Where we look at what was big this week with reviews from viewers like you.
In a city of many festivals, the Austin Film Fest is one of, if not perhaps the best festival of the year. Aside from being easily one of the more well-organized fests around town, the number of offerings as well as the caliber of quality events and screenings is astounding. Q&A’s after so many of the viewings, great locations, incredible films, friendly helpful everything, free stuff, panels, community. But what is so unique about Film Fest, and what I feel separates it from other fests like, say ACL or Fantastic Fest, is the creator aspect of it. Most other fests are generally for entertainment purposes, but Film Fest, in a way, is that plus a competition, plus a gathering of a hyper-charged creative community. Aside from filmmakers with their own films in the fest, many goers are creators themselves, which creates this great communal aspect to the entire thing. It’s truly a unique experience and perspective on the arts. Doing rather than just watching.
2. Hunter Gatherers
It’s hard to know how to describe Hunter-Gatherers in a few words. If I had to, though, I would describe it as “pleasantly disturbing fun.” It begins with a married couple, Richard and Pam, as they prepare to have their friends, Tom and Wendy over. Richard has just brought a box that is moving, and we quickly learn that it’s a lamb, and that he plans to sacrifice it and serve it for dinner. When Tom and Wendy arrive, the interpersonal dynamics get interesting. First off, Richard challenges Tom to a wrestling match, which he wins, apparently as usual. Further, it becomes clear during the dinner that the two couples are badly mismatched. The reticent, stuffed-shirt Tom clearly does not satisfy the free-spirited Wendy, and the virile Richard is weary of the good-girl Pam. Meanwhile, Richard’s wrestling of Tom has homoerotic overtones. I won’t spoil it, but how all the tension unfolds will either offend you, delight you, or both, but it will hold your attention. Kudos to Capital T.
What better way to see Hamlet than near the Boggy Creek Cemetery. And, what is even more wonderful, part of the proceeds taken from the play will be donated to the Boggy Creek Cemetery. Justin Scalise may be small in stature but his acting ability bold. He was joined by and excellent an cast, Todd Kassens (Ghost of King Hamlet), Patrick Kaufmann (Laertes), Julia Lorenz-Olsen (Ophelia), Brock England (Horatio, Ashley Edward (Gertrude), Andrew Matthews (Claudius), Chuck Ney (Polonius), just to name a few. The play is 3 hours long with a 15 minute intermission. Bring your money to purchase your drinks and snacks. Don’t forget your chairs or blankets.
Not a complex story but oh what life the actors breathed into the story. Casting was so on the money for this one. New faces at Zach, refreshing. The musical directions so sharp. When every element of theatre works together with a good story, this is what you get from Zach’s presentation of RENT. Outstanding, the best, the lead Andrew Cannata (Mark)weaved in and out of the storytelling so flawlessly as did Roderick (Tom), Joshua (Angel) and Ginger Leigh (Maureen)what dazzling display of raunchy but classiness. John Pointer’s voice resonates superbly throughout the production, with a few more productions, he will eventually ease into acting as superbly as he sings. This is the finest of Zach. Go See for Yourself! Viva La Vie B Boheme
Vortex puts on another stunning production. Vampyress is a big opera, with pulsing lights, ritualistic music, strong vocalists, and gorgeous costumes and masks. The blood was certianly not over done – when I hear that a play is about a woman who bathes in the blood of virgins I expect to be covered in it myself by the end of the show – but to my pleasant surprise the subtly of it really made the show all the better. I’d have to say that my only complaint about the production was that in some of the songs the music drowned the vocals to a point where it made it difficult to understand the words. I was able to understand what was happening but I would have liked to have understood more of the lyrics. Overall my experience was good and I enjoyed the show
6. Discovering the Language of Photography: The Gernsheim Collection
Harry Ransom Center
7. Three Viewings