It's coming, y'all. Next weekend is going to explode with a combined barrage of festivals that are going to knock your socks off. Texas Book Festival. Austin Film Festival. Gypsy Picnic. Southern Lights Music Festival. And so much more! It's going to be huge.
So that means this weekend is your chance to relax, carbo load and prepare yourself for the marathon of activities arriving next week. (If you need help in the Carbo Loading Department, it's Neverending Pasta Bowl time at your friendly neighborhood Olive Garden. You're welcome.)
Of course, relaxation doesn't mean you have to stay at home twiddling your phalanges. Instead, we've got a slew of fun, low-impact events that will keep you busy but not suck up too much of your time or energy.
Friday night welcomes in the weekend with the cool Afrobeat at the Blanton Museum of Art's monthly B Scene party. In conjunction with their awesome El Anatsui exhibit, they've organized a cool 70s funk-inspired evening with Highball regulars Black Red Black and Hard Proof. Stroll through the Museum at your leisure and enjoy free snacks and a cash bar while the music soothes the week away.
Also on campus, National Book Award winner Jonathan Franzen (The Corrections) sits down for a conversation with book critic Lev Grossman over at Bass Concert Hall to discuss his latest best-seller, Freedom. While Bass is not the most intimate space for a two-person convo, this is a fun way to spend a totally laid-back evening with two great literary minds showing off with what they know best. You'll really impress your friends with the size of your brain if you go to this one.
On Saturday and Sunday, The Austin Chocolate Festival invites you to enjoy the sweet genius of local chocolatiers as they raise money for a good cause. With nearly thirty venues in attendance at the Norris Conference Center, you're sure to get at least three cavities minimum when you see the awesome spread. But you can calm your guilt knowing the money raised with ticket sales will be added to the 2011 Austin M.S. Walk proceeds to raise money for further multiple sclerosis treatments.
If you're up for a quick trip north, Georgetown is hosting its weekend Art in the Square celebration. Hosted in the historic Georgetown town square, this collection of arts and crafts vendors is a lovely outdoor appreciation of the talent and beauty Central Texas is revered for. The artists entered in the juried competition will be nervous about how they'll do, but you can effortlessly stroll through the town square, enjoying the fruits of their labor.
In the same carefree walk through others' hard work, you're invited to take part in the Interior Design Homes Tour on Saturday. The ASID Austin Design Community has chosen some of the most expertly designed homes in Austin to show off, to inspire your own interior decorating genius. It might inspire a twinge of jealousy for some who walk through, but everyone else will simply appreciate the hard work (and hard earned cash) that goes in to creating these works of art.
And if you're looking for relaxation in a cool, dark space, The Alamo Drafthouse of course has you covered. In celebration of the release of the (totally unnecessary but totally guilty pleasure) new Footloose, the Action Pack is hosting a Footloose-themed party at the Highball. No matter what your Southern Baptist daddy tells you, you know your feet have to move or you'll just die! So why not join the like-minded dancing rebels at the Highball?
Then on Sunday, The Austin Humane Society hosts a day-long short film festival at the Alamo South Lamar to raise much needed money for the injured or displaced animals from the wildfires. Six local films will be screened—some for the first time—and one ticket gets you admission for the entire day and night (plus a glass of wine!). Support local cinema, enjoy the Alamo atmosphere, and dream about the puppies and kittens that you're helping to find a home. Maybe it's time to go get one of those adorable friends for yourself.
Overall, this is a great weekend to be in Austin. Before the crazy Hollywood folks get here for the Austin Film Festival and the big-name authors get here for the Texas Book Festival, you can enjoy your Austin in all its mellow, laid-back glory.
Here's to a great weekend!