Five Things to Do Online Locally Right Now

Still not risking crowds? We've got your socially distanced virtual back

We have to ride out these 'ronas a little longer, so it seems, as the protein-sheathed miscreants continue their evolution toward less destructive human coexistence. Luckily, there's all manner of creative goodness produced locally that can be 1) encountered, 2) accessed, and 3) enjoyed via an internet connection. Here're five suggestions to help while away another week of life's rich pageant.

Take Improv Classes

If any community's responding well to the vagaries and upheavals of our current COVID situation, you'd think it would be Austin's improv community – and you'd be right. At least insofar as continuing to provide interactive educational opportunities, Austin's four families of improv – the Hideout Theatre, Fallout Theater, Merlin Works, ColdTowne Theater – have "yes, and"-ed up a wide array of curricula and isolation-confounding fun, offering many ways to get initially involved with (or to hone the familiar craft of) the improvisational performance arts. Four schools, four different flavors of improv; wherever you look, there's a fine chance to improve your mental agility and resilience (and have a hell of a fun time) with local improv professionals.

Attend PrintAustin

This annual print festival continues in person through Feb. 15, and if you call in advance or make appointments online, you can catch, in person, much of what's available within the participating studios and galleries. But you can also get a fine virtual eyeful of many of the festival's wonders – almost as satisfying at the moment, and, when a particular artist lights your aesthetic fire, something to make note of for further exploration and engagement in the more people-friendly months to come. Suggestion: Fill your screen with a vibrant view of what's going on in the diverse marks-on-paper scene; use this handy URL as a starting point and see how PrintAustin participants put the "ink" in "link."

Listen to Audio Plays From Hyde Park Theatre

Five Things to Do Online Locally Right Now

Six different audio plays produced by Austin's own Hyde Park Theatre will send your mind a-soaring via sound and story. The newest addition to the roster of sonic shows is HPT jefe grande Ken Webster's own Port Arthur – an homage to that coastal Texas city, featuring that very Webster and Hyde Park MVP Robert Fisher; the duo also stars in Mickle Maher's weird and delightful The Hunchback Variations. Deeper among this trove of compelling ear fodder is a quartet of new works from the current HPT Writers Group, boasting eclectic narratives scripted by Raul Garza, J. Isabel Salazar, Katie Bender, and Patrick Shaw. It's a theatre of the mind, citizen, and these creatives will set the stage right in your head.

Catch Up With Local Comedians

Don't just chat with them in Messenger or whatever. We mean, listen to what Central Texas comics – and funny beyonders who pass through this burgeoning burg – have to say as they're spotlighted by the relentless scenesters at Comedy Wham. That's a website dedicated to covering live Austin comedy in all facets, offering profiles of and podcast interviews with local and touring comics, presenting their signature showcase of talent, and keeping Austin and Houston comedy calendars updated. Producer Valerie Lopez will have completed her 200th interview by the time you read this, and it'll join the 199 others archived and available for your intellectual delectation just a mouse click away. Get yourself a preview of the talents in this town, make a note about the ones that strike your funny bone in just the right way, and plan to see them, live, next time they're onstage in our increasingly commodified and comedified city.

Connect With Your Austin Chronicle

And here we don't mean "use us as you'd use Tinder or Grindr," no. We mean, dear reader, get to know us. Check out your Austin Chronicle online and treat yourself to, for instance, the hilarious (yet undeniably wise and reasonable) advice of the Luv Doc. Or rummage through the treasures of trippy trivia from Mr. Smarty Pants. Or join this fifth Thing to Do Online with one of the previous four. Think of your favorite improvisers, your favorite artists, your cherished theatremakers, the performers you stan in the local comedy scene; chances are, we've featured one or more of them in our pages, among our screens, in our four decades of reporting – so give 'em a search. We don't know what you don't know, but we gladly reveal everything we've ever learned about our swiftly tilting city.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 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.

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Five Things, Hyde Park Theatre, Hideout Theatre, Fallout Theater, Merlin Works, ColdTowne Theater, Comedy Wham, PrintAustin, Austin Improv, The Luv Doc, Mr. Smarty Pants

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