Friday, May 8, 2009

14th Annual Lower East Side Festival of the Arts

Today's Good News Item is from Bob Lasko, publicist for Theater for the New City's Festival:

NEW YORK CITY'S MOST ECLECTIC FREE 3-DAY ARTS FESTIVAL
NOW IN ITS 14TH YEAR at THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY!

Theater for the New City presents
THE 14th ANNUAL LOWER EAST SIDE (LES) FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS

Friday-Sunday, May 22, 23 & 24 (Memorial Day Weekend)

FREE—Theatre, Music, Dance, Puppetry, Poetry, Film, Cultural Fair and more FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY!

Some of the sparkling talent and companies set to participate include: JAZZ LEGEND DAVID AMRAM, TALK-SHOW LEGEND JOE FRANKLIN, THE LIVING THEATRE'S JUDITH MALINA, VINIE BURROWS, TAYLOR MEAD, PHOEBE LEGERE, THE LOVE SHOW,NEW YORK THEATRE WORKSHOP, ROD ROGERS DANCE COMPANY, TRASHED ON FICTION,JUDY GORMAN, LA MAMA, JOE'S PUB, THE MARIANA BECKERMAN DANCE COMPANY, DADA NEW YORK, THE BANGLADESH THEATER OF AMERICA, KINDING SINDAW DANCE COMPANY, AND MANY OTHERS AND MANY NEW UP AND COMING COMPANIES.

Plus, excerpts from Theater for the New City's recent hits and upcoming shows; new works from writers EDUARDO MACHADO, BARBARA KAHN, LISSA MOIRA, and LARRY MYERS, and much more!

The complete lineup and schedule will be posted online at www.theaterforthenewcity.net

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THE 14th ANNUAL LOWER EAST SIDE (LES) FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS will bring together under one roof in just three days over 100 performing arts organizations, local and international celebrities, independent artists, poets, puppeteers, film makers and many others -- all of whom reside, work or have their roots in the culturally diverse, willfully anarchistic Lower East Side -- for New York City's most diverse FREE 3-day festival, from Friday, May 22 through Sunday, May 24, at Theater for the New City (155 1st Avenue, between E. 9th and 10th Sts.) in Manhattan.

The 3-day, indoor and outdoor festival of the arts is organized by Theater for the New City and a coalition of civic, cultural and business leaders, and is FREE to all New Yorkers and visitors. THE LOWER EAST SIDE FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS was founded in 1996 to demonstrate the creative explosion of Manhattan's Lower East Side and the area's importance to the culture and tourism of New York City. Last year's festival attracted more than 3,000 people.

"Art: A Necessity for Life in Good Times and Bad Times" is the theme of the 14th Annual LES FESTIVAL. All weekend events celebrate the rich history of Theater for the New City and the Lower East Side which have embraced all genres of the arts and nurtured artists, including George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Yip Harburg, Eddie Candor, Molly Picon, Eugene O'Neill, Mark Twain, and countless others, who have live and created in New York, in poverty and in wealth. The LES FESTIVAL, which continues to offer its events FREE, is a time to remember the past and continue their tradition by continuing to create.

This year's participants, representing the unique ethnic and cultural diversity of the Lower East Side, include an eclectic mix of talent, including Jazz legend David Amram; legendary talk show host Joe Franklin; The Living Theater's Judith Malina; Taylor Mead, Phoebe Legere, Broadway actress Vinie Burrows, folksinger Judy Gorman; downtown favorites Epstein & Hassan (The Black & The Jew), clown The Red Bastard (a.k.a. Eric Davis); theatre and dance companies such as Rod Rodgers Dance Company, Joe's Pub, La MaMa E.T.C., DADA NY, New York Theater Workshop, The Mariana Bekerman Dance Company, the Bangladesh Theatre of America, Kinding Sindaw Dance Company and many more. Plus, there will be new works by established and rapidly rising playwrights including Eduardo Machado, Barbara Kahn, Lissa Moira, Larry Myers, and others to be announced.

Events, from Friday, May 22 through Sunday, May 245, are FREE, open to all, and take place within two theater spaces at Theater for the New City (155 1st Avenue, between E. 9th and 10th Streets) and along East 10th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues.

Additional attractions throughout the 3-day event include film, and multimedia, dance, poetry, puppetry, musicians, readings, theater pieces that reflect the LES life, and an art installation, representing some of New York's most original fine artists.

Participants include artists presently residing on the Lower East Side, arts groups performing in the area, prominent writers and artists whose work has dealt directly with the Lower East Side experience, and emerging playwrights who have written original works specifically for the festival.

Festivities kick off on Friday, May 22 at Theater for the New City at 6pm, with performances hosted by Theater for the New City Artistic Director Crystal Field, Alberto Minero, Susan Gittens, and Sol Escheverria; followed by cabaret, music, comedy and eclectic acts, hosted by actor Robert Fitzsimmons.

On Saturday, May 23, THE 14th ANNUAL LOWER EAST SIDE FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS offers a day-long block party, hosted by composer/satirist Richard West, featuring performances from musicians, singers, belly and flamenco dancers, comics, poets and more, as well as a community Arts Fair with food and crafts vendors. Additional ttractions on Saturday afternoon will emphasize performances with and by kids and tweens, hosted by performer John Grimaldi curated by actor and teacher the talented Primy Rivera and Lily Burd.

Another highlight on Saturday, May 23 is the LES Film Festival. Francesse M. Maingrette hosts screenings of full-length features, shorts, and animation about the Lower East Side and its inhabitants, or created by local filmmakers.

On Sunday, May 24, playwright and poet Lissa Moira hosts a poetry and performance tribute to Jushi, a late poet, musician, performance artist and longtime supporter of The LES Festival whose memory lives in the work of today's artists.

THE 14th ANNUAL LOWER EAST SIDE FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS features performances for and by kids, and performers with disabilities. Additionally, the distinct ethnic communities of the Lower East Side are amply represented, including the Latin American, African American, Chinese, Indian, Irish, Italian, Jewish, Native American, Polish and Ukrainian communities.

THE 14th ANNUAL LOWER EAST SIDE FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS runs in and around Theater for the New City (155 1st Avenue, between E. 9th and 10th Streets) throughout Memorial Day weekend: Friday, May 22, 6pm-1am; Saturday, May 23, 10am-1am (10am-6pm - Cultural Fair, outside on East 10th Street between 1st and Second Avenues; 2pm-5pm - Performances for kids and by kids, inside Theater for the New City); and Sunday, May 24, 6pm-1am.

All events are FREE and open to the public. For additional information and a full performance schedule, please call Theater for the New City at 212-254-1109 or visit www.theaterforthenewcity.net.

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