Dionysium Austin
November 7th
Alamo South Lamar

     The Dionysium offers a unique, innovative program of debate, lecture, declamation, theatrical presentation and music in a salon-like atmosphere.  Held the first Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. at Alamo South Lamar, audiences enjoy offerings not to be found elsewhere in Austin - including the recitation of famous speeches, participatory discussion in a formal, moderated context and the opportunity to participate in the recreation of ancient rituals.
     A typical Dionysium show will feature a lecture, a declamation, a drinking song, a film or live musical performance, an appeal to Dionysus, a fiction-writing contest and plenty of strong drink. But the heart of every Dionysium is the debate, which pits two experts against each other in toe-to-toe parliamentary combat.
     Dionysium debate resolutions have covered everything from Social Security reform to the future threat of genocidal robots.  An audience interrogatory segment allows guests to personally challenge our debaters, and every resolution is adopted - or defeated - by an audience vote.
     The original Dionysia were yearly festivals in classical Athens. They superficially resembled modern theater festivals, but Dionysia were not mere entertainment.  They were religious and political events at the very heart of Athenian life and culture.  Like the Olympics, they were competitions in a sacred context - dramatists strove for coveted honors, politicians wielded the medium as a means to influence, and libations were poured to Dionysus' honor.
     The word Dionysium is seldom heard today, and the festivals are little thought of.  But much of the heart of Western Civilization was formed in the Dionysian crucible.  The great classical tragedies and comedies were first performed there, and society's seminal philosophies and political ideas were first debated in its galleries.
     Tickets are $11 for general admission, and is restricted to ages 18 and over.  Children 6 and up will be allowed only with a parent guardian, and no children under the age of 6 will be allowed.
    The Alamo South Lamar is located at 1120 South Lamar Blvd.  For more information, visit http://dionysium.com.
(Image courtesy Dionysium)
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