And yes, there are warnings that Austin’s already-wretched traffic will be even more disastrous this year during SXSW than in years past. Nevertheless, we persist, with our list of #notSXSW things to do.
- With bluebonnets blooming it’s a perfect time to go west — to Texas Arthouse in Johnson City, a contemporary art gallery now run by Flatbed Press co-founder Mark L. Smith. The current exhibit is a thoughtful pairing of work by Catherine Lee and Kay Whitney.
- If March in Austin is SXSW month, in San Antonio March is Contemporary Arts Month. Start with the 2019 CAM Perennial exhibition at Blue Star Contemporary, which features an exchange between San Antonio and El Paso artists.
- Thought blockbuster Impressionism exhibits were a thing of the past? Nope. A big Vincent van Gogh exhibition opens March 10 at the Museum of Fine Arts-Houston. Also at the MFAH is a smart pairing of two traveling exhibitions. “Odyssey: Jack Whitten Sculpture, 1963-2017” charts the career of the Alabama-born African American artist who left the South behind and embraced global influences. “Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings” considers how the well-known photographer has dug into the troubled histories of the South.
There’s been considerable buzz about Houston writer Bryan Washington‘s forthcoming debut collection of short stories, “Lot,” and Washington will be in Austin at BookPeople on March 20, the day after the book’s official release date. Washington trains his writerly gaze on the sprawling, dynamic, complex city of Houston: its struggling working class, its immigrants, its neighborhoods, and the found relationships within the metropolis, especially those between young black and brown boys. Read Washington’s short story “Waugh” published in the Oct. 29, 2018, issue of the New Yorker. Also on the NewYorker.com site is an audio file of the author reading his story, and an interview with him: “Bryan Washington on sex work and community.”
Stay in Austin
- From that OTHER segment of the “Live Music Capital of the World”… take in a polished, workshop performance of the first half of “Lardo Weeping,” a new opera-in-the-making by ever-creative composer Peter Stopschinski. Based on Terry Galloway’s bold, one-woman play of the same name — and a virtuosic feat, performed by mezzo-soprano Liz Cass — “Lardo Weeping” is the journey through the mind of Dinah LeFarge, a fiercely individual yet reclusive genius, and a quite sexual woman of large body size who seldom ventures outside her apartment and refuses to answer her door unarmed. Through March 16 at the Ground Floor Theatre.
- Seek the sublime in “Journeying,” new paintings by Stella Alesi who mines the hard edge style of the 1960s in a new and insightful way. Opening 7 to 10 p.m. March 15, Prizer Arts & Letters gallery.
- Brand new plays! Running March 12-31, UT New Theatre offers a line-up of fresh, new plays like “Three Shitty Sons,” a disheveled, dark comedy by Hannah Kenah who is pretty brilliant at penning disheveled, dark comedies. A quirky homage to “Our Town,” Kenah’s tightly devised play finds three shitty sons who want their mother to hurry up and die already.