Art Openings, Ballet, and Books in Our Recommended Arts Events

Find some arts this week

Courtesy of Cloud Tree Gallery

Highway Lights

Thursday 9, CloudTree Gallery

Breathe in, breathe out, and become one with the universe. CloudTree Gallery and atmospheric Highway Lights combine art and music into a singular “meditative experience.” Bliss out to the ethereal tones of cellist Sara Nelson and synth/sound designer Justin Sherburn as they perform in a truly one-of-a-kind space. Their floating soundscapes offer a calming pause in these turbulent times.   – Cat McCarrey

Malum Malus Burlesque: Beltane

Thursday 9, the Vortex

As days get longer and the sun reigns, the Celtic/pagan Beltane – literally “the fires of Bel,” the Celtic god of light – ushers in summer. Today we mostly see Beltane in May pole dances. Burlesque troupe Malum Malus presents their third Beltane celebration in their own way, under the pole – in every sense. Their Beltane pageant features the best of local burlesque as witches trapped under the Maypole by tricksy fae. Watch them embrace the sun and shed convention along with their clothes.   – Cat McCarrey

Courtesy of 84 E. Gallery

84 E. Gallery & Goods Grand Opening

Thursday 9, 84 E. Gallery

Artistic types rejoice: From the progenitor of Ivester Contemporary, Kevin Ivester, comes a new local space to find “a carefully curated selection of works by both emerging and established artists.” This showroom will feature contemporary art and furniture as well as various and sundry goods for your perusal. My, my, you might say: What are these “goods” mentioned in the event copy exactly? How about beautiful stoneware by Jasmine Zelaya, glazed and decorated by bold cobalt carbonate? Or necklaces and bracelets by Ojo Lindo featuring such charms as resin teddy bears, neon doll shoes, and a tiny lit cigarette? Or Tanya Zal’s ceramic dishware series, Jawbreaker, marked by bright highlighter colors and bow-ties? Baby, I’ve only scratched the surface of this new space’s “goods.” RSVP required.   – James Scott

Courtesy of Bottle Alley Theatre Company


Friday 10 - Sunday 19, Paper Plate Gallery

From across the stars comes a tale of familial bonds, cosmic wonder, and donuts. Austin’s own DIY theatre Bottle Alley Theatre Company presents Aurora, written by Chris Fontanes, directed by Trace Turner, and featuring the acting talents of Rosemary McGraw, Cassandra DeFreitas, and Bonnie Lambert. This “transcendent theatrical experience” follows the titular Aurora as she celebrates her 30th birthday by attempting to trek back to her home planet – with inspiration taken from the real 1897 UFO crash in Aurora, Texas. Grab your ticket to this celestial journey, and consider adding on the $20 concessions package: a themed cocktail/mocktail, one Lunchable (pizza or ham & cheddar), and one jelly donut cupcake (GF options available).   – James Scott

"Comrade Swift (Post-postmodern Icon [The Ammo or The Medicine])" by Ryan Sandison Montgomery, 2024 (Courtesy of Recspec Gallery)

“New Worlds” Opening

Friday 10, Museum of Human Achievement

Recspec Gallery is dedicated to new voices, and the latest exhibit presents an array of vivid “New Worlds” from over 20 artists. Prepare for bold color and even bolder statements: Ryan Sandison Montgomery has a Taylor Swift-inspired work that’s guaranteed to cause a stir. Peruse the possibilities with drinks from Central Machine Works. Creativity and craft beer – what could be better?   – Cat McCarrey

Photo by Tony Spielberg

Ballet Austin’s The Sleeping Beauty

Friday 10 - Sunday 12, the Long Center

If you love twisted fairy tales half as much as Ballet Austin’s Artistic Director Stephen Mills does, then you’ve got to check out their version of fables, from the titular sleeping princess to Red Riding Hood and beyond. It’s Tchaikovsky’s lesser-known but not lesser-written ballet. Combine his score with the lush costumes, scenery, and virtuoustic choreography guaranteed by a Ballet Austin production – it’s sure to be a feast for the ears and eyes.   – Cat McCarrey

Woke Cowboy

Friday 10, Coldtowne Theater

Okay, I’m confused: Mr. Jerry Seinfeld said no one can tell jokes anymore because of the woke radical left, but I definitely spy several extremely funny people telling jokes on this comedy show’s lineup. Maybe he’s had too many cars in his coffee. Defy those who claim comedy is canceled by enjoying diverse, hilarious, and – YES, IT’S TRUE – woke standup by local talents like Ngozi Ukazu, Greg Phelps, Howard Hall, Jose Da’Hype, Sarah Spear, Chris Bryant, and Evan Rabalais.   – James Scott

Courtesy of Red NightFall Dance Theatre


Through May 18, dadaLab

Listen, I’d love to be a saucy wench at a ren faire, but I’m too intimidated to trek to Sherwood Forest Faire. Luckily, I can get a taste of that fantasy at MoonFall. It’s an interactive collaboration between Red Nightfall Dance Theatre, Density512’s chamber orchestra, and artist Yuliya Lanina – and don’t worry, you can opt out of any audience participation. Pre-show activities let you set the magic in action through spells and apprenticeships that alter the course of the dance. LARP your heart out while enjoying an artistic environment like no other.   – Cat McCarrey

Greater Austin Book Festival

Saturday 11, Austin Central Library

Discover local authors at this inaugural book festival. Central Library hosts authors from all over the greater Austin area – including Travis, Hays, and Williamson counties – to engage with their community. Meet over 80 participating authors, shop local booksellers, get books signed, and enjoy programs and panels. The festival accommodates all ages and interests: Panels include discussion of horror novels, the creative process, young adult world building, historical nonfiction, and storytime read-alouds for young children.   – Madeline Duncan

Hyperreal Hotel’s MerMay: Scales

Monday 13, Hotel Vegas

In bittersweet news, May is the second-to-last month of Hyperreal Film Club’s long-running film series at Hotel Vegas, wherein crackerjack film programmers have brought weird and wild cinematic treasures as well as local short films to the Eastside music venue for the last two and a half years. It’s bittersweet because it’s a metamorphosis, making May’s “mermaid” theme all the more apropos. This week’s feature is Scales (2019, Saudi Arabia), a folkloric feminist parable told in a dystopian black-and-white setting. (Check out “The Off Beat” to find out what’s next for Hyperreal.)   – Kat McNevins

The Swans of Harlem Reading

Monday 13, BookPeople

The story of Black women in ballet does not begin and end with the marvelous Misty Copeland; indeed, the groundbreaking prima ballerina references that incomplete history in her blurb for Karen Valby’s new nonfiction book (“This is the kind of history I wish I learned as a child dreaming of the stage”). The Swans of Harlem profiles five trailblazing ballerinas – Lydia Abarca, Gayle McKinney-Griffith, Sheila Rohan, Karlya Shelton, and Marcia Sells – who made history at the Dance Theatre of Harlem but faded from renown after retirement. Valby’s book is a giant step in recognition of these artists, who are all still alive to tell their stories and, happily, inspire new generations of Misty Copelands to come.   – Kimberley Jones

Ivy Le (Photo by Riley Blanks Reed)

Waiting to Exhale: a Post-Mother’s Day Variety Show

Tuesday 14, the Green Room

If you don’t laugh, you cry, and no one knows that better than a mom. The Green Room – you know the place – is helping out those noble women by presenting a post-Mother’s Day, all-female showcase featuring Ivy Le, LaLaDanielle, DVND, Margeaux, and 2023 Best of Austin winner Rochelle McConico. It’s a mini-extravaganza, with poetry and music and comedy for every burnt-out lady in your life. Light it up and relax on a weekday. Come on, mamas. You’ve earned it.   – Cat McCarrey

Lovers and Liars Reading

Tuesday 14, BookPeople

Amanda Eyre Ward is aces with dysfunctional families. With her latest novel, Lovers and Liars (out May 14), the Austin author returns to some of the same winning elements of her 2020 bestseller The Jetsetters, a Reese’s Book Club pick – think: estranged siblings, epic baggage, swooning locales. Here, it’s the Peacock sisters descending on a Northern England castle for youngest Sylvie’s impulsive wedding. Everybody loses their mind a little, in ways that are comic but recognizable, in a large-hearted story about finding the people who really get you and holding on for dear life.   – Kimberley Jones

Clown Garden: An Avante-Garde Comedy Experience

Wednesday 15, Fallout Theater

Sun’s out, so it’s time to cultivate your local garden of red noses, big shoes, and squirting flowers – you know, a clown garden. But this is no task for beginners: Better go to an expert in growing real freakass he-haws such as – oh, I don’t know – Marceline Amaris, who happens to host a comedy show called – oh wow! – Clown Garden. This here’s a “comedy experience you have never seen before” that is at once “[eccentric], daring, and off beat” and plans on “redefining what is possible on the Fallout stage!” My god, man: The aftereffects of seeing this show are sure to increase your crops tenfold. Or something like that. Metaphors are hard.   – James Scott

Going Varsity in Mariachi

Cine Las Americas Film Festival

Wednesday 15 - Sunday 19, AFS Cinema & Austin PBS – Austin Media Center

The showcase for filmmaking from around the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking world may host year-round screenings, but its heart is still the annual festival. Its 26th year brings dramas from Peru and comedies from Mexico, as well as a reminder that the Hispanic world includes the United States. The Strike looks at the prisoner protests in California’s notorious Pelican Bay State Prison, while opening night film (and South by Southwest 2023 selection) Going Varsity in Mariachi takes a musical trip to South Texas. Plus: Don’t miss a rare big-screen showing of La Frontera, Austin filmmaker Iliana Sosa’s episode for the HBO anthology documentary series God Save Texas.   – Richard Whittaker

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