Photo courtesy of TPA

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was the first company to perform in Bass Concert Hall when it opened in 1981. The renowned company returns to Texas Performing Arts on its 2024 North American Tour to perform new works and Ailey’s iconic ballet Revelations.

Designated “a vital American cultural ambassador to the world” by U.S. Congressional resolution, Ailey’s artists have performed for an estimated 25 million people in 71 countries on 6 continents since the company’s founding in 1958. Led by Robert Battle, Ailey’s performances celebrate the human spirit through the African-American cultural experience and the American modern dance tradition.

When Alvin Ailey, a Texas native, began creating dances, he drew upon his "blood memories" of Texas, the blues, spirituals, and gospel as inspiration, which resulted in the creation of his most popular and critically acclaimed work, Revelations. Although he created 79 ballets over his lifetime, Ailey maintained that his company was not exclusively a repository for his own work. Today, the company continues his mission by presenting important works of the past and commissioning new ones. In all, more than 235 works by over 90 choreographers have been part of the Ailey company’s repertory.

Photo courtesy of Fat Bottom Cabaret

The Paramount Theatre presents The Majestic Ball

Produced by queers for queers (and their allies), The Majestic Ball celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community by spotlighting some of Central Texas’ most beloved QPOC artists. Natalie Lepore, Diamond Dior Davenport, and Fat Bottom Cabaret will all perform during the event.

Attendees are invited to dress in their most glamorous discothèque attires and compete on the historic Paramount stage in specified OTA (open to all) categories, where they will be scored on their outfits, attitudes, dance skills, runway walk, and more.

Photo courtesy of Fat Bottom Cabaret

Fat Bottom Cabaret presents Texas is Burning! A PRIDE Rebellion

The Fat Bottom Cabaret & The Midnight Menagerie cast family will kick off their 10th year with an homage to LGBTQIA+ icons, legends, and community at large. They will be rebelling against hate, bigotry and discrimination the way only they can; loudly, unapologetically, and with their friends.

The event will be hosted by Nikki DaVaughn and feature Lady Lola LeStrange, Azucar, Jasper St. James, Maxxy Magz, and special guest Hermajestie The Hung.

The Cure/Facebook

Here are the top 7 things to do in Austin this weekend

Weekend Event Guide

Our signature foodie fête, a star-studded country music festival, and live performing arts productions are only a few reasons to start re-exploring the city this week. We’ve expanded our guide to feature even more local-approved events around the city that you won’t want to miss. Check out the top seven things to do in Austin this weekend. For a full list of events, visit our calendar.

Thursday, May 11

Broadway in Austin: To Kill a Mockingbird
The classic and poignant literary story by Harper Lee comes to life on the stage at Bass Concert Hall. This production stars Emmy Award-winning actor Richard Thomas, who plays the small-town lawyer and protagonist, Atticus Finch. Performances are scheduled through May 14. For more information, visit broadway.com.

CultureMap Tastemaker Awards
Our annual celebration of the top bar and restaurant talent in Austin returns with equal parts flavor and fanfare. Tickets to this signature tasting event and awards ceremony grant access to bites, samples, and speciality cocktails all night long, as well as a chance to meet and mingle with the biggest names and rising stars in the local food and drink industry. Check out our Tastemaker Awards editorial series to learn more about what to expect and how to get tickets.

Friday, May 12

Texas Burlesque Festival
The iconic tease and seductive art of burlesque is on full display at Kick Butt Coffee and The Long Center for the Performing Arts. Highlights of this titillating two-day fest include appearances by Penny Starr Sr, the World Famous * BOB *, Big Mama Red, Gingersnaps, Icky Muffin and The Jigglewatts. Visit the texasburlesquefestival.com for a full schedule of events and more.

Ballet Austin presents Cinderella
The heartwarming fairy tale of an unaware princess, her glass slipper, and finding her Prince Charming comes to life through the artful movement of dance at The Long Center for the Performing Arts. This production from Stephen Mills features the skillful dancers of Ballet Austin, a compiled score from Alexander Glazunov, and live musical accompaniment. Shows are scheduled through May 14. For ticket availability, check balletaustin.org.

Saturday, May 13

iHeartCountry Festival
One of country music’s biggest nights promises a dazzling display at Moody Center. Highlight performances of this year’s highly-anticipated festival include Luke Bryan, Kane Brown, Sam Hunt, Elle King, Parker McCollum, and many more. For a full schedule of events and for ticket access, check Ticketmaster.

O. Henry Museum presents the 46th Annual O. Henry Museum Pun-Off World Championships
One of Texas’ oldest and most loquacious traditions takes over Hilton Austin for its 46th year of witty wordsmithing. This year’s O. Henry Museum Pun-Off World Championship theme is “Spring for Words!” and will feature timed, round-for-round competitions with participating “punslingers.” Admission is free and open to the public.

Sunday, May 14

The Cure
The Cure/Facebook

Robert Smith and The Cure will play Moody Center on May 14.

The Cure in concert
English rock band The Cure comes to Moody Center as part of their Stateside touring circuit. Fans can expect live performances of their new album, Songs of a Lost World, along with some chart-topping favorites. Seating options and availability is available on the ticketing website.


Ballet Austin pliés into new season with new world premiere and timeless classics


On the heels of Texas Performance Arts releasing their 2023-24 season schedule, one of Austin’s most sophisticated ballet companies has also revealed the lineup for their highly anticipated upcoming season.

From critically-acclaimed favorites to a world premiere, Ballet Austin’s five-production 2023-24 season is bringing big titles to the stage, with big names to match.

Ballet Austin Artistic Director Stephen Mills will open the season in a bold fashion with his exalted, contemporary production of Hamlet. The tragic rendition is one of Mills’ most licensed and traveled works nationwide and internationally. American composer Philip Glass will set the music, while costumes will take inspiration from designer Giorgio Armani. Hamlet will run September 15-17.

Following the dramatic Shakespearean performance is the 61st annual production of The Nutcracker. This beloved classic is Austin’s longest-running live production, which will ring in the holiday season all month long in December. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s score will feature a live accompaniment by the Austin Symphony Orchestra. The Nutcracker will run December 2-23.

The enthralling Triad: Three Bold Dances will be Ballet Austin’s first production of 2024. Triad is a choreographic combination of George Balanchine’s neoclassical Concerto Barocco, Amy Siewert’sRenaissance, and Mills’ Carbon53 (stylized CARBON53). Contemporary composers Glass and Steve Reich will set the music alongside Johann Sebastian Bach, Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble, and the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Triad: Three Bold Dances will run February 16-18, 2024.

In its world premiere as the second work of the Butler New Choreography Endowment, Mills’ POE / A Tale of Madnesswill explore famed poet Edgar Allen Poe’s haunted life through dance. A newly commissioned score by award-winning composer Graham Reynolds and libretto by Rude Mechanicals co-producing artistic director Shawn Sides will help bring this production to life. This brand new performance was created following the unparalleled success of Mills’ first endowment-funded work Grimm Tales in 2019. Poe / A Tale of Madness will run March 22-24.

The final production of the 2023-24 Ballet Austin season is another beloved classic: The Sleeping Beauty. The Austin Symphony Orchestra will return for another live accompaniment to Tchaikovsky’s familiarly beautiful score. The sets, costumes, and well-known characters were designed and constructed in England, with mesmerizing choreography by Marius Petipa. The Sleeping Beauty will run May 10-12.

More information about Ballet Austin’s 2023-24 season can be found on balletaustin.org.

Photo courtesy of The Jigglewatts Burlesque Revue

The Jigglewatts Burlesque Revue presents ​​Underseas Tease​​

The Jigglewatts Burlesque Revue will present an evening under the sparkling seas with a wet and wild burlesque show. Guests can dive into the sub-aquatic grotto where Neptune’s creatures come out to play.

Audiences can don their fishiest scales to be fully immersed in their deep sea delights. This naughty-ical live show features performances from Jigglewatts Alexander the Great, Something Blue, Ruby Lamb, Jolie Goodnight, their host Selma Bawdy, and a school of special guests.

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

6 things to know in Austin food right now: Whiskey distillery launches floating bar at "secret" lake locale

News You Can Eat

Editor’s note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of Austin’s restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.


Getting to the bar just got harder — but way more fun. Fierce Whiskers Distillery is literally launching a new pop-up called the Stubborn Bar, floating off the shores of Town Lake. The location is a secret, but not one too closely kept; Join the mailing list to receive updates and sign up to snag a spot. The bar operates June 3-4, June 17-18, and June 24-25. Visitors' hard work will be rewarded with a chance to taste the new two-year Texas Straight Rye, which the distillery says was very hard to make, and "the first pour should go to those who are just as determined." They're also celebrating the new release on land with a performance by Neil Frances and Thebrosfresh on June 10. Tickets ($30-120) available on Eventbrite.

Carve American Grille (stylized CARVE) has been working on its second location for more than a year, and the date has been moved one last time — hopefully. Instead of opening on June 8, it'll be June 12. It's taking up residence at The Grove (2613 Perseverance Dr.), a mixed-use community covering 75 acres. Carve, sister restaurant to Perry's Steakhouse, is well-known for its creative twists on a classic steakhouse menu, which can often border on austere. So, postpone your visit, but keep Carve on your list.

Other news and notes

Even after Memorial Day, we're all ready for a Fri-yay celebration, and thankfully this week brings another day of observance: National Donut Day. The Salty is ready with a limited-edition mini French toast donut, available only on June 2. This creative donut is made with a 24-hour brioche base, filled with a "homemade French toast filling," and topped with maple treats and mascarpone whipped cream. The shop is also celebrating with a 25 percent merch discount and free delivery to Salty Rewards Members using the app or website.

For those who just can't get enough rosé at brunch, there's the Rosé Dinner at Lost Draw Cellars. On June 3, the winery will open up its new space for a rosé tasting featuring its four new releases, all from 2022. These sips will be paired with a live fire dinner of beef and chicken from Hill Country Beef and Cielito Lindo Farm, respectively, and fresh vegetables from Hat & Heart Farm. Tickets ($85) are available at williamchriswines.com.

Austin wouldn't be Austin without the endless markets, and two more are popping up on June 4. One at Bar Toti gives an excuse to visit the chic space behind one of the city's most talked-about restaurants, Este. This Mercado del Girasol celebrates the Este Garden's third anniversary, with goods by local artisans and creatives, drinks, DJ sets, and more. Three raffles benefit Casa Marianella, which supports displaced immigrants in Austin, and visitors can pick sunflowers and try signature cocktails by Bar Toti. The other establishes a new weekly event at the Hill Country Galleria: the Bee Cave Farmers Market. In addition to the usual farmers' fare (from 40 vendors), these markets will offer live music performances, starting aptly with The Hens.

Starting this week — "as soon as I buy the buttermilk," according to the chef — Radio Coffee & Beer's food truck, Shortwave Diner, will be offering monthly specials centered on fried chicken and burgers. The pending special is a sweet and very crispy tarragon chicken with maple syrup, and the rest is a mystery. The breakfast truck stands at the ready at the popular work site for freelancers and remote workers, serving daily chicken and waffles, smash burgers, and more. Follow Shortwave on Instagram to see when the new series launches.

5 tips to build stunning sand sculptures from 2023 Texas SandFest winners

Fun at the beach

As summer fast approaches, sandy vacations to coastal destinations are on the horizon for many travelers. For those with kids in tow, sandcastle-making might top the list of beach trip must-dos.

But “playing” in the sand isn’t just an activity for children, as proven by the 22 professional sand sculptors from around the world who recently competed in the 26th annual Texas SandFest, held in Port Aransas in April. The internationally recognized event, started by Port A locals in 1997, is the largest native-sand sculptor competition in the nation; nearly 70,000 people attended this year.

Competition entries featured everything from mermaids to the Grim Reaper, all intricately carved, brushed, and chiseled from sand, ocean water, and perhaps a little diluted spray glue that sculptors say helps maintain detail. The competitors work on their masterpieces during the event, allowing spectators to witness their progress from start to finish.

“I do around five international sand sculpting competitions per year. It’s always a great challenge to compete a high level,” says Benoit Dutherage, a competitive sculptor from France who also creates snow sculptures in the French Alps during the winter.

Dutherage took first place in the Duo Masters category, along with his sand sculpting partner Sue McGrew, for their work called “Wish You Were Here.” Comprised of two loving faces (one mystically cut in half), the sculpture was a tribute to Pink Floyd.

“We like to reflect human emotions in our sculptures,” he says. “It is never easy to pick an idea among the thousands of ideas we have.”

Florida resident Thomas Koet, whose sculpture called “The Prospector” won first place in the People’s Choice category, intended to create something with horses and a cowboy as an homage to Mustang Island, where the competition took place. High tides just before the event thwarted his plans.

“The high tide washed away so much of the sand, I had only enough left for a mule or a foal,” he says. “So I decided to make an old prospector with a mule.”

Thinking out of the box when it comes to carving sand is just one of several suggestions Koet has for recreational sand sculptors. (“Who says it has to be a castle?” he says.) He and other winners from the 2023 Texas SandFest say they are always happy to see novices get creative.

Here are five of the pros' top tips for producing a beachfront masterpiece.

1. Think beyond the standard sandcastle
“Design and sculpt outside of your comfort zone,” says Abe Waterman, a sculptor from Prince Edward Island, Canada, who took first place in the Solo Masters division with his sculpture, “Sleeps with Angels.” The mega sculpture featured four angels at four corners holding a blanket carrying a sleeping woman. “While this may not lead to the best sculpture results, one will improve faster by doing this.”

Waterman noted that there are different types of sand depending on location. Some are better suited for detailed work while others work well for verticality. “But something can always be sculpted regardless of the sand quality, the design just may need to be altered,” he says.

Koet recommends picking something that will fit your attention span. “You can make anything you want,” he says. “You can make a cat, a shark, a monster truck, your high school mascot, a sneaker, or a shark eating an ice cream cone.”

2. Use the right tools
Forgo the cheap tourist shop plastic bucket and shovel set. “You definitely need proper tools to get a good result: A solid shovel, a few trowels – not too big – and a wall painting brush to clean your sculpture,” says Dutherage. “You’ll also need buckets.”

Think big painter’s buckets, he says, used to make what’s essentially “sand mud” consisting of lots of water and sand. Which leads to the next tip ...

3. Create a form mold
Consider this the secret to head-turning sand sculptures. Whether it’s a 10-foot-tall wooden box with sides that come off, or a plastic bucket with the bottom cut out, a “form mold” is an open-top vessel used to hold packed sand and water to create a carve-able structure.

“It’s a very useful thing to have in order to get a solid block, and to go high,” says Dutherage. “If you are a handyman, you can build your own forms. But a quick solution is to take a bucket, no matter what size, and cut out the bottom. Then put that bucket upside down on the sand. Add a few inches of sand, some water, mix with your trowel and compact that layer. Repeat until the bucket is full. Then gently pull the bucket up and surprise! You will get a nice block of sand ready for a sandcastle full of windows, arches, and gates.”

The compacted layers of sand and water almost act as cement, creating a sturdy base for carving. Dutherage says folks can easily repeat the form mold process to create multiple bases, either side by side or stacked.

4. Use plenty of water, for the sculpture and yourself
Benoit recommends adding even more water during the sculpting process.

“Bring a plant sprayer,” he says. “Sand needs to be wet to be sculptable.”

Even rain during sand sculpture building isn’t necessarily a bad thing. “One of the biggest misconceptions is that rain will destroy a sand sculpture,” says Waterman. “While this is possible, most often it just textures the surface.”

Water is also essential for the sculptor, as staying hydrated is key during the process, Waterman adds.

Texas SandFest

Texas SandFest

"The Prospector" took first place in the 2023 Texas SandFest People's Choice category

5. Practice, Practice, Practice
“The biggest misconception is that I do anything different than anybody who does it only for the first time,” says Koet, who’s been sculpting sand for 25 years. “Sure, I bring more and bigger tools and I spend much more time shoveling the sand high and mixing it with water. But there is no magic other than years of practice.”

Waterman, who admits sand sculpting has taken over his life, competes in up to 10 contests a year and also creates sculptures for exhibits and corporate commissions.

“Tricks and tips will only get a person so far,” he says. “But ultimately practice and putting the time in will get them a whole lot further.”

Benoit agrees. “Making a sand sculpture requires a lot of work and the more you practice, the better you will get,” he says. “But first of all, you have to enjoy the fun of it.”

New Hill Country farmers market debuts in Bee Cave this month


Over 40 local farmers and makers will bring their goods to the Hill Country Galleria on Sunday, June 4 for the launch of the new Bee Cave Farmers Market. Visitors can shop at the Central Plaza Lawn from 10 am to 2 pm.

Locally-grown, fresh produce will be sold by Farmer Dave's, Citizen Mushroom, Pedernales River Farm, Persnickety Gardens, and Smyrna Farms. Gift and creative vendors include Auntie Gigi's Dog Treats, Austin Fine Jewelry, B&G Artisan Gifts, Herbal Root Collective, Luminosa Vida, Plant Lady ATX, and many more.

The farmers market doesn't just provide opportunities to shop local: Nonprofits that would like to spread the word about their cause can also find a place at the market with their free booth application.

Organizers have also dedicated an entire row of booths to young entrepreneurs looking to start their own small business, and provide any planning or decorating assistance as necessary, free of charge.

The market will also feature plenty of live music and family-friendly activities. Local bands will perform from 11 am to 2 pm every week in June. The Hens are scheduled to perform during the market's debut on June 4, and Rent Party will perform on June 11. Honeybee Jazz will bring their sultry vocals to the stage on June 18, and The Boss Jaguars will close out the month on June 25.

More information about the Bee Cave Farmer's Market can be found on their website.