Wednesday, June 20, 2007

underground zero

My friend and fellow League of Independent Theater stalwart Paul Bargetto is cooking up a festival. Info below.

Festival offers new life for successful productions from the alternative theater movement.

NEW YORK, June 19 -- Alternative theater is ephemeral in its nature, but it doesn't have to be, according to Paul Bargetto, curator of the UndergroundZero Festival, and Caterina Bartha, Co-Founding Director of Collective:Unconscious. They imagine independent theater in repertory as a way to extend the life of successful "downtown" plays, and have established the UndergroundZero Festival as an artistic proof-of-concept for it. Collective:Unconscious will present the event over three weeks July 19 to August 5 at its Tribeca theater facility, located at 279 Church Street.

The festival is inviting successful productions that could be viable in a Downtown theater devoted to rotating repertory. The repertory forum for independent theater, a new model of production, is being showcased as an alternative to the current system of limited runs that consign many successful shows to oblivion.

Plays presented will range from full-cast productions to works by performer-playwrights. Companies represented include International WOW Company, The Flying Machine, Stolen Chair, East River Commedia and Pinchbottom’s Burlesque. There will also be a selection of plays that were originally developed in the Columbia MFA Program.

The festival will also feature a convening of the League of Independent Theater on Tuesday, July 31 at 7:30 pm. Independent theater producers and artists will gather to discuss the issues facing the community and draft a resolution for action. See

A schedule and list of participants will be available on the Collective:Unconscious website,, on June 19. Tickets for individual shows will be $15. The audience information number is (212) 352-3101 and online ticketing is available at

The festival will also launch "The Moxie Show," a turntable for music acts, comedians, variety acts and sections from works of theater, puppetry and dance. Hosted by Trav S.D., beginning July 24, it will continue on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. Door prizes will be awarded for acts showing the most moxie, chosen by the world's oldest approval device, the applause-o-meter. Curator Trav S.D. is a long-time host of American Vaudeville Theater and author of "No Applause--Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous." Admission will be $5 per night.

On the two Mondays of the festival, C:U will present its ongoing film program, "Speakeasy Cinema," hosted by Matt Kohn and presenting a mystery film on Monday July 16. July 23 will feature Jewels and Gems from the Film Makers Cooperative, the largest archive of avant-garde film in the world. Admission is $5 and the films begin at 7:30pm.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

help wanted

The League of Independent Theater is an idea I’ve been curating for awhile, along with John Pinckard and Paul Bargetto. We’ve been excited and gratified by the tremendously positive community response to the idea of the League, but I want to stress that so far, it’s only an idea. I see it working as a trade organization, a vehicle to gather and propel the ideas and best practices of the community, and also as an instrument to express and amplify the collective voice of the community. I’m imagining a nonprofit membership organization with an elected staff. Initially we’d need a steering committee of some sort to create the bylaws and incorporate the thing. John and Paul and I are doing that in an ad hoc way right now, but we feel the need for much broader community input.

Below is the barest of blueprints. Please respond with any and all comments, thoughts and suggestions.
The League of Independent Theater is a membership organization dedicated to preserving and strengthening independent theater in New York City. The League’s mission is to foster theatrical productions produced in 99 seat theatres and promote the common interest of its membership. The League assists in the voluntary exchange of information among its members, serves as the collective voice of its membership, works to increase interest in independent theater throughout North America, strives to foster a sense of community among all members, and develops programs addressing the unique needs of its members.

Short-term goals include:

Advocacy of a new AEA Code allowing for longer production runs
Partnering with enlightened realtors to create affordable and secure rehearsal and performance space
Creation of an archival database of member’s productions including scripts and design images
Commissioning an Off-Off economic impact analysis

Two types of membership:
Organizational- any theater company or producing company regularly working in or operating a 99 seat theater. 100.00 annual dues
Individual- any artist, technician, administrator or producer regularly working in 99 seat theater. 50.00 annual dues

Friday, June 01, 2007

put yer hancock here

There's a petition posted on Looking for strength in numbers.

Also just read in the Times that the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency is warning that "the new crazies" are pushing for an invasion of Iran. Not a surprising news story, but that has to be the best name for a band I've heard in years.