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Care to Drink in Some Theater?

claireChris Caporlingua The characters quaffed beer in “Claire Went to
France.” Now you can, too.

Having trouble getting the boyf to take in some local theater? This might convince him. “The Vitology,” a new three-act comedy from Ben Clawson, Artome Yatsunov, and Scott Cagney – playwright, director, and actor from “Claire Went to France” – involves a drinking game: audience members pick a character and every time the character drinks, they drink, too. The play, which runs July 5 to 14 at Under St. Marks, spans “a decade in the lives of the world’s worst best friends,” per a press release, so expect to take many a sip from the free beer you get with the $18 cost of admission.

And the Strange Dog Theatre Company isn’t the only one plying theatergoers with drinks. Bowery Boogie attended “Speakeasy Dollhouse,” Cynthia von Buhler’s new play about the murder of her saloonkeeper grandfather and found that upon arriving at the former Lower East Side speakeasy where the play takes place, audience members are offered cannolis and “special coffee.”

Go See ‘Claire Went to France’? Abso-arfin-lutely!

claireChris Caporlingua Aliee Chan (l) as the Real Girl, Scott Cagney (c)
as the Dog, and Tony K. Knotts (r) as Johnathon.

“Well. At least I can always kill myself,” says Johnathon, the everyman protagonist of “Claire Went to France,” at the beginning of Ben Clawson’s new play. His anthropomorphic dog ignores the comment and keeps watching TV, and his grandpa continues to play solitaire after complaining about “jokes about things that aren’t funny.”

Much of this play, which turns the cellar-like Under St. Mark’s into Johnathon’s living room and the prism through which we view his dreary life, is exactly that: Johnathon’s ex-girlfriend barrages him with spectacular insults from the closet, his dog tries to convince him to masturbate to waste time, and the grandpa, like some Judge of History, spews grand truths which contradict from moment to moment. Read more…

The Day | Legal Observer Sues NYPD for Arrest on East 13th

Last day at Kate's JointSuzanne Rozdeba

Good morning, East Village.

The Local snapped the above shot a day before longstanding vegetarian spot Kate’s Joint was seized by its landlord yesterday, presumably due to the back rent it owed.

Gothamist reports that a National Lawyers Guild observer is suing the NYPD for wrongfully arresting him on Second Avenue between East 12th and 13th Streets during an Occupy Wall Street march back in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

A real estate broker tells The Voice that you can still get a deal in the East Village. “You could get a small, two-bedroom apartment [in a walk-up], with a kitchen you could cook in for $3,000 a month,” she says. “I’m not saying the rooms are going to be the size of Texas, but I think that’s a bargain. And you have fantastic restaurants.”
Read more…

Five Questions With | GiGi La Femme, Soon to Be a Southern Belle

gigi2Courtesy of GiGi La Femme

Since 2008, East Village audiences have been entertained, even seduced, by the monthly burlesque show “Revealed” at UNDER St. Marks Theater. This Wednesday, the show will come to an end so that producer and performer GiGi La Femme can pack her bags for Nashville after three decades in New York City. (“Not only do I love Nashville,” she explained over e-mail, “but I’ve got a super wonderful man and puppy named Milo waiting for me when I get there.”) Here she reflects on how she started in burlesque, what she’ll miss about the Village, and her plans after the curtain falls.


How did you get your start?


It was in February of 2004 when I saw my first burlesque show with my cousin, Scarlet Sinclair. Shortly thereafter, Scarlet began her journey within the blossoming BurlyQ scene and I tagged along for the ride, supporting her at every show I could get my bottom to. Read more…

Want to See Your Facebook Updates Performed Live? Tell These People!

Blogologues production teamCourtesy of “Blogologues” The “Blogologues” production team from left to right: Assistant director Meredith Hackman, director Megan Loughran, co-producers Allison Goldberg and Jen Jamula, and stage manager Jim Armstrong

When an online phenomenon escapes the bounds of the digital world and emerges IRL (in real life), bloggers are fond of proclaiming “the intertubes are leaking.” “Blogologues,” an upcoming show at Under St. Marks, will turn the spigot and let Internet culture gush out at full flow.

Each month, “Blogologues” will take real Internet postings on a theme and turn them into a stage show. And get this: The producers are taking suggestions from readers of The Local. Have any recommendable tweets, blog posts, even Craigslist ads? Don’t be shy. Leave them in the comments and they may end up being enacted on stage. Read more…

A Theater Turns Hardship Into Hope

DSC_0745Ian Duncan When 94 St. Marks Place was put up for sale, owners of the basement theater launched a campaign to buy the building. Below, Heidi Grumelot and Erez Ziv of Horsetrade, the theater’s owner.
Heidi Grumelot and Erez Ziv at Under St Marks

It was an e-mail message from the blogger EV Grieve that first alerted the Horse Trade performance group that a building that served as the home to one of its theaters was up for sale. The news was a shock to co-founder Erez Ziv and artistic director Heidi Grumelot — and apparently to the landlord, who, they say, was not expecting the brokers to move so quickly. The asking price was just shy of $6 million.

Grieve asked darkly whether the sale would mean the end for the 45-seat theater, but Mr. Ziv sprang into action and Horse Trade is now running a campaign to buy the building for itself and turn it into a haven for theater people — a sort of off-off Broadway bed and breakfast for companies from around the world. There, actors, performers and writers could collaborate, sharing ideas and hatching new projects.

The plan shows the ambition of Horse Trade, a company with influence across New York’s theater world, but which is also in a precarious position shared by many independent theaters in the neighborhood. In the last few years, a number of venues have closed down, shutting off opportunities for new performers and writers to test ideas. But the East Village shows some signs of health — a 2008 study found it was home to only 14 percent of New York’s independent theaters, but 27 percent of the city’s performances.
Read more…