Thursday, May 20, 2010

Musical Theater Journey Through Roosevelt Island's Underground Garbage Tube System Closes Fast Trash Exhibit This Weekend - Walking Tour Too

Image of Fast Trash Exhibit's Roosevelt Island Garbage From Kate Milford

This weekend is your last chance to see the FAST Trash Exhibit showcasing Roosevelt Island's unique underground pneumatic tube garbage disposal system at the Gallery RIVAA before it closes on May 23.

The Fast Trash exhibit, organized by Juliete Spertus, was recently profiled by the Wall Street Journal:
... In a way, Roosevelt Island’s garbage system offers a glimpse of an alternative New York, one that sought technology-driven solutions to urban problems. “Basically, trucks were cheaper,” Spertus says. It wasn’t the city’s only foray into tubes. From 1897 to 1953, a pneumatic mail system served parts of Manhattan.

Spertus’s exhibit asks us to contemplate going back to this future. “There’s not a lot of thought about how to incorporate our maintenance systems into the design of our urban spaces,” she says. Roosevelt Island’s trash system might look like a dead-end technology, but parts of Barcelona, Seoul, Stockholm and Hong Kong all use the modern descendants of the same system today. In that sense, Roosevelt Island’s tube-based trash is “as cutting-edge today as it was in the 70s,” Spertus says. Modernizing the island’s system would cost $6 million, according to Spertus...

There will be 2 special events closing the exhibit. On Saturday May 22, 5 PM at Gallery RIVAA there will be a live musical theater performance of AVAC Memories.

Image Of AVAC Memories Perfomers

Here is what an imagined elevator pitch to a theater producer might have said. From Ms. Spertus:
One Person’s Trash is Another Person’s Musical Theater Extravaganza!

AVAC Memories tells the story of five pieces of household waste who are tossed into a Roosevelt Island garbage can and, together, go on a thrilling journey through the AVAC sanitation system. As they are dropped down garbage chutes, sucked through pneumatic tubes, crunched in a compactor and shipped off to the dump in a garbage barge, our grimy heroes learn some valuable lessons about friendship, courage and perseverance in the face of adversity.
Ms. Spertus adds:
Please join us for this short live performance followed by a Q and A
with the creators.

AVAC Memories was written by Frederick Alden Terry (music) and John Herin (lyrics), and directed by Dev Bondarin, with musical direction by Remy Kurs, featuring Jennifer Blood, Jason Collins, Steven Eng, Sevan Greene, and Jaygee Macagupay.
Image Of AVAC Memories Performers

Also, Ms. Spertus reports:
On Sunday May 23rd, Richard Melnick, President of the Greater Astoria Historical Society, will lead a walking tour of Roosevelt Island focusing on East River infrastructure. The tour will end at the Fast Trash Exhibit at Gallery RIVAA. At the conclusion of the walking tour Michael Heimbinder, Executive Director of HabitatMap , will discuss the logistics of moving trash in New York City answering the questions: how does garbage move? who moves it? and where does it move to?

The walking tour, trash talk, and entrance to Gallery RIVAA are all free. The tour starts at Socrates Sculpture Park at 11:00 am on Sunday May 23rd. To get to Socrates Sculpture Park take the N Train to Broadway, then exit and walk west along Broadway until you meet Vernon Blvd. To view and contribute to the walking tour map click here.

Remember to bring snacks and water and wear your walking shoes. Note that this is the last weekend of the Fast Trash Exhibit.
Below is a great video showing how Roosevelt Island's AVAC pneumatic tube garbage removal system works.

Nature Abhors a Vacuum from greg whitmore on Vimeo.

More on the Fast Trash exhibit and Roosevelt Island's AVAC underground garbage removal system from earlier posts available here.