The photography gallery Lake Austin Fine Arts closes its doors, and local playwrights Dan Dietz and C. Denby Swanson see new productions of their work.

Lake Austin Fine Arts Closes Gallery

A couple of years ago, Kevin Kaplan wanted to "bring the art world of New York to Austin audiences," and to that end he opened a gallery featuring stunning photography from around the world. Over a period of 21 months, that gallery, Lake Austin Fine Arts, produced a dozen major exhibitions with work by more than 50 renowned photographers, winning Kaplan the attention and acclaim of the city's fine art photography lovers, including those in the Austin Critics Table, who nominated Lake Austin for best gallery and best exhibition over two years and awarded it "Best Gallery, Body of Work" for the 2000-01 season. That glorious run came to a close on June 8,2002, when Kaplan closed the doors to the Davenport Village home of the gallery. Blame for the closing falls on the usual suspects -- the economic downturn and a drop in foot traffic since September, combined with a still-pricey location -- but though the gallery is finished, Lake Austin will live on as a private art dealership, offering corporate consulting and curatorial services. Some works from its inventory will even be displayed occasionally at Aqua Modern on South Congress. For more info, call 347-9233 or visit

The Write Stuff

The news just gets better and better for Austin playwright-on-leave C. Denby Swanson, who has spent the past year as a Jerome Fellow at The Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis. First, her short play, 178 Head, was produced as part of the City Theatre Summer Shorts Festival in Florida this summer, and the drama about a farmer who is losing his herd of cattle was labeled a "highlight" of Program A in the Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel review (though the playwright, whose first name is Colin, was misidentified as "C. Colin Denby" ). Swanson's full-length play Death of a Cat was a semifinalist for the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Connecticut, and her play Mae (the third of her "old lady" plays of which the Austin-produced Waterless Places was first), has been accepted for PlayLabs 2002 at the Playwrights' Center. And she's been awarded a McKnight Advancement Grant. It allows her to stay in residence in Minneapolis one more year -- our loss! -- where she'll work on a new play about reproductive technology titled A Brief History of an Extraordinary Birth of Rabbits. Swanson hasn't given up her Austin ties; she was here in March leading a workshop for Austin Script Works and will return later this month for a visit. Congratulations, Colin.

Speaking of busy playwrights, Dan Dietz has had another of his plays produced outside the city. The Critics Table nominee for Tilt Angel is enjoying a new run of his meditation on the life and myth of Jesse James, Blind Horses -- originally produced at the UT Department of Theatre & Dance -- courtesy of Tooth & Nil Theatre Company, a group filled with Austin expatriates, at St. Mark's Theater in New York. The show opened May 30, and in a review on, critic Martin Denton wrote that "Blind Horses is ambitious and relentless and fascinating," "a most intriguing play; and if it doesn't quite follow through with clear answers to the questions it poses, it nevertheless succeeds splendidly as wake-up call, provocation, and -- importantly -- entertainment." He goes on to say that the production, "directed by Jonathan Mazer, is excellent, featuring a riveting central performance by [former Austinite] Travis York as Jesse James." The show closes this Sunday, June 23.

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More Articulations
The Harry Ransom Center has acquired all the professional and personal materials of profoundly influential acting teacher Stella Adler

Robert Faires, April 30, 2004

It's the end of an era for the city of Austin's Art in Public Places Program as Martha Peters, administrator of the program for 11 of its 18 years, departs to direct a public art program in Fort Worth.

Robert Faires, July 18, 2003


Kevin Kaplan, Lake Austin Fine Arts, Austin Critics Table, Davenport Village, Aqua Modern, C. Denby Swanson, Playwrights' Center, 178 Head, City Theatre Summer Shorts Festival, Death of a Cat, National Playwrights Conference, O'Neill Theater Center, Mae, Waterless Places, PlayLabs 2002, McKnight Advancement Grant, A Brief History of an Extraordinary Birth of Rabbits, Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, Dan Dietz, Tilt Angel

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