arts eclectic

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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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