ZOMG – Topfer Theatre at ZACH Theatre Brings Austin Theatre Back to the Forefront of Austin Culture

ZOMG – Topfer Theatre at ZACH Theatre Brings Austin Theatre Back to the Forefront of Austin Culture

Be on the lookout for performance of famous balcony scenes to happen at this exterior, front-facing balcony of the theatre.  I'm also told that the balcony will actually end up being made of glass, rather than the metal pictured here.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a personal tour of ZACH Theatre’s new mainstage, The Topfer (pronounced top-fur) Theatre earlier this week.  This theatre allows ZACH to truly make the jump from a small professional theatre to premiere regional theatre by providing a new, state of the art performance facility as part of downtown Austin’s already growing culture and arts scene. Downtown Austin needs a real regional theatre, and this structure and the excitement it will bring to the theatre and arts community is a huge step in the right direction.

Per an article in the Austin Chronicle (link) – ZACH Theatre had been contemplating building a third theatre in its complex as early at 1985, when they held over some funds from that year’s bond election to help fund building a third theatre.  In 2000, the economy stalled, putting the project on hold, but,  through a kick-start of funding of $10 million through the 2006 City of Austin bond election, and then fueled by direct private donation – the project was revived in 2007.  Overall, it’s a $22 million project, and they still need to raise about $2 million for completion.

The ZACH Theatre compound falls within the Zilker Neighborhood Association, but it is easily accessible to downtown Austin condos and homes and, really, feels like a part of downtown to many. I was told the ZNA was supportive the variances Zach Scott needed to build the Topfer Theatre.

As a college Theatre Major and all around theatre nerd, I was soooooo impressed with the Topfer Theatre and Kuykendall Stage.

Some tidbits:

  1. Celebrated Austin actress Karen Kuykendall has her ashes kept under the stage, isn’t that crazy?! (What’s even crazier is that there are no “r”s in “Kuykendall”!)
  2. The Topfer Theatre has a LEED Silver Certification
  3. Over 70 new parking spots have been added to the ZACH Theatre compound
  4. 40 new trees were added to the lot, as well
  5. The AC and other mechanical components of the theatre have a separate foundation from the stage – this is to minimize any possibility of noise and rumbling during performances.
  6. The theatre’s design is taken from the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago (the house is a little narrower)
  7. The theatre house seats ~420
  8. The theatre was designed by the same architects who did The W – Andersson-Wise Architects
Now, for the good stuff – the pictures (please note that the theatre is still having final touches done to it – not fully finished yet)!

For more incredible pictures and theatre fun facts – check out Bryan Kosarek’s Gay in Austin Texas Blog.

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Interested in searching for Austin homes for sale in or near Downtown Austin?  Be sure to check out our property search to view Austin homes for sale.

Additionally, here are some condominiums in Downtown Austin that are near the theatre – to learn more about these individual buildings, visit their pages:

 





Banger’s in Rainey Street District Downtown Austin – MENU, Review, Video, Pics

Banger’s in Rainey Street District Downtown Austin – MENU, Review, Video, Pics

BangersHouse

Today was the grand opening of Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden in the Rainey Street District of Downtown Austin.  Our office at the The Shore Condos is just a stone’s throw away, so we wanted to support one of the most anticipated venues coming to the ‘hood. We went, had a beer and some grub, and really just enjoyed the perfectly chill vibe, despite the crazy, terrible, make-me-want-to-stab-my-eyes-out heat.

Some will say this is Rainey Street’s answer to  [Read more…]





The Best Pedicure in Austin (that I’ve had so far….)

The Best Pedicure in Austin (that I’ve had so far….)

Hiatus Spa Austin

This past Sunday, I had the best manicure / pedicure that I’ve ever had.  I had the service at Hiatus Spa + Retreat, a spa concept headquartered in Dallas, but with a location on the ground floor of the Gables on West 5th – just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from Downtown Austin.

The whole experience there is top-notch from beginning to end, actually – but the actual service is just different enough from the other places that I think it deserves to be called the best.

There are two things that make it different than any other manicure / pedicure I’ve every had.  The first thing is [Read more…]





Glee. (Indirectly) Making Downtown Austin a Little More Environmentally Friendly

Glee. (Indirectly) Making Downtown Austin a Little More Environmentally Friendly

St. David's should totally enter the O. Henry Pun Off

Oh, Glee.  I  sometimes enjoy you, but often I am overcome with shame for watching you.  But, last week –  you actually accomplished something useful.  Because of you, Glee, I finally recycled my big ol’ bag o’ batteries.

Okay, let me explain. See, up until last week, I had been keeping this huge Ziploc bag stuffed with used up AA batteries under my kitchen sink.  I didn’t know where to take them and I always seemed to forget to Google a nearby location. So, the bag o’ batteries just kept getting bigger.

And then I started seeing this Glee PSA about recycling batteries.  Over. And over. And over again. [Read more…]





New Oil & Vinegar Retail Concept Opening Across from The W in Downtown Austin

New Oil & Vinegar Retail Concept Opening Across from The W in Downtown Austin

Owners Jeff & Tabatha Conarko

A unique boutique is opening its second location on May 10th, 2012, right across the street from The W Hotel and Residences on Lavaca (the first location is in The Arboretum, and opened in 2009) in Downtown Austin.  No, it’s not another fancy dress store or whimsical gift shop.  This time, it’s a niche [Read more…]





Artwork By Mike Johnston (The Day I Found Treasure At Austin Java)

Artwork By Mike Johnston (The Day I Found Treasure At Austin Java)

mike-johnston-austin-3

mike johnston artist at Austin Java

On Saturday, I walked into Austin Java on 2nd Street, ’bout to get my omelet on.  Chillaxin.  There I was, standing in line, just looking around, and I realize that every piece of art work on the walls is making an impact on me.

A flyer taped to the wall explained most of the artwork was by Mike Johnston.  Life surprised me with these paintings.  All of them bringing a smile to my face.  They put a skip into my step.  14 pieces in total.  Each is repurposed scrap wood.

I purchased every piece in the store.

I couldn’t carry everything home, so I walked home beaming at my purchase, and returned later to pick up my treasure.

“Street art” is one of my favorite visual mediums. Bold, unexpected, high-contrast, ironic, symbolic, stylized, comical, etc.  Some of my favorite “public art” is found on the Lady Bird Lake train overpass, the Lamar underpass, the wall on Castle Hill, the wall on E 5th Street near Saltillo Station.

I’ve seen Exit Through The Gift Shop, and am basically familiar with the work of Shepard Fairey and Banksy.  Which makes me no more than a casual fan of a couple of notable artists.

I didn’t know about Mike until walking into Austin Java, and that’s part of what made this such a nice discovery.  I’m excited to have a collection of local art work that totally vibes with me.  I look at it and smile.

As I research and learn more about Mike and his work the more happy I am to be the newest host of these paintings – which will probably be on the walls of our soon-to-be-redone office (you should stop by in a few weeks to check it out).  Until then, check out more of Mike’s work here.

http://www.offthawalls.blogspot.com

-Jude





Thursday CASH MOB @ Congress Avenue Card & Gift Shop

Thursday CASH MOB @ Congress Avenue Card & Gift Shop

cash mob

A Cash Mob is the same premise as a flash mob, but people all show up at a local business and spend money. It’s a simple and fun way to encourage people to support small local businesses by spending their money en mass.

How can I participate?

Just show up! Bring $20.00 to spend, a few friends and come to the Congress Avenue Card and Gift Shop to give a local business an “economic stimulus”. It’s a win/win, spend some money locally with friends and buy some cool stuff!

Event Details:
When: Thursday, April 5th 12-2pm
Where: Congress Avenue Card and Gift Shop (615 Congress Ave. bw 6th & 7th St.)
Why: Help a local business!
Bring: $$$ and Friends

cash mob

 

 





Wanderlust LIVE – Open House on April 13th

Wanderlust LIVE – Open House on April 13th

Wanderlust LIVE Austin

We wrote about the changing face of the Railyard district not too long ago, and one of the new establishment mentioned was Wanderlust, a new Yoga Studio and Live Music Venue that’s opening soon on the northeast corner of 4th and Brazos.

Well, we’ve recently learned a bit more about the concept and wanted to share…..

So a short summary of the back-story – apparently, Austin locals Ashley Spence Clauer and Joanna Kutchey were so inspired by the Wanderlust Festival, that they decided to bring it to Austin!

And here are some excerpts from a press release sent by their marketing department directly to our office:

Located in a revamped historic warehouse in the heart of the entertainment district of downtown Austin, Wanderlust LIVE’s impeccably designed space is not your average yoga studio.  Featuring two studios—one for regular classes and one with a built in stage and top of the line sound and lights—the 6,000 square foot Wanderlust LIVE will offer Austinites a new place to rock out, consciously.

……

Truly bringing the festival experience home, Wanderlust LIVE will feature organic eats by Austin’s Blenders and Bowls—serving healthy and delicious organic acai bowls, natural fruit smoothies, coffee, tea and more. The studio’s outdoor patio seating will provide ample space to eat, relax after class or sip a beverage at Wanderlust happy hour.  At all live music and other special nighttime events, attendees also may enjoy organic beer and hand picked biodynamic wines. And inside, the Wanderlust LIVE Boutique will offer specialty yoga gear and apparel.

It looks like this place is going to have a few uses – retail, restaurant / bar, live music venue, and yoga studio.  What’s not to love?  And, they’ll be hosting an open house on April 13th, the Friday before they open to the public.

I know that I’m getting a little excited about it after reading about it – and will definitely want to check it out!

 

 





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