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Lower East Side Festival Coming Up!

To demonstrate the creative explosion of the Lower East Side and the area's importance to culture and tourism in New York City, an array of stars and over 100 performing arts organizations, independent artists, poets, politicians, and filmmakers will join forces May 24-26 in the Lower East Side's Seventh Annual Festival of the Arts. The event will be held in and around Theater for the New City (TNC) at First Avenue and East Tenth Street. This three-day indoor/outdoor festival of theatre, which is free and open to the public, is organized by TNC and a coalition of civic, cultural, and business leaders.

This year, the festival is dedicated to the late playwright Leonard Melfi and the late choreographer Rod Rodgers. The list of attractions includes artists living on the Lower East Side, arts groups performing there, prominent writers and artists whose work has dealt directly with the Lower East Side community, and/or plays written specifically for the festival.

Kate D. Levin, commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, will kick off the event on Fri., May 24 at 6 pm. Tony Randall will speak Sat., May 25 at 8 pm.

A timetable listing each attraction will be available May 15 on TNC's website, The audience information and reservations number is (212) 254-1109.

The following is a partial list of artists scheduled to appear:

David Amram, Penny Arcade and Taylor Meade will perform "Spider Rabbit," Bina Sharif, Folksbiene Theater Co., Andre Brown Dance, Larry Myers, Thunderbird American Indian Dancers, Silvercloud Singers, Les Guirivoires Dance Co., Collective Unconscious, "Grandpa" Al Lewis & Bob Fass, The Living Theater, Jushi/Zsound Collective, Bette (Bloolips) Bourne will reprise his OBIE Award winning performance as Quentin Crisp in "Resident Alien," Shami Chaikin, Flor's Dance Co., Woodie King, Richard Foreman, Ontological Hysteric Theatre, Rome Neal/Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Richard West, Lissa Moira, Barbara Kahn, Laurence Holder, Jack Agueros, Margo Lee Sherman, Epstein & Hassan, Sudden Enlightenment Theatre, Dada NY, Juini Booth, Wise Guise, steve ben israel, eDance, Hooverville, photos by Corky Lee and Harvey Wang, Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, Bangladesh Theater Co., Yangtze Theater Co., Irondale Ensemble Theatre, Wow Cafe, NY Theare Workshop, Surf Reality, Kinding Sindaw, Lavinia Co-op, Mambo Jazzy, Chris Tanner and Lance Cruce, Victoria Linchon, Zeroboy, Kid Lucky, Sutton Gymnastics, Tuli Kupferberg, Jimmy Camicia, Councilman Alan Gerson, John Grimaldi, Dr. Richard Harper, Frank Silvera Writers' Workshop, Susan-Lori Parks and Moises Kaufman reading from new works, Dan Lauria, and Crystal Field reading from the works of Leonard Melfi.

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