Survey: Theater In My Basement

Posted August 05, 2010 by Anonymous
Part 1.
Year Founded: 
1c. Organization's annual budget.: 
$0 - $50,000
1b. Primary activity[ies] of the organization.: 
Transient Organization for Performance
Part 2.
2a. Mission Statement: 
Theater In My Basement/SW Annex specializes in producing new, avant garde, post-modern, multi-cultural work, and like to work in small, intimate spaces. We are interested in breaking down existing structures and barriers that try to prevent the cultures in Phoenix from speaking to each other with respect, and recognition of our similarities and differences in equal measure. We are developing a performance form that is akin to the Drunken Fist school of martial arts, which draws on all systems, but allies itself with none, making for an eclectic, post-structural, and multi-valent experience. We invite various voices to confront each other theatrically, and to explore the spaces of this confrontation, and ultimately define the changing identity of "American".
Website Link to Mission Statement:
2b. Organization History / Organizational Overview. Index of important events in organization's history.: 
In 1996, Danowski lived for five months in southern Mexico, with theater and cultural historiographer, Tamara Underiner, investigating contemporary Mayan theater. There, they saw dozens of new plays in Tzotztil, Tzteltal, Yucateca Maya, and Spanish, presented by various groups in various locales (including Sna Jtz’ibajom and La FOMMA/Fortaleza de la Mujer Maya, in Chiapas), and a play festival celebrating the Yucateca Maya language in Tecoh, Yucatan. This was 2 years after the Zapatista uprising, and those events, more than anything, inform the political history of this experiment. After returning to the US, Danowski developed a solo show, "Mexotica," an auto-ethnography of the tourist in search of the exotic other. Danowski invited 1 person (Robert Sindelar) to their Seattle living room to hear a reading of this play. He didn’t like it. Danowski worked on it some more. And then invited 15 people. Something was starting to click. They liked the work. Danowski liked the feeling of the small audience, the small audience liked the feeling of itself, and there was something unusually otherworldly about the experience. The energy that was exchanged in a small room with a small audience was the birth of the idea for Theater In My Basement. Danowski moved to Minneapolis in 1997, and continued living room readings of new works until February, 1999, when, with Barbe Marshall as co-artistic director, TIMB presented itself officially as a space for new experimental performance with a production of "13 Generations (Written on the Body)." The performers were Cherri Macht, Matt Wagner, and Duck Washington. This show played to sold out audiences, and made TIMB a local phenomenon. The company worked for three seasons in Minneapolis, and produced shows such as "My Mouth Is Filled with Babies" and "Red Snow." Robert Craig Baum began work with the company at this time, planting rhizomes in bald heads. TIMB’s reputation grew, and it was featured twice on MPR’s Word of Mouth program. In 2001, Danowski moved to Phoenix, and started another arm of TIMB, TIMB/SW Annex. The company produced "My Mouth Is Filled with Babies," at three locations, for its first SW production. Ilana Lydia served as director, then Director in Residence. They started developing the idea of Conspirators, that each member is involved in a conspiracy to breathe together. Danowski received a Sudden Opportunities grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and brought "Mexotica" to Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, for the 23rd Annual Native American Ritual and Performance Conference in March 2002, which began a practice of presenting work internationally. Nationally, their anti-war piece, "911: Operation My Big Hands," was first presented as a staged reading held on the anniversary of the US bombings in Afghanistan (and they also participated in the Lysistrata Project). In 2003, Brandon Chase Goldsmith began working the group as a performer and promoter, and continues in these and multiple roles. In 2004, Jessica Brown-Velez joined the company as Associate Artistic Director, also serving multiple roles (performer, archivist, and more). In 2005, Natalia Jaeger became the Associate Artistic Director, and her visionary aesthetic has served as a perfect compliment to the group’s radial practice, echoing and reinscribing the working methodologies toward a technologically and philosophically complex articulation of Fun. All of this work is always done in a very short time, with a shoestring budget, and constant struggle for rehearsal space, air conditioning, paper, etc. The group has always been resourceful, and has managed to maintain this ability to make something out of nothing, while still maintaining a standard of excellence. This includes treating artists and audiences alike with respect and dignity. Locally, the work has been regularly featured in the Arizona Republic, the New Times, and the ASU’s State Press. The diversity of the city’s make-up (35-40% Latina/o, depending on whose census interpretation is being used) has allowed for a diversity of performance methodologies and audience response, so that they continually work to push barriers in performance, linguistically, stylistically, and technologically. One primary project is Teatro Caliente, an annual festival of experimental, transcultural performance. There are typically over 40 performers at this 3-day event, and have come from Phoenix, Chinle, Durango, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, and Merida, Yucatan. 2006 will be the fouth incarnation of the festival. They work with Into Theatre, who present radical new works of children’s theater. Theater In My Basement is hand-made, Do-It-Yourself, raggedy, down-to-earth, under the earth, underground, and in your neighborhood. The company is dedicated to the production of new performance work, whose aesthetic is global and local. TIMB is devoted to maintaining a standard of excellence while pushing doors, envelopes, edges to an inter-cultural audience, from an inter-cultural perspective. TIMB is committed to erasing the barriers between ritual and performance, the sacred and the postmodern, and bringing them all together in a crossroads of time and space, where the audience is the center where everything is suddenly remembered. TIMB is extremely intimate and communal. We are resistant to gazing at our own navels. TIMB is a conspiracy to inspire audiences to examine their own navels in an open atmosphere. TIMB is for all audiences, all ages, all demographics, who have a cutting edge sensibility.
Website Link to Organization's History / Organization Overview:
2c. Exhibition / Programming / Publishing History.:
Website Link to Exhibition / Programming / Publishing History:
Part 3.
3a. Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals:: 
Chris Danowski
Additional Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals: 
Natalia Jaeger
Additional Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals: 
Tamara Underiner
Additional Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals: 
Brandon Chase Goldsmith
3b. Could any of these individuals assist in providing an oral history of your organization?: 
Part 4.
4a. Is organization currently active?: 
4b. Year activity suspended if no longer active.: 
Organization Still Active
Part 5.
5a. Type of organization at its founding.: 
Collective / Unincorporated Association
5b. Type of organization currently, or at the termination of activities.: 
Non-Profit [IRS certified]
Part 6.
6a. Does the organization have an archive?: 
6b. Are there any short or long-term threats to the organization?: 
Fiscal endangerment of organization
6c. Other threats to the organization:: 
Are there other threats to your organization? Please describe below.
Part 7.
7a. How important is to the organization to preserve the organization’s historical material. From 1 – Very Important to 5 – Not Important.: 
1. Very Important
7b. Has planning for the preservation and documentation of archive begun?: 
7c. Does the organization know how and where to seek expertise and assistance?: 
7d. Does the organization have specific concerns regarding starting an archive working with its historic materials?: 
Drain on Existing Staff Time
Part 8.
8a. Is the organization's archives in the collection of another institution or promised to one?: 
8a. Location: 
IF YES to 8: University (Name)
8b. Archival materials are also located at:: 
Where are these locations?: 
Most of the archive is in our possession, Danowski’s original performance text manuscripts are archived at the Hayden Library at Arizona State University in Special Collections (Kathy Krysz is in charge of that archive).
Part 9.
9. Does the organization maintain archives for any other organization.: 
IF YES to 9: 10a. Please describe:
Part 10a.
10a. Is the archive accessible to scholars, curators or researchers?: 
Part 10d.
10d. Would you allow access in the future?: 
Part 10e.
10e. Under what circumstances would access to archives be allowed.: 
Time and travel permitting; these are now contained in a few large boxes in Arizona.
Part 11.
The following questions address the historical materials (type, quantity and storage) of the organization. 11a. Paper Files and Documents: 
Artist Files
Board Minutes
Exhibition or Production Files
Financial Records
Legal Documents
By-laws / Incorporation Documents
11b. Artwork and Documentation: 
CDs / DVDs [Pre-Recorded or CD-R / CD-RW / DVD-R / etc.]
Other Artwork
11c. Press and Promotional Materials: 
Announcements, Mailing Cards, etc.
Newspaper / Magazine / Media Clippings
Posters / Flyers
Other Press or Promotional Materials:
11d. Printed Publications: 
Programs of Events
Other Printed Publications
11e. Other: 
Props for Performances
Part 12.
12. What years does the materials cover?: 
Part 13.
13a. How is the material stored?: 
Banker Boxes
Other Boxes
File Cabinets
13b. Are some or all of these storage units “archival”?: 
I don’t know
Part 14.
14a. Estimated Number of Boxes or Milk-Crate Sized Storage Units: 
1 - 10
14b. Estimated Number of Archive Drawers: 
1 - 10
14c. Estimated Number of Archive Notebooks: 
21 - 30
14d. Estimated the total Linear Feet. ["Linear Feet" is standard measure of the quantity of archival materials on the basis of shelf space occupied or the length of drawers in vertical files or the thickness of horizontally filed materials. For example, a: 
11 - 20
Part 15.
15. Is the historical materials - or archives - inventoried or catalogued in any way, either formally or otherwise?: 
Part 16.
16a. Is there a key, index or finding aid to the materials inventoried?: 
16b. Paper-based:: 
Not Applicable
16c. Electronic Based:: 
Not Applicable
Part 16 / Electronic Files & Archival Management
16f. Does the organization have a back-up program, or back-up schedule, for its electronic records and perform monitoring of its removable media (i.e. floppies, ZIP disks, CD-ROMs, DVDs, portable hard drives, etc.)?: 
16g. Who is responsible for working with the archival material?: 
General Staff
Part 17.
17. How are new materials processed?: 
No System
Manual System (Card File, File Folders)
Part 18.
18. What, if any, conservation methods are in place for both physical materials and electronic data?: 
None or Limited
Part 19.
19. What type of climate-controls are present in the area[s] in which the archives are stored?: 
Standard office heating / air conditioning / humidity controls running 24 hours / 7 days
No or minimal climate controls [i.e. in an attic, basement, unheated / uncooled storage area, etc.]
Part 20.
20a. What are the goals for the historical materials for the next year?: 
Order materials by date
20b. What are the biggest challenges to reaching these short-term goals?: 
20c. What goals are in place for the historical materials for the next three to five years?: 
Have easy access to the most important materials
20d. What are the biggest challenges to reaching these long term goals?: 
20e. Are there any additional goals for the organizations historic materials?: 
Consolidate vhs to dvd
Part 21.
21. Estimated cost to achieve these archival goals for the next year.: 
$3,001 - $4,000
Part 22.
22. Estimated cost to achieve these archival goals for the next five years.: 
$7,001 - $10,000
Part 24.
24. What archival issues could / should visual arts organizations address collectively in the next three to five years? Ranked from 1 (highest priority) to 5 (lowest priority).24a. Shared standards / protocols for digitization: 
Promote professional standards / protocols for digitization
Part 25.
25a. Is the organization a member of, or in contact with, any organizations concerned with archival issues?: 
Theater In My Basement/SW Annex
Who executed this survey.: 
Chris Danowski
Is this survey complete and all appropriate questions answered?: