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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Harvey Oral History: judo school, muscle shows and Brooklyn Prep

Harvey Lichteinstein at BAM in 1967
Harvey Lichteinstein came to BAM because no one else was asking him to run a theater. When he arrived in the winter of 1967, BAM was very different than it is now. The Ballroom—soon to be the Lepercq Space (1973), which would host BAMcafé (1997)—operated as a private school. The fifth floor housed a judo academy and the programming included everything from muscle shows to revival meetings. (Check out Larry Scott winning the first Mr. Olympia bodybuilding competition on September 18, 1965 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.)

Hear Harvey talk about what was happening at BAM in 1967:

Monday, January 30, 2012

Watch BAM Burn!

Studious readers of the BAM Blog might recall that the original BAM building in Brooklyn Heights burned to the ground on the morning of November 30, 1903. Now, the BAM Hamm Archives is pleased to present a video with footage of the fire itself, recently acquired from the Library of Congress. This film comes from the Congress' Paper Print Collection, which is one of the largest and most important repositories for early pre-documentary films, or what are sometimes referred to as Actuality Films. We are excited to share this fascinating historical document which offers viewers a brief glimpse of a pivotal moment in the history of BAM and Brooklyn Heights. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

BAM Staff Pick: Kokayi at BAMcafé Live

Photo: Kokayi, by Bryan Sona

This month's pick: Kokayi (BAMcafé Live, Fri, Jan 27 at 9pm)
Picked by: Darrell McNeill, Associate Producer, Music Programming

1. Why Kokayi?
Kokayi is one of the most inspired emcees to come out of hip-hop’s vast underground, keeping with the craftsmanship of De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, and Mos Def.

2. What makes him unique?
“Koke’s” approach to the art of rhyme is schizoid—by turns frenetic, high-pitched, edgy, at others iceberg-cool and unflappable—as is his musical backdrop, which runs the gamut of hardcore punk to electro-pop. The core is wit, humor, intelligence, and skills reminiscent of hip-hop’s golden age.

3. You might like this if you liked:
Ultramagnetic MCs, Mos Def, Spank Rock

4. Guilty-pleasure reason for seeing the show:
Uncontrollable fits of dancing

5. Final words:
This is the antidote for hip-hop’s breakneck descent into nihilism for fun and profit—proof that you don’t have to be a jackass to spit fire and move the crowd.

Kokayi plays BAMcafé Live this Friday, January 27 at 9pm

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Free Ticket+ Thursdays: The La Traviata Edition

This week for Free Ticket+ Thursdays, we're giving away two tickets to see the New York City Opera production of La traviata, along with a Friends of BAM membership. In case you hadn't heard, all remaining tickets to the show are now a mere $25, or, as NYCO is putting it, "the People's Opera has returned to the people." But why be a mere "person" and pay $25 when you can be a "person who enters contests and wins stuff" and go for free? Aim high, people. Enter to win today.

Everybody's Gone Sundance...Sundance USA

Park City, Utah Latitude: 40°39’34”
Brooklyn, NY Latitude: 40°37’29”

Pretty incredible, right? This latitudinal kinship between Park City and Brooklyn might suggest that it was the work of some higher celestial power that led BAM and Sundance Institute to converge in May of 2006. Destiny! Then again, this could just be geographic coincidence…

Regardless, Sundance Institute at BAM was born in 2006, giving New York audiences access to films from the Sundance Film Festival as well as the many unique opportunities Sundance Institute gives artists all year, including the Film Music Program, the Screenwriters Lab, and the Theatre Program. For 11 days in late spring from 2006-2008, New Yorkers gathered at BAM to engage with Sundance Institute artists and programmers and it was a beautiful thing.

We’re proud to continue this relationship by participating in Sundance Film Festival USA. The true beauty of our partnership goes far beyond GPS coordinates—Brooklyn has been an artistic petri dish for years, and many independent filmmakers who’ve brought their work to the Sundance Film Festival live in the shadow of BAM and come here often. While we have given Sundance Institute a home in New York through SFFUSA and Sundance Institute at BAM, we’ve also given Brooklyn filmmakers the chance to show their film under the rich red proscenium of their hometown neighborhood movie theater. Having New York filmmakers such as Benny and Josh Safdie here to present Daddy Longlegs only a day or two after its Park City premiere to a sold-out crowd was not only a very special moment for us, but a unique homecoming for them.

BAM's Prehistory, Pt. 4: The Opening of the Academy

The Brooklyn Academy of Music’s great unveiling took place on January 15, 1861, just four months before the Civil War erupted. As national tensions were percolating, BAM’s opening night featured arias and songs from some of the most popular German and Italian Romantic composers, such as Weber, Bellini, Mozart, Verdi, and Donizetti. Performers included tenor Pasquale Brignoli and basso Agostino Giuliano Susini, both famous Italian singers pinched from the New York Academy of Music on 14th Street across the East River. Though the weather that evening was particularly stormy, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that
“Strips of new matting were spread on planks across the sidewalk, so that the daintiest slipper need not be soiled. The appearance of the house was beautiful in the extreme, and never had the youth and beauty of Brooklyn such an opportunity of seeing and being seen in their native city.”
Looking around the great new hall, the anonymous reporter continued:
“for our part, we could hardly realize that we were actually in Brooklyn, or that after the entertainment was ended, we had not a dreary journey of two miles before us, and stood a chance of losing our temper at the ferry.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Faith of the Faithless: Simon Critchley and Cornel West in Conversation

Here’s some fodder for the dinner table tonight: what’s really going on when we’re “being true to ourselves”? For the philosopher Simon Critchley, coming to BAM on February 7 for a conversation with Cornel West, it surely isn’t a matter of pragmatic acceptance—of deciding simply that the faults and flaws we see in the mirror everyday are okay after all. And it isn’t a matter of having a clear knowledge of one’s identity and fulfilling that identity through action. No, for Critchley, being true to oneself means entertaining nothing less than a leap of faith, and one just as radical as the most devout, idol-toting believer.

Why? Because much like religion, Critchley might say, being true to oneself involves having faith in a demand (“Be true!) that we place on ourselves, a demand that we must believe in without knowing whether or not it is actually realizable. The twist is that instead of coming from an external authority—from the ethical law of God, say—that demand originates from within. To be true to oneself, then, would be to live for (and thus have faith in) the other that we carry within ourselves (super ego, anyone?). It would be to live towards fulfilling an image of the self that one believes to be true.

Or something like that. It’s best to let Critchley himself explain, of course, which he’ll do in very good company as he joins the ever-eloquent deep-thinker Cornel West  for a conversation about faith in secular society, the rise of religious fundamentalism, and more. It should be a lively evening; both present a convincing case that faith plays a much larger part in our daily lives than the recent raft of literature on atheism (Dawkins' The God Delusion, Hitchens' God is Not Great) would have us believe. Critchley has just come out with a new book, The Faith of the Faithless: Experiments in Political Theology , whose title comes from a passage from Oscar Wilde. I'll include it here to entice:
When I think of religion at all, I feel as if I would like to found an order for those who cannot believe: the Confraternity of the Faithless, one might call it, where on an altar, on which no taper burned, a priest, in whose heart peace had no dwelling, might celebrate with unblessed bread and a chalice empty of wine. Everything to be true must become a religion. And agnosticism should have its ritual no less than faith.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pina is Going to the Oscars

Pina Power!

We were over the moon this morning when we awoke to the thrilling news that Wim Wenders' stunning documentary Pina, about legendary artist (and member of the BAM family) Pina Bausch, had been nominated for Best Documentary in this year's Academy Awards. This is Wenders' second Oscar nomination and it is well-deserved. If you have yet to see the film, it is currently playing at BAM. If you've already seen it, we can personally attest that it is better your second time.

Wim Wenders visited BAM on January 8 to present Pina and to take part in a Q&A with Ellen Bar, former dancer with the New York City Ballet and current Director of Media Projects at NYCB. In this clip, he discusses how he spent 20 years trying to figure out how to film Pina's work until he got inspired by an unlikely source.

Friday, January 20, 2012

To Tweet-Seat or not to Tweet-Seat

Frankenstein, Living Theatre, 1968.  Photo: Daniel Vittet

To some, it sounds like a sacrilege. To others, it sounds like a welcome relief for their itchy, iPhone-addicted fingers. The practice of allowing audience members to tweet during a performance—dubbed "tweet seats"—has been a cause of much debate in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and in performing arts community. Several theaters have recently set aside designated sections so that Twitter-loving audience members can tweet to their virtual heart’s content, and not disturb the people sitting next to them.

Now let us be clear that BAM does NOT condone this practice, although tweeting is encouraged during BAMcafé Live, our free music series on Friday and Saturday nights. But in the Howard Gilman Opera House and the Harvey Theater, cell phone usage is strictly verboten. Many of you are very familiar with this almighty voice:

Welcome to BAM by BAMorg

But it’s interesting to think about the history of modern theater and how norms of audience behavior and participation have evolved. During Shakespeare’s time, the famous Globe Theater was not unlike a circus, with spectators eating, drinking, playing cards, you name it. Robert Wilson encouraged audience members to get up and move around during the 1984 performance of Einstein on the Beach. The Living Theatre often incorporated audience participation as part of their performances, and audiences were regularly invited on stage. As seats themselves become optional and communication is not only solicited but becomes a part of the experience itself, couldn’t Twitter be incorporated as an interesting part of the mix?

Expectations of audience behavior also vary greatly depending on genre and context; tweeting during a live concert is very different from tweeting during the ballet. But perhaps it’s useful to recall Brecht here: when putting forth his manifesto for modern theater, he thought that the spectator should adopt an attitude of "smoking-and-watching" so that the performance could take on "the same fascinating reality as a boxing match."

Now we’re not sure what Bertolt Brecht would think of Twitter, but more importantly, what do you think of tweet seats? Do you think it’s a sign of the impending apocalypse? A new way to engage with live performance? Maybe both? Let us know in the comments—we want to hear from you!

—Cynthia Lugo

Einstein on the Beach 2012 Tour

Einstein... on the beach
One of the most iconic stage pieces of the 20th century, Einstein on the Beach has a storied history. After composer Philip Glass, director Robert Wilson, and choreographer Andy DeGroat premiered their five-hour collaborative opus at the Festival d'Avignon in March of 1976, Glass and Wilson rented the Met’s opera house for two nights the following November, producing it themselves. While it put both artists in deep debt, it also brought their careers to a new level. No longer relegated to the “downtown artist” ghetto, Glass and Wilson post-Met became international artists, performing their works at the greatest theaters, opera houses, and concert halls throughout the world. In hindsight, Glass’ and Wilson’s then-risky rental of the Met was a sage investment in their careers, and in the genre of opera.

Yet even as Glass and Wilson traipsed around the globe, performing new works throughout the late 70s and early 80s, audiences were still abuzz for Einstein. Eight years later, in 1984’s Next Wave Festival, BAM produced a revival of Einstein (alongside a documentary about the piece, Einstein on the Beach and the Changing Image of Opera). Glass and Wilson brought on a new choreographer, Lucinda Childs, who had danced in the original production, and who had collaborated with Wilson at BAM in her 1981 piece, Relative Calm. In The New York Times, Mel Gussow noted in his review of the restaging that Childs’ choreography “is more like stop-action photography than whirling-dervish movements,” the latter of which is a signature of DeGroat’s.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Richard III Opens at BAM with a Banquet Fit For a King

BAM President Karen Brooks Hopkins; BAM Executive Producer Joseph V. Melillo; Rena DeSisto, Global Arts & Culture Executive for Bank of America; Kevin Spacey, Artistic Director of the Old Vic and title character of Richard III; Caro Newling of Neal Street (Photo: Elena Olivo)
The Bridge Project, a transatlantic partnership between BAMThe Old Vicand Neal Street, had its inaugural performances at BAM in 2009. Three world tours later (all directed by Sam Mendes), this month The Bridge Project has returned to BAM for its final run with Richard III starring Kevin Spacey, artistic director of the Old Vic, in the title role.

On Wednesday, January 18, BAM celebrated this momentous occasion with a Banquet Dinner and Opening Night Party.

Jump ahead to read more about this exciting, festive evening, and be sure to check out the photo albums from the event here and here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Richard III: Wars, Roses, Family, Tree

Family is everything, so they say, and in The Bridge Project's Richard III, at the Harvey Theater through March 4, it is both foundation and obstacle to supreme dominion. Chart the players in the Wars of the Roses, one of the most ruthless intergenerational power battles in mankind's history in this handy-dandy family tree of the Houses of York and Lancaster.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Music for MLK

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is paramount among my heroes and sheroes. There’s particular resonance when I bring in the musical components for BAM's annual tribute, because, in addition to winning the audience, there are several threads that must tie together seamlessly:

One being the man himself and what he stood for. Two is BAM’s role as a global benchmark of culture. And, three, Brooklyn’s distinction as the most populous and diverse citizenry on the planet. I’d never presume to know Dr. King’s “mountaintop” vision of humanity, but I’d guess Brooklyn would be a fairly accurate snapshot.

Dr. King had many connections to the music community. His wife, Coretta, was an accomplished classical singer. His chief cultural liaison was Harry Belafonte. Notables like Mahalia Jackson, Pete Seeger, Nina Simone, Odetta, Joan Baez, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Sam Cooke, Bob Dylan, The Staples Singers, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Paul and Mary, and The Blind Boys of Alabama performed at his political events.

Dr. King recorded some thoughts and speeches for the Black Forum division of Motown. And musicians, specifically Stevie Wonder and Gil Scott-Heron, did much of the private sector legwork to get the MLK holiday passed. Until his passing last year, Gil hosted an annual New York City residence commemorating Dr. King.

In the 25 years BAM has presented the MLK tribute, many high-profile musical luminaries have participated, including Mr. Belafonte, Ms. Johnson Reagon, Angélique Kidjo, Dr. John, Mavis Staples, Donnie McClurkin, Hezekiah Walker, Lizz Wright, Boys Choir of Harlem, Melba Moore, The Persuasions, Kenny Muhammad, and others.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Free Ticket+ Thursdays: The Meredith Monk Edition

"I like my productions this big!" Photo: Meredith Monk, by Massimo Agus

This week in Free Ticket+ Thursdays, we're thinking about whether or not size counts. When it comes to dance, theater, opera, and music productions at BAM or elsewhere, which approach do you prefer: "bigger is better" or "less is more"? Share your answer on Facebook for a chance to win two tickets to the Meredith Monk Iconic Artist talk, a copy of BAM: The Complete Works, and a BAM Cinema Club membership.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

FTT Recap: Your Ideal Movie Foods

A few weeks ago for Free Ticket+ Thursdays, we asked you to tell us your ideal movie snack. Some of your answers had us salivating. Others had us appreciating your—how shall we say?—sheer will to culinary innovation, no matter what the cost. But all made us proud to know that your movie food habits are just as adventurous as your BAM show-going ones, butterless popcorn be damned.

From the get-go, through, the house was divided. There were the eccentrics like… 
Nadia, Stephen, Michael, and Aaron, who wanted 
“Pumpernickel pretzels,” “edamame,” “caviar,” and “slices of mango.” 

And why eat hotdogs, thought Jonathan, when you can smuggle in your own
“roast pork buns” 

Across the aisle were the traditionalists. But, this being BAM, even the popcorn contingency demanded several twists. 

For John, it was
“Popcorn made with bacon fat, Sriracha, and smoked salt” 

For Derek, it was
“popcorn with butter, a hint of garlic salt, maybe some cinnamon, and definitely jalapeno peppers” 

Nicole cut the fat and went with popcorn in olive oil, plus
salt, and crushed kale chips with a glass of red wine” 

All fine and good. But while the gourmands sea salted their way to Bon Appétit grandiloquence, there were others who remembered that, in a dark theater, you can eat like no one is watching. 

For Kiki, Sarah, and Jenny, that meant 
popcorn with either M&Ms, Sno-Caps, or Milk Duds mixed in

A confessional Kelsey provided clues as to why
“I'm not a chocolate fan, nor do I like chocolate and mints, but there's something about warm, buttery popcorn and junior mints that sends me back to being a child and going to the movies with my dad. We'd put the junior mints in right away, salt it up, and just let them melt. Then you pull out these clusters of melted, minty, salty, chocolate popcorn.” 

Happy to eat whatever, but not wanting to be shushed,

Roman imagined...
“a set of soundless nachos. That way I can enjoy a lovely little nachos-and-cheese treat without alerting the entire cinema to my doings.” 

Gretchen concurred, but with
“blueberries. They're healthy and quiet” 

But sound, sight, and taste, aside...

movie food for Mary should be an autonomous being...
“Popcorn in a tub that reheats, re-butters, re-salts, and refills as needed.

For Doug, an eye-candy abstraction...
“Rather than food, I prefer to feast on the lusciously saturated colors of a 1950s melodrama.” 

And for Jennifer, a token of the slow food movement...
“Soft pretzels, preferably Amish.

But Barbara’s answer was best of all, somehow suiting BAM to a T:
“Lobster Starburst: refined, yet chewy and sweet”       

Free Ticket+ Thursdays happens weekly on Facebook.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

BAM’s Prehistory, Pt. 3: The First Academy for the Third City

Stereoscope card with original BAM Building

Brooklyn historian Carol Lopate points out that as with the founders of the Apprentices Library in the 1820s, most of BAM’s founders in the 1850s “had been born outside of Brooklyn and had made their money by their own industry in a rapidly expanding commercial world.” Among this new Brooklyn elite was trader A.A. Low, whose son Seth Low would become Brooklyn mayor in the 1880s and mayor of New York City in the early 20th century; and Henry E. Pierrepont, who made a fortune in Brooklyn Heights real estate, and who served as BAM’s first president. In a speech at the first founders’ meeting, A.A. Low proclaimed:
I hold that we often err in thinking and styling our city the third city of the Union. That the city contains a large number of men, women and children we are ready enough to admit; but until it possess larger attractions to men of letters, men of science and culture, to men of intellect, in fact to men of every walk and condition of life … until it possesses these things in as large a measure as some other cities of the country such as Boston, Baltimore, Cincinnati and St. Louis and many others, I would be slow, for one, to style our city the third city in the union.
Dissatisfied with the perception of Brooklyn as a provincial, overgrown village, the founders devised a funding strategy to erect a new opera house and to begin programming of a major music venue. Setting up a joint stock corporation, $50 shares were sold to Brooklyn’s wealthiest residents in order to raise the capital stock of $150,000 needed for the project. Land on Montague Street between Court and Clinton Streets, near City Hall (now Borough Hall), was purchased for $41,000. As the construction of the building ensued, many mishaps and unforeseen expenses arose, including the collapse of the original roof, all of which necessitated raising $50,000 more from the Brooklyn business community.

In the end the building was built, programs were programmed, and during his inaugural speech on BAM’s opening night board member Simeon B. Chittenden boasted that BAM was opening “without a penny of debt”—though theater scholar Paul Nadler has more recently posited that “there was in fact a ‘considerable debt’ which was not retired until mid-1862 at the earliest.”    

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sam Mendes on The Bridge Project

Ethan Hawke in The Cherry Orchard (2009), Sinéad Cusack in The Cherry Orchard, Juliet Rylance in As You Like It (2010), Christian Camargo in As You Like It. Photos by Joan Marcus.

“No” is what I said when Joe Melillo asked me to create a theater company for BAM: I had just left as artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse in London and wanted freedom.

“No” is what I said when Kevin Spacey asked me if he should run the Old Vic: too much work.

“No” is what I said to my longtime producing partner, Caro Newling, when she suggested she approach Actors’ Equity Association and UK Equity about a combined company of American and British actors: much too difficult.

That shows you how little I know.

What followed was one of the most exciting theatrical journeys imaginable: the BAM Harvey Theater lit up with flame in The Tempest; an enchanted forest in As You Like It; a haunted candlelit ballroom in The Cherry Orchard; a child’s nursery filled with the madness of adults in The Winter’s Tale.

Ethan Hawke’s Autolycus serenading 12,000 people in Epidaurus under the light of the stars; Stephen Dillane’s Prospero conjuring the spirits on the Champs-Elysées; Simon Russell Beale’s Lopakhin finally buying his beloved orchard in the magical jewel box of the Teatro Español in Madrid; Juliet Rylance’s Rosalind falling in love in Singapore; Rebecca Hall’s Hermione slowly coming back to life in the silence and intensity of the Old Vic; and now Kevin Spacey’s Richard III everywhere from China to Istanbul to San Francisco.

Thank you, Joe, and Kevin and Caro for not listening to me. And thank you, BAM—for being the definition of a great theatrical institution: ambitious, daring, tenacious, brave, supportive, and fun—and for never taking no for an answer.

Sam Mendes

This text was excerpted from BAM: The Complete Works. Click here for more information on the book.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Free Music: BAMcafé Live All-Star Howard Fishman

Singer-songwriter Howard Fishman began his career singing and playing guitar on the streets of New Orleans. Next came the New York City subways and, not long after, the Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel. You can still hear bits and pieces of all three in Fishman's music, which, as a kind of repository of purple mountain Americana, seems incapable of forgetting a thing. Here are three sides of the BAMcafé Live All-Star, playing a free show Friday night at BAMcafé Live:

  The exuberant:

The experimental:

The elegiac:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Free Ticket+ Thursdays: The Brooklyn BAMboozle Ale+ Edition

This week for Free Ticket+ Thursdays, we have a veritable smorgasbord of BAM goodies up for grabs, including an entire case of that honeyed nectar of the BAM gods, Brooklyn Brewery's Brooklyn BAMboozle Ale. (Seriously, it's brewed with real wildflower honey from a farm in upstate New York.) Enter to win today for a chance to score the bounty, perfect for beer lovers and locavores alike.

This week's prize: a case of Brooklyn BAMboozle Ale + BAM t-shirt + BAM tote bag + BAM Cinema Club Membership

Jazz at BAM: 1956—1981

In the last Jazz at BAM post, we traced the gradual introduction of the form to Brooklyn audiences. But things picked up speed in the mid-20th century.

Starting in 1956, the series “Jazz at the Academy” finally brought icons of the jazz world to the Opera House stage with Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Dave Brubeck, Stan Kenton, Dizzie Gillespie, and the father of jazz himself, Louis Armstrong. A one-time $15 membership fee guaranteed you a seat for the entire season. Also that year, Jean Murai’s Dance Company featured the West Indian Jazz Orchestra. In 1958, Jazz ’59 trumpeted the future with appearances by Zoot Sims, Marian McPartland, and Mose Allison.

The jazz floodgates opened at BAM in late 1960s with a series produced by Lionel Hampton, sponsored by Schaefer. It featured some of that era's masters: Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, Tito Puente, Thad Jones, Mel Lewis, Lionel Hampton himself, and several R&B performers like the Coasters, Wilson Pickett, Patti LaBelle ("Lady Marmalade"), Irma Franklin ("Piece of My Heart"), and Solomon Burke. “An Evening in Black Gold” with Nina Simone played in April 1968, and later that year, another series, “Jazz/Roch/Bach,” combined genres with themes such as “Handel to Jazz: The Art of Improvisation.”

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Behind the Scenes: Mary Reilly, Director of Artist Services

Get acquainted with some of the people who make things work at BAM. Mary Reilly is BAM’s director of Artist Services, interviewed by Sandy Sawotka, BAM’s director of publicity.*
Juliette Binoche with Mary Reilly, Director of Artist Services. Photo by Danielle Dybiec.

Q: As BAM’s longtime director of Artist Services, your work entails a range of diverse responsibilities. Tell us about them.
A: Artist Services facilitates the logistics involved with getting artists and companies to BAM. And it always starts with a visa! Then we’re on to planes, trains, hotel rooms, apartment searches, local transportation, company dinners, backstage toasts, opening night gifts, and a few emergency room visits—sometimes on the same day. Our main goal is to remove the daily obstacles that hinder artists from concentrating fully on their performances. Each artist requires a different level of support. An Icelandic actor in New York for the first time might require more than a New York-based dancer from Mark Morris Dance Group. When a company arrives from afar, we might organize a special outing. Last year, dance troupe Pamodzi from Zambia was here as part of DanceAfrica. None of the dancers had ever been to the US, so we arranged for a Big Apple Manhattan bus tour and the company loved it! We source and make medical appointments for artists who are in need of anything from an acupuncture tune-up to the sudden need for physical therapy or a B12 shot at midnight. There have been emergency root canals and even one burst gallbladder in my time here. We’ve amassed a list of top therapists in all these disciplines and try to make everyone feel taken care of during their BAM stay—whether it be a brief few days, a week, or in some wonderful cases, months, as with performers in The Bridge Project.

Q: How might a typical day go for you and your staff?
A: Ah, how we all wish for the typical. First we check the show reports from the night before to see if any notes exist for our department, flagging any potential problems. Then we begin tackling the myriad details necessary to get ready for the next show. It can also depend on which season we’re currently in: the Next Wave Festival or the Spring Season. The Festival has a furious pace as up to 16 different companies arrive and depart within 12 weeks. Artist Services is a staff of four including myself—a manager and two representatives who each are assigned certain shows per season. Our work is organized by who needs what first that day. With live performers, there is always the risk of injury or illness and urgent care trumps all. Getting everyone on stage is the top priority. We also manage more than 6,000 hotel nights per year. There is always a rooming list being tweaked and travel to be booked. Each rep begins by tracking her respective shows, returning calls, and processing ticket orders, backstage lists, and greenroom setups. Sometimes an artist may need child care at the hotel or want to know studios for a yoga or Pilates class. We do lots of recommending, and of course no day is complete without ordering champagne for our backstage toasts! It truly never gets dull around here.