Magic Time

Oh, the sights you'll see at First Night Austin

Magic Time

If you think those 50-story high-rises transform the look of Downtown, you need to see it on Dec. 31. That's when First Night Austin unleashes dozens of area artists on the heart of the city to work their creative wonders on the urban landscape. In the two years that Austin has produced this New Year's Eve arts festival, Downtown has seen a Sauron-sized eyeball blinking on the Second Street water tower, performers dancing across the side of a hotel, a "dragon" made of light floating on Lady Bird Lake, a chalk drawing the length of the First Street Bridge, giant puppets strolling the streets, and many other equally astonishing sights. Locales that seem familiar and ordinary are made magical and extraordinary by art.

This year will be no different, with promises of rockin' robots, a human jukebox, a dance with a bus, a colossal jackalope, and theatre under a bridge, plus more wonders from 60-plus artists and arts organizations in the city. As before, the event is for the entire community; it's family-friendly and alcohol-free, as well as just plain free. Activities stretch from Cesar Chavez at Congress to Auditorium Shores, including City Hall, the First Street Bridge, and the 2nd Street District, with performances and installations on plazas, sidewalks, balconies, building facades, under bridges – in short, anywhere. The fun starts at 3pm on Monday, Dec. 31, with three hours of events geared toward families, followed by a parade – the Grand Procession – at 6:30pm, early fireworks, then four more hours of evening events, winding up with the Grand Finale at midnight.

Parking in the state Capitol Complex garages and surface lots will be free of charge on New Year's Eve. Capital Metro will provide free service between Waterloo Park and the First Night footprint from 1:30 to 8:30pm. Downtown park­ing is available in the Convention Center garage, 201 E. Second, for a $7 charge. Check www.downtownaustin.com/transportation/parking/lots for other locations. For more info, visit www.firstnightaustin.org.


FIRST NIGHT 2008 SCHEDULE:

Ongoing all day, 3pm-12mid

The Big Draw, First Street Bridge: Grab some chalk, and add your art to the pedestrian-way walls of the First Street Bridge.

Giant Games, Auditorium Shores, 920 W. Riverside: Large-scale chess, checkers, and more fun games furnished by Austin Children's Museum.

Neesha Thakkar – Time Mandala, Auditorium Shores, 920 W. Riverside: Meditative installation of shimmering fabric walls on Auditorium Shores.

Legge Lewis Legge – Ultimate Pulse, Auditorium Shores, 920 W. Riverside: Suspended landscape environment of 1,000 internally illuminated disks.

The Robot Group – RoboSpinArt and the Pongonator, Buford Tower, Cesar Chavez: Create art with interactive robotic technology, rockin' music, lights, and more. See the Pongonator robot created for Maker Faire Austin.

Carla Nickerson – Kwanzaa Can Sculpture, City Hall lobby, 301 W. Second: Installation made of donated canned goods to benefit Caritas. Celebrates Kwanzaa.

Rebecca Ward – Roll-On/Roll Off, Computer Sciences Corporation parking garage, 200 W. Cesar Chavez: Colored sheets hanging from a loading-dock ceiling create a mazelike structure.

Blue Genie Art – Texas Jackalope, First Street Bridge. Climb on this 9-foot saddled jackalope for good luck, and get a complimentary photo.

Ethan Azarian – We're Off to See the Wizard, First Street Bridge (north end): Life-size cityscape modeled after Guanajuato, Mexico, through which families may wander and meet the wizard.

Guitar City Knits – Dream Island, Auditorium Shores, 920 W. Riverside: Attach a personal dream to a piece of colored yarn, and weave it through the trees.

Hamid Emami – Field of Flowers, Triangle Island: Installation of flower lamps made of a metal base, copper leaves, and glass flowers of different sizes.


FAMILY FESTIVAL, 3-6pm

Ongoing all afternoon

United Way – Success by 6 Puppet-Making Workshop, Austin Children's Museum, 201 Colorado: Creative workshop to engage families in puppet-making and raise awareness about early-childhood education.

VSA Arts of Texas – Hat Making Workshop, City Hall break room, 301 W. Second: Make your own fanciful New Year's party hat out of an HEB bag.

Lorene Espineli – Flock of Change, Triangle Island: Display of bird sculptures made of recycled materials and workshop where participants can assemble bird costumes from reused materials then "fly" down Congress in the Grand Procession.

Exchange Club of Austin – High Flying First Night Fun, tent west of Triangle Island: Make a beautiful kite to fly in the Grand Procession.

Butler Brothers – Black-Eyed Pea, roving: An 8-foot good-luck charm in its own tricked-out pedicab pays tribute to prosperity in the coming year.

Adam Reese, Alan Klemp, Kevin Peake, and Shannon Powers – AT&T's Digital Portraits Austin, City Hall Plaza, SW corner tent, 301 W. Second: Have your photo taken and uploaded to a computer where digital artists will turn it into a portrait you can download.

3pm

Theatre Action Project – Peace Crane Project 2008: Storytelling, City Hall, Boards and Commissions room, 301 W. Second: Interactive storytelling session linked with citywide initiative exploring the story of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. Young people from local schools have made thousands of cranes that will be installed at City Hall, then sent to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. 3-3:45pm.

April Rain School of Chinese Dance – Spring Flowers, City Hall, Council Chamber, 301 W. Second: Chinese traditional dances performed by children ages 4-14. 3-3:20pm.

Andrew Alsberge – The Wandering Juggler, roving: Alsberge juggles flower sticks and poi. 3-4pm.

3:30pm

Austin Children's Choir – Voyages, City Hall, lobby, 301 W. Second: Accomplished choir performs selections from its current season. 3:30-3:50pm.

3:40pm

April Rain School of Chinese Dance – Spring Flowers, City Hall, Council Chamber, 301 W. Second: Chinese traditional dances performed by children ages 4-14. 3:40-4pm.

4pm

Austin Vocal Arts Ensemble – Music of the Americas, City Hall, Council Chamber, 301 W. Second: Music that reflects the diversity of America, including spirituals and Spanish-language holiday songs. 4-4:15pm.

Austin Children's Choir – Voyages, City Hall, Break Room, 301 W. Second: Accomplished choir performs selections from its current season. 4-4:20pm.

Princesses of Persia – Persian Dance Is an Art, City Hall Plaza, headlining stage, 301 W. Second: Cultural piece that highlights the customs of Persia. 4-4:30pm.

Theatre Action Project – Peace Crane Project 2008: Storytelling, City Hall, Boards and Commissions room, 301 W. Second: Interactive storytelling session linked with citywide initiative exploring the story of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. Young people from local schools have made thousands of cranes that will be installed at City Hall, then sent to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. 4-4:35pm.

Clickety Cloggers – Clog Dancing!, Computer Sciences Corporation front entrance, 200 W. Cesar Chavez: Appalachian-style clogging performed with a modern flair. 4-4:45pm

Michele Owens-Pearce – Wings – Loops!, City Hall Plaza, headlining stage 301 W. Second: Expressive shapes and loops from the dance company of the Life Skills Department at Crockett High School. 4-5pm.

4:30pm

Austin Vocal Arts Ensemble – Music of the Americas, City Hall, Council Chamber, 301 W. Second: Music that reflects the diversity of America, including spirituals and Spanish-language holiday songs. 4:30-4:45pm.

5pm

Austin Chamber Ensemble – Moonstruck by Moonlight, City Hall, Council Chamber, 301 W. Second: Two sopranos and a pianist perform arias from Puccini's La Bohème and other duets. 5-5:25pm.

Asylum Street Spankers – "Mommy Says No!" City Hall Plaza, headlining stage, 301 W. Second: Family-friendly concert featuring songs from the band's children's album. 5-6pm

5:30pm

Austin School of Visual and Performing Arts – At the Ballet, City Hall Lobby, 301 W. Second: Student and professional performers will present a vaudeville show in the spirit of the Marx Brothers. 5:30-6pm.

5:40pm

Austin Chamber Ensemble – Moonstruck by Moonlight, City Hall, Council Chamber, 301 W. Second: Two sopranos and a pianist perform arias from Puccini's La Bohème and other duets. 5:40-6:05pm.

6pm

Clickety Cloggers – Clog Dancing!, CSC front entrance, 200 W. Cesar Chavez: Appalachian-style clogging performed with a modern flair. 6-6:45pm.

6:30pm

Austin Wind Symphony – Symphonic Hollywood, City Hall, Council Chamber, 301 W. Second: Austin's very own cinematic symphony performs memorable scores of film and television. 6:30-6:50pm.


GRAND PROCESSION, 6:30-7:30pm

Magic Time

Parade from Seventh & Congress to Cesar Chavez and west to City Hall, led by composer Graham Reynolds & the Golden Arm Trio Brass Band and featuring Truckceratops, the Caveman Collective's bid to transcend gas-guzzling fossils; a giant bike-powered water goddess leading Barton Springs supporters dressed as swimmers, animals, and spirits; the Austin Public Library Bibliofiles, Austin's book-cart drill team; young women leaders marching with umbrellas as the Paper Parasol Paraders; large-scale sculptures of American food staples created by art students from Lanier High, McCallum Fine Arts Academy, Reagan High, Johnston High, International High, and Bowie High; young rappers and poets performing original beats and rhymes with established hip-hop artists Blacklisted Individuals, Public Offenders, and the Xblicit Dance Group; City of Austin Weirdos; costumed youngsters from the TexARTS musical-theatre academy perform songs from Damn Yankees; clown Tony Maxaroni creating balloon art; people with and without disabilities creating scenes from Alice in Wonderland in costume, floats, and puppetry; Faith Schexnayder's HEB Carmen Miranda Produce Float; and much more.


EVENING PROGRAM:

Ongoing all evening

Butler Brothers – Black-Eyed Pea, roving: An 8-foot good-luck charm in its own tricked-out pedicab pays tribute to prosperity in the coming year.

Adam Reese, Alan Klemp, Kevin Peake and Shannon Powers – Digital Portraits Austin, City Hall Plaza, southwest corner tent, 301 W. Second: Have your photo taken and uploaded to a computer where digital artists will turn it into a portrait you can download. 8-11pm.

Green Grover – Eco-Screen, Radisson Hotel facade, 111 E. Cesar Chavez: Interactive media platform where you can share ideas on going green for the new year.

Owl Morrison – the Angel Sculpture of Austin, First Street Bridge: Living statue blesses you with energy.

TroublePuppet Theater Company – Alchemy and the Wheel of Destiny, Auditorium Shores, 920 W. Riverside: Mystical traveling show with Wheel of Destiny game and homunculus puppet-machine performers animated by Connor Hopkins and the TroublePuppet crew.

BikeZoo Austin – Machinae Humana Carnival, Auditorium Shores, 920 W. Riverside: Giant bike puppets, human-powered jukebox, contraptions, rides, games, music, art, and performances, featuring BikeZoo Austin, Save Our Springs Alliance water puppets, Datri Bean, the Phantomagraph, TroublePuppet Theater, Big Chief Kevin & the Flaming Arrow Mardi Gras Indians, Out of the Loop Acrobalance troupe.

Laura Freeman – Phantomograph, Auditorium Shores, 920 W. Riverside: Living jukebox that measures the vibrations of objects and detects songs with twirling spookiness and puppet madness.

David de Lara – Confinement, HBMG Theater Under the First Street Bridge (south end): Multimedia installation in which acrylic and oil paints are combined with an actress' performance on video.

A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. – The Jackrabbit Drought, HBMG Theater Under the First Street Bridge (south end): Excerpt from a film blending animation and traditional illustration to tell a story of Southwestern myth and horror. Trailer screens before and after each HBMG Theater performance.

7:30pm

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett & Mayor Will Wynn – Countdown to the new year, City Hall Plaza, headlining stage, 301 W. Second.

Graham Reynolds – Golden Arm Trio Brass Band, City Hall Plaza, headlining stage, 301 W. Second: Eleven of Austin's top musicians rock New Orleans-style on compositions by composer Graham Reynolds, some created for First Night Austin 2008. 7:30-8pm

Lisa Choinacky – Everybody Ever, CSC front entrance, 200 W. Cesar Chavez: Multimedia performance treating alienation, wonder, and love in modern life with optimism and humor. 7:30-8pm

7:45pm

Family Finale Fireworks

8pm

Austin Wind Symphony – Symphonic Hollywood, City Hall, Council Chamber, 301 W. Second: Austin's very own cinematic symphony performs memorable scores of film and television. 8-8:20pm.

Rude Mechanicals – The Leash, HBMG Theater, Under the First Street Bridge (south end): A Western operetta that includes a mountain lion, a long-distance phone call, and a race between equal bloodhounds. 8-8:30pm.

Steve Bernal & Loren Dent – Dreams and Concrete, City Hall Lobby, 301 W. Second: Two musicians blend cello and electronic music in a musical experience that fills the space around the listener. 8-8:40pm.

DrumJam – Feel the Rhythm, City Hall Plaza, headlining stage, 301 W. Second: High-energy percussion-based performance. 8-8:45pm.

Kurt Schuler – The Oziene Experience, Jo's Coffee Shop, 242 W. Second: All-percussion band serving high-energy African-Brazilian-Caribbean funk. 8pm.

Andrew Alsberge – The Wandering Juggler, roving: Alsberge juggles flower sticks and poi. 8-9:30pm.

8:15pm

Cybil Gustafson – Bus Line Dance, Cesar Chavez, in front of City Hall: Five dancers use modern dance, a bus, and a life-sized bus puppet to explore movement through time, place, and community. Observers may join in the culminating dance. 8:15-8:35pm.

8:30pm

Austin Taiko – Great Drums, CSC Parking Garage, 200 W. Cesar Chavez: Traditional Japanese and original songs developed in complementary rhythms by players in traditional Japanese costumes. 8:30-9:15pm.

Moving Image Arts and Education – The Body Electric, W Hotel temporary building facade, 200 Lavaca: Female filmmakers use abstract images and poetry to explore their bodies and identities. 8:30-9:30pm.

8:45pm

Rude Mechanicals – The Leash, HBMG Theater, Under the First Street Bridge (south end): A Western operetta that includes a mountain lion, a long-distance phone call, and a race between equal bloodhounds. 8:45-9:15pm.

9pm

Kurt Schuler – The Oziene Experience, Jo's Coffee Shop, 242 W. Second: All-percussion band serving high-energy African-Brazilian-Caribbean funk. 9pm.

Steve Bernal & Loren Dent – Dreams and Concrete, City Hall Lobby, 301 W. Second: Two musicians blend cello and electronic music in a musical experience that fills the space around the listener. 9-9:40pm.

El Tule – Volumen 1, City Hall Plaza, headlining stage, 301 W. Second: High-energy bilingual music about art, history, and culture. 9-9:45pm.

9:15pm

Cambiare Productions – Transformations, HBMG Theater Under the First Street Bridge (south end): Multidisciplinary, multimedia collaboration of women artists inspired by Anne Sexton's Transformations that looks at society's views of women. 9:15-9:35pm.

9:30pm

Lisa Choinacky – Everybody Ever, CSC front entrance, 200 W. Cesar Chavez: Multimedia performance treating alienation, wonder, and love in modern life with optimism and humor. 9:30-10pm

9:45pm

Debutantes and Vagabonds – Hubris, HBMG Theater under the First Street Bridge (south end): Come meet the friendly, customs-monitoring staff of the alliance and learn how to improve your unbearable inadequacy and find out what it's like to matter! 9:45-10:10pm.

10pm

Kurt Schuler – The Oziene Experience, Jo's Coffee Shop, 242 W. Second: All-percussion band serving high-energy African-Brazilian-Caribbean funk. 10pm.

Steve Bernal & Loren Dent – Dreams and Concrete, City Hall Lobby, 301 W. Second: Two musicians blend cello and electronic music in a musical experience that fills the space around the listener. 10-10:40pm.

10:15pm

Cambiare Productions – Transformations, HBMG Theater under the First Street Bridge (south end): Multidisciplinary, multimedia collaboration of women artists inspired by Anne Sexton's Transformations that looks at society's views of women. 10:15-10:35pm.

10:45pm

Debutantes and Vagabonds – Hubris, HBMG Theater under the First Street Bridge (south end): Come meet the friendly, customs-monitoring staff of the alliance and learn how to improve your unbearable inadequacy and find out what it's like to matter! 10:45-11:10pm.

Palm School Choir, Rockin' Grand Finale, City Hall Plaza, headlining stage, 301 W. Second: Directed by Gavin Tabone, fifth- and sixth-graders from the Palm school in Southeast Austin perform Wilco and Flaming Lips songs with rock musicians. 10:45pm-12mid.

11pm

Kurt Schuler – The Oziene Experience, Jo's Coffee Shop, 242 W. Second: All-percussion band serving high-energy African-Brazilian-Caribbean funk. 11pm.

11:15pm

Cambiare Productions – Transformations, HBMG Theater under the First Street Bridge (south end): Multidisciplinary, multimedia collaboration of women artists inspired by Anne Sexton's Transformations that looks at society's views of women. 11:15-11:45pm

12mid

DrumJam – Feel the Rhythm, City Hall Plaza, headlining stage, 301 W. Second: High-energy percussion-based performance.

Luke Savisky – Film Actions VI, Lady Bird Lake: Surprise spectacle in concert with the Grand Finale.

Grand Finale Fireworks, Lady Bird Lake

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More First Night Austin
First Night Austin
First Night Austin
Unhappy New Year

Robert Faires, Oct. 8, 2010

Celebrate This City
Celebrate This City
Dave Sullivan provides new direction for First Night Austin

Robert Faires, Dec. 26, 2008

More by Robert Faires
<i>The Bird Boys</i> Brings Crime to 1970s Beaumont
The Bird Boys Brings Crime to 1970s Beaumont
Lisa Sandlin's characters try to solve the mysteries of themselves

July 19, 2019

<i>A Risky Undertaking for Loretta Singletary</i> by Terry Shames
A Risky Undertaking for Loretta Singletary by Terry Shames
Police chief Samuel Craddock searches for a missing friend while on a visit to Jarrett Creek, Texas

July 19, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

First Night Austin

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle