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Vaudevisuals Bookshelf

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf: “Ghostly Men” by Franz Lidz

A true tale of changing New York by Franz Lidz, whose Unstrung Heroes is a classic of hoarder lore.
Homer and Langley Collyer moved into their handsome brownstone in white, upper-class Harlem in 1909. By 1947, however, when the fire department had to carry Homer’s body out of the house he hadn’t left in twenty years, the neighborhood had degentrified, and their house was a fortress of junk: in an attempt to preserve the past, Homer and Langley held on to everything they touched.
The scandal of Homer’s discovery, the story of his life, and the search for Langley, who was missing at the time, rocked the city; the story was on the front page of every newspaper for weeks. A quintessential New York story of quintessential New York characters, Ghosty Men is a perfect fit for Bloomsbury’s Urban Historicals series.

From Publisher’s Weekly

When 65-year-old Homer Collyer, blind and crippled by rheumatism, was found dead in his dilapidated, junk-filled Harlem brownstone in March 1947, the discovery made all of New York’s newspapers, as did the subsequent hunt for his younger brother, Langley, whose body was finally located under piles of debris. In this slim volume, part of Bloomsbury’s Urban Historicals series, Lidz, a memoirist (Unstrung Heroes) and senior writer at Sports Illustrated, examines the Collyer brothers’ intriguing, baffling lives. The compulsive hermits came from a respected, well-to-do family and were educated at Columbia, Homer as a lawyer and Langley, who was a talented pianist, as an engineer. They became part of New York lore in August 1938, when the World-Telegram wrote about the pair and their once-fashionable house on Fifth Avenue and 128th Street, which was crammed full of pianos, other instruments, bicycles, chandeliers, clocks and thousands of newspapers, “strewn in yellowing drifts across the floor.” In addition to deconstructing the brothers’ descent into their own world of squalor and isolation, Lidz shares recollections of his Uncle Arthur, an eccentric hoarder who was a featured character in Unstrung Heroes. Arthur amassed everything from magazines and bus transfers to socks and shoelaces and lived “nested inside his walls of junk.” “My junk was like a friend,” says Uncle Arthur. “Sort of freedom, it was. I’d saved it in my own way.” These words help make sense of men like Uncle Arthur and the Collyers, whose stories Lidz captures vividly, with humor and compassion.

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“The Collyer Brothers made compelling reading then, as they do now in this short, captivatingly detailed book.” Adam Bernstein- Washington Post

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I found this book to be a wonderful read and a nice compliment to E.L.Doctorow’s ‘Homer and Langley‘s book. The author’s vivid description by his Uncle Floyd of the great Times Square ‘Hubert’s Museum‘ and all the characters that performed there is worth the read alone.

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Categories
Photography

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “Five Flights Up” by Toni Schlesinger

If you want a window into what NYC was like 15 years ago and before..read this book! Originally a column in NY’s favorite but now extinct downtown paper The Village Voice. I read this book last week and LOVED IT!

A flop house, a pumping station, a maid’s room, a homeless center, a former brothel, a Richard Meier building, a circus trailer, a sailboat, a skyscraper, buildings named Esther and Loraine just a few of the places New Yorkers call home. For the past eight years writer, Toni Schlesinger has been bringing us these “conversation places” in her weekly column in the Village Voice. Through her incisive questioning, original writing, and comic parallel reveries, Schlesinger creates miniature documentaries on the lives, passions, hopes, and heartbreaks of many of New York City’s millions.

Five Flights Up chronicles people living in New York’s extremes, occupying 150-square-foot spaces, paying over half their income for rent, living eight in an apartment, and taking showers in twos to save time. These are people who make movies in their living room and then sleep in it later. They surround themselves with their baby teeth, with 500 volumes of Moby Dick, plaster rabbis, birds’ nests, 30 modernist chairs, 50 loaves of Wonder Bread, and more. In Toni Schlesinger‘s hands, their stories are much more than novelties.

Artists, actors, dancers, librarians, social workers, busboys, bankers, porn stars, au pairs, urban planners, bakers, shamans, masseuses, web designers, and students come alive when they discuss where they came from and where they’re going. Each interview is a vivid and insightful portrait, revealing the creative energy, camaraderie, desperation, and hope that fuel the daily lives of people in New York and everywhere.


FROM TONY KUSHNER

“Toni Schlesinger’s book describes the relationship of the accidental to the profound, the domestic to the totally weird; she visits, draws out, and celebrates this permanent impermanence better than anyone ever has. The book is so funny, so rich, so full of wonderful surprises – the people you know and the people you wish you never want to know. each one in her/his box, all jumbled together like New York itself.”

FROM PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

“I knew rooms were just a lot of stage sets,” Schlesinger writes of taking on the Village Voice “Shelter” column in 1997. The drama taking place behind New Yorkers’ drawn curtains, Schlesinger reveals in this selection of interviews, is varied and vivid: bizarre, unhappy, frenetic, obsessive, euphoric, awkward, and endless. Divided into 15 sections, the book captures people at a moment in time, before 9/11 and after, telling the deeply personal stories that lead to new addresses: stories of death, ambition, love and rent control. Schlesinger finds a man with a 129-pound rubber band ball, a 105-pound pet pig in Brooklyn and a man who has turned his living room into a giant pinhole camera. “Manhattan’s density,” Schlesinger notes, “is 871 times that of the U.S. as a whole.” Rents are as sky-high as the architecture, which explains why a family of four might keep their rent-stabilized 295-square-foot studio in Little Italy. Sometimes Schlesinger enters homes and smells gas, sometimes dumplings, and it’s not uncommon for her to make interviewees ill at ease. “Don’t you want to write about the apartment?” one man asks. Her associative ramblings aren’t binge-reading material, but the book’s Spartan design and casual, if bizarre, banter offer sliver-sized glimpses into the epic stories of New York lives.

A Review of the book ‘Five Flights Up’.

Toni Schlesinger’s Q&A sessions with quirky New York residents in their even quirkier apartments are a true gem that will find a place in the heart of anyone who went through that formidable process of NYC apartment hunting. A compilation of the original Village Voice column, “Shelter,” the book is separated into sections such as “Miniature,” “Light,” “Utopia” and “Haunted,” but what I really love about this book is that it allows you to randomly pick a story from over three hundred interviews whenever you happen to pass by it. Schlesinger is a writer for the Voice, so naturally, you can expect an insightful, knowledgeable and confident interviewer at work, but I found the unexpected affection, brilliant candor and humor in the many voices of Manhattan she chronicles to be her greatest achievement. The book answered for me that mysterious question why even after the rats, the horrid rent and evil landlords New Yorkers still find it so enchanting to live in New York, or “Neverland” as Schlesinger calls it.

Available here at Amazon’s Third-Party Sellers

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Categories
Comedy Great Small Works International Puppet Fringe Festival 2018 Photography Puppetry

Great Small Works – ‘Puppet Cabaret’ at International Puppet Fringe Festival 2018

PUPPET CABARET – August 10th, 2018

Roberto Rossi and Mark Sussman co-host the show.

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Paradox Teatro

Sofía Padilla and Davey T Steinman

“Migraciones”

In light of expanding border walls around the globe, Migraciones follows the voyage of refugees as they travel through sand, water, and shadows, in search of a new home. Paradox Teatro is a collaboration between artists from México and the United States, communicating across cultures with puppetry, music, and poetry in English and Spanish.

Paradox Teatro – Sofía Padilla and Davey T Steinman

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Kathleen Kennedy Tobin

“Turn Out Your Dead, New York Harbor, 1781”

Sketch for Hulk and Fleet, an excerpt from a work-in-progress puppet show about prison ships.

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Lu Liu and Harrison Greene

performing original songs combining guitar and traditional Chinese pipa, stringing two cultures together.

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Jenny Romaine

excerpts from 

“The Revival of the Uzda Grave Diggers: Part 2” 

Between the bundist bootmakers of Minsk and the dashing sash weavers of Slutsk, there were the Gravediggers and Gardeners of UZDA. Once a musar town in Yiddish Lite, now a sleepy shtetl in Belarus, UZDA is home to two adjacent cemeteries, one Jewish and one Muslim Tatar. This excerpt is phase 2 of project by Romaine, with singer/songwriter/accordionist/novelist Geoff Berner and translator Ben Kline, who followed their curiosity about the lost memories and folkways of the Gravediggers and Gardeners of UZDA and the central role of Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Pagan funeral professionals, all living together in the primeval forest for hundreds and hundreds of years. 

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Nick Knave

“three Billy goats gruff”

Knave is a street, stage, and Burlesque performer coming to us from San Francisco. From all ages cabaret to singing vaginas Nick has his grubby little mitts all over everything “puppet.” 

*Funding made possible in part by the Puppet Slam Network; NYC Department of Cultural Affairs; NY State Council on the Arts; Scherman Foundation; Doctorow Family Foundation; and Puffin Foundation.

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GREAT SMALL WORKS

Great Small Works is a performance collective founded in New York City in 1995.[1] Its six founding members—John Bell,[2][3]Trudi Cohen,[4] Stephen Kaplin,[5][6] Jenny Romaine,[7] Roberto Rossi,[8] and Mark Sussman[9]—draw on avant-gardefolk, and popular theater traditions to address contemporary social issues in a various scales, from tiny toy theater spectacles to giant puppet pageants.

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Categories
Performing Arts Vaudevisuals Interview Women Writer

Vaudevisuals interview with Elise Gainer – ‘The Bloody Deed of 1857’.

The Bloody Deed of 1857  – To Preview in Colonnade Row Parlor

True Manhattan Murder Will Immerse You In Mystery and History

Limited Run! ~ Only 25 Seats +  Fridays & Saturdays in March!

Someone murdered Dr. Harvey Burdell on January 30th, 1857 in his New York City home on Bond Street. It was the most scandalous crime to occur in the city primarily because all evidence pointed at his rejected lover, a petite but conniving widower named Emma Cunningham. But the jury didn’t believe a woman could commit such a violent act. Officially, the case remains unsolved and has left restless ghosts behind to battle for eternity. Journey with us into another dimension on an immersive experience into the past. Our spirits now reside in a secret, 1833 parlor in the landmarked Colonnade Row where historic documents and actual witness testimony help to bring the truth to light.

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Performances are at 8 PM on Fridays and Saturdays ~ March 2nd through March 24th. The audience is limited to 25 seats and ticket prices start at $30. The exact location will be provided upon purchase. For more details and tickets please visit bloodydeed1857.com.

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Colonnade Row ~ New York’s History Salon
Built in 1832-33, this historic row of landmarked townhouses were the first conspicuously extravagant homes in New York pre-Civil War.  Inspired by palatial row houses in London and Paris as well as classic Greek architecture, the homes quickly sold out to New York’s most elite families. Astors, Delanos, Roosevelts, & Gardiners lived here as well as Washington Irving and other writers. The salon now presents historic lectures and is used as a development space for a variety of creative projects, both artistic & commercial. Special events also happen regularly and can be seen on Instagram and Facebook @colonnaderow
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Categories
Big Apple Circus Circus Performing Arts Vaudevisuals Interview Video Women

Vaudevisuals interview with contortionist Elayne Kramer – Big Apple Circus

BIG APPLE CIRCUS

The great, entertaining and delightful Big Apple Circus is back at Lincoln Center for the Holiday Season! With it are many amazingly brilliant acts that include Elayne Kramer.

Elayne is a contortionist and is interviewed here by Vaudevisual’s  Karen Jenson.

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Here is a glimpse of Elayne Kramer performing at the Circus Awards Ceremony in 2015

And here is a sample of what you will see if you attend The Big Apple Circus!

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Now through Jan. 7th 2018

For more information and to purchase tickets go HERE!

Categories
Comedy Juggling Performing Arts Photography Street Performing Variety Arts VAudephone Video

Joey Joey – Washington Square Street Performer film – 1989

JOEY JOEY – A film by Ilse Somers

Shot entirely in Washington Square Park during one of Joey-Joey’s performances. Ilse Somers (High Heels, Low Tide 2012) assembled a great camera crew and shot some wonderful footage of Joey performing live. This kind of performance was a regular occurrence in the park. Many other performers took this spot to entertain the ‘built-in’ audiences. Charlie Barnett was one of the other comedians that got his start in this park.

I was friends with Joseph Colon (lost contact after he moved to Europe) and I had the chance to document many of his performances as well as some shots in the studio. Here is one of them.

I really miss those days in Washington Square Park in the late 1980’s. It was a hot bed for great talent working on their material. Like a 20th Century Vaudeville circuit at home in NYC!

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Categories
Comedy Film Marx Brothers Photography Vaudevisuals Interview

Vaudevisuals interview with Noah Diamond – “Marx Brothers Weekend”

For those of us who are ‘huge’ fans of the Marx Brothers, this event is supreme!

Here is Noah Diamond talking about this special weekend and the upcoming ‘Fredonia‘ event as well. 

Noah Diamond as ‘Groucho’ in the 2016 production of ‘I’ll Say She Is’.

Both of these events promise to be hilarious for all that attend!

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Categories
Art Book Shelf Photography Vaudevisuals Bookshelf

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “The Downtown Book”

The New York Art Scene in the period of 1974 thru 1984 was ‘on fire’. So much was going on everywhere! This book covers the scene!

The Downtown Book

The Downtown Book

Downtown is more than just a location, it’s an attitude–and in the 1970s and ’80s, that attitude forever changed the face of America. This book charts the intricate web of influences that shaped the generation of experimental and outsider artists working in Downtown New York during the crucial decade from 1974 to 1984. Published in conjunction with the first major exhibition of Downtown art (organized by New York University’s Grey Art Gallery and Fales Library), The Downtown Book brings the Downtown art scene to life, exploring everything from Punk rock to performance art. The book probes trends that arose in the 1970s and solidified New York’s reputation as arbiter of the postmodern American avant-garde.

Publisher     Princeton University Press and the Grey Art Gallery and Fales Library, New York University
Published Date     Thursday, Jan 01, 1970
ISBN     0-691-12286-5
Pages     208
Dimensions     Flexibind, 8.25 x 8.25 inches
Number of Illustrations     black-and-white and color illustrations
Price$30.00
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Marvin J Taylor talking about the collection that was used to make this book.

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Categories
59E59 Theater Comedy Music Performing Arts Puppetry Story Teller Vaudevisuals Interview

Vaudedevisuals interview with Collapsing Horse Theater – Dublin

Bears in Space at 59E59th St. Theater

Collapsing Horse presents

 BEARS IN SPACE

By EOGHAN QUINN
Directed by DAN COLLEY
With JACK GLEESON, AARON HEFFERNAN, CAMERON MACAULAY, and EOGHAN QUINN
@
59E59 Theaters

Sept 6th – Oct 2nd

After playing to sold-out crowds in Dublin, Edinburgh, and London, the cult hit showBears in Space arrives in New York City with its acclaimed original cast.

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Two cosmonaut bears on a spaceship hurtle toward the impossibly distant limits of the universe while chased by villainous beings. An ethereal adventure that considers the perils and wonders of a journey across space and time to nowhere.

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“A BATSHIT-CRAZY COMEDY PUPPET SHOW ABOUT A COUPLE OF BEARS IN SPACE… A RIOTOUS, HILARIOUS, TRIPPY JOURNEY TO INFINITY AND BEYOND.”
-Time Out London

“A HONEY POT OF COMEDY, THICK WITH WIT AND ABSURDITY!”
-Broadway Baby


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For more information and to buy tickets go HERE!

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Categories
Comedy Mask Mime Performing Arts Physical Theater

NYC Weekend Workshop with Margolis Method – Dec 12th -13th.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 5.15.06 PM

Kari Margolis has been teaching and performing for numerous years and having photographed 2 of the Adaptor’s theater piece I can testify she is ‘brilliant’.

She rarely teaches in NYC, so this is a great opportunity
to study with her.

Click here for more information!

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