Archive for Dixon Place

Bindle, Bramble, Baby, Bumpus

Posted in Acrobats and Daredevils, Circus, Contemporary Variety, PLUGS, Vaudephones with tags , , on March 4, 2014 by travsd


We stopped by Dixon Place last night to tape a couple of Vaudephones with company members of Bindlestiff Family Cirkus during the exciting preparatory moments before their monthly open mike showcase. Be sure to catch their 20th anniversary mainstage cabaret show at the Brooklyn Lyceum March 13-16!



Last Night’s “Chorus Girls” Opening

Posted in Contemporary Variety, EXHIBITIONS & LECTURES, ME, Music, PLUGS, SOCIAL EVENTS, VISUAL ART, Women with tags , , on February 6, 2014 by travsd
The Calm before the Storm

The Calm before the Storm

Much joyous celebration, crazy talent and carousing with friends at the opening of Carolyn Raship’s “Chorus Girls” exhibition at Dixon Place last night. Not only are Carolyn’s works amazing to look at all of a piece in a public setting, but so many good friends came out to see what was, act for act, one of the most pleasant nights of musical entertainment I’ve ever enjoyed.


The artist's forehead in foreground. I was so busy capturing the show I forgot to snap the woman of the hour. I hope someone did and can send one our way!

The artist’s forehead in foreground. I was so busy capturing the show that apart from this I forgot to snap the woman of the hour!

I take rotten pictures, everyone looks like I have the palsy and I swear my hand wasn’t even shaking. Maybe the accuracy of my camera is catching planetary wobble? At any rate, I’ve supplemented my own with ones from friends who were there. (And if you were there and took some, we’d be grateful if you could share!)

The show was hosted by the astounding force of nature Killy Mockstar Dwyer who also performed her funny ribald songs. I learn something about working a crowd every time I watch her

The show was hosted by the astounding force of nature Killy Mockstar Dwyer who also performed her funny ribald songs. I learn something about working a crowd every time I watch her

Charming Disaster

Charming Disaster

Sarah Engelke, temporarily (I think) calling themselves "The Bonnets"

Sarah Engelke and Jamie Zillitto, temporarily (I think) calling themselves “The Bonnets”

Anna Copacabanna. Photo by Michele Carlo. Michele has a steadier hand than me -- you'll know it when she smacks ya one in the mouth!

Anna Copacabanna. Photo by Michele Carlo. Michele has a steadier hand than me — you’ll know it when she smacks ya one in the mouth!

The artist speaks about her work and the ladies who inspired it. Photo by Michele Carlo

The artist speaks about her work and the ladies who inspired it. Photo by Michele Carlo

And Jody Christopherson and friend came and performed too! (Didn’t get a photo)

Even if you missed the opening you still have plenty of opportunity to see Carolyn’s work — it’s up at Dixon Place through February 22.

“The Penalty” Opens Tomorrow

Posted in Indie Theatre, Movies, PLUGS, Silent Film with tags , , , , , , on June 12, 2013 by travsd


Here’s an extremely interesting project opening tomorrow night, written by Clay McCleod Chapman; based on the Lon Chaney film and the novel on which that was based, and starring a cast that includes people with disabilities. Details are below.

Special Preview Night! Thursday, June 13th at 7:30pm
$10 (general admission)

JUNE 14 & 15, 21 & 22, 28 & 29 at 7:30pm


Directed by KRIS THOR
Starring: Gregg Mozgala, Sarah Buffamanti & Phillip Taratula 

$15 (advance), $18 (door), $12 (stu / sen) or TDF

Buy Your Tickets on Ovation!

What would you sacrifice to be made whole?

New York City. 1920. A legless beggar pleads with the oncoming foot-traffic for spare change. Barely a nickel comes his way. But what these pedestrians don’t know is—this deformed derelict at their heels is none other than Blizzard, kingpin to the seedy underbelly of the Lower East Side. With an army of dancing girls at his beck and call, Blizzard is hell-bent on executing his master plan: Get his revenge against the prominent doctor who left him in this condition—and against the city that could’ve cared less. 3 People. 4 Legs. 1 Game of Revenge.

The Penalty features an ensemble cast, integrated with able-bodied and actors with disabilities with songs by composer Robert M. Johanson (Nature Theatre Of Oklahoma’s Life and Times Episodes 1-4). The Penalty is inspired by the novel of the same name by Gouverneur Morris, and its film adaptation, starring Lon Chaney, written by Charles Kenyon and directed by Wallace Worsley.

More info here:

Victoria Libertore: No Need for Seduction

Posted in CRITICISM/ REVIEWS, Drag and/or LGBT, Indie Theatre, Women with tags , , on May 12, 2013 by travsd

NoNeedForSeduction-Victoria Libertore  - PhotogJimMoore-1[1]

By the way, that photo above is by Jim R. Moore

I hope I’m not dating myself for loving Victoria Libertore’s work as much as I do and for the reasons I do. When I first came to this city, her brand of autobiographical solo work was branded “performance art”. I haven’t heard the term in a long time, mostly because everyone has come to acknowledge that it is what sensible heads always said it was — theatre. But yes, it has aspects of other art forms and other methods of discourse. Autobiography is certainly a non-fiction form; but so is biography, and biographical plays get done all the time. And Vic’s work (much like the late Spalding Gray’s) could also sit comfortably on a shelf containing “humor” alongside more literary figures from Mark Twain to Sarah Vowell, although her work often takes turns for the darker.

Whatever it is, it reminds me of the late 80s, when a lot of such work was being done. At the time I thought I hated it but now I realize I only hated most of it because I hate most of everything, as is the lot of the critical personality. I certainly didn’t hate masters like Spalding Gray or Karen Finley, for example. And then I begin to see a good rationale for calling it performance art. The material being presented to the audience is the artist herself. Not just her story, but her totality: her personality, her body, her intelligence, her charm. The experience sinks or swims on whether you like or care for the person standing right in front of you on stage. That’s something you’re born with, like a fingerprint, or a part in the hair. The line between self-indulgence and generosity has to do with a value judgment on the audience’s part as to whether you the performance artist are giving us your life…or you are stealing an hour or two of ours. And unless you are absolutely fascinating in every respect, the latter has always got to be the case.

Fortunately, Libertore is fascinating in every respect. Walking in, the Duchess and I were like, “This’ll probably be about an hour long”. Going home, we noticed the show had lasted nearly two. Not only didn’t I notice or mind, but was sad to see it end. One can watch Libertore and watch her and watch her. Not because she is attractive to look at (which she undoubtedly is) but because she behaves with the class and gravity and self-assurance of a stage veteran. She already seems like a giant to me, though I get the sense that she is also at the beginning stages of a journey that will make her even more of one. (Her audience is now almost entirely LGBT, and that mostly — like her — L. As someone who is none of those things, I think the power of her work is universal and she can pack in people of every orientation, who will be addicted once they discover her).

The present piece No Need for Seduction is centered around a marriage proposal on a vacation with her lover to Bali, and all the issues it dredges up: commitment, loyalty, honesty, guilt, doubt, fear. Hoo boy, it really should be required viewing for the red state people who seem to have such a deep hatred for something they clearly know nothing about. One of them (sadly, inevitably) is the artist’s father, who has that and a few worse sins to atone for, even within his own scheme of the world’s moral architecture.

One of the countless reasons the journey Vic takes us on is so watchable is that she is so tough and strong and funny. When hitting inevitable rough patches in her story, she never begs for sympathy. In the worst performance art I used to see back in the day, the artist would pump up crocodile tears and bawl on cue night after night about their own misfortunes. It turned my stomach, but it always seemed to work on the rabble around me in the audience. Vic, by contrast, involuntarily broke into tears a couple of times on opening night — and then employed a little humorous and original strategy she’d clearly devised to steer herself out of the predicament. The woman’s eye is on the ball. Her objective is to tell an important, moving and entertaining story. It is not to cry. Furthermore, she is the last thing from a Saint and is adamant about telling us so in her self-deprecating way. (Such people, in my view, stand a much better chance of becoming one).

The piece is very well written, structurally tying together many disparate elements (sex, phobias, death) in a way that is not forced but organic and really works. And the fabric that overlays that skeleton, full of vivid and juicy detail, is so enjoyable you don’t want it to stop. Like the gregarious storyteller that she is, Vic goes on many digressions, but (and I paid careful attention) they were always germane, always led back to the theme. In fact, everything reflected back to the point, including the little Kali face Vic makes when she enters the stage, which at first just seems like she’s just sticking out her tongue. (So kudos too to director/ dramaturg Leigh Fondakowski).

Lastly, to return to my opening sentence, about dating myself. I can’t believe I hear myself saying this (as I increasingly do) but it’s awfully nice to see some work for a change that’s mature, that’s about something, that’s by and for adults. It’s really nice (depressingly refreshing, in fact) to spend two hours in the company of someone who thinks and feels and cares for essences as much as much as forms. It is the ability to do so that explains the play’s title. But you’ll have to see the show to truly understand. I advise you to do so. It’s at Dixon Place through May 25. Tickets and info are here.

And here’s a cool video interview with Victoria and Vaudevisuals’ Jim Moore right here:

Last Night’s Event

Posted in BOOKS & AUTHORS, Hollywood (History), Movies, Silent Film, SOCIAL EVENTS with tags , on April 11, 2013 by travsd

DP talk

Thanks to one and all who came out to Dixon Place for our Chain of Fools launch event. I was so grateful to all those who braved the rains to come out.

It proved to be a veritable who’s who of today’s silent comedy community and their supporters! (Some day that’ll mean something). Why, there were Ben Model and Steve Massa of the Silent Clowns Film SeriesMichael Haar of East Village Radio’s Ragged Phonograph Program…friend Chris Robinson (a curator for Telluride and Turner Classic Movie film festivals)…Jim Moore of vaudevisuals.comChristopher Michael of (all the way from England)… commedia dell’arte professor  Stanley Allen Sherman… clown Jeff SealDavid Carlyon (author of Dan Rice: The Most famous Man You’ve Never Heard Of)…comedian Bob GreenbergHope Cartelli of Piper Mckenzie Productions, along with her sister-in-law Parisian chanteuse Angela Lewonczyk,Martin and Rochelle Denton of nytheatre.comGavin Starr Kendall of the Bad Film Festival… Adam McGovern of,, artist Yoichiro Yoda, et al, and a whole mess of theatrical friends like Edward Einhorn of UTC #61 and his fiance Connie Wu… Gaby Schaffer and Nick Fracaro Lorinne Lampert and Francis Heaney… Catherine Porter of DP and PWP, and others including many civilians.

And of course the indispensable Duchess, who was riding high on a day that included news about a new gallery show of her work and a new production of one of her plays. She obliged us by taking these swell snaps of the event. And, look! It has the same color scheme and lighting as Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather trilogy!

Host Makes Face. Schaffer to the right

Host Makes Face. Schaffer to the right

with Ben Model

with Ben Model

Haar and Host in Hats

Haar and Host in Hats

Cartelli, Starr Kendall, Lewonzyck

Cartelli, Starr Kendall, Lewonzyck

stanley etc

Michael and guest, Heaney, Sherman, Lampert

Chain of Fools Launch Event and Early Press

Posted in BOOKS & AUTHORS, Clown, Comedy, ME, Movies, My Shows, PLUGS, Silent Film, SOCIAL EVENTS with tags , , on April 8, 2013 by travsd
Please Join Us For the FREE Chain of Fools Launch Event
Wednesday, April 10, 7:30-9:30 pm
in the Dixon Place Lounge
Trav S.D. launches his new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube
with a FREE screening of new, original silent comedies made by himself (with Hilary Chaplain),
Piper McKenzie Productions (Hope Cartelli & Jeff Lewonczyk),
Jeff Seal, Jim Moore, and
(all the way from England) Christopher Michael, et al!
Film screening to be followed by a book signing and celebration!
Dixon Place is at 161A Chrystie Street (go here for directions and additional info)
* Please go here for an excellent interview about the origins of the book on Cultureradar with Michael Criscuolo
* Please go here for our first rave, by Scott Stiffler in the Community Media family of papers
* And here for a swell plug by Martin Denton at
Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, by Trav S.D. is now available to order through Bear Manor Media (
About the book: Chain of Fools traces the art of slapstick comedy from its pre-cinema origins in the ancient pantomime through its silent movie heyday in the teens and twenties, then on to talkies, television, and the internet. Author Trav S.D. mixes a wicked wit, a scholar’s curiosity, and a keen critical appreciation for laugh-makers through the ages, from classical clowns like Joseph Grimaldi to comedy kings like Mack Sennett, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton…to more recent figures, from Red Skelton, Sid Caesar and Ernie Kovacs to Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey and Steve Carell…all the way down to the teenagers on YouTube whose backyard antics bring us full circle to slapstick’s beginnings. This valentine to the great clowns contains enough insights and surprises to open the eyes of even life-long comedy fans.
About the Author:  Writer and performer Trav S.D. is best known for his 2005 book No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous. He has contributed to the New York Times, American Theater, the Village Voice, Time Out New York, The New York Sun, Reason, and many other publications. A frequent radio guest and public speaker, his voice has been heard on the Leonard Lopate Show (WNYC), The Sound of Young America (NPR), The Joey Reynolds Show (WOR), Cat Radio Café (WBAI), the Halli Casser-Jayne Show and a dozen others throughout the country . Since 2008, he has also written the popular arts and culture blog Travalanche(
To learn about this or other BearManor Media titles, please visit their website at Soon to be available also through Ingram and as well.

A NY Christmas Panto

Posted in HOLIDAYS, FESTIVALS, MEMORIALS & PARADES, Indie Theatre, PLUGS with tags , on December 21, 2012 by travsd



Dixon Place presents

An Xmas Panto for NYC



Musical Direction by MICHAEL HOPEWELL
Choreographed by MITCHELL WAYNE
Costume Design by JENNY GREEN
Lighting Design by KIA ROGERS
Sound Design by ALDO PEREZ
Projection Design by LUCIA J LEE
Videographer: JIYE KIM
Wardrobe Mistress BILLIE AKEN-TYERS
Assistant Stage Manager VANESSA VILLALOBOS
Marketing Assistant LAYSHA DURAN
Press Representative LANIE ZIPOY
Produced by The OPTimistiks

Advanced purchase:
\$16 general admission, $15 groups (8 or more), $12 stu / sen
At the door: 
$18 general admission, $15 stu / sen

Buy Your Tickets on Ovation!

PLEASE NOTE: advance tickets must be picked up 10 minutes before the listed show time to be guaranteed a seat.

Madrat Merdock/Hooray Henry – JAMES PARKS
Dick Whittington – AIMEE WHELAN
Mayor Gloomburg – WILL SHAW
Ratatouie – CAROL SIRUGO
Entourage – LAYSHA DURAN

 Panto is an historic staple of British popular theatre that has never successfully crossed the Pond. It is family-orientated satire using certain stock characters and traditions (including cross-dressing, interactivity and music) to retell a fable in a more recognizable setting. The OPTimistiks are bringing this culturally & socially harmonizing feature of the British stage to New York, with a contemporary rendition of Dick Whittington; here a poor, upstate boy follows his star to NYC where he crosses paths with the scheming Sara Pain and bungling Mayor Gloomberg in a quest for success on Simon Trouser’s P-Factor Talent

Tales from Beyond the Pale Tonight

Posted in BOOKS & AUTHORS, Horror (Mostly Gothic), Indie Theatre, PLUGS, Radio with tags , , on October 2, 2012 by travsd

GLASS EYE PIX, in association with FEAR-MONGERS

TONIGHT, Tuesday October 2nd at 9:30 PM


by Joe Maggio (Bitter Feast, Man on the Ledge)LIKE FATHER LIKE SON
by Clay McLeod Chapman (Henley, Rest Area)

Get your tickets now. Tickets now available for TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE LIVE at DIXON PLACE:

Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door, $10 students / seniors.

Glass Eye Pix, the fiercely independent film company behind STAKE LAND, THE INNKEEPERS and I SELL THE DEAD, in association with Clay McLeod Chapman’s FEAR-MONGERS: FIRESIDE CHATS ABOUT HORROR FILMS, is taking its successful audio dramas TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE out of the studio and onto the stage.

A new twist on the vintage radio shows of yesteryear, Larry Fessenden and Glenn McQuaid’s TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE has already thrilled fans of the macabre with it’s first season of creepy dramas released last year. Now they are upping the ante and recording 8 original audio shows before a live audience.

Journey beyond the pale the first four Tuesdays in October as Fessenden and Co. present a double-bill of original genre stories performed by an exciting cast of special guests, and featuring live music, live foley, and live sound effects by a team of audio artisans. A feast for eyes and ears.

Feature the voice talents of: Sean Young, Michael Cerveris, Vincent D’Onofrio, James Le Gros, Mark Margolis and MANY MANY others!

With live music from Natalia Paruz (The Saw Lady), Dave Eggar (Cello), Julian Maile (Theremin) and Fall on Your Sword; live sound effects by John Moros and live foley from Shaun Brennan.

Each performance will be recorded and made available online to fans who can’t attend the live events. Plans to produce new studio-based Tales are also underway; the live and studio recordings will be collected and made available as Season 2 of Tales from Beyond the Pale. Season 1 is already available at Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.

Carousel Tonight!

Posted in Indie Theatre, PLUGS, VISUAL ART with tags , , on September 12, 2012 by travsd

Why I’ve Been Pinching Myself

Posted in Indie Theatre, ME, Melodrama and Master Thespians, PLUGS with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2012 by travsd

Drawing by Carolyn Raship

Wednesday night at Dixon Place, Theatre Askew will be presenting a workshop  production of a section of my play The Fickle Mistress, about the original “Naked Lady” Adah Isaacs Menken. I’ve known Askew’s director Tim Cusack since the Todo Con Nada days….I first saw him in Ian W. Hill’s production of Ten Nights in a Bar-Room, and later he played a villainous priest in my play Columbia the Germ of the Ocean at Chashama (2002). We have always bonded over our mutual admiration for the Theatre of the Ridiculous. I have much enjoyed (and written about) several of Askew’s productions:  I, Claudius (which I reviewed for Time Out New York); Busted (a.k.a A Night in the Tombs), which I wrote about in my Villager column; and Cornbury, reviewed right here. So this is the first mega-positive. It’s a wonderful feeling to be produced by a company whose work you so admire.

But that’s just the beginning! The cast includes Everett Quinton, heir apparent to Charles Ludlam, OBIE-award winner, and the performer of a scene-stealing turn in the Quentin Tarantino-Oliver Stone collaboration Natural Born Killers. Every so often during a rehearsal I look over and it sinks in that he’s actually doing my play. It is surreal indeed.

But wait, there’s more. Also in the cast is another  OBIE winner, actress Jan Leslie Harding (she won for her performance in Mac Wellman’s Sincerity Forever in 1990). Jan also starred in Julie Taymor’s Green Bird on Broadway and had a principal role in Hal Hartley’s 1997 movie Henry Fool . 

Jan also appeared in Ruth Margraff’s Red Frogs, directed by Elyse Singer. Elyse is someone else whose work I’ve admired for a long time, starting with her revival of Mae West’s play Sex in 1999 ( which I wrote about for American Theatre magazine. Go here for that artifact). And Elyse’s co-production of Beebo Brinker is the very first review I wrote for Travalanche, my second post ever. It is here.) In addition to being a terrific director, she’s also a scholar; her research on West and Eva Tanguay was hugely helpful to me on No Applause). So I’m beyond thrilled that she is bringing her prodigious talents to bear on the current play, and that she brought with her Chuck Montgomery (Chuck, like Jan not only appeared in Henry Fool but in several productions at the legendary Cucaracha theatre, of which you will find many fond memories here). I’ve never forgotten Chuck’s performance in Elyse’s production of Sex — not because he had any Hamlet moments, but because he has excellent stage presence, the kind of face and voice you associate with old-school Hollywood.

So what are we up to now? Five extremely classy artists. And we haven’t even gotten up to the star yet! Molly Pope is just that:  a bona fide star. Time Out New York loves her, calling her “a downtown retro-diva” and the “next best thing of 1963″. The Village Voice’s Michael Musto recently devoted a whole “Rising Star” column to her here. This is a lot of freight to lay on her but it really is like watching a young Streisand or Bette Midler: terrific acting and comic chops, and a big brassy Broadway voice (and rest assured we’ve got her singing a couple of songs — some of them  quite dirty). This is a big personality and we’re so fortunate to have her at this moment — in a few months we’ll probably have to book her through William Morris, if we can come up with the 5 gs!

Rounding out the cast is Karl O’Brien Williams, artistic director of the Caribbean performing arts organization Braata Productions and a drama professor at BMMC; and Natalie Paul, who just finished Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Acting Program. No slouches either!

To find out how you can see all these amazing people, go here!

And to hear me, Tim and Elyse speak talk about the production with’s Martin Denton go here. 


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,350 other followers

%d bloggers like this: