About the Performance: As immigration policy is being hotly debated around the country in terms of national and cultural security, Crossing the BLVD presents the very human stories of why new immigrants and refugees have migrated to the United States and what their experiences have been since they came here pre- and post-9/11. The narration in the performance includes Warren Lehrer’s and Judith Sloan’s commentary and perspective as Judith Sloan “channels” many of the people that the couple interviewed on their three-year journey around the world through the borough of Queens. Judith Sloan is a mesmerizing performer, whose vocalization work and movement bring these characters to life. The performance is illuminated by projections of Lehrer’s stunning photographs of the subjects, objects they have carried with them from home to home, and landscapes and maps, along with Sloan’s soundtrack of original music, sounds, and voices.
About the project: Created by documentary artists Warren Lehrer and Judith Sloan, Crossing the BLVD: strangers, neighbors, aliens in a new America forms a portrait of a paradoxical and ever-shifting America. It intimately portrays the lives of new immigrants and refugees living and/or working in Queens, NY, a modern-day Ellis Island where cultures overlap in a choreography of chaotic co-existence. For three years, Lehrer/Sloan traveled the world by trekking the streets of their home borough in search of migration stories and a deeper connection to their diverse community. They began their project in 1999 by conducting storytelling workshops in libraries, high schools, and community centers throughout Queens. Their journey continued through 2002 via photographic portraits and extended interviews in bodegas, family-owned restaurants, places of worship, public housing projects, and private homes. The result is an extraordinary book of photographs and stories (W.W. Norton), an audio CD, public radio documentaries, a reading/ performance tour, and a traveling exhibition of photographic prints, sound stations, and Mobile Story Booth and website crossingtheblvd.org allowing visitors to add their own portraits and stories to the Crossing archive.
"Crossing the BLVD boldly carries the tradition of oral history into the 21st Century..."
Eve Ensler, Author the Vagina Monologues
"Immigrant life as told in the intimate, rich, comic, ironic and sad stories so often seen but not heard in America's big cities..." The Washington Post
"An offbeat ethnic tour of one of the country’s most ethnically diverse counties... Riveting stories about a new wave of immigrants to America..." The New York Times
" Oral history with a twist." The World, BBC / PRI, Public Radio International
• Winner Brendan Gill Prize, Municipal Art Society of New York
• Innovative Use of Archives Award, Archivist Roundtable of New York, for Crossing the BLVD