Start off the new year with Free Week, Harry Potter and more events
1. Free Week begins
Various times beginning Jan. 1. Free. Various locations. freeweek.do512.com.
It’s not hard to find quality music for free in Austin on any given week, but the first few days of January have marked an official “Free Week” run in clubs along Red River Street (plus a few east side venues) for around a decade now. It’s a good way to sample some of the buzz bands of the indie scene you might have heard about. Highlights of the first few days include Marfa Crush and Rival Waves at Stubb’s indoor on Tuesday; Ume with Darkbird and Cosmico at Mohawk outdoor on Wednesday; and Lowin, Go Fever, Tinnarose and more at Cheer Up Charlie’s on Thursday. Other participating venues include Barracuda, Beerland, Scoot Inn, Swan Dive and Hotel Vegas. Check individual venue websites for show times. — Peter Blackstock
2. New Year's Eve Pet Nat Brunch at Fairweather Cider
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 30. Free. 10609 Metric Blvd. facebook.com/events/1949808808661998/.
The North Austin cidery is celebrating the close of 2018 a day early with a very boozy brunch. Fairweather's party doubles as the release of the Countdown to Noon Pétillant Naturel Cider. Pét-Nat, as the process is often shortened to, is typically a sparkling wine-making method in which the bulk of the first fermentation happens in the bottle. The brunch will have a Pét-Nat tower, bagels by Nervous Charlie's and additional fun.
3. New Year's Eve at Sour Duck Market
6 p.m. Dec. 31. $35. 1814 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. toasttab.com/sour-duck/v2/online-order?fbclid=IwAR2Goake_V0n7PnVt5i5Qa-3ACiBhrYWso-uBWr9_BwbAU4ILYxXxBkkyMY#!/order.
The more casual sibling eatery of Barley Swine and Odd Duck, Sour Dark Market is all about tasty pigs during its New Year's Eve celebration. At this evening party, expect two styles of roasted suckling pigs, pigs in a blanket and, of course, pork belly sliders. Plus, Circle Brewing is releasing a very special beer, the Disco Pig, a barrel-aged brett imperial porter, and there will be live music, candied bacon s'mores and a complimentary Champagne toast.
4. 50 First Jokes: Austin
7 p.m. doors Jan. 2. $8 online, $10 at the door. Spider House Cafe & Ballroom, 2908 & 2906 Fruth St. eventbrite.com/e/50-first-jokes-austin-spider-house-ballroom-tickets-53758325599.
Less than a week after Austin's most talented comedians gave a final roast to the year that was, 50 comics now tell their first joke of the new year. Each comic has one minute on stage to make you laugh, so it's a fast-paced, hilariously chaotic show, as hosted by Lisa Friedrich of ATX Comedy Hour and Ralphie Hardesty of Greetings, From Queer Mountain. 50 First Jokes tends to sell out fast, so get tickets now and show up early.
5. Harry Potter Drive-in Fest 2019
7 p.m. Jan. 3. $10-$40. Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive In, 2103 E M. Franklin Ave. tickettailor.com/events/bluestarliteaustin/221605/#.
Have a magical month as the Blue Starlite revists wizard friends with the beloved "Harry Potter" film series. With the Harry Potter Drive-in Fest, every movie in the series about a boy wizard and his years at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry will be double-featured for four weeks straight. Magical food and drinks await, and in the Mueller location, there are plenty of spots for photo ops. Screening first, of course, is "The Sorcerer's Stone."
6. "Gaslight (Angel Street)" at Way Off Broadway Community Players
Opens Jan. 4. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with Sunday matinee 3 p.m. Jan. 13, through Jan. 26. $10-$20. 11880 Hero Way West, Building 4, Leander. wobcp.org.
A Broadway hit first produced on the West End under the title "Gaslight" and filmed twice, "Angel Street" tells the diabolical story of the Manninghams, who live on Angel Street in 19th century London. As the curtain rises, all appears to be the essence of Victorian tranquility. It is soon apparent, however, that nothing could be further from the truth in this suspenseful play about a man driving his gentle wife to the brink of insanity.
7. "Seeing Through Darkness" at Wally Workman Gallery
Opening reception 4 to 7 p.m. Jan. 5. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 12 to 4 p.m. Sunday through Jan. 26. 1202 W. Sixth St. 512-472-7428, wallyworkmangallery.com.
Wally Workman hosts a new show with Austin-based painter Eliza Thomas. Working with ink on kozo paper, Thomas explores the beauty of decay, finding a nuanced strength present in deterioration and the quiet moments that result from its study. It is this dynamic of strength and unexpected calm that dominates Thomas’ large scale works. Her pieces have been shown in solo and group exhibits across the country.