by Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Yes, it looks a little different. This year's list of Austin Critics Table Awards has been slenderized from 51 categories to 37.
So why are there fewer awards if Austin's arts scene has continued to expand?
Because the scene is shifting, not just growing. Creative production across the disciplines — visual arts, theater, classic music and dance — has filled out more equally. The roster of indie galleries and visual art happenings — along with activities at museums — has exploded in the past few years. And local dance producers surprise with ever new ways to intrigue audiences while the classical music scene proceeds at a steady clip.
How we wrap our minds around culture shifts, too. Fifteen years ago, the original Critics' Table Awards were roughly modeled after the Tony Awards, down to the gender distinctions between actor and actress. Perhaps that made sense when the Tonys started in 1947 as a means to celebrate Broadway. But does the gender divide make sense in 2007 in Austin when recognizing multiple arts disciplines?
The Austin Critics' Table thought not. Hence, our informal and independent group of staff and freelance critics from the Austin American-Statesman and the Austin Chronicle refashioned the way we recognize annual achievement in the arts.
Join us at the free, casual awards ceremony at 7 p.m. Monday, June 4, at Cap City Comedy Club, 8120 Research Boulevard. We'll celebrate this year's inductees to the Austin Arts Hall of Fame and announce Critics' Table Award winners.
Touring Show, Dance
'Heat and Life,' Catalyst, Dance Umbrella
'Fetish and Other Dances,' Hijack, Fuse Box Festival
Hubbard Street Dance Company, UT Performing Arts Center
'Noche Flamenca,' One World Theatre
'The Bends of Life,' Wideman/Davis Dance, Dance Umbrella