February in Austin: Strange Theater, Cupid’s Undie Run and Carnival!

If you still haven’t figured out why people say Austin is “weird,” then head on down to one of this month’s events.

There are unique theatrical productions, fundraising underwear jogs and elegant black tie galas. The lineup of events this month shows off Austin’s cultural diversity and, similar to the holiday season, its charitable nature.

Here’s a rundown of fun events coming up in February.


Feb. 1: It’s the Super Bowl XLIX (Patriots v. Seahawks). Need we say more? Whether you care or not about the game, it’s kind of an unofficial holiday. It’s an opportunity to show your friends fantastic hospitality — or go enjoy someone else’s party. Or, you can hit up one of the big events centered on the big game, such as the United Way for Greater Austin’s Young Leaders Society watch party. You get the game, food, beer and a chance at a prize or two — all while being charitable through the $35 entry charge.

When: 5 p.m. Sunday

Where: Fado Irish Pub, 214 W. 4th Street, downtown

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Feb. 1-14: Expect the unexpected at FronteraFest. Now in its 22nd season, the annual theatrical performances are filled with off-the-wall fringe projects. It’s a collaboration between the Hyde Park Theater and ScriptWorks, which supports emerging playwrites. Every Saturday night of the festival is a juried “Best of the Week” performance. The last week, Feb. 12-16, features the “Best of the Fest” — with, as organizers say, a “few wild cards thrown in.”

When: Times vary, check the website.

Where: Hyde Park Theater, 511 West 43rd Street

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Feb. 7: Don’t bother getting ready. Just arrive in your underwear. It’s Cupid’s Undie Run, after all. Here’s how the organizers put it: “Cupid’s Undie Run is where a little crazy meets a lot of charity. Tumors suck and we’re here to fight them with the most fun event in the world. Join us on a mission you’ll never forget!” Hey, it’s only a mile or so. And it benefits the Children’s Tumor Foundation. It’s part of a multi-city fundraiser. Last year, the events raised more than $2.8 million.

When: Doors open at noon; an awards ceremony at 1 p.m. and the undie run at 2 p.m. followed by a party.

Where: Rattle Inn, 610 Nueces Street

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Feb. 7: Get out your favorite cocktail dress. The Blanton Gala is a black tie affair to commemorate University of Texas President Bill Powers’ legacy of leadership and commitment to the visual arts. It’s followed by an after-party called “Art on the Edge” that features food, cocktails and music from DJ Mel and Memphis Train Revue. The Gala raises funds to support the museum’s exhibitions and educational programs that serve 150,000 visitors each year, in addition to celebrating the transformative power of art in our lives and communities. The event will take place in the Blanton’s Rapoport Atrium and across the street in the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum.

When: 6 p.m.

Where: Blanton’s Rapoport Atrium, 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

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Feb. 21: CASA serves an incredibly important role in the Austin area. They help abused and neglected kids through the dizzying and intimidating court process and advocate for them in all aspects of their lives. It’s pretty serious work. But the CASAblanca Gala promises a lot of fun as attendees help raise money to help the kids. To name a few: cocktails, photo booths, speakers, an auction, espresso bar and prize drawings. Tickets are $100.

When: 5:30 p.m.

Where: AT&T Hotel and Conference Center, 1900 University Ave.

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Feb. 15: You can do it. It’s Austin’s big race — aptly named the Austin Marathon. It’s a Boston Marathon qualifier. You can even walk it, if you want. It’s limited to 5,000 runners. The weekend is peppered with concerts, speakers and other fun events.

When: 7 a.m.

Where: Downtown, in and around Congress Ave, and throughout Austin.

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Feb. 23: The Texas Observer has been a strong independent journalistic voice since 1954. And their annual Rabble Rouser Round-Up and Fat Cat Schmoozefest is one of the ways their nonprofit news outfit keeps churning out compelling investigative stories. This year’s event features Lizz WInstead, a comedian, writer and co-creator of The Daily Show and Lady Parts Justice. It’s emceed by Austin-based activist Julie Gillis and it has live music by DJ Dennis Camp and food from Tacos and Tequila. The event also includes the People’s Friend Award, in recognition of outstanding advocacy and activism. Tickets are $50.

When: 6 p.m.

Where: The Rattle Inn, 610 Nueces

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Feb. 28: It may not be Rio de Janeiro or Bourbon Street, but Austin puts on a pretty wild and crazy Mardis Gras celebration. The 38th Annual Carnaval Brasileiro is said to be the largest indoor Mardis Gras party in the world — let’s just say in the universe. It’s a festive environment of drums, music and lavishly decorated people. Here’s how the promoters put it: “Begun in the early 1970s to soothe homesick Brazilian students, CARNAVAL has grown into a local institution attracting over 5000 partygoers from all over the United States. The flamboyant sometimes risque, costumes, the driving Brazilian samba, and the uninhibited, spirited atmosphere have earned CARNAVAL its reputation as one of the best and biggest such festivities outside Brazil.”  Tickets are $38. Sound fun?

When: 8 p.m.

Where: Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road 

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