Culture Flash!

See a show and aid local theatres, catch some more Crush, show some dramaturgs how to two-step, and read up on Austin artists in national mags

Cyndi Williams in <i>Room</i>
Cyndi Williams in Room

• Austin Playhouse's beguiling production of Enchanted April offers one more reason to see it as it heads into its final week: Half the proceeds from the Thursday, Feb. 17, performance will be donated to Salvage Vanguard Theater, which lost its office to the Guadalupe Arts Center fire two weeks ago; and to Arts on Real, the Blue Theater, and the Vortex, all of which were burglarized in the last three months of 2004. The show starts at 8pm at the Playhouse, 3601 S. Congress. For more information, call 476-0084 or visit www.austinplayhouse.com.

• Rain crushed one of the only two performances of Celebrity Crush scheduled for last weekend at Club de Ville, but the club is generously giving Refraction Arts Project a chance to make up the missed date not once but twice this weekend. Catch the Crush Friday, Feb. 18, and Saturday, Feb. 19, at 8pm, 900 Red River. For more information, call 927-1118 or visit www.refractionarts.org.

• You can catch the latest collaboration between Joe Sears and Kimmie Rhodes this weekend and help a local nonprofit. Windblown, the tale of a young woman struggling to escape the sorrows of life in a Texas border town, features music by Rhodes and acting by Sears, and they're performing it Feb. 18-20 to benefit CASA of Travis County. Tickets must be purchased in advance from CASA; no sales at the gate. For more information, call 459-2272 or visit www.windblown.biz.

• If you care about the arts in Austin schools, take note that this Monday's AISD board meeting will be dedicated to public comment on overcrowding in art, music, and PE classes since the elimination of 66 teaching positions two years ago. This is your chance to tell the board how critical it is to restore those positions and make sure that students get meaningful exposure to the arts in school. The meeting starts at 7pm, Monday, Feb. 21, in the Carruth Administration Building, 1111 W. Sixth. For more information on signing up to speak, contact Mary Kennedy at Education Austin, 472-1124.

• The Literary Managers & Dramaturgs of the Americas will hold its 2005 conference in our fair burg June 9-12, and Austin Script Works Artistic Director C. Denby Swanson and Zachary Scott Theatre Center Managing Director Ann Ciccolella are seeking volunteers to help organize, register, entertain, and otherwise distract the 100-150 theatre professionals from across the nation who are coming for it. They'll host a heads-up meeting Tuesday, Feb. 22, 7:30pm, at the Zachary Scott Theatre Center, 1510 Toomey. For information, call 454-9727.

• Still have the Feb. 7 issue of The New Yorker lying around? Take a gander at page 12 for a terrific little illo for Nita and Zita, the Obie Award-winning (and Austin Critics Table Award-winning) show by sometime Austinites Katie Pearl (director of Nightswim) and Lisa D'Amour (author of 16 Spells to Charm the Beast) and their New Orleans pal Kathy Randels. The trio revived the 2002 tribute to the Hungarian sister for a quick 2005 tour. For more information, visit www.nitaandzita.org.

• While you're at it, get that Feb. 10 Variety, in which actor/playwright Cyndi Williams had her performance in the film Room, recently screened at Sundance, praised mightily: "Williams – a stage actress whose prior film work has been limited to voice performances in Japanese anime pics – excels at playing" scenes of "honest, unfettered moments of connection." "Trudging determinedly, yet unhurriedly, as though weighed down by her own disappointments and those of the world, she exudes a powerful magnetism."

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Austin Playhouse, Enchanted April, Salvage Vanguard Theater, Guadalupe Arts Center, Arts on Real, Blue Theater, The Vortex, Celebrity Crush, Club de Ville, Refraction Arts Project, Joe Sears, Kimmie Rhodes, Windblown, CASA of Travis County, Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, Austin Script Works, C. Denby Swanson, Zachary Scott Theatre Center, Ann Ciccolella, The New Yorker

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