Pachanga Latino Music Festival on Saturday, May 21st

Graphics from the official event website

If you’re craving latin music, or just good live music in general, check out Pachanga Festival on Saturday, May 21st. The festival, which literally means “lively party” in Spanish, will be at Fiesta Gardens, on the edge of Lady Bird Lake just east of I-35. Festival vendors will be selling food, drinks, as well as other items.

Normally I wouldn’t pay $25 for a festival when there are so many free ones, but this year Ozomatli is headlining the Pachanga festival lineup. The amazing Grammy-award winning band and U.S. State Department Cultural Ambassadors from LA describes itself as “urban-Latino-and-beyond collision of hip hop and salsa, dancehall and cumbia, samba and funk, merengue and comparsa, East LA R&B and New Orleans second line, Jamaican ragga and Indian raga.”

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Ballet Afrique Austin

Ballet Afrique is a contemporary dance company based in Austin, Texas. The founding mission of the company was to help forward the black professional dance movement in Austin. Ballet Afrique uses dance to build understanding, inspiration and appreciation for the cultures and experiences of the African Diaspora.

Throughout Austin, Ballet Afrique performs for the UT community, theater production companies, and throughout events in East Austin.

If you’re interested in dance, and are just looking to perform, Ballet Afrique is currently enrolling people of all ages and races. Of course they could defintely help you improve your technique if that is also something you’re interested in.

The company’s most recent performance happened May 1st at UT’s Black Essence Awards.

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Moonlight Social

Austin is known as “The Music Capital of the World”, and has quickly become the breeding grounds for new talent and those looking to make it big in the music industry. The passion for music has grown this year on the UT campus. What began between two friends in a student apartment, quickly became a full-time music collaboration. Current UT students Jeremy Burchard and Jennica Scott met as members of the Texas Longhorn band, and through their talents and love for music, the duo formed Moonlight Social. A cross blend of rock and country, Moonlight Social has performed for audiences around Austin and San Antonio, and are looking to branch out far beyond these cities.
The band is currently anticipating its EP release that will be held at Momo’s here in Austin, this Thursday May 5th. Be sure to check out their music after the release, and the band’s website.

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An inspired art exhibit: “Recovering Beauty” on display at the Blanton

 If you’re looking to pack some art into your visitor’s time in Austin, be sure to explore “Recovering Beauty: The 1990s in Buenos Aires” at the Blanton Museum of Art at the corner of Congress and MLK. According to an informational excerpt, the exhibit, which runs through May 22, is designed to “provoke visual delight and generate pleasurable aesthetic encounters.” The works explore the concepts of beauty and joy and embody an unexpected and light-hearted response to the preceding period of military suppression in Argentina.

Being partial to minimal, modern art with interesting color combinations, I absolutely loved “Recovering Beauty.” Every single work creatively combined odd materials and thought-provoking color blends in an original and inspired way. I especially liked the curving plywood frames with color-infused plaid interiors (like subtle pinks, greens, and oranges). This is my favorite style of art, but I still found “Recovering Beauty” to be the most creative art exhibit I had seen in a long time.

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Cinco de Mayo in Austin

Don’t take it upon yourself to manage the Mexican Holiday alone, do it in groups.

“Austin Pub Crawl” has the best options so far. $10-20 for access to the lowest specials downtown.

Everybody Celebrates The Mexican Holiday

Remember: you will not get the best specials available if you do this alone.

The majority of the day, beers will be $1-2 if you join and if you don’t drink beer, tequila is the same price. Stay with those choices to keep money in your pocket.

The theory of the pub-crawl is a group of partiers put on a schedule to make sure that all the good spots are hit. The problem is the schedule is about 12 hours long, so good luck trying to tough it out. It starts at noon and goes till midnight, but really they’ll stretch it till 2 am for the dedicated.

Culture Fills the Streets

Advice: don’t let alcohol be the only thing you experience on this holiday. Dancing is a big part and it’s always fun to learn something new. Food will be available at more places than usual, but don’t be fooled: bar tenders car a lot less about your burrito meat temperature than their regular bar duties. If you’ve got to stop and refuel, pick a restaurant.

Austin is a very good choice for this holiday, but pace yourself. The more time your there, the more fun you can have.

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New Theater Downtown

It’s not too often that you can be the first one of your friends to do something, but here is your chance. The art culture in Austin got a great boost this weekend with the opening of a different “art-house” theater: The Violet Crown Cinema.

It’s different than the Alamo Drafthouse and Gold Class Cinema, but the biggest difference is they are cheaper. Weekdays it’s $9 a show and $11 on the weekends.

But remember, this is a different cinema.

With documentaries rising in popularity over the past few years, and foreign films finally reaching a main-stream quality, the Violet Crown is the Austin net that was put up on Second st. to catch all these great films.

You probably wont see The Hangover 2 here, but you’ll be exposed to films you never would have before. Think of it as risk reward.

I think bringing visitors here is even better than the Drafthouse or Gold Class because it’s really more about the art than the movies, which is more indicitave of ATX anyways.

The perks are $3 beers and free parking downtown for movie goers. Not bad considering that all free parking might be eliminated soon in the downtown area.

Take your visitors to this place, have a drink at the bar afterwards to talk about the movie, then strut downtown, and spend your parking money on a hot dog at Franks.

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Get (Platinum) Inked in Austin

Whether it’s an impulse buy, or a planned artistic endeavor, getting a tattoo is a big deal, and where you go matters. Austin has no shortage of tattoo parlors, but if you’re looking for the best, go to Platinum Ink.

I first heard about Platinum Ink on the radio, but several personal recommendations gave weight to the advertisements. The studio is clean and professional, and the staff is always cheerful. It has established a stellar reputation and offers great service in both tattoos and piercings, just ask  Austin 360. Platinum Ink won the A-List reader’s poll award for best tattoo parlor 2010.

Although this tattoo was not my first, it was my first large tattoo and I am happy to report that it turned out great. Chris “Chaos” is an artist with the tattoo gun, and the friendliest tattoo artist I’ve met.

If you’re not ready to commit to the ink, there are plenty of piercing options and jewelry available there as well. Piercings begin at $15 on Sundays , and tattoos at $35.

Platinum Ink opened in 2002 and has two Austin locations: North and South.

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