Pat Jasper leaves Texas Folklife Resources, and a pair of Zachary Scott Theatre Center shows get good out-of-town press.
One of the state's best friends to the folk arts and the people who make it is leaving the organization she helped found to promote and preserve their work. Pat Jasper is retiring as director of Austin-based Texas Folklife Resources, the organization she co-founded with Kay Turner and Betsy Peterson in 1984 to give a much-needed home to the traditional arts in the Lone Star State. During the past 17 years, she has guided TFR as it's grown into an organization that is not only a cornerstone of the community but one with a prominent profile on the national scene. Thanks to Jasper and her leadership, we've seen Texas music, from conjunto to country & western, Texas art, from folk painting to quilts, and Texas cultural traditions, from Mexican quinceañeras to Czech weddings, researched, documented, and celebrated in exhibitions, programs, and concerts. If you wanted to touch the heart and soul of the state's folklife, all you had to do was touch Jasper. She deserves all our thanks. A national search will be undertaken to find a successor for Jasper. In the meantime, board member Susan Morehead will serve as interim director. For more info, call 441-9255.
The Flaming Idiots, who are spending their holidays entertaining audiences on Broadway, are two for two in The New York Times. When the New Vaudeville team played the New Victory Theatre last year, they won a positive notice from the Times. Now, Lawrence Van Gelder has praised their follow-up effort, What Goes Up, running through January 13 at the same theatre. "This welcome return visit by Gyro (Rob Williams), Pyro (Jon O'Connor), and Walter (Kevin Hunt) is an appealing combination of sure-fire (literally and figuratively) routines from their appearance at the New Victory last year and some novelties ... The music by Thomas A. Nuendel, Allen Robertson, and RJ Rabin is an aural pleasure that enhances enjoyment, and the Idiots' patter, mainly provided by the fast-talking Gyro, will fall meaningfully on the ears of grown-ups, with its references to everyone from Keanu Reeves and Alan Greenspan to Tiger Woods and Bob Fosse, as well as New York attitude and the old 42nd Street. ... All together, they demonstrate what escapist entertainment is all about." The Idiots bring What Goes Up home to the Zachary Scott Theatre Center April 25-June 23.
Meanwhile, Zach has received a similarly positive nod from the out-of-town press. Zach Artistic Director Dave Steakley took the theatre's Rockin' Christmas Party, that seasonal sampler featuring pop tunes of AM radio past, to the Alamo City for a two-week run at the Empire Theater. According to Deborah Martin in the San Antonio Express-News, "All of the performers are charismatic and hold the audience right where they want them. They work the comedy for all it's worth, and also hit precisely the right tone with every song ... There is no escape from the infectious groove laid down by the eight-piece band and the giddy good spirits of the cast." Rockin' just opened its traditional run at the Paramount Theatre December 19-29. For more info, call 476-0541, or check www.zachscott.com.