Austin’s premier venues steal the show with a cornucopia of fall events

Austin’s premier venues steal the show with cornucopia of fall events

Zach Theatre
Zach Theatre launches a new monthly membership program. Zach Theatre/Instagram
Bastrop Music Festival
The Bastrop Music Festival gets funky. Photo by Joshua Helms
The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground, a documentary about the band, shows at AFS' Doc Days. Courtesy of Austin Film Society
Carolyn Wonderland
The incomparable Caroyln Wonderland is one of the beloved Austin artists performing as part of the Saturday Night Concert Series at Hill Country Galleria.
Long Center lawn Austin
The Long Center will feature performances on the lawn with its lookOUT series. Long Center/Facebook
Zach Theatre
Bastrop Music Festival
The Velvet Underground
Carolyn Wonderland
Long Center lawn Austin

As autumn begins to unfurl in Austin, (hopefully) cooler temps are also ushering in some new events, films, and offerings at area theaters and arts organizations — some of them outdoors — to help welcome an exhilarating season of local entertainment. 

As always, it’s wise to check in with area venues regarding safety policies in the time of COVID before heading out to a show, particularly as such protocols are updated often.

lookOUT Concert Series, Long Center for the Performing Arts
In concert with outer/most agency, an independent agency for international artists, the Long Center is rolling out a new outdoor concert series called lookOUT that will showcase “a vibrant lineup of artists who defy categorization and sit at the forefront of their respective art forms and musical conversations.”

Happening over the next few months starting in October, lookOUT concerts will take to the stage on the Long Center’s H-E-B Terrace, and tickets for each event in the series go on sale online on Friday, September 17 at 10 am. LookOUT will serve as the launch for the performing arts venue’s new umbrella program, Long Center Vistas, which will focus on outdoor, Austin-centric experiences.

“Despite the challenges, the Long Center has hosted some amazing outdoor programming over the past year, and we’re uniquely positioned to be able to expand that work by integrating local artists with outer/most artists against the best backdrop in the city,” says Cory Baker, Long Center president and CEO.  

The current lineup for lookOUT includes:

  • October 29: serpentwithfeet with Madison McFerrin and Christelle Bofale
  • November 12: Flor de Toloache and Las Cafeteras with The Los Sundowns
  • February 4: Julianna Barwick and Mary Lattimore with The Kraken Quartet
  • February 20: Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and The Album Leaf
  • March 25: Christian McBride’s New Jawn with Lady Blackbird and Brannen Temple Duo

Austin Film Society’s Doc Days, AFS Cinema
After COVID-19 forced its cancellation last year, Austin Film Society’s annual festival of non-fiction cinema that spotlights documentary work from around the globe, Doc Days, returns for its third year October 14-17 at the nonprofit’s arthouse theater, AFS Cinema. The 2021 lineup includes eight new documentaries from the festival circuit, all of them Austin or Texas premieres, and two were supported by the AFS Grant program. Many of the selections in this year’s event also include live virtual Q&A sessions with the filmmakers.

Tickets are currently available online.

Here’s the current Doc Days lineup:

  • October 14, 7 pm: The Velvet Underground, filmmaker Todd Haynes’ look at the cultural, social, musical, artistic and cinematic forces that created one of the world’s most enduring bands.
  • October 15, 6:30 pm: The Conductor, chronicles Maestra Marin Alsop’s rise from child violinist to becoming the first woman in history to lead a major orchestra.
  • October 15, 9 pm: Dirty Feathers is a journey in black and white through the long days of several members of an unhoused community in El Paso, specifically those who have been banned from a city shelter that is often a last resort for the homeless.
  • October 16, 2 pm: Writing With Fire tells the story of India’s Khabar Lahariya newspaper, the women who run it, and the impact their truth-telling has in the midst of the rise of radical politics, and persistent patriarchy and class injustice.
  • October 16, 4:15 pm: Cuban Dancer tells the story of talented dancers at the Cuban National Ballet School in Havana as they prepare for and dream of a life on the professional stage.
  • October 16, 7 pm: Flee is an animated documentary that reveals how the experience of being a refugee can shape one’s identity.
  • October 17, 1 pm: Fathom, from AFS Grant-supported filmmaker Drew Xanthopoulos, follows two scientists on opposite sides of the globe who embark on a fascinating journey into the study of humpback whale songs and their social communication.
  • October 17, 4:15 pm: Inside the Red Brick Wall with Taking Back the Legislature, the first of which details the two-week occupation of Hong Kong Polytechnic University in November 2019 and the standoff between demonstrators and the police, and the latter, a featurette, documents the July 1, 2019 storming of the Hong Kong Legislative Council Complex.

Saturday Night Concert Series, Hill Country Galleria
The popular local music series is back, with Austin City Limits Radio hosting live-music events from Austin faves every Saturday from 7-9 pm starting this week and running through October on the Hill Country Galleria’s Central Plaza lawn in Bee Cave. Music lovers can bring their own chairs and blankets for lawn lounging, and can enjoy shopping, as well as sips from Vista Brewing and BeatBox Beverages. The events are free and well-behaved dogs are also welcome. Check for lineup updates here.

The Saturday Night Concert Series lineup includes:

  • September 18: Ray Prim
  • September 25: Carolyn Wonderland
  • October 2: Bob Schneider
  • October 23: Micky & the Motorcars
  • October 30: The Peterson Brothers

Zach XP, Zach Theatre
Austin’s Zach Theatre is rolling out a new membership program for ticket buying that includes access to unlimited shows and events. Dubbed Zach XP, the new monthly membership program is available for $39 per month per person, and comes with some sweet perks, including the flexibility to book a ticket whenever members want, right up to showtime, as well as free parking, and bar discounts.

Zach XP members will have access to all Mainstage and Family series shows, including Into the Woods, running September 27-November 7; A Christmas Carol, running November 17-January 2; The Cat in the Hat, running January 25-March 27; The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, running February 16-March 6; Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch, running March 29-May 13; Reunion ’85, running April 13-May 8; and The Sound of Music, running June 15-July 24.

Visit the theater’s website for more info about the Zach XP program and the 2021-2022 season.

Bastrop Music Festival, 10 indoor and outdoor venues in Bastrop
Head to nearby Bastrop for four days of music-filled enjoyment along the Lower Colorado River. The Bastrop Music Festival, which takes place September 23-26 at a variety of local venues (602 Brewing Company, The Grace Miller, and The Old Town Restaurant and Bar among them), will feature country-soul swamp-funk band Shinyribs, folk-punk band Dirty River Boys, and soul-funk-blues-jazz band The Peterson Brothers, along with many more artists. Get the full lineup here.

The fest includes a mixture of wristband-only nighttime performances and free daytime events. Four-day passes are on sale online now and range from $40-$100. Tickets are also available at the box office at Copper Shot Distillery and at the door of each venue.

“We know how much music fans have missed the atmosphere of attending a festival, and we’re thrilled to bring back quality live music in a terrific place like Bastrop. The local community is so supportive of live music, and Bastrop is a destination perfect for travelers to experience,” says Stewart Ramser, producer of Bastrop Music Festival. “Locals and visitors will get to enjoy four days of fantastic entertainment and an authentic Texas experience as they hop from venue to venue in downtown Bastrop.”