Way back in 1836, Texas became its own Republic after declaring its independence from Mexico. That means every March 2nd, we have reserved ourselves the right to fire off antique cannons and drink drive-thru margaritas from Taco Cabana. (Hey, I didn't make up the rules; I just observe them.)
But since we're known for doing it up big, and because we have so much to celebrate these days — Did y'all even WATCH an Austinite win Top Chef: Texas last night?? — we figure it's good form to turn the one day of observation into a full weekend full of Texas pride and independence.
(Don't actually shoot any cannons this weekend, however. Pretty sure those aren't legal any more.)
On Friday, why not exert your freedom of choice by picking out your favorite local tavern or saloon and getting shhhhwasted on Texas-size specials. J. Black's Feel Good Lounge, for example, is throwing an Independence Day party complete with Texas sliders, Texas themed cocktails and all your favorite Texas beers. The Bruce Smith Band will also be playing boot-tapping, hat-tipping good tunes from 6 - 9 p.m.
Afterward, shuffle on over to the Blanton Museum of Art for their fabulous quartlerly B Scene party. This quarter's theme is "Saddle Up," and they know just how to keep the Texas-themed party rolling. The Wildcat Playboys will be playing, and there will be two stepping lessons, a Best Boot contest and a roping demo. All this while you check out the art from the new Go West! Representations of the American Frontier collection now on display.
Saturday morning, at the Congress Avenue Bridge, folks will be showing their pride by running or standing, depending on how the Spirit moves them. The Celebrate Texas 5K and Parade raises money for the Celebrate Texas scholarship fund, and you can show your pride be participating or observing in either or both!
All weekend, you can also celebrate the thrill of human independence from gravity at the new traveling Cirque du Soleil show, Quidam, playing now at Cedar Park Center. The tale of a bored young girl finding the world of her imaginary friends, this show has all the magic and wonder you love about Cirque. You and your kids will 'ooh' and 'ahh' at all the amazing feats these actor-acrobats can do with their contortioning bodies. Just don't try to recreate them at home...
On Friday night, you can catch one of the top comedy troupes in the country doing their trademark improv and sketch comedy work at the Paramount Theatre. Second City's touring company brings their Laugh Out Loud Tour through Austin for two shows in one night. If you love Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert or Bill Murray, these are the folks who taught them their craft. Might be worth paying them a visit.
Austin favorite stand-up comedian Kevin Nealon returns to the Cap City Comedy Club stage this weekend for four sure-to-sell-out shows, Friday and Saturday. You remember him from Saturday Night Live, from Weeds and from guest spots on Curb Your Enthusiasm and Monk. It was his stand-up that got him discovered for SNL, so do yourself a favor and see what the fuss is all about. You won't regret it.
If you've ever wondered what goes on in the hallowed halls of our city's large public university, Saturday is your day. The entire campus of The University of Texas will open its doors to potential students and their families during Explore UT. The day will be filled with special programming including lectures, exhibits, tours and more during this "open house" that celebrates the public nature of the university. This is your chance to find out more about your academic neighbors.
And for all you alterna-nerds out there, STAPLE! The Independent Media Expo returns to Marchesa Hall for another great year with new artists, writers and creators of independent comic books, webcomics, arts, crafts and new media. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles creator, Kevin Eastman, will be in attendance, as will the creator of The Intergalactic Nemesis and Master Pancake Theater. With over 150 vendors, there will be so much to shock your senses and excite your brain... if you're in to that sort of thing.
These are just a few of the awesome ways to exert your independence and freedom of choice this Texas Independence Weekend. Remember, however you want to observe this most holy of Texas holidays is up to you; just make sure you don't injure anyone in the process and you keep your boots on at all times.
Happy Independence to you and yours, y'all. (And also with you.)