What's That Smell?

Since the Music and Screens departments get to fill out their columns with items about upcoming monster conferences, I'm playing copycat and doing the same. No, we haven't yet started a South by Southwest Puppet Theatre and Interpretive Dance Festival (though we've been meaning to get started on that); we mean the fourth annual Big Stinkin' International Improv & Sketch Comedy Festival, hereafter known as BS4. The laugh trade extravaganza, which drew more than 75 comedy troupes to town last spring and sponsored some 55 showcases of cable-quality sketch material and improvised comedy, is good to go shortly after SXSW shuts its doors, April 5-10. If you recall, a hallmark of BS3 was the involvement of Comedy Central, which helped kick the festival up to whole new level of excitement. This year, Fox Broadcasting has jumped on the Stinkin' bandwagon, bringing with it King of the Hill. Yep, Mike Judge's Lone Star hero will help kick off this year's fest via a special episode of the animated sitcom -- one inspired by Austin, don't ya know -- which will be screened at the Paramount Theatre the night before it's broadcast to the nation. As if that's not enough involvement for the Little Network That Could, Fox will be flying in the show's creative team, including executive producers, writers, and voice talent, to attend the screening and conduct a Q&A afterward. And cast members from another Fox comedy program, MAD TV, will be making the trip to Austin, too, certainly to serve as BS4 celebrity emcees but possibly to headline one of the showcase spots, doing an improv set. And there's talk of a cast member from one of Fox's signature dramas heading this way, too. (Do you know which of the Lone Gunmen heads a comedy troupe?) ABC may get into the act, too, sending along cast members of its prime-time improv hit Whose Line Is It Anyway? All this, plus another Latino comedy showcase, performances by 60 groups, the usual workshops, and parties. This is just the beginning. If you're ready to laugh, BS4 is the place to be. More details as they come in. Or try logging onto the BS4 Web site,

Frontera Search On Again

A few months ago, we had the unpleasant duty of reporting that poor Frontera@Hyde Park Theatre, which had announced the selection of a new managing director to fill the vacancy left by Eva Paloheimo back in the fall of 1997, had to retract the news when their candidate opted not to move to Austin. The blow came right on the eve of FronteraFest, the company's annual performance jamboree, and artistic director Vicky Boone and crew opted to let that proceed before resuming the directorial search. Well, the Fest is done, the Sound & Vision Festival which followed it is done, and the company's next world premiere -- Alaskan Heat Blue Dot, by Laurie Carlos and a heap of other Frontera regulars -- is pretty much set to open, so F@HPT is ready to get back to the business of finding someone to help them climb "to the next level of community support and financial stature." The managing director will work closely with the artistic director on day-to-day operations, while supervising the business manager and the marketing director. The job pays $18,000-$23,000, with growth based on performance. The Frontera gang wants you to start June 1. If you're up for the challenge, why not send your résumé to: Search Committee, Frontera, 511 W. 43rd St., Austin, TX 78751.

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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


Big Stinkin' International Improv And Sketch Comedy Festival, Bs4, Fox Broadcasting, King Of The Hill, Mike Judge, Madtv, Whose Line Is It Anyway, Frontera@hyde Park Theatre, F@hpt, Vicky Boone

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