Theater & dance
“Mutt-cracker (Sweet!).” This family-friendly circus extravaganza from Circus Chickendog features five talented rescue dogs, a talking scarlet macaw and their owner’s juggling and unicycling skills. The endearing production will recount “The Nutcracker” tale. 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 4:30 p.m. Sunday. $15-$35. The Vortex, 2307 Manor Road. vortexrep.org.
Gene Ames Jr., Boyd Taylor and Catia Hernandez Holm. 7 p.m. Friday. The authors speak and sign “A Wildcatter’s Trek,” “Necessities” and “The Courage to Become.” BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-472-5050, bookpeople.com.
E.R. Bills. 7 p.m. Tuesday. The Texas author speaks and signs “Texas Far and Wide: The Tornado with Eyes, Gettysburg’s Last Casualty, the Celestial Skipping Stone and Other Tales.” BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-472-5050, bookpeople.com.
Bill Minutaglio and Steve Davis. 7 p.m. Wednesday. The nonfiction writers speak and sign “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Timothy Leary, Richard Nixon and the Hunt for the Fugitive King of LSD.” BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-472-5050, bookpeople.com.
Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. 7 p.m. Thursday. The science fiction authors speak and sign “Unearthed.” BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-472-5050, bookpeople.com.
Rob Reynolds and REYoung. 7 p.m. Thursday. The novelists speak and sign “Wire Mother Monkey Baby” and “Margarito and the Snowman,” respectively. Malvern Books, 613 W. 29th St. 512-322-2097, malvernbooks.com.
Art for the People. “3Ps (Pets, People, Places).” The multi-artist exhibit at Art for the People began as an idea to acknowledge gratitude for companion animals and expanded to include all animals and other entities that make a difference in the world, with a total of 55 local artists participating. Noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, and Tuesdays by appointment, through Jan. 27. 1711 S. First St. artforthepeoplegallery.com/exhibitions/3ps-pets-people-places.
Art on 5th. This exhibit features pieces related to the blockbuster “Star Wars” franchise, the latest film of which is hitting theaters. “The Fine Art of Star Wars” includes original canvas works, limited-edition giclees, vintage film posters and other collectibles. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. 3005 S. Lamar Blvd. arton5th.com.
Blanton Museum. “The Open Road: Photography and the American Road Trip.” This multi-artist exhibit explores the photographic road trip as a genre and America as an imaginative resource, presenting the stories of photographers for whom the American road was muse. Through Jan. 7. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. $5-$9. 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. 512-471-5482, blantonmuseum.org.
The Contemporary Austin. John Bock’s “Dead + Juicy” centers around a film newly commissioned by the Contemporary Austin that was shot in and around Austin. The Jones Center also brings together new and existing work from Wangechi Mutu, anchored by a new, site-specific edition of “Throw,” an action painting generated by a performance in which Mutu throws black paper pulp against the wall, creating an abstract composition that dries, hardens, and then degrades over time. Both exhibits through Jan. 14. Plus new works in the sculpture park at Laguna Gloria. Jones Center, 700 Congress Ave. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday (gallery); 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday (grounds). $3-$5 (free on Tuesdays). 512-453-5312, thecontemporaryaustin.org.
Davis Gallery. “Botanical Eclipse.” In his latest series, on display for a solo show, artist Matthew Fuller explores the constant, interconnected cycle of life forces flowing through our universe by creating magnified images of both earthly life and cosmic events. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday through Jan. 13. 837 W. Twelfth St. 512-477-4929, davisgalleryaustin.com.
Grayduck Gallery. “Practical Acts of Perception.” The works presented by Cande Aguilar, Mauricio Sáenz and Jorge Purón in this exhibit all play with the concept of scale — using proportion as a device to augment or degrade the viewer’s perspective. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday through Jan. 14. 2213 E. Cesar Chavez St. grayduckgallery.com.
Icosa Collective. “Tiger Strikes Austin.” The gallery’s last show of the year is a collaboration with artist-run spaces in Los Angeles — Tiger Strikes Asteroid and Monte Vista Projects — marking an effort to work with other groups sharing the same self-determining and organizing philosophy. Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday or by appointment. 702 Shady Lane, Suite 190. icosacollective.com.
Lora Reynolds Gallery. “The Last Tree on the Planet.” Jason Middlebrook’s fourth show features his new sculptures and drawings, inspired by a scene in the recent blockbuster “Blade Runner 2049” that depicted the last tree on earth. By isolating his paintings from the slabs of wood he typically paints on, he is imagining a world without trees. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday through Feb. 3. 360 Nueces St. Suite 50. lorareynolds.com.
The People’s Gallery. 13th Annual Exhibition. The People’s Gallery in City Hall features a wide array of painting, sculpture, drawing and other media by nearly 90 artists across Central Texas. 7:45 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday through early January 2018. Austin City Hall, 301 W. Second St. Free. 512-974-7700, austintexas.gov/department/peoples-gallery.
Stephen L. Clark Gallery. “Notes on the Universe.” The internationally acclaimed photographer and Lamar University professor Keith Carter will show off his recent works, which attempt to reflect hidden meanings in the real world. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday through Jan. 13. 1101 W. Sixth St. artnet.com/galleries/stephen-l-clark-gallery/.
Texas Folklife. “The Master & The Apprentice: Highlights from the Texas Folklife Apprenticeship Program” features tools, instruments, finished works, photographs, audio, video and other documentation to show off the success of the apprenticeship program. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday through Jan. 12. 1708 Houston St. 512-441-9255, texasfolklife.org.
Women and Their Work. “Good Days & Bad Days on the Internet.” In this solo show, Rachel Stuckey dissects the emotional pull of technology — our dependence on it and fears of what it can be used for — using video, site-specific projection, and custom software. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, noon to 6 p.m. Saturday through Jan. 11. 1710 Lavaca St. 512-477-1064, womenandtheirwork.org.
“Bach’s Herd of Harpsichords.” The third concert in La Follia’s all-Bach concert season is a reprise of one of its most popular programs ever: Bach’s concertos for one, two, three and four harpsichords. Performing are director Keith Womer, Lenora McCroskey, Jeffrey Jones-Ragona and William Cory, with the La Follia string ensemble. 8 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday. $10-$30. Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2111 Alexander Ave. brownpapertickets.com/event/3062877.
NEW THIS WEEK
Theater & dance
“The Immigrant.” After more than 25 years, Austin Playhouse is revisiting Texas playwright Mark Harelik’s tender tribute to his grandparents. “The Immigrant” is based on the true story of a young Russian-Jewish couple who entered America through the port of Galveston and sought refuge in a tiny Texas town in 1909. Opens Jan. 5. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday through Jan. 28. $32-$36. ACC’s Highland Campus, 6001 Airport Blvd. austinplayhouse.com.
“Juana: First (I) Dream.” As six voices fill the air with music, a lone female dancer beats staccato rhythms with her feet. Meet Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, 17th-century Mexican nun, scholar, writer and advocate for women’s education. A’lante Flamenco brings Juana and her world to life through fiery flamenco guitar, vocals and dance. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday through Jan. 14. $21.75. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. 512-474-5664, thelongcenter.org.
“Shen Yun.” A group of elite Chinese artists are bringing ancient Chinese culture to life on stage, pushing the boundaries of the performing arts in the process. 8 p.m. Jan. 5, 2 and 7 p.m. Jan. 6, and 1 and 6 p.m. Jan. 7. $84-$154. 701 W. Riverside Drive. 512-474-5664, thelongcenter.org.
“The Way She Spoke: A docu-mythologia.” This critically acclaimed play from Isaac Gomez explores how the stories about the witnesses to the torture and murder of thousands of women in Juarez, Mexico, should be told and who has the right to do the telling. Opens Jan. 11. 8 p.m. Thursday-Sunday, 5 p.m. Saturday through Jan. 20. $15-$35. The Vortex, 2307 Manor Road. vortexrep.org.
“Artifacts of Human Trafficking.” Austin artist Amie Stone King created an installation with accompanying works from artists around the world to highlight the pervasive sex trafficking industry in the U.S. The accompanying art is based around themes of desperation, isolation and deceit. Opening reception 5 to 8 p.m. Jan. 5. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday-Sunday through Jan. 21. Link & Pin Art Space, 2235 E. Sixth St. Suite 102. linkpinart.com.
Juan Luis Jardí. Wally Workman Gallery is opening its first show with Barcelona-based artist Jardí, who uses a mix of magic realism with pop art and surrealism to illustrate the contrast in our lives and the doubts we are faced with as humans. Opening reception 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 6. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday through Jan. 27. 1202 W. Sixth St. 512-472-7428, wallyworkmangallery.com.
“Artistic Journeys.” Vicki Brevell, a well-known award-winning local artist, presents her latest paintings, with a portfolio of work including representations of the Austin skyline and more. Opening reception 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. Jan. 7. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to noon Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday through Jan. 28. North Hills Gallery, 7050 Village Center Drive. nwhillsumc.org.
COMEDY THIS WEEK
Cap City Comedy Club. Ian Bagg, 7:30 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, $16-$23. Mac Blake, 8 p.m. Tuesday, $7-$11. Raul Sanchez, 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, $12-$19. 8120 Research Blvd. No. 100. 512-467-2333, capcitycomedy.com.
ColdTowne Theater. Welcome the new year with ColdTowne’s newest touring company, comprised of an all-star lineup of performers, as they take audience stories and suggestions and weave them into hilarity in “New Year, Same $3*!” 7 p.m. Saturday through Jan. 27. $8. 4803 Airport Blvd. coldtownetheater.com.
Esther’s Follies. 2018 is getting started with a bang and lots of new sketches that gleefully skewer both sides of the political spectrum, pop culture and Texas at large. In “The Paul Ryan Workout,” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan tells the troupe how he’s going to trim the fat by cutting out everything (oh, yes, everything) that his party sees as unnecessary for good health. On the flip side, “New Year’s Resolution Blues” asks how Texans can stick to ours with the constant temptations of barbecue, Tex-Mex and craft beers. 8 p.m. Thursday, 8 and 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday in January. $25-$35. 525 E. Sixth St. 512-320-0198, esthersfollies.com.
Hideout Theatre. “Orphans! The Improvised Orphan Musical” follows a ragtag group of grime-streaked yet adorable orphaned kids and teens at the turn of the 20th century. In this completely improvised show, the kids will navigate a filthy industrial world filled with snarling coppers, careless caregivers and vengeful villains. “Orphans!” features a different big city in each performance as well as high-energy song and dance numbers. 8 p.m. Saturday through March 3. $15. 617 Congress Ave. hideouttheatre.com.
The Institution Theater. “The Last Hurrah (This Time We Really Mean It).” After nearly seven years, the Institution Theater is moving out of its warehouse location and into another building just 10 yards away. In celebration, there will be final performances on the original stage starting this week with two oddball troupes. 8 p.m. Saturday. $5. 3708 Woodbury Drive. theinstitutiontheater.com.
The New Movement. “The Most Awkward Show on Earth,” 8 p.m. Friday. Plus more improv and stand-up shows throughout the week. $7-$10. The New Movement, 616 Lavaca St. 512-696-2590, newmovementtheater.com.
The Velveeta Room. Dave Landau with Jasmine Ellis, 9 and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $10. 521 E. Sixth St. 512-469-9116, thevelveetaroom.com.