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Jarrott Productions presents The Pact

Jarrott Productions presents The Pact

Photo courtesy of Jarrott Productions

The world premiere of The Pact, by Austin playwright Max Langert, is the lead-off production in Jarrott Productions' first full live Main Stage season in three years. The Pact is a play about family, pizza, climate change, dating apps, and fringe religious sects ... in that order.

Photo courtesy of Kyle Kinane

Cap City Comedy Club presents Kyle Kinane

Cap City Comedy Club presents Kyle Kinane

Kyle Kinane is a comedian from Addison, Illinois. According to Wikipedia, he is a notable person from that town. Other notable residents of Addison have been the boxer Leon Spinks and a woman who wrote poetry about Beanie Babies.

Raised in such a cultural fondue pot as this, it was natural for Kyle to find his way from warehouse work into show business. As a comedian, he has been seen on Conan, The Tonight Show, Netflix’s The Standups, and three of his own hour-length specials on Comedy Central. As an actor, he’s been in the Judd Apatow series Love and truTV’s Those Who Can’t. He was also on Drunk History, where he unfortunately wasn’t acting. As a voice over actor, he was the former voice of Comedy Central for 8 years and currently plays Bullet on the Netflix series Paradise PD. He is also co-host of the Boogie Monster podcast along with Dave Stone, and the streaming show Hey Girl with Matt Braunger. As a musician, he has done nothing, as he is not a musician.

Kyle’s most recent standup work, Trampoline In A Ditch, was recorded at Comedy on State in Madison, Wisconsin and was released on 800 LB Gorilla Records in 2020. The album was accompanied by an animated short, produced by Meister.

Photo courtesy of Morcheeba

Morcheeba in concert

Morcheeba in concert

Trip hop veterans Morcheeba come to Austin in support of their 2021 album, Blackest Blue.

Photo courtesy of Sanrio

Hello Kitty Cafe Truck

Hello Kitty Cafe Truck

The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck is continuing its 2022 tour with a stop in Austin. Fans of Hello Kitty can get exclusive goodies and limited-edition collectibles, including a Glass Mug with Sprinkle Handle; a Hello Kitty Cafe Coin Bank; a Hello Kitty Cafe Lunchbox; a Hello Kitty Cafe Lavender T-Shirt; a Hello Kitty Cafe Canvas Tote; a Hello Kitty Cafe Rainbow Thermos; Hand-decorated cookie sets; and Enamel Pin Sets and Madeleine Cookie Sets. Other best-selling items include Hello Kitty Cafe Plush Toys and Giant Hello Kitty Cafe Chef Cookies.

The truck will be on Century Oaks Terrace & Rogers Road across the way from Starbucks from 10 am to 7 pm.

Photo courtesy of Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society

Bluebonnet Horse Expo & Rescue Horse Training Challenge

Bluebonnet Horse Expo & Rescue Horse Training Challenge

The Bluebonnet Horse Expo and Bluebonnet Rescue Horse Training Challenge will feature 60+ horses available for adoption, tack, a saddle auction, clinics/demos from Texas equine professionals, and more. Proceeds help the formerly neglected and abandoned horses at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society.

Photo courtesy of The Stuffed Animal Rescue Foundation

Saturdays at The SARF (The Stuffed Animal Rescue Foundation)

At Saturdays at The SARF (The Stuffed Animal Rescue Foundation), visitors can say hello, apply to adopt special stuffies who need homes, and be dazzled by the creative endeavors of the most talented stuffed minds ever assembled.

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H-E-B unveils merch for super fans, plus more hot Austin headlines

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. H-E-B unveils merchandise for brand super fans, available exclusively at one store. Kerrville was chosen to launch the company's new line of H-E-B-branded merchandise in celebration of its 117th anniversary.

2. Austin bar transforms into a magical winter wonderland this holiday season. Don your favorite elf socks and meet the lovely citizens of “Tinseltown.”

3. Draft 'Vision Plan' for Zilker Park unveils land bridge and more possibilities. Austinites are invited to comment on a vision plan that will inform the future of Zilker Park.

4. Austin ranks among world’s 100 best cities in prestigious new report. Austin is the No. 43 best city in the world, according to a new study. (And yes, we beat Dallas.)

5. Austin airport launches new SkySquad travel assistants in time for the holiday rush. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is keeping lines moving during a period of heavy travel with a new team of airport assistants.

Steven Spielberg opens up personal history in The Fabelmans

Movie Review

For over 40 years, director Steven Spielberg has been delivering some of the most popular blockbuster movies of all time as well as a bevy of Oscar-quality dramas, a combination that’s unique to him. For his latest, The Fabelmans, he’s decided to go more personal than ever, telling a thinly-veiled version of his own childhood.

Sammy (played mostly by Gabriel LaBelle) is one of four children – and the only son – of Mitzi (Michelle Williams), a concert pianist, and Burt Fabelman (Paul Dano), a computer engineer. From an early age, Sammy is enthralled by the art of filmmaking, first remaking a train crash sequence from The Greatest Show on Earth, and gradually moving on to more adventurous stories.

Burt’s advancing career, which moves the family from New Jersey to Arizona to California, causes stress for various members of the family, most notably Sammy and Mitzi. Sammy must deal with anti-Semitic bullies, while Mitzi falls deeper into a mental health crisis. Sammy’s movies continually offer a respite for the family, though, giving him a creative outlet and the rest of them a chance to forget their troubles for a while.

Written by Spielberg – his first writing effort since 2001’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence – and Tony Kushner, the film is heavy on emotions but presented in a way that those feelings don’t always translate. Spielberg is no stranger to depicting fraught family situations in his long career, but in showing ones from his own family, it feels like he pulled back, not wanting the scenes to be overwrought or schmaltzy.

The result is a story that isn’t as universal as some of his other films. As the film is told from Sammy’s perspective, it’s easy to get caught up in his pursuits and various discoveries as he gets older. The mindsets of the rest of the family are less clear, even though his parents and sisters are ever-present. Mitzi’s state of mind is a concern from the start, but it’s not always treated as such by other important characters.

Just as Sammy’s movies are an escape for his family, so too are they some of the best parts of the film. Sammy figuring out the process and secrets of filmmaking is informative and often thrilling, especially if you’re a cinephile. Spielberg has been considered a master for so long that watching him revisit the days when he was learning as he went is catnip for movie lovers.

In addition to being a dead ringer for a teenage Spielberg, LaBelle is a fantastic actor. It’s no easy feat to carry a movie on your shoulders, and LaBelle makes the assignment look easy. Williams’ performance will likely be more polarizing; she employs a very mannered speech pattern that works in some situations, but not all. The film also includes memorable short appearances by Seth Rogen, Judd Hirsch, and David Lynch.

Spielberg has provided the moviegoing public with such pleasure over the years that he deserves to have a movie that’s mostly for him. The initial viewing of The Fabelmans left this critic wanting, but perhaps it will gain more traction on a second screening.

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The Fabelmans is now playing in theaters.

Photo by Merie Weismuller Wallace/Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

Gabriel LaBelle in The Fabelmans

Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta acquires award-winning California resort

tilman goes laguna

Fans of Tilman Fertitta's nationwide hospitality brands are in for a treat. The Billion Dollar Buyer has just secured an award-winning, 30-acre resort in sunny Southern California.

Fertitta has purchased the acclaimed Montage Laguna Beach Resort Hotel, a premier beachfront property in the sunny SoCal getaway destination. Notably, the Montage Laguna Beach Resort Hotel is one of only six hotels in the U.S. to score the Forbes Triple Five-Star hotel status. The Montage has also been included among Travel + Leisure’s Top Hotels in the World.

Image courtesy of Montage Laguna Beach

Fertitta's newest purchase overlooks the ocean in Laguna Beach.

“I am truly thrilled to acquire this world-renowned property and add one of America’s most iconic trophy resorts to our luxury hotel portfolio,” Fertitta noted in a statement. “I have been traveling to Laguna Beach for over 30 years. It is one of my favorite places to visit and one of the most beautiful areas in the world. The Montage is a stunning oceanfront property and one of the premier hotel brands in the world.”

Press materials didn't list the property purchase price, but Law360 reports that the deal is in excess of $660 million.

The Craftsman-style resort sits on a coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Impressive amenities are highlighted by the 20,000-square-foot Spa Montage, which offers eucalyptus steam rooms, dry redwood saunas, ocean air whirlpools, fireplace lounges, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a movement studio, and a lap pool.

More outdoor fun includes two pools and direct beach access, a museum-quality fine art collection, and more than 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, per press materials.

Every resident space — the 260 guestrooms, including 60 suites, beach bungalow-style rooms, and multi-bedroom villas — boast stunning views of the Pacific.

Dining destinations offer chef-driven interpretations of coastal California flavors inspired by region. The property is designated and included in the distinctive Legend Collection of Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

“We are thrilled that Tilman is the new owner of this one-of-a-kind property and welcome him into the Montage family,” said Alan Fuerstman, founder, CEO, and chairman of Montage International. Mary Rogers, the Montage's GM added, “The staff is thrilled to be working with Tilman. Everyone here at the property is tremendously excited about his purchase and look forward to continuing to provide a world-class experience to all of our guests."

Aside from his palatial Post Oak Hotel in Houston, Fertitta also owns 14 other hotel properties around the country, including the award-winning San Luis Resort in Galveston, plus five popular Golden Nugget casino and hotel locations.

Another feather in Fertitta’s luxury portfolio cap is the iconic Huntting Inn, one of the most charming and historic locales in East Hampton, New York.

No stranger to California, Fertitta's presence there includes Catch Seafood and Catch Steak, Mastro’s Ocean Club and Mastro’s Steakhouse, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, The Palm, and more — all part of his 60 brands and more than 600 concepts nationwide.