This Saturday (le 14 juillet) is Bastille Day, the commemoration of the storming of the Bastille prison and the beginning of the epic French Revolution in 1789. While not nearly enough of us dang 'mericans celebrate foreign independence as much as we could, it is a great reason to celebrate and drink far too much champagne.
Of course, there's a full weekend of international fun happening in and around Austin, so don't let the summer heat keep you from enjoying the fruits of our July offerings.
The biggest Bastille Day party is the annual Alliance Francaise d'Austin Fete and Silent Auction happening Saturday night at the French Legation Museum. This party is always a hoot, with live music, families on blankets and plenty of love for French culture and language. The Alliance's primary mission is preserving and spreading appreciation of the French language and traditions, so this is the perfect opportunity to brush up on your cross-cultural appreciation. And drink some bubbly.
Over at Justine's fancy French Brasserie, they're staying open to throw their annual badass Bastille Day bash. This year, the Paris is Burning party will be "disco inferno" themed, and the restaurant will be done up like a broken-down Studio 54 complete with drag queens, disco outfits and a "strobe-light lazer dance party." Plenty of champagne and broken glass everywhere. It doesn't sound quite safe, but it does sound extremely sexy.
Also in the international tradition of the weekend is the new Olympic-themed show from Sky Candy Aerial Arts entitled The Flame. This original full-length piece follows the story of the personified Olympic flame throughout the ages, demonstrating the amazing physical strength and bodily control of the Sky Candy performers who interpret the Olympic events into aerial acrobatics. This multi-sensory explosion will amaze anyone who loves the Olympics or has ever tried doing a pull-up and failed.
At the Long Center's intimate Rollins Theatre, Forklift Danceworks presents their latest piece, Solo Symphony, which employs the international language of dance to spotlight the nuances of Austin Symphony composer Peter Bay's on-stage gestures. Choreographer Allison Orr has reinterpreted Bay's movements into a stunning performance that is offset by genius composer Graham Reynolds and a 13-member orchestra. You probably will need to see it in order to wrap your brain around it, but we can guarantee you'll love it.
With the same deliberate New York neuroticism as the iconic international filmmaker himself, the Hideout Theatre's new summer show, Manhattan Stories: Improv in the Style of Woody Allen, is receiving rave reviews for their spot-on handling of the eccentric auteur's comedic style. With a cast of ten players building a new Allen-inspired story every Saturday night, you'll want to come back again and again to see what gems these improvisers can come up with. (Trust us: it beats going to see Allen's most recent film, To Rome with Love.)
And in the spirit of unity and camaraderie, we can also suggest the Couples Triathalon taking place at Walter E. Long Park this Sunday morning. While the triathalon name may imply otherwise, any two combinations of people are welcome to participate in this race that combines the race times of both individuals to determine a winner. So whether you're a romantic couple, bosom buddies, parent and child or perfect strangers, you're welcome to come participate in this fun run, bike and swim event. And just in case you're stuck feeling left out, there's a separate race for individuals as well!
So there you have it: six great weekend events to emphasize the international spirit — just in time for Bastille Day. Celebrons, y'all!