Recap: BIG EXCELLENT 20TH REUNION!

In case you missed it…

Big Excellent 20th Reunion highlights a group of friends in the LGBT community returning to their high school reunion. Anxious about how they will be received, the group congregates on the bleachers of the school’s football field. As they catch up on each others’ lives, we watch as the group grapples with the obstacles related to gender identity, sexual orientation, self-fulfillment, self-image, and addressing the death of a loved one.

Located in the small but intimate Theatre 80, the artistic choices in set design allowed the audience to focus on the characters and plot of the show. The musical numbers and choreography enhanced the show without distracting the audience from main messages of acceptance and understanding within the LGBT community. Big Excellent 20th Reunion was a great introduction to understanding the challenges that the LGBT community face and how we can work together overcome them.

- Written by Shauna DeFord, Intern @ FABnyc

Wrapping Up with our Member of the Month: WOW Cafe Theatre!

During June, we’ve highlighted WOW Cafe Theatre as our Member of the Month. To wrap up a wonderful month, below are quotes from WOW Cafe Theatre Members:

“Wow is a place for the new creators of theater to find a stage, particularly women and transgender people.” – Sharon Jane

“WOW Cafe Theatre connects me to a legacy of women who thought their sweat, their art, their care for one another was worth something. Now, the collective continues to swim upstream against the current of multiple social norms that could stifle our spirits and our art. WOW, for me, is community, accountability, and a sacred space for my dancing–continually bought and paid for with collective work and responsibility.” -Maria Bauman, MBDance Artistic Director, Urban Bush Women Director of Education and Community Engagement

Thanks for a great month WOW Cafe Theatre!

Snapshots from Last Night’s ArtUp Reception!

Last night at the FAB Cafe, a reception was held for the the opening of “Saints of the Lower East Side” by Tom Sanford, the new exhibition on the ArtUp Scaffolding Bridge, and “Our Ladies of Infamy and Grandeur” by Graham Preston, the latest exhibition in the Cafe. Read more about it, and check out some snapshots of the opening below!

 

Artist Tom Sanford with his daughter at the ArtUp Reception.

 

Melanie and Hannah enjoy a delicious frozen banana from the banana cart!

 

People enjoying the opening of the artwork.

 

"Saints of the Lower East Side"

 

Graham Preston chats about his exhibition.

 

 

 

 

Snag a FAB Deal on Food and Fadwa!

Be sure to check out New York Theatre Workshop’s Food and Fadwa running until June June 24th!

“Meet Fadwa Faranesh, an unmarried, 30-something Palestinian woman living in Bethlehem in the politically volatile West Bank. Known for her delectable cooking and deep-seated sense of duty to her family and aging father, our kitchen maven insists on continuing the preparations for the wedding of her younger sister, despite constraints of daily life under occupation. Politics blend with family tensions to create a sometimes humorous and sometimes heartbreaking meal. Story by Lameece Issaq and Jacob Kader and directed by Shana Gold, this new play melds the fight a Palestinian family wages to hold onto its traditional culture with its need to celebrate love, joy and hope.”

Stop by the the Fourth Arts Block website for a FAB Deal on tickets to the show! Pay only $35!

Celebrate Pride 2012

 Kick off Pride 2012 downtown with these upcoming events! 

Hot August Night/1970 – The Forgotten LGBT Riot A Lecture by Steven F. Dansky

Tuesday June 19th,

6:30-8:30p.m.

LGBT Community Center (208 W. 13th Street)

Free; RSVP required: rsvp@gvshp.org (or) 212.475.9585 ext. 35

1 month after the Stonewall Riots, August 29, 1970, Greenwich Village experienced a riot of its own, with hundreds of protestors and 17 resulting arrests. Amazingly, the event was considered un-noteworthy for four decades. On Tuesday, June 19th, Steven F. Dansky (original member of the Gay Liberation Front and founder of Effeminism) will discuss the riot. His book, Hot August Night/ 1970 – The Forgotten LGBT Riot, will be available for purchase and signing.

 

Too Much Pride Makes The Baby Go Gay!

The New York Neo-Futurist

6/21 @ 8:00 p.m.

6/22-6/23 @ 10:30p.m.

Kraine Theater  (85 E. 4th Street)

$12- $17

From the same people who bring you Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, the NY Neo-Futurist present, Too Much Pride Makes The Baby Go Gay! – 30 Gay Plays in 60 Straight Minutes.

 

Confessions of a Cuban Sex Addict

By: Michelangelo Alasa’

6/18- 6/21 @ 8:30 and 9:30 p.m.

DMAC- Duo Multicultural Arts Center

Confessions of a Cuban Sex Addict is a walk-through theatrical installation including actors, video and smoke. Experience the story of Raphael an ex-rent boy, artist and sexual outlaw. Admission is free, but reservation is required.

 

BIG EXCELLENT 20th REUNION

6/6- 6/23 Various shows @ 8, 7 and 2p.m.

Theatre 80

$ 55

“BIG EXCELLENT 20TH REUNION is a new musical for the entire LGBTQA community and celebrates life as we follow an intimate cast of 6 who come together for their high school reunion.  This musical is a deeply intimate portrait for those who have family and friends who are queer, from interracial and/or adopted families, experienced loss of a parent, for parents who wonder if their children will be alright after they pass, and for those of us who have been touched by cancer and HIV.” (www.fabnyc.org)

 

Vivisection

6/21-6/23 & 6/28- 6/30

7:30 doors, 8:00 show

$13 in advanced, $15 cash at door

Vivisection is the action of cutting into or dissecting a living body usually for physiological or pathological investigation. Human vivisection has been implemented as a form of torture. An often comedic, thought-provoking multidisciplinary exploration of how the visceral experience of regularly being othered impacts the hearts, minds, bodies, souls and basic humanity of Black women. Without having our pain and suffering taken seriously the end result is torture. (http://www.wowcafe.org/)

 

Bonus way to Get Involved: New York City is hosting a LGBT Book Drive. In an effort to fill public schools and LGBT center libraries with LGBT titles, The City Council is partnering with local, nonprofit, community bookstores.  The Book Drive eagerly accepts any and all book donations and will transfer them to community center libraries throughout the city.

Treasures in store at SKYLINE!

Skyline, the soiree of the summer season, is a mere 5 days away, and FAB is ready to help you greet the summer with an evening to remember…
VIP Wine Tasting

To begin the festivities, we’re hosting an exclusive tasting with James Hall for our VIPs at 6PM featuring casual summer wines, paired with festive summer cuisine, which include delectable truffle grilled cheese, lobster rolls, and sliders. If “the Sky’s the Limit” for you, we’ll see you in the early eve!

And, for our VIP’s and those “Flying High,” lucky you! You’ll get to take part in a special raffle for a chance to win a host of great prizes, including a Performance Space 122 Passport, Anthology Film Archives Membership, or one of 8 unique pieces of art by ArtUp artists Abe Lincoln Jr and BEAU.
Pop open a vintage cracker to reveal your raffle prize!

 

Additionally, everyone is welcome to bid on exciting silent auction items including tickets to Cirque Du Soleil, dinner for two at Saxon + Parole, a Farm Stay in Bucks County, a year membership to Crunch Gym, a Year of Beer, and a number of other indulgent experiences.

All will celebrate an amazing FABnyc year by taking in the Manhattan Skyline from a luxurious Perch at the Penthouse of The Standard, East Village while enjoying everything from delicious cocktails, to savory treats, chocolate covered frozen bananas, and catchy music.

For those who have yet to purchase tickets, be aware that we only have a limited number of $45 tickets remaining!!!  So be sure to get tickets while you still can, and we’ll see you in the sky!

East Village Dance Project, LaMama Moves! 2012

(Photo By: Robert London)

~Written by R. MacKenzie – May 20, 2012~

My cousins and I used to call it “getting washing-machined.” That’s when you misjudged how the wave was going to break and couldn’t catch it or dive through in time. So you ended up getting smashed down into the hard sand, with salt water up your nose and sand in your bathing suit, at the mercy of the water’s ferocious strength…

That was just one of those recognizable moments in Martha Tornay’s concert performed by students of The East Village Dance Project. Soaked, set to the Talking Heads’ song “Same As It Ever Was,” was set on 9 children and featured in the East Village Dance Project’s annual concert of 10 dances ranging from classical pointe work to authentic jazz. The concert was presented by LaMama Moves! Dance Festival and GOH Productions on East 4th St on May 20th, 2012.

(Photo By: Robert London)

She had those kids looking like waves rolling in and out, side to side. Then suddenly they were a fountain, then a river, then somehow the little boy dove in and surfed right there in front of our eyes. Costumes included swimming goggles, bathing suits, and wonderful hoop tutus made of aquarium print shower curtains. This piece was really fun: The first time I saw it I laughed, the second I cried, the third, I laughed and cried.

This delicious program included a huge range of dancers in age (4-18), dance styles and skill levels, but the key to its sheer quality is the sure direction of Ms. Tornay. The dancers showed some excellent technique, and they have obviously been encouraged to make individual choices and contributions. Then they had been set up within a structure that leaves them the freedom to shine at all levels. Martha provides rocking and elegant musical choices, bright and fitting costumes, but most importantly, she gave the kids permission to have a lot of tun. The teen company developed a piece over eight months with completely original choreography. They explored different directions and made choices entirely their own to produce this work, Alienation Affect, which was accompanied by electric guitar played by a young man named Jack Lazar.

(Photo By: Robert London)

Trained with Mme. Gabriela Darvash, amongst others, Ms Tornay has taught and danced at Bates Festival for many years, but her crowning jewel is the amazing group of dancers she teaches year round in their lovely new home at #55 Ave C Studios. Her choreography is surprising, human, and entertaining, appropriate to the children’s skill levels and so charming! Lucas Rollings-Page, Victoria Roberts-Weirzbowski, and Kiva Dawson, as well as the Teen Company, all made dances, every one a little gem. Lucas’ musical choice was a lovely ballad by Bobby Womack with the refrain of “If you don’t want my love, If you don’t need my love,…Give it back to me.” The girls in his dance were delicate, gentle creatures, who I imagined barely discovering the tragedies and thrills of love. The girls in Ms. Dawson’s dance were skilled and sassy in the humorous jazz number Hot Honey Rag. Don Q-ish, with music by Leon Minkus, was the first mini-ballet on the program and a redux. this work featured Safouane Chestnut, our surfer from Soaked, as the prince, and the sweet and earnest Gianna Bernard as his partner.  The costumes and choreography were excellent, the dancers joyous (India Rogers has a radiant smile in both Don Q-ish and Bal-led), the variations charming, especially the gang of really little ballerinas with giant velvet flowers to offer, dance with, and jump over…

The second ballet Bal-led, to all tunes by Led Zeppelin, was a great original idea. After seeing it, I wondered why Martha isn’t already world famous and doing this season at the Joyce. The piece glides through several of your favorite classic Led Zeppelin songs with group variations and marvelous duets with Afinatou Thiam and Chloe London partnering Bailey Edwards and Lucas Rollings-Page (who each take rocking percussive solos). Bal-led incorporation of a love-seat, quartets, and, towards the end, a magnificent solo by Talia Vilaplana could take one’s breath away. Students in EVDP, from tiny to graduates, are variously stunning, graceful, elegant, self-possessed, and even, at times, funky. However, I’ve never seen a dancer who lives the dance in such a way that it is like a part of her skin like Talia does. This girl is destined to always be a stunning dancer, her technique, musicality, and emotional commitment all add up to be so very magnetic.

Many dancers in Martha’s group are really skilled, but Martha’s genius lies in the way that she can put together a choreography for children who are NOT YET accomplished dancers. She can make them look good and make their dance dynamic, exciting, and constructed in such a way that kids will be happy to perform with lots of gusto and confidence. I can say from experience that this always a challenge. Ms. Tornay has shown, year after year, that she is up to it and so much more. BRAVO!

 

The Story of WOW Cafe Theatre

This month FABnyc highlights Member of the Month, WOW Café Theatre. You can read WOW’s story here:

Once upon a time…

WOW started as an international women’s theatre festival in October of 1980. Over the course of eleven days, 36 shows from 8 countries were performed for hungry New York lesbians. Within 18 months the group had a permanent space at 330 e. 11th street, where they began the monster that is WOW today: a year-round festival of women’s and transgender peoples’ performance. In 1984 (or thereabouts), WOW moved to the 1400ft loft space that they inhabit today at 59-61 east 4th street. Those familiar with the downtown NYC theatre scene call the block of east 4th between 2nd ave and the Bowery “theater row,” and WOW is proud to have among its neighbors: New York Theatre Workshop, the Rod Rodgers Dance Company, La Mama E.T.C., and numerous other groups, which are collectively represented by Fourth Arts Block (FABnyc).

WOW Café Theater is a women’s theater collective in NYC’s East Village, which promotes the empowerment of women through the performing arts.

Historically, WOW has been a majority lesbian woman’s space. WOW welcomes the full participation of all women and transpeople in solidarity with women. WOW especially welcomes women and transpeople of color, and women and trans people who identify as lesbians, bisexual and queer. They provide a working theater space to members & the technical support to create and produce works, regardless of economic status.

They acknowledge the links between different kinds of oppressions and strive to be open to all sexualities and spiritualities, to be multilingual and intergenerational, and to challenge all oppressions including racism, classism, ableism, sexism, ageism, and sizeism. WOW’s weekly Tuesday meeting and collective governance structure provide a space for artists to share their ideas, facilitate the exchange of labor and knowledge, and realize their creative visions. (via www.wowcafe.org)

Be sure to stop by and check out WOW Café Theatre’s latest show, Abundance: A celebration of Resistance and Love, featuring Song, story, dance, questions, and lyrical magic – June 14-16 @ 8PM!