10 Recommended Arts Events This Fall
So much creative energy flowing to quench your cultural thirst
7:00AM, Fri. Aug. 31, 2018
Say, uh, is there anything … worthwhile going on in Austin’s fine arts sector this fall?
Citizen, we can’t even. Comedy! Theatre! Dance! Visual arts! Literary events! So many things happening in this town that it just about galvanizes a person’s ever-encroaching FOMO.
But, fear not – your Austin Chronicle always has a continually updated list of events to help you decide how to spend your valuable weekends (and even weeknights), entertainmentwise. And, right here, right now: A list of just 10 terrific things to experience in the next three months.
1. Out Of Bounds Comedy Festival Look, it's not all about the improv, OK? That is to say, yes, it's hella about improv, the whole looooong weekend is lousy with improv – with amazing troupes from all over the country attending and performing – but there's also a sweet array of sketch comedy and stand-up comedy and just the naturally occurring comedy that ensues as hundreds and hundreds of professionals and fans converge on the ATX for the seven days of this annual festival of staged shenanigans. Shows? Well, yes! But workshops and classes, too – and more afterparties than you can shake a Big Book at. Note: The epicenter of this event is the Hideout, but it's also happening in venues all over the city. And you can buy tickets to individual shows, sure, but all the smart people are getting badges. Aug. 28-Sept. 3. $10-99.
2. Atlantis: A Puppet Opera Ethos and the Vortex present this revival of their theatrical spectacle that reveals a mythic world of warring religious zealots obsessed with world domination and nonrenewable energy. With an original score by Chad Salvata, puppets designed by Ann Marie Gordon and Melissa Vogt, a talented cast working the puppets and giving full voice to Anderson Dear's vocal arrangements – and the whole thing is directed by Bonnie Cullum. Note: Puppets, yes, but this ain't a kiddie show. Bonus: ASL-interpreted performance on Sept. 8. Thu.-Sun., Sept. 1-29, 8pm. The Vortex, 2307 Manor Rd., 512/478-5282. $15-35.
3. Staple! The Independent Media Expo This 14th annual convention spans two fun-filled days with more than 200 vendors showcasing independently made comics, zines, art, crafts, and games. Visitors can meet the artists, sit in on tutorials and panels on the creating of webcomics, writing for videogames, and more. Your ever-enterprising Uncle Staple has wrangled an excellent lineup of celebrity guests this year – including Ngozi Ukazu, Colleen Coover, Jen Wang, Vanesa Del Rey, Paul Benjamin, and Lilah Sturges – and we suspect this might be the best Staple! of them all. Sept. 8-9. Sat., 11am-6pm; Sun., noon-6pm. Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex, 1156 Hargrave, 512/472-6932. $10-15 (free, ages 12 and younger).
4. Blue Lapis Light: Belonging These new (and, we daresay, breathtaking) performances from Austin's premiere aerial dance company will feature dancers on the storied Seaholm architecture, aerialists swinging from the stacks, ground-based performers, and digital media focused on the sustainability of our environment. Sept. 20-30. Thu.-Sun., 8pm. Seaholm Power Plant, 214 West Ave., 512/280-6688. $45-60.
5. Ballet Austin: The Firebird / Dvořák Serenade The Firebird is that much-celebrated Stravinsky-scored ballet, here choreographed by Stephen Mills, about an adventuresome prince who falls athwart trouble and seeks the help of a mystical female creature willing to make the ultimate sacrifice so he can find true love. Dvořák Serenade is a contemporary wonder by New York choreographer Lar Lubovich. Both are accompanied live by the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Sept. 21-23. Fri.-Sat., 8pm; Sun., 3pm. Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside, 512/476-9151. $15-89.
6. Cloud Tree Gallery: Ground Light Sound You want to scare yourself with how good some of the artists in this city are? You want to experience a show of diverse work and feel lucky to share a bit of geography with people who can render such depth and arresting beauty into the material and acoustic world? Then you'll want to witness this new exhibition, in which Cloud Tree's Brian David Johnson has collaborated with six different artists – ceramicists Ryan McKerley and Alejandra Almuelle, lighting designers Mark Figueredo and Adele Hauser, and musicians Chris Cogburn and Lisa Cameron – to produce a tripartite display of brilliance you won't soon forget. Reception: Fri., Sept. 28, 7-10pm. Cloud Tree, 3411 E. Fifth.
7. Neal Brennan The man who co-wrote almost all the sketches on Chappelle's Show with Dave himself? Yeah, that's Brennan – whose 3 Mics special for Netflix was a bigtime critical hit, and who is currently an on-air correspondent for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Yeah, all the smart people like this guy; and Austin's a pretty smart town … so it's probably a good idea to reserve your tickets in advance, if you can. Thu., Oct. 18, 7pm. Stateside at the Paramount, 719 Congress, 512/472-5470.
8. The Blanton Museum: Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design This new exhibition, organized by the Vitra Design Museum and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, presents the work of more than 120 artists and designers, displaying sculpture, prints, fashion, furniture, film, photography, apps, maps, digital comics, and more to show how African design generates innovative design approaches and solutions with worldwide relevance. Opening: Sun., Oct. 14, 1-5pm.The Blanton Museum of Art, 200 E. MLK, 512/471-7324.
9. Texas Book Festival And now here's the 23rd annual festival of all things published and powerful – whether powerful serious or powerful funny, whether fiction, fact, or some provocative combination thereof – with authors and publishers and editors (and, hell, maybe even a phalanx or two of proofreaders, who knows?) coming in from all over the country to present their textual wares. New faces! Big names! Dreamers of belles-lettres dreams! So many of the people who craft the narratives and organize the data that make this world's diverse culture richer and deeper, now swarming about the State Capitol and venues adjacent thereunto, signing the books, pressing the flesh, drinking too much or abstaining completely … but always in celebration of the written word. (Why, you're reading such a thing even now, citizen!) Oct. 27-28. Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., 11am-5pm. State Capitol, 11th & Congress. Free.
10. East Austin Studio Tour Here's the biggest visual-arts event of the year, this Big Medium-organized spectacle of creative goodness, with hundreds of private studios and galleries opening their doors all across the sunrise side of our busy city, for your pretty-much-nonstop opps for shopping, shmoozing, interactive presentations, workshops, parties, and afterparties into the wee hours of each night. Discover new artists. Rekindle old relationships. Get to actually know the city in which you live! Check the EAST website for a vast panoply of details, note that your Austin Chronicle will have more coverage online and in print as the event draws nigh, and go ahead, citizen: prepare to be a part of the art deep in the slightly arrhythmic heart of Texas. Nov. 10-18. Sat.-Sun., 11am-6pm.