The Austin Chronicle

Fusebox Festival 2017

Revolutionaries, robots, and dam dancing, oh my!

By Robert Faires, April 7, 2017, Arts

And then there were five.

Five days in which to get your yearly charge of experimental performance and art at the Fusebox Festival. Now in its 13th year, the fest has a typically electrifying feast of interdisciplinary arts on its 2017 schedule, e.g.:

• Chamber opera Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance fuses music by Graham Reynolds with a libretto from Mexican theatre collective Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol and additional lyrics by poet Carrie Fountain to explore the biography and mythos of the revolutionary, embodied by tenor Paul Sanchez. Directed by Shawn Sides, with Adrian Quesada on guitar;

Potential uses Mansfield Dam as a setting to look at the possibilities of power and energy through dance created by Rosalyn Nasky, live percussion by the ensemble line upon line, and lighting by Natalie George;

Climax of the Next Scene offers a chance to see how Teletubbies might fare inside the world of Grand Theft Auto, as Korean artist Jisun Kim investigates the effects of violence without consequence in video gaming;

Meeting places two dancers in a space with 64 robotic percussion instruments for a match of man and machine. Choreographer Antony Hamilton provides movement for the former, while Alisdair Macindoe contributes the sound by the latter; and

Noplace by Matthew Steinke involves more robotic instruments playing in sync with MIDI-automated appliances, found recordings, tiny animatronic sculptures, and DIY projectors.

The festival hub, where Fuseboxers can meet nightly to connect with one another and fest artists, is dubbed Al Volta's Midnight Bar, but it shares the same physical space and address as Austin Saengerrunde Hall, 1607 San Jacinto. In addition to conversation, Al Volta's will feature curated food and drink, free bowling, a cardboard fort night, a DJ set by Maria Chávez, and performances from Paul Soileau, Francine Thirteen, Silky Shoemaker, and Joseph Keckler.

Those are just a fraction of the wonders awaiting you, and once again, Fusebox will be free to attend, under the Free Range Art initiative. Reservations for festival events can be made at

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