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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
Exhibit Magic Performing Arts Photography Puppetry Story Teller Video

The Theatre of Robert Anton – An Exhibition

The Theater of Robert Anton

It must have been early 1980’s, and I was working (performing as a mime) at an upstate NY fair “German Alps Festival” at Hunter Moutain. The festival included many performers and once in awhile we would meet up after the day’s work was done and attend a show or movie together. One day puppeteer Eric Bass recommended that we see this show with puppeteer Robert Anton.

The performance was one of the most hypnotic performances I have ever witnessed! Wearing only black pants and black top he performed with a neutral facial expression while making his little puppets come alive. Since he did not allow recordings of any of his performances the work remains legendary. I will leave the details of his show to others to describe.

I was delighted to see that Broadway 1602 Gallery had mounted an exhibit of his puppets with other articles from his shows and work. I have included video interviews (courtesy of Broadway 1602 Gallery) and photographs from the show here. Thanks to Broadway 1602 for allowing me to capture this beautiful exhibit and post documents and photographs from it.

 Robert Anton passed away at age 35 in 1984.

Robert AntonRobert Anton in one of the few photographs taken of him during his show.

(Courtesy Broadway 1602 Gallery)

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– a couple of scenes from the work of Robert Anton, a beloved puppeteer of the nineteen-seventies: “Anton as puppeteer-surgeon sometimes probes his figures with a tiny forceps, pulling out a brain or a heart, or finding inside (in one show) a red stone, a red branch, a red starfish, red feathers, and red fur. In another show, a bag lady who has assembled herself out of a heap of miniature refuse peers into the puppeteer’s own mouth in search of new objects.”

Excerpt from “Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life” by Kenneth Gross

Robert AntonA rare photograph of Robert Anton during a performance. (Courtesy of Broadway 1602 Gallery)

(Courtesy of Broadway 1602 Gallery)

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Letter from Diana Vreeland at Metropolitan Museum to Robert after one of his performances.

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“A visionary theater of whose scale is inversely proportional to the scope of Robert Wilson’s vast panorama is the puppet theater of Robert Anton. Performing rituals of transformation and rebirth and original alchemical allegories with an Artaudian emphasis are miniature finger-puppet actors, whose heads are no larger than one and a half inches. They enact these silent and mysterious rites on a small black velvet stage before an audience of no more than eighteen spectators.”

Gloria Feman Orenstein, “The Theater of the Marvelous”, New York University Press, 1975

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“His inventions would look to him for reassurance. That was always very moving…His movements of the face were minimal, withholding of himself, a supreme actor…He could express powerful contempt: The pope with an absurd mitra, degraded to cardinal/bishop, gets closed in a jail tower in his finery…then becomes a blind man tapping. Then a horrid puppet with leather gear and a shaved head, a lot like Himmler –pisses on a target on that prison. He’s got one leg, walks with a crutch…diabolical. (Something right out of George Grosz.) Three visual artists were most important to him: Bosch, Redon and Grosz…The puppets he took to the Plaza to show Fellini…He knew Fellini’s movies inside out. The one that meant the most to him was TOBY DAMMIT, also JULIET OF THE SPIRITS…Nino Rota’s music. He unconditionally respected Chaikin and Stella Adler. When she came to his performances, she talked throughout to the puppets. …The play involved a redemption from the world, an overcoming – a metaphysical confrontation.”

Benjamin Taylor, “Robert Anton in Retrospect,” Theater Ex, 1986

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Main room of the Broadway 1602 Gallery featuring the puppets of Robert Anton.

Secondary room featuring works on paper and cases displaying fragile clothing and documents.

Robert Anton’s entire show was carried in these suitcases. The interiors were divided up into precisely made sections of felt backed compartments that housed the puppets and small masks/props for the show.

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THE ACTORS

Off all the puppet actors I photographed this one reminded me of how ‘real’ the characters in his plays were when he animated them. Robert only allowed 15 people at a time to attend his performances and the images here are what the puppet actors would have looked like had you been one of those audience members as I was.  If you want to see more of the exhibit visit the Broadway 1602 Gallery website here.

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From Broadway 1602 Gallery Exhibit Notes

Already from the tender age of nine, Anton followed an original childhood impulse to create en miniature: He re-built the stage sets of famous Broadway musicals he had seen with his parents in New York and London, reduced to a proscenium of 18” across and 12” high, and yet so breathtaking in detail and elegant precision that Anton was endorsed by journalists in his hometown Forth Worth in the mid 1960s as the “ingenuity of a Michelangelo”.

Anton arrived in New York in 1970, after two years of stage and costume design studies at Carnegie-Mellon University. He continued his studies in New York at the Studio and Forum of Stage Design.  In 1973, collaborating with the composer Elizabeth Swados, Anton designed the scenery for the Broadway musical “Elizabeth I” — his drawings for the queen’s costume survived. In the same year, his collaborations with Ellen Stewart’s La MaMa theatre began where he also staged his own plays. Repeat performances took place in his apartment on West 70th Street. Among the enthused audience and supporters were La MaMa Playwright and director Jean-Claude van Itallie, who was inspired by Anton’s ‘actors’ and started introducing puppets to his own plays, writer Susan Sontag and her son David Rieff, famed acting teacher Stella Adler, childhood friend and novelist Benjamin Taylor (Anton features as “the puppeteer” in his autobiographical debut novel “Tales out of School”, 1995), actress Linda Hunt who was soon to become a star in Robert Altman and David Lynch’s movies, theatre revolutionary Peter Brook, Broadway tap dancer, singer and choreographer Tommy Tune, Broadway’s director legend Hal Prince, the doyenne of the fashion world Diana Vreeland, Yoko Ono and John Lennon, to name a few.

Between 1974-75 Anton presented his puppet theatre at Robert Wilson’s Byrd Hoffmann Foundation and directed at the National Theater of the Deaf in Waterford, CT. His tour through Europe began, first performing at the Mickery Theater in Amsterdam. In 1975 Anton represented the United States at the International Theater Festival in Nancy, France, causing an avalanche of enthusiastic reviews in the French press depicting Anton’s miniature theatre as one of the most memorable and outstanding acts of the festival. The Nancy engagement introduced Anton to France’s flamboyant cultural minister Jacques Lang. In 1976, President Francois Mitterand and Jacques Lang designated the Château de Vincennes outside of Paris for Anton to set up his studio and living quarters and to perform for one year. Anton presented his plays and co-founded a visual/mime theatre program for the deaf-mute at the Chateau. In 1977 he created a new production for the Festival D’Automne in Paris.

Upon his return to New York in 1978, Anton moved to a large loft on 96 Spring Street and presented nightly performances of the “Paris Spectacle”. In 1981 Robert Anton was appointed as the American representative at the Theater der Welt Festival in Cologne. In the same year, he performed at the Teatro Argentina in Rome where he met Fellini again.

In the early 1980s, Anton’s experimentation took him to new stage designs, a move connecting him back to his childhood Broadway musical stages while the ‘actors’ fade into the background. Anton created glamorous miniature stage sets as “an homage to the 1940s” (Benjamin Taylor), sets like ‘Radio City Hall’ animated with grand and witty gestures to the tunes of Fred Astaire and Busby Berkeley. From there, Anton further radicalized his concepts. His last work was a play composed purely of light, exploring the psychological impact and metaphysical dimension of color, once more elaborately staged in a miniature proscenium: “A third final spectacle remained unfinished at this death. Totally unpopulated, it would have been an evocative constellation of set, sound, and light.” (Genii Grassi, “Robert Anton in Retrospect”, Theater Ex, 1986).

In an endeavor to bring back to a contemporary audience — and to the many of his generation who were not part of the blessed and illustrious able to see his performances — the experience of Robert Anton’s theatre, we interviewed on film, and continue to do so, witnesses of his plays and his life, friends and peers who were close to Anton’s universe. These dedicated and moving testimonies are an integral part of the exhibition and will constitute the core of a future documentary on The Theatre of Robert Anton.

We would like to express our gratitude to Bette Stoler who brought The Theatre of Robert Anton to us and who shared her memories of her friend and his context with us to help to realize the project. We also would like to thank Anton’s friends and peers who so generously shared their memories with us in the filmed interviews giving such rich testimony to Anton’s history.

Anke Kempkes

“The Theatre of Robert Anton” at BROADWAY 1602 UPTOWN, December 2016 – February 2017

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Documentary film produced in the context of the exhibition “The Theatre of Robert Anton” by BROADWAY 1602 
Interviewed are the following people:
Benjamin Taylor – Writer
Rosemary Quinn – Theater Director, Actress, Teacher
Jeremy Lebensohn – Sculptor, Set Designer
Tommy Tune – Actor, Dancer, Director
Terry Rosenberg – Artist
Bette Stoler – former Gallerist, friend.
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Robert Anton Exhibit in the Press:
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Broadway 1602 is a wonderful gallery located at 5 East 63rd St, NYC. For more information about upcoming exhibits visit their website here.
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Art Comedy Performing Arts Photography Video

Merry Christmas from Vaudevisuals.com

Merry Christmas from Vaudevisuals.com

Merry Christmas from Jim Moore on Vimeo.

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Cornelia Street Cafe Exhibit Party Photography

“Finding Solitude” Exhibit Closing Party Dec. 5th.

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ARTIST STATEMENT

My work explores the connection between places and internal solitude. While capturing these select images, I found myself reflecting upon ideas, plans, and dreams while suddenly realizing I was solo within the cultural landscape minus its inhabitants. I intend to take the viewer to this quiet place of contemplation where the textures, shapes, and light provide a heightened sensation of the solo perspective. From the hush in the light drenched hall of the Louvre in Paris or gritty ancient feel of the Italian hills of Matera, I hope to expose the details of solitude that might be missed in a crowded metropolis.

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Finding Solitude

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Come on Dec. 5th and help CELEBRATE!

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

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

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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
Dixon Place Music Performing Arts Puppetry Vaudevisuals Interview Video

Vaudevisuals interview with Spencer Lott – “Blossom” at Dixon Place

BLOSSOM

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Emerging puppeteer & Jim Henson Foundation resident artist Spencer Lott visualizes the surreal landscape between reality and memory through the beautiful unraveling of one man’s mind.

After being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, James Blossom and his daughter grapple with their changing relationship and differing realities.

Struggling to adjust to life at the local nursing home, the retired scenic painter finds himself increasingly involved in his own cinematic adventures.

For more information and tickets!

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Photography

“Desperate Archives” – An Exhibit – 20 Years of Split Britches Archives @ LaMama Galleria

 DESPERATE ARCHIVES

 “Deposited somewhere between land and sea, between proliferation and devastation.”

An exhibition based on 20 years of Split Britches archival material.

Desperate Archives exposes the infrastructure of performance by emphasizing process and attachment, highlighting collaboration as the project for the future. While these archives are generative, they are also full of refuse-remnants of the past that have been stored away for years waiting to be rediscovered and to perform publicly again.”

Excerpt from FEELING DESPERATE by Benjamin Gillespie, Ph.D Candidate in Theatre, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Desperate Archives exhibit at LaMama GalleriaUpon entering the LaMama Galleria.

Poster on exhibit at LaMama GalleriiaOn the right wall are many posters from past performances of Split Britches.

Photographs on display at LaMama Galleria Archival photographs from performances of Split Britches in the past 20 years.

Untitled  bed art at La Mama Galleria

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LaMama La Galleria

6 East 1st Street, NYC

Wed-Sun 1 – 7:30pm

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Click here for information on Peggy Shaw’s  RUFF – a wonderful performance at LaMama till Jan 26th, 2014

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Circus Clown Performing Arts Photography The Clown Un_Mask Variety Arts Vaudevisuals Interview

The Clown Un_Masked – Glen Heroy

Originally posted in Feb. 2010. My first of the CLOWN UN_MASK series.

One of the most interesting performers that I have photographed recently is Glen Heroy. He is a cameleon! In one show he is Dame Edna and in another show he is Elton John.(along with many others.) He plays the spoons like nobody I know and is an amazingly funny clown. I ask Glen to work with me on a new project I am doing. THE CLOWN UNMASK. A photographic study of the eccentric clown performer as himself and in character.

I am posting 3 shots of him in character personas. I did a photograph of Glen in a nice quiet apt. with beautiful window light.I think the visuals tell the story about a very talented and extremely versatile performer.

Glen Heroy as Dame Edna at the 2007 New York Downtown Clown GOLDEN NOSE AWARDS

 

Glen Heroy relaxes with a smile!

He worked with the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit for many years.  And has worked in the ring with The Big Apple Circus. Along with all his character performance work currently he also works with The Maestrosities. (The Coolest Band Ever!)

Glen Heroy as Santa ClausRecently I did a video interview with Glen about his years performing as Santa Claus during the Christmas holidays.   You can see it here.

It is performers like Glen that inspired me to photograph clowns and eccentric performers in the first place. I look forward to seeing him again soon  on stage and off.

All Photographs © 2013 Jim Moore / All  Rights Reserved
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Photography Variety Arts

Looking down from 1350 feet – WTC

When I was photographing the top of the WTC for Philippe Petit in preparation for the upcoming ‘artistic crime of the century‘ I also wanted to take some photographs that weren’t needed by him in his preparation. I decided to lean over the edge of the tower and look down. This was a very decisive moment to make me realize I wasn’t afraid of heights. I knew before I did this that I did not have this fear but when I looked over the edge and didn’t flinch I was convinced.

Looking Over The Edge of the Tower © 2008 Jim Moore
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Mime Photography

American Mime Theatre – Founded in 1952 by Paul J. Curtis

“Curtis is making American audiences realize there is an important difference between a Pantomimist and a Mime.”   Dance Magazine

“Do see this company; it isn’t often you will get such a gift.”      Village Voice

Photograph of AMT play ‘EVOLUTION’.

Photograph of AMT play “SLUDGE”.

Photographs of the American Mime Theatre company performing by Jim Moore

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I took classes with Paul J. Curtis for about 3 years. (late 1970’s) . He has been teaching and creating American Mime since 1952. During the time I studied at AMT we developed a great professional relationship and I became the resident photographer. I shot all the shows they performed and did some great studio shots during the time I was studying there as well as after I left the school as a student.  Paul is an amazing teacher. He understands the human psyche and movement and how they work together in a unique mimetic process. He teaches actors to move and movers to act.

The company performs a wide variety of mime plays created and written by the American Mime Theatre Ensemble.

I quote from the company’s webpage:

American Mime is a unique performing art created by a particular balance of playwriting, acting, moving, pantomime, and theatrical equipment. It is entirely different from the pantomime of the French Schools and the dance of the Eastern Mime disciplines.

American Mime is a complete theatre medium defined by its own aesthetic laws, terminology, techniques, script material and teaching methods. Basically, it is a medium for non-speaking actors who perform, in characterization, the symbolic activities of American Mime plays through movement that is both telling and beautiful.

The classes are still at the AMT studio on Fourth Avenue in NYC. every Wednesday night. You should call first if you want to audit a class. It is an amazingly rewarding experience.

For more information about the school and classes click here.