May 30, 2007

Women Center Stage at The Culture Project

Filed under: Listings,Press Releases — offoffbway @ 2:19 pm

You’ve come a long way baby… Well, not if I’m making comments like that. Lots to do here, read on:

CULTURE PROJECT

ANNOUNCES
W O M E N    C E N T E R    S T A G E   

F E S T I V A L   2 0 0 7

23-DAY EVENT TO INCLUDE THEATER, MUSIC, FILM, COMEDY, CONVERSATIONS AND MORE

EVE ENSLER, MARISA TOMEI, SAMANTHA POWER,

ELIZABETH SWADOS, AZAR NAFISI, OLIVIA WILDE,

PATRICIA FOULKROD, AMONG MANY OTHERS
SET TO PARTICIPATE

PRE-FESTIVAL SPECIAL EVENT WITH EVE ENSLER

THIS MONDAY, JUNE 4 at 7:30 PM

New York, NY – Culture Project (Allan Buchman, Artistic Director) has announced the schedule for its upcoming 2007 WOMEN CENTER STAGE festival (WCS), the annual multi-disciplinary event featuring women artists whose work calls attention to human struggles globally – June 25 – July 17, 2007.

The three-week festival, with more than 25 events, will take place at Culture Project’s new SoHo home (55 Mercer Street) as well as The Knitting Factory and P.S. 122.

Currently in its 11th year, WCS will gather artists, activists, thinkers and other crucial voices to share stories and ideas, and challenge one another to act and react.  Among those scheduled to participate are Eve Ensler, Marisa Tomei, Samantha Power, Staceyann Chin, Elizabeth Swados, Azar Nafisi, Olivia Wilde, Patricia Foulkrod, Julie Goldman and Letty Cotton Pogrebin, among many others.

The festival’s theater component will feature the premiere of Lear deBessonet’s re-working of Brecht – St. Joan of the Stockyards (a collaboration with P.S. 122); Elizabeth Swados’ funny and edgy cabaret, Political Subversities; a workshop production of Marisa Tomei and David Strathairn in scholar and psychologist Carol Gilligan’s adaptation of The Scarlet Letter, directed by Leigh Silverman; and the festival return of poet Staceyann Chin.

The festival film component will include a sneak peak of Kamp Katrina, Ashley Sabin and David Redmon’s film about Ms. Pearl — a New Orleans native who converts her backyard into a tent city; The Ground Truth, Patricia Foulkrod’s acclaimed film that follows ordinary men and women who enlisted military service in Iraq; and Town Bloody Hall, the wry 1979 documentary by Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker that chronicles the 1971 evening when local literati and feminists packed Town Hall to watch Norman Mailer grapple with a panel of passionate feminists.

WCS will also present the EMANCIPATE concert series at The Knitting Factory, featuring women artists who are activists in their communities around the world, including Cris Williamson, Eisa Davis, and Alix Olson.  On the morning of each concert, the artists will gather at the McNally Robinson Bookstore on Prince Street to meet with grassroots activists based in NYC for an open-to-the-public breakfast conversation about the integration of art and activism.  Partner organizations include Make the Road by Walking, New York Jobs with Justice and the Third Wave Foundation.

Lizz Winstead will headline a hilarious all-women comedian concert and comedian Julie Goldman will premiere new work.

As a cornerstone of the festival WCS will feature Conversations – part of an ongoing new series at Culture Project that offers audiences a weekly arena to hear pioneering and expert thinkers speaking about today’s most relevant issues.  Conversations participants include changemakers like Samantha Power and Azar Nafisi, Barbara Ehrenreich and Carol Gilligan, Laura Flanders and many more.

According to WCS festival director, Olivia Greer, “The festival takes women out of the ghetto of ‘women’s issues’ and brings focus to all human issues.  We are very excited by the performances, and the ultimate artistic and intellectual exchange that will take place during these three summer weeks.”

The advisors to WCS include Kim Brizzolara, Hampton’s International Film Festival & Films of Conflict & Resolution Co-Chair; Eve Ensler, Playwright, V-Day Founder & Artistic Director; Carol Gilligan, Author & Psychologist; Lekha Singh, Photographer & Aidmatrix Foundation Founder; and Olivia Wilde, Actress & Activist.

Culture Project Artistic Director Allan Buchman introduced Woman Center Stage in 1996 to address the starkly consistent under-representation of women artists.  “I felt it was important to create a destination to celebrate women artists, to acknowledge the crucial impact of this work, and to offer space to continue to generate it.”

For more than a decade, Culture Project has presented award-winning theatre at the intersection between politics and culture, bringing essential social, political and moral issues to life on a national stage. The Exonerated, Sarah Jones’ Bridge & Tunnel, Guantanamo, AMAJUBA: Like Doves We Rise, many works through the IMPACT festival 2006 and, most recently, Lawrence Wright’s My Trip To Al-Qaeda received their national premieres at Culture Project

Tickets for all WCS events are available through the Culture Project box office at www.cultureproject.org and (212) 925-1900.  For further information, access the WCS site at www.cultureproject.org


The complete schedule of events is as follows (all events are at Culture Project, 55 Mercer St, unless otherwise noted):

Pre-festival Special Event________________________________________
Monday, June 4, 7:30 p.m. (also July 5, 7:30 p.m.)
A MEMORY, A MONOLOGUE, A RANT AND A PRAYER

A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and a Prayer is a new collection of writings edited by Eve Ensler and Mollie Doyle, and includes work by writers, thinkers and activists from Alice Walker to Sharon Olds, Maya Angelou to Dave Eggers, and the voices of those less frequently heard.  This special evening celebrates the book’s release, featuring readings from the book by included authors and other special guests.  Presented by Eve Ensler’s V-Day and Women Center Stage.

Theater__________________________________________________

SAINT JOAN OF THE STOCKYARDS

Can youth, hope and faith survive in a world of greed and corruption?

Saint Joan of the Stockyards is a reinvention of Brecht’s savage masterpiece from acclaimed creator/director Lear deBessonet.  This cautionary tale for the 21st century features original music by country/blues singer Kelley McRae.

June 18 – July 1

P.S. 122, 150 First Avenue

BECOMING NATASHA

A four-woman play, Becoming Natasha is inspired by the book The Natashas by Victor Malarek, and is the first production of it’s kind to expose the issues behind human trafficking. This new work explores and exposes the economic and cultural influences behind a billion dollar industry and the psychological pain and afterlife of some of its victims.  An Isadora Productions’ work-in-process.

July 1, 3, 6, 7, 13, 14

ELIZABETH SWADOS: POLITICAL SUBVERSITIES

A wild and edgy theatre piece of songs, scenes and monologues portraying the absurdity of our world and the scandalous and outrageously stupid behavior of the people who inhabit it.  This new work from the award-winning composer and director is both hilarious and hard-hitting. The cast of extraordinary brand new writing and acting talents brings a unique perspective mixing with Swados’ years of trouble-making and experience.

July 1, 5, 11, 12, 15
SCARLET LETTER

Marisa Tomei and David Strathairn are featured in this new script workshop production.  Renowned scholar and psychologist Carol Gilligan’s adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel is directed by Leigh Silverman.

July 10 & 11, 7:30 p.m.

STACEYANN CHIN

Culture Project’s poet-in-residence is a mainstay of WCS festivals.  This year, while working on a new book, she brings brand new material to the festival.  Chin has been an “out poet and political activist” since 1998, presenting work at venues from the Nuyorican Poets’ Cafe to poetry workshops in Denmark and London to the Tony Award-winning Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on Broadway for which she was a co-writer and performer.

June 29 & 30, 7:30 p.m.

WE GOT ISSUES!

The WGI! All Stars! are gathering for a night of groundbreaking entertainment!  Come ignite your imagination and inspire your soul through this unique collection of song, dance, music and spoken word.  Plus, highlights from the critically acclaimed We Got Issues! performance piece, fresh off their national tour.  Performers include world renowned artist, activist and founder Rha Goddess, three-time HBO Def Poet Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai and the awe inspiring multi-talented Queen Godis, with the musical stylings of one of New York’s hottest DJs.

Thursday, July 12, 7:30 p.m.

LENELLE MOÏSE: WOMB-WORDS, THIRSTING

Mixing a brew full of womanist Vodou jazz, queer theory, hip-hop, and movement, Womb-Words, Thirsting is an interactive evening of patchwork poetic storytelling delivered – slam style – from the gut.  Haitian-American solo artist Lenelle Moïse re-conceives memory and boldly speaks out about childhood, masculinities, sexualities, AIDS, cultural hybridity, and reclaiming f-words.

Thursday, June 28, 9 p.m.

Music___________________________________________________
EMANCIPATE:

WOMAN SONGWRITERS IN GLOBAL SOLIDARITY
A new WCS initiative gathering women musicians who are activists in their communities all around the world, Emancipate presents a series of music evenings celebrating these women artists:
Pamela Means, Alix Olson, Taina Asili,

and a special late-night appearance by Eisa Davis.

Tuesday, June 26
Cris Williamson, Vicki Randle, Christina Courtin and Pistolera.

Tuesday, July 3
An evening of music, spoken word and film to launch Myth of the Motherland, a film that asks what you get when you take 10 young artists and a film crew to twelve African nations in three months. Featuring Queen GodIs.

Tuesday, July 10
Chantal Kreviazuk, Marta Gomez, Imani Uzuri and Aguafuego.

Tuesday, July 17
All concerts at

Knitting Factory, 74 Leonard Street

Film____________________________________________________
Women Center Stage and Indiepix.net present a provocative series of documentary films by women filmmakers, engaging audiences in contemporary struggles and human stories.

TOWN BLOODY HALL:

FIRST BLOOD IN THE DEBATE ON WOMEN’S LIB

This 1979 film by Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker chronicles the evening of April 30, 1971, when local literati and feminists packed New York City’s Town Hall to watch Norman Mailer, who had just written The Prisoner of Sex, grapple with a panel of passionate feminists.  Filmmaker Chris Hegedus will be joined by Jill Johnston, who was on the Town Hall panel, for a Q&A following the film.

Friday, June 29, 9 p.m.

AFTER INNOCENCE

Jessica Sanders’ film focuses on the stories of seven men and their emotional journey back into society and efforts to rebuild their lives. Included are a police officer, an army sergeant and a young father sent to prison and even death row for decades for crimes they did not commit. Innocence Project attorney Nina Morrison will speak about the film and her work at the Innocence Project.

Sunday, July 1, 5 p.m.

ELECTION DAY

Katy Chevigny’s cinema verite account of the 2004 presidential elections. In Shaker Heights, Ohio, people grow anxious waiting in long lines to cast their votes, only to be greeted by poll-workers struggling to understand confusing guidelines. In the tiny town of Stockholm, Wisconsin, people register on the spot, vote with paper and pencil, and know each other by first name. Meanwhile in New York, an ex-felon votes for the first time at the age of 50, only to learn that his vote is never counted.

Sunday, July 8 at 2pm

REVOLUTION ’67

Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno’s film is an account of events too often relegated to footnotes in U.S. history — the black urban rebellions of the 1960s. Focusing on the six-day Newark, N.J., outbreak in mid-July, voices from across the spectrum — activists Tom Hayden and Amiri Baraka, journalist Bob Herbert, Mayor Sharpe James, and other officials, National Guardsmen and Newark citizens — recall lessons as hard earned then as they have been neglected since. Filmmaker Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno will speak about the film.

Sunday, July 8, 5 p.m.

SNEAK PEAK ROUGH CUT PREVIEW:

KAMP KATRINA

Ashley Sabin and David Redmon’s film about Ms. Pearl — a New Orleans native who converts her backyard into a tent city where 14 displaced people live for 6 months following Hurricane Katrina. She provides construction jobs and basic resources to help them assist in rebuilding the city. The situation gradually goes violently awry and Ms. Pearl is confronted with an array of abuses amidst a broken city. Ashley Sabin and David Redmon will speak about the film.

Friday, July 13, 9p.m.

FOCUS ON DARFUR

As a centerpiece to a multi-disciplinary discussion on genocide in our time, sections of the acclaimed film The Devil Came on Horseback by Annie Sunberg & Ricki Stern, will be screened.  The film exposes the violence and tragedy of the genocide in Darfur using thousands of uncompromising and exclusive photographs taken by former US Marine Captain Brian Steidle during his role as a military observer with the African Union.

Saturday, July 14, 9p.m.

THE GROUND TRUTH

Patricia Foulkrod’s acclaimed film tells the story of ordinary men and women who heeded the call for military service in Iraq, as they experience recruitment and training, combat, homecoming, and the struggle to reintegrate with families and communities. The conflict in Iraq is a prelude for the even more challenging battles fought by the soldiers returning home – with personal demons, an uncomprehending public, and an indifferent government.

Sunday, July 15, 9 p.m.

Comedy_________________________________________________

JULIE GOLDMAN: PREEMPTIVE STRIKE

Julie Goldman may just be the funniest woman alive. This extraordinary comedian, with strong roots in the gay and lesbian communities and the activist world, brings her latest solo show to Women Center Stage.

Friday, July 6, 9 p.m.

LADIES LAUGH LAST:

AN EVENING OF WOMEN COMEDIANS

This gut-busting night of stand up glory features headliner Lizz Winstead of The Daily Show and Air America, along with unforgettable comics Desirea Burch, Negin Farsad, Julie Goldman and Katie Halper

Presented by Women Center Stage and Laughing Liberally

Saturday, July 7, 9 p.m.

Conversations_____________________________________________

BEAUTY ON THE VINE:

THE BEYOND BEAUTY INITIATIVE

From mixed-race identities to extreme plastic surgery, Beauty on the Vine is a modern fable exploring the power of the human face, fundamentalism and parenting.  Fresh from Epic Theatre Center’s successful premiere of  the play, Olivia Wilde leads a reading of Zak Berkman’s new work, which will serve as a catalyst for a conversation about beauty, young women and navigating a world where power and beauty are increasingly blurry and loaded.
Wednesday, June 27, 7 p.m.

THE GATHERING: YOUNG PEOPLE AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE

When our children are being arrested in school for the “crime” of misbehaving, there is a clear failure not only in our school systems, but in our justice system.  Harry Belafonte’s “The Gathering” is a national movement that supports local work in communities throughout the country.  This video presentation and panel discussion will highlight the depth of the problem and offer solutions being introduced in New York City.  Project Director Malia Lazu and Kyung Ji Rhee, of the Prison Moratorium Project, lead a panel of criminal justice activists, youth organizers and young performers to discuss the problems and the work of solving them.

Thursday, June 28, 6:30 p.m.

YP4: YOUNG WOMEN IN POLITICS

YP4, the youth arm of People for the American Way, hosts a panel of young women working in American politics, from holding elected office to campaigning for presidential candidates, engaging in campus activism to leading Young Democrats of America.

Monday, July 2, 7 p.m.

JOY AND PLEASURE

Barbara Ehrenreich and Carol Gilligan join us for a conversation on our stage based on their two books: Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy (Ehrenreich) and The Birth of Pleasure (Gilligan).

Monday, July 9, 7 p.m.

THE ROLE OF INDIVIDUALS IN SOCIAL MOVEMENTS

Samantha Power (2003 Pulitzer Prize) & Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran) discuss the power of the individual in making real change, and Ms. Nafisi’s ‘Republic of Imagination.’

Saturday, July 14, 7 p.m.

SOUTH DAKOTA: REPORTING BACK

Laura Flanders (Air America) hosts a candid and in-depth conversation about organizing initiatives (and lack thereof) to defeat an over-arching abortion ban ballot initiative in South Dakota before, during and after the 2006 elections.

Monday, July 16, 7 p.m.

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