it in 2009," says Amparo Garcia-Crow of STRIP The Musical, "and I was only focused on one character at that point, which was Candy Barr." 

Barr, the Texas-born burlesque legend, lived a troubled life that fascinated Garcia-Crow. "Her story is incredibly distressing and transcending," she says. 

"I was just trying to remember how long I've personally been doing this New Year's Eve show. I think this might be my tenth one in a row," says Hideout Theatre co-owner and longtime performer Kareem Badr. "I enjoy doing it so much that I've dedicated every New Year's Eve to going and doing these shows."

Their "Big Bash" New Year's Eve show is a longstanding Hideout tradition, but this year they're kicking the holiday celebration up a notch or five by doing a full week of holiday-themed improv shows.

"Oh, from such humble beginnings," says co-founder Kevin Collins about the first-ever Blue Genie Art Bazaar. "We just had some space on the East side ... and our friends in the arts community were always struggling to find spaces to show work. And we had a big space, so we just put some walls together and sort of threw it together like a party."

La Pastorela, the traditional Christmas play about the journey of a group of shepherds who are following the Star of Bethlehem to visit the newly born Christ child, has been performed in Mexico for centuries. 

"It was done originally by the Spanish priests, and it was done as a morality play to remind people that angels and demons exist and that they can influence their decisions," says La Pastorela director Alexis Arredondo. "And it worked its way to Mexico, and from Mexico it worked its way into Texas."