Last year, Austin lost over 30,000 square feet of artistic performance space. Think about that for a second.
Austin is an artistic city. We have built a huge portion of our economy around it. The arts attract tourists and transplants, and businesses follow them here. The arts are the foundation for so much of what makes Austin the vibrant city that it is.
But the sad fact is that Austin has become a victim of its own success. As people and money flow into the city, the price of doing business here increases. Rent goes up, and creative hubs begin to shutter. We might not notice the immediate impact, but over time, the trend erodes a big part of what originally made Austin attractive and lucrative. Eventually, the rest of the food chain can suffer.
Rude Mechs is an Austin ensemble theater company standing against the erosion. Founded in 1995, Rude Mechs has been providing Austinites with local theater for decades. The team is comprised of five artistic directors and 23 company members. Rude Mechs has put on countless original performances over the years, and also tours the United States with its crew of passionate theater lovers.
Last year, Rude Mechs lost The Off Center, a performance space they had called home for 18 years. Now the ensemble is effectively homeless. Rather than accepting the final curtain call, Rude Mechs decided to take their genre-defying style of theater to the streets.
10 Events in 10 Months
Every month for the next 10 months, Rude Mechs will be hosting its crushAustin theater series. These performances will take place in 10 different city districts. Each performance will be completely unique in both content and formatting. One month may feature standup comedy, while the next month could be an interactive, audience-driven production. You won’t know until it shows up in your backyard (literally).
The idea is part protest and part labor of love. CrushAustin is not just a passionate response to Rude Mechs losing its long-term theater space. It’s much more than that. Rude Mechs wants to show Austinites what we are losing when we allow our arts to disappear in front of our eyes. The Rude Mechs team says it best:
“Austin has raised us, made us who we are, but now it needs some looking after, some care and attention as Austinites try to figure out what kind of city we want to be, what we value, and what our civic life should look like.”
By spreading independent performance across the city, Rude Mechs wants to include the city in its performances. Every venue the group performs at will have its own atmosphere and potential. Not to mention its own audience bringing a unique energy to each one-time-only event.
Upcoming Performances From Rude Mechs
The second performance in the crushAustin series will take place on August 27, 2017, and it’s free to the public. Lana Lesley and Peter Stopschinski will be performing Grageriart, a music-focused piece, at Carousel Lounge in District 4. This performance will be mostly experimental as the two performers take on the Home Shopping catalogue.
September 24 will be crushAustin’s long-awaited standup comedy workshop. The performers will work hand-in-hand with the audience during a night of laughs that will end with a final set by you. Yep, you will be the final act.
October 28 will be the largest party crushAustin will throw the entire year. The whole team will be involved in creating a night you will never forget. It will be a fundraiser, so be sure to bring some cash to keep performance art alive in Austin.
Visit Rude Mech’s website for more information about the rest of the shows in the crushAustin series. Performances will run through April 2018, and every performance stands on its own. You won’t be missing out on an ongoing storyline if you miss an event. The group exceeded its recent Kickstarter goal of $10,000, raising $14,000 in just five days. But there’s more work to do.
@DustyVegas wants to know:
Have you seen a Rude Mechs theater performance?