Barbara Purcell's Top 10 Only-in-Austin Arts Highlights of 2019

The year seen through a lens of the city, upending the expected and lifting up the unusual


Rude Mechs' Not Every Mountain (Photo by Bret Brookshire)

1) NOT EVERY MOUNTAIN (Rude Mechs) This theatrical production of an epic poem contained the most mesmerizing line of the year: "Not every mountain knows the earth is a museum of dying things."

2) UT'S GORDON GIFT (Blanton Museum of Art) Charles White was one of the 20th century's most important artists, and UT-Austin has become the repository for 23 of his works, which were featured in not one but two shows on campus this fall.

3) BOB CARO DODGING JFK CONSPIRACY QUESTIONS (BookPeople) Who would have thought an audience member at this packed reading would interrogate the writer and LBJ biographer about his knowledge of Johnson's supposed role in the JFK assassination?

4) DARIO ROBLETO IN "THE SORCERER'S BURDEN" (The Contemporary Austin) The artist's film The Boundary of Life Is Quietly Crossed cosmically explores early recordings of the human heartbeat in a way that entangles the spiritual with the scientific.

5) PREETIKA RAJGARIAH'S WAITING TO EXHALE (Women & Their Work) The artist has a lot to say about the "yoga industrial complex," though her performance piece – which had onlookers burying her alive with dozens of colorful mats – needed no words.

6) WARREN HOOD OPENING FOR LYLE LOVETT (Moody Theater) The baby-faced fiddler and bluegrass virtuoso stole the show before Lovett and band ever got onstage.

7) "HAPPINESS IS A JOURNEY" (Big Medium) Austin filmmakers Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan (whose doc Pahokee premiered at Sundance this year) teamed with newspaper deliverer and longtime East Austin resident Eddie "Bear" Lopez to tell a story about a changing neighborhood.

8) GRIMM TALES (Ballet Austin) An unusual collaboration between artist Natalie Frank and choreographer Stephen Mills turned a night at the ballet into an odd delight of murder and mayhem.

9) ONE LAST CAN OF SPRAY PAINT (HOPE Outdoor Gallery) Austin's famed graffiti park at Castle Hill officially closed early in the year, marking the end of an aerosol era for artists and admirers alike.

10) CHAD HOLT (R.I.P.) In June, the Lost Well held a roast, and just two months later, there was a toast – to an Austin iconoclast and indie anarchist gone way too soon. This city just isn't the same without him.

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 Top 10s
Rosalind Faires' Top 10 Fiction Books of 2019
Rosalind Faires' Top 10 Fiction Books of 2019
Here’s to a year of rollicking adventures, laughing, weeping, and rooting for those crazy kids to wind up together in the end

Rosalind Faires, Dec. 20, 2019

Jay Trachtenberg's Top Books of 2019
Jay Trachtenberg's Top Books of 2019
From the social upheaval of the Sixties to the double life of an intelligence agent to the secular past of an Orthodox rabbi, splits resolved into memorable books

Jay Trachtenberg, Dec. 20, 2019

More by Barbara Purcell
Clarksville's Willis Littlefield Readies His Annual Christmas Lights
Clarksville's Willis Littlefield Readies His Annual Christmas Lights
The longtime resident is ready to light up his home and hand out holiday sweets for the 22nd Christmas

Dec. 13, 2019

Texas Book Festival 2019: <br>All by Myself: Loneliness in Fiction
LGBTQIA+ at TBF: Loneliness in Fiction
Kristen Arnett & Kevin Huizenga weigh in on frustration and isolation

Oct. 28, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Top 10s, Tops 10s 2019, Rude Mechs, Blanton Museum of Art, Charles White, BookPeople, Robert Caro, Dario Robleto, The Contemporary Austin, Preetika Rajgariah, Women & Their Work, Warren Hood, Lyle Lovett, Big Medium, Ivete Lucas, Patrick Bresnan, Eddie "Bear" Lopez, Ballet Austin, Stephen Mills, Natalie Frank

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)

Time to vote! Music Poll 2019-20 balloting is underway   VOTE NOW