The Austin Chronicle


By Robert Faires, March 23, 2001, Arts

Liz Dish

Liz Smith let the world know what a good time she had in Austin recently and included a nod to a local theatre in the process. In her column of March 16, the Newsday journalist described the big Texas Film Hall of Fame bash, at which she was honored alongside actor Sissy Spacek, director Robert Benton, screenwriter William Wittliff, and agent Mike Simpson. It was vintage Smith dish, consisting chiefly of sweet-smelling verbal bouquets for her fellow Texan celebs, but squeezed between a nosegay to pal Ann Richards, who introduced Smith at the ceremony, and a scoop about Al Gore making another run for the White House in 2004, Smith makes mention of the fundraiser she and the former governor headlined for the Zachary Scott Theatre Center, which, she notes parenthetically, "is named for the classy Texas-born actor who was a big star at Warner Bros. in the heyday of Joan Crawford." "We had an SRO crowd of almost 300 who liked our corny, dishy chat," she writes, adding that "Ann and I are mulling doing a radio show called Two Old Texas Broads Talking. But first, we have to figure out how to get two old broads together in the same broadcast venue." Zach Artistic Director Dave Steakley, who shared the stage with the "two old broads," reports that the evening was great fun for him and a big success for Zach. Indeed, just squeezing another 75 seats into the Kleberg Theatre was enough to qualify it as such.

Career Moves

Opening night of the State Theater Company's Anton in Show Business last Friday saw dozens and dozens of the city's theatre folk turn out for playwright Jane Martin's skewering of them and their chosen profession. Among the stage stars on hand was Tru himself, Jaston Williams, taking a brief break from spring tour duties with the Greater Tuna Corporation. Williams' fans can count on seeing him next onstage in a Tuna vehicle -- Red, White, and Tuna, the conclusion to the wildly popular Tuna trilogy, which plays the Paramount April 17-22 -- but after that, expect to see the master thespian crossing the boards in a couple of more varied projects along the lines of last year's solo turn as Truman Capote at Zach. First up is a summer run of The Chairs -- yes, the Ionesco play that had a hit revival in London and New York a few seasons back -- at the State, with longtime pals Karen and Richard Jones of San Antone. Karen will co-star in the piece; Richard will direct. Then, Williams will return to Zach, which is eager to have Williams back after the success of Tru. Dave Steakley has pitched three very different scripts Williams' way, all of them extremely intriguing, but as of Friday, he had yet to settle on which one he'd most like to do. Would that he could do all three.

What's in a Name?

Say goodbye to the ArtPlex -- the name, that is, not the space. The facility at 1705 Guadalupe, which has been home to a host of visual arts galleries, artists' studios, darkroom facilities, nonprofit offices, software design and Web support groups, hair salons, and massage therapists over the last four years, is still up and housing an eclectic batch of tenants, mostly arts-related. But the building has new owners, according to Deborah Peacock of the Deborah Peacock Gallery, and they want to mark the start of a new era by rechristening the space. So, from now on, the uptown arts center will be known as GuadalupeArts. Peacock, who is handling public relations duties for the space, says that more changes are in the works. To learn what they are, call 473-3775.

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