Saturday, September 29, 2012

FANHS to present 2012 Outstanding Artist Award at "Opening Ceremonies"

I was struggling to write a play when I first heard that a group existed called the Filipino American National History Society (FANHS).  I was curious about it, so I checked the FANHS website and eventually corresponded with Dorothy Cordova who co-founded it with her husband Fred Cordova, both of whom lived in Seattle.  

At the time, I was conducting historical research on Filipino Americans before the 1950s.  I was struggling because the books and newspaper accounts were woefully inadequate in terms of offering me what I really needed:  what was life really life on the ground, how did they conduct their lives beyond the sociopolitical agenda of the historians, what did they eat, where did they hang out, how did American life taste like for these people (mostly men) who were neither citizens of the United States nor citizens of their own country, which was a colony of the U.S.

A couple of years later, I met Fred and Dorothy in the Seattle church where their community-based organization was located.  I made a special pilgrimage there. Soon after I found myself creating two oral-history/photography installations that re-presented from the historical photographs that the Cordovas were willing to lend to me.  

Imagine my surprise when about a month ago, I received a letter from the Metro New York chapter of the Filipino American National Historical Society.  It stated that I will be receiving a honor from this New York-based group: the 2012 FANHS Outstanding Artist Award.  The award will be presented on Wednesday, October 3 at the Philippine Center in an evening co-sponsored by FANHS and the Philippine Consulate General in New York.  The evening is called "Opening Ceremonies," the kick-off event for Filipino American History Month of October.

FANHS organizer Kevin Nadal, who issued the press release copied below, had asked me to present a 5-10 minute performance/presentation at the "Opening Ceremonies" event.  Interestingly, I will perform a monologue from the play-still-in-progress that I was working on when I first met the Cordovas at an evening of performances called Tagalogue which takes place Oct. 12 and 13 at Nuyorican Poets Cafe.  Please come to either "Opening Ceremonies" or to Tagalogue. Thank you to the Metro Chapter of FANHS for this unique honor. -- rg




NEW YORK  |  For the third year in a row, Mayor Michael Bloomberg will sign a resolution that will declare October as Filipino American History Month in New York City.  Filipino American History Month (FAHM) has been in celebration since 1982, when it was first declared by the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) to commemorate the first Filipinos that landed in Morro Bay, California, on October 18, 1587.  In 2009, the U.S. Senate passed U.S. House Resolution 780, which recognized October as Filipino American History Month across the United States. In 2010, the governor of New York also proclaimed FAHM in the month of October. 
To commemorate the historic month, the Metro New York Chapter of FANHS is hosting and co-sponsoring several events in New York City throughout October. First, the Philippine Consulate General and FANHS are hosting an “Opening Ceremonies” at the Philippine Center in Manhattan (556 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY), on Wednesday October 3rd from 6-9pm.  At the event, there will be a photo exhibit entitled “Filipino Americans in New York” featuring Filipinos in various time periods, including students at Columbia University in the 1920s, military personnel in the 1940s, immigrants in the 1960s and 1970s, and even indigenous Filipinos who were “displayed” at the Coney Island Amusement Park in 1911. 
At the opening ceremony, FANHS will be presenting community awards to several individuals who have demonstrated commitment to the preservation of Filipino American history and the promotion of the Filipino American community of the Metropolitan New York area.

Two “Contributions to Excellence” Awards will be presented.  One will be given to Rhodora Ursua, MPH, a cofounder of Kalusugan Coalition and the director of Project AsPiRE in New York University’s Center for the Study of Asian American Health; Mrs. Ursua has worked diligently with several partnering organizations to promote health in the Filipino American community in New York for over ten years.  The second will be awarded to Rio Guerrero, Esq., a partnering attorney in the law firm Guerrero Yee, LLP. Attorney Guerrero is a co-founder of Collaborative Opportunities for Raising Empowerment (CORE), is an expert in immigration law, and has provided countless hours of pro-bono legal service to the Filipino American community in the greater New York area for the past decade. 
Two “Outstanding Artists” Awards will be presented to Kilusan Bautista (spoken word artist and activist) and Randy Gener (author, director, and visual artist) for their ability to promote Filipino American identity and experiences into their respective artistries. 
One “Youth Leadership Award” will be awarded by Jackelyn Mariano, an officer of Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) and a research assistant in the Physical Activity and Pilipino American Youth (PAPAYA) project.  The young person being recognized is Alex Adapon, an officer of the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue (FIND) and the current New York City Regional Director for Filipino American Civic Engagement (FACE). 
In addition to a number of events that will be held throughout the month, a Closing Ceremony will be held on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 from 6-9pm at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (524 W. 59th Street).  At this event, a Lifetime Achievement Award will be bestowed to Mr. Joe Bataan, also known as the “King of Latin Soul.” Joe Bataan, whose given name was Bataan Nitollano, was born and raised in Spanish Harlem in 1942 to an African American mother and Filipino father.  As a musical pioneer, he has credited as one of the innovators of SalSoul (Salsa and Latin Soul), Latin Funk, Latin R&B, Latin Jazz, and Boogaloo. 
Other events throughout the month include a Tagalogue, a theatrical performance at the world-famous Nuyorican Poets Café on October 12 and 13 -- featuring FANHS award winner Randy Gener -- as well as “Universal Self,” a one-man show starring FANHS award winner Kilusan Bautista on November 2 and 3. A complete list of events can be found on the FANHS Metro New York website at
For more information about the event, you can contact Kevin Nadal knadal [at] or (212) 237-8795. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

VIDEO | In Conversation with Alan Cumming, Rivka S. Katvan and Tom Viola

NEW YORK CITY  |   It started out as an idea.  What if we organized a panel discussion in which the photographer, the people she photographed and the gentleman who gave unique access to this photographer to do some of her best work all came together for a panel discussion?  We admire great photography. But we do not always get to have the unique opportunity of sharing in a public setting what made those photographs so great?

In late August, Rivka S. Katvan, the great photographer with whom I have collaborated over the years, told me that she had an exhibition of her Broadway photography being installed at the Soho Photo Gallery in New York City in the month of October.  She titled the exhibition "Broadway Behind the Curtain," and it runs through the month of September. As always, the exhibition is a benefit to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, which fund-raises for critically needed services for people living with HIV/AIDS and their families nationwide.

From the first moment I set eyes on her fine-art photography work in the late 1990s, I knew I wanted to feature her work in the publications that I worked for.  I also dreamed of somehow working with her as well; it was always a question of how.

In the beginning I approached her work as a journalist and critic might. I wrote about her. I championed her work in the publications I worked for.  It was not very difficult, as Tom Viola stated at our September 12 panel discussion.  All he had to do was take a look at her portfolio, and he was impressed.  So was I.

New York City is overrun with celebrity spotters and mediocre hacks producing run-of-the-mill theater photography.  Katvan's backstage portraits of famous people like Carol Burnett, Stephen Sondheim, Harold Prince, Angela Lansbury, Liam Neeson, Kevin Kline and Gregory Hines caught my eye because of their startling originality.  Her series of portraits of Alan Cumming (there are three on view at Soho Photo Gallery: two from Cabaret and one from Three Penny Opera, all Roundabout Theater Company productions) absolutely caught the actor's theatrical essence.

Eventually Katvan and I did collaborate. More than twice, I featured her unique photographs on the cover of American Theatre magazine. We worked on a series of portraits of playwrights.  When it came time to prepare a fall preview issue about the dominance of women playwrights in an upcoming season, there was no question that I would ask Katvan to shoot Lynn Nottage, Sarah Ruhl and Theresa Rebeck together. I sent her to Sing Sing prison. When the deeply talented writer Pamela Renner was interested in covering a production of Oedipus Rex featuring locked-up inmates, I told her that I know this incredible photographer who should, must, absolutely accompany her inside the prison and take photographs.

At the September 12 public conversation with Cumming and Viola, I learned from Katvan that one of the inmates she photographed in that Oedipus Rex production turned out to be innocent of the charges he was sent to jail for. It was an incredible story. It was just one of the many incredible stories she told at Soho Photo Galley in New York City. If you missed our very successful evening, I've posted above a video that samples from our conversation, which ranged from Rivka's approach to fine-art photography, Cumming's thoughts about Broadway theater and Viola's stewardship of BC/EFA. -- rg

Rivka S. Katvan, Alan Cumming, Tom Viola and me

Monday, September 24, 2012

PHOTOS | In Conversation with Alan Cumming, Rivka S. Katvan and Tom Viola

In Conversation at Soho Photo Gallery
with Alan Cumming, Rivka S. Katvan and Tom Viola

Wednesday September 12, 2012

Team Members: Randy Gener (Organizer/Moderator) and Brookie Maxwell

NEW YORK CITY  |   A public conversation with Alan Cumming, Tom Viola and Rivka Katvan at Soho Photo Galley in New York City.  We grappled with the subjects of fine-art photography, Broadway theater and BC/EFA's fundraising work for critically needed services for people living with HIV/AIDS and their families nationwide.

“Broadway Behind the Curtain," a photography exhibition by Rivka S. Katvan, is co-presented by Gallery 138 and Soho Photo Gallery in New York City. It runs through September 29, 2012. -- rg

Panel discussion (September 12)

Broadway Behind the Curtain |  Rivka S. Katvan, Alan Cumming, Tom Viola & me  |  Courtesy of Gallery 138

Brookie Maxwell introduced panel discussion
Broadway Behind the Curtain |  Brookie Maxwell of Gallery 138

Artist Reception for Exhibition (September 4)

Broadway Behind the Curtain |  Tom Viola, me, Marilyn Fish-Glyne, Rivka S. Katvan, and Tom Larry Davis  |  Courtesy of Gallery 138 

Artist Reception
Broadway Behind the Curtain |  Me and photographer Rivka S. Katvan  |  Courtesy of Gallery 138  

Media Coverage

Source |

For a complete list of links to media coverage, click here:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My 2 guest TV spots on "Conversations with William M. Hoffman" | Coming up on CUNY-TV Channel 75 in NYC

Thank you to Dominic D'Andrea, New York artist and producing artistic director of the One-Minute Play Festival, for alerting me about this.

CUNY-TV Channel 75 in New York City has announced the fall 2012 schedule of  "Conversations with William M. Hoffman," CUNY TV's talk show, which bills itself as a "television series of discussions with major theater and musical figures of our times."

The CUNY station is re-broadcasting its interviews. Previous guests have included the great Marian Seldes, Albert Poland, the late Arthur Laurents, composer John Corigliano, and Shakespeare Theatre Company of D.C.'s director Michael Kahn.

CUNY TV is cablecast in the five boroughs of New York City on Ch. 75 (Time Warner and Cablevision systems), Ch. 77 (RCN Cable), and Ch. 30 (Verizon FiOS).

"Conversations with William M. Hoffman" is hosted by Professor William M. Hoffman, Professor of Theatre at Lehman College (CUNY). He is also the author of the Broadway play As Is, which earned him a Drama Desk Award in 1986, an Obie, as well as Tony and Pulitzer nominations for best play.

Hoffman invited me to Lehman College/CUNY for an hour-long interview, presented in two episodes. The original taping was held in early 2010.

Online media for this episode is not currently available on

The half-hour cable TV talk show air Wednesdays, 10:30am, 3:30pm; Saturdays, 5:30pm; and Sundays, 8:30am.

Here is what it states on their website:

Episode Details
"A winner of the Nathan Award for dramatic criticism and a Senior Editor of "American Theatre," Randy Gener is a provocative playwright, essayist, curator, facilitator, celebrated world traveler and passionate gay Filipino advocate. He has explored the boundaries of print and electronic media, and has introduced playwrights and theatrical theoreticians from all over the world to each other's works. Mr. Gener is an important figure in a suddenly expanded world of theatre."

Broadcast schedule: Coming up on Channel 75

EPISODE 1: Randy Gener, critic and Senior Editor, American Theatre, Pt. 1 

  • Saturday, September 22 - 5:30pm 
  • Sunday, September 23 - 8:30am 
EPISODE 2: Randy Gener, critic and Senior Editor, American Theatre, Pt. 2 

  • Wednesday, October 3 - 10:30am, 3:30pm
  • Saturday, October 6 - 5:30pm
  • Sunday, October 7 - 8:30am 
EPISODE 1: John Bucchino, composer-songwriter, Pt. 1 of 2 

  • Wednesday, October 10 - 10:30am, 3:30pm
  • Saturday, October 13 - 5:30pm
  • Sunday, October 14 - 8:30am 
EPISODE 2: John Bucchino, composer-songwriter, Pt. 2 of 2

  • Wednesday, October 17 - 10:30am, 3:30pm

Visit the show's home page here:

Get to know William M. Hoffman:
According to Wikipedia:
Born in New York City, New York, United States, William M. Hoffman's earliest works either were mounted in small, experimental off-off-Broadway theaters in New York City or remain unproduced.

It was not until 1985 that he achieved critical acclaim and public recognition when the Broadway-theatre production of his play, As Is, one of the first plays to focus on AIDS, opened in New York City at the Lyceum Theatre, where it ran for 285 performances. Hoffman won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play (1985) and an Obie Award (1984-85 for Playwriting [1]) and nominations for a Tony Award for Best Play (1985). The following year, he adapted the work for a television production directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg.

In 1991, Hoffman was commissioned by The Metropolitan Opera Company to write the libretto for The Ghosts of Versailles first produced in celebration of the company's centennial. A 1993-televised production starred Teresa Stratas, Renée Fleming, and Graham Clark. Hoffman earned an Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Classical Music/Dance Programming.

As an editor at Hill and Wang, Hoffman promoted the careers of Lanford Wilson, Tom Eyen, and Joe Orton, among others, by including their plays in either his New American Plays series or his anthology, Gay Plays: A First Collection.

Hoffman currently is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Lehman College at The City University of New York.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Join our long table for "CULINARY DREAMS: Filipino-American Chefs’ Forum and Dinner Party" on Friday, September 28

Purple Yam Restaurant and Filipino Mundo-NYC
are pleased to invite you to

Filipino-American Chefs’ Forum and Dinner Party

6 Top U.S. chefs. Dinner with friends. Savory discussion. Food as performance.
Centerpiece of FILIPINO CHEFS’ WEEK at Purple Yam

Chef DOMINIC AINZA (Mercury Restaurant, San Francisco)
AMY BESA and Chef ROMY DOROTAN (Purple Yam, NYC)
Chef KING PHOJANAKONG (UmiNom and KumaInn, NYC)
Chef TIM LUYM (Attic Restaurant, San Mateo, Calif.)
Chef PERRY MAMARIL (UmiNom and KumaInn, New York City)
Chef COCOY VENTURA (Cocoy Ventura Culinary Services, SF)

Moderated by RANDY GENER (Curator, Filipino Mundo-NYC)

Friday, September 28, 2012
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
RSVP is required. Please email
Or sign up at

BROOKLYN, N.Y. —  A meal becomes an event through the addition of great conversation.  FILIPINO CHEFS’ WEEK at Purple Yam Restaurant runs from Thursday, September 27 to Sunday, September 30, 2012.  Throughout the week, the country’s outstanding Filipino chefs from the West and East Coasts will take turns as guest chefs at this popular restaurant in Brooklyn.  During their assigned days, they will cook and serve a special menu that represents their individual thinking.  One special evening, however, will give them the opportunity to articulate why they cook what they cook.

Purple Yam and Filipino Mundo-NYC cordially invite everyone to join us for this downright enjoyable feast.  On Friday, September 28, 2012, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., Purple Yam will open its kitchen in Brooklyn’s Ditmas Park for CULINARY DREAMS: Filipino-American Chef’s Forum and Dinner Party.  This hybrid event is an open dialogue, a scrumptious dinner, a bicoastal culinary exchange and a kind of experimental performance.  From a place “setting,” CULINARY DREAMS hopes to inspire cravings, generate food for thought, debate ideas, and reveal our cultural dreams.

Three of Northern California’s most successful chefs — Chef Dominic Ainza of Mercury Restaurant & Lounge in San Francisco; Chef Tim Luym of Attic Restaurant in San Mateo, Calif; and Chef Cocoy Ventura of Cocoy Ventura Culinary Services in San Francisco — will prepare their signature dishes for New Yorkers.  These West Coast chefs will join their New York counterparts: Chef Romy Dorotan and Amy Besa (owners of Purple Yam and authors of the award-winning cookbook Memories of Philippine Kitchens), and Chef King Phojanakon and Chef Perry Mamaril (both UmiNOM in Brooklyn and Kuma Inn in New York City).  In CULINARY DREAMS, all six chefs will share real-life tales and exchange experiences about the joys, the heartbreaks and the aesthetics of bringing Philippine cuisine to the American table.

Randy Gener, the Nathan Award–winning editor/writer/artist, serves as moderator of the savory conversation.  Curator of Filipino Mundo-NYC, he is also a Nominee for the 2012 The Outstanding Filipino Americans in New York Award. To help him win, follow this link and "like" his photo at

According to Amy Besa, “The three things I want to accomplish with this FILIPINO CHEFS’ WEEK are: to show solidarity with and highlight fellow Filipino chefs and restaurateurs showcasing our culinary heritage in the West Coast, to exchange ideas and experience one other’s food sensibilities and aesthetics, and to broaden Purple Yam’s reach and share the love for our food to the rest of the New York dining market.  Romy and I would love to learn from the Bay Area chefs and share whatever wisdom we have acquired from running a restaurant for 18 years in New York City.”

What’s on the menu?
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 — Cocoy Ventura will be the guest chef.  Growing up in Isabela in the northern Philippines, Ventura relishes the simplicity and freshness of everyday food.  At Purple Yam, he will serve a modern-day Filipino cuisine that embraces California’s wine-country culture.  From 2005 to 2007, Ventura worked for Rubicon Estate, Francis Ford Coppola’s winery.  Along with stints at Alimgano and Intramuros Restaurants in San Francisco, he also worked with the renowned Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, where he honed his knowledge of food and wine pairings.  Ventura now owns a culinary service company and serves as chef for the family estates of Maria & Dado Banatao.  “Having my own company allows me to be more creative and express my Filipino side in a stylized and elegant rendition,” Ventura states.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 — Dominic Ainza, Amy Besa, Romy Dorotan, Tim Luym, King Phojanakon and Cocoy Ventura will gather together for CULINARY DREAMS.  Dorotan will show off the enticing Purple Yam entrées that have received lavish praised from the New York Times, Time Out New York and New York magazine.  Phojanakon, a native New Yorker, will talk about what it means to be chef-owner of two of New York's favorite restaurants:  Kuma Inn in Manhattan's Lower East Side (since May 2003) and UmiNOM in Brooklyn (since summer 2009).

Meanwhile, Ventura will airlift from California fresh live Dungeness crabs, fresh coconuts (for pancit buko), fresh kalamansi, Asian vegetables straight from California’s farms and organic stone fruits in season.  (Dungeness crabs cooked in coconut milk and guava, anyone?)  Ainza and Luym will contribute their classic dishes from Poleng Lounge — a taste of the daring Asian-fusion dishes that had transformed this Filipino/Pan Asian restaurant into a media sensation in San Francisco.  Luym will likely serve his famous sisig (pork belly) dish.

SATURDAY and SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 & 30 — This weekend will reunite the team of Dominic Ainza and Tim Luym in Dorotan’s kitchen.  In 2006, Luym and a group of investors opened the storied Poleng Lounge, a fledgling restaurant that became a Bay Area darling when it received a three-star review from the San Francisco Chronicle.  Before starting his own restaurant business, Ainza had worked as sous chef for Poleng Lounge under the wings of Luym, the executive chef.  In fact, Poleng Lounge was named San Francisco Chronicle Top-10 new restaurant of 2006.  In 2007, Luym was declared a San Francisco Rising Star Chef and a James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef nominee.  Luym is also the principal behind the WoW Trucks (Windows on Wheels), including the WoW Silog Truck which has been dishing out Filipino goodness and silog-inspired plates and dishes to the streets and festivals in the Bay Area.

Moreover, Ainza, Luym and Dortan will collaborate on producing that weekend’s menu, and they will scour New York markets for the best and freshest ingredients.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 ONLY — Perry Mamaril will work hand-in-hand with Dorotan to prepare Mamaril’s signature dish: chicken binakol (baby chickens cooked in bamboo tubes.  (Aside from his exceptional culinary skills, Mamaril is a well-renowned bamboo master artist and light sculptor whose craftsmanship and designs parallel the inspirations of Isamu Noguchi.)  Mamaril and Dorotan will also cook a whole-roasted goat lechon over charcoal in the backyard.  The goat meat will come from Heritage Meat Shop, the first shop Patrick Martins opened in 2011 in the Essex Street Market for his Heritage Foods USA, an online retailer (

The September 28 chefs' dinner party is designed to facilitate conversations. “CULINARY DREAMS will take the form of a long table — a participatory dinner/discussion, inspired by Marleen Gorris’s film Antonia’s Line, and developed into a performance format by Lois Weaver” states Randy Gener. “In that film, the central image is a dinner table that grows longer as the community accepts and accommodates more people.  The long table is a private party held in public, a dining room for informal dialogues on serious topics with space for listening or talking or eating or sitting quietly or making statements.  The core diners are the members of Filipino Mundo-NYC (a Meetup group of visual/performing artists and young professionals) and prominent members of the Filipino American community in New York, whom Amy and I have invited in advance.  The general public is invited, of course — that’s the Filipino way.”

CULINARY DREAMS is a long table on entrepreneurship, Filipino innovation, culinary discoveries and mainstream advocacy.  “The Bay Area chefs will inform New Yorkers about what caught the attention of diners and the media,” Gener adds. “Together we will consider the present and future of Philippine cuisine in the United States.  Are there any differences and similarities between the East and West Coasts?  What does the future look like?  Amy Besa’s lifelong passion has been to lead us collectively toward a greater appreciation of Filipino-American heritage and culture through cuisine.”

The cost for CULINARY DREAMS on September 28 is $50 per person.  Drinks, tax and gratuity are extra. To RSVP, please email  Or, you may RSVP via

The other days of FILIPINO CHEFS’ WEEK, featuring the chefs’ cooking, will charge a la carte.

Purple Yam is located at 1314 Cortelyou Rd, Brooklyn, NY 11226 ( For directions and other information, call (718) 940-8188.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Erik Ehn, Daphne Brooks, John Moletress & Randy Gener set for Sept. 22 DC panel about "Black America" vaudevillian spectacle


Contact: Karin Rosnizeck 
Phone: (401) 369-5080 

Date: September 14, 2012


Gener is a Nominee for 2012 The Outstanding Filipino Americans
in New York Award
(Media & Publishing)

Help him win. Please "like" on his photo here:

force/collision of Washington, D.C.
WASHINGTON, D.C. |   On September 22, following force/collision's 8:00pm performance of the world premiere of Shape by Erik Ehn, there will be a talkback featuring the playwright (Maria Kizito, The Saint Plays), Daphne Brooks (“Bodies in Dissent: Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom”), Randy Gener (Critical Stages, in the theater of One World) and John Moletress (Founding Director, force/collision).

The discussion will begin approximately at 9:10pm in the Sprenger Theatre at Atlas Performing Arts Center located at 1333 H Street NE in Washington, D.C. The audience will have a chance to ask questions of the panelists regarding the production of Shape and their work.

Force/collision is an interdisciplinary contingent of artists/collaborators whose mission is the creation of new performance works.  Based in Washington, D.C., force/collision was created by theatre director John Moletress for the purpose of bringing together artists of mixed disciplines in order to spark dialogue and create space for the presentation of new work

Tickets for the production of Shape may be purchased through the Atlas box office at 202-399-7993 or

About Shape
Imagistic and defyingly theatrical, Shape begins in 1900 Ambrose Park, Brooklyn at the end days of “Black America”. “Black America” was a historically documented, vast spectacle of vaudeville dances, variety acts, folklore and songs with a cast of 500 African-Americans, in which they created a large-scale plantation in order to reenact the “joys of plantation life” (1895 New York Times article). Based loosely on the biographies of African-American vaudevillians Billy and Cordelia McClain, Shape concerns the life and labors of vaudevillian fairies exploited for their historical songs and dances, used by the dominant culture and abandoned at times of great need. Shape's larger context is on the genocidal ideology which destroyed the Greenwood district otherwise known as “Black Wall Street” during the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot.

This production will feature original music and dances generated by the force/collision ensemble. Here is a short sneak video peak from a dress rehearsal.

Creative team includes playwright Erik Ehn (The Saint PlaysMaria Kizito), director John Moletress (2011 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre as co-founder of Factory 449; 2012 Mayor's Arts Award finalist), set designer Collin Ranney (2012 Helen Hayes Award nominee), lighting designer Ariel J. Benjamin, Movement/Choreographer Ilana Faye Silverstein and sound designer Derek Knoderer. The cast includes force/collision ensemble members Dane Figueroa Edidi, Frank Britton, Karin Rosnizeck, Joshua Sticklin and guest actors Dexter Hamlett, Manu H. Kumasi, S. Lewis Feemster, Julia Smith, Alex Witherow and Luci Murphy.

Full bios and images available upon request, please email

Panelist Bios

Erik Ehn has written The Saint Plays, Heavenly Shades of Night Are Falling, Maria Kizito, No Time Like the Present, Wolf at the Door, Tailings, Beginner, Ideas of Good and Evil, and an adaptation of Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. He is an artistic associate at San Francisco’s Theatre of Yugen, most recently writing Crazy Horse for them, which combined Noh forms with Native American music and dance. His plays have been produced in San Francisco (Intersection, Thick Description, Yugen), Seattle (Annex, Empty Space), Austin (Frontera), New York (BACA, Whitney Museum), San Diego (Sledgehammer), Chicago (Red Moon), and elsewhere. He has a longstanding collaborative relationship with the Undermain Theater in Dallas, is co- founder of the Tenderloin Opera Company in San Francisco (with Lisa Bielawa), and is founder of the Arts in the One World Conference. He is a graduate of New Dramatists and the former dean of California Institute of the Arts School of Theater. He is head of Playwriting at Brown University.

Randy Gener is the Nathan Award-winning editor, writer and artist in New York City. He is the US editor of Critical Stages (, an international web journal for cutting-edge critical writing and global discourse on the performing arts. For his editorial work and critical essays in American Theatre magazine, where he is a contributing writer, Gener won the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism, NLGJA Journalist of the Year Award, the Rube Award for Best Arts Reporting from the Deadline Club (New York chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists), among numerous other awards. He is a curator and co-producer of FROM THE EDGE: Politics and Performance Design from Bush to Obama, a theatrical installation of 37 politically committed work by U.S. performance makers which emerged during the dramatic transition in the White House from 2007 to 2011. This exhibition, which will debut at LaMaMa La Galleria in December 2012, originated as the USA National Exposition at the 2011 Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space in the Czech Republic. Gener is a 2012 nominee for The Outstanding Filipino Americans in New York Award (Media & Publishing). His media project,, pursues cultural diplomacy and international arts journalism in the public interest.

Daphne A. Brooks is professor of English and African-American Studies at Princeton University where she teaches courses on African-American literature and culture, performance studies, critical gender studies, and popular music culture. She is the author of two books: Bodies in Dissent: Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850-1910 (Duke University Press, 2006), winner of the The Errol Hill Award for Outstanding Scholarship on African American Performance from ASTR and (Continuum, 2005). Brooks is currently working on a new book entitled Minstrelsy through the New Millennium (Harvard University Press, forthcoming).

John Moletress co-founded the Helen Hayes Award-winning Factory 449: a theatre collective in 2009 and force/collision in 2011. For Factory 449, he directed Sarah Kane's 4.48 Psychosis, Erik Ehn's The Saint Plays and Caridad Svich's Magnificent Waste. D.C.: Martin Zimmerman's Foreign Tongue (Source Theatre), Erik Ehn's What A Stranger May Know (Kennedy Center), Collapsing Silence (Source Theatre), The Nautical Yards (force/collision). Regional: Craig Wright's Mistakes Were Made (Stages Repertory Theatre), The Crucible (Tri- County Performing Arts Center), Pippin (Tri-County Performing Arts Center). John is a respondent for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival as well as a panelist for the National Playwriting Program. He is a member of the Society for Stage Directors and Choreographers, on faculty at George Mason University and a finalist for the 2012 Mayor's Arts Award.

About Soulographie
Shape is one of 17 plays in a cycle of Erik Ehn's work entitled Soulographie. Soulographie is a durational performance event looking at 20th century America from the point of view of its relationship to genocides in the States (1921 Tulsa Race Riot), in East Africa (Rwanda, Uganda), and Central America (Guatemala, El Salvador). We aim to create channels of dialogue through art and conversation.

The 17 plays by Erik Ehn that comprise the cycle will be produced independently throughout the United States, Rwanda and Uganda over the course of the 2011-2012 Season. These plays will converge at La MaMa ETC in New York in November 2012 as Soulographie, a theatrical event featuring the plays performed in rotation. The cycle will include opportunities to reflect and converse about the issues invoked by the plays, as well as the

About force/collision
Based in Washington, D.C., force/collision was created by theatre director John Moletress for the purpose of bringing together artists of mixed disciplines in order to spark dialogue and create space for the presentation of new work. force/collision was born from the performance project Collapsing Silence, created by John Moletress, Ilana Silverstein and David Carlson.

The core ensemble includes Ilana Faye Silverstein, Frank Britton, Karin Rosnizeck, Daniel Paul Lawson, Dane Edidi, Sue Jin Song, Collin Ranney, Joshua Sticklin and John Moletress. Associate Artists include Erica Rebollar/Rebollar Dance and Erik Ehn. Biographies for individual ensemble members can be found here:

Workshop of Shape at Burning Coal Theater

Fact Sheet for Shape

Shape By Erik Ehn
Directed by John Moletress
September 20-October 6, 2012 (running time: approx. 60 min)
VENUE: Sprenger Theatre, Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H Street NE, Washington, D.C.

PERFORMANCES: Thursday-Saturday at 8:00pm; Sunday at 3:00pm; PWYC PREVIEW 9/19 @ 7:30pm; OPENING NIGHT/PRESS NIGHT 9/20; ADDITIONAL PRESS NIGHT 9/22; INDUSTRY NIGHT 10/1 at 8:00pm.

SPECIAL EVENTS: September 22, following performance – Talkback with playwright Erik Ehn, author and scholar Daphne Brooks and Critical Stages editor Randy Gener. Moderated by director John Moletress.

September 29, following performance – Talkback with burlesque dancer/historian Chicava HoneyChild and Dr. Sunyatta Amen

TICKETS: $25 General Admission; $15 Student with ID; $20 Military, Senior; Limited number of $10 Rush Tickets available 30 minutes prior to performance. Box Office: 202-399-7993;

DIRECTIONS: 1333 H Street NE, Washington, DC. Nearest metro: Union Station.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Let's talk fine-art photography and Broadway behind the curtain with Alan Cumming, Rivka Katvan & Tom Viola

For Immediate Release:
Brookie Maxwell 212 633 0324

Please join Gallery 138 and Soho Photo Gallery
on Wednesday Sept 12, 6-8 pm
at Soho Photo Gallery,15 White Street, in NYC for: 

on Photography and Broadway
with Alan Cumming, Rivka S. Katvan & Tom Viola

RSVP is required as space is limited. TO RSVP, for sales, and 

for all other inquiries about Rivka's work, please contact Gallery 138:, or 212 633 0324

Alan Cumming in CABARET | Photography by Rivka Katvan
RIVKA KATVAN, Photographer
TOM VIOLA, Author and Executive Director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS

RANDY GENER, Editor, Writer, Moderator/Organizer
Nominee for 2012 The Outstanding Filipino Americans in New York Award 

Help me win this media award. Please click "like" on my photo here:
Having trouble with link? Copy and paste this direct link into your brower 

Meet Alan Cumming, Tom Viola and Rivka Katvan on Wednesday, September 12 at Soho Photo Gallery (located at 15 White St. in NYC).  Join us for a conversation about fine-art photography, Broadway theater and BC/EFA's fundraising work for critically needed services for people living with HIV/AIDS and their families nationwide. I will moderate the conversation.

“Broadway Behind the Curtain” is a photography exhibition by Rivka Katvan. Her candid portraiture and fine art of Broadway luminaries are on display on two floors of SoHo Gallery in TriBeCa, where Katvan is a guest artist.  The exhibition benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is co presented by Gallery 138 and Soho Photo Gallery.  Gallery Hours are Wednesdays to Sundays, 1 to 6 PM and by appointment. For directions, contact: or 212.226.8571

Tom Viola, Randy Gener, Marilyn Fish, Rivka S. Katvan, Larry Davis (SoHo Photo Gallery) | Photo by Brookie Maxwell, Gallery 138

Actor, singer and photographer ALAN CUMMING is a major presence in Katvan's exhibition Broadway Behind the Curtain. He appears in three solo portraits, depicting him backstage in Broadway's critically acclaimed hits CABARET and THREE PENNY OPERA.  Cumming won an instamatic camera in a raffle when he was 8. Sadly his inability to frame family members in the centre of any picture led to his camera being confiscated and instead he spent his time wandering around the forest he lived in making up stories and pretending to be other people. This eventually led to him becoming an award-winning actor of international renown, storming the West End with his HAMLET, followed immediately by his Emcee in CABARET, which transferred to Broadway and made him an overnight US sensation. He has since graced the New York stages with turns in Chekhov, Coward and as Mack the Knife, the Pope and Dionysus. He returned this summer in a one-man MACBETH.

"The best thing I have learned about being an artist is the fact that you are the most interesting thing about yourself. We are all just trying to tell a story after all, and the more honest and personal we are the stronger we connect with an audience," says Cumming in his artist's statement.

"My photographs are all about how I see the world, the incredible experiences I am exposed to and the parts of those experiences I think are worth recording or strike me as beautiful or provocative or weird."

RIVKA S. KATVAN has established a strong reputation for her candid portrayals of Broadway and Hollywood stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Kevin Kline, Gregory Hines, Glenn Close, Angela Lansbury and Alan name just a few.  Many of Katvan’s photographs are familiar to Broadway theatergoers, particularly those who regularly go to auctions and special events sponsored and organized by Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS. Since 1997, Katvan has photographed male and female dancers and actors, in various stages of dress and undress, before shows, the Tony Awards, and before, during and after the naughty burlesque spectacular, Broadway Bares, conceived and directed by Jerry Mitchell, Tony Award-winning director/choreographer of the Broadway-bound musical KINKY BOOTS.

Katvan has been featured in many solo and group shows at Gallery 138, including Transformations: Backstage on Broadway, Bare Exposures, Coney Island Baby, and Reflections.  Katvan was recently chosen for the US State Department’s Arts In Embassies program. Katvan explains, "In 1978, during a visit to my friend Natalie Mosco at the Cort Theatre where she was appearing in The Magic Show, I experienced the contrast between the reality in front of the stage and the reality from backstage. Those first photos opened doors to many other shows. To have been a privileged observer, celebrating and sharing life in the theater, has been an honor." 138 west 17th street NYC. 212 633 0324  facebook / tumblr/ twitter

TOM VIOLA was the founding administrative director of Equity Fights AIDS in 1988, saw through its merger with Broadway Cares in 1992 and has been Executive Director of BC/EFA since 1997. Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA) is the nation's leading industry-based not-for-profit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organization. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 BC/EFA has raised more than $195 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States. BC/EFA awards annual grants to more than 400 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide and is the major supporter of seven programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative and the Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic. From 1996-2000 Viola wrote "Broadway On Broadway," a live outdoor concert in Times Square for The League of American Theatres and Producers, which was televised by WNBC for the first time in September 2000. He co-wrote "Colleen Dewhurst: Her Autobiography" published by Scribner (1996) and is the co-author of "Broadway: Day & Night," published by Pocket Books (1992). For more information, please visit Broadway Cares online at

RANDY GENER is the Nathan Award-winning editor, writer and artist. He is the US editor of Critical Stages (, an international web journal for cutting-edge critical writing and international discourse on the performing arts. For his editorial work and critical essays in American Theatre magazine, where he is a contributing writer, Gener won the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism, NLGJA Journalist of the Year Award, the Rube Award for Best Arts Reporting from Deadline Club (New York chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists), among numerous other awards. He is a curator and co-producer of "FROM THE EDGE: Politics and Performance Design from Bush to Obama," a theatrical installation of 37 politically committed work by U.S. performance makers which emerged during the dramatic transition in the White House from 2007 to 2011. Gener's media project,, pursues cultural diplomacy and international reporting in the public interest.

Gener is a 2012 nominee for The Outstanding Filipino Americans in New York Award. Please click "like" on his photo here

GALLERY 138 is a contemporary art gallery in New York’s Chelsea/Flatiron District, presenting emerging and mid-career artists in all disciplines. Through exhibitions, residencies and other presentations, the gallery addresses the spectrum of human experience and our relationship with our environment. In 2011, Gallery 138 co- presented exhibitions and dialogs with the International Center for Photography, Clark Winter, Michael Hart, and Global Youth Connect on the relationship between art and finance. Gallery 138’s founding director BROOKIE MAXWELL has presented over forty exhibitions, including Brown V. The Board of Education, 1954-2004, featuring Satch Hoyt, William Pope L., Dread Scott, and Danny Simmons; RAPSIDA, featuring Will Barnett, Louise Bourgeois, Christo and Jeanne Claude, Sol Lewitt, Yoko Ono, William Pope L., and Paul Villinski; and Reparations / If It Ain’t Broke, co-curated by Charles Guice and Keith Miller, and featuring Stephanie Dinkins, Kianga Ford, Satch Hoyt, and Jessica Ingram. Gallery 138 has partnered with universities and museums, and produced benefits for global humanitarian non-governmental organizations, including Doctors Without Borders for Haiti, Rwandans and Americans in Partnership for Peace and Progress, and The Panzi Foundation.

Gallery 138 is thrilled to be co- presenting its third benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.