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Art, Justice and Pasta: Great Small Works Spaghetti Dinner Benefit for Building Stories

PPOW liberty banner protest
August 14, 2020, 7:30 pm.
Donations accepted


Great Small Works Spaghetti Dinner presents

“Art, Justice, and Pasta: A Benefit for Building Stories”

livestreamed on Great Small Works facebook page 

Join Brooklyn-based theater company Great Small Works for a free, online version of the company’s long-running Spaghetti Dinners which feature art, ideas, and pasta. Over a dozen new activist performances, puppet shows, films, and music (as well as a live cooking show revealing the secrets of Great Small Works’ famed spaghetti recipe) created by performers including: Great Small Works, BoxCutter Collective, The People’s Puppets of Occupy Wall Street,Chinese Theatre Works, the Inanimate Intimists, Nathan Leigh, Raphael Mishler, Marina Tsaplina, Jacqueline Wade, and chef Roberto Rossi.

Viewers can connect to Art, Justice, and Pastavia the Great Small Works facebook video page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/GreatSmallWorks/videos/. Opportunities to make contributions to Building Stories will be available during and after the event.

Since 2017 Great Small Works has shared space, projects, and enthusiasm with Building Stories LLC, a Brooklyn-based community of artists, teachers, builders, designers, writers, filmmakers, organizers, performers, and thinkers who collaborate with organizations working toward economic and racial justice, environmental protections, labor equity, prison reform and immigrant rights. The Building Stories shared studio in Gowanus is a design, construction, and rehearsal space for multiple overlapping projects involving puppets, masks, banners, costumes, and signs, as well as film and video editing.

Art, Justice, and Pasta: A Benefit for Building Storieswill include performances by the following Building Stories members:

Marina Tsaplinaand Alexandra Zevin, who will present their short video

  • What is Building Stories?, a you-are-there tour of the Building Stories workshop and studio in Gowanus.

People’s Puppets of Occupy Wall Street, founded in Zuccotti Park in the first two weeks of the 2011 Occupation of New York City, is a collective that helps other activists build beautiful and effective visuals for actions. People’s Puppets will present:

  • Masque of the Red Death: 2020, by Alexandra Zevin, a digital adaptation of a work by Edgar Allen Poe, in which the rich are partying during a pandemic, and a fracking executive steps away from the masquerade ball.
  • The Mourning Dove, Kim Fraczek’s emotional video observation of a mourning dove tending to new eggs during a storm—outside a Brooklyn window during the COVID-19 lockdown. 
  • The Luxury You Deserve, Alexandra Zevin and Morgan Jenness’s video reconciling anger and panic in response to recent political events, with an understanding of economic structures that influence history: we are living in the grips of settler colonial histories and a corporate takeover of the living world. Where are we going?

BoxCutter Collective, an extended family (Sam Wilson, Jason, Hicks, Tom Cunningham, and Joseph Therrien) of puppeteers, painters, performers, builders, educators, workers, union organizers, and mischief makers who have been working together in various forms for the last 15 years. They will perform:

  • A Series of Questions for Those Not Yet in Favor of Police and Prison Abolition, a picture performance by Tom Cunningham.
  • How to Overthrow a Statue, a how-to toy-theater instruction video by Jason Hicks.

Chinese Theatre Works, co-founded by Kuang-Yu Fong and Stephen Kaplin, who have collaborated together on dozens of theatrical productions that fuse Chinese opera with Western puppetry practice, will perform:

  • The Warrior, based on a Japanese Zen parable, as interpreted by the great, late, master storyteller Ken Feit.

Great Small Works, a collective of six theater artists–John Bell, Trudi Cohen, Stephen Kaplin, Jenny Romaine, Roberto Rossi and Mark Sussman–who create original performances aiming to keep theater at the heart of social life, drawing on folk, avant-garde and popular theater traditions, will present:

  • What Kind of Bear am I?, a video conceived and directed by Jenny Romaine, based on a song by Geoff Berner, and part of a larger production, The Revival of the Uzda Gravediggers, about life in the “mostly ordinary town” of Uzda in Belorusia before the rise of a nation-state.

The Inanimate Intimists (Ali Goss and Liz Oakley), who animate objects in order to explore their inner thoughts and desires, and have performed on their fire escape, from inside a bathtub, on their stove, and on their stoop, will perform:

  • The Future of Pigs, a hand-puppet lecture by Professor Pig about the violent history and imagined future of the humans giving pigs a bad name: the police.

Nathan Leigh, a member of People’s Puppets of Occupy Wall Street, will present:

  • I Know What It Means To Be Free, a video animation created in collaboration with Israel Adeyemi Adeniji, who spent 190 days in ICE detention, and the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund’s “Let My People Go” campaign to release our immigrant neighbors in detention; and
  • The Immortan Joe Memorial Highway, a stop-motion animation video Leigh made for a tune by his band Nathan Leigh and the Crisis Actors.

Raphael Mishler, a visual designer for New York theater productions, will present:

  • Quarantine Stroll, a collage crankie based on walks through the artist’s neighborhood during the beginning of social distancing.

Jacqueline Wade, a professional hybrid filmmaker/storyteller/actress/puppeteer/fabricator/activist, and graduate student in the MFA Integrated Media Arts Program at Hunter College, will present

  • A Slice of History, a multi-media triptych perspective on Human Zoos, Teddy Roosevelt, and the Young Lords, created, written, directed, and edited by Jacqueline Wade.

Art, Justice, and Pasta: A Benefit for Building Stories will begin with a live cooking show by Great Small Works member Roberto Rossi. For those who may wish to cook along with the master during the performance, here below are the ingredients. Rossi writes: “all measurements are approximations, which is what makes this recipe so… unprofessional.”

Half can of pureed tomatoes

small whole onion

Olive oil

1.5 tbsp parsley chopped

1.5 tbsp sage chopped

1.5 tbsp rosemary chopped

1.5 tbsp basil chopped

.5 cup Parmesan or Pecorino cheese – grated

(Optional) .5 cup pine nuts – chopped

.5 lb of durum wheat pasta – shells




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