Out of the Box
Free performance art festival returns to Austin with truly weird works
With all the festivals in Austin and all the popular acts on the circuit, sometimes it’s hard to catch a show that’s truly unique. Not that we're complaining — at least the good stuff is hard to miss. But Fusebox Festival is in a league of its own, offering the truly weird in all media via the completely unburdened-by-normalcy art of live performance.
This free festival has been a springboard for local artists for 19 years, now in a more mature space as an international destination. From April 12-16, Fusebox will present works by nearly 50 artists and art collectives at venues around town, including a moving central hub at Hotel Vegas, Ani’s Day and Night, Canopy Austin, and the Museum of Human Achievement.
Shows range from the expected, at least in terms of performance art, (an improvised tap dance in a multimedia setting) to the seemingly impossible (a multi-instrumental performance via brain waves), to the almost bafflingly accessible (a meetup for gamers.) Some are just for observing, while others are interactive, or even workshops over the course of the festival. One project buses visitors around to different venues to look at art without the logistical burden.
As in most art, identity is a widely-held focus at this festival, including a ritualistic film about Indigenous cultures' relationship to hair and a sarcastic drag standup show involving the odd boundaries — or lack thereof — in Scarlett Johannson's acting career. Other works highlight and reinterpret archival imagery from Black history and fictions about alternate histories.
Outside of the festival, Austinites can support Fusebox by joining Adventureship, a social club that provides access to special events throughout the year. One secretive event on April 13 is still open to new members (starting at $100 yearly), and will be revealed via email after signing up.
A full schedule of events from April 12-16 can be found at fuseboxfestival.com.