Beyond the Fest: Plenty to do this weekend while avoiding ACL crowds
Oh, have you heard that ACL Fest is going on right now?
Yeah, it is. For the next three days, a ten-mile radius around Zilker Park will be clogged with beautiful, energetic revelers looking to make the most of their last single-weekend ACL Fest. Who even knows what the future holds, so you better make this one count.
With acts like Neil Young, Jack White, Florence + The Machine, The Black Keys and The Red Hot Chili Peppers, I'd say they've got this festival pretty well managed over there.
But for those Austinites that would rather stab yourself in the eyeball than brave the crowds and the loud music, you'll be comforted to know that there is plenty more going on in our lovely land to keep you busy and entertained. No need for eyeball-stabbing in the least!
Of course there's this little old thing called the Red River Rivalry — more commonly called the Texas/OU game — which will occupy the thoughts and conversations of Longhorn fans more than anything else this weekend. Someone rudely scheduled it during ACL Fest, of course, so tough decisions had to be made. Luckily, they're screening it at the festival, and every sports bar in town will be showing it on at least 100 screens. So you don't have to miss a minute of it.
Now that the weather has cooled off, this is a great time to check out the beauty of The Exchange Artists' The Man Who Planted Trees at Sparky Park. This new adaptation is based on the true story of a Frenchman who radically changed his environment by dutifully planting trees for over thirty years. Told partly in French and traveling all around the Hyde Park location, it's a wonderful reminder of our very real ability to transform our own world.
Equally as powerful, but in a whole different genre, The Physical Plant Theatre continues its run of Agnes and Alfred this weekend at The Off Center. Like all of this troupe's new works, Agnes and Alfred emerged from a long gestation period and demonstrates deliberate progression as it tells the story of an Oregon couple who burn as passionately as the forest fire that has destroyed their home. The play covers a long span of time, and its three actors keep it humming right along.
And now that it's October, it's time for haunted houses and other Halloween themed events. I'm busy watching all of my favorite '80s movies like Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. But on Sunday, you can catch one of my all-time-favorite Halloween movies on the big screen at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz when Zzang!!! presents The Monster Squad. This movie has all of the big bad monsters you could want and some timeless one-liners you have to see to believe.
Not scary enough for you? Then you should know that House of Torment is back again this season for its final year at Highland Mall. This nationally recognized haunted house has its signature three-in-one deal in effect again, where you can get scared to death in all three of the spooky scenarios for one single ticket. This year, the themes are haunted pirate ship, terrifying redneck clowns and apocalyptic cyborg nightmare. (I can tell you that one of those is my all-time biggest fear in the world, so I'll let y'all handle this one...)
For a totally different haunted house experience, we recommend the Scare for a Cure Haunted House out in Manor. This year, the theme is Summer Camp Massacre, so you can finally put yourself in the awful reality of your favorite Friday the 13th scenarios. This haunt, which donates its proceeds to charitable organizations, has different levels you can subscribe to in order to get more interactive with the scare tactics, meaning you can actually be chased and sprayed with blood (if you're into that sort of thing).
Comedian Jeff Garlin will be serving up laughs at the Paramount on Saturday evening with his new show, Built for Comfort. Known best for co-starring on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, Garlin is a big name in the industry now, lending his voice talents to movies like WALL-E and Toy Story 3. But he was an improv and stand-up comic first, which is where he returns for this very special concert.
And finally, if you still want to get your music on but you would prefer to get some easy parking and assigned seats, you're in luck as well. Melissa Etheridge is playing at The Moody Theatre Friday night, lending her rugged, soulful voice to the legendary list of rockers who have played at ACL live. And the lucky lottery winners who got tickets will be able to join Jack White on Sunday night for the ACL Live taping he does while he's in town.
So there you have it: plenty to do in town instead of the festival. And then only five more days until the next one blows into town again! We're doing it!