Big career moves for a couple of Austin playwrights and big parties thrown by a couple of Austin arts organizations.
Title notwithstanding, there's no despair for Despair's Book of Dreams and the Sometimes Radio. The B. Iden Payne Award-winning musical by Austin playwright-performer Kirk Smith, as produced by the Vortex Repertory Company, is in the midst of a two-week run at the HERE arts center in New York City, and will play a weekend at McNeese State University in Louisiana before returning home. And on top of that, the show is garnering national, even international, exposure, via -- what else? -- the radio. Smith and his show are being featured on the Public Radio International program Studio 360, produced by WNYC in the Big Apple and syndicated around the country. In a six-minute segment introduced by program host Kurt Andersen, Smith talks about his feelings for radio, the journey of Connie, the lead character, and the human experience, with music from the show playing in the background. Studio 360 isn't carried locally, but you can listen to it on the Web at www.wnyc.org/new/Studio360/show.html. Despair's Book of Dreams and the Sometimes Radio runs through March 11, Fridays at 7:30pm, Saturdays at 7:30pm & 10:30pm, and Sundays at 3:00pm & 7:30pm. For more info, visit www.radiodespair.com.
Liz on Zach
Zachary Scott wasn't always just a name on a theatre. At one point, he was a Hollywood star, sharing the screen with such cinematic legends as Joan Crawford, Spencer Tracy, Sidney Greenstreet, Lana Turner, and Joel McCrea, and working for such celebrated directors as Jean Renoir, Luis Buñuel, and Michael Curtiz. This weekend, you can get some of the scoop on Scott from the Queen of the Scoops, when gossip columnist Liz Smith takes the Kleberg Stage at the Zachary Scott Theatre Center to reminisce about her friendship with the Austin-reared actor who helped Smith get her first job as a writer. Smith will be joined onstage by Gov. Ann Richards and Zach Artistic Director Dave Steakley in what will be a free-ranging conversation that will also cover Smith's days as a reporter for The Daily Texan and her rise to success as a columnist in New York City. Following the stage chat, Smith will be available to sign copies of her memoir Natural Blonde. This one-time-only fundraiser, which includes food catered by Sterling Affairs, will take place Saturday, March 10, 8pm, at Zach's Kleberg Stage, 1421 W. Riverside Dr. Tickets are $25. Call 476-0541x1 for more info.
Capital City Capital
Adventurous artists wondering who's going to fund their next envelope-pushing project should make a point of meeting Esther Robinson this week. Robinson is program director for media and performing arts at the Creative Capital Foundation, a new, national organization that supports artists pursuing innovative approaches to form and/or content in the visual, performing, and media arts, as well as other emerging art fields. She's coming to town from the foundation's home office in New York specifically to meet with Austin artists and discuss the Creative Capital funding initiative, which -- don't be shocked now -- gives grants to individuals. Recipients have already included Austin visual artist Mel Ziegler ($10,000) and Austin-affiliated theatre artists Daniel Alexander Jones ($5,000) and W. David Hancock ($10,000), proof we're not too far from the action to be considered. So get on down to Frontera@Hyde Park Theatre, 511 W. 43rd, on Sunday, March 11, 3pm, and find out more. For more info, call Vicky Boone at 479-7530x2, or visit the foundation Web site at www.creative-capital.org.