What's in a Name?

Our dear friend the Bard of Avon was onto something when he penned all that jazz about a rose by any other name still smellin' sweet; the labels we hang on things don't have squat to do with their essences. However, with all due respect to Bill S., sometimes names are meaningful, and the recent actions of a pair of longtime Austin arts institutions are cases in point. Last month, the fine arts museum on the University of Texas campus changed its name from the Huntington Art Gallery to the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art. Museum director Jessie Otto Hite announced the change as a form of recognition for Blanton's support of the arts in Texas and, more specifically, his major support in helping the College of Fine Arts realize its long-cherished dream of building a new museum. As the museum moves toward construction of a facility for the 21st century, it's not an insignificant thing to have a name which honors someone who was instrumental to its creation. (By the way, the Huntingt - er, Blanton has narrowed its search for architects for the new museum to seven firms, each of which will send representatives to UT to make public presentations regarding their views on museum design and past work. The first one, with Herzog & de Meuron Arkitekten of Basel, Switzerland, takes place the day this paper comes out, April 23, at 5pm, in Rm. 1.102 of the Art Building, 23rd & San Jacinto streets. Call 232-1988 for more info.)

The other name change comes from the community and from the field of theatre. The Friends of the Summer Musical, which has long provided community support for the musicals staged in Zilker Park for the past 40 years, is now Zilker Theatre Productions. As the company seeks to expand its efforts beyond the one show each summer, while retaining the sense of place and history with which it is identified, taking on a new moniker makes perfect sense. (And as long as we're talking about the summer musical, this is a good place to remind you that this year's show is that Rodgers & Hammerstein staple South Pacific, to run July 11-August 15 on the recently renamed (!) Beverly S. Sheffield Zilker Hillside Theatre, and auditions are being held this weekend, April 25 and 26, Saturday and Sunday, 10am-6pm, at the Dougherty Arts Center, 1110 Barton Springs Rd. Call 479-9491 for more info.)

Happy 434th, Will!

And as long as we've brought up the Bard's name once, it wouldn't be fitting to close the column without wishing him a happy birthday. April 23 is, as I'm sure you know, the birthday of William Shakespeare. That makes this a perfect time to haul out the old sonnets for a good re-read to one's best beloved, or to take in a production of one of Will's plays. There's a bloody fine Macbeth winding up a nice run at Planet Theatre, and UT's Department of Germanic Languages has turned to the Bard for its 51st annual theatrical production, a translation of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Ein Sommernachtstraum. Or for a real novelty, you can jog on down to Winedale, and see a rarely staged early draft of Hamlet - the so-called "Bad Quarto" - performed by students in James Ayres' Shakespeare at Winedale program. It's this streamlined early version that Ayres and some of his former students will take overseas this summer and perform on the stage of the new Globe Theatre in London. (More on that later.) Anyway, see the Arts Calendar listings for details on these shows, then hoist one for the greatest playwright ever.

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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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