Arts Watch: La MaMa Hosts Christmas in Nickyland

Christmas in Nickyland. Photo: Courtesy La MaMa E.T.C

Just in time for the holidays, Nicky Paraiso, longtime Director of Programming at The Club at La MaMa dons his Santa hat to become the Master of Ceremonies for the ultimate holiday cabaret show, Christmas in Nickyland. Yes, Nicky is taking the stage–and it’s a good thing too!  A prolific actor in the downtown theater and performance scene since 1979, Nicky’s critically acclaimed one-man shows have played to packed houses at La MaMa ETC, Dixon Place, PS122, Dance Theater Workshop and on tour.  For nearly ten years, he toured throughout the United States, Europe and Japan as a member of Meredith Monk/The House and Vocal Ensemble. (I am happy to report that I toured with him once to Budapest with Yoshiko Chuma and the School of Hard Knocks).

Arts Watch: Ping Chong’s ‘Undesirable Elements Festival’ Comes to La Mama

Photo: Jamie Young/Arts Engage, Syracuse University

Internationally acclaimed theater director, playwright, video and installation artist Ping Chong brings his landmark Undesirable Elements Festival: Real People. Real Lives. Real Theater to La Mama for three weeks beginning on Thursday, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this compelling oral history theater series.

Known as a seminal figure in the interdisciplinary theater (also known as multi-media) community, Chong uses Undesirable Elements to explore issues of culture, difference, and community. Since its birth in 1992, as part of a visual art installation he was creating for Artist Space, he has created nearly 50 moving productions that have given voice to specific communities. To create each piece, local participants tell of their lives and experiences, often for the first time. Scripts are based on these interviews with these participants, who then tell their stories in the final production.