Some Love and Respect for the Vampire Cowboys

December 26, 2014

So we know you've all been waiting to find out who the third Person of the Decade is here at the Indie Theater Hall of Fame. (Drumroll please...)

I'm excited to announce this week that our next honoree is the Vampire Cowboys, founded and led by Qui Nguyen and Robert Ross Parker (and their invaluable Managing Director, Abby Marcus).

Learn more about Qui and Robert at the Hall of Fame website. Qui and Robert were inductees in the very first year we began these proceedings, back in 2004; I'm mighty proud that we shone this particular spotlight on these two remarkably talented men even BEFORE Vampire Cowboys Theater Company formally existed. (We were also the first to publish one of Qui and Robert's plays, the original Vampire Cowboy Trilogy, in our print anthology Plays and Playwrights 2005 and then online on Indie Theater Now.)

Since then, the VCs went on to pioneer a genuinely new breed of branded genre indie theater rooted in pop culture and live choreographed action sequences. John Clancy (another Person of the Decade, you will recall) wrote this about them a few years ago:

Someone wrote a while back that the difference between the Vamps and most other youngish companies is that they're not interested in building an audience, they're building a fan base. And when you go to their shows you can see and feel the difference. The people in the seats are psyched and geared up like they're there to see a band, not to watch an important piece of new American theater. But the better analogy is not music, but the comic book/superhero movie/graphic novel crowd.

Part of VC's mission reads: "to be a theater that is soaked in the cultural bloodstream of now." In the old Off-Off days, the cultural bloodstream was rock and roll. Mid to late sixties, rock and roll was new, fresh, dangerous and actually mattered. Imagine. Nowadays it's the comic book crowd that's fusing popular and high art, the place where rebellion and alienation and old-time entertainment get mixed up and served fresh to the hungry crowd.

Abby tells us, "In the New Year we will be embarking on our full production of Six Rounds of Vengeance, a new play by Qui that will be directed by Robert and will be produced as the culmination of our Archive Alliance Residency at the New Ohio Theatre in April." So we'll all be looking out for that!

Meanwhile, join me in congratulating Qui, Robert, Abby, and the rest of VCT for this accolade they have deservedly been awarded by their peers. Our fourth Person of the Decade will be announced on January 2, 2015!

[Note: When NYTE launched the Hall of Fame last month, we asked all of the inductees to vote for those members who, in their view, had made the most significant and outstanding contributions to the NYC indie theater scene during the past ten years. We think that this is a particularly meaningful recognition because it is bestowed upon these individuals and companies by their peers. We're announcing the 10 honorees weekly, one each Friday from now until February 13th.]





More about the play in this article:
Loco7's "Undefined Fraction" at La MaMa
I got to pay a visit to one of my all-time favorite indie theaters, La MaMa E.T.C., for a performance of Undefined Fraction, which is part of the company's 2015 Puppet Series. This blend of edgy puppetry, physical theater, and dance is an exemplar of the kind of meditative hybrid installation/happening/drama that has been a mainstay of this East Village institution for decades.
Trav S.D.'s Great Vaudeville History
A look back at Trav S.D.'s book on vaudeville, published 10 years ago this month.
United Solo 2014: Done; United Solo 2015: Starting Now!
ITN's United Solo 2014 play collection is now complete; and our first 2015 play--LOUISE IN CHARLESTOWN by Penny Jackson--is available as well.