Tony Torn Interview!!!

Benefit Party for Marc Arthur's "Mascot"

Tony Torn talks about going from downtown NYC to Broadway, his time in Reza Abdoh’s troupe, and I tried my best to probe him for as many family secrets as I could! His blood runs deep: Rip Torn, Geraldine Page, Sissy Spacek and even Edgar Allen Poe! When Tony isn’t acting or directing, he’s usually running around Page 22, a performance/literary/theater salon and acting space in Chelsea. They just launched a new website, so be sure to check out all the goings-on taking place at Page 22.


SB: Tony, you and most your family have spent most of your lives on stage, how are you feeling about the one you’re on now and what’s it like to share the spotlight with a cat?

TT: Breakfast at Tiffany’s is my first Broadway show. I went into it expecting it to be a wildly different experience but in most ways ways it isn’t. The Cort Theater is not the biggest theater I’ve performed in (That would be the Amsterdam Opera House while touring with Richard Foreman), and the eight shows a week schedule is heavy, but I’ve done that before too (even in a Reza Abdoh show, Bogeyman at LATC…doing 8 shows a week of Abdoh is CRAZY!).

The big difference is the intangible sense of importance that fills a Broadway gig because of the money and cultural capital involved. And for me, the intense legacy emotions it brings up…both my parents (Rip Torn and Geraldine Page) played Broadway many times when I was growing up, they actually met doing Sweet Bird Of Youth on Broadway.

As for the cats, I love working with them, but I am intensely jealous of the press attention they are getting. Divas!

Cats on Stge

SB: You and your family have an extensive history with Broadway and flamboyant men, is this the reason you’ve stepped away from the more experimental theater communities to spend some time with a Truman Capote story. Did you ever meet Capote as a young person? Was he a friend of your families? Was Capote influential on Reza Abdoh and your time with his acting collective?

TT: Despite the fact that my mother was well known for her role in Capote’s A Christmas Memory (she won an Emmy for it in 1966), I really made no connection between her and the family and never met him. I only knew him as the weird-frog like man in a film spoof I liked as a kid, Murder By Death. By the time I made the connection, and discovered that I loved Capote’s writing, both he and my mother were gone. Capote was never mentioned as an influence by Reza Abdoh either.

The main reason it makes sense for me to do this play is because if there is one character in Breakfast At Tiffany’s that can be best served up by a downtown weirdo, it’s Rusty Trawler, who is a multi-millionare, sexually infantile, Nazi sympathizing uptown weirdo. My daughter Miranda said when she saw me in it, “Dad, you’re really good at playing weirdos!” with a charming mix of pride and mortification. If the shoe fits….

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Saw Whitney Vangrin perform at 1:1 gallery’s Valentines Day Feast. The performance was called Blood and it was part of a trilogy of sorts put together by Whitney. I missed the first two nights, but was a little surprised at how surprised everyone got when she stuck a needle in her arm. After all, we were in the Lower East Side, home to many a junky, if not the capitol of junk 20+ years ago. Where’s your sense imagination, adventure, or of history!?!

Or maybe it’s just me and I just don’t see the point in sterility. Actually I’m vehemently opposed. But maybe I’m missing something?! Are there subtleties in cleanliness, rigid structure and white…. she did make the cutest faces as she shoved the needle into her arm & I thought the necklace she made at the end would be fun merchandise, like I might steal that idea.

Once home, I was telling my housemate Tony Torn (actor, performer// was in Reza Abdoh’s theater company) about the show and Tony got all excited by “blood” and a performance and started telling me stories about his favorite moments seeing Ron Athey perform, it was something like a room full of people trying to come to terms with the positive blood flying over their heads…

And the rest is as they say, youtube hersturrraaaaay…

Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology Recording!

This recording was made for the installation telling the story of The Peoples Free Library and the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology shown at the Center for Book Arts (Jan-March 2013), “Brother Can You Spare A Stack?”

Brother, Can You Spare a Stack presents thirteen art projects that re-imagine the library as a force for social change. Each project constructs a micro library of sorts that serves specific economic or social needs within the community. Each project proposes an alternative politicized realm, which can be imagined and formed to explore the social dimensions of contemporary culture. Small and mobile, these projects resist the limitations of a controlled, highly organized system that governs our society. In contrast to subjective libraries formed by the artists picking and choosing book titles, these projects take a pragmatic and rational approach, using the library model as an interactive field. Selected projects update the principles of relational aesthetics, and shift them towards all-inclusive and useful cultural production. “Brother, Can You Spare a Stack” borrows its title from the lyrics of a popular depression era song, claiming that the artists invent alternative models of questioning, inspiring new perspectives on social transformation. They insert themselves into the most unexpected situations and spaces, in this case libraries, to propose social and cultural improvement.

The Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology lives online in its entirety here:

A special thank you to all the poets and to Anna Huckabay, Ben Rosenberg, Lee Ann Brown, Miranda Lee Reality Torn, Tony Torn, and Xena Stanislavovna Semjonova for helping create this recording!


GRRRLS ON FILM! celebrates the work of women, trans people, and genderqueer filmmakers, writers, performers, and other creators, especially but not exclusively those whose work has been influential to or stems from riot grrrl and queercore movements. the series is held by page 22’s page poetry salon (curated by lee ann brown) in the former home of geraldine page at 435 W. 22nd St. in Manhattan. for ten consecutive weeks, GRRRLS ON FILM! meets Thursday nights, doors at 8pm. the night will begin with the salon and end with the screening. audience space is limited and dependent on rsvp. to do so, please send an email to, and feel free to let us know now which nights you’d like to attend as we have rsvp lists going for the whole series. all events are free and open to those that rsvp first, but for those that are able to do so, a suggested donation of $10 would really help cover all the costs incurred in putting this event together. we will supply some food and/or drinks every week but suggest everyone BYOB and/or bring something to share!

In Memorium of Stacy Doris: The Cake Part

Recently the poetry community lost Stacy Doris. Last night at Lee Ann Brown’s home, a bunch of people gathered to remember Stacy. People read from her work and shared personal stories about the love and grace she brought into the world. It was a stunningly emotional night.

Stacy was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. She received her AB in literature and society from Brown University and an MFA in English and creative writing from the University of Iowa.

Her books include Knot (University of Georgia Press, 2006), Cheerleader’s Guide to the World: Council Book (Roof Books, 2006), Conference (Potes & Poets, 2001), Une Année à New York avec Chester (P.O.L., 2000), Paramour (Krupskaya, 2000), La vie de Chester Steven Wiener ecrite par sa femme (P.O.L., 1998), Kildare (Segue Foundation, 1994).

A translator from French and Spanish, she has co-edited anthologies of French writing in translation including Twenty One New (to North America) French Writers (1997) and Violence of the White Page (1991). She is also the translator of Dominique Fourcade’s Everything Happens (2000).

Doris has also published two short books written in collaboration with visual artists: Mop Factory Incident (with Melissa Smedley; Women’s Studio Workshop, 1996), and Implements (for Use) (with Anne Slacik).

She taught at several colleges and universities including the University of Iowa and Hunter College.

Stacy Doris died on February 1, 2012.

Before she passed, Stacy Doris sent many of her friends translations of French Pornographic works she uncovered from the French Revolution. She sent the texts to many of her friends with instructions to make a video. This project is called The Cake Part. After people read and shared Stacy Doris’s work at last nights event, a bunch of videos from The Cake Part were screened.

And here they are for your enjoyment:

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