Hidden Vacancies

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The new issue of Interventions features my essay on the Coney Island Art Walls:

Hillary Miller’s ‘Hidden Vacancies’ traces a large-scale installation project that masks ‘the relations between real-estate and inequitable resource provision’.  In her analysis of Coney Island’s Art Walls, Miller conceives of the project as theatre (rather than, for example, visual public art), allowing her to frame the arc of a story of transformation, in which a powerful property developer is re-cast as a benevolent co-curator. As theatre, then, the Art Walls’ conditions of possibility – namely, the collaboration between curatorial and real estate redevelopment interests – are exposed.

Read the article at the Contemporary Theatre Review.

FRICK BOOK AWARD

drop-dead.jpgDrop Dead: Performance in Crisis, 1970s New York has won the ATDS 2017 John W. Frick Book Award, which recognizes “outstanding works that expand and challenge the field of American theatre and drama.”

Gratitude is owed to the Frick Award selection committee of the American Theatre & Drama Society, as well as those without whom the book would not exist. This includes the team at Northwestern University Press, the Performance Works series editors Nicholas Ridout and Patrick Anderson, and editor Michael Levine.

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Coney Island, 1972 (image via flickr user fauxto_digit)

New: “I took my play and ran…”

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—> Read “Subject To Punishment: Julie Bovasso’s Angelo’s Wedding and the Politics of the Unproduced,” my article on Bensonhurst-born playwright/actor/director Julie Bovasso (1930-1991) in the May 2017 edition of Theatre Survey (58:2). 

“The preview performance of Julie Bovasso’s Angelo’s Wedding on 11 May 1985, imploded after an altercation between the playwright and the staff of Marshall Mason’s Off-Broadway Circle Repertory. Bovasso, then almost fifty-five years old, attended the performance against the explicit wishes of the production team; the rehearsal period had been fraught. Suspecting unauthorized cuts, Bovasso took a seat in the audience, but then, midshow, confronted the backstage crew and demanded the chance to give the actors notes. The staff refused. At the start of the third act, Bovasso changed tactics: she alighted the stage and instructed the audience to leave the theatre. Members of the crew blocked her access to the actors, leading to a physical altercation, a 911 call, and, eventually, her forced eviction from the theatre.”

[Photo credit: Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library. “Julie Bovasso.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1950 – 1963.]

How To Fight for Arts Funding?

Former New York Post theatre critic Elisabeth Vincentelli recently reviewed my Drop Dead: Performance in Crisis, 1970s New York in American Theatre. “How to Fight for Arts Funding? Lessons from NYC’s Lean Years” begins with this way:

“As we enter a period of uncertainty, to put it mildly, one of the areas most at risk is the federal funding of arts and culture. It’s no surprise to hear that the social conservatives and free-market extremists now in power are already making noises about implementing their long-held dream to eradicate the NEA and PBS.

What happens, then, when the faucet is turned off? What are the priorities, how do funds get allocated, and to whom?

Northwestern University Press, 288 pages, $34.95.
Northwestern University Press, 288 pages, $34.95.

Our current predicament makes Hillary Miller’s Drop Dead: Performance in Crisis, 1970s New York an especially fascinating read.”

Read her full review at American Theatre.

Video: NYC Performance in the 1970s

On October 31, 2016, the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center hosted “Theatre & Performance in the 1970s,” a launch for my book, Drop Dead: Performance in Crisis, 1970s New York (Northwestern University Press). After an all-day screening, “Shorts from the Feminist Seventies” (curated by Shilyh Warren), the evening panel discussion was moderated by Executive Director Frank Hentschker, and featured playwrights, directors, and historians discussing the theatre artists and institutions of the 1970s. A remarkable group of participants joined me for this incredible event: historian Julia Foulkes (New School), playwright and novelist Jessica Hagedorn, director Muriel Miguel (Spiderwoman Theater), historian Cindy Rosenthal (Hofstra University), and playwright Richard Wesley. Thanks to HowlRound TV for live streaming the discussion, which is now available for viewing: