Swim Judgment

Two years after his sculpture "The Heart" was pulled from an exhibition in the Municipal Building, sculptor David Swim has won his lawsuit against the City of Austin. On January 26, a judgment was rendered affirming that the city, in the person of Art in Public Places Program Coordinator Martha Peters, violated Swim's First Amendment rights by refusing to display the piece, a plaster cast of a nude male torso. Swim was awarded compensation for attorneys' fees, plus $15,000 for mental anguish and emotional distress. The artist says he's "relieved" to have a conclusion to this "ordeal," during which he has endured not only lengthy legal proceedings but the theft of his work from an Oklahoma City art gallery. As a result, Swim is taking a break from art to pursue study in a technical field. Of his experiences, Swim says, "I'm thankful for the support I've received from my attorney, Ben Cunningham, and from the National Campaign for Freedom of Expression. They've been great. And I feel some satisfaction that this will help other artists. I hope this judgment will reinforce what the Bill of Rights is there for."


Mills Leaves Ballet Austin

Ballet Austin Resident Choreographer Stephen Mills has submitted a letter of resignation to that company. Mills' move comes after nine years with BA, during which time he has created many new works for the group (one of which, Duel Fuel, can be seen in the Tonight We Dance program this week) and built a reputation as one of Austin's most talented -- and well-liked -- choreographers. In the letter, Mills states that he will leave at the end of BA's current season, following its production of Swan Lake. While he has been building a strong national reputation of late, Mills says that he has no plans at present.


Monks Scouted by Disney

Local comedy sensation Monks' Night Out, which crowned its debut year by being named "Best Theatre Group" in the Chronicle 1995 "Best of Austin" Readers Poll, got a call from Disney/Touchstone Features this week. The Mouse Factory is on the lookout for improv comedy talent for TV projects and wants to send some scouts to their show Wednesday, February 21, 8pm, at Esther's Pool. The Monks would love a big crowd for the show, which will also feature UT improv troupe Only 90% Effective, San Antonio improv troupe Oxymorons, and distinctly non-improv Asylum Street Spankers.


Traviata Extended

Austin Lyric Opera has extended its run of La Traviata, its last 1995-96 season production, to a fourth performance. The extra show will be held March 4, Monday, 7pm, and will feature the stars of Saturday's performance: Ai-Lan Zhu as Violetta and Adam Klein as Alfredo. For more info, call 472-5992.

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The Harry Ransom Center has acquired all the professional and personal materials of profoundly influential acting teacher Stella Adler

Robert Faires, April 30, 2004

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It's the end of an era for the city of Austin's Art in Public Places Program as Martha Peters, administrator of the program for 11 of its 18 years, departs to direct a public art program in Fort Worth.

Robert Faires, July 18, 2003

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