Category Archives: Uncategorized

Digging into Dance Block: A FAB Minute with Alex M Schell

Ever wondered what it’s like to be a choreographer making new work, rehearsing with dancers, and preparing for performances? Well, you’re in luck because this month we are highlighting a few members of our Dance Block program!

Dancer, choreographer, and artist Alex M Schell has been in the Dance Block program since October of 2012, originally drawn to the program’s affordable rental rates and central location. Currently, she has been using Dance Block studio space to go over material, remold existing work, and experiment new ways to generate dance. Alex has utilized almost all of our various studio spaces.

“What’s particularly helpful for me, is having a lot of different space options. [Each space] really helps me generate new material, to have new ideas, and to refocus my energy on how the audience is going to watch [the piece]. ”

Alex M Schell shared a few of her upcoming projects with us in the FAB Minute below, along with a peek into her rehearsals. She is the founder of A Motion Scape Project and has several exciting events going on the next few months!

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Check out Alex M Schell and her company here:

Learn more about the Dance Block Program here:

Cooper Square Committee hosts First Tenant Rights Walking Tour


While celebrating Lower East Side History Month, Lead Organizer of The Cooper Square Committee, Brandon Kielbasa shares this post on their first ever Tenant Rights Walking Tour:

The Cooper Square Committee’s Tenant Rights Walking Tour was designed to deliver basic “know your rights” type information for tenants along with nuanced tips on how to organize their buildings and engage the larger tenants’ rights movement.

The tour  concentrates on the problems tenants face in the LES, and highlights how tenants have come together to organize their buildings, creating a successful means for pushing aggressive, speculative landlords. The tour will speak to everything from the very first steps tenants need to take (talking to their neighbors and calling 311) to some best practices in organizing (coming together quickly at the first sign of trouble).

The tour is approximately 90 minutes long and this first version of the tour looks at organizing efforts in five different buildings throughout the LES. Some  buildings have direct connections to one another, while others are connected by shared issues, or by the approach tenants took to organize against their landlords. Though many of the buildings featured are/were rent regulated, the tour will also delve into the larger considerations tenants should be knowledgeable about when organizing in any building.

The Cooper Square Committee intends to continue doing these tours and produce one annually. We hope to make this an ongoing cycle, and for the tours to become a part of our regular educational programming. We expect to add stops on future tours based on the issues that are currently trending in the community, in addition to looking at outstanding organizing practices, and patterns of real estate speculation.

We feel that by offering tenants’ rights educational programming in different formats that we might attract LESers and other NYers who might be less likely to attend general tenants’ rights workshops. In the end, we hope the tours will be a new and interesting way for us to continue to get tenants the knowledge they need to defend their homes and their communities.

Written by Brandon Kielbasa

March 27: Rent-Freeze Rally & Press Conference


“Come One, Come All” to join forces and make a difference! Join our Member of the Month, Cooper Square Committee and the Urban Justice Center March 27th @ 9AM, 1 Centre Street (The Municipal Building), and let our voices be heard, not silenced, and our words spoken, not ignored!


Photo by Jefferson Siegel

Join a coalition of city-wide tenants, advocates, and elected officials get together and reform the rent guidelines and policies of NYC. As The Rent Guidelines Board meet, CSC hopes to demand the Mayor’s new Board to vote for what all New Yorkers need –  A RENT FREEZE!

If you’d like to join the fight: Meet 9 AM SHARP at 1 Centre Street (The Municipal Building) March 27th. You can find more information HERE or call Jaron Benjamin from Met Council on Housing at 718-864-3932


Tenants called for no rent hike before Thursday’s R.G.B. vote at The Cooper Union

Frigid New York Festival 2014

I’ve been familiar with Frigid New York for the last two years, but this was my first year in attendance. Always a bit hesitant of these free-for-all festivals, I carefully chose my picks of a long list of options– Petunia & Chicken by Animal Engine and Basic Help by StrangeDog Theatre. My choices were easy ones; I knew of Petunia & Chicken from their hugely popular, sold-out summer showcase during last summer’s miniFRIDGE, and I have long been familiar with the excellent writing and humor of StrangeDog since seeing Bootstraps last fall.

Karim Muasher and Carrie Brown of Animal Engine

Karim Muasher and Carrie Brown of Animal Engine

Thankfully, both of my choices were excellent. If the only association I had to “clowning” was Animal Engine’s aesthetic, I’d strive to be a clown myself someday. Full of wit, impeccable timing, and the most creative uses of a shawl, a bowler hat, and two spoons I have ever witnessed, Petunia & Chicken is the ultimate American love story. Weaving together three classic novels by Americana author Willa Cather, Animal Engine’s sole members Karim Muasher and Carrie Brown prove themselves as masterful storytellers, embodying what feels like a dozen characters each (including a scarily believable senior Bloodhound). In less than 90 minutes, the range of emotions  evoked feels true to a lifelong epic.

Gavin Earl Johnson and Megan Greener in "Basic Help"

Gavin Earl Johnson and Megan Greener in “Basic Help”

Along a much more linear – yet still rewarding and provoking – emotional line, Basic Help is the story of two people caught in the “vast emptiness” of their lives. The story’s two characters collide during a customer service call over the case of a broken blender, forming an unusual relationship. With such a special show (that should be seen), I’d rather not give the details away. All that needs to be known is that with the help of two exceptional actors at the helm, StrangeDog has mastered the skill of approachable yet surprising theater, making it feel personal and insightful to our contemporary human condition.

With two great shows, my first year of Frigid was a rousing success, wishing I had the time to see more. If you have the chance, take it. Excellent theater at an excellent price, what could be better?

Petunia and Chicken continues at the Kraine Theater tonight at @ 8:40PM, and Saturday @ 3:40PM

Basic Help continues at UNDER St. Mark’s on Sunday, 3/9, @ 12:30PM

The Frigid Festival ends Sunday, 3/9. See the full schedule here.

Speaking in Buildings

Take a look at this fascinating and informative virtual tour of our block (and surrounding neighborhood) made by our friends over at City Lore. By focusing on their morphology, time constructed, context, form, typology, function, style, and technology, we can begin to understand the basic vernacular architecture of these buildings, and see how integral a part these structures played in the cultural history of the neighborhood. Check it out!

A few pages of the virtual tour of "Seeing East 4th Street: Vernacular Architecture in NYC"

A shot of the Greek Revival style columns of Horse Trade‘s entrance from “Seeing East 4th Street: Vernacular Architecture in NYC

Call for Applications: EMERGENYC

Are you an emerging activist/artist/performer who lives in (or can easily commute to) New York City? Consider applying to EMERGENYC, the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politic’s annual program to train emerging New York-based artists through a yearly program of workshops, lectures and other events.

Applicants must have prior experience in activism and/or various performance genres. The program welcomes applications from individuals enrolled in the City’s colleges and universities AND from those who are not currently pursuing formal higher education.


Between April and June, participants will take part in weekly workshops led by George Emilio Sánchez as well as by invited artists such as Susana Cook, Fulana, The Yes Lab,  Peggy Shaw (Split Britches), Dan Fishback, Ed Woodham, Daniel Alexander Jones, and others TBD. The program will also include a teach-in on Performance (“PerforWHAT?”) led by Hemispheric Institute Founding Director and NYU University Professor Diana Taylor. (We are in conversations with other artists and activists for additional workshops/presentations—check for updates). We ask applicants to define social issues that are important to them and to find a bridge to communities around those issues. Past participants have explored themes of racism, racial stereotypes, and racial violence; LGBTQ rights; war and human rights; gender and sexuality; religion; and gentrification, among others. They have created performance pieces around these issues, interviewed members of various communities, and led workshops in community programs (such as GLOBE/Make the Road New York), etcetera.


May is Lower East Side History Month

Logo B&WMay 2014 Marks First Annual Community Celebration of Lower East Side

 NEW YORK, NY – This May, more than thirty Lower East Side-based cultural and community groups are collaborating to launch Lower East Side (LES) History Month, an annual celebration of the rich, diverse history of New York City’s Lower East Side.

During May 2014, dozens of public events, exhibits, tours, and learning opportunities will take place at more than thirty sites, all within in the historical definition of the Lower East Side—which includes the East Village, Chinatown, Little Italy, and Alphabet City.

Conceived and launched by LES-based cultural and community groups, LES History Month aims to connect our present to our past, exploring how our history can inform and inspire our future.

Special kickoff activities will include a community picnic at Pier 42 with performances and activities for all ages on Sunday, May 4; and ‘Chalk LES’, an interactive project running from Friday May 2nd through Sunday May 4th, encouraging anyone and everyone to share memories and images of the Lower East Side on the city’s pavements.

Following these two kickoff events, there will be dozens of ways to engage with the history of the LES. Sample events include:

  • ‘THE NEWS,’ an outdoors music-theater work performed by teens from Downtown Art at multiple sites in the LES, based on a dozen neighborhood newspaper articles from 1914.
  • Presentations by both Good Ole Lower East Side (GOLES) and the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space on the history of activism in the Lower East Side.
  • Walking tours by the Museum of Chinese in the Americas, Lower East Side History Project, Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy, and The Lower East Side Tenement Museum.
  • FABLES, a mural series produced by Fourth Arts Block, exploring the Lower East Side’s living cultural heritage, rich history, and current issues in storytelling through public art.
  • Conni’s Avant Garde Restaurant’s Illyria/Loisaida, a modern language take on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, presented as theatrical and historical walking tour of the LES, led by characters from the play and featuring visits to local establishments and iconic locations.
  • Weekly Television and Livestream broadcasts of 28-minute biographies from the best of the The Lower East Side Biography Project.

A calendar of events, upcoming news and a list of participating groups will be available at the Lower East Side History Month website:  Interested individuals and organizations are welcome to participate. Please send your inquiry at

Twitter: #LESmonth
Facebook: LES History Month

Logo Design: Meredith Doby Designs
Photo credit: Meredith Doby (Magical Garden, Astor Place); Sally Young (E 6th & 5th St, Bimbo Rivas on Avenue C)

Dream Big for 2014

You may know the story of how FABnyc was founded . . . twelve years ago arts and cultural groups on East 4th Street were at risk of being forced out, but thanks to the collective vision and action of FABnyc’s founders, the arts are here to stay.


Our roots in the neighborhood are deep, and we are working diligently to respond to today’s challenges, while helping to shape an inclusive and innovative future for this community.


“We” can’t happen without YOU! You are an integral part of our work and our home, and you keep us going from year to year. Your support provides valuable programming year-round, as well as the capacity to implement creative solutions to ongoing challenges – solutions that cut costs and provide networked support and resources to the artists who need them most.
DanceBlock_animated2As we approach the new year, we ask that you consider making a contribution to FABnyc. Your investment will help the arts and culture continue to be part of an equitable and thriving Lower East Side for years to come.
Load-OUT!-AnimatedTogether with you, we can continue to dream big for the Lower East Side in 2014 and beyond.

Thank you for sticking with us.

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Tamara Greenfield
Executive Director, FABnyc

Photos by Whitney Browne
Top photo pictures D.C., student of East Village Dance Project in the foreground,
and Downtown Art in the background
Dance Block images pictures The Movement Party
ArtUp image detail of LNY’s “The Golden Hour” by Keith Schweitzer

Fashion, Ukrainian Style!

When you think of Ukrainian fashion, you probably imagine ethnic embroidery and lots of cross-stitching. You aren’t wrong – just a little out of date. But don’t fear. The Ukrainian Museum can help you get with the times! The museum is hosting a runway show of contemporary wearable art by designers from Ukraine and the US.

“Fashion, Ukrainian Style” will be held on Sunday, September 29th 2013, where fashion designers Oksana Karavanska, Katya Pshechenko, Elena Vasilevsky and will represent their respective lines. The event is presented in conjunction with the Ukrainian Museum’s current exhibition Out of Tradition: Contemporary Decorative and Applied Art, which features work of 35 contemporary artists of Ukrainian background. A key element of the exhibition is the Ukrainian heritage of each of the artists, whose symbiotic link with the rich history of Ukrainian decorative art is a major leitmotif of their works. The exhibit is on view until October 6, 2013.

A Word About the Designers

Oksana Karavanska

Jacket designed by Karavanska

One of the most creative designers in Ukraine today, Oksana Karavanska is known for lines that are always very modern, edgy, and unpredictable. She completed her studies in fashion design at Lviv State Institute of Decorative and Applied Arts (now Lviv National Academy of Arts).
Karavanska was singled out by Pierre Cardin at the Alta Moda competition in 1996. Since then, she has been a member of the Committee of Experts of the Ukrainian Council of Fashion. She has regularly participated in the annual Ukrainian Fashion Week, as well as an unprecedented international benefit tour for Ukraine of her line in major cities across the U.S. and Canada. She created a collection of Haute Couture designs especially for the closing of the Eurovision 2005 semi-finals and for the finals. In addition to her label “Oksana Karavanska”, she also designs for “OK’ by oksanakaravanska,” “OK’ by oksanakaravanska for men,” and has created the first-ever line of Ukrainian designer perfumes. Oksana Karavanska lives and works in Lviv, Ukraine.


Katya Pshechenko


Pshechenko’s design for Holiday Fashion Week 2011

A designer of fashion and accessories, Katya Pshechenko has a lyrical style that stems partly from her studies of choreography and the piano. She graduated from the Mykola Lysenko School of Music in Poltava, Ukraine, and from the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts in Moscow, after which she created her own “Katya Pshechenko” label for clothing and jewelry. Since 2008, she has shown her collection annually at the Ukrainian Fashion Week. She was invited to participate іn the prestigious Grand Défilé in Milan, Italy in 2009. In 2010, jurors from the Instituto Marangoni selected one of her designs for the collection of the L’Officiel Museum after she took part in the L’Officiel Awards: Fashion Weekend. Katya Pshechenko’s designs have been featured in such magazines as Marie Claire, Viva! Beauty, and Collezioni, among others. Ms. Pshenchenko’s designs are inspired by ethnic influences, romance and mysticism, with a unique sense of color and femininity.  Her collections are full of thoughtful designs as evidenced in the hand crafted, unexpected construction that emphasizes the individuality and essence of the woman. She lives and works in Kyiv, Ukraine.


Elena Vasilevsky

Design by Elena Vasilevsky

Ukrainian-born designer Elena Vasilevsky is a graduate of Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY, and is based in New York City. Her designs reflect various influences throughout her life that eventually led to the creation of her own label, “Elena V”. Her artistic background ranges from performing as a classical concert pianist, to curating surrealist Russian and Ukrainian art, to fashion editing and styling for magazines, to designing costumes for the cinema and theater. Ms. Vasilevsky was a ‘Best Designer’ winner in a 2011 fashion runway show competition sponsored by Glaceau Vitaminwater®, a Coca Cola Company,to help cutting edge creative talent. Her “Elena V” collections are envisioned with the passion and creativity of an artist and conceptually designed for a woman who is confident, professional, and stylish, living a busy city lifestyle.


The runway shop will take place at The Ukrainian Museum (located on 222 East 6th St.) on Sunday, September 29th, 2013 at 2:30 pm. There will be an opportunity for press to interview designers at 1:30 pm – call the Museum at 212.228.0110.

For more info on the runway show, click here.

Time to Flamenco at Dixon Place

This month at Dixon Place, internationally renowned Flamenco dancer Maria Elena Anaya will be performing three consecutive weekends starting September 13th. See all the details below, including a video of Maria in action.

Eclipsis Flamenco: Encounter of Two Worlds, an original, intensely passionate dance theatrical piece documenting the historical merging of the Pre-Colombian and Spanish cultures that birthed “mestizaje,” (mixed cultures) the very foundation of Mexican life. Under the artistic direction of the Mexican Flamenco star, Maria Elena AnayaEclipsis Flamenco becomes an exuberant celebration. The plasticity, strength, rhythm and eroticism that emerge from the interaction of pre-Hispanic dance and Mexican folklore reverberate in the profound chords of the guitar, percussion and “cante flamenco.” The all-professional company’s dancers, singers, and musicians trace the development of the dynamic cultural fusion of these two worlds revealing a vision of life full of pride, passion, honor, love, and sorrow.

Fridays & Saturdays, Sep 13-28 @ 7:30pm | $16 adv, 20 reg, $12 stu/sen

Video of Maria Elena Anaya performing Antología