According to his bio, Stunt Ranch owner Steve Wolf specializes in "professional training for people who like to play with matches and run with scissors." Or at least, how to look like they're playing with matches and running with scissors. Throughout his 25 years in television and film production, Steve developed an affinity for stunt work and special effects, supplying his expertise to shows such as MTV's Call to Greatness and feature films such as Hustle & Flow. Still active in the industry, Steve also shares his passion for throwing spectacle-laden events through heading up multiple enterprises that include Wolf Stuntworks, Stunt Ranch?which also encompasses paintball and stunt parites?and Science in the Movies. Through these companies, Steve's experienced team of special effects professionals is able to stage professional fireworks shows, train people in creating controlled explosions, and applying special-effects makeup to help zombies look human again.
Jeff Hunt probably understood the trajectory of his career path in a way most people don't. With an aerospace engineering degree from the University of Texas at Austin and experience working with Tracor Aerospace after college, he is very familiar with how things move forward. Though most aerospace engineers are focused on building spaceships and watering blooming stars, Hunt chose to focus on hang-gliders. Over the past 20 years, he has competed in cross-country hang-gliding competitions and become a USHGA-certified advanced tandem instructor. At Fly Texas and Fly Mexico, he shares his passion with students during half-day and daylong hang-gliding classes or shuttles more experienced gliders on flights.
Feel the thrill as last year's Southwest Division champs (and the only Austin-area women's football team) steamroll the opposition in true champion fashion, a feat made even more impressive by the fact that they do it in stilettos. Watch linebacker Sekethia "Gran' Ma Ma" Tejada, defensive lineman Jessica "Lieutenant Dan" Arispe, and quarterback Marisa "Cookie" Rivas take on all comers and some others who didn't even come but had it coming anyway. And don't expect any shortened fields, wussy tear-away flags, or altered rules just because the players have little use for a cup—this is straight-up football, right down to the earth-shaking QB sacks, high-flying Hail Marys, and tackles that pack their own crater.
Although Esther's Follies' variety show of music, magic, and comedy recalls the vaudevillian entertainment of yesteryear (albeit with a more acerbic modern bent), the nostalgia goes beyond just the performances. The longstanding venue and comedy troupe was named after Esther Williams, the Golden Age starlet whose career as a professional swimmer led to numerous iconic MGM films. Posters for several of these pictures are plastered throughout the space, and an undersea mural bustling with brightly-hued coral, kaleidoscopic marine life, and even a Loch Ness monster further contributes to Esther's otherworldly, aquatic theme. The magical environment, along with the shows themselves, have wowed audiences and Austin Chronicle critics alike.
On the production end, Esther's Follies busts guts in record speed with satirical quips on current events; relevant parodies; and high-stepping, fast-paced comedy sketches. Resident magician Ray Anderson keeps things light with levitation illusions known to dazzle crowds. As the Follies cast ignites into choral skewerings of front-page newsmakers, audiences will laugh so hard that giggles come out their noses.
Steve Busti wasn't like the other children in his classroom. While his peers were playing tag and collecting baseball cards, Steve was poring over books on Bermuda Triangle theories and UFOs. He frequented dime museums and sideshow carnivals, fascinated by the strange creatures and characters therein. As Steve grew older, he began to build a collection of oddities—trinkets he picked up from sideshows, props from movie sets, and curiosities he stumbled upon. So when he realized there was plenty of extra room in the back of the novelty shop he owned with his wife, Steve was inspired to open a museum—a shrine to all things odd, unnatural, and eerie.
Today, the Museum of the Weird is a treasure trove of peculiar exhibits, lauded by reporters from The Austin Chronicle as "a remarkable collision of genre film ephemera." Steve's giant pet lizards scuttle about the space, surprising guests who are busy examining bigfoot exhibits or trying to shake an uncomfortable feeling that they recognize one of the shrunken heads. The entire scene is watched over by lifelike wax figures of Dracula and The Wolf Man, as well as a glowering bust of King Kong. After visits, guests pop into Steve and his wife Veronica's shop—Lucky Lizards Curios & Gifts—to peruse an equally unusual collection of action figures, vintage items, and locally made wares.