La MaMa Blogs: May 2017

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Dancing in the Street La MaMa Block Party

Thanks to everyone for attending the Dancing in the Street La MaMa Block Party with our new capital campaign announcement supported by New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Gale A. Brewer, Manhattan Borough President, New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs & the New York City Mayor's Office! It was a huge success with free performances and workshops, a bouncy castle, hula hoops, cotton candy, food carts, local restaurants, community organizations, children's activities, sidewalk chalking and dancing in the street. 

Click on the performers below to see when they're performing in the La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival and see more information about their companies!

Photos by Theo Coté & Carolina Restrepo

Carlina Rivera, Sarah Lederman, Frank Carucci, Gale Brewer, Mary Fulham (left to right)

Kathleen Hughes, Frank Carucci, Terri Richardson, Mary Fulham, & Melissa Mark-Viverito
(left to right)

Frank Carucci & Terri Richardson

Kathleen Hughes & Frank Carucci

Mary Fulham & Melissa Mark-Viverito

Mary Fulham, Frank Carucci, Mia Yoo

Frank Carucci, Kathleen Hughes, Terri Richardson, Mary Fulham, Mia Yoo, Melissa Mark-Viverito
(left to right)

Kathleen Hughes

Gale Brewer

Mary Fulham, Brad Hoylman, Mia Yoo

Reggie 'Regg Roc' Gray & The D.R.E.A.M. Ring

Pua Ali'i 'Ilima o Nuioka

Pua Ali'i 'Ilima o Nuioka

Andres Lopez-Alicea Face Painting

The Rude Mechanical Orchestra

La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival
May 18 - June 4, 2017
More Info & Tickets:

Thursday, May 18, 2017

6 Questions: Amy Surratt

Amy Surratt’s FIRST AND LAST (show) comes to The Club @ La MaMa on June 9th.  Amy took time out from rehearsals to answer our 6 Questions about the show, Appalachia and what working at La MaMa means to her.  You can read her answers below and get tickets to the show HERE.

1. Where did the idea for Amy Surratt’s FIRST AND LAST (show) come from?

I was in a community beauty pageant when I was a small child, and SPOILER ALERT: I didn't win. It was my first theatrical experience paired with the first time I really LOST IT as a child! I threw a fit -- which was a longstanding family joke – and an impetus for investigation. As I began this project, I started making connections to the great natural beauty and horror that lives side-by-side in Southern Appalachia. A lot of the problems of my home region are based on a long history of exploitation – and I just expanded the real pageant memory as a framework, a way into the idea of representation and the repercussions of exploitation in Appalachia.

At the same time that I was thinking about my own personal history and learning more about the distinct history of Southern Appalachia, Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance was topping the New York Times bestseller lists of 2016. It was recommended to me by many educated, thoughtful, ostensibly otherwise progressive people. My friends were reading it and telling me that they “finally understood” my home. I thought, that’s funny, cause I lived there 25 years and I am STILL working it out! Not to mention, the media ate it up as a way to understand “Trump voters” during the election. I mean that book was everywhere, and it’s finally starting to receive a lot of criticism for its problematic representations of Appalachian culture and people. Almost too little, too late for me. I wouldn’t be surprised if Vance is using his personal “memoir” on a trajectory towards a political career as a “conservative.” It’s dull as hell to read, but it basically boils down to a familiar bootstraps narrative. Poor white Americans in Appalachia and the Rust Belt are lazy, stupid, backwards addicts with a propensity towards violence – and Vance at 30 years old is an expert! He got out! He worked hard! Learn from him, America! Poverty is the fault of the impoverished. They choose it! They ignore opportunity! This narrative justifies the abuse of the poor and the continued widening of the wealth gap because it argues that some people deserve to be stuck in poverty

What’s funny is that we are the same age, and have some similarities in our family dynamics and traumas– but Vance is either vastly ignorant of the history of the culture he was raised in, is blind to how his narrative is grossly simplistic and opportunist, or simply has no compassion or perspective. I suspect it’s a bit of all three. That’s me being kind.

The phrase “reality tv” calls to mind a more nefarious figure these days, but I began this piece thinking about Honey Boo Boo. Who will she be at 30? American media has a grotesque love/hate relationship with poverty and the stories (some camp, some romantic) they’ve built around it. I worry about that kid, and I found her celebrity to be very upsetting and often very cruel.

And, of course, I have my own Unfinished Business with Home – both America and Southern Appalachia.

So, prepare yourself, folks! There’s a lot to unpack.

2. How much of the ‘Amy Surratt’ character is Amy Surratt?

I’ve been thinking of the entire work as an elaborate and layered investigation of identity—a pageant of all the ways my own experience of the place and the people around me from my childhood are and have been represented and misrepresented in the media: from news segments covering poverty in America to television/Hollywood tropes and how the people of this place have been misrepresented by their politicians and corporate America… to the point that a lot of people have accepted the narrative as their own identity.

It’s probably best to leave you with a Hazel Dickens tune. 
Check out: “It’s Hard To Tell The Singer From The Song” 

3. What’s the biggest misconception about Appalachia?

There are many to choose from, but I think the one that is most important to our current situation is the very damaging narrative in mainstream America that rural America and Americana = whiteness, heterosexuality, political conservatism. A lot of people within and without Appalachia see the place as an origin point for this narrative. The place is often reduced to classist stereotypes.

Historically and contemporarily speaking, there’s a lot to learn and to study about the diversity of people, traditions, and cultures of Appalachia. I’ve really had a lot of my own notions challenged. And I think there are values that I learned from having been born in Southern Appalachia that are threatening to white supremacist capitalist America … which doesn’t fit the typical narrative you often hear about the place.

Appalachia is a complex, nuanced, and resilient region of America – it doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and it never has.

4. Who inspires you?

bell hooks, Wendell Berry, Dorothy Allison, Dolly Parton my grandmothers, my mother, the strong women who keep families all over Appalachia going, even in the face of hardship and trauma … and to all the outlaws, LGBTQ folk, anti-capitalist and progressive members of the rural resistance out there who are standing together and fighting the good fight against the Trump administration and white supremacist “Alt-Right” -- I SEE YOU! – you are needed, and you inspire me!

5. What was the last good book you read?

Skin by Dorothy Allison was a big influence on me as a person, as was Belonging: A Culture of Place by bell hooks.

But unrelated to the show, I was also pretty excited by House of Leaves By Mark L Danielewski and I am looking forward to re-reading it this summer.

6. What does working at La MaMa mean to you?

La MaMa is one of the few remaining spaces in New York City to take an artistic risk, and to create experimental work as an emerging artist. It’s incredible. And in many ways it’s THE nexus for downtown theatre and original performance art. I am very privileged to be a part of this community, and learn something every day from the influx of theatre makers through these spaces. It’s a home for so many of us.


La MaMa presents

Amy Surratt’s 


Written and Performed by Amy R. Surratt
Created in collaboration with Kristen Holfeuer and Tosha Rachelle Taylor
Scenic Design by Greg Laffey | Costume Design by Dusty Childers (aka Dust Tea Shoulders) | Lighting Design by Cecilia Durbin
Video Projection and Media Design by s.o. O’Brien and Erin Lemkey

June 9 - 18, 2017
Friday and Saturday at 9:30pm; Sunday at 6pm

The Club @ La MaMa
74A East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $20 Adult Tickets; $15 Student/Seniors - ten $10 tickets available for every performance, in advance only, as part of La MaMa's 10 @ $10 ticketing initiative. 

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Preview Video: MISS JULIA

In rural Colombia on Midsummer Eve, Miss Julia and her servant Juan have a forbidden encounter. As Juan tries to rise from his servile life, Miss Julia tries to escape the bonds of her meaningless upper-class existence.The resulting power play of love, lust and class struggle becomes a dangerous battle that veers violently out of control. This bilingual production, performed in English and Spanish, is a clash of cultures, a dance of death combining combining powerful physicality, naturalistic text and live music making Strindberg’s text as relevant today as it was 100 years ago.


La MaMa presents

Miss Julia

by Vueltas Bravas Productions
by August Strindberg, Adapted by J. Ed Araiza
Directed by Lorenzo Montanini 

June 8, 2017 - June 25, 2017
Thursday to Saturday at 7:30PM; Sunday at 2PM

First Floor Theatre
74A E 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $25 Adult, $20 Students/Seniors - ten tickets priced at $10 each available for every performance, advance sales only - first come first served as part of La MaMa's 10 @ $10 ticketing initiative 

For Tickets & Info: CLICK HERE

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Preview Video: 2017 La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival

Video by Theo Cote

Now in its 12th season, La MaMa Moves! dance festival is taking place in all La MaMa venues. This wide range of dance programming supports La MaMa’s commitment to presenting diverse performance styles that challenge audience’s perception of dance and reflects La MaMa’s longstanding mission to present performance that transcends politics and unifies cultures. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Diane Lane Visits La MaMa

Academy Award Nominee Diane Lane came back to La MaMa to film an interview with Anthony Mason for CBS This Morning.  Diane began her career here at La MaMa at the age of six.

Diane Lane in the La MaMa Archive

Archive Director Ozzie Rodriguez and Diane Lane

Diane Lane with Artistic Director Mia Yoo

Archive Director Ozzie Rodriguez and Diane Lane

All Photos by Theo Cote

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Letter from Nicky Paraiso, La MaMa Moves! Curator

Welcome to La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival, now in its twelfth season!

In these perilous, challenging and unpredictable times in our country and in the world, we can look to the performing arts for some clues as to how we might respond and continue to live our lives with vigilance, and hopefully a modicum of wisdom, to keep asking even more vital and bold questions. I believe this to be one of the essential missions of art and art-making, to hold a mirror up to the world and its ever-present and changing dilemmas. 
We celebrate La MaMa’s 55th Season with an exuberant Block Party on Saturday May 20th and also mark the 12th year of La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival (May 18-June 4, 2017) with a series of dance directives which hopefully engage dancemakers and dance audiences to respond and make their own dances. Within this season’s festival, we witness different generations of choreographic artists dealing with the actual day-to-day contemporary, political, social, and ecological challenges that we face in our world. 
We continue our collaboration with international companies and include the vibrant, kinetic, and viscerally powerful work of locally-based contemporary choreographers, including those who originally arrived here from international locales, e.g., Brazil, Cambodia, India, Korea, the Philippines, Poland, UK, Venezuela, as well as Caribbean cultures. As in previous seasons, we invite you, the audience, to once again share and experience with us the visionary talent, diversity, physical virtuosity, and deep, compelling concerns of all the artists participating in La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival 2017.

Much love to all, 

Nicky Paraiso, La MaMa Moves! Curator


La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival
May 18 - June 4, 2017
More info:

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Video Preview: Karen Finley's The Expanded Unicorn Gratitude Mystery

The Expanded Unicorn Gratitude Mystery from La MaMa on Vimeo.

Acclaimed artist Karen Finley came to nation-wide attention when she and three other artists, who came to be known as the NEA-4, had their National Endowment for the Arts grants rescinded in 1990 which lead to a years-long court battle.  

Finley brings an expanded version of her most recent show to The Club at La MaMa for six performances. The Expanded Unicorn Gratitude Mystery explores the recent heightened US political presidential landscape that takes on citizenship, gender disparity and abuse of power.  

La MaMa presents


Written and performed by Karen Finley

May 5, 2017 - May 14, 2017
Friday and Saturday at 9:30PM; Sunday at 6PM

The Club @ La MaMa 
74A East 4th Street
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $25 Adults; $20 Students/Seniors

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

Monday, May 1, 2017

William M. Hoffman (1939 - 2017)

We are sad to learn of the passing of playwright William M. Hoffman.  Bill's long association with La MaMa dates from the 1960s to as recently as February 2017 when he moderated the Coffeehouse Chronicles for Robert Patrick.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time. has written about Bill's passing, you may read it: HERE