Meet the Biscuits (Big Kids Productions)
Maybe your arts fan is but a wee lad or lass just learning the lay of the musical landscape, as it were. You'll find no better guides than Austin's own Biscuit Brothers, stars of the award-winning PBS series broadcast Saturdays on KLRU, Channel 18. On Dusty and Buford's debut CD, Meet the Biscuits ($14.95), the duo takes listeners on a musical tour of Old MacDonald's Farm in 14 cuts, ranging from the traditional "Bingo," "This Old Man," "Six Little Ducks" to the original: "Harmony," "Side Car," and "Go Make Music," all by local musical theatre whiz Allen Robertson. To order the CD, visit www.biscuitbrothers.com/cd.htm.
Perhaps you know someone who longs to return to the thrilling days of yesteryear, when spine-tingling adventure was as near as your radio dial. The singular pleasures of audio drama, as it thrived in the Thirties and Forties, is the raison d'être of the Violet Crown Radio Players, who perform versions of radio scripts old and new live onstage. But now via the miracle of modern audio, you can listen to some of those live shows in your own living room, just like in the days of the New Deal! Take your pick of The Destiny Gorilla, featuring Robert E. Howard's prizefighting sailor, Steve Costigan, with Novalyne Price Ellis' Day of the Stranger or Arch Oboler's Twilight Zone-esque Rocket From Manhattan with Death by Raven, featuring VCRP's original masked adventurer, the Blue Menace ($10 each). To order, visit www.violetcrownradio.com/merchandise.htm.
Speaking of old-fashioned radio thrills, Salvage Vanguard Theater has made available two installments of its popular homegrown tribute to the golden age of audio cliffhangers, The Intergalactic Nemesis and Return of the Intergalactic Nemesis (double-disc sets, $17 each). Follow ace reporter Molly Sloan and time traveler Ben Wilcott as they race around the globe and across the cosmos to save the human race from the otherworldly menace of ... the Zygons. Can they escape the slimy tentacles of the cosmic conquerors? And what about the mind-whammy of the malevolent mesmerist Mysterion? Tune in next time ... or buy the CD at www.salvagevanguard.org/store.shtml. (The store also offers CDs of several SVT musical productions, including the recent Dan Dietz rockabilly history lesson Americamisfit ($12); the opera Genghis Khan ($17), composed by Graham Reynolds with libretto by Jason Neulander; The Cry Pitch Carrolls ($12), the operetta by Reynolds and Ruth Margraff; and Motherbone Variations ($12), featuring the opera by Reynolds and Karen Hartman.)
For the Eyes and Ears
To cover your operatic bases with something from a previous century, turn to the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Austin, which has recorded on video its last six G&S productions: The Mikado (2005: $20 DVD, $15 VHS), The Gondoliers (2004: $20 DVD), The Pirates of Penzance (2003: $20 DVD, $15 VHS), Trial by Jury and More (2002), The Sorcerer (2001), and H.M.S. Pinafore (2000: VHS $15). (And why not watch them wearing a T-shirt of the show, most of which are available for $5?) Order at www.gilbertsullivan.org.