Friday, June 16, 2006


Performance and interactive forum about urban erasure and the meaning of community

Fomenting ARTS' bicoastal series of "re-collection events," continues on July 9 at the Skirball Cultural Center with THE CITY WE KNEW AND THE CITY NOW, featuring a new selection of readings from playwright/performance artist Heather Woodbury's soon-to-premiere play TALE OF 2CITIES: AN AMERICAN JOYRIDE ON MULTIPLE TRACKS performed by Ann Magnuson, John Fleck, and others. The event also features presentations by West Side community groups and another open discussion about the absence and presence of neighborhood in our lives. West Side community contributions: a five minute documentary about Lincoln Place evictions by former resident Erin Grayson and a sampling of music related to the event's themes of American diaspora from music critic Josh Kun, author of AUDIOTOPIA: MUSIC, RACE, AND AMERICA.

Sunday, July 9, 2pm, Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049
Advance tickets: Available via TicketWeb at (866) 468-3399 or, or on site at the Skirball Admissions Desk during regular hours. Tickets also available at the door, subject to availability.
General Information: (310) 440-4500 or
$8 general admission, $5 Skirball members, students and for those who bring an image that speaks to the project's central concern of urban erasure.
THERE GOES THE BARRIO, the first in Fomenting ARTS' bicoastal series of "re-collection events," was held on May 31st at Los Angeles Central Library as part of the ALOUD lecture and performance series. The sneak preview reading of selections from Tale of 2Cities featured, among a stellar cast, beloved film actor John C. Reilly and sardonic Six Feet Under writer Jill Soloway. The actors also read poems by 7th grade students from Boyle Heights' Dolores Mission School, and films by the Echo Park Film Center's �Young Filmmakers� were screened. Spontaneous participants in the open forum included Dion Neutra, the architect who planned a public housing project where Dodgers Stadium now sits, partisans of the South Central Community Farm, and the visibly moved teacher of the �Boyle Heights Poets�. The event was called "visionary" by one audience member. Another said the evening "rejuvenated my hope for theater in LA."

On July 9th, audience members are encouraged to bring photographs, accounts of neighborhoods past and present and other memorabilia that speak to the play's central concern of "urban erasure." These are duplicated and collected in NY/LA �community scrapbooks" and grow as the series continues. They will travel with the upcoming bicoastal production of the play, with some elements contributing to the projection-based set design.

Following THE CITY NOW AND THE CITY WE KNEW, the "re-collection" series will move to New York with BROOKLYN BALL TEAMS AND WRECKING BALLS on August 6th at the Brooklyn Baseball Gallery in Coney Island and THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT NEW YORK NEIGHBORHOODS on August 22nd at the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy's Tobacco Warehouse.

Cultural Sponsors of the 2Cities �Re-collection� project: The Baseball Reliquary, Boyle Heights Poets/Dolores Mission School, Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, Brooklyn Baseball Gallery, Casa 0101, Casa Del Pueblo, Councilman Eric Garcetti , The Eagle Rock Arts Center, Echo Park Film Center, Los Angeles Central Library, Performance Space 122, Progressive Jewish Alliance, Semio(e)text, Skirball Cultural Center, UCLA LIVE.

�Entrancing and exhilarating�molding gut-wrenching truths and hilarious caricatures into a portrait of the family of man�past and present.�
--Mary Houlihan, Chicago Sun-Times
Tale of 2Cities:An American Joyride on Multiple Tracks is a six-act, two-part play about contemporary urban displacement and the reverberations caused by the Dodgers� historic 1957 transplant to L.A. Tale won both an NEA Fellowship and a Kennedy Award while in development at the NY Public Theater. It premieres this October at UCLA Live in Los Angeles and Performance Space 122 in New York with a multi-racial ensemble cast. It will be published by semio(e)text/MIT press in September, 2006.

Tale of 2Cities is a collision of life-stories from New York and Los Angeles spun into an epic mix by a young Echo Park DJ mourning his grandmother's death and traces the impact of displacement on three generations of characters on both coasts when the Brooklyn Dodgers moved across country. From the rise of Senator McCarthy to the fall of the twin towers, "Tale swoops through cities and drops into the minds of a mini-series worth of major and minor characters." (David Cote, Timeout NY)

Heather Woodbury is the founder and artistic director of Fomenting ARTS Unlimited, Inc., which was founded upon the belief that sharing the "foment" of theatrical and literary work as it develops is a means of drawing together people of various ages, ethnicities, regions and economic status, as well as bridging the gap between artist and community. Her first living novel, What Ever (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2003) was a ten-hour solo theater piece, directed by Dudley Saunders, which toured the U.S and Europe, and was adapted as a radio play hosted by Ira Glass. Woodbury recently won the inaugural Spalding Gray Award, initiated by UCLA LIVE and PS 122 and Kathleen Russo, Gray's widow, for "writer/performers who fully realize both aspects of Gray�s legacy" and are "fearless innovators". Directed by Saunders and featuring a cast from both cities, 2Cities co-premieres in LA (at UCLA Live's Fifth Annual International Theatre Festival) and in NY in October 2006.
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