Faraway from Astoria, it was a really lovely weekend here in Austin. On Friday, Sam and I went to the Blanton Museum of Art. Once a month, they have an after hours party in the museum called B Scene. It reminded me of an event they have at the Brooklyn Museum, that was always fun, so it seemed worth checking out. As hundreds of gallery openings the world over have proven, there's something about drinking and art that just go well together. Better still, this month's theme for the party was somewhat Halloween related: Exquisite Corpse. The name comes from a French parlor game where different people complete a sentence or picture through connected lines on a folded piece of paper. I remember doing something similar as a child, creating new chimeras through random animal heads, bodies, and legs on a trifold.
In addition to the drawing activity, there were also some great bands, theme cocktails, and free lavender macarons and the galleries were all open to walk around (although naturally you had to put your drink down first). I had never been to the Blanton before, but it had some great exhibits and the permanent collection seemed to have some nice stuff too. I'm also quite a fan of the building itself, which goes a long way in my book. The only reason I ever kept going back to P.S. 1 (other than because it was free and in my neighborhood) was because of the building, as the art itself was never my cup of tea.
|Another one of the bands. I don't remember their name, but they had a cool sound.|
|I forgot what this art piece was supposed to represent, but it was 600 cattle bones hanging over 60,000 pennies.|
|Sam attempting an Exquisite Corpse drawing and having trouble with the ink pot. If you were the last person to finish one, you were allowed to keep it.|
|They had a free photo booth, so we were finally able to get a non-selfie together!|
Another excitement of the weekend was that the Texas Book Festival was in town. It's a free event that brings together a bunch of authors and publishers and shuts down a number of streets around the Capitol. We didn't go to the festival itself on Saturday, but we did go to the "Lit Crawl" that evening--a literary themed bar crawl on East 6th St organized for the festival. There were a number of really cool events happening at different bars in the area, but in the end we could only go to three. For Phase 1, we chose to go to a cocktail lounge for Sexist Bingo. Authors would read sexist quotes from famous writers throughout history from Plato to Jonathan Franzen and people would shout out the answers for prizes, while also recording them on their bingo cards. I was only Laura Ingalls Wilder away from bingo-ing and getting a free tote bag, but I like her, so I'm also glad to not hear what sexist things she had to say.
For Phase 2, we went to a reading series hosted by Austin Bat Cave, the nonprofit that organizes writing workshops for kids that I've been volunteering at since we moved here. There were some great stories, my favorite was from Bret Johnson, the writer of Corpus Christie Stories, describing trying to convince Joyce Carol Oates that he'd actually written his most well-known book while she was staunchly convinced it was written by someone else.
For Phase 3, we went to another bar for a Literary Death Match--a sort of read-off from new authors that culminated in a round of bar-wide literary charades. It was also a lot of fun, and I found a few new authors whose books I'd like to look up. Leaving that bar, we ran into someone I went to high school with, which when deciding to move to Austin was one of my fears. Luckily, it was one of the people I was happy to see again, so a happy and relatively not-awkward end to a lovely evening.
On Sunday, we went to the festival itself. We only stayed for one reading (by the author of this book), but we walked around for a while checking out all the exhibitors. Sam even ended up wining opera tickets to the Austin Opera. (Not sure how good they are since until Sunday I didn't know Austin has an opera...but hey, it's free!).
|Sam at the festival. You can't really tell, but he's wearing the shirt he won at Sexist Bingo. It has Walt Whitman lounging in a bath on it.|
|A group called the Typewriter Rodeo was there. They improv type up poems on vintage typewriters based on whatever word or phrase you want. We now have a lovely little poem called "Austin Re-Transplants"|