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Like fine wine, the Dionysium has aged well

Michael Barnes, Out & About

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Deliciously, they dub it the Brain Candy Collective.

Dionysium, that heady Austin mix of debates, lectures, cartoons and music, now allies with the Nerd Nite and the Encylopedia Show — all aiming "to teach and to please" — following the rhetorical advice of the Roman poet Horace.

Staged on the first Wednesday of each month at Alamo South, this ritual devoted to the Greek god of wine, theater and related essentials is smart, stopping just short of smart-aleck. I've debated before this august body twice, once deviously opposing state support for the arts (I lost), then salaciously arguing in favor of celebrity journalism (I won).

Last week, I returned to find this forum in excellent form. Group President L.B. Deyo served as the primary master of ceremonies, assisted by temporary "Madame Speaker" Amanda Krauss. Deyo's usual foils, sound wizard Buzz Moran and musical artist Graham Reynolds, were absent, in rehearsal for "The Intergalactic Nemesis," which heads out on tour after last week's performances at the Long Center.

The theme for June was Revolutions and Revolutionaries. Trouble Puppet's dry Connor Hopkins spoke about his obsession with Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Actor Jason Liebrecht declaimed Maximilien Robespierre's chilling call to terror during the French Revolution. Fusebox's Hank Cathey shared the best synopsis of the current cocktail revolution — more like an evolution — I've ever heard.

I briefly analyzed three newspaper revolutions, starting with changes wrought by telegraph and wire services, then radio and television, and, ultimately, the Internet. In the prize fight, Jonathan Patschke and Jonathan Brown debated whether oppression justified armed revolt — the winner focusing wisely on the precise words of the resolution.

Like fine wine, the Dionysium has aged well.