Sunshine, bluebonnets ... and more events than imaginable ...
Whew. SXSW rolled through, a good time was had by all, we're exhausted, and now the city can settle back down to a normal routine. Right?
Well, not so much, because the special events come fast and furious in Austin's spring festival season. They've already started, in fact, as the 88th annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, one of the two or three top track and field events in the U.S., got underway Wednesday, and continue through Saturday, March 28 at UT's Mike A. Myers Stadium. It's free admission Thursday; tickets for the marquee events Friday and Saturday range from $10 to $40 for all-session reserved seating. See www.texassports.com for the full schedule.
And for the 10th straight year, the Austin Urban Music Festival will be held over two full days at Auditorium Shores on the same weekend as the Relays: Fri.-Sat., March 27-28. See our Music Recommendeds on p.66, or www.austinurbanmusicfestival.com for full info.
The fifth annual Honk!TX Festival of community street bands is back this weekend as well, March 26-29. It kicks off Thursday, 7:30pm-2am, with the Brass Band Blitz Benefit! at Red 7. Six bands play, with the $10 admission going directly to the visiting bands.
Friday are the free Underserved Community Shows, taking place noon-5pm at Front Steps/ARCH, Boys & Girls Clubs of Austin, Rosedale School, the Thinkery, and the Program for Arts & Disabilities Art in the Park Festival at the Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St. Friday evening, 6-10pm, are SoCo shows at Jo's Coffee, the Snack Bar, and St. Vincent de Paul. And on Saturday, bands will be performing nonstop 11:30am-8pm in Adams/Hemphill Park area, near 29th and Fruth Street, at Spider House Amphitheater, Spider House Parking Lot, Trudy's Back Wall, Grove/Triangle, and Adams Park. And for Sunday's finale, the East Austin Parade rolls at noon from Pan-American Park at Third & Chicon, marching their musical way through East Austin and returning to Pan-Am Park for the annual closing gala all-band revue, starting around 1:30pm. See full band lineup, locations, and times at www.honktx.org.
No rest for the weary, because the ever-expanding Fusebox Festival is up the next week. There's way too much going on to get into here, but I will draw your attention to a couple of events that have civic connections and require a little pre-planning: The Trees of Govalle is a presentation by Forklift Danceworks, in conjunction with Fusebox and the city's Urban Forestry Division, "a one-of-a-kind performance featuring the Urban Forestry crews and the trees of Govalle Park," with performances on the last two nights of Fusebox, Sat.-Sun., April 11-12, at 8pm at Govalle Park, 5200 Bolm. It's part of the thinkEAST Living Charrette project and will take place the last two nights of the festival. Directed by Allison Orr and Krissie Marty, with original music by Graham Reynolds, the event is free, but reservations are required (see www.forkliftdanceworks.org), and Forklift's events always sell out.
Forklift encourages attendees to arrive early and bring a soil sample – which may sound weird, unless you also know about the Soil Kitchen, another offbeat Fusebox project, presented with the Austin Brownfields Revitalization Office, part of the Austin Resource Recovery department. The Kitchen will offer free soil testing, Fri.-Sun., April 10-12, 10am-6pm, at 1098 Jain. in East Austin. Representatives from the city, the EPA, and Texas A&M's AgriLife Extension Service, will be on hand to test soil for the presence of heavy metals and soil nutrients, while other city staffers provide demos on building raised beds and setting up home composting systems. There's a fairly detailed regimen for the soil testing; see info at www.austintexas.gov/soilkitchen.
That only gets us through mid-April, but there's also Old Settler's Fest, Moontower Comedy, Levitation (formerly known as Psych Fest), Fashion Week, Pachanga Fest, Chaos in Tejas, QueerBomb, and the X Games all coming up pretty much back-to-back, so, pick your spots, keep your powder dry, and get some sleep when you can.
There is some routine city business going on, though: the long-anticipated City Council committees began to meet in earnest this past week, with some weighty business on their agendas, no less. Audit & Finance met Wednesday, with Mayor Adler's controversial proposal for new and expanded Council staffing first on the agenda. The committee voted to recommend a modified proposal: 12 new staffers, one for each CM, and two for the mayor. No word at press time on when that might be going to the full Council for consideration. Also meeting for the first time that same day were Housing, Mobility, and Open Space; by week's end, I believe all 10 committees will have their first meetings under their belts. All of these meetings are being shown live at the city's www.austintexas.gov/atxn site, and are archived there as well. Happy viewing.