Photo by Nativas Studios

Nativas Studios has been on 5th Street since last summer, but it was all-in street marketing during South by Southwest (SXSW) that brought its biggest crowds. Co-owner and stylist Liz Valadez stationed her husband at the door like a town crier offering free professional headshots, which the team turned out in minutes flat. This, the founders decided, would mark the studio’s official launch.

Inside were Valadez herself, co-owner and photographer Richelle Monae, and their favorite makeup artist, Angelo Pegran, each working on different steps of an editorial process sped up for curious crowds.

“It was so cool just to see how, when people actually said that they were going to go, that they showed up,” says Monae, marveling over the reliability of Austinites they met at the chaotic festival, and perhaps forgetting that free headshots are a contemporary holy grail.

The Nativas creators, from Los Angeles, are still getting used to their new surroundings. It was a trial by fire — or more accurately, ice — when the two first arrived in 2021 with their partners, considering a personal move before the photo idea was even born. Staying in an Airbnb, the group had its first impression of the Texas city completely overwritten by Winter Storm Uri.

Thankfully, the house was close enough to the hospital that its power never went out, so the visitors hosted friends in the area who weren’t so lucky. Stuck inside, they discovered a treasure trove of costumes and had such a morale-boosting photoshoot that it became a professional genesis. When Nativas was ready for business, the friends’ shared real estate agent was their first client.

“What we learned from doing this and [about] people from Austin,” Monae concluded, “is the amount of support — just how amazing people really are.”

Given more time than the hectic pace that day allowed, the Nativas Team is all about folding clients into a professional experience without assuming any prior experience or modeling prowess. It starts with a consultation, then moves through talks about wardrobe — either selecting the client's pieces or using Valadez’s resources — and even vision boards. When it comes time to shoot, the client gets a modeling lesson and a killer playlist.

In our very short, impromptu window before I had to run to a different reservation, Monae cued me to think of my favorite celebrity, and embody them. My frazzled mind went directly to Liam O’Brien, a voice actor I don’t think I would ever look like in a photo. I crossed my arms in an O’Brienish way. It’s not how I would normally choose to be represented in a photo, but an interesting departure from my usual instinct.

Breaking through the clients’ preexisting mentality is not just Nativas’ mission, but both creators’ raison d'être. Both Latinas from families with native heritage, they point out a generational pattern they’ve noticed.

“A lot of times when you're born into a situation, you think that situation defines who you are,” says Monae. “And then you get stuck in that conversation, and it's a conversation that you didn't even make up. It's a conversation that was generations before youm, from your mom and from…your mom's mom's mom.”

Valadez co-signs the thought. “If you start thinking of yourself in that [limited] manner, then your pictures are not going to look good. We're not therapists, but we definitely want to be able to help them facilitate [change] by the outside, and the inside, and the voices in your head.”

Much like Queer Eye ethos that swept the world up in a supportive embrace, this philosophy, the Nativas team hopes, will empower clients to see themselves in a new light, then carrying that confidence onward to more real-world achievements.

Nativas hopes clients will use photos for more charismatic corporate headshots, dating profiles, and creative self-promotion. To help build up the latter portfolio and help visiting artists during SXSW, the team set up free shoots for Austin local Moody Bank$, South African singer-songwriter Manny Walters, and Norwegian alt-pop duo Ask Carol.

A photoshoot at Nativas Studios is inherently flexible, so the team is still nailing down its pricing. So far, a three-look photoshoot inclusive of all planning, styling, and makeup starts at $800. Because Nativas hopes to work with creatives, it will also factor in some sliding scale negotiations to work with clients who are still getting established.

More information about Nativas Studios is available at nativasstudios.com.


Here are the Hollywood celebrities we spotted in Austin for SXSW, plus more top stories

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. Here are all the Hollywood celebrities we've spotted in Austin so far for SXSW. From Elizabeth Olsen and Eric Andre, here are some of the celebs we spotted out and about during the fest — and this was just weekend one.

2. Texas coastal town tops Austin's favorite spring break destination. Several cities in Colorado ranked highly, but this report says one Texas beach town is still the No. 1 spring break getaway for Austinites.

3. Austin rent prices increased nearly 10 percent from 2022, report finds. Zumper ranked Austin the No. 25 most expensive rental market in the United States.

4. Escape the crowds at SXSW: 8 Austin-area hangs, parties, and activities. Escaping the crowds during SXSW can be a challenge, but there are plenty of other things to do in Austin in mid-March.

5. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon will make surprise SXSW appearance with closing night film. Affleck's Air will make its surprise SXSW debut tonight at the Paramount Theatre as the closing night film for SXSW.

Photo by Dave Creaney (@davecreaney)

Local indie record label calls for a new model of Austin-focused music events during SXSW

music from outer space

Beyond the celebrity sightings, film screenings, TV premieres, music showcases, and insightful panels, there's something else that makes South by Southwest (SXSW) magical each year. Yes, the shows are fun and the traffic is bad, but the networking is the best there is.

Whatever events locals do (or don’t) get into, there’s something to learn from these pinnacles of community gathering. Lots of unofficial SXSW events are the perfect mix of intentional and organic, and attendees and avoiders alike have to wade through valuable conversation starters just to get there.

Spaceflight Records, a groundbreaking non-profit record label based in Austin, is hosting a sold-out “Crawfish Boil & Austin Indie Label Mixer” in true SXSW spirit on Saturday, March 18. Friends, family, passersby, and especially other industry players will stop by to enjoy some live music, crawfish, and each other’s company, hopefully creating lasting connections for year-round mutual support.

“The Indie labels here in Austin have a pretty tight-knit community,” says Spaceflight founder Brett Orrison.

These remarks may sound surprising to people who see Austin as a low pressure zone for music industry infrastructure, or who see record labels as hypercompetitive, and both are at least historically true. That’s what makes the indie labels, and their commitment to each other, so important.

“We all do record bazaars and set up at different parties together. [The mixer is] just a chance for us to start an annual thing where we all … eat some crawfish and hang out, and talk about the recording industry here in Austin and what everybody's got going on for the next year,” Orrison says.

Seven sponsors join the ranks for this inaugural event. Four main sponsors — Hardcharger Records, Nine Mile Records, Keeled Scales, and Juice Consulting — are running the show. The three record labels are known for Southern styles, roots music, and artist-led support, respectively. Juice Consulting, the only non-record label in the mix, represents some of Austin’s most established talents, often in unexpected or nonprofit spaces.

Three additional sponsors, Feels So Good Records (relatively fresh from a rebrand), Mr. Pink Records (specializing in short-run cassettes and 45 RPM records), and Australian Cattle God Records (a small, fringe label) join in.

“I think just being a record label in the modern day, you're not competing with other labels,” says Orrison. “You're competing with a really hard business model and some really large companies. It's more like you have respect for the other labels because you know how hard it is, and when you can collaborate and do things together, it's always a win.”

Similarly, Orrison’s philosophy extends to the final product: making music outside of a monopoly is a good thing for music in general. Shinyribs, one of Nine Mile and Hardcharger’s artists and the headliner at the mixer, is a peak example of what can happen outside the pop machine putting artists on the cover of Rolling Stone.

The large and eccentric band has been an Austin institution for more than a decade, playing creative, distinctly Southern folk tunes and creating memorable moments at local festivals. Garrett T. Capps & Nasa Country (Spaceflight) and Meernaa (Keeled Scales) will also take the stage.

Spaceflight is not a new organization, but it is still building a SXSW presence. The mixer is its first independent effort, having booked the famous SXSW-official Outdoor Stage as a nonprofit partner in 2022. The label chose Croy and the Boys, Kalu and the Electric Joint, ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Heartless Bastards, and Golden Dawn Arkestra for an eclectic indie mix.

“This year it's more about presenting our bands. We do have a lot of eyes on us right now just because we are one of few nonprofits that are releasing music,” says Orrison. “We're trying to harness that and get people out to the shows, and … around our artists and managers or booking agents. We're a launching pad, so if an artist can get signed to a more established label that's going to treat them well, we're all about that.”

More information about Spaceflight Records and its artists is available at spaceflightrecords.com.

Photo courtesy of South by Southwest

Austin "cookie gays" offer safe spaces and investment opportunity after SXSW panel

safe spaces and cookies

Wunderkeks, a gay and immigrant-owned cookie company with a staggering amount of depth for something that could be sold on sugar content alone, has been showered with praise in the last three years. And it’s fundraising for another push into the stratosphere.

To recap, this brand almost folded the year South by Southwest (SXSW) got canceled out of concern for the pandemic. They made some famous friends, and won audiences over with earnest branding (and to-die-for chocolate chip cookies). They went to the Oscars, partnered with an increasingly impactful music festival, created a recipe with actress Tori Spelling, won a prestigious award from the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and still had time to produce tons of cookies. Luis Gramajo and Hans Schrei, co-founders and recipe developers, are among the Pastry Chef of the Year nominees for CultureMap's 2023 Tastemaker Awards.

This year the brand came full-circle with a panel at SXSW 2023 discussing safe spaces with VP of Communications at Virgin Atlantic Laura Brander, lead singer of Neon Trees Tyler Glenn, and the first openly gay statewide officer in Pennsylvania, Brian Sims. This topic has been central to Wunderkeks’ impact, and has elevated the company beyond a snack brand.

It turns out, not even the sky’s the limit for this married duo, whose cookies are soon to be warmed up and passed out on all outbound Virgin Atlantic flights (making these, unofficially, the best airplane snacks anyone has tasted) — if they can get the funding. Despite Wunderkeks’ meteoric success, it’ll take a little more than some careful planning to increase production and distribution by 100,000 cookies per month.

That’s the initial volume needed to get the partnership off the ground. Wunderkeks also hopes to offer a similar partnership to Delta, Virgin Atlantic’s U.S. partner, which the founders say would add up to "millions of people daily being touched by our message of building Safe Spaces."

Virgin Atlantic made news in 2022 for allowing cabin crew to choose the uniforms that best suit their gender identities. This made the company a great example for the panel — mostly building on ideas about making staff feel at home and enabling them to redirect their energy from suppressing self-expression to supporting guests — but also a corporate soulmate for the young retailers.

Gramajo, who moderated the panel, passed along the goodwill of Virgin Atlantic employees he interviewed when considering the partnership. Those employees had nothing to gain, he pointed out, in speaking highly of the company in private. They just felt seen.

Gramajo pointed out the similarities between this approach and the cookie brand’s, in all its pink glory. None of it was intentionally queer signaling. It wasn’t that Wunderkeks, itself, was queer.

“It’s that it’s us,” he concluded. “It’s amazing the energy that we waste when we code switch.”

Preserving that energy is also the purview of the Loveloud Festival, which another panelist, Tyler Glenn, founded with Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons to uplift LGBTQ+ youth in Utah. As a defected Mormon, Glenn was specifically pushing the boundaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Although he found the church much more powerful than he ever realized, the first years’ trials and tribulations paid off in an effusive show of love, support, and safe space for both the youth and their parents. Wunderkeks preaches the gospel of the tangible supportive atmosphere at the festival, and has previously partnered with Loveloud for joint branding on cookie boxes during pride month. A dollar from every box sold went to the foundation.

The third panelist did not represent any business partnerships, but he did articulate some of the day's most empowering messages from a perspective formerly inside the political beast. Brian Sims (D), now retired as a legislator, discussed largely Republican-led motivations of building momentum in transphobic attacks. Sims attributed an influx of trans-critical bills to a desire to separate the least vocally-supported and often the most politically-active portion of the gender and sexuality-diverse movement from the rest (the "T" from the "LGB").

Sims also shared a conversation he says he had with a Republican legislator about a similar effort, in which the legislator admitted he did not think the bill would ever pass. The panelist pointed out that such bills are often more about the showmanship than a desire to effect real change, but hopes that this chaos will lead to a strong pushback in the form of codifying protections that will put an end to copycat bills.

Wunderkeks needs $100,000 in this round of funding, lasting about two more weeks. This will get its cookies on flights and in the hands of cookie lovers and safe space champions in the air by April. The company is using Wefunder to sell future equity starting as low as $100-investments. In addition to the equity, there are tiered perks including a 10 percent discount, team T-shirt, and free cookies for a year. As of this writing, the current round has already reached $51,650 from a total of 30 investors.

More information about Wunderks, its business plan, and the terms of the future equity investments are available at wefunder.com.

Photo courtesy of DRIPBaR

This IV drip bar helped us cope with SXSW and Austin festival life

it's in our veins

Some people really hit the festival circuit hard. “I’m going to need an IV,” we say over our third brunch in a row. It sounds funny, but why not? The CultureMap Austin editors heard about a deal for South by Southwest (SXSW) badge holders, so we stopped by The DripBar (stylized The DRIPBaR) at The Domain to learn what it takes, and how much it helps.

There were no other patrons there at our 11 am appointment except one visitor in the personal sauna. (Relaxers stop by to choose their own temperature, plug in their tunes, dress as they see fit, and maybe even get some work done.) This was good news for us, seated in a communal treatment area in big, white arm chairs with drink or snack trays and ottomans.

Our orientation — very unlike the dramatic introduction video I watched a year ago to enter a sensory deprivation tank — was almost as easy as choosing a smoothie, and not much different nutritionally, either. We signed two short forms and took a look at the 20-IV drip menu, organized by effect and ingredients, which include lots of over-the-counter vitamins and supplements, plus a few more intensive add-ins.

The menu is divided into “lifestyle” and “health support” drips, plus a few quick shots that we didn’t try. (One of these uses semaglutide, better known as Ozempic, currently causing shortages as an off-label Hollywood weight loss hack that concerns some experts.) The lifestyle drips address needs like hangovers and jet lag, while the health support drips address issues like recent cancer treatments or a family history of dementia.

Most of the latter require lab testing. An in-house doctor (currently an emergency room doctor) mixes the necessary cocktails, often as prescribed by other doctors. Visitors may even pay with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or a Health Savings Account (HSA) depending on insurance.

Our picks were much simpler, and we both opted for more relaxing, recovery-based drips. I chose “Soother,” a recipe of vitamin C, magnesium, B12, and B-complex; Hannah got “Restoration,” which included all the same ingredients, plus glutathione, an antioxidant.

These vitamins are all water-soluble, meaning that our bodies can easily eliminate anything we overestimated a need for, so the stakes aren’t that high. It does appear possible to take too much magnesium or glutathione, but these supplements are also sold at grocery stores, safe to take without a consultation.

I chose “Soother” mostly because my muscles have not been loving walking miles every day while holding a computer, water bottle, snacks, and more in a backpack. Magnesium offers energy as well as improved muscle function, and I have been privy to discussions among contortionists about taking magnesium glycinate as part of heavy flexibility training. The DripBar menu addresses “tense muscles and a tense mind” in this offering’s description.

After we sat down (I grabbed a popcorn snack and some Perrier), a nurse inserted the cannula, which pinched vaguely more than, say, a flu shot and quickly became unnoticeable. I couldn’t feel the yellow liquid entering my arm, and I didn’t have to squeeze periodically, as if giving blood.

In fact, I didn’t know it had started at all until I noticed the cool feeling of the tube against my arm. I’m not proud of this, but I looked up at the bag and wondered why I couldn’t taste the lemon flavor I’d subconsciously assigned it.

Our appointment took a little longer than many would, first because we were chatting with the staff and owner, and then because one of our bags stopped flowing due to a “rolling vein” — basically, the vein evaded the needle stick the first time — which took us quite a while to notice. It was an easy fix, and we spent about an hour and a half from start to finish.

Hannah didn’t feel much from her infusion, but my results were strong and immediate. First, I felt like I do when I take more CBD than I need: not quite sleepy, but pleasantly dulled to the external world. By the time I stood up, a large amount of my muscle soreness had melted away, although I hadn’t noticed it happening. I did a quick split to test it out — the new pair of patients that joined us were not amused — but it felt good, and definitely not like I’d expect after four days of buses and walking.

I am still a little skeptical that I could feel a difference in my muscles after sitting 20-30 minutes after a completed infusion. Placebo or not, I got a break from running around and was able to start my day hydrated. Should I ever go way too hard at a festival again, I feel empowered to try this positive, low-effort experience again. So, October, probably. See you there.

DripBar is offering SXSW wristband or badge holders, or visitors who present a hotel key card, $50 off any lifestyle drip of their choice (usually $224), recommending “Powerpack” for an energy boost or “Restoration” after a night of drinking. The deal also offers a $99 hydration drip, which includes a complimentary 20-minute session in the Halo Infrared Salt Sauna. More information is available at thedripbar.com.

Film still from Join or Die

SXSW documentary says joining a group is the key to democracy and not dying next year

weirder together

In a place that values weirdness — or at least claims to — it may seem odd to be urged to assimilate into a well-defined social group. But that's what Join or Die, a documentary with a world premiere at South by Southwest (SXSW) on March 12, prescribes.

It is a matter of health: In 1995, political science researcher Robert D. Putnam asserted that, statistically, joining and participating in just one group cuts a person's likelihood of dying in the next year in half. It's also a matter of democracy.

Putnam started his research in Italy when the government was regionalized (i.e. split into the 20 regions we now recognize as Lombardy, Tuscany, and others), realizing a unique opportunity to start gathering data from the very beginning of a government system. He compared success in those regional governments by measuring data like how often they achieved their own publicly set goals, and the overall satisfaction of constituents.

Wealth was a factor that set apart most successful regions from unsuccessful ones, but within the successful range more money did not necessarily mean more success. One can assume a certain amount of money helps until a certain point. This set Putnam on a path of searching for greater correlation (as close to a straight line as possible) between practice and success, which eventually led him to civic engagement.

After the film lays out Putnam's initial experiments and findings in his landmark book from 2000, Bowling Alone, it settles into its apparent true purpose: distilling the written theory for more casual consumption over 99 minutes, and setting up case studies and testimonials (including an emotional look into the bonds of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in Waxahachie, Texas) from two decades deeper into America's plunge into individualism.

"Social capital" is the center of the theory: When people make and strengthen connections, their networks build value. Greater reciprocity — the idea that people will help and punish each other for mutual benefit — eventually leads to greater trust in the social system. The film also identifies a type of person who is predisposed to getting involved (a "joiner") and discusses what makes events appeal to those people (a clearly defined and communicated purpose).

The film did not explicitly distinguish — although the premier audience responded strongly to it in the following Q&A with Putnam, sibling filmmakers Rebecca and Pete Davis, and other key players — the difference between healthy groups and cults or conspiracies.

"One of the things that is mentioned in the film, but actually not named in the film, is a distinction between two different kinds of social capital or two different kinds of networks: networks that link you to people just like yourself, and networks that link you to people who are unlike you," Putnam offered. "The jargon here...is 'bridging' and 'bonding.'"

He used an example that assigned bonding social capital to his relationships with other elderly, Jewish, white, male, professors like him, but assigned bridging social capital to those relationships with people of different generations, races, professions, and political ideologies.

"And I'm not saying bridging, good; bonding bad," Putnam continues," because if you if you get sick, the people bringing chicken soup are likely to be your bonding social capital. But I am saying that a modern diverse country like ours needs a lot of bridging social capital.... My grandmother ... said, 'Birds of a feather flock together.' And what she meant was, 'Bridging social capital is harder to build than bonding social capital. She didn't think I'd understand that, which is why she used the avian metaphor."

This sense of humor, bolstered by a plucky voiceover, cute animations, and clever editing quick with a punch line, is all over Join or Die. Although there is a focus on the continuing decline of social capital and in-person infrastructure since midcentury America, the tone is overall inviting. Putnam is explicitly categorized as an optimist, and he emphasizes that he doesn't think we need to revert to the '50s; we should just examine what led to the culture full of joiners.

Other actionable theories asserted by the film include that social capital is best built face-to-face as opposed to digitally; that groups are strongest when they exist out of a natural desire to participate rather than a feeling of obligation; and that building meaningful connections is hard, which is part of what drives their eventual value.

Austinites interested in not dying might want to explore some of the following clubs, group activities, and volunteer opportunities previously covered by CultureMap:

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Juggernaut rock band Nickelback adds Austin stop to 2023 tour

Look at this photograph

Nickelback is back: Canadian-born rock juggernaut Nickelback is going on tour in summer 2023 to support their new album, Get Rollin'.

Called the "Get Rollin’ Tour," it'll hit 38 cities, launching on Monday, June 12 in Quebec City, QC at Videotron Centre, with special guests country rocker Brantley Gilbert and rising country artist Josh Ross.

It'll make three stops in Texas, including a new Austin stop as part of the tour's recently extended fall dates.

  • Saturday, July 22: Dos Equis Pavilion in Dallas
  • Sunday, July 23: Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in Woodlands
  • Saturday, September 23: Moody Center in Austin

So sorry, San Antonio! Sounds like a road trip is on the offing. Comfort yourself with the band’s announcement video here.

Tickets for the new Austin date will be available starting with an artist presale on Friday, June 9 at 10 am. Additional presales will run throughout the weekend ahead of the general on-sale beginning Tuesday, June 13 at 10 am at livenation.com. A venue presale will run Monday, June 12 from 10 am - 10 pm, with code: RIVERSIDE at MoodyCenterATX.com.

Fans can also purchase VIP Packages, which may include premium tickets, invitation to the pre-show High Times VIP Lounge, specially designed Nickelback gift item, early entry into the venue & more. For more information, visit vipnation.com.

Nickelback's accomplishments are lengthy. The four-piece, comprised of Chad Kroeger, Mike Kroeger, Ryan Peake, and Daniel Adair, was named the most successful rock band of the decade by Billboard in 2009, globally celebrated for mega-hits such as “How You Remind Me,” “Photograph,” “Far Away,” and “Rockstar” which all held top spots on the Billboard 100.

"How You Remind Me" was named Billboard’s ‘Top Rock Song of the Decade," and was the #1 most played song on U.S. radio (any format) in the 2000s, according to Nielsen Soundscan, with over 1.2 million spins.

Get Rollin' was released on November 18, 2022, and is their first album in five years. A press release calls it "a thrilling soundscape of adventure, nostalgia, and emotional exploration."

It debuted at #2 across the Current Rock, Alternative, Hard Music, and Digital Album charts; landed on the ARIA Album Chart at No. 3; and in the Top 10 in the UK, Canada, Germany, Australia and Austria. And in a career first for the band, it debuted at No. 1 in Switzerland. Switzerland!

Wait, there's more Nickelback accolades: They’ve received nine Grammy nominations, three American Music Awards, a World Music Award, a People’s Choice Award, 12 JUNO Awards, seven MuchMusic Video Awards, and have been inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame (2007).

Extending their legacy yet further, Nickelback was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at the JUNO Awards on March 13, 2023.

Lack of romantic chemistry keeps Past Lives from flying high

Movie Review

Many people have wondered about what might have been with someone in their past, and in the age of social media, it’s been easier than ever to reconnect with that person, even if they live far away. That concept of missed opportunities is at the center of the new film, Past Lives.

Written and directed by Celine Song, the film shows the relationship of Ha Young, aka Nora (Greta Lee), and Hae Sung (Teo Yoo) at three different points in their lives. They are first introduced as 12-year-old friends in Korea, competing academically and perhaps crushing on each other. They are soon separated, though, when Nora and her family move to Canada.

Twelve years later, they meet again thanks to Facebook, starting a dialogue over Skype that lasts multiple weeks. Twelve more years pass before they are able to actually meet in person, by which time Nora, a writer, has married a fellow creative, Arthur (John Magaro). With Hae Sung barely speaking English and Arthur only a little bit of Korean, the reunion is awkward and then some.

The film can best be compared to the Before… series, although it doesn’t have nearly the romance that those classic Richard Linklater films do. The will they/should they push-and-pull of their bond is at the heart of the entire film, with the Korean concept of “in yeon,” which essentially deals in destiny, invoked on multiple occasions. Song does her level best to imbue the conversations between Nora and Hae Sung with a lot of meaning.

The only issue is that those chats are often disjointed and stilted. The scenes with them as children contain, as you might expect, mostly surface-level observations, but they also give the pair their largest amount of face-to-face time of the whole movie. The Skype conversations and ones with either Arthur present or looming psychologically over them fail to be fully engaging, with both Nora and Hae Sung holding back more often than not.

There are clearly good reasons for them to do so, with the barrier of the video calls or Nora’s marriage standing in their way. But any good romance, even one that never really was, needs to impart those feelings to the audience, and their scenes together never reach that necessary level. Nora’s scenes with Arthur are also less than rousing, leaving the film with a curious lack of chemistry on all sides.

Even though the connection between their characters doesn’t develop into something swoon-worthy, both Lee and Yoo give interesting performances. Nora is more sophisticated, giving Lee something extra to reach for in her scenes. Hae Sung seems stuck in time, drinking with the same buddies and living with his parents, and Yoo’s performance matches this repressed nature. Magaro is capable of much more than this particular role gives him.

The style of filmmaking and the generally good acting keeps Past Lives watchable even as its central story doesn’t have the intended impact. Great romances exist in all sorts of different forms, but the one presented here is not especially memorable.


Past Lives opens at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar on June 9; it opens wide on June 23.

Greta Lee and Teo Yoo in Past Lives

Photo courtesy of A24 Films

Greta Lee and Teo Yoo in Past Lives.

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

Weekend Event Guide

Concerts, Pride-themed partying, and live entertainment have made their way to the top of our agenda for the next few days. Celebrate Pride Month by dancing into the night at Vacancy Brewing or catch a screening of Eva Longoria’s new drama at Cine Las Americas Film Festival. For music fans, Weezer and Ryan Adams & The Cardinals shows are sure to be your speed. Check out the top seven things to do in Austin this weekend. For a full list of events, go to our calendar.

Thursday, June 8

Vaughn Art Gallery + Agency presents Thomas Flynn II: "To Catch the Sun Dreaming" opening reception
Experience the newest work by Thomas Flynn II, artist in residence at Vaughn Art Agency & Gallery. Flynn’s art is noted for his color choice and plein air painting (i.e. painting outdoors) to create highly-coveted contemporary marvels. Following the reception, the exhibit will be on display until July 22. Admission to the opening is free.

Cine Las Americas International Film Festival
The 25th Anniversary edition of Cine Las Americas features a packed schedule of the most in-theater screenings and events in festival history. Screenings will take place at AFS Cinema and Galaxy Theater. Highlights of the five-day event include Eva Longoria’s Flamin’ Hot on opening night, several competition films, and Claudia Sainte-Luce comedy Amor y matemáticas (Love and Mathematics) as the closing night film. For festival information, go to cinelasamericas.org.

Weezer in concert
Weezer comes back to Austin in support of their 2021 album, Van Weezer. The Los Angeles-based rock band has remained a worldwide sensation for decades due to chart-topping hits such as “Buddy Holly” and “Beverly Hills.” For ticketing information about this show at Germania Insurance Amphitheater, check Ticketmaster.

Stateside at the Paramount presents "Becky Robinson: She Gone Tour"
Comedian and multihyphenate Becky Robinson makes a stop at Stateside at the Paramount on her national stand-up tour. Robinson has made a lane for herself in the comedic space by way of social media stardom. She is best known for her viral videos, her one-woman show, The Heavy Pour, and her online persona, “Entitled Housewife.” Get more details on austintheatre.org.

Friday, June 9

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals in concert
Americana music stars Ryan Adams & The Cardinals return to Austin for a live show at ACL Live & 3TEN at ACL LIve. Fans of the “Now That You’re Gone” band can expect the same hits with a new line-up of Adams, Brad Pemberton, Chris Stills, Daniel Clarke, and Don Was. Get seating information on Ticketmaster.

Saturday, June 10

Vacancy Brewing presents a "Pride Night Party"
Show your Pride Month spirit at this Vacancy Brewing nighttime bash. Guests can enjoy glitter beer, live music from DJ Lucia Beyond, Pride merch, Pride cans, and extended hours to keep the dance party going. Admission is free. A portion of the proceeds from this event benefit the Austin chapter of PFLAG.

Sunday, June 11

Cap City Comedy Club presents Michael Palascak
Comedian Michael Palascak performs fresh material with two back-to-back shows in one night at Cap City Comedy Club. He’s appeared on many of the comedy world’s biggest stages including The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Conan, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Late Night with David Letterman. For tickets, visit capcitycomedy.com.

Photo by Jeremy Cowart

Weezer performs live at Germania Insurance Amphitheater on June 8.