Yeah, it's scarier than usual out in Austin right now. And, rightfully, folks have safety on the brain. But you also can't live your life as a hermit, yo. There's too much happening in this otherwise charming little city of ours that you'll miss out on.
So here's our recommendations on how to safely and happily spend your weekend doing all the things you love in Austin.
Starting Friday night, owner Tom Booker invites you to The Institution Theater's Grand Opening Weekend Celebration at their newly renovated theater out on Woodbury Drive. The three day improv extravaganza will involve some of the most talented improv comedians in town, including Booker himself. On Saturday night, representatives from all five improv houses in town join together for a special show, and then audience members are invited to participate in the shows held on Sunday.
Amazingly, Tom Booker's old L.A. buddy, comedian Kathy Griffin, is performing at the same time Saturday night at the Long Center for the Performing Arts. If you've ever seen her on Bravo's My Life on the D-List or hosting New Year's Eve with Anderson Cooper, you know that Griffin will say anything for a laugh. She has firmly entrenched herself as the hilarious everywoman reporting from the Hollywood trenches, exposing the juiciest, most ridiculous foibles of our celebrity icons.
Fellow comedian David Cross is stopping by the Alamo Ritz on Saturday for a marathon screening of his new IFC sitcom, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret. If you haven't already seen this show, created by and starring some of the stars of too-soon-canceled Arrested Development, this is the perfect way to meet Cross and see what he's been up to since that beloved show. Plus, it's a butt-numbathon at the Alamo, which is definitely a great way to pass a Saturday night.
Also on Saturday, you're invited to the King's birthday party at the Continental Club. Ted Roddy's Elvis Birthday Party is a twice annual celebration in town that recreates Elvis' best hits in an authentic and loving tribute by Ted Roddy and the King Conjecture Orchestra. It's not cheesy karaoke; just real rock n' roll. This is a can't-miss show for Elvis fans, and a great way for newbies to experience the magic of Elvis' musical legacy.
Different Stages is launching their production of The Children's Hour at City Theatre this weekend. This tale of forbidden love and whispered secrets was banned in Boston during the 1930s due to its scandalous subject matter: two female schoolteachers (maybe) in love. But what makes the play truly memorable is how the two characters, Karen and Martha, could just as easily be women living in today's world, faced with similar accusations. This is playwright Lillian Hellman's finest play and worth judging for yourself whether the outrage was warranted.
Meanwhile, at the Paramount Theatre, The Corbian Dance Company presents two children's dance productions for the price of one. Using a cast of eye-popping glow-in-the-dark puppets, their interpretations of the fables The Ugly Duckling and The Tortoise and the Hare will look nothing like what you've seen on this stage before. If you've ever wondered what a theater full of silent, enraptured children is like, this is finally your opportunity to find out. They'll be talking about it for weeks to come.
And of course, it's still Free Week until Sunday night. Our friends at Transmission Entertainment have lined up amazing local bands all throughout the downtown area, and every show costs you exactly zero dollars. Check out the lineups each night at Red 7, ND, Mohawk and Beauty Bar to see what is on the official docket. But then check out 29th Street Ballroom, Cheer Up Charlie's, Hotel Vegas, The Parish, Stubb's, Antone's... Really, just start walking in any direction this weekend, and you're going to stumble head-first into a free show that you'll probably love.
If you are out and about, please remember to be safe and look out for one another. Keep your head up and your ears open at all time and stay in a group whenever possible. Have fun, but be smart about it, too. Let's get back to the great times that make this city a place we're proud of.