Hello, what’s up, and welcome to the Janury monthly edition of the Lite + Brite newsletter.
Happy slightly belated new year! As longtime subscribers know, at the beginning of every month we do an extra newsletter with some particularly juicy events coming up this month, that way you can plan things out if you’re into planning things, or buying tickets for things before they sell out. We like to sweeten the pot with our list of Austin things to check out that are not time-sensitive, and musical picks.
Since we’re saying goodbye to the old year, we’ve made playlists of some 2023 musical releases we loved, so you can find those below with lots of ways to listen. Also this is a good time for a reminder that we’re now less than 3 months out from South by Southwest. It’s not just a giant morass of traffic, it’s also a great way to discover new music. Leila compiled a playlist of all the bands she saw there and after in 2023, and 25% of the bands on Brian’s best of list were ones he saw at last year’s SxSW. You too could be a person who brags to their friends about all the new music you now love that you discovered at the big ball of musical madness that invades our city once a year. But now is when we start doing our homework on who’s coming and listening to random flotillas of musical artists, so we encourage you to get started and don’t be afraid to dig in.
If you’re not already a subscriber to this newsletter and you want to be, click here. We do one newsletter a week, usually on Fridays, plus this bonus monthly edition around the start of each month. Please support us by contributing to our Patreon and by forwarding this email to your friends who enjoy things like listening to music and leaving the house sometimes.
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.
- Jan 5: TheleMagick Tribute to Bowie at the Vortex
All-star drag + burlesque Bowie tribute
- Jan 5-6: Free Week at various venues around Red River
Three nights of free local live music at some of Austin’s finest downtown venues
- Jan 6: Bowie Bash at Drinks Lounge
DJ spinning an all-vinyl set of Bowie’s classics + deep cuts
- Jan 6: Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite at the Paramount
All-Black ballet company’s version of the suite set in 1920s Harlem
- Jan 9: Grow or Die: A History of Housing in Austin at 1109 Angelina St.
Talks about Austin’s population boom + how it affects housing
- Jan 11: No Lights No Lycra at West China Tea
Our own dance party in the dark is back w/DJ Brian Blackout
- Jan 12: HONK! Prom at Spider House Ballroom
Dress up for a high school prom, only with brass bands playing
- Jan 13: Soul Clap Dance-Off at the 13th Floor
One of our favorite dance parties from our NYC days, killer vinyl soul DJing
- Jan 15: Young Greg Abbott: The FuQusical Reading at Trinity Street Playhouse
Satirically reimagining Abbott’s early days in a musical theater format
- Jan 19: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo at Bass Concert Hall
“The world’s foremost gender-skewering comic ballet company”
- Jan 19: Dolly’s Birthday Bash at Sagebrush
Live musicians + drag performers pay tribute to the queen of 9 to 5
- Jan 20: Austin Camerata CelloFest at the Cathedral
Cellists performing classical music, pop music, + many genres
- Jan 20: Edgar Allan Poe Ball at Elysium
Celebrate Poe w/plague-themed cocktails, tarot, + DJs spinning gothic tunes
- Jan 20: Quadrant v2.0 at dadaLab
Immersive quadrophonic electronic music performances w/live visual artists
- Jan 25: Give Me Every Little Thing: An Indie Sleaze Edition of No Lights No Lycra at West China Tea
Brian Blackout gets back to his roots w/a night of dancepunk, electroclash + indie dance
- Jan 26-28: WEIRD Sleep Away Sword Camp at the Austin Sports Academy
How much could you sleep when people are competitively swordfighting around you?
- Jan 27: Slam Portal at Central Machine Works
Interdimensional comedic pro wrestling at its very finest
- Jan 27: Edgar Allan Poe Party at the Glass Coffin
Some delightfully Poe-centric details TBA, to be sure
- Feb 1-4: Fusebox Presents: FOOD at the McCullough Theatre
Food: it’s not just a thing we eat. Now it’s also an immersive dinner party experience
What We Listened to in 2023
As someone who listens to a lot of dance + electronic music as well as traditional guitar/bass/drums kinds of stuff, my favorite songs of the year probably end up being pretty polarizing. So this year I decided to separate those into two playlists. I did a radio show last night focusing on my favorite bleeps and bloops, which I’ll post in our weekly newsletter. For the more pop-oriented stuff I’ve got a separate playlist with a bit of overlap. Also one more thing! If I had to pick a single album I loved most this year it would be the solo debut of Texas’ own Alan Palomo–World of Hassle. It’s so good start to finish, and also features my favorite music video of the year.
Lol Tolhurst / Budgie / Jackknife Lee – Los Angeles (w/James Murphy) (the Dare Remix)
Róisín Murphy – CooCool
George Clanton – I Been Young
Hello Meteor – Synonyms for Waves
Slowdive – Kisses
Nation of Language – Sole Obsession
Thundercat + Tame Impala – No More Lies
Alan Palomo – Stay-at-Home DJ
Donny Benét – Multiply
Black Light Smoke – Nighttime Honey
North Satellite – The Stars Are Ours
Lovetempo – Turnaround
Abracadabra – In a Photo
The Lemon Twigs – Any Time of Day
Youth Sector – A Definitive Guide to Easy Living
Alison Goldfrapp – So Hard So Hot
DJ Seinfeld + Confidence Man – Now U Do
Girl Ray – Hurt So Bad
Double Mixte – Lonely Wolf
VLURE – Cut It
I hate committing to statements like “these are the best songs of the year” or even “these are my favorite songs of the year.” Like, how should I know? Isn’t there a good chance that I haven’t even heard what would be my favorite song of the year? What if I discover some amazing 2023 release next year but by then it’s TOO LATE? No. I refuse such ultimata. Instead, here are two playlists that I will describe as follows:
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 Katie Green, Christina Jue, 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 found us celebrating “Bouncemas” at UT, partying with Art Island at the Coral Snake, and admiring art lamps at Highland Collective. 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.