ARTS: Beauty and pleasure are their own rewards. Yet at Ballet Austin‘s Hamlet-themed Fête and Fête*ish, these paired delights also prompt generosity for Austin’s premier dance company’s education and ticket-sharing programs. Sometimes we forget that people without means — especially young people — would never be able to afford to share the arts without fundraising efforts such as this annual tiered party. The first, which took place roughly between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. at the JW Marriott, included a traditional cocktail reception with silent auction, a fine dinner with lingering conversations and a protracted live auction. Best storyteller at our side of table: Ace real estate agent and ballet backer Cord Shiflet, who tells about moonlighting — for fun — as an Uber driver. He shows up in his Rolls Royce, which dazzles the car-lovers who need a lift. Fête*ish overlaps with Fête, and is targeted to a generally younger crowd, but not exclusively so. It’s always a coup de théâtre when the curtains — or in this case, wall panels — are pulled back and the parties join forces. This year, Ana and Alejandro Ruelas reigned over Fête, Kevin Smothers and Laura Villagran Johnson did the honors for Fête*ish. Don’t know if this is public yet, but Frank Shott, who recently played the title role in Stephen Mills‘ “Hamlet,” told me he is retiring at the end of this season and hopes to study physical therapy at Texas State University. All the best, Frank.
HISTORY: The highs and lows of the Paramount Theatre’s past 40 years. Taken from my story in the American-Statesman. “Much of the buzz about the Paramount Theatre’s 100th anniversary — which culminates with public and private parties to toast the lighting of a big vertical sign over Congress Avenue on Sept. 23 — has to do with its early years. Big dreams, big acts, big impact on Austin’s cultural scene. Yet, leaders from the theater’s most recent 40 years — before Jim Ritts’ auspicious and ongoing tenure helming the populist palace — look back on the Paramount’s several near-death experiences along with soaring successes.”
MEDIA: UT Alum Marcia Gay Harden leads new TV show ‘Code Black.’ Taken from Greg Braxton‘s Los Angeles Times story republished in the American-Statesman: “Marcia Gay Harden once described winning an Oscar as a double-edged sword: Although it is a wonderful honor, it does have its pitfalls. “It’s disastrous on a professional level,” the actress, who graduated from the University of Texas, said in 2003, a few years after winning a supporting actress Oscar for her portrayal of artist Lee Krasner, the wife of troubled painter Jackson Pollock, in Ed Harris’ “Pollock.” “Suddenly the parts you’re offered and the money become smaller. There’s no logic to it.”