Tag Archives: Austin

The Out of Bounds Comedy Festival Aug 28 – Sept 3

Improv, sketch, and stand-up? You’re soaking in it as the low-key and high caliber Out of Bounds Comedy Festival commences for 7 days with 500+ performers putting on 100 shows at 6 venues. Now in its 11th year, OOB 2012 continues its renown for showcasing the vibrant Austin comedy landscape and hosting brilliant acts from near and afar. This year also really brings stand-up into the fold and folks may want to park their keisters at the Velveeta Room for the amazing parade of comics Wed – Sat.

From improv maestros Adsit and Lutz, to the Monk’s Night Out reunion, the sublime Mary Jo Pehl, and to the untold new favorites waiting in the wings, OOB obliges whether you wade or dive in. And in addition to the Velv, shows are at ColdTowne, the Hideout, the Institution Theatre, New Movement, and Scottish Rite. Viva laugh-filled Labor Day staycations. Thanks OOB!

30 Rock’s John Lutz & Scott Adsit                       Get Up’s Shana Merlin & Shannon McCormick

 For so, so very much info, visit outofboundscomedy.com


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Richard Linklater’s Amazingly Offbeat Travelogue Hulu Series “Up to Speed” with Speed Levitch

Director Richard Linklater and tour guide Speed Levitch (photo by Conor Lamb)

Austin-based filmmaker Richard Linklater re-teams with tour guide, historian, and flâneur Timothy “Speed” Levitch in their new “Up to Speed” original travelogue series, which premiered on Hulu last week. Like a psychedelic Ken Burns on a “magical history tour,” Levitch invites viewers to, “Join us as we hang out and empathize with the inner psyches of famous landmarks and visit with the great, monumentally ignored monuments.”  With an adenoidal and insightful voice whose eloquent loquaciousness is equal parts whimsy and weighty philosophy, Speed indeed engages with mostly inanimate yet renowned objects off the radar of mainstream history’s beaten path. In the premiere episode, “San Francisco: A City Shaped by Earthquakes,” Speed raps with a redwood and converses with the “rather flamboyant” gold fire hydrant that functioned so valiantly the day after the Earthquake of 1906. That these things talk back is more than jubilant kitsch and the laughs and vast knowledge to be gleaned from this show make it less “infotainment” than what Sarah Silverman coined as “learnmedy.”

Audiences were first introduced to the voluble mind of Speed Levitch in Moneyball director Bennett Miller’s 1998 documentary The Cruise, and Linklater recognized a kindred spirit. Linklater cast Speed in his animated feature Waking Life (2001) and they collaborated again on the 2003 short Live from Shiva’s Dance Floor. “Up to Speed” showcases Levitch, the writer and performer, but there’s no mistaking the great Linklater chat-n-amble milieu or the director/producer’s stamp of subversive bonhomie. “Up To Speed” also teems with playful animation that is evocative of Terry Gilliam’s work on “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” The first episode credits the distinctive animation and illustration to Jake Mendez and Marc English, respectively, in addition to graphic design credit. And although the first slate of six episodes do not visit Texas locals, the production is the fruit of several other Austinites like editor Mike Saenz and composer / bandleader Graham Reynolds of Golden Arm Trio and who also scored Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly and Bernie (and who will also be appearing with the Intergalactic Nemesis at the Stateside at the Paramount on August 18, 2012).

And so gentle readers, since you are presumably a fan of comedy and oddity and “Up to Speed” has both in spades, might I suggest treating yourselves to a screening of this wonderfully inventive program that also merits repeat viewings. Kick it!

Click HERE to watch the premiere episode of “Up to Speed,” with Speed Levitch, on Hulu

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Ralphie May : Too Big To Ignore – August 25th


Saturday, August 25th
Doors @ 7:00pm | Show @ 8:00pm
The Paramount Theatre

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Summer Classic Film Series Celebrates Comedies

The Paramount Theatre’s 37th Annual Summer Classic Film Series lovingly screens all genres from indie art house to Golden Age epics and this week features a collection of bona fide comedy classics: the ensemble satires of Christopher Guest’s Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show, the screwballs Bringing Up Baby and My Man Godfrey, the witty romantic comedies The Philadelphia Story and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the slapstick farce of Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man plus their second picture, Buck Privates, which launched them into the stratosphere.

Perhaps even more so than other film genres, comedies should optimally (hell, compulsorily) be watched with the communal experience of an audience. And of course, cinema is inherently sublime when seen in celluloid on the BIG screen of a movie palace listed in the National Register of Historic Places, where the house projectionist, John Stewart, has over four decades of craftsmanship, and a ticket is admittance for a double feature. But beating the heat here this week isn’t just grand entertainment— it’s practically doctor’s orders! Or so says the Mayo Clinic about the short and long-term health benefits of laughter (preposterously, the Paramount is still out-of-network for many insurance carriers). And cinephile-wise, The Huffington Post, The Criterion Collection, and USA Today have recently touted the Paramount’s summer motion picture tradition.   Continue reading

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IndieGoGo Fundraising for “Have Thong Will Travel” Documentary on Austin Icon, the late Leslie Cochran

From Freckled Fanny Films: Nine years in the making and told with brazen humor, HAVE THONG WILL TRAVEL is a touching portrait of Albert Leslie Cochran, a 60-year-old cross-dressing, street person who became an Austin icon and an ambassador for keeping it weird. A social activist, mayoral candidate, and talk show host, Leslie arrived in Austin in 1996, walking and biking through the Texas city famous for its embrace of individuality and self-expression. The film follows Leslie, a one-man show in his own absurdist theater, as he survives on unforgiving streets – all while wearing a thong and a smile. HAVE THONG WILL TRAVEL chronicles his journey to find peace while exploring the demons that drove him, the wit that kept him sane, and his passion for bringing awareness to social injustice.

Leslie’s story unfolds as we travel the streets with him and learn what it’s like to be both a local celebrity and a pariah. To many, he’s a beloved folk hero who fights for respect, independence, and self-expressionism in a cookie-cutter world. To others, he’s a vagabond who enjoys a broken system. But to a dedicated few, he’s a beautiful spirit whose adventurous nature is punctuated by the pitfalls of self-sabotage and trauma. While Leslie searches for peace, we find ourselves looking at a new definition of home and the beauty of friendship. Throughout his life, Leslie managed to create and foster a dynamic and provocative community around him. Coupled with hilariously shocking footage of the “Queen of Austin,” HAVE THONG WILL TRAVEL presents Leslie Cochran as a troubled but beloved free spirit.

HAVE THONG WILL TRAVEL is co-directed & produced by Ruby C. Martin and Tracy Frazier with cinematography by Lee Daniels and editing by Nevie Owens. Austin Tighe is executive producer and Grammy-award winning artist Patty Griffin is included in the growing list of musicians who have come aboard to create a truly fantastic soundtrack.   Continue reading

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Jeff Garlin Tix On Sale Fri, 6/29 at 10AM for Oct 13 Stateside Shows (2)

Paramount Theatre & Moontower Comedy present writer, producer, director, actor, and hilarious stand-up comic Jeff Garlin. Garlin, a Second City Theatre alumnus, both co-stars and executive produces the award-winning HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm, starring Seinfeld creator Larry David — who has yet to rule out a ninth season. Garlin’s first book, My Footprint, was released by Simon Spotlight in 2010 and was published in paperback earlier this year as Curbing It. He directed, wrote, produced, and starred in 2006’s critically acclaimed film I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With (co-starring Sarah Silverman and Bonnie Hunt and released by IFC & The Weinstein Company). Jeff also greatly enjoys working with Disney-Pixar Animation Studios where he most notably voiced the role of The Captain in WALL-E and Buttercup in Toy Story 3.

Paramount Theatre and Moontower Comedy present

Saturday, October 13th
Shows @ 7:00pm & 9:30pm
Stateside at the Paramount

Tickets Go On Sale
Friday, June 29th @ 10am

Purchase Tickets Online
Or (512) 474-1221 to purchase tickets by phone.

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Tonight’s Surprise Dave Chappelle Show is now Sold Out

UPDATE: The show has sold out.

Wow! The great Dave Chappelle has announced a show for this evening, Tuesday, June 19th, at the Paramount Theatre. Amazing! Good luck! Thank you!


Tuesday, June 19th
Doors @ 7:00pm | Show @ 8:00pm
The Paramount Theatre

Purchase Tickets Online
Or (512) 474-1221 to purchase tickets by phone.

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June 16: BAM Festival Presents Trailblazing Comedian PAUL MOONEY

Comedian, writer, actor, author, and social critic Paul Mooney’s impact on contemporary stand-up comedy and sketch television cannot be overstated. Mooney’s singular point of view, his groundbreaking originality, utter fearlessness, and manifest funniness continues to directly influence generations of comics— many of whom became household names like Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, and Dave Chappelle, which is not to mention the many names who’ve outright cribbed Mooney’s act. Yet, Paul Mooney is the perfect example for fame not being the harbinger of artistic greatness.

For many people, Mooney first landed on their radar in the Aughts from his “Negrodamus” and “Ask a Black Dude” segments on Comedy Central’s Chappelle’s Show. However, as Richard Pryor’s writer, collaborator, and best friend, Paul Mooney was the man behind the man, the brilliance behind brilliance, but always an esteemed stand-up in his own right.  Mooney has said he’s “too black for Hollywood,” but comedy-wise he’s the most relevant septuagenarian.  So it is understandable, gentle reader, if you have yet to become familiar with Mooney’s distinguished body of work— he did perform in Austin for the first time in the summer of ‘09 but it is essentially Comedy Moontower heresy to miss a rare opportunity to catch Paul Mooney live.

Mooney’s unvarnished commentary on race, politics, history, and popular culture can prove challenging for a small segment of Caucasians. For sure, his aim is to make everyone think and laugh and Mooney certainly doesn’t hold back on black-on-black criticism, however his insight still has the power to make some white folks get utterly batshit infuriated. Being able to witness Mooney perform (usually closing) the Comedy Store on a near-nightly basis for over two years is one of my great joys, along with telling the (mostly Orange County) walkouts “No Refunds.” These were people (with “the complexion for protection”) who never ever once considered why white nostalgia doesn’t truck with African-Americans (especially those who lived under Jim Crow laws). How dare Mooney not revel in the beloved Back to the Future movie and not think that the ‘50s were anything but neat-o? Can you imagine why The Help could seem, at best, quaint, in the 21st Century? Part of Mooney’s genius is riffing on current events, one of the reasons comedians always stuck around or came for his set, and I’ll never forget the night Mooney had the Store’s OR room absolutely howling by mercilessly mocking Disney’s just-released “The Adventures of Huck Finn.” This is not to say Mooney has no respect for Mark Twain (he calls Pryor “Dark Twain”), but he took great umbrage with the Disney-ification of slavery. I couldn’t possibly do his routine justice but let’s just say Mooney envisioned Jim as not being particularly fond of Huck, whom Mooney imagined falling off the raft and drowning… to Jim’s great delight. Just Jim’s feigned rescue attempt with the sunny-side line, “But I got his shoe, boss,” still makes me beam.  Mooney tells jokes and trades in satire. No one with a modicum of purity in his or her heart should feel “attacked” during a Paul Mooney performance.   Continue reading

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Chris Trew and the New Capital of Funny

Comedian, rapper, improv prodigy, and New Movement Theater impresario Chris Trew gives a brief history of how Austin, Texas, came to be Hilarity’s HQ. Trew (along with his TNM cohorts) founded the Hell Yes Fest in 2011 and the Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival was — and still very much is– pleased as Punch and Judy (so many peeps are only 50% pleased, right Tami?) that Trew folded in the Hell Yes Players, his artistic vision, and hijinks and gave Moontower a steady stream of amazing improvisational comedy. Austinites are well advised to catch a show at TNM’s new digs year-round at 616 Lavaca Street (and free citizens of New Orleans and Houston should also (re)familiarize themselves with the glory of a New Movement show). Moontower has packed up until next year but the Funny is all around town and ready to course through you like an Ensure (note to self: fact check whether Ensure “courses” and if this simile plays as “nourishing” or if it reads “grody” either to the maximum or even a minimum).

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View from Moontower: Nick Offerman

Megan Mullally at the historic Paramount Theatre. April 26, 2012 [photo by Marc Brown].

Stephanie Hunt [photo by Marc Brown]

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