Three icons of Austin’s cultural scene are in shiny new digs. And they’re putting out the welcome mat — big time. As you prepare for summer, we take a look at the latest and newest offerings inside the beautiful spaces at ZACH Theatre, KUT and AMOA-Arthouse.
At ZACH Theatre, you can now hang out and picnic on the plaza before mainstage productions at the new Topfer theatre, with gourmet food plates and signature cocktails for sale at the outdoor bar, plus a free balcony play thrown in. Starting this week, sip a Midsummer Sangria cocktail while watching a comedic riff on A Midsummer Night’s Dream outside. Don’t worry if you’ve got tickets for the show inside — the short balcony plays are timed so you can be a theatre double-dipper.
(Of note: Zach’s cocktails are specially concocted by resident food and beverage manager Rick Ryan, while South Lamar cheese and charcuterie noisemaker Henri’s has been tapped by Ryan for the catering.)
Head inside (yes, drinks are allowed in the theatre) and you’ll find two more chic bars — both serving yummy gourmet plates, plus their own signature cocktails. The wine list proudly includes Wine Spectator ratings for the wines on offer. After the mainstage intermission, the Serra Skyline donor lounge throws open its doors to all-comers. The exquisite downtown view, single malts and interesting mixers (Crème de Violette, anyone?) make for an intriguing destination.
KUT has been busy since moving into the Belo Center for New Media. They’ve expanded coverage on 90.5 FM and in early January launched KUTX, a 24/7 all-music radio station dubbed the Austin Music Experience. It’s all about "Made Here, Played Here," says KUTX Program Director Matt Reilly. “If you want to know what Austin sounds like, tune in to KUTX.” Studio 1A is the clubroom at the heart of KUTX. The 75-seat, glass-walled studio is perfect for intimate live music performances.
A peek at Studio 1A’s guest list since just January reveals out-of-towners such as Patti Smith, James McCartney, Charles Bradley, and Calexico. And that’s not to mention local talent like Patty Griffin with Robert Plant, Iron and Wine, Elizabeth McQueen, Shinyribs and Kat Edmonson.
There’s no admission to Studio 1A, although you can be invited along before anyone else by joining the KUTX Concert Club. Members also get to reserve a seat to the shows of their choice. Most shows happen weekdays at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. or 4 p.m. The next Concert Club event is this Friday, May 17, featuring Robert Ellis. To become a member, contact the KUTX membership department.
With the addition of AMOA-Arthouse’s Jones Center rooftop deck, Congress Avenue has snagged a gem. Since the building reopened its doors three years ago, (yes, we’re stretching the definition of new, but couldn’t resist the deck’s vibe) the 3,300 square foot deck has been adding to its buzz by hosting food tastings, private parties, exhibit openings, artist receptions and film series — catch the next in the Rooftop Architecture Film Series May 22.
Three vibrant multidisciplinary exhibitions, just announced this week, anchor this summer’s schedule at the Jones Center. In Please, Austin-based artist Devon Dikeou draws inspiration from the final sixteen still life paintings of 19th-century modernist Édouard Manet. Step next door to the film and video gallery and you’ll find Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley's satirical narrative The Syphilis of Sisyphus, with its own contemporary twist on historical source material. In the second floor gallery, the annual Advanced Young Artists exhibition showcases artworks created by talented teens over the course of a seven-month partnership with professional artists.
"With this suite of summer exhibitions, AMOA-Arthouse acts as both Kunsthalle and educational laboratory," explains Senior Curator Heather Pesanti. "On the first floor, the museum presents the strange and new in contemporary art, with a conceptually elegant exhibition by Devon Dikeou and a darkly satirical video by Mary Reid Kelley with Patrick Kelley. On the second floor, the museum fosters educational initiatives through its community-embraced Advanced Young Artists exhibition, celebrating the innovation between students and mentors."
All three exhibitions run July 14 through September 1.