Sketchfest, Shakespeare, and More Arts Events to Fill Your Week

Things are gonna get cheeky, queer, and local

Street Scene by Jacob Guzman, 2024 (Courtesy of Ivester Contemporary)

“Jacob Guzman: The World We Live In”

Through May 25, Ivester Contemporary

Jacob Guzman’s art takes up SPACE. It’s got the scale and scope that needs to be seen in person, so rush to take in the last week of his work filling the walls of Ivester Contemporary. Guzman depicts BIPOC characters in a world full of the mundane, the joyful, the soul-crushing. So, you know, our world. Building on traditions from contemporary artists to Harlem Renaissance masters, Guzman’s blocky giants play with the absurd and beautiful parts of life.   – Cat McCarrey

Queertowne: Live

Thursday 16, Cheer Up Charlies

Variety’s the spice of life, and queer people are spicy as hell – so this variety show from Austin podcast Queertowne promises flavors beyond your wildest imagination. Sprinkled with stand-up comedy from local comics Angelina Martin and Roxy Castillo, fans of the podcast as well as newcomers will enjoy segments like “Queertowne Quiz Time” and tunes from DJ Violeta. Standard fare from featured QT players Mase Kerwick, Javier Ungo, Charlie Blaine, and Kristen Washington stays tasty as always, so bring an appetite for entertainment.   – James Scott


Thursday 16 through June 1, Ground Floor Theatre

I'm a bona fide sandwich lover and a staunch believer in prison reform, so Clyde’s sounds just delectable. Ground Floor presents the story of a truck stop shop that employs former prisoners in the kitchen. The owner might not believe in them, but will they find a way to believe in themselves? First, anything set around food is guaranteed to be aces in my book. But finding a way to integrate human kindness with edible delicacies? Irresistible. Check it out, and discover just how delicious hope can be.   – Cat McCarrey

Courtesy of Austin Shakespeare

Austin Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet

Through June 9, Curtain Theatre

Theatre by any other name would be as sweet, but ... there’s just something about the name “Shakespeare” that screams all the world’s a stage and we’re just living in it. And nothing screams Shakespeare more than Romeo and Juliet. Submerge yourself in a true Shakespearean experience with his famous star-crossed lovers. Tickets are free, but make sure to snap up a reservation before you head out. Feel the romance, the tension, the sorrow in person. Besides, the Curtain Theatre’s outdoor setting is the perfect place to bask in the Bard. Shakespeare and starlight? A winning combo.   – Cat McCarrey

Cheekiest Comic Competition

Thursday 16, Swan Dive

Oh he-he, haw-haw: We’re all in a laughing mood these days, aren’t we, folks? Where better to let out the big guffaws than this exclusively queer comic competition produced by the folks behind Austin’s only queer comedy open mic, Tongue in Cheek. This Thursday, witness 10 finalists – Kat Ellison Williams, Moe Christine, Freya Fredrichs, Ellie DeCaprio, Mattie Yapp, May Buzzetti, Andrew Horneman, Lina Green, and Jose Da’Hype – go head-to-head for the title of Cheekiest Comic. Winner gets not only a cash prize but also a featured booking at New Orleans’ LGBTLOL Queer Comedy Fest. Comedian Ivy Le hosts and local comics/bookers Aira Juliet, Holly Hart, and Ryan Rogers post up at the judges’ table.   – James Scott

Unbuild Walls: Why Immigrant Justice Needs Abolition

Thursday 16, Alienated Majesty Books

Hot-button words in Texas: “build,” “border,” “wall.” But don’t bother trying to discuss them with your neighbors or aunts on Facebook – learn from Silky Shah, an actual expert. Texan Shah has been working in immigration reform (along with racial and prison reform) for over 20 years. She’s distilled that knowledge into her new book, where her lived experience and decades of research argues toward humanizing immigration policies. It’s not just about unbuilding the physical border walls. It’s about unbuilding every wall upstanding unjust detention for vulnerable populations. Listen to her compelling work in person through conversations with local activist Bob Libal.   – Cat McCarrey

Monica Martinez-Diaz: “A Trajectory of Grief” Opening

Saturday 18, Women & Their Work

Anyone who’s lost a loved one can testify to the unfamiliar pain of fresh grief. It really is an emotional roller coaster, full of shocking joy and debilitating sorrow, always appearing at unexpected moments. After losing her grandfather, artist Monica Martinez-Diaz channeled her pain into art. Her latest exhibit covers her journey using photography, books, and video work. It tackles the opposing forces of grief through bold colors and small details. Its loving appreciation of the people who travel through our lives is guaranteed to resonate.   – Cat McCarrey

Local Arts Sale

Saturday 18 & Sunday 19, various locations

One of the best ways to spend a weekend is wandering through art galleries. Add in a cold beverage and a friend to help ponder artistic meaning, and it’s just like heaven. Bolm Arts, Almost Real Things, Good Dad Studios, Tin Whistle Art Gallery, ArtUsCo, and Something Cool Studios are opening their doors to just that sort of visceral, visual pleasure. With an open studio day, this event offers a chance to bask in local style and purchase original fine arts pieces for $500 or less. It’s Austin’s even more affordable art extravaganza.   – Cat McCarrey

Courtesy of Asian American Resource Center

“Vessels – Handle With Care” by Diane Chiyon Hong

Through July 5, Asian American Resource Center

Vessel: a container that holds things. Vessel: a person infused with a quality. What quality? Any. Feel free to interpret it yourself when basking in Diane Chiyon Hong’s exhibit “Vessels – Handle with Care.” Her architectural sketches, part function, part form, part object, part person, part humor, but all thought-provoking, currently grace the halls of the Asian American Resource Center. It’s Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Month, so why not pay the AARC a visit. I mean, if not now, when?   – Cat McCarrey

Seafood & Crawfish Festival

Sunday 19, Barton Creek Square

Now, if you asked the late, great Buckwheat Zydeco, the path to crustacean feasting requires at least three steps: "You’ll get a line and I’ll get a pole/ As we go down to the crawfish hole." Lucky for you, ATX Food Truck Festival has you skipping steps 1-3 and arriving directly at "insert crawfish in pie hole." Organizers have so far kept mum about vendors at Sunday's Seafood & Crawfish Festival, but if you're cray-cray for crawdads, the $50 VIP pass is an option: It gets you in an hour before opening and guarantees you a pound of crawfish and a 10% discount at participating food trucks and bar bevs.   – Kimberley Jones

DOGSBODY IS DEAD by Rebecca Marino (Courtesy of ICOSA Collective)

Window Dressing XXXV: Rebecca Marino

Through Monday 20; opening reception on Sunday 19, ICOSA Collective

Between gallery installations, ICOSA Collective utilizes their window space facing the Canopy thoroughfare to showcase short-running art shows. These artists often experiment with the limits of their window framings while their work remains displayed 24/7. ICOSA Collective is proud to present this week the latest multimedia work from visual artist/curator Rebecca Marino, “DOGSBODY IS DEAD.” The Austinite takes inspiration from author Katherine Dunn’s semi-autobiographical work Attic, which delves into life as a young woman incarcerated in the 1960s Midwest. The displayed art, ICOSA Collective promises, will unpack “the emotional/ behavioral standards placed upon women and the often tragic results that ensue.”   – James Scott

Miranda July (Photo by Steve Rhodes)

BookPeople Presents: An Evening With Miranda July

Monday 20, First Baptist Church of Austin

At once a performance artist, director, screenwriter, actor, and author, Miranda July brings her distinctive voice to every project she does. Her second novel All Fours follows a semi-famous artist who leaves her husband and child to drive cross-country, containing what publisher Riverhead Books calls “perfect comic timing, unabashed curiosity about human intimacy, and palpable delight in pushing boundaries.” Hear Austinite Dalia Azim interview her, a decorated author in her own right and the COO of the Texas Book Festival. Azim’s 2022 debut novel, Country of Origin, follows a family’s multigenerational saga amid the political revolution of 1950s Egypt. After the interview, July will be signing books if you have purchased a Signing Line Access ticket (which includes a copy of the book). Seating is first-come, first-served, so get there early!   – Lina Fisher

Veiled Aristocrats (Courtesy of AFS Cinema)

Veiled Aristocrats and Ten Minutes to Live

Tuesday 21, AFS Cinema

A double feature by Oscar Micheaux – widely considered the first major Black American filmmaker, and the first to produce a “talkie” – lands at AFS this week, and it’s a special one. 1932’s Veiled Aristocrats follows a light-skinned Black man who has become a successful lawyer by passing for white (played by Lorenzo Tucker, who was known as the “Black Rudolph Valentino”) returning to his hometown for a family reunion. The film is a second adaptation of Charles W. Chesnutt’s novel The House Behind The Cedars, after its first silent iteration was lost when Micheaux was forced to make cuts by the scandalized Virginia Censorship Board. Another Micheaux film, Ten Minutes to Live, screens alongside Veiled Aristocrats. Made the same year, it follows a nightclub singer who is offered a role in a producer’s film in exchange for sex. Meanwhile, a patron at her club receives a threatening note telling her she will be killed in 10 minutes.   – Lina Fisher

Taste of Mexico

Wednesday 22, Republic Square Park

Rescheduled due to lousy weather, the delay only reinforces this year’s theme – Antojitos / “Little Cravings” – at Taste of Mexico, an annual foodie fundraiser. Mouths are going to water at the tasty comestibles dished out from 50 Austin restaurants and food trucks, including Licha’s Cantina, Comedor, and Jaime’s Spanish Village, and it’s all going to support Mexic-Arte Museum’s educational programming. Also on the menu: a Ballet Folklórico performance, beats by DJ uLUVi, screenprinting, loteria, mariachis, and more.   – Kimberley Jones

Weird Wednesday: Mystery Manga No. 3

Wednesday 22, Alamo South Lamar

No. 3 of Weird Wednesday’s secret-’til-day-of anime movie series, this mysterious manga adaptation promises a science-fiction romp that redefines commitment to the bit. According to the Alamo Drafthouse’s event copy, “The one-line plot summary could have been executed at Saturday Night Live sketch length, but the humor here is stretched across an ever-widening palette, the ridiculous absurdity accumulating over its feature length (and into a sequel!).” Hmm: Now there’s a pretty enticing summary! Grab your ticket soon; this here’s gonna be a real treat.   – James Scott

Artist Talk With Bernie Diaz & Katie Conley

Wednesday 22, Dougherty Arts Center

What’s cool about collage is how an artist can repurpose things and give them new life and meaning simply by placing them next to other things. So many small choices make up the whole: type of material, size, shape, color; what to include and what to leave out. At this talk, learn more about the process, inspiration, and techniques of two local creatives whose work requires this type of consideration: queer Mexican American artist and ACC assistant prof Bernie Diaz, and Katie Conley, whose postage stamp collage exhibit, “Parts to Whole,” is on view now at DAC.   – Kat McNevins

Hot Luck Fest

Thursday 23 - Sunday 26, Mohawk & the Coral Snake

Aaron Franklin’s annual food and music festival brings the heat (sorry) this year – sonically, that is. Among the locals slated to wind down days of eats at Mohawk and the Coral Snake: punks Subpar Snatch and dreamy singer-songwriter Tearjerk, playing Thursday; post-hardcore quartet Porcelain, one-man pop band Mobley, and Jackie Venson’s electronic side project Jackie the Robot, playing Friday; and garage/glam rockers the Ugly Beats and A Giant Dog, wrapping up Saturday/Sunday. Another surprising, non-Austin get: Saturday act the Mummies, the Eighties/Nineties lo-fi masterminds who unceremoniously started gigging again in the 2000s.   – Carys Anderson

ATX Sketch Fest

Thursday 23 – Sunday 27, ColdTowne Theater

An ATX Sketch Fest pass may be the best bargain for a guaranteed good time over Memorial Day weekend. Celebrating its 15th year, ATX Sketch Fest provides audiences with five days of scripted comedy acts from Austin, Portland, L.A., NYC, D.C., and Toronto. Headliners include Chris Grace of Superstore, PEN15, and Broad City, and Joan & Raft, who’ve written for Netflix, HBO Max, and Comedy Central. In addition to performing, Grace, Joan & Raft, and Woody Fu will lead workshops on musical improv, writing, and character development. Local favorites performing include Clara Blackstone, Juicebox, Big Fart, and The Floor Is Lava. Single-show tickets are available, but for this much talent, why not spring for the $69 (heh heh) pass? Check – or sketch – it out at   – Valerie Lopez

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