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Taste the Hybrids

Fusebox Festival 2013 serves up more toothsome mash-ups of art, food, tech, and space

By Robert Faires, Fri., April 12, 2013

The Fusebox Festival, by its very nature, brings things together: creative disciplines, local and national artists, performers and audiences, art and food. But it isn't just the combination of elements that makes this annual showcase of cross-disciplinary and experimental art so eagerly anticipated each spring. It's how it combines them, at unlikely intersections of form or meaning or with enough force to make something new. It's actors simultaneously improvising a love story on Austin's streets and filming themselves doing it, then screening the result minutes after the tale's conclusion. It's an Eastside home transformed into a haunted house where audience members wander past spirits obsessively replaying a past tragedy. It's a roomful of tables piled with texts detailing a failed romance and artisan desserts inspired by the texts which the audience reads and eats while an artist paints the desserts on a wall. The collision of art and environment or medium and medium can be as startling and stimulating as the flavors in fusion cuisine.

For the ninth Fusebox, founder and "top chef" Ron Berry has cooked up a typically innovative banquet of projects – more than 50 scheduled April 17-28. Making return visits are festival favorites Ant Hampton of Rotozaza (2008, 2009); theatre duo Action Hero (2010); and playwright Sibyl Kempson (2009, 2010, 2012), who's deep in collaboration with Austin's Rude Mechs, Rubber Rep, Physical Plant, and Salvage Vanguard Theater. Also back is the local collective behind last year's Elvis Machine, the Duplicates. (For more on the group's new show, see "Five Cooks in the Kitchen?.") The hit Digestible Feats series, melding food and art, returns, reprising two Graham Reynolds-scored meals and debuting two events inspired by tea ceremonies. Free Range Art – the fest's site-specific works – features an artistically reinvented alley, a dance up the steps of City Hall, and a road trip of unlikely literary locales. (For more on the last, see "Lit Meals on Wheels.") And the new series Art & Tech spotlights projects that employ technology to expand how we make and see art. It's a feast of cutting-edge creativity, and we've culled a sampling to whet your appetite ("Fusebox Menu de l'année"), but, as always, the full schedule is at www.fuseboxfestival.com.

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