La MaMa Blogs: November 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

REFEST at CultureHub

Refest is CULTUREHUB's 3-day art and technology festival that celebrates the convergence of new and old, digital and analog, near and far. The artists featured in Refest are those who are breaking open possibilities through their practice. Creators working across a broad range of technologically informed media will gather at CultureHub in New York City to share video, performance, music, and more. Refest invites artists to share how they are reforming, rebuilding, reiterating, and renewing ideas.

Here is the full weekend schedule:


5 PM Exhibition Opening / Featuring works from Abelardo Gil-Fournier, Jane Tingley and Michael Seta, RATS Theatre, Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint, Jesper Norda, Jody Zellen, Karen Niemczyk, Matthew Mazzota, EcoArtTech, Robert Spahr, Namwoo Bae

6 PM Long Table co-curated by CultureHub and Tom Tenny of Re/Mixed Festival NYC featuring remix scholar Eduardo Navas, musician Adriano Clemente, RE/Mixed NYC founder Tom Tenney, performing artist David Commander and more TBA!

8 PM In Flight by David Commander / Theatre Performance

8:30 PM LightPUSHer with Adriano Clemente / Musical Performance

9 PM Kick-Off Party


12 PM The Moment by ss-io / Generative audiovisual installation

1 PM Maryam: A Mobile Drama from RATS / Interactive Performance

2 PM foci + loci / Installation

3 PM Indeterminate Hikes+ with Leila Nadir & Cary Peppermint / Interactive Experience

6 PM Artist Talk with Jesper Norda

7 PM Artist Talk with Matthew Mazzota

8 PM Reception

9 PM Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid with Sound Impact / Performing Seoul Counterpoint *This event will be Livestreamed


11 AM CoLab with Federico Restrepo / Children's Workshop

1 PM Le Blanc et Le Noir, CoLab presentation / Interactive game

5 PM Memory Palace with Christopher Cerrone


For info and tickets: CLICK HERE

Lisa Mayo

Lisa Mayo in Spiderwoman Theater's I'LL BE RIGHT BACK, 1984.  
Photo by Gerry Vezzuso.

It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of Lisa Mayo of Spiderwoman Theater on Sunday, November 24, 2013.  Lisa is pictured above in Spiderwoman Theater's I'll Be Right Back in April of 1984.  

Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time.

Thankful @ La MaMa

La MaMa is so thankful for everyone who came out for our DIY Season Gala last Thursday to help us celebrate our DIY season and honor Patsy Tarr and Michael Feingold. Mike Albo and Marga Gomez were terrific hosts and we were wowed by the talents of Tom Gold, Joan Morris, Jonah Bokaer, Joyce Castle and Sting (yes, STING!).

We hope everyone had enjoyed themselves and if you didn't get to come, please join us for our next one.

The online auction is still going on via CharityBuzz until Wednesday, December 4th. CLICK HERE to bid!

And we wish everyone a Very Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Opening The Week: The Republic, or My Dinner with Socrates

The La MaMa Puppet Series may have just concluded, but there are still more puppets inhabiting the La MaMa First Floor Theatre.  This week, Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre's  The Republic, or My Dinner with Socrates begins performances.  With a cast of 6 actors, 50 marionettes and dozens of shadow puppets, The Rupublic asks: Is democracy not the ideal form of government?  Was Socrates executed by a vigilant Athenian "department of homeland security?  The play may or may not answer these questions, but will at least hope to open a dialogue in a true Socratic method.

La MaMa presents
Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre's
The Republic, or My Dinner with Socrates

Written and Directed by Vít Hořejš

November 29 – December 15, 2013

Tickets: $18 Adults; $13 Students/Seniors; A limited number of $10 tickets are available as part La MaMa's 10 @ $10 ticketing initiative, through which ten tickets are available for every performance for only $10: these tickets must be purchased in advance.

For tickets and information: Click Here

Friday, November 22, 2013

Felt It Again II @ La Galleria


Dr. Selçuk Gürısık has researched traditional Anatolian felt-making for 28 years. After a long absence, he is back on the New York art scene with a dazzling new exhibition. The show invokes the collective, progressive spirit of the felt-making community. Felt makers’ multimedia techniques merge traditional and contemporary concepts, expressing aspects of post-postmodernism. Adopting a theme of “today creates tomorrow,” this exhibit puts on display the felt-makers’ ultimate ambitions for their art.

The exhibition will also commemorate the memory of Ellen Stewart, the founder and director of the avant-garde theater company La MaMa, and Huseyin Katircioglu, a Turkish Performance artist and founder of Assos Performance Arts Festival. Both had a profound influence over Gurisik’s work and the exhibition simultaneously serves as an homage to the indispensible body of theaterical work that came out of their collaboration together in international theater festivals in Italy, Turkey and the US.

La MaMa Galleria
6 East 1st Street
(Between Broadway & 2nd Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Gallery Hours: Wed-Sun 1-7:30pm

Free Admission

For more info: Click Here

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

La MaMa DYI Season Gala Tomorrow!

The La MaMa DIY Season Gala will happen at The Ellen Stewart Theatre tomorrow, Thursday, November 21st at 6:30pm. The evening will honor Michael Feingold and Patsy Tarr and will be hosted by Marga Gomez and Mike Albo.

You can support La MaMa in several ways:
  • Bid on some of the fabulous auction items: Click Here
  • Buy a raffle ticket and be entered to win some terrific East Village-y prizes: Click Here

...And THANK YOU for your continued support!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Critics Are Blown Away by THE GOD PROJEKT

"one of the most startlingly intense shows I've seen" 
- Helen Shaw, Time Out New York

"pure unadulterated theater magic" 
- Martin Denton, New York Theater Now

La MaMa Puppet Series presents


Created by Lone Wolf Tribe
Conceived by Kevin Augustine
Written & Directed by Kevin Augustine and Edward Einhorn
In association with Untitled Theater Company #61

November 14 – November 24, 2013

Tickets are $18 for Adults; $13 for students and seniors.
A limited number of $10 tickets are available as part of La MaMa's 10 @ $10 initiative.

For Tickets and Info: Click Here

Monday, November 18, 2013

La MaMa Puppet Series Continues: DORME

Italian company, La Capra Ballerina brings their show, DORME, to the First Floor Theatre at La MaMa.

Conceived and performed by Laura Bartolomei, DORME tells the story of a who girl goes to sleep and embarks on a journey within her dreams and nightmares: flying among fish with human faces; playing with light and shadow; the death of her cat; falling into water and meeting her own death. The non-linear narrative is composed as a dance, with a musical score by Stefano Zazzera and the wrist puppet technique developed by the Russian master, Vladimir Zakharov.

La MaMa Puppet Series presents 
La Capra Ballerina's 
Conceived and Performed by Laura Bartolomei 

November 21 – November 24, 2013
4 Performances Only!

Tickets: $18 Adults; $13 Students/Seniors; a limited number of $10 tickets are available, in advance only, as part of La MaMa's 10 @ $10 ticketing initiative.

For Tickets and Info: Click Here

Friday, November 15, 2013

Artist Interview: Kevin Augustine

The God Projekt

November 14th – November 24th | The Club at La MaMa | La MaMa Puppet Series 2013

Photo by Emily Boland | Interview by Sam Alper

Kevin Augustine on creation myths, Beckett and puppeteering with your feet.

What were some of the inspirations for The God Projekt?

It was inspired by a previous show of Lone Wolf Tribe, my company, Bride, which we did in 2008. That was a really big show, a large cast and five musicians onstage. We wanted to tour that piece but it was too large, given the economic climate. So I wanted - The characters and the content, I really wanted to explore further, so I wanted to make a minimal version of that show, based on that show. What I like to do is ask big questions, explore big ideas. So I wanted to look at the concept of creator. Who's the big creator? It's God. And what's the status of the creation? And just looking at the world and the headlines and saying "something's maybe not quite working. Was it always this way? What preceded historically judeo-christian values and monotheism." And then what started to develop was this backstory of god, this secret history that involved a love story. Because in terms of monotheism, he's alone. He's the only one. But I started to wonder, does he ever get lonely? Was there ever anyone else? And historically what preceded monotheism was polytheism. There were many gods. And they weren't just male, they were female, there was the Queen of Heaven. If you dig deep enough you can see, biblically, there was a union, there was a partnership between Yahweh and the Goddess, and so I was interested in that. What happened?  What was that break up like? 

In a way you locate a problem in monotheism - a problem of unity. Because we actually live interpersonally.

Ideally. But that's the thing. What are the consequences of a certain paradigm, where it's male-centered and it's patriarchal and there's a pecking order? There are consequences. I'm interested in dominator models versus partnership. Which feeds into my work as a puppeteer as well, because most folks, in terms of talking about puppetry, they always say manipulate. "Manipulate the puppet." And that to me presupposes a hierarchy. Versus a partnership - that's a dance. There's give and take. And that's how I see interaction with puppets; they're partners.

What's the most challenging aspect of making The God Projekt?

The most challenging aspect has become the amount of technical pieces that there are. In writing I didn't see - I'd have other people read it and give feedback and they'd say "wow this is really big" and I would say "what? No come on. It's just…" Like for instance, writing something like, 'a flower grows and the puppet smiles.' It's just a few words. But to make that happen technically, it's motors and… It branched out beyond the pure solo show that I initially imagined. So technical stuff... as well as physical stuff. Just staying in shape in order to physically do what needs to be done. Puppeteering with my feet and some of that. 

Your costume - What you wear for the show is very involved. What led you to present the God character that way?

Well, there are so many tragedies, again and again. And people are always asking, this mantra is like, "where's God? Where is he? Is he here?" And so I started to think, we have someone who's supposed to be in total control and maybe they're not. Why wouldn't they be? The powers are ebbing, he's older now, he's got arthritis, his memory is fading. Somebody who had great power but they're in decline. So I just thought, it's an old man, there's age and there's decrepitude. And I wanted to explore that tension, when you have someone who can't quite get the job done, but is still expected to be the number one problem solver. 

You've mentioned Krapp's Last Tape -

Yeah. That is always an inspiration, sure. Again the solo aspect and the whole thing about memory. One man's endeavor, late at night, alone, isolated, very minimal. Going through his own personal minimal odyssey to discover his past and his present and where he's going from here. Yeah that was always a jumping off point for me.

You're a part of the "Puppet Series." Is there any way you'd like to speak to that? to puppetry in general?

I don't get to see other stuff as much as I like. The work that I do takes too much time, all my time. So I can't always speak validly about 'the puppet scene.' I see what I do, or strive to do, as theatre. I don't see it exclusively as puppets. There's always that hurdle, describing what I do or what most puppet people do. When you say puppets, you don't know what people are going to assume. But the biggest challenge that I see personally… It's a good and a bad that puppetry in this city and this country is moving into the mainstream, or at least getting acknowledged in broader venues. The downside of that is the same puppeteers that I would hire to be in my shows, independent low budget stuff, are now getting used to bigger paychecks. That's tricky. 

I brought up Krapp's Last Tape. Are there other artists or works that you've been thinking about as you work on The God Projekt?

Well the things that mostly inspire me are music and history, anthropology. Stories that are kind of beneath the headlines. The stories that, if you do a little digging and research, it's like "oh I didn't know that." The whole initial belief of humans, in terms of divinity, was that it was first considered female. They worshipped the creative process, the magic of a woman being able to give birth and, understandably early on, they didn't understand the sex connection. That the man had anything to do with that process. So things like that. Just - how we got started. And music a lot, and drawing. I draw a lot.

What's the experience of working at La MaMa like? Does it feel different from working at other places?

(laughs) That's definitely a very loaded question.

It feels very loaded, I know, coming from, like, La MaMa -

And sitting in La MaMa. Yeah.

But anything that makes this place unique. Good or bad.

Well it's always been a dream of mine to perform at La MaMa. To get the chance to be part of the tradition of the work that's been presented here. It's different in that when you say "I'm performing at La MaMa" people say, "Oh, ok, yeah" and that cache is really nice. And I imagine if the show goes on, we'll always have this moment in time, to say this is where it originated. You know, Downtown, New York. Because the thing that's different for me is that being here reminds me of when I got started in the City. There have been so many changes. And it feels like La MaMa is still - It's the place it has been, but it's moving forward. You can count on it for what it is and what it represents and the kind of work it supports. So I'm glad to fit in here. It feels good.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Coming Soon: Lee Breuer's La Divina Caricatura

La MaMa ETC and St. Ann’s Warehouse, and producers piece by piece productions, Mabou Mines and Dovetail Productions—all ardent and longtime supporters of Lee Breuer, the “bad boy of avant-garde theater” (Village Voice)—unite for Breuer’s epic magnum opus La Divina Caricatura. The mixed-media pop-opera completes Breuer’s Animations series and draws on material that stretches all the way back to Breuer’s doo-wop opera Sister Suzie Cinema, first conceived as a poem in 1975. 

La MaMa and St. Ann’s Warehouse present 
A Bunraku Puppet Pop-Opera | Part 1: The Shaggy Dog 

December 6 – December 22, 2012  

La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre 
66 E 4th Street  
New York, NY 10003 

Produced by piece by piece productions, Mabou Mines, and Dovetail Productions 
Music by Lincoln Schleifer 
Additional Music by Bob Telson 
Puppetry by Jessica Scott 
Video by Eamonn Farrell Rose 

Tickets: $40 Adults; $30 Students/Seniors; A limited number of $10 tickets available for every performance as part of La MaMa's 10 @ $10 ticket initiative - but they are selling quickly!

For Tickets and Info: Click Here

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

PUPPET-SLAM artist interview: Ed Valentine

La MaMa Puppet Slam 2013

November 15, 2013 @ 7pm
First Floor Theatre
Curator: Jane Catherine Shaw

A one-night only puppetry-slam, featuring contemporary short-form puppet and object theatre. These super short works make their point fast and furious, and bring artists and audiences together for an evening of puppetry mash up fun.


We asked La MaMa Puppet Slam participant Ed Valentine to take on The Proust Questionnaire, the basis for Inside the Actors Studio's '10 questions.' 

Call this Inside the Puppet Studio -or- The Puppet Questionnaire.

What is your favorite virtue?
The need to be loved; more precisely, the need to be caressed and spoiled much more than the need to be admired.
            - Proust

Industry: Lose no Time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary Actions.”  
            - Ben Franklin

Hello, internet!  I’m talking to you about “Unnecessary Actions. Here is a great link to what the great man thought were the most important things in life.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Not to be able to create new work any more.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
To be creative, and to be able to share one’s work with the people I love.

Where would you like to live?
A country where certain things that I should like would come true as though by magic, and where tenderness would always be reciprocated.”
            - Proust

Ooh, I like Proust’s answer.  Really, am I supposed to compare my answers to Proust?  I think I’m hungry for a Madeline.  Ok, anyway – I love living where I’m living already: overlooking a cathedral and a garden, able to see three boroughs (and New Jersey) and the sky, and some occasional hawks. 

To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
To a life deprived of the works of genius.”
            - Proust

sure what Proust is saying there. But I feel the occasional pang of despair, and the pull to waste time. 

Who are your favorite composers?
Bach, Copland, Irving Berlin (whose catalog I’ve incorporated into a new stop-motion Christmas special), Gershwin.

Who are your favorite painters?
Seurat.  Da Vinci was pretty great.  I’m more of a sculpture guy…

What are you favorite names?
Hawaiian royalty King Kamehameha and Queen Lilioukalani.  Super fun to say.

What is the natural talent you’d most like to be gifted with?
Does flight count as a natural talent?  No, I guess, unless you’re a bird.  OK: I’d love to be gifted with the ability to relax more easily. To turn off my brain for a bit.

What is the quality you most admire in a man?
Politeness, interest in others.

What is the quality you most admire in a woman?
Same, I would say.

What is your favorite occupation?
Making puppets and sculptures, reading. Singing, too, when the opportunity arises.

Who would you have liked to be?
Cliché, I suppose, but I would have loved to be an astronaut.  (After seeing Gravity I don’t think I ever want to be, but it would’ve been nice to see space from space, you know?)

Your most marked characteristic?
“A craving to be loved, or, to be more precise, to be caressed and spoiled rather than to be admired.”
- Proust

Whoa! That’s personal.  Wow, Proust.  Man.  Pass.

What do you most value in your friends?

What is your principle defect?
“Lack of understanding; weakness of will.”
            - Proust

Jeez! Was Proust counting on the internet and having everything out there?  I think not. Pass again.

What would you like to be?
Someone with something to say, something to offer – a person to whom others come for advice and support.

Who are your favorite prose writers?
Right now, Alice Walker, Lewis Carroll, Homer (not Simpson – reading The Iliad in its entirety.) Oh, and Ray Bradbury.  How did I make it so far in life without ever reading Bradbury?  The Martian Chronicles is gorgeous.

Who are your favorite poets?
Shakespeare, E.E. Cummings, Gwendolyn Brooks.

Who are your favorite heroes in fiction?
Tyler Durden, Fight Club. (And the first rule of Fight Club is… well, you know.)

Who are your heroes in real life?
Henson, Wayne White (“Beauty is Embarrassing”).

Who are your favorite heroines in fiction?
Alice of Alice in Wonderland fame.  Oh, and Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) in Alien & Aliens, which I just watched last night. Interstellar badass.

Who are your favorite heroines of history?
Queen Elizabeth I. Elizabethan Badass.

Who are your favorite heroines in real life?
“A woman of genius leading an ordinary life.”
            - Proust

Proust copped out on that answer. Oh, Proust!  Writer mentor and friend, Tina Howe.  Suzen-Lori Parks. Gertrude Stein.

What is it you most dislike?
“My own worst qualities.”
            - Proust

My own inaction, and wasting time.

What historical figures do you most despise?
Vlad the Impaler! Yikes. What a baddie.  

What natural gift would you most like to possess?
“Will power and irresistible charm.”
            - Proust

I’ll go with Proust’s answer here – willpower and irresistible charm.

How would you like to die?
Peacefully, at a time when I’m ready to go, surrounded by loved ones.

What is your present state of mind?
Happiness at feeling creativity surging back, ready to take on the future!

What is your motto?
 “No fear in action” is my motto for 2013.  Thanks for reading my answers.  And thank you, Proust. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Race & the Colonial Impulse: Queer Performance Practices

The Helix Queer Performance Network presents
Race & the Colonial Impulse: 
Queer Performance Practices
A Long Table Conversation

Performance artists M. Lamar and Dan Fishback host a Long Table conversation reflecting on the contributions of people of color (POC) in various queer performance communities, and examining the presentation of those performance practices. This discussion will explore ways in which the colonial impulse may exist in queer artists and presenters alike. From the appropriation of queer POC by white queer culture, to racially exclusive booking practices, to why queer people of color are exploited for artistic innovation but unrewarded within predominantly white institutions, this discussion will also explore how POC are empowering themselves outside of these institutions. Whose legacies are whose to claim in terms of appropriation or influence? How can arts institutions better support queer artists of color? How can NYC’s queer arts landscape become more integrated while maintaining the integrity of safe POC space and avoiding easy traps of tokenization and orientalization?

Conceived by performance artist Lois Weaver, The Long Table format experiments with participation and public engagement by re-appropriating a dinner table atmosphere as a public forum, and encouraging informal conversations on serious topics. It is literally a very long table set up with chairs, where anyone and everyone is welcome to come to the table, ask questions, make statements, leave comments, or simply sit, listen and watch.

Joining the conversation will be Susana Cook, Arthur Aviles, Juliana Huxtable, Kia LaBeija, V.S. Tobar, Erica Cardwell, and more…

The Helix Queer Performance Network presents
Race & the Colonial Impulse: 

Queer Performance Practices

A Long Table Conversation 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 
7 – 9pm

20 Cooper Square, 4th Floor, NYC
FREE admission

RSVP via Facebook

La MaMa Puppet Series: Week 2

The La MaMa Puppet Series, curated by Denise Greber, continues this week with THE GOD PROJEKT, ECHO IN CAMERA and LA MAMA PUPPET SLAM, as well as Kids programming: GOLDILOCKS & THE THREE BEARS, THE THREE LITTLE PIGS and SQUIRREL STOLE MY UNDERPANTS!


Created by Lone Wolf Tribe, conceived by Kevin Augustine, written & directed by Kevin Augustine and Edward Einhorn, in association with Untitled Theater Company #61.

The God Projekt is an interdisciplinary, minimalist extravaganza on religious and secular morality that investigates the historical legacy of monotheism. God (played by Augustine in a full-body “old age” silicone prosthetic) joins a cast of highly realistic, hand-carved puppets inspired by 18th century wax anatomical figures and Old Testament animals and characters to deliver a dynamic interpretation of a deep, contradictory, and ambiguous Almighty.

November 14-24, 2013

The Club @ La MaMa

Tickets: $18 Adults; $13 Students/Seniors; A limited number of $10 tickets are available, in advance, as part of La MaMa's 10 @ $10 initiative!

For tickets and info: Click Here



Conceived, designed and directed by Roman Paska

Echo in Camera, a co-production of Dead Puppet, the Schauspielhaus Wien and the Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg, explores the relationships between hearing, understanding and identity in a “little mental drama” that recasts the Orpheus legend as an interior journey, tracing the descent of a divided puppet protagonist through a netherworld of his own imagination to retrieve a missing other.

Through November 17th, 2013 - Final 4 Performances!

Ellen Stewart Theatre

Tickets: $25 Adults; $20 Students/Seniors; A limited number of $10 tickets are available, in advance, as part of La MaMa's 10 @ $10 initiative!

For tickets and info: Click Here

Curated by Jane Catherine Shaw, this is a one-night only puppet slam featuring contemporary short-form puppet and object theatre. These super short works make their point fast and furious, and bring artists and audiences together for an evening of puppetry mash up fun.

November 15 , 2013 at 7pm

La MaMa First Floor Theatre 

Tickets: SOLD OUT 

For More info: Click Here


Puppet Series Children's Programming!

WonderSpark Puppets / Performed by Chad Williams
Goldilocks is a naughty little girl who does anything she wants – but what will happen when she breaks into the Three Bears’ house? Lots of laughter and sing-a-longs! The well-known story about one girl, three bears, finding friends and learning responsibility.

La MaMa First Floor Theatre

Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 11am


WonderSpark Puppets / Performed by Chad Williams
Three Little Pigs build their houses of hay, sticks and bricks – but will they withstand the Big Bad Wolf? The classic tale retold with hilarious puppet pigs and a silly wolf – with an emphasis on ‘being prepared’.

La MaMa First Floor Theatre

Sunday, November 17, 2013 at 11am


Created & performed by Bonnie Duncan
Music by Brendan Burns & Tony Leva 
Directed by Dan Milstein

A poignantly silly adventure tale for families / Ages 5 & up

Sylvie is sent to the backyard to hang up the laundry. The moment her back is turned, a mischievous squirrel steals her favorite piece of clothing and runs off. When Sylvie gives chase, an entire world emerges from her laundry basket, and curious characters show her the way through mysterious lands. Will our lonely heroine rescue her underpants and discover the magic within herself? Join us on this adventure to find out!

La MaMa First Floor Theatre

Saturday, November 16 and Sunday November 17, 2013 at 2:30pm