Metropolitan Playhouse, has confirmed 5 new panelists for the discussion panel The East Village: Theory and Practice, to be held Wednesday, June 22, at 7:30. The panel will be an open discussion, beginning with an examination of the contrast and consonance of the neighborhood's historical and cultural reputation with its actual history and current identity.
The panel is a part of the second annual East Village Theater Festival, a three-week celebration of the ever-vital life and lore of the East Village. Featuring two series of all new works--Alphabet City and East Village Chronicles, as well as the work of local artists--in Metropolitan's home at 220 E 4th Street June 6th through June 26th, 2011. Further, attendees are invited to retire to the B6 Garden following the panel for a show of slides of the work of local artists who have captured the spirit and life of the neighborhood over the past several decades.
Joining the panel on the 22nd are: Stephen Hazan Arnoff, Executive Director, 14th Street Y; Eric Ferrara, Executive Director, Lower East Side History Project; Frances Goldin, local activist, literary agent and a resident featured in Alphabet City VII; Joyce Ravitz, President, Cooper Square Committee; and Shell Sheddy, photographer and East Village activist.
Stephen Hazan Arnoff has served as Director of Artists Networks and Programming at the Makor/Steinhardt Center of the 92nd Street Y, Managing Editor of Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture (2005-07), and has taught on Jewish communal issues, education, religion, and the arts at institutions, conferences, and public programs in North America, Israel, and Europe. Stephen has written for a variety of academic and popular publications, and has been awarded the Rockower Jewish Press Award for Jewish Arts & Criticism (American Jewish Press Association) and the New Voices Prize (Jewish Family and Life!). Since 2007, Stephen has been Executive Director of the 14th Street Y, overseeing doubling of the size of the Y's core programs and membership, a 30% increase in overall operating budget, major renovations throughout the building, and the founding of LABA: The National Laboratory for New Jewish Culture.
Eric Ferrara, is founder and executive director of Lower East Side History Project, founder of the East Village Visitors Center and founder of the Museum of the American Gangster. He is also E.4th Street Cultural District historian, a published author, educator at Brooklyn College and sits on a number of local boards including the Tenement Museum's Immigrant Programs Advisory Committee, and the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors. Above all, Eric is a fourth generation, native New Yorker, active community member and passionate researcher who has made it his life mission to document his neighborhood's great history and share it with the world.
Frances Goldin has worked in publishing for 63 years, as an agent and as editor-in-chief of a children's publishing company; she founded the Frances Goldin Literary Agency. Reflecting Goldin's radical politics, the Agency concentrates on literary fiction and serious, controversial, progressive non-fiction. Among her clients are Barbara Kingsolver, who she has represented for all of her 14 books, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Dorothy Allison, Frances Fox Piven, Martin Duberman, Adrienne Rich, Staceyann Chin, Martin Espada, Alix Dobkin, Juan Gonzales, FrEd Jerome, Staughton Lynd, iconic feminists including Charlotte Bunch and Esther Newton, and Mike Wallace, co-author with Ted Burroughs of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gotham. Her newest clients are Norman Finkelstein and Frank Serpico. Believing that "a better world is possible," it is her goal to get books published that will help speed that process.
Joyce Ravitz is President of the Board of Cooper Square Committee, a housing advocacy and action organization in the East Village. Founded in 1959 to combat the city's slum clearance plan, the committee pursues a mandate "to preserve and develop affordable and environmentally healthy housing and community/cultural spaces on the Lower East Side."
Shell Sheddy is a photographer with a long history of documenting life on the streets and in the clubs and institutions of the Village, as well as coordinating showings of the work of other local artists. She is active in several community organizations as well, such as Good Old Lower East Side.
Exhibitions of the work of East Village Artists--curated by Ms. Sheddy--will run throughout the festival in the theater's lobby (shared with the Connelly Theater.)