Posts Tagged ‘News’

H.M.S. Pinafore: this saucy ship’s a beauty

This production of H.M.S. Pinafore captivates. The orchestra’s bigger and brighter than ever (19 members counted), and so’s the chorus (28 members counted). Both the men and the women of the chorus excel, and for once the men get to dance more than the women. The orchestra is bold and bright, a true pleasure to hear.

Austin favorites Holton Johnson, Russell Gregory, Janette Jones, and David Fontenot reprised starring roles to great applause; Gil Zilkha as the captain and Carol Brown as Josephine, his daughter, shone. We attended the Sunday matinee that was preceded by a one-hour program for young people. H.M.S. Pinafore held the attention of children for the entire performance. There was no difficulty at all in understanding the snappy lyrics, so clearly sung, but there are supertitles above the stage for anyone who may find them to be a helpful supplement to the performance.

This show is crammed with songs that are not to be forgotten. Most are jaunty and funny; some are a bit more serious and are treated so (for example, “Refrain, audacious tar”). Pinafore will make happy people happier and will brighten the darkest day.

Remaining performances are: Thursday, June 19, 7:30 pm; Friday, June 20, 7:30 pm; Saturday, June 21, 2 pm and 7:30 pm; and Sunday, June 22, 2 pm. All seats are reserved; tickets may be purchased on line for pick-up at the theater (Brentwood Chistian School, 11908 North Lamar).

Thank you, Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Austin!

Conjunto fest today: dance your heart out ’til 10 pm

Head right over to Fiesta Gardens and you’ll be in time to take part in the dance contest at the Cinco de Mayo conjunto event. Santiago Jimenez, Jr., has taken the stage and there are more conjuntos to come. Entrance is $7 for adults. Parking is free. There are free carnations for the ladies, in honor of Mother’s Day. Other freebies were fans, frisbees, and pencils. There’s no need to dine ahead of time, because there’s plenty of food to accompany the various liquid refreshments. Bring a folding chair or be seated on the bleachers under the pavilion roof sheltering the stage and shading the dance floor. The Cinco de Mayo souvenir tee-shirts are just $10. See more pictures on Flickr. And go dance, for happy feet and happy spirits.

Car2go a go-go

Your chariot awaits you, courtesy of car2go. These little Smart cars (Smart car fortwo) are surprisingly roomy, with capacious adjustable seats set well off the ground, and the car2go Web site has a complete instruction video, welcomed by today’s chauffeur, who has operated nothing but manual transmissions since forever.

Cars may be reserved, of course, but for those of us who live and work in close-in Austin, there’s always one to be found for the taking, it seems. Look near City and County offices; libraries are also a good bet.

The Web site is a bit disorganized, but the FAQs are helpful, and the actually process is even simpler than it’s described as being.

Everything worked exactly as promised, in a simple and logical way. All who have the cards required in order to access the vehicles say that they arrived with two or three days, a tiny miracle. Along with the card comes a map of the current service area and a two-sided sheet of things to do and not to do. Parking couldn’t be easier. The fun is cheap and no cost is incurred until a car is actually rented.

This service represents a delightful and practical service, and this beta pilot program is for us in Austin only. If we use it well, perhaps other towns will have an opportunity to benefit as well.

Austin in print

Here’s a brief roundup of how the rest of the world has been looking at us lately.

  • For a full-page “36 Hours” feature, today’s NYT looks at Austin. The accompanying maps show such small-time streets as Gibson, Monroe, and Annie (NYT travel section, 29 November, byline Jaime Gross). The site includes a slide show and lots o’ links to Austin recommendations, and readers may add their own. See what you think. Austin’s lack of useful public transportation is noted, by the way, leading to advice to find other means of getting around town.
  • Time magazine’s long cover feature on “helicopter parents” includes a section set in Austin that’s introduced in this way: “Eleven parents are sitting in a circle in an airy, glass-walled living room in south Austin, Texas, eating organic, gluten-free, nondairy coconut ice cream.” It’s a Slow Family Living class. Austinites Carrie Contey and Bernadette Noll come in for a mention by name.
  • It’s thanks to the December issue of Vogue that I learned of a locally based outfit called Home Grow Micro Farms. This outfit says on its Web site that it delivers pre-planted, self-watering vegetable gardens in containers measuring 1 foot by 3. The article itself is an interview with Jesse Kamm, who touts Spartan on South Lamar.

“Keep Austin Weird” appears only in the NYT coverage. If “Live Music Capital of the World” popped up anyplace, I didn’t happen to notice it (or perhaps it was there somewhere and my eyes glazed over). It’s always a plus when any reporter writes anything that’s even the tiniest step away from the beaten path.

Mysterious noise identified

Some speculated that it was machinery of some sort; others, toads; still others, a bird. Thanks to diligent research and consultation with experts, the producer of the very loud sound that’s new to most of us this summer has been identified as a giant cicada. Here’s a link to some recordings. Warmer weather has apparently encouraged these insects to extend their range northward. Here’s what the San Antonio Express-News reported recently: “Giant cicadas making quite a racket,” byline Anton Caputo. This article has been syndicated by AP but has not appeared in our local daily. We have been seeing the sheddings from the usual cicacadas, not all that large, but have not yet seen any signs of these quite cacophonous creatures, only heard them.

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