arts eclectic

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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