At the last minute, I got tickets to see Circus Oz last night at the newly reopened Bass Concert Hall. This is an Australian Circus, with all human performers. I didn’t know much about them nor did I know they were in town, but it turned out to be a great show.
For their opening act, all of the performers together took part in some impressive stuff along this large metal pole going up to the ceiling. Going up and down in every imaginable way.. it was incredible. I mean, I’ve seen some pretty amazing feats centered around vertical metallic poles at several… uhm… venues, but this was above and beyond any of that. In fact they were so good that I’m pretty sure that even I wouldn’t be able to do it. At least on the first try. No, really, it was really cool.
Compared to Cirque Du Soleil, which is the benchmark for fancy-schmantzy circuses in which there’s no risk of being peed on by a lion, Oz is a lot smaller in scale and the acts are less impressive. On the other hand, they aren’t nearly as pretentious, the music is better, they’re cooler (but not as cool as De La Guarda) and they try harder at humor. The humor part puzzled me though, because it was very simple, as if aimed at making little boys laugh (it worked)… yet it included some pretty off-color movements and poses (no, not during the metal pole act)… so there. Puzzling.
Last Saturday I attended a performance by The Israeli-Palestinian Comedy Tour. This is a group of four stand up comedians, three of them Jewish and one Palestinian. The show was at the JCAA so the vast majority of the audience was Jewish. Interesting timing with Operation Cast Lead in Gaza serving as background.
The show lasted a little under two hours. They opened with a short sketch and then each of the comedians did a stand up routine. They were very funny and I recommend the show. By far the funniest was Ray Hanania, also a journalist and the sole Palestininan in the group; and the only one who covered the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a more direct manner. The rest did a more generic Jewish/Israeli routine – lots of it centered around Israeli driving habits and circumsicion.
While The Israeli Palestinian Comedy Tour does a great job of exposing the views and voice of a moderate but less vocal majority in the conflict using humor, it’s disappointing when you take a closer look: None of the members were actually born in Israel or Palestine. Two of the three Jews in the group are recent converts. No muslims either. I couldn’t say they are exactly perfect insiders to the issues at hand nor the best demographical representation one could have hoped for.
Also dissapointing: my interview with KUT did not make the cut.
Embarrassingly, for the first time since I moved to Austin, I attended the East Austin Studio Tour (I didn’t even know about it!).
Last weekend, artists who live or have a studio, in the huge area between I-35, Town Lake (a few just south of it), Highway 183, and E. Martin Luther King; opened up their studios for people to visit, check out their work, and purchase whatever they like. This is a lot of terrain to cover in just two days! Check out the map if you don’t beleive me. I had no idea there were over 150 art studios in town, much less just in the East Austin area. Amazing.
Read more for more, including some photos.
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