A big vote of confidence for new Ballet Austin artistic director Stephen Mills; a way you can "Bowl With the Bards".
Mills Choice Earns Ballet Austin $1 Million
How's this for an endorsement as you're starting a new job? Somebody rewards the place that just hired you with a cool million bucks. That's essentially what happened last week at Ballet Austin, where longtime choreographer Stephen Mills was recently named the company's permanent artistic director. Local arts patrons John and Julie Thornton were so pleased with the ballet board's decision that they followed the announcement with a gift of $1 million to the organization. It's the biggest contribution in the company's history and comes at a particularly opportune time, not only because it comes just as Mills is getting started and thus provides him with that terrific vote of confidence but because it comes as he and the ballet are discussing big new plans for the company -- hiring new dancers, creating a touring arm -- and it enables them to do more than just dream about these things. Fortunately, the gift won't be tied up in endowment funding or a capital campaign, as is common with most such sizable donations these days. The couple is allowing the ballet access to the funds for whatever it chooses. The Thorntons' fortune is tied up in high-tech and venture capital -- John is a general partner with the firm Austin Ventures -- and their gift reflects that: It's an assortment of stocks in local corporate success stories. From John's perspective, the contribution may appear to be another investment, but from Julie's it looks more like an opportunity for her to give something back to an organization that gave something to her years ago; she danced with the company several years back.
Bowl With the Bards
Sure, you know what one of our hotshot local playwrights will do when confronted with issues of identity in our racially blended but still biased, gender-elastic postmodern culture (answer: a long monologue, liberally spiced with sensual adjectives, hip references to Seventies music, and/or confessions about their mom), but do you know what one of these dramaturgical whiz kids will do when confronted with a 7-10 split? Are you able to say who among the dramatists of Austin can pick up a spare and who among them rolls the dreaded gutter ball? If not, then it's time you found out, and there's no better way to do just that than "Bowl With the Bards," the annual fundraiser by Frontera@Hyde Park Theatre, set for Sunday, April 16, 2pm, at Westgate Lanes. The feisty arts company on West 43rd has corralled 15 playwrights into taking part this year, and you can not only observe their feats of tenpin wizardry, you can hurl right alongside them. Each playwright will captain a team, and you can sign on with your literary idol of choice -- if you're swift enough, that is. Sign-up begins the day this issue hits the streets, and assignments are first-come, first-serve. Will you rack up a perfect game for
Sharon "big dog" Bridgforth or Dan "The Heat" Dietz? Nab that spare for Kirk "Little Hammer" Lynn or Ron "The Claw" Berry? Or perhaps you'd prefer to roll 'em with a real "Lord of the Lanes," Robert "Kill Me Before I Strike Again" Faires! Yes, the F@HPT crowd has appealed to my vanity and invited me to captain a team. To sign up, call 867-6532 and leave your name, phone number, and your preferences, if any, for a captain. Cost is a $30 entry fee or you can sign up three pledges who agree to pay four, five, or six cents per pin. Proceeds benefit Frontera.