The Austin Chronicle

Qmmunity: OUTsider Arts Fest Gets Weird N’ Queer This Weekend

Plus, Trans Crowdfund Live fundraises for gender-affirming care for LGBTQIA Austinites of color

By Beth Sullivan, March 5, 2021, Columns

It's about to get real weird 'n' queer up in here, thanks to this weekend's OUTsider Festival (Fri.-Sun., March 5-7). Austin's homegrown queer transmedia fest returns for year seven with the thoroughly apropos theme, "Future in FluX," in reaction to these strange – and we mean really strange – times when, as fest founder Curran Nault tells me, past, present, and future have become a blur. ("Who even knows what day it is anymore?" Ditto). Right now, "past forms are resurfacing in new ways – like the drive-in as an old/new form of socially distanced moviegoing – and, when the future – of teleworking, etc., – is zooming at us faster than [we] could have ever anticipated: a future 'influx,'" he explains of this year's inspiration. To transport festgoers into this dimension that knows not the limits of time, space, nor heteronormativity, organizers have broken each day into separate themes – past, present, and future – with each featuring an artist lineup promising to probe 'n' poke any and all boundaries in true OUTsider fashion. Performances will be streamed online, plus to a limited number of socially distanced seats available to watch the stream outside the Vortex. And what about this year's Legacy Award, you ask? This time around, unlike in previous years, past Legacy awardees – artists Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens; punk-cum-folkster Phranc; and Dorian Wood, who honored the late queer ranchera crooner Chavela Vargas last year – will choose artists to whom they would hypothetically confer an award, shares Nault. "That is, as a kind of past-present-future 'pay it forward' moment," he explains. Who they've picked is a surprise and will be revealed by the artists themselves on the fest's opening night. So, if it strikes your fancy, pick up a badge and let OUTsider Fest transport you outta this world this weekend.

2 to Do

OUTsider Fest Three days of totally queer and totally out-there art. Performances by playwright and poet Jesús I. Valles, artists Xandra Ibarra (aka La Chica Boom) and Elliot Reed, and more. Fri.-Sun., March 5-7. Online; the Vortex, 2307 Manor Rd. Badges priced pay-what-you-can.

Trans Crowdfund Live! Embrace Austin, Thee Gay Agenda, and Black Trans Leadership of Austin fundraise for gender affirming care for Austin's queer and trans BIPOC community. Ms. GIRL6 and Ms. AmazingHead are your hostesses with the mostesses, with performances by Texas artists including Vonne, Soups, and more. Fri., March 5, 7-8:30pm. Online. $5-35.

Q'd Up

Drive 'N Drag Saves 2021 Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's RuPaul's Drag Race's Bianca Del Rio, and she's come to rescue us from one helluva year with a RuPaul-studded night. Shows are sold out, but a recording will be available for purchase online beginning April 12. Fri.-Sun., March 5-7, 7 & 9:30pm. H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, 2100 Avenue of the Stars, Cedar Park. Sold out.

Interfaces Interfaces amplifies marginalized artists this evening, featuring a performance from Saliyah and Ivy Roots, plus an open mic (see online for sign-up instructions). Fri., March 5, 7-8:30pm. Online. Free.

Frida Friday ATX (Note: Rescheduled from Feb. 13.) Mask up for this outdoor market, an "open-air" photo booth, and more gal (pal) fun. Sat., March 6, 11am-3pm. Veracruz All Natural, 2505 Webberville Rd. Free.

Bizarre Stripper Burlesque Celebrate Black History Month with Austin's only all-trans, BIPOC burlesque troupe's tribute to Motown. BSB co-founder and co-producer Sylvia Hatchett Purchase is your host, with performances by Ruby Knight, Jinxy Deviate, Kara Foxx, Chanel Andrews, and special guests. Sat., March 6, 8pm. Online. $11.99 Velvet Revue subscription.

Intro to Intro to Sketch Class QueerTowne special guest Irielle Wesley teaches you how to bring the laughs while you learn the basics of writing a comedy sketch. Wednesdays, 6-7:30pm. Online. Tips suggested.

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