PS122’s Mobile Walking Tour Debuts Tomorrow


Performance Space 122’s building on East 9th Street has been under renovation for the past three years. While it’s not expected to reopen until next year, there’s an opportunity tomorrow to connect with the venerable art institution’s history.

There’s a kickoff event at 2 p.m. for a new self-guided smartphone walking tour. Here’s a blurb:

Performance Space 122’s Mobile Walking Tour connects the history of performance with the history of our neighborhood through a free self-guided mobile tour. Users are led to several locations around the Lower East Side which were each home to seminal moments in performance history. Each location features site-specific video content playable on your smartphone discoverable via links marked by a chalked stencil design and can be navigated through the mobile site… Featuring interviews from prominent artists and curators reflecting on the unique history of the East Village such as John Collins, Jack Ferver, Dean Moss, Katherine Profeta, Salley May, Mark Russell, Kaneza Schaal, Lucy Sexton and more!

Featured on the tour, which will be available all this month are:

A bit more background via a piece yesterday in the New York Times:

Vallejo Gantner, PS122’s artistic director, worries that young artists don’t know that the organization is part of the East Village, and neither will some of its neighbors when it reopens, which it expects to do next year. He doesn’t want it to seem, he said, as if “we parachuted in.” … The challenge is to talk about the artistic exploration that has happened there, but “in a way that is not just about nostalgia.” He would like to see PS122 remain the “hub of an innovative, generative culture,” even if East Village rents mean fewer of its artists live around the corner. “That ethos doesn’t have to die just because the neighborhood’s changed,” he said. “Because that’s the thing that made it interesting, and will make it interesting in the future.”
RSVP is required to attend tomorrow’s kickoff. More info about the tour here.  The event is part of Lower East Side History Month. Several other LES walking tours are being offered over the weekend. Here’s a summary.

Review: Avant-Garde-Arama is Alive and Well

Tom Murrin in Full Moon blue glitter. Photograph ©2013 Jim Moore/

Tom Murrin in Full Moon blue glitter. Photograph ©2013 Jim Moore/

As a long-time fan of PS122’s Avant-Garde-Arama and Tom Murrin’s Full Moon shows, I was eager to catch the tribute show held at Abrons Arts Center last weekend.

Avant-Garde-Arama: New Moon was put together as a celebration of sorts, dedicated to Murrin, a downtown luminary and performance artist (aka “The Alien Comic”), who passed away last March after a long illness. Tom never missed an A.G.A. – he performed in them for 27 years. His own Full Moon shows, performed on every full moon at PS 122, were infamous for their outrageous antics and zany rituals performed by Tom’s imaginary friend and creation, the lunar goddess, “Luna Macaroona.”

In keeping with the times, Lori E. Seid’s Lesbian Love Lounge was virtual. But everything else about the show felt familiar and in keeping with its origins nearly thirty years ago as the anything-goes downtown variety show—just as long as the ‘anything’ was under eight minutes long.

New Moon Tribute to ‘Alien Comic’ Tom Murrin

Tom Murrin Blue Glitter Dress. Photo: Jim Moore

Tom Murrin Blue Glitter Dress. Photo: Jim Moore

If you recall, I wrote about the untimely passing of Tom Murrin, aka the Alien Comic, here on The Lo-down last March. Thankfully, his spirit lives on (not that it’s been forgotten) in PS 122’s Avant-Garde-Arama: New Moon tribute at Abrons Arts Center this weekend.

Tom was ‘avant-garde’ way before PS 122 popularized the phrase in its long running variety show.  He was a first generation La MaMa playwright in the ’60s, penning plays with titles like “Cockstrong” and “Butt Crack Bingo.”  In the ’70s and early ’80s he performed as “Tom ‘Trash’ Murrin” (often on the street for unsuspecting passers-by). Props were his thing—Tom could animate any object — hence the “trash” moniker. From this, the Alien Comic was born and soon Tom was performing his hilarious antics around town, including at many long lost East Village rock clubs and venues such as CBGBs, Max’s Kansas City, 8BC, and King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut. Ah, the good old days when a night out meant more than just a fancy meal and specialty cocktail.

Under The Radar Festival Comes to Dixon Place

Your Brother at Dixon Place as part of The Public's Under The Radar Festival 2011

Dixon Place has been included as an official venue for The Public’s Under the Radar Festival this year. Now in it’s seventh season, the theater festival has quickly become known as one of the best around. The lineup includes experimental and multi-media work from local and international artists, including comedian Reggie Watts, performer Suzan-Lori Parks and companies from as far reaching as Belarus.