Shows are plentiful around Austin for the new Cultural Arts Season. Check out TODO Austin’s recommendations below.
The Long Center for the Performing Arts
The Kraken Quartet. Saturday, September 8, 8 p.m. A massive force of percussion and electronics, The Kraken Quartet is a genre-crossing group known for its highly energetic and engaging performances. Since their formation in 2012, the Austin-based group has been heralded for merging elements of math rock, minimalism, indie, post-rock, electronica, and the avant-garde. Comprised of members Chris Demetriou, Andrew Dobos, Taylor Eddinger, and Sean Harvey, the group is proud to use Vic Firth sticks and mallets, and Grover Pro Percussion and Hammerax instruments. The Kraken Quartet has been featured on several festivals and broadcasts including South by Southwest, Fast Forward Austin, Audiotree Live, Austin Instrumental Music Festival, WNYC, KUTX, SoundSpace, and more.
Ballet Folklórico de México. Thursday, Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m. The award-winning folkloric ballet ensemble from Mexico City, Ballet Folklórico de México, returns to the U.S. this year for an extended multi-city tour and will take the stage in Dell Hall for one night only. Recognized internationally for its presentations of traditional Mexican dance, this world-famous company presents a spectacular show the whole family can enjoy. Called “captivating” by The New York Times and a company with “extraordinary flair” by the Chicago Sun-Times, Ballet Folklórico “sets the stage ablaze with vibrant color and engaging rhythms” (The Boston Globe) as it honors Mexico’s rich cultural history. Founded in 1952 by dancer and choreographer Amalia Hernández, Ballet Folklórico brings together the music, dance and costume of Mexican folklore from pre-Columbian civilizations through the modern era.
Vicente Amigo. Sunday, Oct. 21, 7:30 p.m. A transcendent performer, composer and producer, Vicente Amigo burst onto the major stages of flamenco in his native Spain while still a teenager. Since then, he has earned a shelf full of awards, including a Latin Grammy in 2001 for Ciudad de Las Ideas (City of Ideas). Four years after his last album, and recently awarded with the Gold Medal of the Fine Arts by the Spanish government, Vicente is back with his most traditional flamenco album Memoria de los Sentidos—the class of flamenco which is felt and expressed by very few artists.
Marcia Ball. Wednesday, May 8, 7:30 p.m. Texas-born, Louisiana-raised pianist, songwriter and vocalist Marcia Ball has had a long and storied career. As the 2018 Texas State Musician of the Year and a 2018 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame inductee, she’s won worldwide fame and countless fans for her ability to ignite a full-scale roadhouse rhythm and blues party every time she takes the stage. Her rollicking Texas boogies, swampy New Orleans ballads and groove-laden Gulf Coast blues have made her a one-of-a-kind favorite for music lovers all over the world.
Texas Performing Arts
Taylor Mac, “A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (Abridged).” Thursday, Sep. 27 and Friday, Sep. 28, 8 p.m. Playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, performance artist, director, producer, and “Critical darling of the New York Scene” (New York Magazine), Taylor Mac has performed in hundreds of venues across the globe. Named “one of the most exciting theater artists of our time” by Time Out New York, Mac creates extravagant performance events that provoke and embrace diverse audiences. Taylor Mac will escort you through an abridged version of this epic piece that was originally performed as a one-time 24-hour event and was recognized on The New York Times 2016 lists of Best Performances, Best Theater, and Best Music. “A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (Abridged)” interprets the social history of the United States—all 240 years and counting—through popular songs ranging from murder ballads to disco, Walt Whitman to David Bowie, and beyond. The show is a dazzling experience that reflects our nation’s diverse and sometimes dysfunctional story so as to bolster a uniquely American sense of possibility.
Ragamala Dance Company. Thursday, Oct. 18. 8 p.m. Minneapolis-based Ragamala Dance Company “is providing some of the most transcendent experiences that dance has to offer,” (The New York Times) and have created a genre of performance that brings together a contemporary Western aesthetic with an Indian ethos. Sharing the South Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam with audiences for over 25 years, Ragamala brings their multidisciplinary work “Written in Water” to the Bass Concert Hall stage. Inspired by the second century Indian board game, Paramapadham (the precursor to Snakes and Ladders) and the 12th century Sufi poem, “A Conference of Birds,” the show explores parallels between ecstasy and longing in Hindu and Sufi thought. With original artwork and a score by composer Amir ElSaffar, “Written in Water” brings together internationally celebrated artists and features a live music ensemble with a unique alchemy of Iraqi, jazz, and Carnatic instruments.
Eddie B – Teachers Only Comedy Tour. Saturday, Dec. 22, 8 p.m. Eddie B is comedy on steroids. While others waited in the wings for a shot at becoming a top standup comic, the Houston native soared to new heights by creating his own opportunity with the blockbuster “Teachers Only Tour.” Shattering attendance records, this tour has established Eddie as the official voice of teachers across the globe. Educators from America to Africa, Dallas to Dubai, New York to New Delhi (and beyond) are getting a lesson in the funniest ways to express their worst frustrations and they are loving every second of Eddie B’s uncensored, raw, and hysterically realistic portrayal of a teacher’s hectic life, from the point of view of an actual teacher. The phenomenon, which began with a series of videos entitled “What Teachers Really Say” (written, produced, and starring Eddie B) has tapped into a niche only this multi-faceted comic/teacher can comprehend. Eddie B says what teachers everywhere are thinking but couldn’t quite say out loud, until now.
Teatro Línea de Sombra, “Amarillo.” Friday, Mar. 29, 8 p.m. “Amarillo” tells the story of a man who departs Mexico for a land of dreams: Amarillo, Texas—but vanishes before reaching his destination. Far away, a woman reconstructs his journey, imagining what might have transpired not only for him, but for the other thousands of faceless men and women who have taken the same path—and for those who were left behind. Combining stunning multimedia projections, visceral imagery, and poetic storytelling, this renowned theater company from Mexico City creates a rich, poignant meditation on the harsh realities faced by immigrants and their families. Amarillo is performed in Spanish with projected English subtitles. Jorge A. Vargas and Alicia Laguna are the artistic directors.
Austin Symphony Orchestra
“Oz with Orchestra.” Saturday, Oct. 27, 8 p.m. One of the most beloved films of all time, The Wizard of Oz can now be seen and heard in a magical new production. John Goberman, Emmy-Award winning producer of “Live from Lincoln Center” and the creator of the acclaimed “A Symphonic Night at the Movies” presents “Oz with Orchestra.” See this classic film projected on screen while your Austin Symphony Orchestra performs along with the film. Come in costume as your favorite character!
“Creative Expressions” – Celebrating Women Composers. Friday, Mar. 22 and Saturday. Mar. 23, 8 p.m. A real musical treat served up by your Austin Symphony Orchestra, celebrating the treasures composed by women through the ages. The evening’s banquet begins with “Overture in C Major” by Fanny Mendelssohn and continues with expressive works by “Lili” Boulanger, Clara Schumann, Vítězslava Kaprálová and award-winning American composer Jennifer Higdon. Joined by the famed group Time for Three and prominent pianist Michelle Schumann, ready your taste buds for a palette of artistic decadence. There will also be a pre-concert talk given by Bob Buckalew at 7:10 pm.