As you may recall from last week's column, in what feels a lot like one of those Saturday morning serials with the cliffhanger endings, the closure of Capitol City Playhouse by the Internal Revenue Service put the fate of the Austin Gilbert & Sullivan Society's Gala All-Star Revue -- scheduled for Sunday, December 8, at Cap City -- in jeopardy. When we last saw him, Society Executive Director Robert Mellin was pursuing a deal with the IRS that would still allow the group to hold the gala in the space, but he had received no commitment. Well, in the improbable fashion of those serials, the guys in the white hats beat the odds; the society did get to hold the event at Cap City. Mellin appealed to several influential folks for aid, and they helped to negotiate an arrangement with the feds. The society's attorney, board members from the society, Cap City, and Bank One, and, most notably, Congressman Lloyd Doggett all got involved on the society's behalf. Friday, a dozen people met at the IRS office and spent three hours hammering out an agreement. The result allowed the theatre to be opened Saturday, so its staff could strike the set of The Glass Menagerie and prepare the stage for the gala. The G&S Society had to provide a cash bond against the removal of any property, and guards were stationed on-site to prevent anything from being taken, but that pretty much sealed the deal. Mellin says that Playhouse Artistic Director Richard Brown and his staff struck the old set within hours and did a beautiful job of redoing the space. As to the gala, "everything came out beautifully," Mellin says. Approximately 230 people attended, and the society made about $4,500. "It was a good feeling for a whole lot of people to have one last show there," Mellin says, "volunteers, techies, board members, a lot of the Cap City regulars -- and Pepe (aka Jose Greco II) felt very happy to dance there one last time." Congressman Doggett noted that it was "great to be able to give a hand to the Gilbert & Sullivan Society, which has given so much to our community. I appreciate the cooperation of all the parties involved who worked for a worthy cause." In another bit of Cap City news, the IRS scheduled an auction of the theatre's office equipment for Thursday, December 12.

More Access

Austin Access Arts does what its name says: increases access to local arts events for patrons with visual disabilities. The service is best known for its Audio Described Performances, in which trained volunteers provide narrated descriptions of plays to audience members wearing headsets tuned to a specific FM frequency. (Its next Audio Described Performance is Saturday, December 14, for the Live Oak Theatre at the State production of A Christmas Carol.) Now, AAA is adding Large Print and Braille playbills to its services. In conjunction with Live Oak, it's making them available for all Live Oak shows this season. For more info, call 454-9912.

Send literary, performing, and visual arts news to: "Articulations," PO Box 49066, Austin, TX 78765 or

Box Office Update

The Box Office has recently moved from its cozy home in the Dougherty Arts Center, and, as was reported here, the move necessitated the service giving up its easy-to-remember 499-TIXS number. Initially, Box Office maven Roxy Becker was concerned that their new exchange would not allow them to keep the "TIXS" code, but it turns out that they're able to keep it after all. The new Box Office number is 454-TIXS, and its companion service, AusTix, which sells half-price tickets to many performing arts events in town, is now 454-HALF.

Day Without Art Reminder

ProArts Collective, an African-American arts company, hosts a most tasty fundraiser, Gumbo, Cornbread, Red Beans and Rice, Sunday, November 17, 4-7pm, at 1804 East Side Dr. For info, call 499-TIXS or 474-4494.

Getting Seen

Dave Steakley has hardly had a minute to savor the success of his latest stage sensation at the Zachary Scott Theatre Center. Zach's managing director and the director of Beehive, Forever Plaid, and several of the theatre's other many musical hits no sooner got The Gospel at Colonus open than he had to jet off to Pittsburgh to start work on a production of Avenue X at City Theatre there. Steakley was hired to direct the Pittsburgh production after being recommended for the job by none other than Avenue X's creators, Ray Leslee and John Jiler, who came to Austin last year, saw Steakley's work in the Zach staging, and were much impressed. In fact, the pair like Steakley's work so much that they want him to help develop the play by directing more productions of Avenue X in other theatres. The City Theatre production opens next Wednesday, December 4.

Speaking of Gospel, though, ZSTC Marketing Director Jim Reynolds reports that the musical, which was a risky endeavor for the theatre, turned out a certified hit. In terms of Zach's projections for the run, the show did 150% business during its six-week run. Now, that doesn't make it the first big hit for the theatre this season; that distinction belongs to Sylvia, the A.R. Gurney comedy starring Emily Balanoff as an irrepressible pooch. It opened September 14 and is now in its 12th week, with a guaranteed extension through the end of December. For info, call 476-0541.

Artists Displaced The Artists Coalition of Austin, which has operated the ArtSpace at 403 Baylor for several years and provided studio space for dozens of visual artists, is unable to renew the lease for most of that space. This week, all but a handful of the 30 or more artists who have been leasing space, will be forced to relocate. Goodwill Industries, the owners of the building, are reclaiming most of it for their own use, though they are allowing the coalition to keep the gallery and some space behind it. The coalition and the artists are actively seeking a new home, preferably with 15,000 square feet in central or south Austin. If you can help, call 474-7799.

Worthy Causes

ProArts Collective, an African-American arts company, hosts a most tasty fundraiser, Gumbo, Cornbread, Red Beans and Rice, Sunday, November 17, 4-7pm, at 1804 East Side Dr. For info, call 499-TIXS or 474-4494.

On the Funding Front

Austin Theatre for Youth received an enormous show of support in the form of a $50,000 challenge grant from the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation. The local theatre company, which produces plays for pre-school-age and school-age audiences, is only just about to start its second season -- it opens The Christmas Schooner December 7 -- so it hasn't established the track record that generally helps arts organizations win contributions of this size. While the Rapoports are quoted by the foundation as believing ATY is "an outstanding organization dedicated to expanding the dramatic and literary horizons of young people" -- a judgment with which we agree -- it's worth noting the Burnt Orange Connection here: Mr. Rapoport is the chair of the UT Board of Regents, and the ATY Board Fundraising Chair is Isabella Cunningham, who's married to the UT Chancellor. For more info about ATY, call 459-7144.

Women & Their Work has been given $30,000 from the Meadows Foundation to replenish its operating cash reserve. In the fall W&TW newsletter, Board President Connie Arismendi is quoted as saying, "Support from private foundations like the Meadows, corporations, and individuals is essential to the survival of nonprofit art organizations because of the drastic cuts in federal and state support for art," after which the uncredited author of the item reminds us that Texas, despite being the second largest state and having the third largest population of artists in the Union, ranks 53rd among the U.S. states and protectorates in per capita funding for the arts. That's after Guam and the Marianas Islands. Ouch! Like we needed reminding! Somebody call the Lege! For more info on W&TW, call 477-1064.

Roy Lozano's Ballet Folklórico de Texas has an official sponsor for its 1996 Winter Tour. Southwestern Bell is providing support for the 13-year-old dance troupe as it performs four dates around town this month and next month. Two performances have already taken place, but fans can still see the annual Children's Recital December 7, 3pm, at Bowie High and the performance at the Trail of Lights in Zilker Park December 13, 7pm. For more info, call 928-1111.

Sharing the Opera Gospel

Austin Lyric Opera wants everyone to enjoy their chosen artform. They've formed a new social group, La Noche de Opera, to help share the joy of opera with more folks in the Hispanic community. Before every Saturday performance in the season, the group gathers for a reception where they can meet ALO General Director Joseph McClain and singers from the operas. ALO is also having one show in each season production audio-described by Austin Access Arts, an organization . For The Magic Flute, AAA will provide audio descriptions Monday, November 25, 7pm. For more opera info, call 472-5927; for AAA info, call 499-0255.

Listening in the Evening

For lovers of British theatre, last week's 1996 Flair Symposium was a dream talking. The two-day event, Shouting in the Evening, sponsored by the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, brought together in one room some major figures of the English stage to speak personally about their work in British theatre and its importance in the past 40 years. Playwrights David Hare, Tom Stoppard, and Timberlake Wertenbaker; actor-directors Frith Banbury and Janet Suzman; critics Michael Billington and Mel Gussow; and scholars Ruby Cohn and Oscar Brockett provided much personable and lively chat about the state of the art.

Alas, the guests have flown back across the Big Pond, but the Shouting in the Evening exhibition continues through January in the Leeds Gallery (fourth floor, Flawn Academic Center, UT campus). For info, call 471-8944.

The Business Committee for the Arts is getting more out of a week than most of us do; this year, the BCA started its annual Arts Week on November 2, but it's keeping it going a full nine days, which means you have through this weekend to help our corporate friends recognize and promote the arts' contributions to our community. On Saturday, November 9, surf the local visual art scene on the "Artrageous Tour of Galleries, Studios, and Salons." Between 10am and 6pm, participants will visit 15 venues via Capital Metro's Dillo. For info on departure times and stops, call 322-5688. The concluding event of the week, hosted by BookPeople, is the Austin Free Poetry Festival, featuring more than 80 different wordsmiths performing their own work. The event is Sunday, November 10, 10am-10pm, at the bookstore, 603 N. Lamar. For more info, see the sidebar in the "Books" section (p. 36, this issue), or call 441-0807.


Novelist James Michener and his late wife Mari have been named recipients of the Medal for Distinguished Philanthropy from the American Association of Museums for 1996. The medal, presented annually to persons or organizations who have made outstanding contributions to museums, recognizes the couple's gifts of $100 million to museums, including their art collections (such as their Twentieth Century Painting Collection, housed at UT's Archer M. Huntington Gallery). A formal presentation of the medal will take place Saturday, October 19, during a luncheon at the Huntington.

Gallery Kick-Offs

The Medore von Koffler Studio and Gallery will open in a blaze of light and color this Friday. The new Wimberley art space for glass artists Jay von Koffler and Melissa Medore will be engulfed in an inferno of colors, abstract shapes, and giant shadows, courtesy of lighting designer Marc Herring of San Francisco. Herring has pioneered the projection of slides and film on huge surfaces -- like skyscrapers -- and he'll be projecting onto the buildings and landscape of the Hill Country in what is bound to be an dazzling show. The action commences November 1, 6pm, at the gallery, 3.2 miles from Wimberley Square on FM 3237. Call 847-7002 for info.

Closer in, Judge Roy's Bean Emporium, a gallery/coffee shop, is opening in the Driskill Hotel on Monday, November 4, 7pm. The opening exhibit is in memory of Michel Jaroschy and showcases work produced for Capitol City Playhouse. Costumes, designs, posters, and production photos will be on display. For info, call 457-0000.

Off the Desk

Lyons Matrix Gallery invites you to The Bob and Bert Show, a happy hour event with artists Bob Wade and Bert Long, whose artwork is on display in the gallery's current exhibition, Native Texans, showing through November 9. The "show," which includes liquids and music, takes place this Thursday, October 24, 5-7pm, at Lyons Matrix, 1712 Lavaca. For info, call 479-0068.

The Austin Visual Arts Association has just given its newsletter, AVANTI, a new, successful re-design. Write PO Box 13313, Austin, TX 78711-3313 for a copy of the most recent issue. You might also send a resumé and throw your hat into the ring as a potential board member or part-time paid director of the organization. Call 454-3077 for info.

Untimely Ripp'd Off

Up through last Saturday, the folks in the Austin Shakespeare Festival had been feeling real good about the opening weekend of their production of The Merchant of Venice at the Zilker Park Rock Island. ASF Board Vice President Bill Sheffield, "trashed the inside of the shed." Making the crime yet more painful for the group was the fact that all of the damaged and stolen material was either rented or borrowed. ASF not only has to find substitutes for the rest of the run, it has to replace goods generously loaned to them by other local groups. Needless to say, ASF is in need of contributions more than ever. Call 454-BARD for info.

Talking Printmaking

Women & Their Work hosts a panel on "Perspectives on Printmaking," in conjunction with its exhibit, Women in Print: Prints From 3M by Contemporary Printmakers, running through September 14 at its 1718 Lavaca gallery. The panel will be moderated by Katherine Brimberry of Flatbed Press and will include Connie Arismendi, Melissa Miller, Lillian Garcia-Roig, Anne Marie Pavlik, and Arleen Polite. The panel will be held Thursday, August 22, 6-7:30pm, at W&TW. Call 477-1064 for info.

In Memoriam

Another longtime friend of Capitol City Playhouse has died. Ken Murphy, a devoted volunteer for that theatre, passed away Friday, November 1, at the age of 46. Murphy worked for the Internal Revenue Service, but he was well known outside that agency for his involvement in Austin's volunteer community. He contributed to AIDS Services of Austin, Project Transitions, and the Paramount Theatre, as well as Cap City. But it was at the Playhouse that Murphy had made some of his most public contributions of late. Within the past month, he had presided over the memorial service for Cap City founder Michel Jaroschy and had given a brief curtain speech prior to the opening of Cap City's current production of The Glass Menagerie. Murphy is survived by his wife Peggy. A celebration of Murphy's life will be held at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, Sunday, November 10, 2pm.

A Grant for Grenon

Austin photographer Martha Grenon has been awarded a grant from ArtsLink to develop a disciplinary bookwith Albanian writer Robert Martikos. The collaboration will be a photo-documentary essay on the life of a family during and after the Hoxha regime, the most severe of the Eastern European communist dictatorships. Grenon's images will be matched to writings that Martikos has been compile mostly in secret over the past 15 years. The project will be in an exhibition to be shown in both the United States and Albania and will see print as a handmade, limited edition book. ArtsLink enables artists and arts organizations in the U.S. to develop projects with their counterparts in Central and Eastern Europe on projects which may benefit both countries. Call 474-9047 or 442-9709 for info.

Those creative kids in the Performance Art Church are looking to take their act to Cleveland, where the world's largest performance art festival is held. To raise money for the trip, they're putting together an evening of bands and art, kicked off with a special PeACh show, The Performance Art Olympics. The event takes place Monday, August 5, 8pm, at their usual venue, the Electric Lounge, 302 Bowie. For info, call 478-5387.

Black Artisan's Market

Tribes, the multidisciplinary cooperative and support network for local black artists, is hosting an open air market for black artists at the Passon House, East 12th and Comal, and is looking for fine artists, artisans, designers, and vendors to exhibit. The grounds of this historic East Austin home can accommodate 15 10' X 10' booths for the sale of handmade arts, crafts, or specialty items. Interested artists should call Tribes co-founder Nailah Sankofa at 477-4247 for an application.

More Seasons in the Sun

Schedules for 1996-97 seasons keep tricklin' in. Here are a few more: Live Oak Theatre at the State continues to honor family ties in 1996-97, with Sweeney Todd, by Sondheim & Wheeler; On Golden Pond, by Thompson; Dickens' A Christmas Carol, adapted by Schave, Toner, & Robertson (that means duelin' Dickens in December -- Zach Scott is also Carol-ing); Shadowlands, by Nicholson; You Can't Take It With You, by Kaufman & Hart; Woody Guthrie's American Song, adapted by Glazer; and a show to be announced. Call 472-5143.

Remembrance Through the Performing Arts offers another season of new work in progress, starting with Homerun, by and starring award-winner Jo Harvey Allen; Ten Feet Down and Looking Up, by Egan Dean; The Confessions of David Crockett, by Steve Warren; and Red Sea, by RPA artistic director Rosalyn Rosen. Call 329-9118.

And a new company blending top national talent with Austin artists will debut. Director-playwright Manuel Zarate is artistic director for Third Coast Repertory Theatre. Its inaugural season includes: Inherit the Wind, by Lawrence & Lee; Sonata Escondido, by Zarate; The Songs of Christmas, a company generated piece; The Meeting, by Stetson; Theresa Bassoon, by Narens; and a musical to be announced. Call 328-3785.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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

Robert Faires, April 30, 2004

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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