Cassette Roulette, Some Bitchcraft, and More Arts Events

Get arty this week with our recommended happenings


Courtesy of BLiPSWiTCH

“Unstill Life”

Through FebRuary 24, Wolf House

One of the most innovative dance companies ever to move through Austin’s performative spaces, BLiPSWiTCH joyously invades Austin’s historic Wolf House for the premiere of “Unstill Life,” wherein 14 dancers take over six rooms in that house, with each room embodying a specific point in time – “often through satire, occasionally with gravity, sometimes interrogating, but always exploring and never taking ourselves too seriously.” Experience an immersive, unforgettable night of movement evoking the past as this fierce troupe brings the choreographies of Taryn Lavery and Alex Miller to full kinetic power.  – Wayne Alan Brenner


“Icarus in Heels and Fur” Launch Party

Thursday 22, Future Front House

Another way to celebrate Black History Month: Make it to the launch party for Scott Henson’s “Icarus in Heels and Fur,” a murder mystery he describes as a “stand-alone East Austin micro-history zine.” Known as a writer and researcher on criminal justice, Henson is also the former head of the Innocence Project of Texas, and the author of the Grits for Breakfast blog. Here he tells the story of the “petite but ruthless” Vera Barton, the richest Black woman in post-World War II Austin and proprietress of a nightclub empire centered around what was, for generations, the heart of the Black East Side’s party district – 12th and Chicon. Henson writes that the story climaxes “in a sordid unsolved murder, leaving Vera’s young lover on trial for his life!”  – Brant Bingamon



Courtesy of ZACH Theatre

A Year With Frog and Toad

Through May 12, the Zach Theatre

For generations of children, Arnold Lobel’s stories of amphibian best buds Frog and Toad have been a charming guide to the complexities and joys of friendship. Now the pair take to the stage for this delightful Tony-nominated musical. It’s truly a family affair, adapted by Lobel’s son-in-law Mark Linn-Baker with music by Robert Reale and book & lyrics by his brother, Willie. This new production, directed by Best of Austin winner Sara Burke, features Jillian Sainz and Victoria Brown donning the signature jackets and trousers of Frog and Toad, respectively.   – Richard Whittaker


Your Favorite Cuzins Comedy Show

Friday 23, Coldtowne Theater

Host Jose Da’Hype has been coordinating comedy shows for a while now, so attendees of this Black History Month show can be assured of many, MANY laughs. But if you checked out the lineup, you’d already know that: Genivive Clinton, Adrienne Brown, Zsaknor Powe, Mike T., Charlie Mac, Daniel West, Joy Melan, Charles Adams Jr., Bernard White, Will Williams, and Aaron Cheatham, all punching pure comedy K.O.s from dusk ’til dawn. Nab your ticket early for a cheaper price, or wait to snag one at the door for a cool $15. Whatever you do, don’t miss this concentration of Black Austin’s immense comic talent.   – James Scott


One From the Heart: Reprise

Friday 23 - Thursday 29, Alamo South Lamar

There aren’t many films that killed a studio and a major musical pairing, but that’s the double infamy of Francis Ford Coppola’s troubled but entrancing 1982 musical. Not only did the runaway budget help take down his American Zoetrope shingle, but it also saw the dissolution of the creative relationship between soundtrack composer Tom Waits and his longtime producer Bones Howe. But oh, the cost was worth it for this wild fantasy telling of the tortured romance between too-contented Hank (Frederic Forrest) and yearning Frannie (Teri Garr) in a magical re-creation of Las Vegas. After a sumptuous restoration of his equally overlooked The Cotton Club, now Coppola has gone back to the original negatives for this 4K restoration and re-edit.   – Richard Whittaker



Courtesy of MoMA Film Stills Archive

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari with Live Score

Friday 23, We Luv Video

Multi-instrumentalist David DiDonato may be most famous for holding the world record for the longest guitar solo (24 hours and 55 minutes), but the Funeralizer axeman is becoming best known locally for his original soundtracks to classic silent movies such as groundbreaking vampiric horror Nosferatu and pioneering hybrid docudrama Häxan. Now he’ll be filling the screening room at North Loop’s physical media heaven We Luv Video for Robert Wiene’s 1920 German expressionist masterpiece of murder and mesmerism.   – Richard Whittaker


Byte Night

Saturday 24, ColdTowne Theater

You know the legendary O. Henry Pun-Off, where lexophilic individuals compete with well-wrought wordplay for braggin’ rights in the realm of linguistic legerdemain? Imagine that sort of action in a comedy-club setting, except it’s not human against human – it’s human versus AI! Watch as local warmblooded wordsmiths wreak whatever havoc they can against the cold and cunning skills of ChatGPT, with prepared pieces and impromptu punmongering, in a series of prize-strewn games featuring humans Alison P. Tugwell, Blake Blauserman, Dav Wallace, Lisa Sperry, and Steve Lovelace. Bonus: live music from Henry Invisible.   – Wayne Alan Brenner



Amber Martin and John Cameron Mitchell at Cassette Roulette (Photo by BettyCanSnap)

Cassette Roulette

Saturday 24, the Long Center

Beloved of Aughts theatre kids both queer and ally-identifying, El Paso-born John Cameron Mitchell takes to the Long Center stage with longtime collaborator, musician, and cabaret artist Amber Martin. Their game? Cassette roulette, where the songs, stories, and characters performed will be chosen by “the hand of fate” as well as you, the lucky audience member. Enjoy a tuneful evening featuring Mitchell and Martin’s musical mayhem, backed by Hedwig and the Angry Inch’s Broadway Music Director Justin Craig and his band.   – James Scott



Bitchcraft: Thembolution

Sunday 25, Butterfly Bar

“The future is expansive! It’s black and it’s queer!” so says Gothess Jasmine, returning in full splendor as host of this vibrant night of live performances – Provoked Emotions! KB Brookins! An open-stage variety show of music, spoken word, and all manner of unfettered expression! – that will transform the Vortex’s popular Butterfly Bar into both a local craft vendors’ market and a revolutionary spectacle of power and passion in honor of Black History Month.   – Wayne Alan Brenner


Shake It Up

Sunday 25, Captain Quackenbush’s Coffeehouse

The mission statement of Off-The-Grid Missions, fundraising recipients for Deaf Austin Theatre’s upcoming variety show, is to fill a noticeable gap in disaster response, therefore “providing Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing people with critical life-saving resources.” That goal mirrors DAT’s originating idea: to provide an inclusive theatre space for Deaf artists free from the audism experienced by founder Russell Harvard on mainstream stages. Talented Deaf artists such as Harvard and New Amsterdam’s Sandra Mae Frank, among many others, will perform songs, poetry, and more at this fundraiser, all of which serve to highlight the importance of OTG’s work.   – James Scott


Family Day with Totally Cool, Totally Art

Sunday 25, Mexic-Arte Museum

Since 1996, art educators with Totally Cool Totally Art have provided free classes that offer teenagers multimedia art know-how from professional artists. From sculpture to digital media, painting to papier-mâché, TCTA has a class on offer for whatever the adolescent artist desires. Case in point: This Sunday’s session with New York-raised painter Jonas Petkus and mixed media artist Rachel Ditzig, where teens and family can make paper puppets and crowns. Admission’s no charge thanks to the H-E-B-funded Domingos Gratis en Familia grant.   – James Scott


The City We Built Pre-Launch Party

Sunday 25, AFS Cinema

There’s an African American history in Austin that many people don’t know exists, and here’s a chance for the younger generation to learn about it. On Sunday, the Austin Film Society hosts a pre-launch celebration of the upcoming children’s book The City We Built: Black Leaders of Austin by Terry P. Mitchell and Carre Adams. The City We Built features full-page biographies of African Americans who led the East Side’s Black community for decades, including Ada Anderson, Charles Akins, Berl Handcox, Johnny Holmes, Azie Taylor Morton, Velma Roberts, Dorothy Turner, Willie Wells, and more.   – Brant Bingamon


“Two Births and the Afterlife”

Tuesday 27, Carver Museum

You think it’s easy, being somebody’s mother? You think giving birth to another human being doesn’t put your own humanity and purpose under some fierce self-scrutiny? Milwaukee-based artist Aimée M. Everett, in her solo show at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center, uses abstraction, minimalist line-making, saturated colors, and melodic compositions to explore “the profound transformations experienced during childbirth and the subsequent journey of self-discovery into motherhood.” Word – or, more appropriately, image – to your mother.   – Wayne Alan Brenner



Author Jasmine Skye (Courtesy of BookPeople)

Daughter of the Bone Forest Booksigning

Wednesday 28, BookPeople

Author C.L. Clark in her Goodreads review of Jasmine Skye’s new YA romantacy novel said, quote, “Ahhh! Okay! What! Ahhhh! Wait!” How else should one react to a spellbinding sapphic story featuring bone familiars – you know, folks who shift into animals marked by exposed bone? – a witch school called Witch Hall, and feral grandmas? Attend queer-romantic and bigender author Skye’s signing at local lit slingers BookPeople, and I predict you, too, will be going “Ahhh! Okay! What! Ahhhh! Wait!” or something to that effect.  – James Scott

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