The warm, loving, slightly boozy embrace of the Austin Critics Table Awards

The Austin Critics Table Awards ceremony was long. Very long. A record four hours at Cap City Comedy Club.

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Yet the 25th anniversary celebration of all things arts might have been the best one ever. Because every minute was a warm, loving, slightly boozy embrace between artists and the writers who cover them.

I loved every tribute from the critics and (almost) every enthusiastic and authentic acceptance speech. (Why do some people choose a moment of honor to be mean?) Bonus: a witty proclamation from Austin Mayor Steve Adler for the occasion

RELATED: Behold: The Austin Critics Table Awards nominees

Some people — well, a lot of people — left early. But then they missed the best acceptance speech of the evening, given by Christine Hoang, who shared the David Mark Cohen New Play Award with Lisa Thompson, and who talked about how each word from her reviews reduced her “imposter anxiety,” and whose bilingual play, “A Girl Named Sue,” represented a social and cultural leap for the descendants of Vietnamese refugees and their families.

The big news, however, was the expansion of the Critics Table to 20 members including web-based writers, a move I’ve strongly supported for years. The Table began with just five of us newspapermen, sole survivor Robert Faires reminded us — I no longer vote — and over the years has included more than 50 writers.

AUSTIN CRITCS TABLE AWARDS 2016-2017

W.H. “Deacon” Crain Award for Student Work: Madison Williams, Emily Ott

Lighting Design: Jason Amato (“Atlantis: A Puppet Opera”), Patrick Anthony (“A Perfect Robot,” “Old Times”)

Group Gallery Exhibition: “The First Horizons of Juno: Christina Coleman, Jane Hugentober, Candice Lin, Karen Lofgren, Christine Rebet, Alice Wang and Chantal Wnuk,” Mass Gallery

Museum Exhibition: “Nina Katchadourian: Curiouser,” Blanton Museum of Art

Singer: Donnie Ray Albert (“The Manchurian Candidate,” “I Too: The Voices of Langston Hughes”), Liz Cass (“Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance”), David Adam Moore (“The Manchurian Candidate”), Paul Sanchez (“Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance,” “A Christmas Carol”)

Chamber Performance: “I, Too: The Voices of Langston Hughes,” Living Paper Song Project

Original Composition/Score: “Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance,” Graham Reynolds & Lagartijas Tirades al Sol

Scenic Design: Chris Conard (“Totalitarians,” “The Drowning Girls”), Desiderio Roybal (“Clybourn Park,” “The Price,” “The Herd”)

Short Work, Dance: “Camille: A Story of Art and Love,” Jennifer Hart

Solo Gallery Exhibition: “Tammie Rubin: Before I Knew You, I Missed You,” De Stijl Podium for Art

Artist: Deborah Roberts

Costume Design: Susan Branch Towne (“One Man, Two Guv’nors,” “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui”)

Dancer: Alexa Caparedo (“Tikling(bird),” “Loose Gravel”), Amy Morrow (“Hiraeth,” “We’ve Been Here Before”)

Ensemble Dance: Dance Repertory Theatre (“Momentum”)

Gallery, Body of Work: “Museum of Human Achievement”

Independent Project: “Workout with Erica Nix,” Erica Nix

Ensemble, Classical: Schumann Chamber Players

Classical Concert/Opera: “The Manchurian Candidate,” Austin Opera

Sound Design: Lowell Bartholomee, “Clybourne Park,” “Fahrenheit 451”

Direction: Jenny Lavery (“The Drowning Girls”), Lily Wolff (“Lungs”)

Dance Concert: “Las Cuatro Estaciones: A Story of Human Trees,” Sharon Marroquin, produced by Latino Art Residency Project, Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center

Choreographer: Lisa Nicks, “Dear Johnny, in Response to Your Last Letter”

Digital Design: Greg Emetaz, “The Manchurian Candidate”

David Mark Cohen New Play Award: “A Girl Named Sue” (Christine Hoang), “Underground” (Lisa Thompson)

Ensemble, Theater: “Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe,” Doctuh Mistah Productions

Actor: Liz Beckham (“Lungs,” Neva,” “Clybourne Park), Chase Brewer (“Hand to God”), Michael Joplin (“Lungs”), Amber Quick (“One Man, Two Guv’nors,” “Charlotte’s Web,” “The Herd”)

Production, Theater: Clybourne Park (Penfold Theatre), “The Drowning Girls” (Theatre en Bloc), “The Great Society (Zach Theatre)

Special Citations: Luis Armando Ortiz Gutierrez, Jeanne Claire van Ryzin, Andrea Ariel, Babs George, “Rambunctious,” Jennifer Sherburn for “11:11,” Theatre Synesthesia, Sandy Yamamoto, Thr3e Zisters,” Amy Downing.

Austin Arts Hall of Fame: Katherine Brimberry and Mark L. Smith, Zell Miller III, Kate Warren

UPDATE: Thanks to Robert Faires for correcting some embarrassing typos in names banged out quickly this morning.

Behold: The 2017 Austin Critics Table Awards nominees

More than two decades ago, a half dozen ink-stained wretches sat down over obligatory martinis at a 24-hour deli to honor Austin artists. Thus was born the Austin Critics Table Awards, which return to Cap City Comedy Club on Monday, June 5.

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During the intervening years, artists, critics and award categories have come and gone. One constant: Robert Faires. The Austin Chronicle arts editor has shaped the awards in his image: generous, omnivorous and witty.  He’s always been as well the diligent note taker and records keeper for the disparate group of staff and freelance critics.

I retired from the Table — named after our usual meeting spot at Katz’s on West Sixth Street — many years ago when my wider wanderings led me to write about Austin’s people, places, culture and history.

I remained, however, passionately loyal to the arts. And more recently, I’ve written quite a few arts news and features stories. It’s important to emphasize, however, that I am no longer a critic. To be sure, opinion informs my reporting, but you won’t find any recent reviews under my byline in our archives.

It gives me considerable pleasure, then, to share with our readers the work of those staff and freelance reviewers which today culminates in the 2017 nominations for the Austin Critics Table Awards:
THEATRE
Production
Buyer and Cellar, Zach Theatre
Clybourne Park, Penfold Theatre
The Drowning Girls, Theatre en Bloc
The Great Society, Zach Theatre
Hand to God, Capital T Theatre
The Hotel Vanya, or A Metaphysical-Paradigm at the End of Everythingness, Natalie George Productions
Lungs, Hyde Park Theatre
Nevermore, the Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe, Doctuh Mistuh Productions
Song About Himself, Capital T Theatre
The Totalitarians, Theatre en Bloc

Direction
Ann Ciccolella, Old Times
Lindsay Doleshal, Dead Man’s Cell Phone
Katie Green, The Shift
Nathan Jerkins, Clybourne Park
Jenny Larson, With Great Difficulty Alice Sits
Jenny Lavery, The Drowning Girls
Mark Pickell, Song About Himself
Rudy Ramirez, A Perfect Robot
Dave Steakley, The Great Society
Lily Wolff, Lungs

David Mark Cohen New Play Award
Dust, Nicole Oglesby
A Girl Named Sue, Christine Hoang
The Hotel Vanya, or A Metaphysical-Paradigm at the End of Everythingness, Timothy Braun
A Perfect Robot, Sarah Saltwick
The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Allen Robertson & Damon Brown
Underground, Lisa Thompson
With Great Difficulty Alice Sits, Hannah Kenah
Wraith Radio, Chris Fontanes

Ensemble
Atlantis, A Puppet Opera, Ethos, with the Vortex
Clybourne Park, Penfold Theatre
The Drowning Girls, Theatre en Bloc
The Great Society, Zach Theatre
Neva, Theatre en Bloc
Nevermore, the Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe, Doctuh Mistuh Productions
Old Times, Austin Shakespeare
The World According to Snoopy, Texas State University Department of Theatre and Dance

Acting
Liz Beckham, Lungs/Neva/Clybourne Park
Chase Brewer, Hand to God
Jay Byrd, Hir
Barbara Chisholm, The Totalitarians
Jacqui Cross, For the Love of Mahalia
Sarah Danko, A Perfect Robot
Lana Dieterich, John
Bridget Farr, Dead Man’s Cell Phone
Judd Farris, Trevor
Joey Hood, W.
Michael Joplin, Lungs
J. Robert Moore, Buyer & Cellar
Marc Pouhé, Death of a Salesman/Underground
Amber Quick, One Man, Two Guv’nors/Charlotte’s Web/The Herd
Cecil Washington, Jr., The Great Society
DESIGN
Set
Theada Bellenger, The Addams Family
Chris Conard, The Totalitarians/The Drowning Girls
Ia Ensterä, Dead Man’s Cell Phone
Lisa Laratta, Poor Herman
Mark Pickell, Hir/Hand to God/John
Desiderio Roybal, Clybourne Park/The Price/The Herd
Court Watson, One Man, Two Guv’nors

Costume
Susan Branche Towne, One Man, Two Guv’nors/The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui
Jennifer Davis, Wolf Hall/Pride and Prejudice
E. L. Hohn, In the Red and Brown Water
Barry Doss, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Lighting
Jason Amato, Atlantis: A Puppet Opera
Patrick Anthony, A Perfect Robot/Old Times
Don Day, John
Kate Ducey, The Drowning Girls
Kathryn Eader, The Manchurian Candidate
Natalie George, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui/11:11/Potential
Natalie George & Sadie Langenkamp, Riverside
Stephen Pruitt, More or Less/One Step at a Time/”panning_memory”
Alex Soto, Radiance
Scott Vandenberg, Las Cuatro Estaciones: A Story of Human Trees

Sound
Lowell Bartholomee, Clybourne Park/Fahrenheit 451
David DeMaris, A Perfect Robot
Robert Fisher, The Hotel Vanya
William Meadows, Radiance
Bill Mester, The Manchurian Candidate

Digital
Ana Baer, Las Cuatro Estaciones: A Story of Human Trees
Lowell Bartholomee, Fahrenheit 451
Greg Emetaz, The Manchurian Candidate
Eliot Gray Fisher, A Perfect Robot
DANCE
Concert
4×3, Performa/Dance
2016 Fall Dance Festival, Chaddick Dance Theater
Las Cuatro Estaciones: A Story of Human Trees, Sharon Marroquin, produced by Latino Art
Residency Project, Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center
More or Less, Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Co.
One Step at a Time: A Journey Toward Present Grace, Tapestry Dance
Radiance, Blue Lapis Light

Short Work
“Black is the New Black,” Oluwaseun Samuel Olayiwola
“Camille: A Story of Art and Love,” Jennifer Hart
“Dear Johnny, in Response to Your Last Letter,” Lisa Nicks
“panning_memory,” Jennifer Sherburn
“Planets,” Michelle Thompson Ulerich
“Slowness,” Jun Shen
“Tikling(bird),” Alexa Capareda

Choreographer
Acia Gray, “Jazz Voices”/“Hourglass”/“Time”/“Listen”
Kathy Dunn Hamrick, More or Less/The Four (Three) Seasons/“Salud”
Sally Jacques, Radiance
Jennifer Hart, Camille: A Story of Art and Love
Sharon Marroquin, Las Cuatro Estaciones: A Story of Human Trees
Lisa Nicks, “Dear Johnny, in Response to Your Last Letter”
Kate Warren, Change Without Change

Dancer
Jeremy Arnold, Listen – With Ears Wide Open
Ellen Bartel, “Ocean”/Potential
Alexa Capareda, “Tikling(bird)”/Loose Gravel
Alyson Dolan, Las Cuatro Estaciones: A Story of Human Trees/The Four (3) Seasons/The Bowie Project/Potential
Lisa Anne Kobdish, More or Less/Potential/“Salud”
Sharon Marroquin, Las Cuatro Estaciones: A Story of Human Trees
Amy Morrow, Hiraeth/“We’ve Been Here Before”/Save Our Spaces Second Line March
Oren Porterfield, Camille: A Story of Art and Love/To China with Love
Andrea Torres, Listen – With Ears Wide Open

Ensemble
Ballet Austin, To China with Love/Belle Redux
Cast of Las Cuatro Estaciones: A Story of Human Trees
Dance Repertory Theatre, Momentum
Frank Wo/Men Collective, Loose Gravel
Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Company,  More or Less
CLASSICAL MUSIC
Concert/Opera
Autumn Song, Conspirare
The Flying Dutchman, Austin Opera
Mahler: Symphony No. 6, Austin Symphony Orchestra
The Manchurian Candidate, Austin Opera
Rule of Three, Austin Symphony Orchestra
Symphonic Follies, Austin Symphony Orchestra

Chamber Performance
Drumming, line upon line percussion, for Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Company’s More or Less
I, Too: The Voices of Langston Hughes, Living Paper Song Project
Sacred Shadows, Ensemble VIII
Schumann Chamber Players, Austin Chamber Music Festival

Original Composition/Score
Have a Good Day, Kathryn Mishell
Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance, Graham Reynolds & Lagaritas Tiradas al Sol
The Passive-Aggressive’s Guide to Mother Goose, Ross Crean
Problems, Rain Nox
String Quartet No. 4, Yevgeniy Sharlat
Potential, line upon line percussion

Singer
Donnie Ray Albert, The Manchurian Candidate/I, Too: The Voices of Langston Hughes
Liz Cass, Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance
Julia di Fiore, The Passive-Aggressive’s Guide to Mother Goose
Brenda Harris, The Manchurian Candidate
David Adam Moore, The Manchurian Candidate
Stefanie Moore, Autumn Song
Tim O’Brien, LOLA@4th Tap: January
Kathlene Ritch, Autumn Song
Paul Sanchez, Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance/A Christmas Carol

Ensemble
Conspirare
Ensemble VIII
line upon line percussion
Schumann Chamber Players
VISUAL ART
Solo Gallery Exhibition
“Ana Esteve Lloren: Studies for Future Objects,” Women & Their Work Gallery
“Lauren Moya Ford: New Hands on Old World Flowers,” Big Medium
“Liz Rodda: Heat Loss,” Women & Their Work Gallery
“Low Down: New Works On Paper by Ricardo Vicente Jose Ruiz,” Not Gallery
“Scorch and Drag: Prints and Sculptures by John Robert Craft,” Flatbed Gallery
“Tammie Rubin: Before I Knew You, I Missed You,” de stijl | PODIUM FOR ART
“Tania Mouraud: Everyday Ogres,” UT Visual Arts Center

Group Gallery Exhibition
“ANTHROPOCENE: Jonas Hart, Dameon Lester & Melissa Loop,” grayDUCK Gallery
“Femme National(e): Audrey Brown, Christina Coleman, Kasumi Chow / Desiree Michelle Espada, Emmy Laursen, Juliana Isabel Ramirez,” Pump Project
“Figure/Heads: David Bae and Erin Cunningham,” ICOSA Collective Gallery
“The First Horizons of Juno: Christina Coleman, Jane Hugentober, Candice Lin, Karen Lofgren, Christine Rebet, Alice Wang and Chantal Wnuk,” MASS Gallery
“March ON!” Christian-Greene Gallery at the Warfield Center
“One/Sixth,” de stijl | PODIUM FOR ART
“Textscape,” Co-Lab Projects DEMO Gallery,

Independent Project
“FinalCon,” Museum of Human Achievement, Ink Tank, Dys/Mem, Drew Paryzer, and Gwar
Spam’s, The Internet Diner, Museum of Human Achievement, Rachel Stuckey, curator
This is Hardcore, Sean Ripple
Workout With Erica Nix, Erica Nix
XYZ Atlas, Jennifer Chenoweth

Gallery, Body of Work
Co-Lab Projects DEMO Gallery
Flatbed Complex
Museum of Human Achievement
Not Gallery
Pump Project

Artist
Cliona Gunter
Amy Hauft
Beili Liu
Sean Ripple
Deborah Roberts

UPDATE: Four people will be inducted into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame: Zell Miller III (theater, spoken word); Katherine Brimberry and Mark L. Smith of Flatbed Press (visual arts); and Kate Warren (dance).

Curious about this summer’s Austin Chamber Music Festival?

Lots to linger over at the Austin Chamber Music Festival this summer. See you there!

Tickets now on sale: $20-$55. Special packages available. Student rush tickets: $12.

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Game changer Chargaux appears July 9. Contributed

2017 AUSTIN CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL

All concerts at Bates Recital Hall at University of Texas except July 9 and July 14, which will be held at the North Door, 501 Brushy St.

July 7, 7:30 p.m.: Festival Chamber Orchestra, Andreas Mitisek, conductor

July 8, 7:30 p.m.: St. Lawrence String Quartet

July 9, 7:30 p.m.: Chargaux

July 14, 7:30 p.m.: Animated Shorts with Raul Jaurena & Tosca String Quartet

July 15, 7:30 p.m.: Scenes from Romeo & Juliet with Austin Shakespeare and Festival Artists

July 16, 3:00 p.m.: Lara St. John & Matt Herskowitz, The Lavuta Project

July 21, 7:30 p.m.: Daedalus Quartet

July 22, 7:30 p.m.: Cuban Finale – Crisantemi Quartet

July 23, 3:00 p.m.: Cuarteto Latinoamericano

 

Austin Symphony: Young composers rule!

The Austin Symphony has announced the nine young composers whose music will be performed on June 17 at the Long Center. This year, 24 pieces were submitted by composers 18 years or younger. Winners of the Sarah and Ernest Butler Texas Young Composers Competition — resulting from a $1 million Butler endowment — also earn scholarships ranging from $500 to $3,000.

Two of the nine winners are from Austin and two from San Antonio. One each is from Dallas, Houston, Plano, Cedar Park and Kennedale (which I had to look up; it’s in southern Tarrant County). Their schools are suitably scattered as well: Seven go to college, one is in high school and the young man from Kennedale is home-schooled.

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Paul Novak won First Prize in the Sarah and Ernest Butler Texas Young Composers Competition. Contributed by the Society of Composers.

FIRST PRIZE: Paul Novak. “On Buoyancy.” Houston. Rice University.

SECOND PRIZE: Isaac Villaroya. “Aegis.” San Antonio. Baylor University.

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Maximilien Hein won Third Prize in the Sarah and Ernest Butler Texas Young Composers Competition. Contributed

THIRD PRIZE: Maximilien Hein. “Impressions of a Hero’s Journey.” Cedar Park. Texas State University.

FOURTH PRIZE: Amy Gravell. “Prelude to Eternity.” Austin. McNeil High School.

FIFTH PRIZE: Dara Li. “Gaia.” Plano. Harvard University.

OTHER WINNERS

Austin Ali. “Ostinato.” Dallas. University of Texas.

Zach Berry. “Reflection and March to War.” Kennedale. Home Schooled.

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Sophie Mathieu’s “The Columbia River in June” will be performed by the Austin Symphony. Contributed

Sophie Mathieu. “The Columbia River in June.” Austin. University of Southern California.

Angelo Salgado. “Unity.” San Antonio. University of Texas San Antonio.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this post listed the wrong date for the concert.

Reading the musical mind of Gustav Mahler

We’re excited about hearing Gustav Mahler‘s Sixth Symphony tonight at the Long Center.

Here’s a dab from our interview with Austin Symphony music director Peter Bay about the biographical context. Read the whole interview here.

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Composer Gustav Mahler as photographed by Moriz Nahr in 1907. Contributed

“Biographically, we know that composer Gustav Mahler was personally at his happiest and most satisfied from the summer of 1903 through the summer of 1904, the period during which he started and completed his Sixth Symphony.

“Yet this symphony — 80 minutes without intermission and being performed by Peter Bay and the Austin Symphony for the first time Friday and Saturday — is not a happy-go-lucky piece.

“Perhaps it’s an oversimplification to say artists create happy works when they are happy and sad works when things are not going well,” Bay says. “But of his nine symphonies — plus an incomplete one — this is by far the bleakest.”