1. Free Week kickoff
Various times Jan. 2-5. Free. Various locations on Red River Street. facebook.com/redriverculturaldistrict
In past years, Free Week, the local music mini-fest focused on filling the clubs during one of the slowest times of the year, stretched well into the second week of January. This year, the Red River Cultural District has condensed the once sprawling event into a talent-packed four-day weekend. The kickoff events feature soulful rock from Kalu and the Electric Joint and Latin party music from Superfónicos outside at Mohawk, while progressive power-pop outfit Belcurve holds down the indoor stage, among other acts at Red River venues. — Deborah Sengupta Stith
2. Popovich Comedy Pet Theater
6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 2. $30-$250. Unity Church of the Hills, 9905 Anderson Mill Road. eventbrite.com/e/popovich-comedy-pet-theater-tickets-77362510351
Touring the U.S., Popovich Comedy Pet Theater comes to Austin for a one-night-only performance featuring more than 30 animals that have been rescued shelters. Joining your expected dogs and cats are parrots, goats, ducks, geese, pigeons and even a miniature horse. Acrobats and jugglers, including head entertainer Gregory Popovich, will join the animals.
3. “Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play”
8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with 3 p.m. matinee on Jan. 12, through Jan. 18. $10-$20. 11880 Hero Way West, Building 4, Leander. wobcp.org
Witness as spies, murder, love and suspense — all the hallmarks of an Alfred Hitchcock movie — come to life in the style of a live 1940s-era radio broadcast. Step into the soundstage of a radio station and watch as the Hitchcock Radio Players take on three films of the formidable master of suspense of an older vintage, before he came to America: “The Lodger,” “Sabotage” and “The 39 Steps.”
4. “Getting a Handle on Handel”
7:30 p.m. Jan. 4, 3 p.m. Jan. 5. $10-$30. Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2111 Alexander Ave. lafollia.org
La Follia performs the music of Handel starting after his development from a precocious upstart in Hamburg, through his musical awakening in Rome, to his establishment as a celebrated master in London. Featured guests are soprano Gitanjali Mathur, tenor Steven Brennfleck and oboist Sarah Davol. They are joined by a 14-piece baroque orchestra led by concertmaster and 2019 Austin Critics Table award winner Stephen Redfield.
5. H-E-B Free First Sunday at the Bullock Museum
12 to 5 p.m. Jan. 5. Free. 1800 Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com/visit/calendar/education/free-first-sunday-20200105
Beat back the early January boredom by exploring all three floors of the Bullock Museum on a day of free admission. In addition, the Bullock will have three hours of special activities for families. From 12 to 3 p.m., you can sing and dance along to some stylish beats with Groundwork Music Project, design scented sachets and practice sewing with iKids U, and channel your inner designer and use fashion plates to create bold and fashionable looks.