Weekend Roundup

Movies, Museums and Marfa: Festivals abound the first weekend of Fall

Movies, Museums and Marfa: Festivals abound the first weekend of Fall

Austin photo: Event_Ballet Austin Fete_Dancers
Austin photo: Event_El Cosmico_Poster
Austin photo: Event_Austin Museum Day_Blanton
Austin Photo: Events_Pecan Street Festival_Logo
Austin photo: Event_Spring Awakening_Poster
Austin photo: Event_Quesoff_Poster

Hopefully you're fully recovered from ACL, because this weekend kicks off a busy new season of constant activity. This will be the first weekend of Fall, which is when our collective unconscious dictates that it's okay to go outside again and face the world. Are you ready?

If you're still afraid of the sun, you can embrace your vampiric nature at any one of the hundred or so movies playing in this year's Alamo Drafthouse's Fantastic Fest lineup. Combining horror, fantasy, sci-fi and action films, the schedule is full of amazing gems you won't find anywhere else for a long time. All of the movies are screened at the South Lamar Alamo and the Paramount Theatre, so you can plan out your week out and stick to one location. Meanwhile, the Highball houses the Fantastic Arcade, featuring nonstop video games and celebrity nerd fun.

If you're willing to face the sun, the Pecan Street Festival beckons you to join the party down on downtown Sixth Street on Saturday and Sunday. Live music - including local star of the The Voice, Nakia - local artisans and lots of food vendors make this bi-annual event the right place to mull about and peoplewatch. If nothing else, it's nice to see what Sixth Street looks like in the daylight. The festival is entirely free, which is really the best way to enjoy the 600 vendors that line the streets.

If you'd like your art more professional (and air-conditioned), Sunday is Austin Museum Day. Over 30 museums in town make admission entirely free for the day, inviting everyone to share in the magic of their exhibitions without concern of cashflow. Families can bring their little ones to the Austin Children's Museum for their Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice exhibit or The Bob Bullock Museum's Texas High School Football exhibit. Meanwhile, The Blanton Museum of Art is opening its exciting El Anatsui exhibit, including a discussion of African art with the artist himself on Saturday.

Friday night, Ballet Austin kicks off the gala season with their annual fundraiser event Fête and its encore event fête*ish. The black tie event will be held at The W Hotel and feature amazing food and cocktails from the kitchens there. Afterward, attendees will enjoy live music from jazz vocalists Ava Arenella and Kurt Elling and dance the night away with dueling DJs. If you can make it, it's sure to be a night of opulence you won't soon forget.

For a more laid back music festival than the one we held in town last week, the good folks of Marfa, Texas invite you out to the El Cosmico trailer park for the friendly Trans-Pecos Festival of Music and Love. Stay in a yurt, a teepee or a trailer or bring your own tent to camp in for the weekend. This year, the musical artists include Patty Griffin, Barbara Lynn, Ben Kweller, The Black Angels and more. There's even a rumor that Griffin's new b-f, Robert Plant, will be showing up for a few sets as well.

If you need more motivation to relax, The Texas Craft Brewers Festival is back and better than ever at Fiesta Gardens. With 18 participating Texas craft breweries in attendance, you can spend your Saturday afternoon with 5,000 of your closest beer loving friends and over 75 different craft brews just dying to be sampled. Festival goers can enjoy the live music, food pairings and commemorative beer paraphernalia of this year's Festival, knowing that proceeds from the event benefit Austin Sunshine Camps.

What goes better with beer than cheese? Combine your Saturday vices at The Mohawk's Quesoff 2011, where guest judges will determine the best cheese in the West. Chef contestants will bring their best dishes with names like "Hell's Bells," "Queso...Queso-rah!," and "Gay-so," and head-to-headcheese with local establishments like Torchy's, Paco's and Papi Tino's. In the end, only one queso will be crowned the champion, but everyone in attendance will be rewarded with free queso!

Finally, the new production of Spring Awakening launched this week at ZACH to their shows' usual fanfare. The Tony Award winner for Best Musical in 2007, this complicated tale of surviving adolescence is both hysterical and heartbreaking. It's definitely not a show for the kiddies, but it's a thrill as long as you're in the mood to be challenged and moved. Plus, you can imagine what Lea Michele was doing before she was Rachel on Glee!

There's absolutely no excuse not to get out this weekend with all that's going on. Half of these events are free and the weather should be more than manageable. So enjoy the feeling of Fall, friends! It only gets better from here.