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Arts Watch: Summertime Festivals on the LES

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Summer is here and so are the summer festivals. This week two of them kick off on the LES: the undergroundzero festival begins on Friday the 29th, and Dixon Place’s HOT Festival revs up on Sunday, July 1st.

Created originally as an annual guest artist festival at Collective: Unconscious in 2007, the month-long undergroundzero festival has evolved into a “resident coalition of established independent theater companies producing in New York City,” including the Living Theater, which will act as this year’s host.

Friday’s lineup will include A Brief History of Avant Garde Theater, with Columbia University professor Arnold Aronson and the Living Theatre’s Judith Malina, followed by The NEA 4 Revisiteda discussion with members of the original NEA 4 — Karen Finley and Holly Hughes, and former NEA theatre program director Gigi Bolt — on politics, art and the culture wars.  Later in the evening, join in a free celebration with festival artists at the opening party, complete with DJ and video art.

Dixon Place’s HOT Festival turns 21 this year and to celebrate this milestone, they’re kicking off the festival with a First Annual Tea Dance! All artists, friends & fans—come one come all, the more the merrier, are invited to kick off this beloved festival of queer performance.  HOT highlights include triple threat composer, writer and lyricist, Dan Fishback’s pop musical The Material World, about a family of socialist Jews in the 1920s who live in a house with Madonna and Britney Spears, and Gomez & Tropicana Do Jan Brewer—comedian Marga Gomez and performance artist Carmelita Tropicana’s take on Latino sexual myth, drag, and anti-immigrant hypocrisy via the wasted mind and brittle loins of Arizona’s Jan Brewer.

2012 undergroundzero festival, June 25 – July 25, multiple venues.

Hot Festival July 1 – 30, Dixon Place.  Ticket prices vary.

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