It's music festival time in Austin, which means there are two big hippie outings for lovers of great music under the stars (and maybe the rain — eek!).
If you're spending the weekend at El Cosmico, you're hopefully already on the road or holed up in your rental yurt in Marfa. The same is true if you're heading to Utopia, Texas for UTOPiAfest, where the journey toward musical enlightenment has already begun.
For those of us staying in town this weekend, however, there is more than enough fun to go around for music lovers, art lovers, pet lovers and just lovers in general. And don't worry about the weather: rain or shine, we've got you covered.
Friday and Saturday, St. Elias Orthodox Church invites you to take part in the Mediterranean food, culture and fun from the cradle of civilization itself at the 2012 Med Fest. Understandably, this is one of the most beloved food festivals in Austin every year because of the incredible offerings from all over the region, including parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. Dancing, shopping and plenty of food and wine to please every palate.
Saturday and Sunday, the Pecan Street Festival revs into high gear, packing Sixth Street with artisans, musicians, food stuffs and curious onlookers. If you've never been before, it's a twice-yearly tradition that needs to be experienced for the sheer fact of remembering what Sixth Street used to be and what it can be when it's not covered in frat dude puke.
On Saturday morning, at Mueller Park, Best Friends Animal Society invites you to Strut Your Mutt, a giant celebration that culminates months of fundraising on the part of local animal nonprofits like Austin Pets Alive! The day will include plenty of activities for pooches and owners alike, so everyone is invited to come out and enjoy the hard work of the folks that love Austin's animals.
All weekend, Wardenclyffe hosts its latest exhibition, Think Unsexy Thoughts, which is being labeled a "post-erotic" art show. This label holds several different meanings for the artists involved, but it will surely get your brain aroused just as much as your eyes and your... rest of you. This multifunctional East Side art gallery has been growing into quite the communal collective meeting spot, and this is a great reason to come check it out for yourself.
If you gotta get your music fix, do it in town. Saturday night, Bright Light Social Hour returns to Austin for a homecoming show at Stubb's. The band is in the middle of a 40-gig tour right now, but will undoubtedly have an amazing show for hometown fans, the first fans that helped raise them to the national notoriety they're at today.
Or you can take in the majesty of the '70s with The Steve Miller Band at ACL Live on Sunday night. This iconic band has been recording new material after an 18-year hiatus and will be sharing songs Sunday night along with classic hits like "Fly Like an Eagle" and, of course, "The Joker." Prepare accordingly.
For the lovers of the '80s, you've got all weekend to enjoy the remastered rock anthems in the musical production Rock of Ages at The Long Center. The touring cast is signing their heart out of these songs that you already know and love (and they're such better singers than the cast of the Hollywood version that tanked at the box office).
On Saturday, you can also enjoy the vocals of Broadway veteran Brian Stokes Mitchell at the Deep in the Heart of ZACH event celebrating the opening of the brand new Topfer Theatre. The full evening will include performances by Mitchell and several performers from around Austin, amazing food from many of your favorite restaurants and a chance to see the campus that has been under construction along South Lamar.
So there you have it. Plenty of music and art (and puppies!) right here in town and much closer to your own bed. If you need to see the stars, you've always got Ryan Gosling spotting to do about town...