underground zero festival

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Country and Region United StatesNew York
Type of Festival Dance, Drama, Music
Location of Festival New York, New York, USA
Festival Contact Information

Paul Bargetto, Artistic Director and Executive Producer
Email: paul@eastriver.org

Festival Description

Founded in 2007, the undergroundzero festival gives producing artists a platform where risk-taking and innovation are both encouraged and expected. Artists are invited to bring a production of their choosing to join a flying repertory dedicated to radical play and experimentation. It may be a new work or a past production that deserves another life – whatever best serves the individual or collective artists growth and agenda.

A cooperative of NYC-based cutting-edge experimental theater companies and artists will present their work throughout July at the 2012 undergroundzero festival (Paul Bargetto, Artistic Director, Connie Hall, Executive Director). The festival will take place June 29-July 29 on 4 stages in the East Village and Brooklyn and outdoor sites throughout lower Manhattan. Weekly parties, panels, and new play readings will happen at festival headquarters: the legendary Living Theatre.

The festival presenters are veteran “hardcore downtown” independent artists who have formed the undergroundzero cooperative to improve the conditions for making work in NYC, and to host an artist-controlled international exchange and presenting platform. Together, these artists span multiple disciplines including theater, dance, multi-media and installation. Guest programming will include individual artists from Bulgaria, Romania, and Poland; fellow New Yorkers, The Assembly and Patrick Flynn; and the US premiere of the critically acclaimed B-Floor Theatre Company (Thailand).

Festival Dates June 29 - July 29, 2012
Festival Links


Festival Events:

Programming 2012:
  • Kickoff Events
    Friday, June 29 at The Living Theatre FREE
    • 6:30pm: A Brief History of Avant Garde Theater in NYC
      By Arnold Aronson with special guest Judith Malina
      Columbia University professor Arnold Aronson provides historical context for the current experimental theater-making environment in NYC, with Judith Malina of the Living Theatre.
    • 7:30pm: The NEA 4 Revisited – Politics, Art & Culture War
      Moderated by Paul Bargetto
      A discussion with members of the original NEA 4. After twenty-two years where do we stand in the Culture Wars and what is the future of the National Endowment of the Arts?
    • 9:00pm: Festival Opening Night Party
      Celebrate with festival artists at the opening party with DJ and video art. An extra-special toast is planned for the supporters of the Kickstarter campaign! Free Admission.
  • Romanyeah – Live Video Performance
    By Cinty Ionescu and the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York.
    Music by Brennan Green
    • Saturday, June 30 at 9:00pm & Sunday, July 1 at 7:00pm at the Living Theatre $20
      Take a walk on the wild East side with Romanian video artist Cinty Ionescu (winner of the 2011 Excellence in Video Design award at the NY International Fringe Festival) as she weaves an immersive video and musical journey through contemporary Romania.
  • Talk show: common ground
    • Tuesdays, July 3, 10, 17, & 24 at 7:30pm at Clemente Soto Velez in the Kabyitos Theater FREE
      Meet the undergroundzero artists and their guests in a live-streamed talk show hosted by Artistic Director Paul Bargetto and Saviana Stanescu.
  • Dance party: latenightzero
    • Saturdays, July 7, 14, 21, & 28 at 11:00pm at the Living Theatre FREE
      A late night dance party with guest DJs and VJs. Boogie down with the avant garde at the legendary Living Theatre.
  • New play readings: playgroundzero
    Curated by Saviana Stanescu
    • Sundays, July 8, 15, 22, & 29 at 1:00pm at Clemente Soto Velez in the Kabyitos Theater $5
    • playgroundzero is a series of works-in-progress play readings curated by playwright Saviana Stanescu. This year Saviana has selected four cutting-edge women playwrights including Dawn Saito, Cecilia Copeland, Penny Jackson, and Pamela Jackson. Each presentation will be followed by a talkback with the artists. http://www.saviana.com
Festival productions 2012:
  • The Gospel of St Matthew
    Presented by the Living Theatre & East River Commedia
    • Thursday, July 5; Friday, July 6; & Saturday, July 7 & 7:30pm; Sunday July 8 at 5:00pm at the Living Theatre $20
      Director Paul Bargetto collaborates with the Living Theatre to stage the life of Jesus Christ as told in the Gospel of Saint Matthew inspired by Pier Paolo Passolini’s 1964 film Il Vangelo Secondo Matteo.
  • Trace of Purple Sadness
    Presented by LEIMAY Ximena Garnica and Shige Moriya
    • Thursday, July 5; Friday, July 6, & Saturday, July 7 at 8:00pm; Saturday, July 7 & Sunday, July 8 at 5:00pm at Clemente Soto Velez in the Flamboyan Theater $20
      Meditative dance and poetic video design unify in a mesmerizing experience constructed by LEIMAY, the duo behind CAVE, The NY Butoh Festival and the Soak Festival. http://www.leimay.org
  • DEBT! A Series of Performative Lectures on Debt
    Curated and produced by Paul Bargetto, Amiel Melnick & April Sweeney
    • Friday, July 6; Saturday, July 7; Thursday, July 12; Friday, July 13; Saturday, July 14; Friday, July 20, & Saturday, July 21 at 7:30pm; Sunday, July 15, & July 22 at 5:30pm at C.S.V. in the Kabayitos Theater FREE
      An experimental lecture series on debt. Five artists from Eastern Europe paired with five American scholars will present their collaborative research in a series of performative lectures on the nature, history and meaning of debt. http://www.undergroundzeronyc.org
  • Little West 12th Night
    Conceived by Rachel Murdy & written by Peter Lettre
    Original workshop created in collaboration with Stephanie Dodd, Cynthia Croot, & members of Conni’s Avant Garde Restaurant $25
    • Sunday, July 8, Monday, July 9, Sunday, July 15, Monday, July 16, Sunday, July 22, Monday, July 23, & Sunday, July 29 at 8:0pm & Monday, July 30 at 7:00am A tour of the Chelsea Meat Packing District based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Note: Wear comfortable walking shoes. Meeting point will be sent at time of purchase. Cake will be served.
  • Servers
    Presented by Patrick Flynn
    • Sunday, July 8, 15, & 22 at 9:00pm at C.S.V. in the Flamboyan Theater $20
      Servers is a live play for television in three installments that explores the stranglehold technology has over public privacy, and a plan that leaves an entire television network in the dark. Inspired by early television artists of the 1950s Rod Serling and John Frankenheimer, the play will be live broadcast on public access television and the Internet.
  • Disquiet
    Directed by Anna Brenner
    • Wednesday, July 11; Thursday, July 12; Friday, July 13 & Saturday, July 14 at 7:30pm; July 14 at 5:00pm & Sunday, July 15 at 5:00pm at The Living Theatre $20
      A new play by undergroundzero resident artist Anna Brenner inspired by The Master and Margarita, Fernando Pessoa, and her upstairs neighbor.
  • Cho H Cho
    Presented by One-Eighth, Directed by Daniel Irizarry
    • Wednesday, July 11; Thursday, July 12; Friday, July 13 & Saturday, July 14 at 8:00pm, Saturday, July 14 at 5:00pm & SundayJuly 15 at 5:00pm at C.S.V. in the Flamboyan Theater $20
      Cho H Cho’ is an original theater collage created by the new theater collective One-Eighth directed by downtown all-star Daniel Irizarry. The play explores and observes the culture and values of globalized consumption through the lens of quantum physics, DaDa, Artaud, and the loving and violent extremes of the body.
  • Baal
    By Bertolt Brecht. A Hoi Polloi production, directed by Alec Duffy
    • July 12 to August 5, Thursday - Sunday at 8:00pm
      JACK, 505 1/2 Waverly Ave, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
      OBIE Award-winning theater company Hoi Polloi inaugurates its new Brooklyn performance space, JACK, with Bertolt Brecht’s first play, Baal, about a self-destructive poet who incites chaos wherever he goes. Helmed by Artistic Director Alec Duffy (Three Pianos, Shadows), the immersive production features an ensemble of seven actors taking on thirty roles, with set design by Mimi Lien and music by Steven Leffue.
  • Untitled Radio Play
    Directed by Shannon Sindelar. Sound design by Erik T. Lawson
    • Location and times TBD
      Director Shannon Sindelar (31 Down, Incubator Arts Project) stages an outdoor public installation/performance using live broadcast radio and audience interaction in a celebration of John Cage’s one hundredth birthday.
    Presented by The Assembly
    • Wednesday, July 25; Thursday, July 26; Friday, July 27, & Saturday, July 28 at 8:00pm, Saturday, July 28 at 4:00pm & Sunday, July 29 at 5:00pm at the Living Theatre $18
      A reprise of the Assembly’s critically acclaimed play on the Weather Underground. Disgusted by the Vietnam War and rampant inequality at home, a handful of leaders from the 1960s U.S. student movement seized control of Students for a Democratic Society and reshaped it in the name of overthrowing the United States’ government. Based on real events, HOME / SICK explores the Weather Underground’s inspiration and idealism, infighting and ultimate disintegration, in a passionate examination of collective action. http://www.assemblytheater.org
  • Oxygen
    Presented by B-Floor Theatre Company (Bangkok, Thailand)
    • Wednesday, July 25; Thursday, July 26; Friday, July 27; & Saturday, July 28 at 8pm; Saturday, July 28 at 5:00pm & Sunday, July 29 at 5:00pm at C.S.V. in the Flamboyan Theater $20
      The US Premiere of the latest production by B-Floor, hailed in the Bangkok press as “Thailand’s most active and vibrant physical theatre company.” Oxygen is a visual, movement and multimedia exploration of Thailand’s tumultuous political situation from 2010 to the present. The performance explores a nation deprived of the oxygen of free expression. http://www.bfloortheatre.com


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Practical Info:

Slideshow photo credits:
  • In order of appearance
    • Cho H Cho, featuring Daniel Irizarry
    • Dangerous Ground
    • Oxygen, presented by BFloor Theatre Company
    • The Assembly’s, HomeSick
    • Trace of Purple Sadness, Presented by LEIMAY


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