The Austin Chronicle

Seeing the Fusebox Festival Without Reservations

Tickets to some shows have been snapped up, but there's still plenty of electric Fusebox action available

By Robert Faires, April 12, 2019, Arts

The one big drawback to doing things that are free is that there are always a lot of other people who want to do them because they're free. A prime example is Fusebox Festival, which has been offering all of its mind-blowing arts events at no charge for five years now. Fusebox mastermind Ron Berry had a hunch that if price was no longer a barrier for audiences, then more folks would show up for the experimental work that the festival presents, and he was right. Since Fusebox has adopted its Free Range Art initiative, attendance has increased greatly, to the point that people now rush to reserve free tickets weeks in advance, leaving most if not all of the performances in venues with limited seating "sold out" by April. That can have many Fusebox fans feeling shut out of the festival, but the fact is, every Fusebox is programmed with a wealth of events that don't require reservations. You can drop in without making any prior arrangements and just immerse yourself in their creative wonders. Here's our abbreviated guide to such places you can access at Fusebox 2019.

The Hub

This is Fusebox's Grand Central Station, the site where audience members and artists can congregate and converse about what's being presented at the festival and the ideas and responses they generate. But it's also where a bounty of works are on offer with no ticket necessary. This year's Hub is at the former TOPS warehouse, 1300 E. Fifth, and the action gets underway on Fusebox Eve as Nathan Randall Green paints a site-specific mural and Las Vegas artist Justin Favela creates the piñata-inspired ¿Quihúbole? on the Hub's exterior.

Nathan Randall Green mural painting
Tue., April 16, 7pm

Tue., April 16, 7pm through Sun., April 21

On Wednesday, the Hub is the site of the 2019 festival's Kickoff Party, which will combine a Sadie Hawkins Dance hosted by art collective the Color Condition with the astral sounds of Golden Dawn Arkestra in the person of Topaz as DJ with live ­musicians.

Fusebox 2019 Kickoff Party
Wed., April 17, 8:30pm

Thursday features back-to-back sets by Austin's Botany, crafting an hourlong musical collage, and the Octopus Project performing Loom II, an art installation/immersive musical experience created just for Fusebox.

Thu., April 18, 10pm

Loom II
Thu., April 18, 11pm

Friday, the Hub is commandeered by the Museum of Human Achievement for Puddin's Student Government, a four-hour art event launched by Australian dance artist Angela Goh and her piece Body Loss, followed by the artist collective KUNIKLO presenting Sez Ono, "a fashion experience inspired by post-apocalyptic transhumanistic seasonal lines, queer alien BDSM, and bathroom lines."

MoHA Presents: Puddin's Student Government
Fri., April 19, 10pm

Angela Goh's Body Loss


The action on Saturday starts in the afternoon as the Block Party Collective presents its all-ages Salsa Social, with performances by Tatiana Cholula and Rudy Ramirez; music by p1nkstar, Y2Kwane, Chorizo Funk, and Qi Dada; and art with Alex Morrison of HIVE Collective and Aron Taylor, who will devote his Quick Draw skills to archiving your favorite Fusebox experiences of the last 15 years.

Salsa Social: The First Block Party
Sat., April 20, 4pm-1am

The Art Road

Springdale Road is your avenue for art at this year's Fusebox. Six visual-arts projects are located in just the 900 and 1000 blocks: Nathan Russell Green's "Everyone Universe, Everyone Dust," a cosmic meditation in the form of large abstract paintings; Alyssa Taylor Wendt and Kate Csillagi's "Ultima Thule," which takes us to the extreme limit of travel through collaborative drawings, paintings, and photos that explore secret transitional spaces; Sean Ripple's Lossy Process, a collection of 200 six-second video collages created for social media but here projected on gallery walls and supplemented with video essays and live performances; Blasto and Ernesto Walker's "Unity of Opposites," in which the Monterrey, Mexico-based artists delve into the conflicts that technology creates with us in the constantly shifting state of reality; Li Po, a blend of the physical and digital ("phygital") that Mexico City collective Janet40 developed with and around artist Canek Zapata's work involving poems from a monk in the year AD4444; and Brim, an enigmatic project by Vladimir Mejia that seems to grapple with loneliness and dealing with it.

"Ultima Thule"
April 17-20. Wed. & Thu., noon-2pm; Fri. & Sat., noon-6pm
ICOSA Gallery, Canopy

Lossy Process
Wed.-Sat., April 17-20, 2pm
Co-Lab Projects

Li Po
Thu.-Sat., April 18-20, 2-5pm
The Museum of Human Achievement

"Everyone Universe, Everyone Dust"
April 19-20. Fri., 7pm; Sat., noon-5pm

"Unity of Opposites"
April 19-20, Fri., 7-10pm; Sat. noon-6pm
Big Medium

Sat., April 20, noon-4pm
Canopy Bldg. 2, Ste. 106-A

The Communing

Chulita Vinyl Club is creating a daylong family-friendly event that aims to cultivate "compassion through shared experiences of Austin, Tejas." Building Bondad will consist of live storytelling and conversation with music, as community members can talk with one another about and record in video and audio booths what Austin means to them. Attendees are encouraged to bring photos, artwork, and paper ephemera that can be added to a banner that illustrates their feelings about the city.

Building Bondad: Cultivating Compassion Through Shared Experiences of Austin, Tejas
Sat., April 20, 11am-5pm
The Contemporary Austin

The Garage Forest

Arguably the best use ever made of a State of Texas parking garage will take place on the last day of the festival, when one is transformed into a rain forest through the sounds and compositions of a half-dozen composers from across the globe. For Rainforest Reverb, Austin collective Rolling Ryot is installing speakers inside the five-story State Parking Garage A – which was actually built around two living trees on the site – and creating a 32-channel sonic platform evoking the soundscape of a rain forest.

Rainforest Reverb
Sun., April 21, 2-6pm
State Parking Garage A

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