William Deresiewicz is best known these days for his anti-Ivy League manifesto, Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life — which has been causing all kinds of furor ever since an excerpt appeared in July in The New Republic with the headline: “Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League.” His name might be familiar to Dallasites, however, for something before that: Last year, he was a winner of the Hiett Prize, the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture’s $50,000 award for promising writer-scholar-thinkers in the humanities. These days, Deresiewicz is on a speaking tour of, you guessed it, Ivy League campuses.
eighth blackbird, the Grammy-winning, Chicago-based, contemporary music sextet, was one of the first winners of SMU’s Meadows Prize — which had them performing and teaching here in Dallas in 2010. Now they’re performing Columbine’s Paradise Theater in New York, a 60-minute fantasia on the commedia dell’arte that “combines instrumental music, singing, speaking, sputtering, movement, dance and all manner of comedic and intense physical gyrations.” Composed by Amy Beth Kirsten, Paradise opened the new season at Columbia University’s Miller Theater — and got a rave in The New York Times.
Finally, Dan Knechtges, who directed and choreographed the premiere of the musical Give It Up! at the Dallas Theater Center in 2010 — and then did the same off-Broadway and on-Broadway when it was re-named Lysistrata Jones — is now directing former SNL regular Rachel Dratch in the political satire, Tail! Spin! Set to open Oct. 1 at the off-Broadway Lynn Redgrave Theatre, the show uses actual reported dialogue from various political sex scandals, with Dratch handling all the female roles.