Images on the video screen swell right along with the singer as she reaches the chorus of "Livin' on a Prayer," inciting her friends to stand up from the wraparound booth and pump their fists. It's a typical evening at Austin Karaoke, where visitors belt, croon, and warble their favorite songs until 4 a.m. on weeknights and 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Nine karaoke rooms accommodate small parties of up to 8 or large parties of up to 50. Ensconced in these private studios, songsters search the computerized catalog for their standard baroque numbers, grab the microphone, and then pour their souls into a premium sound system.
Comedy originated in 1974, when Benny Goodwin stood in front of a crowd, lost control of a complex, six-minute body odor pun, and spontaneously combusted. Today's Groupon lets you watch comics risk life and limb at Austin's coliseum of stand-up comedy, Cap City Comedy Club. For $32, you get 10 pairs of tickets to Cap City Comedy's regular touring headliners (a $65 value). These tickets are good for the Wednesday through Friday 8 p.m. acts as well as the Friday and Saturday 10:30 p.m. shows. This deal does not apply to the special events or the Saturday 8:00 p.m. performance. Reservations are required.
Cap City, now in its 25th year, hosts scruffy local talent as well as traveling bards and harlequins of humor. Serious about being weird, Cap City also conducts certified defensive driving courses, regularly feuds with a neighboring church over who's louder and bawdier, and seats almost all of its guests at long, cafeteria-style tables beneath '80s-era décor that recalls a more innocent teenage era.
Upcoming acts include perpetually frostbitten Minnesotan Chad Daniels, who strode across Conan O'Brien's stage, and the man named by a Rubik's cube, Myq Kaplan, champion of the New York Comedy Contest. Comedians are encouraged to interact with the audience, and, if the need arises, to administer vaccinations.
Since you must purchase two food or beverage items during the show, Cap City serves up its own remixes of traditional bar food, like egg rolls with chicken, mozzarella, jalapenos, red chili, black beans, and spinach ($8.95) and the fatso sampler, with fried pickles, parmesany mushrooms, and cheese sticks ($13.95). You can also get an alcoholic snow cone ($8.00).
Cap City's shows are a perfect alternative to the standard dinner and movie woo blitz, and with a professional comedian on stage, you won't have to struggle and strive to belt out your own charming jokes. Not to mention that laughter, as has been well documented, can improve your overall health and diffuse the stress that keeps you from reaching 6'4''.
Two Citysearchers give Cap City Comedy Club a perfect five stars, and Yelpers give it 3.5:
- I would suggest Cap City for anyone looking to do something different than the standard dinner and a movie, and laughter is definitely the best medicine! We will be back soon. :) – discomelly2, Citysearch
- I've been to Cap City a dozen times over the years, and seen a variety of shows both local and touring, and I've enjoyed each one. Some more than others of course, but always had a good time, had a bite to eat, a drink or two and some laughs. – Steve B., Yelp
- Great core workout laughing for 2 hrs. You really can't dis a place that can get you laughing after a hard day. It's better that [sic] drugs......and slightly cheaper. – Keri B., Yelp
Chi Chi Randolph has choreographed routines for hip-hop artists including Nelly and the Black Eyed Peas. Kari Lehman has 15 years of ballet training experience. Viviane Bressan turned her love of belly dance into a career, traversing the globe while teaching and performing the ancient art. At Dance Austin Studio, these three number among more than a dozen dance instructors whose dazzlingly diverse backgrounds enable an array of classes for everyone from preschoolers to grownups and fitness buffs to serious students of dance.
Zumba combines fast-paced cardio choreography with dynamic Latin rhythms, and the 18-and-older Sexy Stiletto Fit class uses high heels to tone calves and build confidence. Students can choose to learn fundamental positions, steps, and vocabulary during structured ballet, lyrical, and jazz programs, or they can develop video-ready swagger during hip-hop classes. The studio’s sense of fun occasionally spills out into the community—it recently teamed up with the city’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to spark a flash mob at city hall, held to raise awareness of emergency preparedness and help officials practice what to do if invaded by dancing aliens.
ColdTowne Theater is Austin's main stage for alternative comedy. We currently run shows Thursday through Monday, featuring the funniest comedians in Central Texas. We also run a conservatory offering the most fun improv and sketch comedy classes Austin has to offer.
Austin Children's Theater's executive director, Talena Martinez, knows how to inspire kids: not only do her national credits include youth productions of Jekyll & Hyde and Les Misérables, she has also staged Shakespearean and musical pieces at the Scotland Fringe Festival. Together, Talena and her talented staff of artists nurture the natural talents of kids of all abilities who are eager to explore musical, dramatic, and European theater.
Programs—which range from the intensive Conservatory of Theater to a full roster of summer camps—can help impart a variety of skills, including increased self-esteem, a healthier body image, and stronger performance abilities of future Tony Award winners while ensuring inspirational fodder for acceptance speeches.
When Felicity Coltman founded it in 1981, the Austin Chamber Music Center's goal was simpler than it is today, yet still ambitious: to create a summer chamber-music workshop for teens. Since then, not only have many alumni gone on to become professional musicians, but the center has expanded into an outreach organization whose concerts and instruction brings chamber music to Austin ears, instruments, and hearts. Adults of similar skill levels gather into small chamber-music groups, whereas youngsters meet with instructors on weekends, during the summer, or in school. Just two years after its founding, the center sent students on two European voyages and hosted musicians from Salzburg, starting an international exchange program that continues today.
In 1988, a unique performance series took form with the center’s Intimate Concerts, which take place in private homes so that audiences can experience the music in a personal way and help their cats learn to read sheet music. Led by artistic director Michelle Schumann the center now holds year-round concerts for a variety of musical tastes, with all programs including live program notes.