Howdy, y'all! It's another beautiful weekend in the ATX, and, as always, we've got plenty to do to keep you busy.
We love the arts in all of its myriad forms, and this is a fantastic weekend to explore all the sides of our city's eclectic arts communities. With visual arts exhibits all across the East Side, theatrical arts with Shakespeare and puppets and comedic arts paired with all-you-can-eat waffles (!), there's so much to excite your eyes and ears and your taste buds all weekend long.
Most prominently, it's time once again for Austin's annual appreciation of all things artistic on the east side of town. The beautiful beast known as E.A.S.T. has grown exponentially over the years, thanks to the amazing efforts of its organizers and supporters, and these two weekends generate a multitude of must-attend parties, showings and exhibitions at galleries, homes and beyond.
Make your own itinerary, get to know some new artists, and get ready to see some amazing and mind-blowing things. Keep in mind that "East Austin" covers an ever-widening geographic area, so it will take some planning and transportation to see it all!
What goes better with improv comedy then warm waffles with plenty of butter and syrup? Nothing, that's right. Every year, the Hideout Theatre hosts this three-day improv comedy festival that features 26 of the best and brightest troupes in the city, like Parallelogramophonograph and Confidence Men. You just have to pick your choice of shows and then load up on all the toppings you want.
The floors are already getting sticky with all the Batter Blasters pre-made waffle mix, but the fun doesn't stop until late Saturday night. It's not so much a question of which shows you should see, because you'll like them all. The only real question is how many waffles you can cram down your gullet in three nights?
I got to see this newly imagined production of Shakespeare's MacBeth on Halloween night, with a packed house of costumed audience members. Even with the man dressed in a full bear suit sitting to my right, I was rapt to the action on the stage and the impressive choreography of the puppeteers/actors who brought the Scottish tragedy to life. This is the only way I want to watch Shakespeare from now on, I think, with all the epic violence and spookiness of hollow figures brought to life.
Special treat: Get there early on Saturday night to see Wayne Alan Brenner's blood-soaked art exhibit, Vivid Section, in the Salvage Vanguard Theatre lobby. His works are inspired by the Trouble Puppet show, and you may get to add your own embellishments to the artist-as-work himself.
The do-gooder New Yorkers at Home Slice Pizza have carved a very necessary niche in the food market on South Congress, and every year, they throw a big ol' birthday party to say thank you to the city. This Saturday's Carnival-O-Pizza is a full day of live music and carnival games and pizza-loving antics that the whole family will enjoy.
The big draws are the pizza eating contest and the Hands On an Eggplant Sub contests, which afford the winners free pizza for a year. Raffle prizes all day long will also benefit the Austin Bat Cave, promoting literacy in Austin youth.
The aural experts at KUT have been working diligently as of late to collect the sounds of Austin to digitally represent the various musical communities of the city in a tangible, documented format. After more than a year of hard work, the Austin Music Map is ready to share some of their findings with a spectacular launch party at the ND on Saturday night.
Austin musicmakers Nicknack, The Minor Mishap Marching Band, White Ghost Shivers and Susan Torres & The Squeebox Mafia will all be performing at this exciting event, providing the rich musical flavor to enrich the stories and projects that have already been aired on KUT. Come learn about this new way of appreciating our city's unique makeup.
I know, I know! It's too early to be posting anything about the holiday season, but it's happening whether you like it or not... Out at the Domain on Saturday morning, the giant 40-foot Christmas tree will be all decorated and ready for the annual "ooh"s and "ahhs" that come from lighting up the six thousand lights it takes to cover a tree of this size.
Country star Jack Ingram, The Voice's Lex Land and plenty of merry carolers will also be on hand to help make the atmosphere feel like a winter(-ish) wonderland. This is clearly for the folks who wish it were the holidays all year-round. The rest of y'all should avoid the malls like the plague...
Finally, on Sunday afternoon, you're invited to come peek inside the homes of seven renovated historic homes during the Hyde Park Historic Homes Tour. After meeting briefly at the Trinity United Methodist Church at Speedway and 44th Street, you're welcome to peruse the homes on the tour at your leisure.
The tour celebrates the long-standing traditions of architecture and renovation that have happened in this, the first Austin suburb, throughout the years. As the city has grown throughout the years, much of the original structures have remained. This is a great way to see how homeowners and designers have preserved that history throughout the decades.
That'll do it for me. I hope you all have a happy and safe weekend, full of all the delicious flavors that Austin has to offer. We'll see y'all on the other side!