Culture Flash!

The funniest person in town now, Austinite responsible for critical mass, 'Intergalactic' to go national, and the Map covers downtown

• Congratulations to John Ramsey, now officially the Funniest Person in Austin by virtue of consistently cracking up the most judges in this year's FPIA competition. Second place went to Jimmy "Always a Bridesmaid" Roulette, now in his third year as a runner-up to the crown, and third place went to Jim Hamilton, making his first trip into the winners' circle.

• A historic meeting of more than 400 arts critics in Los Angeles last week had Michael Barnes to thank for it. As chairman of the American Theatre Critics Association, the Austin American-Statesman arts editor hatched the idea of a National Critics Conference, bringing together the theatre, dance, classical music, jazz, and visual arts critics associations for the first time ever. Planning took three years, but the turnout exceeded expectations, and attendees clamored for a follow-up. Barnes' next brainstorm? A sequel conference in Austin in 2009.

Salvage Vanguard Theater is being signed by high-power arts management firm Rena Shagan Associates to tour its retro radio serial The Intergalactic Nemesis nationally in 2006 and 2007. To get a taste of SVT's sci-fi sensation, catch Twin Infinity, the serial's third chapter, at the Off Center through June 25. And you can still hear artistic director Jason Neulander's interview for the All Things Considered series "American Stages" here.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

John Ramsey, Funniest Person in Austin, FPIA, Jimmy Roulette, Jim Hamilton, Michael Barnes, American Theatre Critics Association, National Critics Conference, Salvage Vanguard Theater, Rena Shagan Associates, The Intergalactic Nemesis, Twin Infinity, Jason Neulander, All Things Considered, American Stages, The Map Austin, Scarborough Building, Studio 107, Camp Fig

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