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River to River Fest 2012: Downtown NYC and the Arts

river to river seaportSince 2002, the River To River Festival has been “an essential component of Lower Manhattan’s vital and vibrant cultural life“, says the festival's website. June 17 to July 15 2012, the River To River Festival returns to New York with its unique combination of artists and environmentalism. The festival is city wide and covers a wide range of activities including art exhibitions, plays, concerts, walking tours, and embraces both established artists, and young newcomers showing off their talents. Best of all, every event is free!

On June 20 at Rockefeller Park, the Philip Glass Ensemble will be performing a free concert to celebrate Glass’ 75th birthday. Founded in 1968, The Philip Glass Ensemble was a group Glass formed as an outlet for his more experimental musical endeavors. The concert will open with a performance by youth ensemble Face the Music.

Read more: River to River Fest 2012:...

Underground Zero Festival 2012

A Brief History of Avant Garde Theater in NYC   By Arnold Aronson with special guest Judith MalinaThe 2012 Underground Zero Festival will be held June 29-July 29 2012 at The Living Theatre (21 Clinton Street), Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center (107 Suffolk St # 312) in Manhattan as well as JACK (505 1/2 Waverly Ave, Brooklyn) and Scapegrace (20 Wyckoff Avenue, Brooklyn) in Brooklyn.

The presenters at the festival will be various independent artists in theater, dance, multimedia and installation who have established the undergroundzero unit in order to improve conditions in NYC and to channel an artist-driven and focused event with the incorporation of artistic and social themes.

Read more: Underground Zero Festival 2012

Horse Trade Theater Group Presents Frigid Hangovers 2012

stripper lesbians

From March 5-10, Horse Trade Theater Group will run its third annual FRIGID Hangovers at The Kraine Theater (85 East 4th Street between 2nd Av. and Bowery).

The FRIGID New York Festival was founded by Horse Trade and EXIT Theatre in 2007. Since founding The San Francisco Fringe Festival - the 2nd oldest fringe in the United States - nearly 17 years ago, EXIT has learned a thing or two about festival running. They introduced Horse Trade to the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals (CAFF) in mid-2006.

Besides feedback from dozens of thrilled CAFF participants and artists, Horse Trade was drawn to its main principle: “…to provide all artists, emerging and established, with the opportunity to produce their play no matter the content, form or style and to make the event as affordable and accessible as possible for the members of the community,”

Horse Trade signed on to the tradition and chill out the New York independent theatre scene’s ideas of what a theatre festival can be.

Some of the performances include the following:

  • Fear Factor
  • Canine Edition
  • Little Lady
  • The Terrible Manpain of Umberto MacDougal
  • The Rope in Your Hands
  • Missed Connections
  • Coosje
  • Rabbit Island
  • The Traveling Musicians
  • LOL: The End
  • Daughters of Lot

Stripper Lesbians
Hangover: Mon 3/5 @ 7 pm
Remaining Festival Performance @ The Red Room (85 East 4th Street)
Sat 3/3 @ 3:30 pm 

Evan, a woman's studies major, is writing a killer senior thesis-- by becoming a stripper at her favorite strip club. In between her current girlfriend, a stripper-lesbian, and her ex boyfriend, an unemployed Tisch graduate, Evan dances the line between love and betrayal. A co

medy about what it really means to be 'in love with a stripper' and what it means to become one. 

Fear Factor: Canine Edition
Hangover: Mon 3/5 @ 8:30 pm
Remaining Festival Performance @ The Kraine (85 East 4th Street)
Sat 3/3 @ 7 pm

The peculiar and misguided true adventures of a man and his very trusting, very forgiving, therapy dog. An award-winning tale of true love and overcoming obstacles, while staring fear in the face.

Little Lady
Hangover: Tue 3/6 @ 7pm
Remaining Festival Performances @ The Red Room (85 East 4th Street)
Sat 3/3 @ 5pm & Sun 3/4 @ 12:30 pm 

A physical theatre solo show that peers into the fantastical life of Little Lady.

LOL: The End

Hangover: Tue 3/6 @ 8:30 pm
Remaining Festival Performances @ The Kraine (85 East 4th Street)
Fri 3/2 @ 7pm & Sun 3/4 @ 7 pm 

Come to a place where tragedy meets comedy meets stupid. A funny and physical look at natural and human-made disasters through the eyes of three clowns.

The Terrible Manpain of Umberto MacDougal

Hangover: Thu 3/8 @ 7pm
Remaining Festival Performances @ USM (94. St. Marks Place)
Fri 3/2 @ 7:30pm & Sat 3/3 @ 2:30 pm 

Umberto MacDougal allows you to look through the window of his tragic manpain. With a beard full of tears and a melancholy guitarist playing a sorrowful tune, Umberto reveals the pain that men feel.

Daughters of Lot

Hangover: Thu 3/8 @ 10 pm
Remaining Festival Performances @ The Kraine (85 East 4th Street)
Fri 3/2 @ 5:30pm & Sun 3/4 @ 4 pm

The evening's entertainment is a sexy and silly retelling of an ancient story, until the performers do a trick that requires more than flexibility. Arousing and agitating in Biblical proportions, this is not your daddy’s burlesque club.

The Rope in Your Hands

Hangover: Fri 3/9 @ 7 pm
Remaining Festival Performances @ The Red Room (85 East 4th Street)
Sat 3/3 @ 11 pm & Sun 3/4 @ 6:30 pm

A solo show based on the true stories of thirteen different survivors of Hurricane Katrina.

Missed Connections

Hangover: Fri 3/9 @ 8:30 pm
Remaining Festival Performance @ The Kraine (85 East 4th Street)
Sun 3/4 @ 1 pm

Drawing from the sometimes touching, oftentimes torrid (and almost always grammatically incorrect) postings on craigslist's most notorious section, Missed Connections is a collection of the best and brightest.


Hangover: Sat 3/10 @ 7 pm 
Remaining Festival Performances @ USM (94 St. Marks Place)
Fri 3/2 @6pm & Sat 3/3 @ 7 pm

Coosje is the story of two artists, husband and wife, finding their playful aesthetic together and attempting to escape death.  Meanwhile, the singing Pear embarks on a heroic quest to achieve immortality.  Their journeys intertwine in this fantastical love story.

Rabbit Island

Hangover: Sat 3/10 @ 8:30 pm
Remaining Festival Performance @ The Kraine (85 East 4th Street)
Sat 3/3 @ 5:30 pm 

Alex zigzags irregular relationships with an erratic therapist, his on-again off-again girlfriend, an untamed burlesque dancer and The Cleanse. But what more will it take for this verbose Canadian mime to become a Real New Yorker?

Tickets for performances are online ($18-$20) or call Smarttix at 212-868-4444

For more information on shows & ticket sales visit:

2012 FRIGID Hangovers
March 5-10

The Kraine Theater 
85 East 4th St
Between 2nd & 3rd Avenues (Bowery)
New York, NY 10003

First floor, no wheelchair access
(212) 777-6088


Teatro Patologico in New York

LaMaMa In honor of La MaMa's 50th Anniversary season, playwright/filmmaker/actor Dario D'Ambrosi will stage Teatro Patologico in New York -- a festival of Pathological Theater and Film -- December 15 to 22, 2011, mounting one large new work plus three smaller plays that are a cross-section of his 31 years of productions at La MaMa.

D'Ambrosi, a former professional soccer player, is one of Italy's leading performance artists and originator of the theatrical movement called teatro patologico.

A recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the Instituto del Drama Italiano (equivalent of a Tony Award in his country), he has written and directed over 13 plays, acted in 18 major films and TV movies, and written and directed three full-length films. Twelve of his plays have had their American premieres at La MaMa.

The festival will be entirely staged in La MaMa's large Ellen Stewart Theatre. D'Ambrosi has written, directed and produced three full-length films -- all three will also be screened during the festival.

Dario D'Ambrosio ( man himself (source:

Below are listed the events for December 20-22, consisting of one play and one film per day. 

All the plays will be performed in English but the films are in Italian with English subtitles.

Tuesday, December 20
Tutti Non Ci Sono
/ We Are Not Alone (1980, 1989)
This was D'Ambrosi's American debut piece when first presented by La MaMa in 1980. It is a solo performance in which an inmate from a psychiatric ward is victimized by neglect in the outside world.

The play was written in reaction to an Italian law, passed in 1978, which changed the Italian approach to mental institutions. At that time, inmates released from psychiatric wards had nowhere to turn and became helpless, homeless people living in the streets.

D'Ambrosi, survivor of a rough, difficult boyhood in working-class Naples, began working with young (and less young) mental patients, seeking to find out what the violence of some of his buddies -- the paranoia and schizophrenia of the streets -- was all about. To this end, the rugged 20-year-old soccer player (he had played four years for the Milan team) set himself to some months of watching and learning into Rome's Santa Maria de la Pieta psychiatric clinic.

From that experience was born what Jerry Tallmer, writing in The New York Theatre Wire, called " the marriage of theater with pathology" -- a concept for theater that is highly metaphoric, ironic and comic as well as tragic.

L'uomo Gallo / Days of Antonio (2010)
starring Celeste Moratti (Antonio), D’Ambrosi (Giacomo) and a cast of 10
Toward the beginning of the 20th century, a handicapped child named Antonio was born in Varedo, near Milan. Growing up, he was unable to stand because his legs were different lengths. He was also mentally retarded, so to avoid problems and embarrassment, his parents, uneducated poor peasants, shut him up in the henhouse with the chickens. 

Over the years, Antonio began to imitate in every respect his companions in prison: clucking and pecking at food. His coop became a public attraction until a prostitute tried to have sexual intercourse with the young Antonio, which started a scandal.

The young man was imprisoned in a mental hospital and died at age19 of pulmonary emphysema a few days after finding out that he was not a rooster. D'Ambrosi found this incredible story documented in the archives of the Paolo Pini Hospital in Milan. From this source came the play, "Days of Antonio."

The film transports the play's characters from 1920's Varedo to 1970's Girifalco, Calabria: home of a massive psychiatric facility and filled with the colors, sounds and characters unique to its region. It begins when the unfortunate young man is taken to the psychiatric hospital, where he naturally discovers a hard truth: he is not an animal and at the same time, he is not able to remake his life.

Antonio is thrust into a strange, desperate universe of funny characters and marginalized groups, each with psychotic symptoms but also a huge amount of heart. Antonio achieves a particularly intense friendship with his roommate, Giacomo, who is manic about order and cleanliness. Between them blossoms a relationship made up of silences and small gestures of solidarity.

They, like their fellow patients (to whom they are rebelliously uplifting), must adapt to life under the care of a nurse and a doctor whose icy and authoritarian ways hide deep imbalances that are more serious and dangerous than that those experienced by their patients.

Wednesday, December 21
/ Frustration (1994)
This one is based on a true story from 1920 and depicts the obsessed schizophrenic personality of a butcher who imagines himself a male cow, wears a minotaur mask, and pursues offbeat bovine erotic fantasies.

The New York Times' Ben Brantley called it "a lyrical, lubricious and startlingly empathetic monologue," adding that D'Ambrosi "uses his full voice and body to give full physical life to a divided self" and "ushers his audience into an interior world of dementia that allows little room for detachment." 

Theater Week's Rosette Lamont opined, "D'Ambrosi's sketch is a paean to the beauty of being alive, even when, as the animals, we wait patiently for our end. We, the kings of creation, who take the animal world as our own possession, we are condemned as well." 

Il Ronzio Delle Mosche / The Buzzing of Flies (2003)
This is the first film D'Ambrosi directed and is based on his play of the same name. A team of doctors and scientists is working on a new ambitious project: to bring madness back to the world in order to fight boredom and depression. They capture the last three madmen left: Franci, a manqué painter, Matteo, who lives in a world of his own, and Felice, a sweet, sensitive individual who plays the piano.

The experiment begins. The three people are first observed, then in a bizarre plot, are subjected to therapy that brings them back to their original daily life, from which their madness is presumed to have started.

To staff a "play therapy," actors are recruited, among them Dr. Natalia (Greta Sacchi) of the medical team. She is the only one who feels for the madmen and becomes their accomplice. Together, she and the madmen plan an escape, to bring joy and cheerfulness back to this grey, serious world. This Hera International film was produced by Gianfranco Piccioli.

Thursday, December 22
Romeo and Juliet
A five-minute distillation of Shakespeare's classic, it contrasts the marvel of love with the fragility of life, the shock of the moment of total loss, and what D'Ambrosi calls the "schizophrenia of the world."

The beautiful sensuality and emotion of love is compressed into a magic moment. "It's like the magic moment when somebody shoots you," he says. "There is no emotion like that moment." The action is primarily physical but where there is dialogue, it is in English. To say more is be to give away this radical, Artaudian, innovative production's dramatic surprises.

D'Ambrosi makes a film adaptation of his play, The Pathological Passion of the Christ (2004), which was his first time that D'Ambrosi directed a play with an American cast.

That year, D'Ambrosi was seen worldwide as the Roman Soldier who mercilessly whipped Jesus in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. He realized that many in Jesus' own time considered him insane, and that some historians have speculated that he may have been epileptic. The play compared the sacrifice of Jesus, metaphorically, to the forcible lobotomies of epileptics, an ordeal that was once widespread in Italy. To Jesus' story were added the experiences of patients D'Ambrosi had known in Italian mental institutions. 

The evening will end with a panel moderated by Prof. Riccardo Viale, Director of Italian Cultural Institute of New York.

For more information, visit

Teatro Patologico in New York

December 15-22, 2011

Ellen Stewart Theatre at La MaMa
66 E. 4th St. (2nd Fl.)

Box office 212-475-7710

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