Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What you missed at the New York Theater Review fundraiser!

Caught the New York Theater Review Fundraiser last night, held at P.S.122. It was spectacular fun.

The New York Theater Review is published by one-time orange County journalist Brook Stowe. They have published buddy playwrights Gus Schulenburg and Adam Szymkowicz work and luminaries like Sheila Callaghan, Quiara Alegria Hudes, and Anne Washburn, et al. I recommend the publication highly. I actually have several copies because I bought two and then keep winning copies in raffles everytime I go to a NYTR event. Last night was no exception. I have a new copy autographed by Adam Szymkowicz, Brook Stowe, and Anne Washburn that I have promised to Eric Eberwein as a belated birthday gift.

The fundraiser was jam-packed with exciting entertainment. My favorites included the astonishingly gifted and exciting soundscape artist Reggie Watts. He is going to be doing a performance at this year's Under the Radar festival at The Public this winter called Disinformation and I am so there. I could listen to him for hours. He does a sort of free-flow storytelling, beat-boxing, fluid sound motion improvizations using electronic looping technologies and microphones. I hate performance art and this had me spellbound.

Also loved the performance by The Rising Fallen, a group of "punk-tinged neo-post-indie-sludge-sladge musical" genius-people. This is a theater troupe that pretends to be an astonishingly weird band and delivers monologues and kicking bizarre music as part of a faux concert. Reminded me heavily of the confounding Skinny Puppy concert a friend dragged me too circa 1990 in Austin, only funnier and less obviously manufactured. They had the brilliant idea to purposefully burn multiple slices of toast in a toaster propped up center stage to create a low-rent smoke machine. That is an idea that stays with you. Especially when, as Brook commented to me at the end of the evening, the entire audience is sure to go home smelling strongly of burnt toast. I am still not sure I have gotten the smell out of my jacket. And I like that.

There were also six short plays commissioned on the idea "what was Suzan-Lori Parks doing and thinking on days 0 and days 366 of the 365 Days/365 Plays project?" These were adorable and presented by exciting up and coming theater troops: Direct Arts, Blue Box Productions, The New York Neo-Futurists, Flux Theatre, The Shalimar, and Hoi Polloi. All or most of the companies are producing some of the 365 Days/365 Plays Project productions and were excited to do their own original take-offs. Most successful for me included Flux's awesome three-part God trinity (Cotton Wright, Tiffany Clementi, and Marnie Schulenburg) in The Alpha and the Suzan. They sang all their lines in knock-out three-part harmony (music by Isaiah Tannenbaum, I believe, and lyrics August Schulenburg). Lovely voices and pretty choreography from director Heidi Handlesman. Hoi Polloi's The Sound of Whales - A Songed Response to Suzan-Lori Parks" by Alec Duffy was also hysterically funny. They get the award for best costume design as well for their wacky rain/beach attire. And The New York Neo-Futurists really blew me away with Some Days, Days in May, Are Slightly Better Than Others (Day 182.5). This play was a delightful crazy safari ride of going-nowhere dialogue and stultifying stage stunts that somehow left me desperate for more. It was written by Rob Neill and featured Eevin Hartsough who played Shirl in my 2003(?) production of Cockfighters at Oberon Theater Ensemble. it was cool getting to catch up with her after the show.

Also, I accosted blogger Matt Freeman in the lobby and forced him and Adam Szymkowicz to pal around with me. Matt had the bad taste to be wearing the same plaid shirt as another fundraiser attendee and was mortified (fashion plate that he is) to be thought of as unoriginal. But he was gracious about it, explaining that it was really his girlfriend's fault for her uninspired shopping. I probably shouldn't talk smack about him since I told him my real age (ancient) and he is the sort to use ammunition like that, but he makes such a convenient target. ;-)

Planning to go see Jason Grote's 1001, Kristen Palmer's Departures, drag my unwilling ass to yet another cousin's goddamned wedding, and see Oberon Theater Ensemble's reading of my friend, LA-playwright Stephanie Walker's play in the next few weeks.

Also have exciting news about ways that people on both the East and West Coast can see a trilogy of full length plays by Johnna Adams in the near future. More info when I have been released from certain vows of silence.


Brook said...

Johnna -- Thanks so much for being there and for this nice write-up. In the end, it really was about the burnt toast. And the recurring inability of EVERYONE to get your name right. See ya soon.

bigglenn said...

if theses writters or fans saw early pink floyd and syd was playing lead guitar with or without his zippo lighter kids today would not listen to many/most of todays bands with syds attack come on...first these youngsters would have mind orgasems and then they would realize in these new songs where is the bridge ??? AS LED ZEP AND James brown shouted and these bands today dont know what a bridge is because todays songs are a short cut to fame for them they dont need a bridge is the thought well there wrong !!!!ROCK TUNES NEED A GOOD BRIDGE PAL...GO TO EXPOSE.ORG click on extra then neal smith interview as alice says great image man whers the song ???? WITH LOVE AND POWER glenn leslie

Freeman said...

How dare you! HOW!? DARE!? YOU!?

...I deserve your mockery.

Johnna Adams said...

But, your girlfriend doesn't. I thought she was genius at dressing you, for the record. Especially considering what she had to work with! ;-)

Freeman said...

Ok, ok, she doesn't dress me. Every day.