arts eclectic

"The very first play I ever wrote, in 2015, was -- it's a long  title -- People of Color Christmas: The White Elephant in the Room," says playwright and actress Christine Hoang. That show only ran for one week ("Because that's all I could afford," Hoang notes), but that was long enough for the show to catch the eye of some folks from the Asian American Resource Center, which eventually led to a revival of the show this year, sponsored by Austin Museums and Cultural Programs. 

"So now, this year... ColorArc Productions is presenting this new iteration of People of Color Christmas to Austin audiences for free," says Hoang. "And we are touring the cultural centers of Austin."

"I learned about Buster Keaton while I was studying for film composition, and I just kind of fell in love with him and with silent films," says composer Jackie Myers, who's brining her new project Silent Films Out Loud to the Stateside Paramount Theatre this Saturday.

"You watch a movie now and you think 'there's a team of ten people that created this moment, and it's also a camera trick, and it's also lighting,'" she says. "But you watch his films and you're like, 'it's just him.' It's him that created -- he wrote it, he acted in it, and physically he made it happen."

That love of silent films in general and the films of Keaton in particular led Myers to create Silent Films Out Loud, for which she's tapped four local composers to create new, original scores for four classic Buster Keaton short films.

"It is crazy," Turk Pipkin says of his ambitious new project, Turk Pipkin's Book of the Every-Other-Month Club. As the name would imply, everyone who joins the club gets a new book in the mail every other month for one year; the crazy part is that all of the books are written by Pipkin himself, and some of them aren't quite finished yet.

"As we talk, we have the first one, Moleskin Mystery, back from the printer, hot off the presses. You could get high smelling the glue in the binding," Pipkin says. "The second book, Requiem for a Screenplay, went to the copy editor yesterday. The third book, All for Love, which is a novel... goes to the copy editor as soon as the second one's done. So I'm good on those three," he says with a laugh. The other three are in various stages of completion -- he's still writing the last book, A Christmas Song. But Pipkin assures us he's ahead of schedule.

"It's actually one of my favorites," says Austin Shakespeare artistic director Ann Ciccolella in reference to Much Ado About Nothing. "The last time Austin Shakespeare did it was ten years ago, when I started as artistic director."

"We did it in the park [ten years ago], and I really wanted to do an indoor production, because the Rollins theatre is so intimate," she says of the current production, which is being staged at the cozy Rollins Theatre space at the Long Center.

At the heart of Much Ado is the romantic pairing of Beatrice and Benedick. "They are very argumentative with each other; they love each other but they get in their own way," says Ciccolella of the pair. She tapped veteran stage actors Gwendolyn Kelso and Marc Pouhé to play Beatrice and Benedick, after working with them as a different romantic-but-feuding couple in a recent production of Taming of the Shrew.

"I've been working for several years on the theme of how humans and technology interact," says artist Rachel Stuckey. "Especially on an emotional level."

"I guess maybe I'm a little bit different than... the classic millennial who really has grown up with computers," says Stuckey, remembering the early pre-Internet part of her life. "I remember the day that we got AOL in my house and that sort of started to become part of my life."

Pages