Kick off the new year with Free Week, 50 First Jokes and more events

Dec 30, 2017
A’lante Flamenco is highlighting Mexican nun Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, whose words written in the 17th century still hold relevance, with a flamenco show at the Long Center. Contributed

1. Free Week in Red River Cultural District

Various dates and times starting Jan. 1. Free. Venues along and near Red River Street.

This annual new-calendar kickoff has become a favorite of local clubgoers. Though Red River Street remains the core, some associated shows extend to East and West Sixth, Rainey Street and even the UT campus area. (It’s worth noting, too, that other shows around town on these days also are free, even if they’re not officially associated with Free Week.) Here’s a top pick for the kick-off day: Duncan Fellows, Delmer Dennis and Poly Action at Hotel Vegas. — Peter Blackstock

2. The Roosevelt Room’s Roaring 20s New Year’s Eve Party

8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Dec. 31. $30-$1,000. 307 W. Fifth St.

The downtown cocktail bar is celebrating the new year in a classic fashion with this fancy party featuring drinks created in the 1920s. Sip on cocktails like the Clover Club (dry gin, lemon, raspberry syrup and egg white) and the Scofflaw (rye, lemon, grenadine and champagne). There is also an extensive champagne menu ranging from $100 to $750 bottles. The Roosevelt Room requests an attire of semi-formal to formal, with vintage touches a plus. A number of ticket options are available.

3. Outdoor Movie Night with “The Goonies”

7 to 9 p.m. Jan. 2. Free. Civil Goat Coffee Co., 704 N. Cuernavaca.

The West Austin coffee shop known for one of its regular customers, a goat named Butters, is kicking off the new year with a classic 1980s film, “The Goonies,” about a group of friends who band together to find pirate treasure. Civil Goat will have its coffee bar open for warm sips, including the week’s Outdoor Movie Night signature drink, the Sloth Coffee. Named for a character in the movie, it’ll be on the house. You also can bring your own drinks, plus blankets and chairs to sit on.

4. 50 First Jokes at Spider House Ballroom

8 p.m. Jan. 3. $12 online; $15 at the door. 2906 & 2908 Fruth St.

Each year, 50 of Austin’s talented up-and-coming and veteran comics come together to tell the first joke they’ve written for the new year, kicking off 2018’s comedy scene with a bang (and a buzzer) for the annual 50 First Jokes. Now in its fifth year, the show was created by John F. O’Donnell and is hosted by the wonderful Austin comic Lisa Friedrich. She’ll make the mic move from comic to comic, giving them one hot minute to tell their joke. The night tends to sell out, so grab your tickets quickly.— Brently Heilbron

5. Grayduck Gallery’s “Practical Acts of Perception”

11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday through Jan. 14. 2213 E. Cesar Chavez St.

The works presented by Texas artist Cande Aguilar and Mexican artists 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. Launching from the design of a standard scale used to document archaeological remains, the trio of artists depart and interpret the idea of scale in their own terms.

6. A’lante Flamenco’s “Juana: First (I) Dream”

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,

As six voices fill the air with transcendent music, a lone female dancer beats staccato rhythms with her feet. Brilliant, determined, defiant — 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 during this two-week run, with the voices of the Texas Early Music Project adding Baroque choral music from Juana’s era.

7. Children’s Book Fair at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 6. $4-$10. 4801 La Crosse Ave.

Families are invited to the center to meet children’s book authors and their favorite characters, as well as enjoy story time and discover new books to take home. Peter Rabbit, Froggy and Ladybug Girl will all be here to meet and take photos with the kids. Afterward, explore the Family Garden. Throughout the weekend, the Wildflower Center is collecting books to donate to the Recycled Reads Program at the Austin Public Library, so come to the Children’s Book Fair with your used books.