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LaMaMa etc Mask Music Performing Arts Puppetry Vaudevisuals Interview Women

Vaudevisuals interview with Theodora Skipitares +

I met up with puppeteer/director/creator Theodora Skipitares whose new show “The Transfiguration of Benjamin Banneker” opened at LaMama ETC on Jan. 23rd, 2020. I also interview the composer LaFrae Sci and the Choreographer Edisa Weeks.

From the ‘press release: a multi-disciplinary spectacle with a marching band, dancers, 12-foot puppets, shadow puppetry and moving projection screens. The band is an award-winning group, the Soul Tigers, young men and women who attend Benjamin Banneker High School in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Also featured are the Banneker Dancers.

For more information/tickets

Ellen Stewart Theatre | 66 East 4th Street

Thursday to Saturday at 7 PM; Sunday at 3 PM

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Vaudevisuals Interview Video

Vaudevisuals interview with John Jesurun & Nicky Paraiso

‘now my hand is ready for my heart: intimate histories’

Written and performed by Nicky Paraiso

Directed by John Jesurun

‘now my hand is ready for my heart: intimate histories’ is the newest work from Nicky Paraiso, an award-winning 40-year veteran of the New York City performance community. In a deep exploration of an artist’s life, Paraiso investigates aging, identity, sexuality, class and race. Directed by MacArthur Fellow John Jesurun, this world premiere is a multi-disciplinary celebration of an artistic community as it grows older and continues to make work, both individually and with each other. Paraiso is joined by choreographer / dancers Irene Hultman, Jon Kinzel, Vicky Shick, and Paz Tanjuaquio in performance and as collaborators.

March 22nd thru April 7th, 2019

For more information/tickets!

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Categories
Circus Circus Amok Clown Comedy Dance Dixon Place Juggling Music Photography Variety Arts Video Women

*Monday of 1000 Stars* – Circus Amok Benefit @Dixon Place

***Circus Amok Benefit ***

Opening the show was a wonderful musical introduction by the Circus Amok Band.

While the band ‘warmed up’ the audience Jennifer Miller did some juggling.

The first act of the evening as LaMama’s wonderful Nicky Paraiso

Nicky Paraiso‘s exuberant demand that the audience joins in and sing along.

Monstah Black moved the show along ‘beautifully’ with a song and wardrobe.

Monstah Black sang and hypnotized the audience with this charm and smile.

Stinkmetal and May worked their ‘performance art’ magic.

Stinkmetal and May had a crowd of performers helping them get across their message.

Jennifer Monson performed a dance depicting a series of animals.

Michelle Matlock and Jennifer Miller pick a winner from the Raffle bucket.

Cathy Weis and assistant perform a surreal performance piece.

 The fish shadow on the background added another dimension to the piece.

Machine Dazzle sang a song in the most elaborate costume and makeup. (accompanied by Viva de Concini -Not pictured here)

Jennifer Miller and Ashley Brockington share a moment during the raffle.

Bindlestiff Family Circus’ Keith Nelson performed two lovely balancing acts with glasses.

The STREB Extreme Action Repertory Company were attached and flying.

David Hamilton Thomson (Left) and Patricia Hoffbauer performed a hysterical sendup accompanied by kick-a** song.

Becca Blackwell performed a ‘stand-up’ routine like I had never seen before. So Funny!

Reverend Billy and The Stop Shopping Choir ended the show with a moving sermon & song.

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Like what you see? Help Circus Amok bring shows this summer to all the city parks! 

The Shows are FREE!

We need your help. Please donate here. 

For More information/Schedule of shows go HERE!

Categories
Film LaMaMa etc Performing Arts Photography Vaudevisuals Interview Video

Vaudevisuals interview with Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver

SPLIT BRITCHES

“Unexploded Ordnances (UXO)”

I have always enjoyed walking into the LaMama Annex building. Massive ceilings and great seating for so many audience members. Yesterday I was there to interview Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw. Their new show titled “Unexploded Ordnances” had opened at LaMama and I was interested in what the show’s origin was. Here is the interview.

The show which is part of ‘Under the Radar‘ Festival listed on the LaMama website with this text.

US Premiere
By Split Britches [Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver]

Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) by Split Britches is a new exploration of aging, anxiety and ‘doomsday’ created through conversation and collaboration with an array of elders and artists. Developed between the UK and US, Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw have created a unique production, combining darkly playful Dr. Strangelove-inspired performance with a daring new protocol for public discussion – the Situation Room.

Here are 3 photographs I captured during the evening performance! 

Lois Weaver (seated) with Peggy Shaw confronting with ideas she isn’t happy with.

Lois Weaver reclines in a rocking chair trying to get some rest from the confrontation.

Lois Weaver on the phone talking to the General with dismay.

Tickets for The Public’s Under The Radar Festival, NYC.

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Categories
Comedy FringeNYC 2016 Magic Performing Arts Photography Physical Theater Puppetry Television The Tank Variety Arts Women Year in Review

Check out Vaudevisuals – Review – September 2016

Vaudevisuals Year in ReviewVaudevisuals Year in Review – September 2016

September is always a great month for theater and variety arts. This month I interviewed ‘Collapsing Horse Theater‘ from Dublin, funny man Joel Jeske and magic man Nelson Lugo, teacher/performer Carlos Garcia Estevez, Josh Aviner, Lyndsay Magid, and puppet master Kevin Augustine. A special tribute to performance artist and poet/writer Frank Maya, and the Clown Cabaret at 2016 Clown Theater Festival as well as photographs I took of legendary modern dancer Phoebe Neville. A full length version of Rod Serling‘s “Requiem for a Heavyweight” from it’s original ‘Playhouse 90‘ broadcast in  1956.

VAUDEVISUALS INTERVIEW WITH JOSH AVINER AND LYNDSAY MAGID

FRANK MAYA – A TRIBUTE – VIDEO/ESSAY/POSTCARDS/INTERVIEWS

VAUDEDEVISUALS INTERVIEW WITH COLLAPSING HORSE THEATER – DUBLIN

VAUDEVISUALS INTERVIEW WITH JOEL JESKE AND NELSON LUGO – “CIRCUS SALON”

2016 NY CLOWN THEATER FESTIVAL – “CLOWN CABARET” – SEPT 8, 2016

VAUDEVISUALS INTERVIEW WITH CARLOS GARCIA ESTEVEZ – ‘MANIFESTO POETICO’

DANCE PHOTOGRAPHS OF PHOEBE NEVILLE

‘REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT’ – PLAYHOUSE 90 – LIVE TV – 1956

PUPPET SERIES 55 @LAMAMAETC _ SEPT 24TH – NOV 6TH, 2016

VAUDEVISUALS INTERVIEW WITH KEVIN AUGUSTINE – “THE GOD PROJEKT”

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Categories
Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show Cabaret Clown Coffeehouse Chronicles Coney Island USA Dance Dixon Place Here Arts Center LaMaMa etc Music Performing Arts Photography Physical Theater Variety Arts Year in Review

Check out Vaudevisuals – Review – MARCH 2016

Vaudevisuals.comMarch 2016 Vaudevisuals Posts

This month I did quite a few interviews! Heather Litteer, Hilary Chaplain, Gus Solomons, Jr. and photographed the Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Revue. A few books were mentioned too!

RED BULL THEATER PRESENTS – 2 DAY CLOWNING WORKSHOP

“WORDS” BY CHUCK WORKMAN – A 1987 COMPILATION OF HOLLYWOOD FILMS

VAUDEVISUALS INTERVIEW WITH HEATHER LITTEER – “LEMONADE”.

VAUDEVISUALS INTERVIEW WITH HILARY CHAPLAIN – “PHYSICAL COMEDY WORKSHOP”

BINDLESTIFF OPEN STAGE VARIETY REVUE – MARCH 7TH, 2016 @ DIXON PLACE

VAUDEVISUALS BOOKSHELF – “ZOOMAR” BY ERNIE KOVACS

COFFEEHOUSE CHRONICLES #132 – TALKING BAND – LAMAMA ETC – MARCH 12TH, 2016

VAUDEVISUALS INTERVIEW WITH GUS SOLOMONS JR. – “FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH”

JUSTIN WEBER’S “WACKY OF WALLABAZOO” AT CONEY ISLAND USA

COFFEEHOUSE CHRONICLES #133 – JOHN KELLY – LAMAMA – MARCH 26TH, 2016

LaMama Coffeehouse Chronicles

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In the next few days I will post the April and May review posts. Stay tuned!

Categories
Coffeehouse Chronicles Comedy LaMaMa etc Performing Arts Photography Puppetry Story Teller Video Women Writer

COFFEEHOUSE CHRONICLES #136 – Theodora Skipitares – LaMama – October 8th, 2016

2016-10-08-puppets_099

Theodora Skipitares

On October 8th, 2016 La Mama presented their monthly series Coffeehouse Chronicles.

This afternoon was devoted to the work of visual theater artist/puppeteer Theodora Skipitares.

Coffeehouse Chronicles #136

Curator: Michal Gamily

Moderator: JoAnne Akalaitis

Panelists: Andrea Balis, Claudia Orenstein, Jane Catherine Shaw

Part of the 2016 La Mama Puppet Series 

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Categories
LaMaMa etc Performing Arts Photography Puppetry Video Women Writer

Vaudevisuals interview with Kevin Augustine – “The God Projekt”

 Kevin Augustine’s Lone Wolf Tribe show “The God Projekt” returns to LaMama ETC as part of the 2016 Puppet Series.

Caught up with Kevin at LaMama during his rehearsal for the new production of The God Projekt. He discusses the new aspects of the show and where the original idea came from. Being presented at The Ellen Stewart Theater at LaMama ETC.

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For tickets and more information go here!

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Categories
Comedy Dixon Place LaMaMa etc Music Performing Arts Photography PS122 Story Teller Television The Kitchen Vaudevisuals Interview Video Writer

Frank Maya – A Tribute – Video/Essay/Postcards/Interviews

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FRANK MAYA

Frank Maya: Out There By Victoria Linchong

Frank Maya once said that he turned to comedy “as a way to make the world safe for me.” The first openly gay comedian to appear on MTV and all three major television networks, Maya’s candor and wit helped pave the way for greater acceptance of homosexuality in mainstream media. As ABC News noted in a 1993 introduction to Maya, “Until recently, comics who wanted to succeed in show business never ever admitted they were gay. And they certainly never used their homosexuality as a punchline.”

Maya was born in 1950 to a middle-class Catholic family in Long Island. His Irish and Colombian background later became fodder for much of his comic material. A gifted musician and vocalist, he found work playing in cabarets and folk clubs after graduating from Hofstra University. In the mid-1970s, he met director John Jesurun and began venturing into the alternative music scene, then dominated by the Talking Heads and post-punk New Wave.

Fronting a band called the Decals, Maya became known for satirical songs that combined Latin-infused pop with absurdist poetic patter. Several of his songs also used toy instruments, recorded sound, or found objects such as scissors or a jar full of pennies. In one song, the refrain consisted of Maya shouting, “Pancakes!” with a recorded voice responding, “They’re ready!” Impish and whimsical as his songs were, they also were biting commentaries on consumerism and the banality of everyday life. His lyrics also revealed a quirky way with rhymes, “When you’re home for the holidays do you realize your dog looks upset? Does he realize during dinner, he’s simply the household pet?” The New York Times praised him as “a wacky pop iconoclast with enough star quality to have earned comparisons to performers as dissimilar as Laurie Anderson, David Byrne and Peter Allen.”

Maya was part of Jesurun’s legendary serial theater piece, Chang in a Void Moon, when it premiered at the Pyramid Club in 1982. His music performances had always verged on theater with interludes of acerbic monologues he called rants. In the mid- 1980s, he began focusing more on his rants, joining a growing cadre of solo performers such as Spalding Gray, Eric Bogosian, and Karen Finley, who were similarly examining American society through a personal lens.Pacing around the stage, he tackled pop culture, gender issues, and the mundanity of existence. Thirty years before the current outcry over the lack of minorities in mainstream media, Maya was commenting, “There’re a few movies like Cotton Club where they take all the black actors who’ve been out of work for ten years and put them in the same film… People say, ‘See we’re making progress.” His three-hour-long solo performances were performed at P.S. 122, La Mama, Dixon Place, the Kitchen, and Lincoln Center’s Serious Fun series. He also toured the mid-Atlantic states and performed in Germany.

During that time, Maya was known to paint his ears gold, perhaps to distinguish himself from other solo artists. He soon found a much more authentic way of differentiating himself. While Maya had made a few allusions to his sexual orientation in his music and his rants, he had never been completely overt about his homosexuality. His former partner Neil Greenberg believes that an anti-gay incident may have radicalized him. Whatever the cause, Maya began boldly declaring his homosexuality in 1989. At the same time, Maya was also realizing that he could achieve wider public attention by rebranding himself as a stand-up comic. “In New York they call me a performance artist…” he remarked in a 1989 Washington Post article, “But if you ask the Washington audience after my show, they’ll say, ‘He’s a stand-up comic.’ I always feel that my stuff is misinterpreted — it’s very funny, but it’s got serious points in it… But I’m not afraid of being considered a comedian as long as people like Lily Tomlin are considered comedians.”

Maya made his first openly gay appearance on HA! Comedy Network in 1990. His breakthrough to mainstream media happened at a pivotal time when the AIDS crisis was at its peak. Maya’s self-deprecating humor was a refreshing antidote to the widespread alarm in both the general population and the gay community. Here was a good-looking man without any effeminate traits, talking simply and naturally about being homosexual. “Comedy is about really being truthful,” he stated, “People are hoping the comic will tell them everything. So how can you hide your love life? It just seems impossible.” Though he joked about people in his audience who looked mortified, he said he rarely had hecklers and added, “”I guess people are still recovering from the fact that they can’t believe what I’m saying.”

Throughout the early 1990s, Maya appeared regularly at Caroline’s Comedy Club and MTV’s “Half-Hour Comedy Hour.” He also starred in his own half-hour special on Comedy Central. His last show Paying for the Pool ran at the Atlantic Theater for eight weeks. It was described as, “A one-man show in which Maya talks about his childhood and coming-out experiences.”

Maya was diagnosed with AIDs in 1995 but continued to perform. In The Queerest Art: Essays on Lesbian and Gay Theater, Carmelita Tropicana remembers him at a conference for the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) four months before he died. Despite a high fever, he did his entire set and had to be persuaded to go home early. Although friends were tearful over his impending death, Tropicana recalls, “[Frank] hated the tender sweet image of white helium balloons flying up to the sky in memory of those who have died of AIDS. He was angry, he wanted something loud, an uzi, a bomb to explode.” An upfront iconoclast to the end, Frank Maya was 45 years old when he died.

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Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 9.47.12 PM1986 Postcard for Frank’s performance at CBGB

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Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 9.49.45 PM1986 Postcard for Franks Maya’s performance at LaMama Cabaret

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Frank Maya at The Kitchen1990 Postcard for Frank Maya’s performance at The Kitchen.

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Frank Maya’s Music

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FRANK MAYA ACCORDING TO HIS FRIENDS: Uncut, Unexpurgated, Unabridged

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Postcard for Franks Maya’s performance at PS122 – 1989

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Frank Maya - Paying for the Pool 1993

Postcard for performance at Atlantic Theater – “Paying for the Pool” 1993

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MORE ABOUT FRANK MAYA – Performance Videos

Frank Maya at Dixon Place (circa 12-31-91)

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REFERENCES

Brown, Joe. “A Little Tattle Tale” Washington Post; 17 March 1989.

Holden Stephen. “A Wacky Pop Iconoclast” New York Times; 15 July 1983.

Holden, Stephen. “Frank Maya, 45, Performance Artist and Solo Comic.” New York Times; 10 Aug 1995.

Holden, Stephen. “Music Noted in Brief: Frank Maya, Singer, Satirizes Consumerism.” New York Times; 30 March 1983.

Rizzo, Frank. “Maya’s Punch Line Reaches a Broader Audience.” Hartford Courant, 22 Sept 1993.

Solomon, Alisa, and Framji Minwalla. The Queerest Art: Essays on Lesbian and Gay Theater. New York: New York UP, 2002.

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Thanks to Neil Greenberg,(postcards, videos,interview) Ellie Covan,(interview, video) John Jesurun (interview) and Victoria Linchong (Writer/Profile) for their great contribution to this post!