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:


Oct. 31 Book Event + Screening + Discussion

Monday, October 31, 2016
The Segal Theatre at the CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016-4309
6:30pm Discussion + 11:00am Screenings

Photo by Shalmon Bernstein

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

In the mid-1970s, many artists and organizations 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 analyses of productions of the time to examine how the performing arts survived 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 our contemporary city. Invited are Julia Foulkes; Jessica Hagedorn; Muriel Miguel, Spiderwoman Theater; Cindy Rosenthal; Richard Wesley; and others (TBD).

All-Day ScreeningShorts 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. Additional support from Third World Newsreel.

Visit the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center’s website for the full program information.


photo credit: Shalmon Bernstein

Pulitzer Prize Winner Jennifer Egan Headlines Writers Lab

The launch of the Summer Writers Lab at LIU’s Brooklyn campus is next week. Spread the word to all interested bookworms: there is a lovely line-up of public events, representing a real diversity of literary styles. Music and some champagne, too. Admission = a mere $5!

The press release with all of the info can be found here ……

Summer Writers Lab Public Events:

Thursday, June 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Opening Night Reading: Gabriel Cohen, Jennifer Egan, Marlon James, Jessica Hagedorn.

Health Sciences Building-Room 107, Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University
Tickets: Free for Summer Writers Lab participants; $5 for the general public

Along with numerous critical accolades, Time magazine named Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, A Visit From the Goon Squad, “a new classic of American fiction,” and gave it a spot on their list of the top ten books of 2010. Marlon James’s first novel, John Crow’s Devil, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Gabriel Cohen’s debut novel Red Hook was nominated for the Edgar award. Publisher’s Weekly called Summer Writers Lab director Jessica Hagedorn’s new novel, Toxicology, a “razor-sharp, refreshingly unsentimental portrayal of New York artists.” Don’t miss all four of them reading in one night, followed by book signings and a reception.

Friday, June 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Reading and Performance: Rick Moody and Wesley Stace (aka John Wesley Harding)

The Spike Lee Screening Room, Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University
Tickets: Free for SWL participants; $5 for the general public

Local favorite Rick Moody (The Four Fingers of Death, The Ice Storm) and erudite novelist Wesley Stace (Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer) will give a hybrid performance and reading. Moody, who is at work on a forthcoming book of essays about music, and Stace, who has released 15 albums under the name John Wesley Harding, will join forces for a unique and intimate evening that will showcase their musical and literary talents. Hosted by Andy Hunter, Publisher and editor-in-chief of the Brooklyn-based journal, Electric Literature. A Q&A and a book signing follows their performance.

Saturday, June 18 at 1 p.m.
Panel Discussion: The Literary Marketplace in the 21st Century

Health Sciences Building – Room 107, Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University
Tickets: Free for SWL participants; $5 for the general public

A lunchtime panel with Rakesh Satyal, editor at HarperCollins and author of the acclaimed novel, Blue Boy; Johnny Temple, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Akashic Books and Chair of the Brooklyn Book Festival; and veteran literary agent, Faith Childs, who represents some of today’s leading writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Harold Augenbraum, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation and presenter of the National Book Awards, will moderate the panel.

Saturday, June 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Closing Night Celebration at Greenlight Bookstore, co-hosted by Electric Literature

Greenlight Bookstore, 686 Fulton Street, Brooklyn

Readings by guest writers and participants, and a special screening of single sentence animations from the innovative Brooklyn literary magazine, Electric Literature.


Gabriel CohenGabriel Cohen is the author of an acclaimed series of crime novels which are set in Brooklyn and feature detective Jack Leightner. His debut novel Red Hook was nominated for the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. He also is the author of The Ninth Step, The Graving Dock, Boombox, Neptune Avenue and the nonfiction book Storms Can’t Hurt the Sky. He has written for The New York Times, Poets & Writers, Time Out New York, and other publications. He teaches in Pratt Institute’s writing program and lectures extensively. His Web site is

Jennifer EganJennifer Egan is the author of A Visit From the Goon Squad, published in 2010. Her other work includes The Invisible Circus, which was released as a feature film by Fine Line in 2001; Emerald City and Other Stories; Look at Me, which was nominated for the National Book Award in 2001; and the bestselling The Keep. Also a journalist, she writes frequently for The New York Times Magazine.

Marlon JamesMarlon James was born in Kingston, Jamaica. His most recent novel, The Book Of Night Women, was internationally acclaimed and voted Best Book Of 2009 by the Library Journal. His first novel, John Crow’s Devil, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Commonwealth Prize, and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. Currently a professor of literature and creative writing at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, he is at work on a new novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings. He divides his time between Jamaica, New York City and the Twin Cities.

Rick MoodyRick Moody has published novels, short fiction and nonfiction, including The Four Fingers of Death; Garden State; The Ice Storm, which was adapted into a feature film directed by Ang Lee; The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven; The Black Veil: A Memoir with Digressions; The Diviners; and Right Livelihoods: Three Novellas. His work in music has been extensive. It includes the album Rick Moody and One Ring Zero and two albums with The Wingdale Community Singers, the most recent of which is Spirit Duplicator (2009). A new book, Discreet Music: Essays on Listening, is forthcoming.

Wesley StaceWesley Stace is the author of the international bestseller Misfortune, as well as the novel By George. His most recent novel, Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer will be published in the U.S. by Picador in February 2011. He has released 15 albums under the name John Wesley Harding. Learn more at

Jessica HagedornJessica Hagedorn is director of The Summer Writers Lab and is the Parsons Family University Professor of Creative Writing in the M.F.A. Program at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus. Her novels include Toxicology, Dream Jungle, The Gangster Of Love and Dogeaters, which was nominated for a National Book Award. She is the editor of Charlie Chan Is Dead: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction. Her extensive work in theatre includes the stage adaptation of Dogeaters. Learn more at

More Awards for Egan: Apply Now…

In celebration of yesterday’s grand news that Jennifer Egan won the National Book Critics Circle Award for “A Visit from the Goon Squad” (read. it.), I am finally posting information here about the inaugural Summer Writers Lab at the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University. I’m the assistant director of the program, and we’re working like dogs to make sure it’s a fascinating three days of fiction immersion, filled with death-defying feats of literary greatness. Egan is among the wonderful guest writers who will be leading fiction workshops, and she’s in great company– Marlon James and Gabriel Cohen are also master teachers. Rick Moody, Wesley Stace, and Jessica Hagedorn appear, too. Time to flex those muscles and refill those ink wells.