Austin’s longest-running quilt show returns Sept. 28-30 with mini quilts, rainbows of color

Quilters and sewing nerds are all around you.

Sometimes, they look like the grandmothers and mothers who might have taught you to sew a long time ago, but increasingly, they look like men and young people and punk rockers and people who also run marathons on the weekend.

I’m one of those quilt fans who looks forward to the annual shows that bring together the country’s best quilters. (You should have seen how excited I was to see the Houston International Quilt Show a few years ago.) Austin has hosted a number of large quilt shows in the past few years, including several Modern Quilt Guild’s international QuiltCon shows, but the Capital of Texas QuiltFest is the longest-running quilt show in Austin.

RELATED: Austin-area quilt bees, shows celebrate traditional, modern quilting

Hosted by the Austin Area Quilt Guild, the show has taken place every other year since 1980, and the event returns to the Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road, on Sept. 28-30.

The theme this year is “World of Color,” and you can see the more than 350 quilts on display — and the quilting, fabric and sewing vendor booths, as well as live demonstrations  — from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

This year, they also have a special exhibit featuring 46 miniature quilts that are also competing for prizes. Tickets cost $10 online and $10 at the door. Children 12 and under are free.

From a release:

Through the Capital of Texas QuiltFest, AAQG is able to share its mission (preserving the art form and heritage of quilting and promoting excellence and education in quilt-making) with the greater community around us. Through the show, we share our art medium with others and widen their horizons to appreciate quilts in new and unexpected ways.

By displaying these quilts for the public to view and enjoy as well as conducting live demonstrations of various quilting techniques, the AAQG is fostering growth and appreciation of this art form. Visitors will find that quilts aren’t just something made for the bed anymore. They find themselves astonished by the artistry of these quilts. Our members come from diverse cultural backgrounds, and those themes can be seen in their displayed quilts. There is truly something for everyone to appreciate and enjoy at the QuiltFest.

Here are some of the quilts that will be on display this year. You can find out more about the show at captxquiltfest.org.

The mighty Austin Symphony comes to save the day

Now that the Austin Symphony has consummated Part 3 of its “Mighty Russians” series, it has completely shed its former reputation for underplaying big music. Almost to a fault.

Music director Peter Bay opened the formal part of the concert on Saturday with the bright and bold “Carnaval Overture” by Alexander Glazunov. Dismissed by some critics in the 20th century as merely “academic” — in other words, glib, predictable, conservative — Glazunov is also capable of great orchestral virtuosity. This rousing performance — a taste of what was to come at the Long Center for the Performing Arts — made me want to dive right into his eight completed symphonies.

Lise de la Salle. Contribute by Marco Borggreve

Sergei Rachmaninoff‘s Piano Concerto No. 1 is all about the soloist, but the ensemble is given plenty of opportunity to introduce and expand on the piece’s gorgeous themes and variations. French pianist Lise de la Salle did not shy away from the famous concerto’s showiness. Compact and contained when off the bench, in performance, she swayed and nodded, extended her arcing arms, attacked the keyboard like an avenging angel, then caressed it like tender companion.

At times, de la Salle’s hands appeared to blur over the complicated finger work. (“I can’t imagine what the score looks like,” said a friend during intermission.) Besides technical skill and fearlessness, she added some interpretive touches, such as startling hesitations and a certain playfulness with the composer’s unconventional rhythms. These seemed to bleed right into her delicately rendered encore selection: a Debussy Prelude.

“How are they going to top that?” said the stranger seated next to me after intermission.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky‘s “Manfred Symphony” is all over the place. Based on the poem by Lord Byron, it is at times unabashedly pictorial, at other times outright theatrical, always Gothic and so varied that a listener sometimes gets tangled in its taiga of melodies.

This is where we get to part about Austin Symphony’s plenteous sound. Remember back at Bass Concert Hall prior to 2008? “Manfred” would have shrunken to “Boyfred.” (Sorry.) Nowadays, the orchestra’s power rises, if not quite to the level of a major American ensemble, quite close, especially with the additional brass.

At times, it went right up to the point of excess. I felt a little pummeled. But that’s what “Manfred” calls for and the Austin Symphony delivered mightily.

Austin plans jubilee weekend for playwright Terrence McNally.

Terrence McNally, who grew up in Corpus Christi, ranks among the top two or three playwrights from Texas. In Austin, the Ransom Center at the University of Texas holds his papers, while Zach Theatre has become something of the official home for performances of his plays and musicals.

Distinguished playwright Terrence McNally. Contributed by Michael Nagle.

The two groups have teamed up to salute McNally on his 80th birthday with a weekend of activities.

Nov. 10: Theater backers and producers Carolyn and Marc Seriff give a special dinner for the playwright at their home.

Nov. 11: The Texas Union Theater will screen “Every Act of Life,” a documentary about McNally’s life. Zach artistic director Dave Steakley will interview the playwright from the stage afterwards. A reception will follow at the Ransom Center.

RELATED: ‘Ragtime’ is an American classic.

Nov. 12: Zach will present a birthday gala performance that will include actors Richard Thomas, F. Murray Abraham and John Glover. They will highlight the McNally’s career which includes Tony Award wins for “Love! Valour! Compassion!,” “Master Class,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and “Ragtime.”

To RSVP and purchase tickets, visit www.zachtheatre.org/mcnally