POE (...and the Museum of Lost Arts)

"The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends and where the other begins?" - Edgar Allan Poe

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Poe and the Museum of Lost Arts, a hybrid performance/film written and directed by Elise Kermani. POE/MOLA explores an aesthetic archeology of New York City, the folklore surrounding E.A. Poe's biography, and the technological experiments of mid-19th century America. The project examines the relationship between reality and illusion as demonstrated through Poe's stories and as seen through Charles Baudelaire, his brother of the heart and French translator. POE/MOLA tells a sotry somewhere between historical fact and contemporary fiction.

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Charles Baudelaire, French poet and time traveller from the mid-19th century, has traveled to the present-time United States to lecture about his American literary colleague E. A. Poe with a 8mm film projector-a popular form of film projection invented in the 20th century. With the help of Techne, the Goddess of Invention, Baudelaire projects scenes from Poes life on stage, blurring the boundary between what is real and what is imagined. Fictional scenes from Poe stories, enacted at the Bannerman Castle, cross fade into factual events from Poes life in New York-such as when Virginia, his young wife, dies of tuberculosis. As Baudelaire continues his lecture, his desire to meet Poe and his regret at never being able to talk to him in person (Poe died in 1849) deepens and brings Baudelaire to a point of despair. Techne helps Baudelaire to realize though that he can use a new modern technology (actually by using the Eyeliner, a technology developed at 3LD Art and Technology Center in New York) to bring Poe back to life, and magically, Baudelaire brings Poe on stage. Poe wavers between the living and the dead and finally crosses over to the land of the living. The two warmly kiss and hug each other, and sit down, excitedly discussing their ideas of philosophy and art.

For more information about Poe contact MiShinnah Productions by emailing: info@mishinnah.org

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Watch a video excerpt from the August 2010 performance on vimeo.com

Link to an album of photographs from rehearsal on July 8, 2010 at 3LD Art and Technology Center

Download a .pdf album of video stills from rehearsals



The Cast:


Theo Bleckmann - Edgar Allan Poe

Grammy nominated Theo Bleckmann has been a steady force in the music scene in New York for over 15 years. Unusually versatile , Bleckmann has performed worldwide on some of the great stages including Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall, the Sydney Opera House, L.A.'s Disney Hall, The Whitney Museum and the new Library Alexandrina in Alexandria, Egypt. The New Yorker called him a ³local cult favorite², The New York Times ³excellent.² For the past two years, Bleckmann has been voted into the small group of artists called "Cultural Elite" by New York Magazine. Bleckmann's whimsical collection of showtunes, Las Vegas Rhapsody has been described as "the most transcendent vocal album in many a moon", by Francis Davis in the Village Voice. In 2005, Bleckmann was commissioned to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the German encyclopedia Brockhaus at the International book fair in Frankfurt, which he orchestrated for 31 voices in a surround-sound performance. (www.theobleckmann.com)

"Poe and the... Lost Arts was a wonderful, transformative experience. Each performer was deeply involved in the creative process and thus invested in the input and output of the work. POE was a true multi-media-multi-sensual experience for me." ~ Theo Bleckmann


Pamela Z - Techne (Goddess of Invention)

Pamela Z is a San Francisco-based composer/performer and audio artist who works primarily with voice, live electronic processing and sampling technology. Processing her live voice through ³MAX MSP² software on a PowerBook, she creates solo works that combine operatic bel canto and experimental extended vocal techniques with found percussion objects, spoken word, and sampled concrète sounds. Her performances range in scale from small concerts in galleries to large-scale multi-media works in flexible black-box venues and proscenium halls. Pamela Z has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. She has performed in numerous festivals including: Bang on a Can at Lincoln Center in New York; the Interlink Festival in Japan; Other Minds in San Francisco; and Pina Bausch Tanztheater's 25 Jahre Fest in Wuppertal, Germany. Pamela is the recipient of numerous awards, including: MAP Fund, Guggenheim Fellowship, CalArts Alpert Award in the Arts; Creative Capital Fund; ASCAP Music Award; and NEA and Japan/US Friendship Commission Fellowship. Her performance "Baggage Allowance" will premiere in New York at The Kitchen, in the fall of 2010. (www.pamelaz.com)

"I was honored to have the opportunity to work on the Poe Project with such a magical cast of collaborators. Elise Kermani's excellent casting choices and engaging directing style made the project a joy to be a part of. I look forward to future iterations of the work!" ~ Pamela Z


RindeEckert - Charles Baudelaire / Narrator

Grammy nominated in 2011, finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Drama, recipient of 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2009 the Alpert Award, Rinde Eckert is a writer, composer, performer and director. His Opera / New Music Theatre productions have toured throughout America, and to major festivals in Europe and Asia. Rinde began his career as a writer/performer in the 1980s, writing librettos for composer Paul Dresher (Pioneer, Power Failure, Slow Fire, Ravenshead). With the creation of his homage to Dante The Gardening of Thomas D in 1992, performed on tour in the United States and France, Eckert began composing and performing his own music/theater pieces. Recent work includes the Obie Award winning And God Created Great Whales (2001) produced by The Foundry Theatre; Highway Ulysses (2003) and Orpheus X (2006), both produced and commissioned by American Repertory Theatre; Horizon (2005), a play with music and song, ran Off-Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop throughout June, 2007, and An Idiot Divine, an evening of two one-act solo operas. In December 2009 his OrpheusX played at the Duke theater on 42nd street. (www.rindeeckert.com)

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Laurel Tentindo - Virginia/Madeleine

Laurel Tentindo is a Brooklyn-based movement artist. Her thirst for interdisciplinary collaboration has led her to perform with jazz musicians, actors, poets, puppeteers, sculptors, and photographers both nationally and abroad. Her solo, Monster Tag, was shown at Danspace Movement Research¹s Food For Thought, NYC. Laurel performed in Harry Partch¹s opera, Delusion of the Fury (NYC), Yehuda Hyman's play, The Mad Dancers (Washington D.C.), and as a puppeteer in Luis Tentindo's work. She has danced in pieces by Liz Lerman, Sara Rudner, and Vicky Shick. Since 2007, Laurel has touring the world as a dancer in the Trisha Brown Dance Company.

"It was a thrilling experience to work with Elise Kermani on the POE project. She invited artists from the music, theater, dance, puppetry, and video worlds to offer their interpretation of POE; together the artists created a wildly creative exploration of the life and stories of this dark and mysterious character. I loved dancing in the "film within the film" and interpreting all of the tragic females in Poe's life. Elise allows each artist in her project to fully express themselves with total integrity through their own form. There is no hierarchy of words over movement for example, she allows each form to speak for itself. This kind of film is very rare and requires courageous direction." - Laurel Tentindo

Luis Tentindo - Roderick/Puppeteer

Luis Tentindo is a brooklyn-based visual artist and choreographer. He creates unique puppet/object theater works as well as exhibitions/ installations based on his theater pieces. From 1994 to 2008 he danced in the companies of many of New York's finest dance makers touring and teaching nationally and internationally. He now focuses his time on creating his own work and on collaborations. His evening-length piece 'The Mud Angels' premiered at Theater for the New City as part of the Voice for Vision Puppetry Festival in December 2009.

David Tirosh - Eyeliner Consultant and the part of "John Allan"

Misha Yacobi - the part of the "Young Poet" (film only) - will be entering his junior year at Bronx Science.

Grace Folsom - the voice of Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Andrew Rothkin - male voiceovers    Andrew is an actor, director, playwright, teacher/coach and the Artistic Director of White Rabbit Theatre.

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Elise Kermani - Director/Writer/Producer

Multimedia and sound artist Elise Kermani has created innovative large-scale productions as writer, director, sound designer and collaborator since the early 1990's. She has presented her work nationally at venues such as The Kitchen, P.S. 122, The Roulette, DiverseWorks, The Cleveland Performance Art Festival, Los Angeles Contemporary Arts Exhibitions, Randolph St. Gallery, Texas Gallery, and festivals in Europe including the Turning Sounds in Warsaw, Poland, the Fraunkulterfestival in Regensberg, Germany and the Hor-Fest in Stainach, Austria. From 1996-2001 she was the executive producer of the Electronic Arts Performance Series at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and she has curated and produced several festivals including SonicWorks in Houston, and The dice Project in New York. Her Book "Sonic Soma", published in 2009 by Atropos Press, and her award winning film "Jocasta" are both available online at amazon.com. (www.elisekermani.com)

She received her PhD from European Graduate School (Media Philosophy) in 2007, and is also a graduate of Columbia College Chicago (Masters in Interdisciplinary Arts) and DePauw University (Music Composition). Her sound design work in collaboration with Barbara Kilpatrick and Vicky Shick has been seen most recently at the Trafo in Budapest, and at the Dublin Dance Festival.


Barbara Kilpatrick - Art, Still photography, Curtains

Barbara Kilpatrick is a visual artist whose recent work has related to dance and performance, where her sculpture functions as set, costume and installation. Her work has been included in group shows in museums and galleries, including the Trisha Brown Dance Company benefit exhibition at the Pace Gallery. Her photographs have been published in The New York Times, Dance Magazine, Village Voice, and Time Out New York. She has worked with a number of choreographers through the New York region, and received, with Vicky Shick, a New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie) for their body of collaborative work. Their work together has been seen at Dance Theater Workshop, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Kitchen, Danspace at St. Markís Church, the 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Project, P.S. 122, and Movement Research at Judson Church. Her work with sound designer/composer Elise Kermani includes the AVA Project (2002), the Aleph Project (2002), Undoing (2003), Repair (2005), Venus Hum: an imaginary performance (2006) and Keep-Sake (2008). (www.barbarakilpatrick.com)

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Kevin James - Associate Producer/Music Director

Composer Kevin James' has received awards and grants from the American Composer's Forum, Jerome Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, and many others. His piece Horobi No Naka Kara was commissioned by the Young People's Chorus of NYC for their performance at the World Choral Music Symposium in Kyoto Japan. Mr. James was awarded the Meet The Composer/New Residencies Program in 1999 which included the commission of Portraits, a 95-minute multimedia "opera-lingua" on the theme of homelessness. Mr. James' music has been performed by the Sirius String Quartet, Meridian Arts Ensemble, Quintet of the Americas, Trio Akkobasso, First Avenue, Glen Velez and Handance and many other acclaimed ensembles throughout the U.S. and Europe. For "Poe/MOLA" Kevin will be directing fellow composer/musicians David First (guitar) and Tom Chiu (violin).



Stefanie Koseff - Video Design/Isadora Programmer

Stefanie Koseff is a Brooklyn-based video artist, filmmaker and editor. Her work has been shown in the Coney Island Film Festival, Chicks with Flicks Film Festival, Lundabio International Film Festival in Reykjavik, Iceland, and at the Open Source Gallery and the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center in Brooklyn, NY. In collaboration with MiShinnah Productions, she created the "Poe 5-panel Window Installation" which was free, open to the public and could be seen from Rector street each evening from August 3-8, 2009. She holds a Masters degree in Philosophy from the European Graduate School and her essay on Cinema and Exteriority will be published by Atropos Press in 2010.

Melli Hoppe - Unit Director - teaches stage movement and site-specific theatre at Butler University and is the Artistic Director of Susurrus Performance Group in Indianapolis.

Julia Funk - Assistant Director/Stage Manager

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Ivalyo Getov - Director of Photography was born in Bulgaria and raised in Los Angeles, Ivaylo Getov graduated NYU with a BFA in Film and a minor in Philosophy. As a cinematographer, he has earned credits on numerous student and independent shorts, music videos, documentaries, and installations including work for MTV2, IFC, and GOOD magazine, as well as shooting films and photo essays across three continents and countless countries. His work can be seen at www.ivaylogetov.com

Solomon Weisbard and Katharine Lowery - Lighting Design

Travis Tips - Set Builder

Nashwa Zaman- Art Coordinator/Costume and Props Mistress

Natasha Kermani - Director of Post Production/Publicity Photographs is a New York-based filmmaker, recently graduated from NYU Tisch. She is excited to collaborate with the Poe/MOLA team and enjoyed the opportunity to photograph the show's stars.

Christine Boeke - Marketing and Public Relations/Associate Producer

Ms. Boeke was principal of Liquid Design, and president and CEO of Zwicker Collective/Qui New York, which imported high-end contemporary Italian furniture, art and design. Ms. Boeke joined Zwicker Collective in the summer of 2003, heading sales, marketing, and distribution. Prior to Zwicker, Ms. Boeke held leadership positions in marketing for Kaufman Films, CBS Owned and Operated Television Stations, and Newsweek Magazine, as well as doing freelance marketing consulting. She has served on numerous boards for DePauw University and was a founding member of LingoKids, a 501C3 committee organized by a small group of people in TriBeCa with a mission of bringing free foreign language education to public school children in lower Manhattan. She received a Masters in Literature from Columbia University in New York and was graduated from DePauw University, with a degree in English and minor in Political Science and Philosophy. Ms. Boeke and her husband, Bill Jenks, have three children and live in TriBeCa.


Lauren Conoscenti - Production Assistant is a writer/producer and makeup fx artist; she is an NYU Tisch 2010 grad and a big supporter of anything action/adventure.

Jay Stern - Development Consultant is a film and theater director based in NYC. www.adventuresofpaulandmarian.com

M. Sweeney Lawless - Initial Dramaturgy- is a NYC writer/performer who recently produced a TED University talk for TEDGlobal 2010 in Oxford.

Raquel Cedar - Art Assistant/Polopel's costume


Sirus Kermani - Executive Producer

Judith Bass - Production Attorney

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The Bannerman Castle located just south of Beacon on the Hudson River (www.bannermancastle.org) When we took our footage the summer of 2008 the castle was still standing. In December 2009 most of the walls had collapsed, the castle is now in ruins.

Poe's Cottage now located in the Bronx in New York. This is the home where he wrote Eureka and Annabel Lee, and is also where his wife Virginia died.

The 3LD Art and Technology Center located in Tribeca and the same neighborhood where Poe lived and worked in the middle of New York's 19th century publishing district ....

(www.3ldnyc.org) This photo was taken during our preview residency in August 2009, showing our 5-panel window installation.

ARTISTIC DIRECTORS STATEMENT: This hybrid performance film was sparked by the stunning visuals of the Hudson River as seen from my frequent trips commuting to and from New York City from the Metro North train. We, Americans, are often not aware of the beauty and historical treasures that surround us in our everyday life. Through this project I hope to give attention and homage to the creative energies of our own American artists: past, present and future.

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Thank you to the following organizations that have helped make this project possible: Merchants Cafe, Tribeca Lighting, PottoCo HQ, Trinity Church Wall Street, Manon Cafe, Sudden Productions, New York State Parks Department, The New York Historical Society, The Unemployed Philosophers Guild, Now and Then Productions, Trinity Place Bar, Bronx Historical Society (Poe Cottage), The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore, Bannerman Castle Trust, 3LD Art and Technology Center, Manhattan Community Arts Fund, and the Experimental Television Center.

This Program is supported in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. POE/MOLA is also supported by funds from the mediaThe Foundation.

And a thank you to the people who have given time and donations to the project: John Hilliard, Cathie Bleck, Anonymous, Kiyoka Koizumi, Chris Boeke and Bill Jenks, Melli Hoppe, Marta Jaremko, Jay Stern, Vicky Shick, Thalia Cunningham, Mehran Fahramand, Joe and Nancy Walker, M. Sweeney Lawless, MJ Sullivan, Beth Warshovsky, Jeanne Lesinski, Tim Wu, Lukas Perrson, and the staff at 3LD: Aaron Louis, Aaron Harrow, Piama Habibullah, Paul DiPietro, Jeff Morey, Kevin Cunningham.

MAKE A DONATION to MiShinnah Productions for the Poe Project

Your donations of any size are greatly appreciated. For any donation over $50 we have a gift of your choice (Poe puppet, MiShinnah ceramic mug, or a MiShinnah tote bag) Tax deductible donations for the Poe Project (and future productions) can be sent to our non-profit producer: MiShinnah Productions, 435 E 76th Street #3D, NYC 10021. Please contact Artistic Director Elise Kermani at elise@mishinnah.org for more details or click on the donate button below.

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We expect the completed film to premiere in March 2012-watch this site for details.

The premiere performances took place on August 3-8, 2010, in Studio "B" at the 3LD Art and Technology Center, located at 80 Greenwich Street @ Rector, NYC. (www.3ldnyc.org) The performances were recorded and will be incoroporated into the filmed version of the project. Read our press release (pdf)

Principal photography for the "Poe and the Museum of Lost Arts" film took place in July 2010 during a 2 month residency at 3LD Art and Technology Center. We are currently fundraising, please help us out by making a donation. For a $100 or more donation your name will appear in our end credits.

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