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Theatre & Performance in 1970s NYC: Hillary Miller’s Drop Dead

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Start:
Oct 31, 2016
End:
Oct 31, 2016
Venue:
Segal Theatre
Category:
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Photo by Shalmon Bernstein

Photo by Shalmon Bernstein

Monday, October 31
Segal Theatre
6:30pm Discussion +
11:00am Screenings

FREE + Open to public. First come, first served.

In the mid-1970s, many artists and organizations successfully defied socially destructive policies and fought for the arts as a public good during New York City’s near-bankruptcy and resulting austerity. Scholar and playwright Hillary Miller’s book Drop Dead: Performance in Crisis, 1970s New York (Northwestern UP, 2016) combines theatre history with a detailed analysis of productions of the time to examine how the performing arts developed innovative responses to survive the crisis. Miller’s account includes Broadway (TKTS), BAM, La MaMa E.T.C., and The Public Theater, and highlights the important role of Martin E. Segal in shaping the City’s cultural policy for decades to come. A panel of playwrights, directors, and historians will join in conversation about the theatre artists and arts institutions of the 1970s, and the significance of its theatrical legacies in understanding our contemporary city. Invited are Tisa ChangJulia Foulkes;Jessica Hagedorn; Muriel Miguel, Spiderwoman Theater; Cindy Rosenthal; and Richard Wesley.

The event will be followed by a book signing with author, Hillary Miller.

All-Day Screening: Shorts from the Feminist Seventies is a selection of 16mm documentaries made by women in the 1970s on topics ranging from marriage, sex, and reproductive health to labor, identity, and memory—all culled from the New York Public Library’s Reserve Film and Video Collection. Opening remarks by curator and film scholar Shilyh Warren, and invited guest Elena Rossi-Snook, Archivist, Reserve Film and Video Collection, The New York Public Library. Films courtesy of the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Additional support from Third World Newsreel and Women Make Movies.

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EVENT SCHEDULE

11:00am Screenings
My Name is Oona, Gunvor Nelson, 1969 | 16 min.
A profound experimental film that remasters sounds from and images of the filmmaker’s young daughter to ask what girlhood might mean for the next generation. Presented in collaboration with Canyon Cinema.

I Am Somebody, Madeline Anderson, 1970 | 29 min.
Commissioned by Moe Foner for union activism, this film documents a successful strike by black female hospital workers in Charleston, SC in 1969. Screening courtesy Icarus Films. I Am Somebody has been preserved with funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Game, Abigail Child Productions, 1972 | 40 min.
A frank look at an African-American couple negotiating work and sexual politics in Manhattan. Presented in collaboration with Abigail Child.

1:00pm Screenings
It Happens to Us, Amalie Rothschild, 1972 | 30 min.
One of the first documentaries to give voice to women’s experiences with abortion both before and after legalization. Presented in collaboration with New Day Films.

Joyce at 34, Joyce Chopra and Claudia Weill, 1973 | 28 min.
A filmmaker who struggles to balance the new demands of motherhood with her career ambitions turns to her mother in New York for perspective and advice. Presented in collaboration with New Day Films. Joyce at 34 has been preserved with funding from the National Film Preservation Foundation.

Yudie, Mirra Bank, 1974 | 20 min.
The filmmaker’s aging Jewish aunt tells a powerful story of emigration, independence, and life on New York’s Lower East Side. Presented in collaboration with New Day Films.

Q & A with the Filmmakers
Participants: Amalie Rothschild, Claudia Weill, and Mirra Bank

3:00pm Screenings
Dyketaktics, Barbara Hammer, 1974 | 4 min.
One of the first documentaries about lesbian sexuality by a lesbian filmmaker, this explicit film quite literally takes lovemaking out into the open. Presented in collaboration with Barbara Hammer.

From Spikes to Spindles, Christine Choy, 1976 | 52 min.
A landmark exploration of New York’s Chinatown told primarily through interviews and observational footage.

Chicana, Sylvia Morales, 1979 | 22 min.
The first film to insist on the particular experiences of women in the Chicano community, this film challenges popular stereotypes by producing a new history of Mexican-American women. Presented in collaboration with Women Make Movies.

Gently Down the Stream, Su Friedrich, 1981 | 15 min.
Based on the filmmaker’s journals, this experimental film explores the boundaries between dreams, memories, and the present. Presented in collaboration with Canyon Cinema.

5:00pm Q & A with the Filmmakers
Participants: Abigail Child, Barbara Hammer, Amalie Rothschild, and others.

6:30pm Panel
Theatre & 1970s NYC, panel discussion with Tisa ChangJulia Foulkes, Jessica Hagedorn, Muriel Miguel, Cindy Rosenthal, and Richard Wesley.

7:30pm Book Signing with Hillary Miller book-cover-image
Drop Dead
Performance in Crisis, 1970s New York
Hillary Miller

 

 

Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of the artist

Tisa Chang is a dancer, actor, director, producer, celebrating 50 years in American Performing Arts. Inspired by the global independence movement and civil rights activism in the 1970’s, she founded Pan Asian Repertory Theatre in 1977 to champion professional opportunities for Asian American artists to reach the heights of one’s dreams and aspirations. Directing highlights: Sayonara the musical (2015) and A Dream of Red Pavilions (2016). Pan Asian Rep continues to expand the vocabulary of American Theatre with untold stories from the Pan Asian spectrum and from the Middle East. Acting highlights on stage: The Basic Training Of Pavlo Hummel, Lovely Ladies Kind Gentlemen, and Pacific Overtures;  Film And TV: Ambush Bay, Escape From Iran, Year Of The Dragon. Tisa is a former Executive Board member of SDC, member of Coalition of Theaters of Color, member of National Theatre Conference, and a founding board member of CAATA the national coalition of Asian-American Theatres and Artists that recently produced the 5th CONFEST in October 2016 at Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) in Ashland, Oregon.

Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of the artist

Julia Foulkes is a Professor of History at The New School where she investigates the intersection of arts and cities. Her most recent book is A Place for Us: West Side Story and New York (2016). She is also the author of Modern Bodies: Dance and American Modernism from Martha Graham to Alvin Ailey (2002); To the City: Urban Photographs of the New Deal  (2011); and the editor of two journal volumes,The Arts in Place (Journal of Social History, 2010) and, with Aaron Shkuda, essays on arts and urban development in the Journal of Urban History (2015). Currently she is researching the rise of New York as a capital of culture in the 20th century.

Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of the artist

Jessica Hagedorn is the author of Toxicology, Dream Jungle, The Gangster Of Love, and Dogeaters, which won the American Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction. Other publications include Danger And Beauty, a collection of poetry and prose, and Burning Heart: A Portrait Of The Philippines. Hagedorn edited both volumes of Charlie Chan Is Dead: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction, and Manila Noir, a crime fiction anthology. Her plays include Most Wanted, Stairway To Heaven, Fe In The Desert, and the stage adaptation of Dogeaters. Multimedia theater collaborations include work in the ‘70s and ‘80s with Ntozake Shange, Thulani Davis, Laurie Carlos, Robbie McCauley, Urban Bushwomen, and Blondell Cummings. Music: The Gangster Choir. Screenplays: Fresh Kill, The Pink Palace. Prizes and honors include the Guggenheim Fiction Fellowship, the Gerbode Foundation Playwriting Fellowship, and the Lucille Lortel Playwriting Fellowship. Forthcoming: the stage adaptation of The Gangster Of Love for San Francisco’s Magic Theatre. www.jessicahagedorn.net

Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of the artist

Muriel Miguel (Kuna/Rappahannock) is a choreographer, director and actor. She is a founder and Artistic Director of Spiderwoman Theater, the longest running Indigenous feminist theater in North America. Muriel is a 2016 John S. Guggenheim Fellow; has an Honorary DFA from Miami University in Ohio; is a member of the National Theatre Conference and attended the Rauschenberg Residency in 2015. She has pioneered the development of a culturally – based Indigenous performance methodology. Choreography: Throw Away Kids – Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity; Director ( Selected) : Material Witness – Spiderwoman Theater; The Scrubbing Project – Turtle Gals Performance Ensemble and Evening in Paris – Raven Spirit Dance Company. Acting: Off-Broadway – Taylor Mac’s Lily’s Revenge; Philomena Moosetail- The Rez Sisters; Aunt Shadie – The Unnatural and Accidental Women; One woman shows – Hot’ N’ Soft, Trail of the Otter and Red Mother. Muriel’s lecture Muriel Miguel: A Retrospective and her Storyweaving Workshops have been presented in the US, Canada and Europe.

Photo by DJ Dolack

Photo by DJ Dolack

Hillary Miller is Assistant Professor of Theatre at California State University, Northridge. Her book, Drop Dead: Performance in Crisis, 1970s New York City(Northwestern University Press, 2016), explores how the city’s municipal crisis transformed performing arts communities across the five boroughs. Her essays and reviews have appeared in publications including Performance Research,Lateral, The Radical History Review, Theatre Survey, and PAJ. From 2013-2015, she was a Lecturer in Stanford University’s Program in Writing and Rhetoric and Immersion in the Arts: Living in Culture. Her dramatic writing has been produced in various New York venues (Cherry Lane Theatre, Dixon Place, Manhattan Theatre Source, and HERE Arts Center) and three international Fringe festivals (New York, Edinburgh, Washington D.C.). She is from Flatbush, Brooklyn.

Photo by Carol Rosegg

Photo by Carol Rosegg

Cindy Rosenthal is Professor of Drama at Hofstra University and a performer and director. She coedited The Rise of Performance Studies: Rethinking Richard Schechner’s Broad Spectrum (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2011) and Restaging the Sixties: Radical Theatres and their Legacies (U. Michigan, 2006) with James Harding. With Hanon Reznikov she coedited Living on Third Street: Plays of the Living Theatre 1989-1992 (Autonomedia, 2008). She has published essays inTheatre Survey, The New York Times, Women & Performance, Women: A Cultural Review and TDR, including Fall 2016, “Circling Up with The Assembly.” She is the author of Ellen Stewart Presents: Fifty Years of La Mama Experimental Theatre,forthcoming from U. Michigan Press. Also forthcoming: The Sixties, Center Stage coedited with Harding (U. Michigan) and with Julia Listengarten, Modern American Drama: Playwriting 2000-2009(Bloomsbury/Methuen).

elena-rossi-snook

Photo courtesy of the artist

Elena Rossi-Snook is the moving image archivist for the 16mm circulating film collection of the New York Public Library.  She has served as a curriculum consultant for the NYU Moving Image Archiving and Preservation MA program, on the Board of Directors of the Association of Moving Image Archivists and is the chair of the AMIA Film Advocacy Task Force.  Publications include “Persistence of Vision: Public Library 16mm Film Collections in America” (The Moving Image), “Continuing Ed: Educational Film Collections in Libraries and Archives” (Learning with the Lights Off: a Reader in Educational Film) and a chapter in an upcoming academic reader on race and non-theatrical film to be published by Duke University Press.  Rossi-Snook was the 2002 recipient of the Kodak Fellowship in Film Preservation.  Her documentary film We Got The Picture was made an official selection of the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival.  She is in production on a second documentary film.

Photo by Michelle Long

Photo by Michelle Long

Shilyh Warren is assistant professor of Aesthetic and Film Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas. She is currently writing a book about the history of women’s documentary filmmaking with a special focus on the 1970s. Her essays on documentary and feminist filmmaking have appeared in South Atlantic Quarterly, Signs, Jump Cut, and Mediascape. She is also the co-editor of a special feature on feminist pedagogy and cinematic violence for Films for the Feminist Classroom.

 

Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of the artist

Richard Wesley was born in Newark, New Jersey and graduated from Howard University. He has written professionally for the stage, screen and television across five decades. He is a past winner of the Drama Desk Award, two NAACP Image Awards, four AUDELCO Awards, the August Wilson Award for Outstanding Playwriting, the Otto Award for Outstanding Writing for Political Theater and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Organization of Black Screenwriters.  Currently an Associate Professor in the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, Mr. Wesley also sits on the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress; the Selection Committee for the Black Film Festival of the Newark Museum; the Board of Directors, Newark Symphony Hall and is an Advisor to the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers University in Brooklyn, NY. He is married to the novelist, Valerie Wilson Wesley.

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