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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

This Week in BAM History: Burning Down the House

 
The morning of November 30, 1903 began quietly at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn Heights. Around 8:45am, stagehands were in the middle of taking down sets for Way Down East, which had played the week before, and preparing the opera hall for a banquet for Senator Patrick Henry McCarren. Suddenly a small explosion occurred near the stage—most likely due to a gas leak—and the scenery as well as the canvas border around the stage ignited.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Selections from Free Ticket+ Thursdays: Wink and Swirl Me To Sleep

Leo Villareal, Stars. Photo: James Ewing

When BAM opened in 1861, its very first audience was treated to a performance of Mozart and Verdi. Once the concert had run its course, there was no turning back. They were now Brooklyn Academy of Music initiates, proudly divested of their cultural innocence and BAM virginity forever.

A few weeks ago for Free Ticket+ Thursdays, we asked you to get personal and share the story of your first BAM time. Responses were fantastic, but none more so than Lilah's:
"It was this spring, two months before I was to graduate college and move to New York. I had no job prospects, no homework to do, and $30, so I treated my then-boyfriend to a movie. He brought me to BAM. We sat on the steps out front just minutes before I let BAM Rose Cinemas go all the way, eating Not Ray's pizza and wiping the grease off our faces with our sweater sleeves, when I said, "This is where I want to live." I barely knew BAM. In fact, I barely knew Brooklyn. As luck would have it, eight months later I can see the steps from which I said those words from my bedroom window, and every night the lights on the building that took my culture virginity wink and swirl me to sleep."
Free Ticket+ Thursdays happens weekly on Facebook.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

1903: BAM’s Last Brooklyn Heights Thanksgiving


Ninety-eight years ago today, there was a special Thanksgiving performance of Way Down East at BAM’s original building on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights. Penned by Lottie Blair Parker, Way Down East was one of the most popular theatrical productions of the first decade of the 20th century. After over 4,000 performances, the piece had been largely retired until D.W. Griffith bought the rights to the story and made it into a film starring Lillian Gish in 1920.

Way Down East has further significance to BAM’s history: it was the last production to play in the original building before it burned to the ground on November 30, 1903 (more on this next week).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Harvey Oral History: Falling in Love with Modern Dance: Martha Graham

Martha Graham in Letter to the World, Kick, 1940, by Barbara Morgan

In the last oral history post, Harvey told us how falling for Martha led him to modern dance. Martha had been at BAM many times when Harvey got here in 1967, and Joseph wrote a slamming post about Martha Graham’s last public appearance—yes, at BAM.

Listen to Harvey talk about that performance.


HarveyOralBlog 008 MarthaVsHarvey by BAMorg

Serial Party - Infernal Comedy Opening Night

Mr. Malkovich is congratulated by a guest on his performance in
The Infernal Comedy: Confessions of a serial killer (Photo: Elena Olivo)
Last week the inimitable John Malkovich graced the BAM Opera House stage as an operatic murderer in Michael Sturminger and Martin Haselbock's The Infernal Comedy: Confessions of a serial killer. BAM celebrated the opening night last Thursday with members of the cast and BAM Producers Council members at the Benefactor level and above. It was a charmingly eerie evening with decor by Fleurs Bella, hours devours by Great Performances, cocktails by Brooklyn Gin, and wine generously provided by Brotherhood Winery.

The Next Wave Festival continues after Thanksgiving with Big Dance Theater's Supernatural Wife, followed by Tudo Isto E Fado which is accompanied by two receptions for Generation Advance members on December 2nd. And on December 6th we have our 2011 Next Wave Gala celebrating all of our Producers Council members and the opening of Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape starring John Hurt.

More pictures and information about the Opening Night Party for The Infernal Comedy: Confessions of a serial killer below:

To Elizabeth Swados, the Badass Bird Woman

Thanks to archivist Sharon’s deep Google skills, we have a great video to follow up our earlier post about Peter Brook and the International Centre for Theatre Research, which inaugurated the newly remodeled Lepercq Space at BAM with workshops and  performances of The Conference of Birds in 1973. The video shows a 22-year-old Elizabeth Swados in a workshop, conducting an audience-generated piece of choral music. Not only is the piece (and Swados’ boundless energy) incredible, you can also clearly see the Lepercq, which now houses the BAMcafé. Swados, Brook, and the audience made fantastic use of the space. But don’t listen to us—hear for yourself.




Friday, November 18, 2011

The Cross-Dressers of Dyker Heights



Far down on the heights called Dyker,
Overlooking New York Bay,
Stands a school with a tall white tower,
Greeting ships that ply their way.
Her young, as they leave her portals
With visions of worldwide fame,
Carry with them the fight of Poly,
Where they learned to play the game.

So begins the school anthem for the Poly Prep Country Day School in Dyker Heights, one of the oldest private schools in Brooklyn. It’s a very Brooklyn song: it has ambition (“visions of worldwide fame”), it has spunk (“the fight of Polly”), and it positions itself against the big sister borough (“overlooking New York Bay”). Yet the “overlooking” here is most telling: when students sing this song we get the sense that they’re not looking up to Manhattan, but instead are filled with a homespun superiority to the residents of that all too self-important borough.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Behind the Scenes: Carl Wurzbach, Sound Engineer

Get acquainted with some of the people who make things work at BAM. Carl Wurzbach is BAM’s sound engineer, interviewed by Sandy Sawotka, BAM’s director of publicity.*



Q: Carl, as the sound engineer for the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, you play an important role in a wide variety of BAM productions. Can you tell us about your main responsibilities?

A: BAM does it all: opera, rock & roll, modern dance, Shakespeare, even MTV specials. It’s my job to provide whatever the visiting company needs for that production’s sound and video concerns. Everything from the placement of the large speakers you see, to the dozens of little ones you don’t see—around the theater, in lighting booths, and in dressing rooms. As many as 60 microphone inputs may be used to get a band sounding good for the audience, as well as another 60 for the monitor mixes that the performers need on stage. My duties also include ensuring that the titles are perfectly executed for our foreign language productions. In addition we make certain that the video screens and projectors used in each show do what the director and designers want them to do. We also make sure the backstage communications systems provide the stagehands, electricians, prop people, carpenters, and sound folk with the ability to see and hear everything that happens on stage. Cues are called, the lights, scenery, and actors move, and the magic happens... when I am lucky, I even get to mix the show.

Free Ticket+ Thursdays: The Fado Edition

Photo: Amalia Hoje, by Rita Carmo
Come December 2 and 3, we're presenting Tudo Isto É Fado, two nights in the opera house dedicated to the tragically underexposed Portuguese folk music fado. Originally created by homesick Portuguese sailors in the 19th century, fado took hold in the working-class districts of Lisbon where it became a way of expressing nostalgia and yearning for better times. The Portuguese call this saudade. Think "Weltschmertz"  or "ennui," except with a much better tan. 

It's intense stuff, cathartic like the blues but much more likely than its American cousin to reduce grown men to tears (accounts are rampant). It also translates into "fate," which is something that you can take control of this week by entering Free Ticket+ Thursdays—particularly if your saudade is a little rusty or in need of some sublime musical companionship.

Enter to win a pair of tickets to Tudo Isto É Fadoplus a Friends of BAM membership—today! (Homesick Portuguese sailors welcome)


"Fado Toninho," by Deolinda, performing on Sat, Dec 3

Friday, November 11, 2011

Weekly FTT Recap: Fantasy Artistic Duos

Last week for Free Ticket+ Thursdays, we asked you to name your fantasy artistic duos. Here are a few choice answers.

Julie Mehretu, Stadia II, 2004


Subtle, Inspired...

Philip Glass and Julie Mehretu

Dan Deacon and Janelle Monáe

Laurie Anderson and Gut Bucket

Ohad Naharin/Batsheva Dance Company and The Beach Boys


There Will Be Pants Wetting... 

Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead and Daniel Day-Lewis doing The Crucible

Björk and Matthew Barney in Drawing Restraint
Alvin Ailey and Ray Charles

Matthew Barney & Björk with Tim Burton & Helena Bonham Carter

Bob Dylan and Martha Graham

Prince and Bill T. Jones


Gilding the Lily... 

Paul Simon and Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend)

David Bowie and John Cameron Mitchell

Photo: Sun Ra, courtesy of Mitchell Seidel 
Prokofiev and Ionesco


When Hell Freezes Over...

Tom Waits and Woody Allen

William Kentridge accompanied by Mogwai

Kraftwerk and Sun Ra

Samuel Beckett and Brian Eno
Photo: director George Romeo and Zombies, courtesy of Everett Photos


Just...whoa... 

Sigmund Freud directing Mark Rylance in Hamlet

Andy Goldsworthy and Cloud Gate Dance Theater

Dance/acrobat troupe Pilobolus and Steve Jobs

Pedro Almodóvar and Patti Smith

Tom Wolfe and rapper Madlib

George Romero and Björk



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ralph Lemon's Favorite BAM Moments

Marion Cito and Jan Minarik in Bluebeard, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, 1984. Photo: Ulli Weiss

Last month, choreographer Ralph Lemon (How Can You Stay..., 2010 Next Wave Festival) stopped by BAM to help us celebrate the release of BAM: The Complete Works. He offered the following as his favorite BAM moments.


1. Gospel at Colonus | Dirs. Bob Telson and Lee Breuer, 1982
Five Blind Boys of Alabama, the Institutional Radio Choir, and a young Morgan Freeman. 'Nuff said.



Free Ticket+ Thursdays: The Brooklyn Close-Up Edition


As we mentioned before, BAMcinématek is dedicating the last Monday of every month to Brooklyn films as part of our 150th-anniversary celebrations. Think The Warriors, Do the Right Thing, Goodfellas, Sophie's Choice, etc. Enter Free Ticket+ Thursdays this week for a chance to win tickets to all of the films, plus a case of the recently released Brooklyn BAMboozle Ale from Brooklyn Brewery, a framed copy of the Brooklyn Close-Up print to the left (by our own Nate Gielgud), and a BAM Cinema Club Membership.

Sophie's choice was difficult. This one is not. Enter to win today!












Keith Haring at BAM

Bill T. Jones dancing in Secret Pastures. Photo: Tom Caravaglia

Hey young artist! Have you ever wondered how you can make your work stand out from the crowd of talented competitors? Maybe you should look at how Keith Haring did it. In the early 1980s, Haring created quite a buzz when he started drawing chalk figures on the empty black spaces where expired subway ads were hidden. Of course, he was fined many times for defacing public property, but his characters soon became iconic. Haring was an inspired artist and master marketer, and his work soon appeared everywhere from posters and buttons to expensive and expansive canvases—and even at BAM.

Keith Haring, courtesy of the BAM Hamm Archives
Keith Haring’s first collaboration with Bill T. Jones involved Haring painting directly on Jones’ body for photographs by Tseng Kwong Chi. Haring created his first set design for the stage at BAM with the world premiere of Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane’s Secret Pastures in November 1984. The sets were easily identifiable as Haring’s distinctive style. He also designed the poster and promo cards and several other pieces for BAM.

Promotional poster by Keith Haring, courtesy of the BAM Hamm Archives


Bill T.Jones' Secret Pastures. Photo: Tom Caravaglia
Keith Haring’s brief (1958—1990) but intense career spanned the 1980s. He was highly sought after to participate in collaborative projects, and worked with artists and performers as diverse as Madonna, Grace Jones, William Burroughs, Timothy Leary, Jenny Holzer, Yoko Ono, and Andy Warhol. By expressing universal concepts of birth, death, love, sex, and war, using a primacy of line and directness of message, Haring was able to attract a wide audience and assure the accessibility and staying power of his imagery, which became a universally recognized visual language of the 20th century. —Louie Fleck, BAM Archives










Keith Haring invitation, courtesy of the BAM Hamm Archives


BAMboozle Arrives in Brooklyn Babylon

Glasses of BAMboozle standing at the ready moments before being sipped up by BAMfans
Brooklyn Babylon premiered last night at the BAM Harvey Theater and shared their opening night reception with the highly anticipated launch of BAMboozle, Brooklyn Brewery's fantastic ale designed just for BAM's 150th Anniversary! There was much love for Brooklyn among the party's guests, who included artists of Brooklyn Babylon, Brooklyn Brewery's co-founder Steve Hindy and BAMfans. The beer flowed late into the night and happy guests left with bellies full of beer and Danijel Zezelj's visions of a future Brooklyn dancing in their heads, scored by Darcy James Argue's Secret Society.

If you missed the BAMboozle launch never fear, BAMcafe will start serving it up starting this weekend, our neighbors at Greene Grape will start selling bottles in the next week and more will be hitting the shelves of your local supermarket come December. More below.

Check out the full album from the event here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

November Staff Pick: Brooklyn Babylon


Photo: Brooklyn Babylon, by James Matthew Daniel



























This month's pick: Brooklyn Babylon (Nov 9—12)
Picked by: Ross Marshall, Marketing Projects Assistant

1. Why Brooklyn Babylon?When I first browsed this year’s Next Wave Festival season line-up, Brooklyn Babylon was the show that I was immediately the most excited about. Darcy James Argue is integral to the New York jazz scene, which, collectively, is making a strong case that jazz is still alive and tremendously exciting. But thoroughly contemporary big band music paired with animation and live painting in support of an original story about futuristic Brooklyn? That really gets me going.

Photo: Brooklyn Babylon, by James Matthew
Daniel
2. What makes it unique?
When was the last time you saw someone painting on an enormous canvas in front of an audience? Zezelj’s work is bold and visceral, and live painting is perhaps the most suitable complement to live contemporary jazz. It’s a match made in heaven.

3. You might like this if you liked:
Imaginary City (So Percussion) and The Long Count (Bryce & Aaron Dessner), both at BAM in 2009; Ecstatic Music Festival artists like Clogs, Alarm Will Sound, Owen Pallett, Shara Worden, Nico Muhly, and others; Undead Jazz Fest and Winter Jazz Fest artists

4. Guilty-pleasure reason for seeing the show:
Infernal Machines by Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society was nominated for a Grammy for Best Large Ensemble Jazz Album. Also, Darcy once wrote a piece that features an electrified cajón and, as questionable as that may be to Latin percussionists and jazz purists alike, it sounds incredible. I want to hear more of that.

5. Final words:
Perhaps the most important element of this collaboration is the fact that both of these Brooklyn-based artists are rapidly emerging leaders in their respective scenes, and they will be on BAM’s stage together with this staggeringly ambitious work. I wouldn’t miss this show if I were you!

Brooklyn Babylon runs from Nov 9—12 at the BAM Harvey Theater.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

This Week in BAM History: Gertrude Stein’s American Lectures


Gertrude Stein, Basket, and Alice B. Toklas
When Gertrude Stein came back to America in 1934, she returned an unlikely American hero. This expatriate had lived for three decades in Paris, where she was known as a gallerist, a champion of modern art, and for her infamous salons which featured such folks as Hemingway, Picasso, Mina Loy, and Ezra Pound. Only those in her immediate circle knew her as a writer whose level of textual complexity rivaled Woolf, Proust, or Joyce.

But this changed in 1933 with The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. An improbable bestseller, this fictional biography brought Stein a level of fame which few of her Modernist contemporaries experienced. It's curious that at the height of the Great Depression one of America's most popular books told of two comfortably out, upper-middle class lesbians as they traveled through Europe, meeting famous artists and writers. Compare this to Quentin Crisp’s story of being out in hardscrabble London in the 1930s, where he experienced daily harassment and violent attacks—a still common story—and the popularity of Stein’s Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas seems all the more unlikely.

As the book gained popularity, so did the public’s desire to know more about its author. When Stein and Toklas arrived in New York on October 24th, Stein was only planning on giving lectures at a few venues along the East Coast. She was not expecting the throng of reporters waiting dockside as she stepped off the ocean liner from Europe. She was also not expecting to see “Gertrude Stein Has Arrived in New York” flashing across an electric billboard in Times Square as she was driven to her hotel. Nor did she anticipate the numerous requests for appearances, the steady stream of invitations to socialite soirees, and the constant press from various tabloids and magazines, which chronicled her zigzag across the country. But Stein seemed energized by the attention. What began as a modest speaking tour ended nearly six months and 74 lectures later; the interim saw her visit 37 cities and hang out with everyone from Eleanor Roosevelt to Charlie Chaplin, with faithful Alice at her side.

Membership ticket to Stein's BAM lectures

BAM fortunately hosted three of Stein’s appearances in November of 1934. Her first talk here, “The Gradual Making of the Making of Americans,” would go on to be included in Lectures in America—Stein’s definitive statement on her craft, published the year after she returned to Paris. Stein hoped that after the success of her tour, the publication of her major lectures would broaden her readership, with more attention paid to her more difficult works, such as The Making of Americans.

But, as Stein scholar Wendy Steiner points out, “The sales of [Lectures in America] and of Stein’s following books were disappointing. People were anxious to see Stein but not to read her.” Megan Gambino, in a recent article for Smithsonian Magazine, notes that “Stein’s audiences, by and large, did not understand her lectures.” Even today, when The Making of Americans occupies the most formidable spot on the Modernist canon’s Big Books shelf—alongside Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, Joyce’s Ulysses, and Louis Zukofsky’s “A” (Brooklyn’s very own Modernist Masterpiece©)—Stein’s reputation for difficulty is not diminished. If anything, it is a testament to the strength of her densely cubistic linguistic structures.

We oh-so-enlightened 21st century readers now have many resources to help us hear Stein. As she herself writes in the membership ticket that advertised her BAM lectures, “You see words and you hear them. The trouble is to know the difference between seeing them and hearing them.” If you're inclined to follow Stein’s charge, you can hear recordings of several of her 1934-35 New York appearances at PennSound, University of Pennsylvania’s online archive featuring innovative writers reading their work.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Brooklyn BAMboozle Ale


By Robert Wood


First, a preemptive statement: we don't advocate seeing Krapp’s Last Tape, Brooklyn Babylon, Richard III, or any other upcoming BAM production buzzed. You'll  forget to turn off your cell phone, which will incite dirty looks, and you might have to have a sherpa come and get you half way up the Harvey Theater stairs. But afterwards, feel free to toast BAM with the perfect beverage, from our friends at Brooklyn Brewery—Brooklyn BAMboozle ale, a newly released beer celebrating BAM’s 150th anniversary.

It’s a real doozy—a glorious 8.67% ABV Belgian-style ale, made with a blend of local wildflower honey, German and Austrian hops, and Pilsner malt, all finished with a Champagne yeast. That’s its public face, anyway. Between you and me, that's probably just beer talk for a secret extract made from Alan Rickman’s tears, Merce Cunningham’s sweat, and purified water used in the Pina Bausch production Nefes.

Regardless, here’s the brewmaster’s description: “BAMboozle features a large addition of wildflower honey from the New York family apiary Tremblay Farms – we pick up the honey from Alan Tremblay at the Greenmarket. Blended with golden malts, it is fermented to a dry complexity by our Belgian yeast strain, and then re-fermented in the bottle like Champagne. When the cork pops, the beer shows a shimmering effervescence, a beautifully floral, honeyed nose, and a fresh light zing on the palate that belies its underlying strength.”

Just to clarify, nothing in the beer is 150 years old. That would be gross. But the brewers inform us that, like BAM, it should age nicely. For those who can’t wait to sample some of its “shimmering effervescence,” your first shot will be Wednesday night, November 9, at the post-show party for Brooklyn Babylon. It’s a members-only event, so join now if you’d like to go. Otherwise, BAMboozle will be available at select places throughout the borough—including our own BAMcafé.

Here’s a link to the beer at Brooklyn Brewery. And here’s a link to Tremblay Farms, which you can visit every weekend at Grand Army Plaza. Raise a glass to BAM 150!

Details for beer connoisseurs:
Malt: Weyermann Pilsner Malt, Bamberg, Germany
Honey: Raw Wildflower, Tremblay Farms, Chemung County, NY
Hops: Perle (Germany) and Aurora (Austria)
Yeast: Our special Belgian strain, finished in the bottle with “Pris de Mousse” Champagne yeast
Original Gravity: 17.2 P
ABV: 8.67 %

Friday, November 4, 2011

BAMcafé Live All-Stars: Fred Ho & the Afro Asian Music Ensemble (FREE!)


Photo: Fred Ho, by Robert Adam Mayer
“There are two aspects of pop culture,” says baritone sax player Fred Ho, performing tonight at BAMcafé Live. “[There is] one that I call ‘Big P’ and one that I call ‘Small P.’ The Big P has been [commoditized] and commercialized, but it became that way by appropriating the Small P, as rock is an appropriation of blues. So why can’t the Small P, the guerrillas, go into the Big P and abscond with something from it? That’s how I see the guerrilla aesthetic, which to me is the quintessential aesthetic of ‘jazz.’ My music is not a rejection of tradition, not this didactic or dogmatic avant-gardism, but [rather] the trickster approach to tradition.”

So music by pillage, in other words. Brer Jazz meets Robin Hood. The strategic redistribution of musical wealth. It's an apt aesthetic for these 99% days, and it's one that baritone sax player Fred Ho—one of our BAMcafé Live All-Stars—has mastered thoroughly. His preferred medium is the big band, but the big band as Small P as opposed to the Big P of, say, institutionalized jazz orchestras for whom swing is still the only thing. That's why at around 18 seconds in the clip below, it sounds like Wynton Marsalis repeatedly throwing his back out:


"The Monkey Strut!" from Monkey: Part Two, Fred Ho and the Monkey Orchestra

It's an exuberant sound—rough around the edges and unpredictable (is that a Japanese shamisen being plucked around :27?). Again, this is the multiform music of the People's coffers.

But amusing metaphors aside, there’s much at stake here. As is probably clear, art for Ho isn't just entertainment or a mere preserve for pretty sounds; it's a site of action where the stubborn rigidity of things—that part of Big P we’re always stubbing our toes on—can be softened a bit and imagined otherwise. This means that jazz isn't as much a genre as a space of contention: "I do not use the term 'jazz,'" Ho writes, "as I do not use such terms as Negro, Oriental, or Hispanic. The struggle to redefine and reimage our existence involves the struggle to reject the stereotyping, distortion, and devaluation embodied in the classifications of conquerors and racists." Big P is not to be trifled with; the guerrillas are at the gate.

I should note that Ho has plenty of experience being on the conquering side as well; he’s a colon cancer survivor—not once, not twice, but three times over—and much of his musical fearlessness undoubtedly comes from that experience. It was Shakespeare who said that "we owe God a death," but—thankfully—this is one debt that Ho has decided doesn't need to be repaid any time soon.

Hear Ho’s music, overflowing with life, tonight at BAMcafé—for free.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Free Ticket+ Thursdays: The Merce Cunningham Edition

Photo: Merce Cunningham's Roaratorio, by Anna Finke

On the left? Free Ticket+ Thursdays winners, newly endowed with world-conquering spirit. On the right? Sad souls who never entered, watching from the sidelines.

Get a lift by entering this week's contest for a chance to win two tickets to see Merce Cunningham's Roaratorio on December 7 and a BAM Cinema Club membership.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New Contest: BAM & Then It Hits You


Audrey Tautou enjoys a BAM moment.
Want to know where to find one of the best seats at BAM? In the lobby, right after a performance. In a span of seconds, you’re surrounded by an electric multitude still in the throes of a BAM moment, gesticulating, rehashing, exclaiming, and debating its way to the door. I think I’ve even seen repenting. No wonder people forget their umbrellas.

It’s a great scene, and we’ve all been there, left a performance or a movie either on a cloud or well under one, to some degree transformed. These are those moments from a show that really stick with you. Or that come back unexpectedly while you’re eating your sandwich. Know what I mean?

This November, we’re celebrating those sandwich moments with BAM & Then It Hits You on Facebook, the BAM contest of contests, in which we ask you to share your most memorable BAM experiences for a chance to win the ultimate prize package, including:
Visit Facebook and submit your story (images welcomed, too) for a chance to win. Once the finalists are selected in December, you’ll vote on the winner, thereby determining the fate of the mother lode.

Martha Graham’s Last Dance

Martha  Graham
In the fall of 1970 Brooklyn overflowed with modern dance. As part of the Brooklyn Festival of Dance, BAM brought to the stage such heavyweights as the American Ballet Company, Merce Cunningham, and the Martha Graham Dance Company, which kicked it all off with seven consecutive days of performances from Graham’s repertoire.

While this was not the first time the Graham Company danced at BAM (it has performed here regularly since 1933), these performances were remarkable in that they were the first time Graham would not appear in her dances. Apparently, Graham did not want this fact publicized, and on October 2nd, the morning of her company’s premiere, a front page story appeared in The New York Times with the headline, “Martha Graham, 76, to Dance No More.” Harvey Lichtenstein, former BAM president, recalls that she was furious the entire day. That night, just before the curtain opened, Graham suddenly appeared onstage and then walked behind the curtain, through the stage door, and into the auditorium. Lichtenstein recalls that
“the minute the audience saw her, everyone was on their feet, absolutely jumping up and down and applauding and cheering. And she took a slow walk to her seat, a performer always, on stage or off. And the program began and she was fine, but she never danced on stage again after that.”