Tegan and Sara Take ACL

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Relentless humidity, unending heat and erratic rain showers can only mean one thing: ACL. For music lovers and performers alike, this three-letter acronym carries a lot of weight. Austin City Limits Music Festival has been wowing more than 70,000 patrons a year for the past ten years, and this year Tegan and Sara take the stage for the first time since 2008.

Composed of openly queer twins Tegan and Sara Quin, the Canadian indie band’s ACL performance comes just ahead of their upcoming album expected to hit stores this year. Since the recording began this past February, the two have been narrowing down the 41 tracks they wrote for the album. Unlike other artists, the duo updates their fans on a regular basis about their process, either through their Twitter- feed or blog posts on their homepage.

 With the duo working with producers Greg Kurstin (Foster the People, Kelly Clarkson, Lily Allen),Mike Elizondo (Regina Spektor, Eminem), and Justin Meldal-Johnsen (M83, Beck), The sound of their seventh studio album is undoubtedly a step in a new direction. In recent press interviews about the upcoming album, the two have said they want their new radio tracks to be “more radio friendly” and “more pop,” which is different from their usual stool-sitting, guitar- strumming music.

Their first studio album, Under Feet Like Ours, was released in 1999, and since then, they’ve gained exponential popularity. The duo’s most recent album, Sainthood, reached No. 21 on Billboard’s Top 200 in 2009 and has become their highest-charting effort in the U.S. Their music has also made appearances on shows like Grey’s Anatomy and The L Word, which continue to build an already supportive fan base.

Though the two identify themselves as gay, their songs aren’t inherently queer, which is what separates this dynamic duo from other LGBT artists. When asked about queerness in their creative process, Sara is adamant about the distinction of being queer and being an artist.

 “I don’t make ‘gay music,’” she said in an interview with The New Gay. “I don’t think you can make straight music or gay music. I’m just making music. My music does not have a sexuality. I have a sexuality.” Songs of heartbreak, memory, and standing on the fringes are never overtly about falling in love with, or breaking up with, other women. The lyrics have a universal appeal.

For avid fans of the band, seeing them play at ACL for the second time will likely be an emotional and nostalgic experience—one they might recall from being “nineteen.” Past performances in Austin include SXSW in 2005, their ACL debut in 2008, and a performance at Texas Performing Arts’ Bass Concert Hall in 2010. They’ve gained a lot of validation since then, which lines them up this year among bands like Gotye, Florence + The Machine, and Dev, which are queer in their own respects and definitely a story for another day.

 

COMMUNITY

Austin Pride Festival
At its 21st anniversary, the festival provides awareness of the LGBT community in Austin; information on politics, lifestyle and romance; and the opportunity to celebrate through activities and the long-awaited Pride parade.
September 22, 2 p.m. Austinpride.org

Rainbow 5K
Downtown Austin, 9 a.m

Pride Festival
Fiesta Gardens,
11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Pride Parade
Downtown Austin, 8 p.m.

AIDS Walk Austin
Proudly sponsored by AIDS Services of Austin (ASA) for 25 years, AIDS Walk Austin is one of the largest charity walks in the region.
October 21, 2 p.m.
Austin City Hall, asaustin.org

Texas Book Festival
Featuring more than 200 Texas and nationally known authors, this weekend-long festival includes author readings and presentations, book signings, and music.
October 27–28
The State Capitol building and surrounding grounds texasbookfestival.org

Ballet Austin’s fête*ish 2012
A companion event to accompany Ballet Austin’s annual fundraiser Fête 2012, fête*ish expands the night into a whimsical Nutcracker-themed winter wonderland.
September 21, 8 p.m.
The Driskill Hotel, balletaustin.org/fete

ART & FILM

Lights. Camera. Help. Nonprofit Film Festival
With a general premise of “cause-driven films,” this film festival showcases the PSAs, shorts and feature-length films that demonstrate the good happening in our world.
September 12–14
The Spirit of Texas Theatre and the Scottish Rite Theatre lightscamerahelp.com

FOOD

23rd Annual La Dolce Vita
Food and Wine Festival
Spend an evening lakeside at Laguna Gloria with AMOA-Arthouse. Experience the true tastes of Texas from 50 of Austin’s top chefs while sipping the finest wines from across the state and around the world.
October 11, 6–9 p.m.
AMOA-Arthouse at Laguna Gloria amoa-arthouse.org/2012/la-dolce-vita

PERFORMING ARTS

The Taming of the Shrew
Ballet Austin choreographs William Shakespeare’s classic tale of the perpetually battling lovers in this staple international repertoire to kick-off their 2012-13 season.
October 5–7
The Long Center, balletaustin.org

Water
Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and part of the Vortex’s elemental series, actors dance through water, honoring the way it manifests itself in many forms with the core themes of cleansing, healing and heart.
September 1–29
The Vortex, vortexrep.org

Austin Symphony’s Halloween Children’s Concert
Annually presented by the Austin Symphony, this family-friendly concert features mind-chilling songs for all ages to enjoy, with Halloween costumes highly encouraged.
October 28, 2 p.m.
Dell Hall at The Long Center, austinsymphony.org

Heaven-Earth-One
Site-specific aerialist dance company Blue Lapis Light transforms the plaza of the Long Center into a mesmerizing aerialist performance rink. With the Austin nightlife as their background, aerialists use classical, interpretive and modern dance techniques on zip lines, aerial silks, and more.
September 9-19, 9 p.m.
Plaza of The Long Center, thelongcenter.org

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