Gangsta rappers, Scottish cowboys and steampunks: Just another weekend in Austin
Y'all don't need me to tell you that Austin is a smorgasbord of eclectic personalities. Weirdies of every persuasion are welcome here and tend to find like-minded folks that share their particular over-specific obsessions.
It might be digital electro-punk music you geek out over. We've got that. Or maybe it's post-apocalyptic foreign horror films from the 80s. Yeah, we can find that. Or it could, as in the case of this weekend, be retro-futurist Steampunk live action role playing that floats your boat. Nobody's judging here.
Point is: There's little that Austin loves more than some good ol' fashioned genre celebration. The more specific, the better.
If you don't believe us, check out the First Street bridge on Saturday morning when hundreds of animal lovers will be dressed up in gorilla costumes for the 2012 Austin Gorilla Run. Registration for the event includes a full-body gorilla suit (that, thank goodness, you get to keep), and all of the proceeds go toward The Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fun to help save the big, beautiful creatures in Africa. Specific enough for you?
If it's costumes you want, the Austin Crowne Plaza Hotel is hosting the annual Clockwork Con 2012. This weekend-long convention for Steampunk enthusiasts will feature all the mind-bending elements that make this aesthetically conflicted sub-genre such a draw to sci-fi enthusiasts. Panel presentations will be held on Steampunk costuming, gaming, live action role playing, literature, music and performance. Amazing costumes, mimes, magicians and burlesque dancers will make this weekend unforgettable, no matter with which era you identify.
Also this weekend, the Alamo Drafthouse is showing a film that has risen above all the others at their genre-specific horror/sci-fi/action festival, Fantastic Fest. The foreign film, Bullhead, tells the story of a steroid-infused cattle farmer running from his past. Drafthouse CEO Tim League loved it so much, he bought the distributing rights to it, and now the film has been announced on the short list for the 2012 Best Foreign Film Academy Awards. To celebrate, the Alamo is giving Austin audiences two chances to see the breakthrough film this weekend at their South Lamar location.
For a mixed-up brand of genre obsession, check out the National Theatre of Scotland's production of Long Gone Lonesome at Bass Concert Hall. This is a musical tale of Thomas Fraser, a Scotsman who fell in love with country music and followed his dreams to Nashville and beyond. Playwright Duncan McLean tells the story of Fraser while The Lone Star Swing Band plays the melody. These are the same folks who brought us the utterly unbelievable show Black Watch last year, so you know they're going to treat their subject with respect and dignity.
Friday night at the 29th Street Ballroom, HONK!TX is holding a joyous and LOUD fundraiser in preparation for the HONK!TX Festival held later this year. The Minor Mishap Marching Band and the Dead Music Capital Band fill the night air with their big band sounds, and you seriously will not be able to resist the urge to smile or dance. Others have tried to resist the temptation, but they always succumb to the power of the picolos.
Then on Saturday night, the 29th Street Ballroom invites classical music virtuosos Graham Reynolds and Peter Stopschinski, better known as the Golden Hornet Project, to present their first major collaboration, a collection of classical arrangements of the Russian Masters. If you don't already know the names of these two hard-core enthusiasts of 20th Century Russian composers, you will quickly learn why everyone in town hails them as geniuses. On a stage normally reserved for hard rock, an ensemble of trained musicians will show you that classical pieces, like Prokofiev's Visions Fugitives, can rock out even harder.
Finally, comedian Lashonda Lester is putting on a show at Salvage Vanguard on Sunday evening unlike anything you've seen in Austin. Weird True Hollywood Tales is a biographical comedy show dedicated to the celebrities that left us too young and often in strange circumstances. This month, WTHT focuses in on the lives and deaths of rappers like Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. "Thug Heaven" will expound on the immensity of the East Coast-West Coast rap battle and the conspiracy theories behind these rapper's deaths. Lester is a hilarious Funniest Person in Austin finalist, so you know her take on these stories will incredible.
So what do we have there: mountain gorillas, steampunks, thriller films, Scottish cowboys, marching bands, Russian composers and gangsta rappers? Yep, sounds like another great weekend in Austin. Hopefully there's something that fits in with your own particular brand of weird.