The Playgoer: Prelude 2009

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Prelude 2009

Here in NYC, tonight begins the annual Prelude festival at CUNY's Martin Segal Center, celebrating the current avant-garde scene. Over the next three days you can see performances and presentations (for free, btw) by The Living Theatre, Theater of a Two-Headed Calf, Radiohole, John Jesurun, Chocolate Factory--and my old buddy David Levine, talking about his installation/exhibition Hopeful:

"Hopeful" explores headshots—photographs of actors looking for work rather than publicity portraits of stars—both as genre and as material artifact. First appearing in the 1950s, these peculiar images routinely disregard conventions of portraiture: the intended viewer, who is in a position to hire the actor, is offered no environment, professional emblems, or trace of social context.

Today, New York City agents alone receive an estimated ten thousand headshots weekly, ninety-nine percent of which are routinely thrown out. What is the ecological impact of this rejected material? And how much waste—not only trashed photographs but also image CDs, demo tapes, slides, and manuscripts—does the culture industry need to generate in order to maintain its supposedly meritocratic reputation?
That's right, actors. Your headshot is an artifact!

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