Mental Health America of Texas Honors, ‘All the Way’ at Zach Theatre and more

Tom Luce and Judith Zaffirini at Mental Health America of Texas' honors.
Tom Luce and Judith Zaffirini at Mental Health America of Texas’ honors.

HEALTH: Now I know how Tom Luce sold No Pass, No Play to Texans. The man is powerfully persuasive. Speaking at a benefit for Mental Health America of Texas, the state’s oldest advocacy group on the subject, Luce joked that, when he told his mother he was running for governor in 1990, she replied: “Oh Tommy, couldn’t you have waited until after I died?” He then talked about mental illness in his family and his leadership of the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, for which he was being honored at the Four Seasons Hotel. Among the startling statistics Luce cited: 80 percent of Texans say they are close to somebody with serious mental illness. Finding efficient and effective solutions is a bipartisan effort, he reminded the crowd. Democratic State Sen. Judith Zaffarini spoke eloquently, not once, but twice during the dinner. Luce kidded that he had contracted the orator to deliver his elegy. Author Elizabeth Crook (“Raven’s Bride,” etc.) sat next to me before ascending the dais to speak about her grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Holdsworth Butt, late wife of the late Howard Edward Butt (H-E-B) and longtime mental health advocate whose name was attached to the evening’s honors. The great lady was known for giving her grandchildren books, sometimes the same one multiple times on the same Christmas. She inscribed Crook’s copy of Oscar Wilde‘s “The Picture of Dorian Gray” with something like: “I didn’t care for this book. I don’t think you will either.”

Steve Vinovich as LBJ in 'All the Way' at Zach Theatre. Photo: Kirk Tuck.
Steve Vinovich as LBJ in ‘All the Way’ at Zach Theatre. Photo: Kirk Tuck.

ARTS: If you haven’t already seen “All the Way” at Zach … This is taken from Cate Blouke‘s review of the play masterfully directed by Dave Steakley: “While Shakespeare’s might be the most famous plays about history, Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Schenkkan gives the Bard a run for his money with a look into 20th century American politics. “All the Way,” playing at Zach Theatre through May 10, details the early presidential career of Lyndon Baines Johnson, bringing to life a pivotal moment in American political history. The show won the 2014 Tony award for best play, and it’s easy to see why.”

Author: Michael Barnes

Michael Barnes writes about Austin's people, places, culture and history for the Austin American-Statesman and

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