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Top 10 things to do in January: Free Week, The Lion King and a Tornado Chaser

Top 10 things to do in January: Free Week, The Lion King and a Tornado Chaser

Austin Photo Set: shannon_what to do jan 2013_lion king
“The Lion King” comes to The Bass Concert Hall. Courtesy of theepochtimes
Austin Photo Set: shannon_what to do jan 2013_family fued
“Family Feud” comes to Austin. Courtesy of
Austin Photo Set: shannon_what to do jan 2013_storm chasers
National Geographic Live! Tim Samaras – Chasing Tornadoes Courtesy of National Geographic Events
Austin Photo Set: shannon_what to do jan 2013_lion king
Austin Photo Set: shannon_what to do jan 2013_family fued
Austin Photo Set: shannon_what to do jan 2013_storm chasers

January is notoriously one of the sleepiest times of the year, but don’t let the wind chill trick you into staying under the covers this month. From cultural events such the citywide Martin Luther King Day celebrations to the ever-popular Free Week and even a couple of Family Feud auditions, Austin has a little something for everyone in January.

Here are our recommendations for the top 10 things to do in Austin this month. 

The Drafthouse goes back to the '80s

Even though the Alamo South is now closed for renovations, you can still enjoy all the nostalgic, guilty pleasures that the Drafthouse can offer. All this month, the Ritz location of the Alamo will screen ‘80s film classics such as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Dirty Dancing and They Live, the latter of which stars the mulletted Rowdy Roddy Piper

Shakey Graves at the Parish

If you haven’t heard of Alejandro Rose-Garcia, otherwise known as Shakey Graves, chances are you soon will. The finger-picking and raspy, whiskey-soaked vocals of this one-man-band have stirred a buzz among music-minded locals and media. For the month of January, Shakey Graves plays for free at the Parish every Wednesday as part of a weekly residency.

Free Week
January 1 - 12

Austin’s annual music tradition continues during Free Week, when participating venues around town offer free nightly shows featuring local bands. Although the Free Week festivities began in the first week of January, it continues through Saturday, January 12, with acts such as the Golden Boys and the Riverboat Gamblers lighting the way.

Mike Birbiglia at the Paramount
January 11

Mike Birbiglia isn’t just a comedian. He’s also a heralded author, director and actor. He’s appeared off-Broadway in the one-man show Sleepwalk With Me, which he later transformed into a feature film that debuted at Sundance. He’s a New York Times Bestseller and has appeared in the HBO series Girls. Birbiglia brings My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, his second one-man show, to the Paramount on January 11.

3M Half Marathon and Relay
January 13

If you haven’t started training for the 3M Half Marathon and Relay, one of the city’s largest distance road racing events, then it’s a little too late to begin. As any seasoned spectator knows, however, the only thing better than actually running in a road race is cheering from the sidelines. The race begins at the corner of Stonelake Boulevard and Capital of Texas Highway and ends at 18th Street and Congress Avenue.

The Lion King at Bass Concert Hall
January 16 - February 10

Don’t get it twisted: Disney musicals — especially the ones set for stage — aren’t just for the kiddos. The Lion King, with its stunning costumes, elaborate choreography and Tony Award-winning musical performances, is one of the best and most beloved Disney stage productions of all time. The spectacular comes to the Bass Concert Hall on January 16 and runs through mid-February.

11th Annual Star of Texas Tattoo Arts Revival
January 18 - 20

In a bearded, bespectacled, and otherwise totally tattooed town such as Austin, it makes sense that an event like the Star of Texas Tattoo Arts Revival would hang around for so long. How long? The event, which boasts parties, live demonstrations, competitions, performances and sideshows, is now its 11th year. The exhibition runs January 18-20 at the Palmer Events Center.

Family Feud auditions come to Austin
January 19 - 20

Spanning over 35 years and five different hosts, Family Feud has somehow survived and is unbelievably holding auditions in Austin on January 19 and 20.  In order to qualify, you must gather a team of five family members related by blood, marriage or legal adoption. Each team member must also be a U.S. citizen or have permission to work within the United States. To register for an audition or for more participation guidelines, email No walk-ins will be accepted.

MLK March and Festival
January 21

What better way to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. than with a multi-cultural community march and festival? Austin’s annual celebration begin at 9 a.m. on Monday, January 21, with a short program at the MLK statue on the University of Texas campus. The crowd then marches to the Capitol for a gospel music presentation and, finally, on to Huston-Tillotson University for a community festival. For more information, contact Carol Wright.

National Geographic Live! - Tim Samaras
January 28

If you are like me, then you’re fascinated by storms — specifically, the people who dare to track them. In a riveting speaking series, National Geographic Live! brings storm chaser Tim Samaras to the Long Center.  Samaras will share dramatic footage from his adventures and discuss the findings of his scientific exploits.