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Meet The Former and Present Residents of Manhattan Plaza: Lisa Shreve

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Emmy Award winning and Oscar nominated filmmaker Lisa Shreve has edited and produced over one hundred television documentaries, narrative films and shorts of various genres.

Lisa working at Steenbeck editing machine at ABC News in the late eighties

She has worked with such figures as Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer, Mike Wallace, Peter Jennings and Michael Bay among others.

Lisa Shreve

Lisa earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in film from Tisch School of the Arts where Martin Scorcese was her professor. Prior to her career in films, she acted in Off-Off Broadway theatre, worked as a still photographer and sang backup in “The Stilettos”, a seventies New York rock group.

Lisa Shreve, Elizabeth Kemp, Thomas Danaher, Mallory Danaher (birthday dinner for Eliz and Mallory around 2015 I think

She is currently a producer/editor on the independent documentary “Miracle on 42nd Street” and Associate Producer /Consulting Editor on “Created Equal: Clarence Thomas In His Own Words” appearing in theatres nationwide and airing on PBS in 2020. She is also embarking on a new career teaching film history and theory at the New York Film Academy.

Lisa Shreve and Elizabeth’s dog Pearl on 43rd Street in the summertime

T2C: When did you first move into Manhattan Plaza and how did you get into the building?

Lisa Shreve: I moved into the building with my roommate Mallory Jones Danaher and her young daughter Kristen in January 1978. Mallory and Kristen were accomplished actresses and I was beginning a career as a film editor. We’d been living in an unheated loft on the Bowery. There was a record-breaking blizzard on our moving day, with several feet of snow. We got into the building in the first wave because Mallory had a boyfriend who applied and insisted that she apply too. Shortly after we had all moved into the building, they broke up. I was not sorry, as I never liked the guy but he did us both a huge favor and we owe him a debt of gratitude! 

T2C: What are your fondest memories of living in the plaza? 

Lisa Shreve: I have spent many fun evenings at dinners and gatherings in friend’s apartments in the building. And I fondly recall the era when the Good and Plenty takeout and the Little Pie Company on 43rd Street had outdoor tables. I spent many nice afternoons sitting out there with friends, greeting other people as they passed by. Actually most trips out my apartment door are a pleasure – its such a good feeling to say hello to neighbors and building staff. We’re not strangers, we greet each other and chat and it’s hard to feel lonely living here!

T2C: You loved the building so much you did this documentary. How did that come about?

Lisa Shreve: Casting Directors Mary Jo Slater and Nancy Perkins both lived in the building and moved to California in the eighties. Years later in LA they came up with the idea for the film. I am a film editor/producer and Mary Jo asked me and the director Alice Elliott to work on the film. Manhattan Plaza has done so much for my life and the lives of so many others and I jumped at the chance to tell this inspiring story in a film.    

T2C: What didn’t make it into the movie that you would have liked to see.

Lisa Shreve: There’s a segment in the film about Arnold Wilkinson starting the Little Pie Company from his apartment. The segment was truncated in the interest of time and a wonderful aspect of the story was lost. When Arnold was filling pie orders for his first Thanksgiving he was overwhelmed and asked his neighbors in the 20 other apartments on his floor to let him have their keys so he could use their ovens. Arnold says, “and the amazing thing is – they ALL said yes! He set timers and ran in and out of the apartments baking the pies. It is such a beautiful Manhattan Plaza story. In what other building would you find every neighbor on your floor giving you their keys to help you succeed? 

Mallory Danaher, our friend Fran Johnson, Lisa Shreve in the Westbank Cafe circa 2007

T2C: Who did you meet in the building and who are your friends. 

Lisa Shreve: My housemates Mallory Danaher and her husband Thomas and I have a wonderful “family” home here. For many years our dear friend the actress, director and world renowned acting teacher Elizabeth Kemp and her border collie Pearl were an extension of our household and Pearl lived back and forth between our apartments.

Tribute for Elizabeth Kemp in Manhattan Plaza lobby after her death Sept. 2017

Elizabeth died suddenly of cancer in 2017, a terrible heartbreak for the Danahers and me, and Pearl died a few months later. We were really each other’s “community”. Elizabeth was very beloved by the larger Manhattan Plaza community who mourned with us and have remained a great comfort. I have other longtime friends – actors Bob Adrian, Ed Setrakian, Charles Turner, playwright Kate Grant, former ballerina Janice Herbert – and I’ve met wonderful people in the building through working on the film.

Mallory and Thomas Danaher in the Market Diner the last day before it closed after 75 years to be knocked down for a high rise. 

T2C: What have been the biggest changes to the neighborhood and your business? 

Lisa Shreve: The blighted neighborhood changed very incrementally  throughout the eighties and then blossomed in the nineties and 2000s. Living in the middle of this extraordinary turnaround has been a great life lesson. If this terrible neighborhood could change so drastically for the better, any bad situation can change!

T2C: What did living in the building allowed you to accomplish? 

Lisa Shreve: I’ve been lucky enough to succeed as a filmmaker, but freelancing means good times and not so good. I have been able to take chances and turn down boring work for more risky artistic opportunities because my rent was so reasonable compared to other NYC buildings. If I were not living here I would have had to turn down those chances and take a lot more routine work, just to make the rent. 

T2C: How did living in the building make you feel?

Lisa Shreve: I lived in a beautiful, safe apartment in a building with a “small town” atmosphere where people know and take care of each other. I have a sense of security and belonging that is hard to find in NYC.  

T2C: What would you change from your time living in Manhattan Plaza

Lisa Shreve: I am single and would prefer to have met and married a great man. But if you’re going to be single in New York, Manhattan Plaza is the place to be and I am not lonely. In fact I wouldn’t change places with anyone in the world! 

Group of colleagues nominated at the 1987 Emmy’s right after we all lost! (Lisa is on the far right)

T2C: What would you like us to know that we haven’t asked you? 

Lisa Shreve: We were fortunate to get interviews in the film with Alicia, Larry David, Sam Jackson and the other stars who came out of the building. But I wish our many, many  other success stories could have been mentioned in the film. Some are famous names like writers Tom Fontana and Tom Meehan or composer Alan Menken (8 Academy Awards) and a number of famous jazz musicians. Others are great achievers who may not be household names like Marin Alsop, the first female conductor of a major American orchestra. We have highly acclaimed  choreographers, musicians, directors, filmmakers, performers and artists of all kinds but there was no way to include everyone. I just don’t want to give the impression that the stars who were interviewed are the only big success stories to come out of Manhattan Plaza. There are too many to count!

The documentary Miracle on 42nd Street, is available on Amazon and will soon be available to stream. 

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

Events

Reverse Manhattanhenge Brings Magic To Manhattan

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Manhattanhenge happens at sunset, a Reverse Manhattanhenge happens during sunrise. It happens twice a year when the rising sun perfectly aligns with NYC’s grid. This year Reverse Manhattanhenge  takes place on Wednesday, November 29th. The best time to watch this spectacular view is at 6:59am. The next one will occurJanuary 11th at 7:20am.

The best place to catch this phenomena is at the major streets such as 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd and  57th Street

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Events

Midnight Moment For December: Doku: Digital Reincarnation

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Every night in December, from 11:57pm – 12am artist Lu Yang takes over Times Square with a post-human dance party. Lu Yang’s elaborately outfitted and eerily lifelike avatars in Doku: Digital Reincarnation are born out of the artist’s distinct and ongoing scientific and philosophical inquiries – an interdisciplinary blend of Buddhism, neuroscience, psychology and modern technology.

The shape-shifting protagonist in this five-channel work is Doku – the name derived from the phrase “Dokusho Dokushi,” which translates to “We are born alone, and we die alone,” and references a canonical Buddhist scripture. While sharing Lu Yang’s facial expressions and features, the nonbinary character was generated from an amalgamation of various dancers and musicians, and created in collaboration with a team of scientists, 3D animators, and digital technicians using the latest in motion capture technology. Through this repeated incarnation, the artist is reborn as an ever-present avatar, endowed with talents surpassing physical limitations – uniting ancient concepts such as reincarnation with the latest technological innovations.

Lu Yang is a Shanghai-based artist who creates work exploring themes and formats, inspired by both traditional Chinese medicine and contemporary digital cultures. Through the medium of video, installation and performance, Lu Yang explores the fluidity of gender representation through 3D animated works inspired by Japanese manga and gaming subcultures. With a fascination with the human body and neurology, Lu Yang’s work bridges the scientific and the technological with aesthetics drawn from popular youth culture creating new visions of China in the face of modernity.

Born in 1986 in Shanghai where they are currently based, Lu Yang prefers to play with pronouns and insists she “lives on the internet” to further confuse fixed notions of identity. They attended the China Academy of Fine Art in Hangzhou, BFA and MFA, under the tutelage of Zhang Peili, the godfather of Chinese video art. A 2019 winner of the BMW Art Journey award, she has shown internationally including the M Woods Museum in Beijing, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Melbourne, and in many other shows, including the Asia Society Triennial in New York.

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Music

Midnight Moment: Screen Test: Isabel

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Until November 30th , nightly 11:57pm – 12am artist and filmmaker Andrew Ondrejcak
 remixes cinematic history on a monumental scale. FIlipina Trans actress and director Isabel Sandoval plays the starring role in Screen Test: Isabel, shape-shifting through some of the most iconic film scenes of the past century, including Barbarella and Marlena Dietrich’s 1930 film Morocco. In this surreal journey through time and collective memory, Ondrejcak and Sandoval use film and fantasy to reclaim popular cultural narratives, subvert conventional constructs, and explore the limitless possibility of identity and gender.

“We are curious about the process of discovering our authentic identity through the theatrical facade. Self-discovery is often influenced by society’s customs and pressures, which prescribe gender norms. We prefer a kaleidoscopic vision of identity, one in which the theatrical elements of hair, make-up and fashion are used as a form of self-discovery and, ultimately, liberation.” — Andrew Ondrejcak

“I started out making Screen Test as an exercise in dress-up and performance only to emerge with something more profound: a journey about self-discovery and metamorphosis. Shape-shifting into these characters, guided by the iconic performers that first inhabited them, I uncovered a specific truth about myself, a certain feeling, that I magnified and brought to cinematic life. It’s a grand, transportive odyssey–from homage to reimagining, pretense to candor, fiction to truth. The tension between these polarities is where art happens, and I’m ecstatic to have played a part in Andrew’s vision.” — Isabel Sandoval

Screen Test: Isabel is a special edit of The Actress (2021), commissioned by the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Andrew Ondrejcak writes, directs and designs works for theater, opera and film. His works link art history with contemporary iconography, often putting a queer perspective on a classical form. Born and raised in Mississippi, Ondrejcak studied architecture and painting at Savannah College of Art and Design and, later, playwriting at Brooklyn College under Mac Wellman and Vito Acconci. His work with experimental theater led him to a career in art direction and production design in the fashion industry where he became known for bold, large-scale environmental installations. Andrew’s theatrical works have been presented at REDCAT, Los Angeles; Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans; deSingel International Arts Campus, Antwerp; Holland Festival, Amsterdam; The Kampnagel, Hamburg; and in New York at The Kitchen, BAM Harvey Theater, The Public Theater in Under the Radar Festival and the Guggenheim Museum’s Works in Process as curated by Robert Wilson. He has been the creative director of special projects for Hermes, Vivienne Westwood, 3.1 Phillip Lim, New York and Shanghai Fashion Weeks, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Vogue Italia, among others. For a decade, he was a lecturer at the Museum of Modern Art.

Isabel Sandoval is an actress and filmmaker who wrote, directed, edited and starred in the films Señorita, Aparisyon, Lingua Franca. She skillfully weaves together Catholic mysticism and Filipino history with transgender and immigrant experiences. With the film Lingua Franca, Sandoval became the first out trans woman of color to compete at the Venice Film Festival.

Midnight Moment is made possible by the Times Square Advertising Coalition, ABC SuperSign, American Eagle, Branded Cities, Clear Channel, Disney Store, Express, Levi’s, LG, Line Friends, Morgan Stanley, Microsoft, New Tradition, Outfront, Paramount, Sensory Interactive, Sephora, Sherwood Equities, Show + Tell, Silvercast, Swatch, T-Mobile, TSX, and JCDecaux.

Major support of Times Square Arts is provided by Morgan Stanley. Additional program support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature; and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional support for Midnight Moment is provided by Meta Open Arts and the Times Square Advertising Coalition.

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Art

Sculpture of Dreams

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Presented by Times Square Arts and the The Jewish Museum, New York, Sculpture of Dreams is Argentinian conceptual pop artist Marta Minujin’s first public sculpture in New York City, and one of the largest art installations hosted in Times Square to date. Minujín calls the vibrant, 16-piece inflatable an “anti-sculpture,” a reference to her work’s playful and subversive materiality — edgeless, soft, and ephemeral.

Both channeling and challenging the multi-sensory landscape of Times Square, Sculpture of Dreams also hosts an immersive experience—visitors will be invited to walk through the interior of the sculpture, enveloping them in a rush of converging colors and a chorus of recorded birdsong. Visitors will also be prompted to whisper their hopes and wishes into the cavernous interior before exiting, letting the work symbolically embody and receive their dreams and desires.

“Times Square is the biggest Pop scene of all time. For me, it’s like being Alice in Wonderland. My Sculpture of Dreams — a flying, inflatable, soft sculpture — will be surrounded by lights, videos, and people from all over the world who come to see the attractions. It’s the perfect place for this work, I love it!”
— Marta Minujín

Over the course of her six-decade career, Marta Minujín has been a globally influential force in contemporary art with her singular intellect, and irreverent, boundary-pushing artistic ventures. The versatility of her conceptual projects includes performances involving motorcycles, food, and chickens; immersive installations featuring phone booths, neon, and working beauty salons; sculptures built from cheese, mattresses, and banned books; and most recently multi-piece inflatable works that reach over 50 feet tall.

Sculpture of Dreams is a part of a series of works that have been presented in Argentina and Brazil. The Times Square exhibition will mark the series’ North American debut and is presented in conjunction with Marta Minujín: Arte! Arte! Arte!, Minujín’s first survey exhibition in the United States, on view at the Jewish Museum beginning November 17.

Over the past sixty years, Marta Minujín has developed happenings, performances, installations, and video works that have influenced generations of contemporary artists in Latin America and beyond. Combining elements of experimental theater, film and television, advertising, and sculpture, Minujín creates total environments that place viewers at the center of social situations and confront them with the seductiveness of media images and celebrity culture. Notably, she has often refused to create lasting objects, opting instead to develop her work in opposition to institutional structures, simultaneously crafting monumental yet fragile works that challenge art conventions and testify to her unwavering commitment to radical artistic forms and the artifices of popular culture. Minujín’s ability to inspire awe, joy, and surprise has firmly established her as a celebrated pioneer of Latin American conceptual art.

Minujín studied at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes Manuel Belgrano and the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes Prilidiano Pueyrredón Buenos Aires. She carried out her first performance, La destrucción (The Destruction), in Paris in 1963. Returning to Buenos Aires in 1964, she was awarded the Premio Nacional Instituto Torcuato Di Tella for the work ¡Revuélquese y viva! (Wallow around and live!), her first interactive installation. Minujín received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1966. During the 1970s, she lived between the United States and Argentina, exhibiting her work in major institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1973), and Centro de Arte y Comunicación, Buenos Aires (1975, 1976). A retrospective of Minujín’s work was presented at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires in 2010, and her work has been included in documenta 14, Kassel (2017), and in exhibitions at Tate Modern, London (2015); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2015); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2001); and elsewhere. Her first survey exhibition in the United States, Arte! Arte! Arte!, will be on view from November 17, 2023 through March 31, 2024 at the Jewish Museum.

The Jewish Museum is an art museum committed to illuminating the complexity and vibrancy of Jewish culture for a global audience. Located on New York City’s famed Museum Mile, in the landmarked Warburg mansion, the Jewish Museum was the first institution of its kind in the United States and is one of the oldest Jewish museums in the world. The Museum offers diverse exhibitions and programs and maintains a unique collection of nearly 30,000 works of art, ceremonial objects, and media reflecting the global Jewish experience over more than 4,000 years.

You can see Sculpture of Dreams u

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Events

Join Broadway Green Alliance E-Waste Drive

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Join the Broadway Green Alliance as they collect thousands of pounds of materials like old computers, phones, and printers, from the community to be recycled by 4THBIN, an e-Stewards 4.0 certified and secure e-recycling solution provider. The drive is open to all shows, theatres, industry members, and fans as a free resource to responsibly recycle your old electronics.

On November 8th from 11:00 AM2:00 PM at the TSq Plaza 46-47 Broadway btwn 46th-47th Streets

For shows, theatres, and industry members, the first hamper of e-waste is free with a suggested cost of $.50/pound after that for larger quantities. Members of the public and fans are also welcomed to participate up to 100 pounds.

The drive can accept: computers and peripherals, electronic cords, fax machines, CPUs, phones, laptops, printers, combo tv/computers, PDAs/pagers, cameras, and other data containing devices

The drive cannot accept: lightbulbs, batteries, household appliances, air conditioning units, power tools, coffee machines, or medical devices such as x-rays

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