Salvage Vanguard Theater loses Dan Dietz as co-Artistic Director, the National Endowments for the Arts loses its new director, and the Rude Mechanicals sell out their Mid-America tour of Lipstick Traces.
Dietz Steps Down at SVT
After two seasons at the helm of Salvage Vanguard Theater, serving as co-Artistic Director with company founder Jason Neulander, Dan Dietz is stepping down. "This is a friendly, amicable departure," says the acclaimed playwright and actor. "My relationship with Jason has been the single most fruitful artistic relationship of my life, and I wouldn't give that up for anything." The change is being prompted by a surge of national interest in Dietz's work as a playwright. In the past year, Dietz has participated in the new play program HotHouse at Seattle's Annex Theatre, been a fellow at the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis to develop his play Tilt Angel, had that script presented at the 2001 National Conference of the National New Play Network, and had his play Dirigible produced by the City Theater Company in Wilmington and the Circle X Theatre in Los Angeles. This May, his play Blind Horses will be produced Off-Off-Broadway in New York. As his career as a dramatist has progressed, Dietz has found his administrative responsibilities with Salvage Vanguard taking time he needs to write. Stepping down from the artistic directorship, he says, will give him a few hours every day he can spend writing plays. Dietz will remain on the SVT Board of Directors and plans to continue working with the company as an artist. The company is throwing a party in Dietz's honor this Saturday, Feb. 2. For details, call 474-SVT-6.
The National Endowments for the Arts has taken a lot of blows in recent years but perhaps none as poignant as the latest. Its new director, Michael P. Hammond, who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 20 and had officially assumed his duties only a week ago, died unexpectedly on Tuesday, January 29. According to newspaper reports, the 69-year-old composer and specialist in the music of Southeast Asia and Western medieval and Renaissance music called in sick on Monday, complaining of flu-like symptoms. Two NEA staff members went to his home the next day, but he did not answer the door. They called the police, who entered the home and found him dead, apparently of natural causes. Texas had a special interest in Hammond's move to Washington as he had served as dean of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University for 15 years. President Bush eulogized Hammond as "an accomplished conductor, composer, and advocate of the arts. His commitment to excellence and his extraordinary talents will be greatly missed."
Hit the Road for the Rudes
The Rude Mechanicals wind up their monthlong Mid-America tour of Lipstick Traces this weekend, and the company wants you to join them for the final show at DiverseWorks in Houston this Saturday, Feb. 2. Get on board for this Rudes road trip/fundraiser with a $75 contribution, and you'll get a departure lunch in Austin, a cocktail reception in Houston, a ticket to the 8pm show, and a post-show party with the company (with hotel discounts available to anyone wishing to stay overnight in Houston). It should be some party. According to Official Tour Long-Distance Media Hostess Sarah Richardson, who spoke to this writer by phone from an unnamed diner on Interstate 10, the tour has sold out every performance save one, and even that show was 85-90% full. To get in on the celebration, call Shane Guiter at 472-5927 x111, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.