Gerard Forde to Lead Q&A Following Performance of FREDDY

Gerard Forde to Lead Q&A Following Performance of FREDDY

Curator, writer and translator Gerard Forde will lead a Q&A discussion following the Thursday, Sept. 28 performance of Freddy at the Caminito Theatre on the campus of Los Angeles City College. Freddy is a world premiere theater/dance work that explores the life and death of dancer Fred Herko, penned by Herko friend Deborah Lawlor. Forde has been researching a biography of Herko and a history of the New York Poets Theatre, which Herko co-founded, for the past eight years.

A brilliant and extraordinarily charismatic dancer, Herko was a fiery denizen of Andy Warhol's Factory and a leader of New York's 1960's "downtown dance scene." Set in Greenwich Village, Freddy blends theater, dance, music and multimedia to tell the tale, based on a true story, of a naïve young woman who falls under his spell.

The play is directed by Frances Loy, with movement/dance direction by Cate Caplin, It stars Marty Dew, Mel England, Katie McConaughy and Susan Wilder. A co-production between the Fountain Theatre and the LACC Theatre Academy, the ensemble features academy members Alexandra Fiallos, Jamal Hopes, Tristen Kim, Jackie Mohr, Lamont Oakley, Connor Clark Pascale, Justice Quinn, Savannah Rutledge, Brianna Saranchock, Trenton Tabak and Jesse Trout.

Fred Herko (1936-1964) was a central figure in New York's downtown avant-garde. A musical prodigy, he studied piano at the Juilliard School of Music before switching to ballet at the age of twenty. In 1956 he won a scholarship to study at American Ballet Theatre School and within a few years was dancing with established choreographers including John Butler, Katherine Litz, Buzz Miller, Glen Tetley and James Waring. He was a founding member of Judson Dance Theater, presenting six of his own works in the group's concerts between 1962 and 1964 and dancing in works by Al Hansen, Deborah Hay, Arlene Rothlein and Elaine Summers. He was a co-founder of the New York Poets Theatre, which staged one-act plays by poets and provided a podium for happenings by Ray Johnson, Allan Kaprow and Robert Whitman; dances by Yvonne Rainer and Trisha Brown; music by La Monte Young, John Herbert McDowell and Philip Corner; and films by Brian De Palma, Stan VanDerBeek and Andy Warhol. Herko starred in seven of Warhol's earliest cinematic experiments in 1963, including Jill and Freddy Dancing, Rollerskate/Dance Movie and Salome and Delilah. His untimely death in 1964, at the age of 28, robbed New York's underground scene of one of its most exuberant and versatile performers who was equally at home performing Comb Music by Fluxus composer George Brecht or camping it up in Rosalyn Drexler's musical comedy Home Movies.

Herko biographer Gerard Forde has been conducting research on the relationship between avant-garde theater, dance, poetry and the visual arts in New York during the 1950s and '60s since 2008. In 2014, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Herko's death, Forde curated a week-long program of events in New York City that included an exhibition of photographs of Herko at the Emily Harvey Foundation Gallery and a symposium at NYU. His recently published essays include "Plus or Minus 1961 - A Chronology 1959-1963," "Poet's Vaudeville - The Collages of James Waring'," and "Dramatis Personæ: The Theatrical Collaborations of Kenneth Koch, Jean Tinguely."

Performances of Freddy take place Sept. 27 through Oct. 14. The Q&A with Gerard Forde will follow the 8 p.m. performance on Thursday, Sept. 28. The Caminito Theatre is located on the campus of Los Angeles City College at 855 N Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90029. Parking is FREE in Structure 4 on Heliotrope at Monroe (between Santa Monica and Melrose). For more information, call (323) 663-1525 or go to www.FountainTheatre.com.

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