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Top 10 things to do in February: Roasted swamp rat, Austin Flea and a WWII-Themed dinner

Top 10 things to do in February: Roasted swamp rat, Austin Flea and a WWII-Themed dinner

Austin Photo Set: shannon_what to do feb 2013_martin sorrondeguy
Martin Sorrondeguy Photo Exhibit.
Austin Photo Set: shannon_what to do feb 2013_tarot tuesdays
Tarot Tuesdays at Crystal Works.
Austin Photo Set: shannon_what to do feb 2013_austin flea
Last year's Austin Flea at the Highball. Courtesy of Austin Flea
Austin Photo Set: shannon_what to do feb 2013_martin sorrondeguy
Austin Photo Set: shannon_what to do feb 2013_tarot tuesdays
Austin Photo Set: shannon_what to do feb 2013_austin flea

February, for better or for worse, traditionally belongs to the chocolatier and his heart-shaped kingdom of dipped fruits, mystery nougat and caramel turtles.

Beyond Valentine’s Day and the invariable onset of tooth decay, February also houses a lot of non love-themed, unconventional events. From a swamp rat roast to a WWII-themed dinner and the return of the Austin Flea, there’s a whole lot going on locally this month.

Here are our recommendations for the top 10 things to do in Austin this month.

Tarot Tuesdays at Crystal Works

Tuesdays, 4 - 8:30 p.m.

Who cares if human beings truly have the ability to predict the future? The prospect of that idea sounds fun enough. Every Tuesday, Crystal Works offers a look into the future with $10 card readings by Lunaria Tarot. Get there early, spots fill up fast!

Betrayal at The Off Center

February 8 – March 2

While the nation busies itself celebrating the wonders of love, Austin’s Chaotic Theatre Company revels in Betrayal. Not surprisingly, the 1978 Harold Pinter classic centers around themes of hidden emotion, deception and adultery in a series of contiguous scenes that move from present to past. This movement serves the subject matter generously and, under the direction of Andrew Black, spins an interesting, if not lurid, tale of love, lust and loss.

The play runs from February 8 to March 2, Thursdays through Sundays at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online or at The Off Center theater box office. 

I Wanna Be Your Dog 3: Puppy Love Edition

February 8, 8 p.m.

The city of Austin loves music almost as much as it loves its pets, and I Wanna Be Your Dog: Puppy Love Edition really typifies this. The fundraiser, which features local vendors, cover bands, DJs and a silent auction, directly benefits Austin Pets Alive and helps to keep the shelter "No Kill." 

This year’s event again welcomes friendly, chaperoned dogs with an admission price for humans at only $5. Visit the “Puppy Love” Facebook event page for venue location and more.

Austin Flea

February 9, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

If Brooklyn can do it, gosh darn it, so can we! The amazing (and free) Austin Flea again descends upon Emo’s East with literally thousands of handmade and vintage wares from a bevy of local vendors.

For the hungry shoppers, Blue Ox BBQ and Colibri Cuisine will also be onsite slinging meats and Mexican, respectively. This special Valentine’s Day Flea will also include a silent auction that benefits MDA Austin. Come early and stay long.

As Time Goes By: World War II-Themed Dinner and Dance

February 9, 6:30 -11 p.m.

Spend an evening traveling to the past with a World War II-themed dinner and dance benefiting the Texas Military Forces Museum. As Time Goes By, which gets its namesake from the song popularized by the 1941 film Casablanca, takes place at Camp Mabry and offers swing music by The Sentimental Journey Orchestra, a cash bar, silent auction and — drum roll, please — a keepsake glass.

Although WWII allied uniforms (ahem, that means no German, Japanese or Italian gear) and era-appropriate attire are strongly encouraged, they are not required. Tickets are very limited and can be purchased online, via post, or at the museum.

Second Chance Sunday at Banger’s

February 10, 12 - 6 p.m.

Admittedly, an Austin Mardi Gras celebration will never top a trip to the Big Easy, but Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden is probably the next best bet – in terms of culinary authenticity, that is.

From 12 to 6 p.m. on February 10, the Rainey Street institution pairs live music by The Urban Achievers Brass Band and the Dead Music Capital Band (a 17-piece “dead” marching band in full macabre make-up) with bayou delicacies such as roasted alligator, wild boar and swamp rat. That’s nutria, for those in the know.

Martin Sorrondeguy Photo Exhibit

February 13, 7 p.m.

Most people have never heard of Martin Sorrondeguy, and that’s okay. Over the last 20 years, the veteran punk rocker has achieved legendary status for not only fronting the Latino hardcore band Los Crudos but also for also spearheading the contemporary Queercore movement

Sorrondeguy shares another lesser-known distinction as being a photographer and is currently on tour in support of his new book – er, “visual diary” – Get Shot. Sorrendeguy displays a selection of photos from this book in a free exhibition at The House (509 Brushy Street, between Fifth and Sixth streets) on February 13. Arrive on time, this event is bound to get packed.


February 21 - 24, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Quilting isn’t just for Old Mother Hubbard anymore. The pastime is so popular, in fact, that the Modern Quilt Guild — the veritable National Honor Society of quilters — chose the city of Austin as the location of its inaugural conference, QuiltCon.

This ain’t any old quilting show, however. QuiltCon will feature work from the top quilters in the country, as well as modern quilting instructors, a juried quilt show, workshops, vendors, and more. Tickets to the event are $10 per day or $30 for all four days.

WXWC Film Festival

February 22, 8 p.m.

Austin’s newest (and perhaps smallest) juried short film festival kicks off in the backyard of the student-run Seneca Falls Co-Op. Never heard of it? That’s probably because the Co-Op’s pun-tastic "Kale Seitan" banner has come to better identify the building to the public. This information will come in handy while navigating the streets of West Campus with a case of BYO beer and a bulky blanket in tow.

Once there, the audience will enjoy complimentary hot cocoa and snacks, as well as a flurry of student-produced work. Can’t beat a free outside film festival in the dead of winter. Only in Austin…

That Takes The Cake! Sugar Arts Show

February 23, 10:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.; February 24, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Professional bakers, amateur patisseries and even children showcase their sugar skills for a chance to score national media recognition (and some pretty cool prizes) in this annual “cake-off” hosted by Capital Confectioners’.

A panel of celebrity judges arbitrates submissions two onsite competitions — the Cake Club Cake-Off Challenge and a Speed Wedding Cake Competition — under this year’s aeronautical theme. General admission is $8 per day in advance or $10 at the door. Full weekend passes are available for $14 when purchased online or $17 at the door.

MapJam 2013

February 23, 12 -11 p.m.

There’s no denying that Austin is among the more festival-happy cities in the country, so it’s no wonder that one of the city’s newest local music sources, KUTX (98.9), hosts one of our largest day-long celebrations.

Presented by the City of Austin and the Austin Music Map, MapJam 2013 showcases the best in homegrown genres — from bluegrass, to hip hop and rockabilly — at nine Eastside venues over the span of nearly 12 hours. Best part? It’s totally free. Check out the MapJam 2013 website for artist information and venue locations.