Oct 24, 2016

Poetry Electric: 55 Poems For La MaMa’s 55th Anniversary

55 Poems for La MaMa E.T.C.’S 55 Years

a black arrow pointing downward

Party with a trippy troupe of troubadours as they read 55 poems to commemorate 55 years of La Mama Experimental Theater Club, founded in 1961 by much-loved Ellen Stewart.

From an itsy basement to the international stage, La Mama, E.T.C. has presented more than 150,000 artists from 70 nations. Known as a home to artists from around the world, Ellen Stewart’s venture is now, as it has always been—a superlative success.

Guests will receive issue #13 of Live Mag!, New York’s premiere underground arts and poetry magazine. Now in its 9th year, Live Mag! continues its mission to marry the page and the stage, celebrating the oral tradition of live poetry.

drawing of a griffin that says "la mama 55 years"

Featuring performances by long time La Mama alumni:
Jane LeCroy * David Mills * Wanda Phipps * Ilka Scobie *

Joined by Lynne De-Silva Johnson * Akeem Duncan * Sheila Lanham * Gladys “Poppy” Perez-Bashier *

Plus art by Ellen Colcord and Judy Richardson.

And dance to the house beats!

Hosted by Jeffrey Cyphers Wright, editor of Live Mag!
and the series producer William Electric Black

Complementary magazine for all guests.

William Electric Black is a seven-time Emmy Award winning writer (former writer for Sesame Street). Ian has been writing in the family entertainment television industry for over fifteen years.

Andrei Codrescu’s new poetry book is The Art of Forgetting (Sheep Meadow Press, 2016). His recent books include Bibliodeath: My Archives (with Life in Footnotes), So Recently Rent a World: New and Selected Poems, 1968-2012, Whatever Gets You Through the Night: a Story of Sheherezade, The Poetry Lesson, and The Posthuman Dada Guide: Tzara and Lenin Play Chess. Andrei is an homme-de-lettres whose poetry, novels, and essays have been infiltrating the American psyche since he emigrated from his native Romania to Detroit in 1966. He is the author of forty books of poetry, fiction, and essays, and the founder ofExquisite Corpse: A Journal of Life & Letters (www.corpse.org). He has received a Peabody award for his film Road Scholar, and has reported for NPR and ABC News from Romania (1989) and Cuba (1996). He has been a commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered since 1983. He lives in New Orleans, the Ozarks, and New York.

Akeem K. Duncan is a Berkeley graduate who founded Quiet Lunch, an internationally distributed art magazine, in 2010. Along with cultivating a career in art journalism and publishing, Duncan is also an avid poet. Hailing from the southeast section of the Bronx, his work inspired by an off-kilter harmony of love, drugs, instinct and generational existentialism. He has read at venues such as the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Lovecraft and SHAG. His work has also been published in Palabra Luminosas and LiVE MAG13.

Lynne DeSilva-Johnson is a witness willful subject feminist killjoy queer official-narrative battler maker her way through image, text, and code in the world, currently stationed in Brooklyn, NY. She runs the self-hacking organization/ press The Operating System.

Sheila Lanham is an artist and poet living in NYC and Merida, Yucatan. She was co-editor of The Pearl, a Baltimore literary journal. She is the author of two chapbooks of poetry, Baltimore: Blues and Greens,  and Smoke Shadows (Finishing Line). She is the founder and director of U.S. Poets in Mexico, www.uspoetsinmexico.org

Jane LeCroy poet, performance artist, home-birthing mother of 3, teacher, atheist, vegetarian, hedonist, fronts the avant-pop band The Icebergs with Tom Abbs and David Rogers-Berry.  She has toured as part of Sister Spit the west coast women’s poetry troupe and Nu Voices, Kid Lucky’s hip-hop a capella orchestra.  “Signature Play”her multimedia book from Three Rooms Press 2013,  features her lyric poems, musical scores, visual art, and access to audio files and a pushcart nomination.  Jane is a teaching artist in NYC public schools. Check out her many books and recordings at www.janelecroy.com and request to be put on her list to receive free poems hot off her brain with every show invite, find her by name on social media.

David Mills is the author of two collections the 2012 Main Street Rag finalist “The Sudden Country” and the small press bestseller “The Dream Detective.” His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Fence, Jubilat, Callaloo and Black Renaissance Noir. He has recorded his poetry on RCA records and has received grants from NYFA and Breadloaf.

Gladys “Poppy” Perez-Bashier is a founding member of Clique Calm Books Inc./Foundation, an independent multicultural small press.  This publisher/manuscript consultant, who is a former recipient of the first place National Hackney Literary Award for Poetry, was reared in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. Poppy is the author of Creepin’ Through da Hinge. She is also the editor of HEAL: Between the Pages of These Folks We Seek a Panacea, a global, culturally diverse anthology of 32 writers of poems, short stories, chapters of novels, and songs (published by CCB).  As an alumna of The City College of New York’s Graduate Creative Writing Program, her poetry has been published in various national and local literary magazines.  Recently, her essay “Shoes Like Barbie’s” appeared in the collection It’s All About Shoes (published by Plain View Press).  She is currently teaching in New York City and is looking forward to the launch of yet another anthology of mixed genres titled …And Then Some: a collaboration of New Yorkers (Fall 2016) and Spoken: the gathered stories of Reading, Pennsylvania (Spring 2017).

Wanda Phipps is a writer/performer living in NYC. Her books include Field of Wanting: Poems of Desire and Wake-Up Calls: 66 Morning Poems. Her poetry has been translated into Ukrainian, Hungarian, Arabic, Galician and Bangla. She has received awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Theater Translation Fund, and others. As a founding member of Yara Arts Group she has collaborated on numerous theatrical productions presented in Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Siberia, and at La MaMa, E.T.C. in NYC. She’s curated reading series at the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church and written about the arts for Time Out New York, Paper Magazine, and About.com.

Ilka Scobie is a poet, art writer, and native New Yorker. She teaches poetry in the public school system. Recent work appears in here/there, Urban Graffiti, Poetry in Performance and the anthology “…And Then Some” by Clique Calm Books. She writes for London Artlyst and Italian Marie Claire, and is a co-editor of Live Mag!

Jeffrey Cyphers Wright is an artist, critic, eco-activist, impresario and publisher, but is best known as a poet. He received his MFA in Poetry after studying with Allen Ginsberg. From 1987 to 2000 he ran Cover Magazine, the Underground National. He is art editor of Boog City and for many years, poetry reviewer for The Brooklyn Rail. In 2014 he won Theater for the New City’s poetry contest. Recent books include Triple Crown, Sonnets from Spuyten Duyvil and Party Everywhere written during a residency with EMediaLoft. He also produces events at KGB and La Mama ETC in conjunction with his magazine, Live Mag! www.livemag.org

Poetry Electric


The Poetry Electric fuses music, movement, sound, and dance with the spoken word and presents artists working in a wide range of styles including beatboxing, jazz and hip-hop theatre. This series has presented over 200 emerging poets from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Special Event