Culture Flash!

Esther's crowns new wits, and Chase Staggs gets a check from SVT

Esther's Follies and the American-Statesman crown the city's newest wits this weekend, as they bring to a close the debut edition of the XL Funnywriter Contest. Sixty people submitted homegrown comedy sketches for consideration by Esther's, with six finalists being staged by the Follies last week: "George and Bill in the Afterlife," by Allan Marcus; "Marriage Counselor," by Cy Young; "Pack of Wolves Day Care," by Paul Scott Mitchell; "Recruitment of Suicide Bombers Down," by Gary Miller; "The Swing," by Wendi Aarons; and "They Know Not What They Do," by Brady Sylvester. Five comedy specialists Latino Comedy Project's Adrian Villegas, ProArts Collective's Boyd Vance, National Comedy Theatre's Les McGehee, stand-up goddess Nancy Reed, and writer Spike Gillespie will view all six during the 8pm show on Thursday, Jan. 27, then name the top three. For more information, call 320-0198 or visit

• Designer Chase Staggs is the latest theatre artist to join the elite corps of paid Resident Company Members of Salvage Vanguard Theater. Each member gets a $5,000 annual stipend. Staggs, who designed the sets for SVT's productions for Death of a Cat, Know Dog, the revival of Cry Pitch Carrolls, and tempOdyssey, and is hard at work on SVT's nuevo opera Genghis Khan, opening in March, joins playwright and actor Dan Dietz, composer Graham Reynolds, and actor Jenny Larson. For more information, visit

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Austin American-Statesman, XL Funnywriter Contest, George and Bill in the Afterlife, Allan Marcus, Marriage Counselor, Cy Young, Pack of Wolves Day Care, Paul Scott Mitchell, Recruitment of Suicide Bombers Down, Gary Miller, The Swing, Wendi Aarons, They Know Not What They Do, Brady Sylvester, Latino Comedy Project, Adrian Villegas, ProArts Collective, Boyd Vance, National Comedy Theatre, Les McGehee

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