Five Austin Arts Events That Celebrate Nature

Because you know we’re all just a bunch of animals

Alejandra Regalado's Sui #5, part of Big Medium's 'Yo Trabajo con la Tierra' exhibition

Never mind the differences between a beaver's dam and a human's residential subdivision, yes, but also disregard the similarities. Force a dichotomy: There are humans and their manufactured surroundings, and then there's all the rest of this big blue marvelous rock that we've been spinning on for millennia now. The environment. The wilderness. All the terrestrial flora and fauna that don't walk upright on two legs and buy nacho cheese Hot Pockets from the nearest gas station. That's what these five events are in support of – although quite a bit of humanity's in here, too.

Big Medium: “Yo Trabajo con la Tierra / I Work With the Earth”

This multimedia, multivalent, multifantastic exhibition features five women artists – Melissa Aguirre, Alexa Capareda, Paloma Mayorga, Virginia Lee Montgomery (VLM), and Alejandra Regalado – who explore movement and place in relation to landscape, geological bodies, and other nonhuman intelligences. Using their own bodies as medium, the artists share ecofeminist sensibilities through video, installation, sculpture, photography, and performance works.

Through Sept. 24. 916 Springdale Bldg. 2 #101, 512/939-6665.

En Route Productions: Gentle Our Driftless Caravan

An original sensory experience of movement, dance, and sound in an environment built in nature at the lovely Rain Lily Farm. Choreographed by BLiPSWiTCH and Alexa Capareda, this reverie contemplates bereavement, lassitude, and water – a poignant end to a summer of relentless heat and years of loss. Set designer Ia Ensterä and technical director Cheraya Esters transform the farm's grounds into a space for exploring these forces of nature, underscored with a soundscape by Henna Chou and Adam Hilton, and the whole spectacle is illuminated by Natalie George Productions.

Wed.-Sat., Aug. 31-Sept. 10, 8:30pm. Rain Lily Farm, 914 Shady, 512/636-4430. $25.

Davis Gallery: “Trailheads and Transmutations”

Natural beauty captured with consummate skill and passion by two longtime locals. Artist couple Felice House and Dana Younger present new works of painting and sculpture that study, observe, process, and transmute the wild spaces and creatures of Texas, their creations deeply resonant with those of painter Thomas Cole, father of the Hudson River School. Don't miss our interview with the artists, "'Trailheads and Transmutations' at Davis Gallery Honors the Reparative Quality of Nature" (Daily Arts, Aug. 5), here.

Through Sept. 3. 837 W. 12th, 512/477-4929.

The Vortex: Naked at My Age

Nature does include human nature – and little is more redolent of that nature than sexuality. Also, they don't call nudity "going au naturel" for nothing, n'est-ce pas? And here Charla Hathaway – Austin's own "Erotic Muse, Whore, and PhD sex educator" – takes it off for you in her one-woman show about sex work. Imagine "a grandma's surprising Sexual Renaissance, fraught with difficult and isolating choices, [that] leads to risk, lust and healing in the Oldest Profession." Hathaway, at 70, continues to expand the definition of sex, seducing you with stories from her 20-year pioneering career.

Fri.-Sat., Aug. 26-27, 8pm. 2307 Manor Rd., 512/478-5282. $15-37.

ATX SciRead Book Club: Entangled Life

BookPeople nonfiction guru Griffin and the Austin Texas Science Writers host a monthly book club (via Zoom) devoted to the best of science and nature writing. September's discussion focuses on Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake, a mycelial masterpiece about "how fungi make our worlds, change our minds, and shape our futures." Because no matter how well we're currently doing, there's always mushroom for improvement.

Sun., Sept. 4, 4pm. Virtual. Free.

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Five Things, Charla Hathaway, Felice House, Dana Younger, Trailheads and Transmutations, Gentle Our Driftless Caravan, Naked at My Age, Entangled Life, Yo Trabajo con la Tierra / I Work With the Earth, BLiPSWiTCH, Merlin Sheldrake, En Route Productions, BookPeople, Big Medium, The Vortex, Davis Gallery, Rain Lily Farm, ATX SciRead Book Club, Austin Texas Science Writers, Griffin

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