The Connection

New York: Inkweed Studios, 1959. Vintage poster from the 1959 production of the 1959 off-Broadway play, which opened on July 15, 1959 at the Living Theatre, designed by Inkweed Studios, with a label affixed to the recto stating showtimes.

Inkweed Studios, founded in 1951 by Beat poet, Kabbalist, and Lower East Side underground luminary, Lionel Ziprin, and his wife and principal collaborator, dancer, illustrator, and model, Joanne Ziprin, was originally created to produce "studio cards," greeting cards to rival the mass-produced cards produced by the Hallmark Company. Inkweed Studios were "a totally unsuccessful greeting card company," according to Lionel's New York Times obituary, but did produce many outstanding graphics, such as the poster found here. The company was the launching pad for the graphic work of artists such as Harry Smith, Jordan Belson, Bruce Conner, Barbara Remington, and William Mohr. A wholly unique melding of Beat sensibility and American consumerism.

Jack Gelber's landmark play within a play, "The Connection," observes a producer and writer attempting to stage a production using "real" heroin addicts, largely jazz musicians, waiting for their score, interspersed with jazz music. Notable not only for its commonplace depiction of addiction, it also radically re-imagined the relationship of audience and actor, with actors utilizing the theatre's aisles as performance areas, an actor presented as an audience member, and actors remaining in character and panhandling during intermission. A key play in the history of American jazz and an evocative portrait, and product of the Beat era. Winner of three Obie Awards, including Best New Play, Best All-Around Production, and Best Actor for Warren Finnerty. Made into an equally groundbreaking and largely unrecognized motion picture in 1961, directed by Shirley Clarke, and starring Finnerty and William Redfield.

13.75 x 21.75 inches, archivally framed to 16.25 x 24.25 inches. Very Good plus with some light corner and edgewear, a small chip to the bottom right corner, and a small bruise to the mid-right edge.

[Book #158542]