Collective:Unconscious to Present The Undergroundzero Festival

Pinchbottom Burlesque Broadway!
Pinchbottom Burlesque Broadway!, directed by Johnny Porkpie and Nasty Canasta, will be one of 16 attractions featured in The UndergroundZero Festival.

Alternative theater is ephemeral in its nature, but it does not have to be, according to Paul Bargetto, curator of the UndergroundZero Festival, and Caterina Bartha, Co-Founding Director of Collective:Unconscious. They imagine independent theater in repertory as a way to extend the life of successful “downtown” plays, and have established the UndergroundZero Festival as an artistic proof-of-concept for it. Collective:Unconscious will present the event over three weeks July 19 to August 5 at its Tribeca theater facility, located at 279 Church Street.

The festival is inviting successful productions that could be viable in a “Downtown” theater devoted to rotating repertory. The repertory forum for independent theater, a new model of production, is being showcased. It is being proposed as an alternative to the current system of limited runs that consign many successful shows to oblivion.

Plays presented will range from full-cast productions to works by performer-playwrights. To accommodate a large amount of work into a compact time, most will only run two or three performances. Companies represented include International WOW Company, The Flying Machine, East River Commedia and Pinchbottom’s Burlesque. There will also be a selection of plays that were originally developed in the Columbia MFA Program.

The festival will also feature a convening of the League of Independent Theater on Tuesday, July 31 at 7:30 pm. Independent theater producers and artists will gather to discuss the issues facing the community and draft a resolution for action. See

A schedule and list of participants will be available on the Collective:Unconscious website,, on June 19. Tickets for individual shows will be $15. The audience information number is (212) 352-3101 and online ticketing is available at


The festival will also launch “The Moxie Show,” a turntable for music acts, comedians, variety acts and sections from works of theater, puppetry and dance. Hosted by Trav S.D., beginning July 24, it will continue on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. Door prizes will be awarded for acts showing the most moxie, chosen by the world’s oldest approval device, the applause-o-meter. Curator Trav S.D. is a long-time host of American Vaudeville Theater and author of “No Applause–Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous.” Admission will be $5 per night.

On the two Mondays of the festival, C:U will present its ongoing film program, “Speakeasy Cinema,” hosted by Matt Kohn and presenting a mystery film on Monday July 16. July 23 will feature Jewels and Gems from the Film Makers Cooperative, the largest archive of avant-garde film in the world. Admission is $5 and the films begin at 7:30pm.


Paul Bargetto has been associated with Collective:Unconscious since 1995, when he began producing his own work. Bargetto is the Founder and Artistic Director of East River Commedia ( He holds an MFA from Columbia University in Directing and a BA in Drama from San Francisco State University. Recent directing credits include “Serenada si Vulpea Filozof” and “The Taming of the Shrew” at the National Theater of Constanta in Romania, “Serenade” and “Philosopher Fox” at Collective:Unconscious, “Philosopher Fox” at the Malta International Festival and in Central Park, “Striptease” and “Out at Sea” at La MaMa E.T.C., “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Riverside Church, and “Hecuba” in Assos, Turkey. He won the Best Director award at the 2005 New York Innovative Theater Awards for “Serenade” and “Philosopher Fox.” As an actor, he recently appeared in the award winning play “Charlie Victor Romeo” in a touring production at the ART in Boston and Studio Theater in Washington D.C.


The Mission of Collective:Unconscious is to foster an inclusive, creative community in Lower Manhattan that serves as an incubator and launching pad for emerging artists in New York City. Founded in 1995 by a group of multi-disciplined artists, Collective:Unconscious was conceived both to perform unique experimental theater and to administer a space that would serve as a community resource and laboratory for the performing arts.

Collective:Unconscious supports the emerging arts community of New York City in several practical ways: (1) by providing an administrative and technical resource for artistic development, management and action; (2) by helping artists to promote their work, and (3) by providing a low cost venue for rehearsals and performances.

The programs and capital improvements at Collective:Unconscious are made possible, in part, by the Alliance for Downtown New York and by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, with support from The September 11th Fund; the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; Materials for the Arts, which is part of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; Council Member Alan Gerson; the Collective:Unconscious Board of Directors and many generous individuals.

Jonathan Slaff writes on cultural events from the brainy, the edgy and the good. He helps us keep ahead of the curve in the world of the arts and culture.