Hello, what’s up, and welcome to the November monthly edition of the Lite + Brite newsletter.
As lovers of DIY, creative, and generally bizarre events, we love a good Halloween celebration, and this year delivered good Halloween celebrations in spades. Brian DJed Unfine Arts‘ “Everything Everywhere All at Once”-themed party in a laundromat; we attended Hyperreal Film Club‘s screening of the Disney Channel classic (?) Halloweentown; and we were honored to have our spreadsheet of Halloween events featured in KXAN. We’d love to hear about what y’all did and wore, especially if it was inspired by our spreadsheet or newsletter. If you wanna gush or rant or vamp, head over to our Discord server and let’s discuss. We’ve shared our costume pics on there, feel free to post some of your own.
November is a big month for Austin events, which makes sense since it is one of the only times of year that’s not 100 degrees (usually). This month’s Austin Studio Tour is one of the city’s best annual events, as good as if not better than SXSW and ACL in our opinion—check out our studio tour guide below. November also means the Texas Book Fest, which this year includes a panel and book signing featuring Lite + Brite’s own editor and events curator Leila! Creek Show is another beloved November tradition with lots of impermanent site-specific art. And all these events are FREE. Scroll down for yet more important November stuff.
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Let’s do fun stuff!
—Leila + Brian
Looking Ahead to Upcoming Events
Our weekly newsletters will include many more listings, but here are a handful of events that we know will be coming up over the next month. We’re giving you the heads up now in case you want to pre-buy tickets or block off the time.
- Nov 3: Steers & Queers at the Museum of Human Achievement
“Drag, burlesque, live music, DJs, whip cream + even a cross bow”
- Nov 3-4: Ofrenda: A Día de los Muertos Celebration at Fierce Whiskers Distillery
Mariachi band, aerialists, contortionists, + dancers celebrate Día de los Muertos
- Nov 4: It’s My Park Day at parks throughout Austin
Support your neighborhood park by volunteering, humming Talk Talk songs while you help out
- Nov 4: Día de los Muertos and MexAmericon at Pan Am Rec Center
Vendors, artists, dancers, live music + DJ in celebration of Día de los Muertos
- Nov 4-5: Austin Celtic Festival at Pioneer Farms
Celebrate Celtic traditions w/highland games, traditional arts and music, + mini-horses
- Nov 4-5: A Kinda Good Tattoo Convention at Kinda Tropical
A big ol bunch of tattoo artists descend on Kinda Tropical w/a pack of vendors in tow
- Nov 4-5: Texas Monthly BBQ Festival in Lockhart
The only magazine w/a BBQ editor celebrates all things slow and low at “BBQ World’s Fair” + picnic
- Nov 4-5, 11-12, and 18-19: Austin Studio Tour at locations throughout Austin
Artists show off their works inside their open studios, + special artsy activities across town
- Nov 9: No Lights No Lycra at West China Tea
Dance with us like no one’s watching in complete darkness
- Nov 9: Mrs. Roper Party at Counter Culture
Celebrate the 70s sitcom progressive style icon by dressing up + partying
- Nov 9-11: BuzzFest at the Bee Cave Galleria
Touring + local electronic musical, visual, + immersive artists collaborate in Bee Caves
- Nov 10: Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy at Bass Concert Hall
Live symphonic performances of songs from the JRPG worlds of Final Fantasy
- Nov 10-11: Bulls in the Ballpark at Dell Diamond
Bull riding comes to the Round Rock Express’ baseball field
- Nov 10-18: Creek Show at Waller Creek
Sprawling sculptures of light wend their way through downtown’s waterways
- Nov 11-12 + 18-19: Planet EAST at Planet K Cesar Chavez
Four days of live music + art in honor of EAST plus food trucks and vendors
- Nov 11: Lit Crawl at various East Austin bars
Join authors for readings + book themed activities across town
- Nov 11: PollinatorPalooza at Tree Garden
Live art + music, “pollinator creation station,” interactive pollinator-friendly activities
- Nov 11: Fight Opera Presents: Bonecoming at Pink Flamingo Plant Co.
Pro wrestling, high school, + the undead make delightfully odd bedfellows
- Nov 11: Tour das Hugel at every hill in Austin
Bike a course of some of Austin’s most intense hills + also eat biscuits
- Nov 11-12: Texas Book Festival in and around the State Capitol
Authors + book peeps from all over descend upon Austin for panels, readings, + more
- Nov 12: Quesoff at Mohawk
“THE celebration of all things melted cheese” for a good cause
- Nov 12: Public Tour with Pumpkin Smashing at Central Texas Pig Rescue
Meet pigs, tour the enchanted pig forest + watch them smash pumpkins
- Nov 12: Historic Hyde Park Homes Tour throughout Hyde Park
Visit Austin’s most storied house for a tour of homes + architecture
- Nov 18: Bike Story Night Campout at Happy Horse Hotel
Equal parts cycling, camping, + storytelling
- Nov 18: No Body Passes at Rogge Ranch House
Thee Gay Agenda “celebrates otherness through togetherness” in theatre form
- Nov 18: Austin Powwow at Travis County Expo Center
Celebrate Native American traditions w/food + dance
- Nov 19: Black and Queer As Fuck at the Far Out Lounge
Black + Queer comedians, drag performers, artists + vendors come together
Austin Studio Tour Guide
It’s time for artist studio tours! If you’ve been in years past you know the drill but we know lots of folks who haven’t been (and should go!) so we’ve got something of a primer for newbies as well as our basic recs for vets below. That way we can all take part in what is one of Austin’s weirdest and wildest times for events. You can witness things like sparks-flying welding taking place to light applause amongst a chill kegger, a UFO bar staffed by aliens, a fake record store complete with fake records, all activities we’ve taken part in during EASTs past.
Formerly called EAST, and still sometimes referred to as EAST by people who don’t like change, the Austin Studio Tour is a series of hundreds of FREE events and art shows that take place over the first three weekends of November at venues throughout the city. These venues include traditional art studios and galleries, but also ordinary people’s houses and yards, theaters, office buildings, parks, condemned buildings, and anyplace else you can think of. There’s a map of all the official spaces here, and plenty of unofficial events that pop up throughout town.
The best way to do EAST (sorry; old habits die hard) is to park once, walk to every nearby art space, and just see what you find. This approach once led us into some random girl’s apartment and we wound up hanging out there for like an hour. It’s still unclear whether she was in fact an official Studio Tour stop or whether she just wanted company, but either way she fed us chips and tea, so it was an hour well spent.
There’s more to EAST than one person can ever do; like SXSW, you just have to come to peace with the fact that you will never see it all and appreciate whatever it is that you do see. Here are some of the stops we’re going to try to prioritize, though there are certainly many, many more that are worthwhile that we’re not even aware of.
Contracommon is hosting a big unofficial EAST kickoff party tomorrow evening. It’s out in Bee Cave, but could well be worth the drive.
Bolm Studios is another good one-stop-shopping location. One year we saw some artist do a “virtual hot dog speedrun” here. This year they promise, among other attractions, “an absurdist pop-up guerrilla sculpture garden exhibiting 3D and interactive works.”
Sweatt House Art Gallery is in this gorgeous 1880s home in East Austin, so the Studio Tour gives you the opportunity to see 12 artists in there, plus 7 more arts and crafts vendors in their yard, plus you get to see inside a historic home, which I love. Plus last year they had a good cat.
Pietschhouse (pronounced Peach House) does a couple big art showcases each year with incredible attention to detail every time. Their theme this EAST is “aliens,” with an open bar, 45+ artists, and 16 bands.
We have no idea what the Museum of Human Achievement is doing for EAST this year, but in past years they’ve done a “selfie gauntlet” and a DIY video game arcade, so we are automatically interested in whatever they bring to the table. Plus, MoHA is right next to Canopy, which is home to more artists than any other single venue. (Personally, we tend not to prioritize Canopy on our own Studio Tour peregrinations because they host their own open studios on the first Saturday of every month. It’s a great building chock-full of art, but EAST is not the only occasion on which you can go in there.)
Grackle House has mastered the art of a good Studio Tour stop. Live music, free drinks, backyard animals, tons of artists, and good vibes, all at a cool Austin family’s home.
Good Dad Studios is one of the new stops this year that we’re most interested in checking out. Their grand opening on 11/11 boasts “80+ open studios, complimentary drinks, music, live mural art hosted by artists Zuzu and BLVD, and over 40 different artists pop ups throughout the 42,000 sq ft building space.”
Dear Diary is a great community space and vegan coffeeshop who will be hosting art vendors and performers during EAST. We don’t know who will be selling their wares there, but it’s always just a good space to be in.
Highland Collective had our favorite installation last EAST—you can still visit its website, though the installation itself is long gone. Will they do anything nearly as cool this year? We will have to go and find out!
Those are just some spaces that we’ve liked in the past or that have caught our eye this year, but know that there are countless others that could be every bit as good. Go click around the Studio Tour map—or just start walking—and see what you find. And if you come across anything great during the first two weekends, tell us about it, and we’ll be sure to spread the word (or at least to check it out for ourselves).
What We’re Listening To
This song has been on repeat at Chez L+B a bunch of late, populating our friend text threads full of 00s NYC indie sleaze emigres like ourselves. If ever there was a song that perfectly encapsulates the sound of 2003 for me it is this one. The pedigree is wild. The band who wrote this song consists of former members of the Cure and Siouxsie + the Banshees, the featured vocalist is none other than James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem (other songs on the record feature members of Modest Mouse, Primal Scream, and U2). But it’s the remixers I’ve gotta give the most credit to here. The Dare are a hot new band mining the sounds of early dancepunk and recreating that sound to perfection. I’m guessing the opportunity to remix a song with Papa Murphy on it was a fever dream for them, and this remix is pure wish fulfillment goodness. James, ever America’s own Mark E. Smith, rants about L.A. and America over scruffy bloops and bleeps until it all comes together in a glorious cacophonic climax before devolving into handclaps and doing it all over again.
I wound up seeing a couple bands at ACL thanks to a friend’s cousin being unable to use her wristband at the last minute. Absolutely no complaints except that Alanis Morissette did not include this song in her setlist.
All-the-Time Austin Artsy Fun
Our weekly newsletter features upcoming events, but sometimes the activity you’re looking for isn’t an event at all—it’s a place that’s always there. Next time you find yourself on an afternoon when nothing special seems to be going on, you could consider checking out one of these evergreen options.
- Tiny Minotaur
Drinking and costumed LARPing, Dungeonsynths performing in the dungeon w/lots of lore
- The Eureka Room
Uniquely goofy, silly, + fun immersive games you play with a group. No spoilers!
- Escape the Box on South Congress
So you think you can escape boxes. Sure, but what about time traveling boxes?
- We Luv Video
The Alexandria Library of video rental. It’s community-run, you can rent movies or watch them in a cinema while literally surrounded by VHS tapes and DVDs.
- The Goats at Jester King Brewery
More a theme park geared towards folks who like refermented cherries in their beer (me) than a brewery. I have not experienced the Goat Experience, but I have seen their goats, and I approve.
- Cathedral of Junk
A towering achievement to collecting weird old stuff that will spark nostalgia and cause you to wonder at your last tetanus shot timing
- West China Tea House
In addition to their events, West China is a wonderful place just to chat with interesting and welcoming people and drink some delicious tea
- Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve
A lovely park + nature walk that is protected by a crack corps of dedicated peacocks and peahens. Good luck escaping without some flashy, feathery displays.
- Laguna Gloria
The Contemporary Austin’s outdoor sculpture garden. Culture + Nature = Profit.
- Austin Creative Reuse Center
A nonprofit shop where you can get any art, craft, or office supplies you can imagine for literal pennies. Eat your heart out, Office Despot.
- Museum of the Weird
It’s right there on Dirty 6th but worth a visit. From famous fake paleontology to recreations of horror film sets, there’s lots to see.
- James Turrell’s Skyspace
Like Turrell’s best works, this is an art experience which unfolds slowly over time. Watch as the changing colors of sunset remake the space.
Thanks to our Patreon subscribers
A huge thank-you to our Patreon subscribers Colleen MB, Lilly Ettinger, Lena Long, Amalia Litsa, Jacob Rosenberg, Alexander Freed, Spencer, Kristen Backor, Timon A., Kate Murray, and Amy Wilde. We’re deeply grateful for your support, which allows us to do things like “pay our Mailchimp fee” and “spend hours researching Austin events when technically we should be working.”
If you’d like to support us on Patreon and get access to exclusive member-only benefits, you may do so here.
Recent weeks brought us to a Round Rock parking lot to observe a flock of Purple Martins; the Mesmerize workshop to help build out their Creek Show creation; and the Eureka Room for a closing party. Follow Lite + Brite on Instagram to keep up with our adventures. And come chat with us and the rest of the L+B community on our Discord server!
How do we choose which events to feature?
Honestly, it’s pretty random. We might include anything in Austin that we, personally, would conceivably want to go to, generally excluding normal concerts, comedy shows, and movie showtimes because there are many other good resources for finding those. (We especially recommend Showlist for live music, The Darker Side of Austin for goth and metal stuff, and the 60+ Weirdest Things in Austin for exactly what it sounds like). This list is by no means exhaustive; it’s just stuff that caught our eye this week. If you have an event that you want us to consider including, send it over.
Who are we?
We make this newsletter. We do our own events, most prominently No Lights No Lycra (every second and fourth Thursday of the month). We once got called “local Austin couple” by KXAN. We do some other stuff here and there. We love going out to creative events in Austin, and we want you to join us. Visit us at liteandbriteatx.com, and support us on Patreon if you like what we do.