Friday, October 14, 2011

6 Months in Switzerland

Galapagos is sponsoring a six month residency in Switzerland for visual artist and performance art artists (not for playwrights, unfortunately) in New York City. Press release follows.
natural selection: artists in residence

a.i.r. switzerland

Galapagos has partnered with IAAB, the International Exchange and Studio Program of the Canton of Basel, Switzerland, to each year offer an artist from New York City the opportunity to spend six months near Basel, in the Swiss countryside town of Riehen. In turn, we’ll host a Swiss artist here.

The studio is situated in one of the old estate buildings on the “Berowergut,” just next door to the Beyeler Foundation. When the barns located on the “Berowergut” have been renovated and the Kunst Raum Riehen has been installed, the old coach house at the back was converted into a two-storey live-in studio.

This residency program is generously financed by private and public sponsors. The iaab offers a 700 square foot working and living space from January 1st to June 30th 2012, an allowance of $1,200 per month while in Switzerland to cover day to day living costs and a plane ticket to Switzerland with return to New York. In Switzerland the artist will also receive a ‘half tarif’ public transport card for all public transportation in Switzerland… and lots of chocolate!

More info about iaab:

who can apply to the iaab?

The exchange program is open to visual artists all disciplines and performance artists who originate from New York City or have participated regularly at regional exhibitions for more than two years, irrespective of their age and nationality.

application procedure for artists from new york

Galapagos Art Space begins taking applications online October 16th. The deadline for submissions is October 31st 2011. The Jury will study the applications and hold a meeting in the first week of November and will select artists for the second round. Interviews will take place on November 5th. Galapagos will announce the selected artist for 2012 by November 7th.

To apply for the artist residency, please email the following materials to

Completed application (download the Word doc)
Motivation letter
Project description (detailed concept for the project you would realize during your 6 month stay in Basel, 2 pages maximum)
Digital Portfolio that includes your works of the past 2 years (PDF, Letter size, small compression, max 3MB.) If you work with new media /video you can send us links (3 links maximum).
only electronic applications, please. do not call or drop off any materials.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Historian

I am doing research about Hungary for my latest play; perhaps it's more accurate to say I'm doing more research on Hungary for a different play. I assembled a list of novels set in Hungary, and I've just finished reading the first, The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova. It is the best vampire novel since Bram Stoker. Little, Brown published it in 2005, and somehow I missed it the first go round. It travels the world: the US, France, Hungary, Romania, Turkey, Italy, the Netherlands. It's a long read, but totally worth it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


The White House has proclaimed October National Arts and Humanities Month. Via Americans for the Arts:
National Arts and Humanities Month (NAHM) is a coast-to-coast celebration of culture in America. Held every October and coordinated by Americans for the Arts, NAHM is the largest annual celebration of the arts and humanities in the nation. President Obama has issued a White House proclamation that recognizes the value of the arts and humanities and kicks off this month’s celebrations. Within the proclamation, President Obama states:

"Millions of Americans earn a living in the arts and humanities, and the non-profit and for-profit arts industries are important parts of both our cultural heritage and our economy...We must recognize the contributions of the arts and humanities not only by supporting the artists of today, but also by giving opportunities to the creative thinkers of tomorrow. Educators across our country are opening young minds, fostering innovation, and developing imaginations through arts education."

National Arts and Humanities Month Events Map: Learn more about the NAHM events happening nationwide this October. Use this Google Map to post information about your NAHM events and programs by clicking the "add event" link. You can also see what other activities are happening in your community!

Follow Americans for the Arts on Twitter (@Americans4Arts) during October to learn about Creative Conversations and featured events happening in your community and throughout the country.

We've made it easy for you to share this news with your social networks. Just visit our Arts Action Fund page and click on the icons for customizable language you can post directly to Facebook and Twitter!

Help us continue this important work by becoming an official member of the Arts Action Fund. If you are not already a member play your part by joining the Arts Action Fund today -- it's free and simple.

The Acting Studio

The Acting Studio, where I teach, has had two pieces of good news! The first is, alumna Julianna Margulies, won an Emmy in September. And the second is the short film PERRY STREET, directed by Antonio Padovan and starring Catherine Mary Stewart and James Price, aired on Manhattan Cable Channel 67 - Monday, October 10.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Die Dreigroschenoper

My whole life I've wanted to see the Berliner Ensemble. I have been in the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm (big statue of Brecht in the park in front of it- you can't miss it), but they were on vacation for the summer. I had waited many years to see the Moscow Art Theatre as well, and when I saw their Three Sisters at BAM ten year ago I was bitterly disappointed. It was so bad, if it hadn't been the Moscow Art Theatre, I would've left at intermission.
But Friday night I was not disappointed in the Berliner Ensemble's Threepenny Opera directed by Robert Wilson. I wish I'd known when I bought the tickets online that the translation of "partial view" was "you are sitting so far house left, you and your boyfriend will be able to seen none of the three supertitle screens." It wasn't such a big deal for me, but it was for Tom, at over 3 hours. He bore it very graciously.
Other than a weird costume choice for MacHeath (a 70s-like black lounge suit that sparkled) and a poor directorial choice in Act 3 (the scene in the whorehouse was truly endless and nothing happened), it was wonderful. Unlike the last Wilson-directed play I saw (Woyzeck), the design elements a music fed the action, they didn't stop it dead. It was not quickly paced- the first two acts were three hours, but it held together as a whole.
The actors were extraordinary- completely committed in every way. And it was so refreshing to see actors in a musical who looked like people, not models. Particularly good were Stefan Kurt as Macheath, Juergen Holtz and Traute Hoess as the Peachums, Stefanie Stappenback as Polly and Angela Winkler as Jenny (she played Oskar's mother in The Tin Drum).
The other astonishing thing about this production was the music. I know the score very well- I can sing Blitzstein's or Mannheim's translations (or both) of every single song. But somehow with these voices and the musical director of Hans-Joern Brandenburg and Stefan Rager, every song was like you'd never heard it before. Charles Isherwood's review didn't exaggerate at all.
The photos are by Sarah Krulwich for the New York Times. Link to Charles Isherwood's review above.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Franz Kafka Gets the Capra Treatment

About ten years ago, I saw "Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life" for the first time. It was an extra added onto a rented videocassette. It was so funny, I watched it multiple times before returning it to the video store (sadly gone now).
It's now on DVD ("Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life and other strange tales"), with three other comedic shorts, among them a strange two-hander written by Lewis Black, "The Deal". Peter Capaldi wrote and directed. Kafka (Richard E. Grant. looking unbelievably young) is struggling over his newest short story, in a rented room far above the streets of Prague. The set actually looks like one of Egon Schiele's paintings of Csesky Krumlov. But his landlady is having a loud party, the novelty store has delivered to the wrong apartment, and a weird scissors grinder who has lost his pet ("Jiminy, Jiminy Cockroach."). I can't think of anything that deserved an Oscar more.

The Tiger Play

Ever since we closed "Mi Tigre, My Lover" at the end of June at Open Source Gallery, I have been doing two things: researching the full-length version, and hunting for money to produce it.
The new character in the play (now called "The Tiger Play"; Tom said to me at one point, "You know it's 'The Tiger Play.'" And there's nothing Spanish about it, so the title just seemed weird) is Louis Roth, Mabel's second or third husband. He was a Hungarian farm boy obsessed with the U.S., and his parents allowed him to come here at the age of 13.
Today, I finished reading his autobiography, Forty Years of Jungle Killers, at the Science & Business Library in the basement of the old B. Altman's building. And I have no more excuses left to not write.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Feast of Saint Francis

I recently changed churches, for many reasons, not the least of which was the commute. So I am no longer a member of the Church of the Holy Trinity on East 88th Street in Manhattan, I am now a member of Grace Church Brooklyn. I belonged to Grace Church in Manhattan for many years, and was married there, so I appreciate the irony that I now am at the church founded because Grace Church Manhattan was too difficult a commute once they moved up to Tenth Street.
Our schedules last Sunday were too difficult to get Augie to church to be blessed at the 5:00 PM service (and I think he could use it), but there's coverage on the Brooklyn Heights blog (link above).