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Culture Reigns, Uptown and Down

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The Midtown Theatre Festival ended this week, but never fear. Whichever direction theatre fans head next week, uptown or down, they will find shows to take in. The Eighth Annual Downtown Arts Festival promises theatre, "performances" (distinct from theatre), dance, screenings, music, exhibitions, and other events all over lower Manhattan. Meanwhile, uptown in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx, there will be even more theatre, dance, music, film, and art. Both series will begin Fri., Sept. 8.

The Hunts Point Season of Cultural Events is the first of its kind in the southern tip of the northern borough, although the venues where it will take place are not new. The Point CDC (Community Development Corp.), which will host the majority of the events, is a five-year-old non-profit neighborhood organization that offers theatre performances and classes in music, dance, and visual arts as part of its efforts to nurture local youth. With the award-winning choreographer Arthur Aviles, in the last year The Point established the other venue, the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance—which goes by its acronym, "BADD!"

The Point complex includes the 150-seat Live From the Edge Theatre at 940 Garrison Ave.; BADD! has a workshop in the American Banknote Warehouse Building, 841 Barretto St., which seats 70. Both venues are best reached by taking the #6 subway to the Hunts Point Ave. stop.

The venues participating in the Downtown Arts Festival total more than a dozen, but most theatre performances will take place at The Kitchen, located at 512 W. 19 St., west of Tenth Ave.

The Downtown event will begin with the Contemporary French Art and Performance Series, which will present many artists who have never been seen in America. The series encompasses photography, installation, video, and sculpture from the international artists' collective Glassbox; performance art selected by Pompidou Center Curator of Live Arts, Serge Laurent, called "Les Spectacles Vivants Sample;" a visual, theatrical, and sonic installation by Compagnie Faim de Siècle; and more.

The Uptown event will begin with Upstage, the Point's theatre group for young adults, which will present a one-night-only evening of monologues and skits. Photography, music, and film and video events will fill most of the rest of the month, with one exception: on Sept. 29 and 30, Pat Galante will perform her one-person show "Some of My Parts" at BADD!. (Those who miss it that weekend will also have the chance to catch the show, directed by Veronica Caicedo, Oct. 6 and 7.)

Down at the Kitchen, Compagnie Faim de Siècle will present "Shattered Boxes" Sept. 13-16 and 20-23. The company is a muticultural, multimedia troupe based in New York and Paris; their show is adapted from Heiner Müller's "Medeamateri-al" trilogy, inspired by the Medea legend. As directed by Ibrahim Quraishi, it will use live performers and new technology to created four interactive installations that reflect different aspects of Medea's insanity. Also Sept. 14-16 (but at different times, naturally), "Les Spectacles Vivants Sample" will incorporate "all aspects of performance, including dance, music, and theatre, as well as visual arts, fashion, and design when they relate to the stage."

The festivals will offer more events to fans of theatre, dance, and performance. For information about the Downtown Arts Festival, call the Kitchen at (212) 255-5793. For information about the Hunts Point's Fall Season of Cultural Events, call (718) 542-4139.

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