the next service is in Los Angeles on June 11

Monthly Archives: October, 2015

The Secret City is Launching Their New Season!


Hey hey! It’s that time of year–Our annual crowdfund campaign is on NOW! It’s a really great way to be part of the new season and the community and joy that are the hallmarks of The Secret City. And know that you’re helping to provide our monthly services at a suggested donation, with free childcare, support of artists and increased stability for the organization.

Please check out our video and give what you can – and share the news about The Secret City with your friends.

Thanks to all who make The Secret City strong and vital.




Chartotte Booker | Featured Performer


Chartotte Booker is one of our FAVORITE PEOPLE EVER. And, she’s a wonderful part of The Secret City community. I’m thrilled that she’ll be back in town for this Sunday’s gathering–she’s going to make one of her characteristic community poems, a la an exquisite corpse–based on a question about personal evolution. Join us this Sunday, October 25th, at 11:13am at Dixon Place for a wonderful treat presented by Charlotte and lots of other great folks.

Here’s her bio:

Charlotte Booker is an actress/writer/teacher based in New York City, and has been a Secret City fan for years. She appeared on Broadway in both revivals of Garson Kanin’s BORN YESTERDAY, in 1989 with Madeline Kahn and Ed Asner, and in 2011 with Nina Arianda and Robert Sean Leonard. Other New York credits include TEN CHIMNEYS, DEATHBED, FIVE GENOCIDES, FUGUE, PSYCHO BEACH PARTY, and the title role in BITCH!, which she also wrote. Over the last thirty+ years, her numerous regional roles have ranged from Ophelia in HAMLET to Ann Landers in the solo show LADY WITH ALL THE ANSWERS, at theatres all over the place. She played Honey on the short-lived TV series HI HONEY, I’M HOME, and has made guest appearances on BOARDWALK EMPIRE, LAW AND ORDER CI, THIRD WATCH, NEWSRADIO, MURPHY BROWN, MARRIED WITH CHILDREN, and many others. Charlotte co-created and performed in the long-running comedy show CAUSE CELEB! in New York, exploiting her lifelong obsession with autobiographies and reading out loud. She enjoys volunteering for the Andrew Heiskell branch of the New York Public Library audio books studio as a narrator, and has also adapted books for audio. She has taught and coached actors of all ages, in New York and Los Angeles. Charlotte recently appeared in the short film BRAZZAVILLE TEENAGER, directed by and starring Michael Cera, and in the Coen Brothers film, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS.


Jessica Crystal | Food Offering


Jessica Crystal is a stalwart member of our community and has been coming to The Secret City with her parents Sue and Ken for several years now. Jess responded to our call for folks to sign up to do the food offering and she’s a perfect candidate! I have a feeling she’ll be making something seasonal, nutritious and DELISH. I’m excited. Join us this Sunday, October 25th at 11:30 for EVOLUTION.

Here’s her bio:

Jessica Crystal is a registered nurse, foodie, and wellness enthusiast. She is currently enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. You can visit her blog at


Malang Jobarteh | Featured Musician


Malang Jobarteh is from the small West African Country of Gambia, on the Atlantic Coast. He plays an ancient instrument called The Kora. In fact, Malang and his family have been playing the kora for over 800 years. Talk about EVOLUTION! For this Sunday, Malang will come play his kora for us. Jason Speenburgh came upon Malang in the subway where he was performing and was so captivated by him that he wrote to me and said, “We have to get this guy to perform for The Secret City.” So, we reached out and he’s coming. I’m thrilled. Join us this Sunday at 11:30 am for EVOLUTION and for this special treat.


Max Piersol | Featured Performer


Max Piersol has been coming to The Secret City for awhile now–and he’s not a very old person. One of the reasons we thought of this theme was because of Max and watching him and his creative expression EVOLVE over the years. Max works in a variety of media: he’s an actor, visual artist, clothing designer, skateboarder and skateboard designer….this Sunday, for EVOLUTION, he’ll present a bunch of different kinds of work. I’m thrilled to share it with you all. Oh, Max has also been featured on Humans of New York, I think TWICE? Cute.

Here’s his bio:

Maxwell Piersol was born and raised in Red Hook, Brooklyn where he currently resides when he’s not sleeping on friend’s floors along the east coast. He is a visual artist, actor and musician, although his search for a fun time is limited to no medium. One day Max hopes to be some sort of cult icon or at least hang out with his friends at the skatepark. In the meantime he finds inspiration in adventures and the moon and looking silly and going skateboarding.


Bobby Lucy | Featured Artist


Bobby Lucy is the co-founder of The Secret City. He’s also the Visual Arts Curator and, this Sunday is his 50th birthday! For this Sunday’s service, in honor of the theme of EVOLUTION, he’s made a slideshow for the occasion: 50 Paintings in Under 5 Minutes, documenting his evolution as an artist. I’ve seen a preview of the slideshow and it’s gorgeous. {One of the pieces is Lipstick Zombies in Candyland, shown here.) It’s also a great take on the theme–can’t wait to share it with our community. Sunday, October 25th, 2015, EVOLUTION: 11:30am at Dixon Place, 161A Chystie Street.

Here’s his bio:

Robert Lucy grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and began his painting career in Chicago
where he studied with Ed Paschke at Northwestern University and then received his
BFA and MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. There he was deeply
influenced by the work of the Chicago Imagists, Outsider Art and the members of
The Hairy Who.

While living in Chicago, Lucy spent ten summers on the Oregon Coast painting
landscapes outdoors. He eventually moved there and discovered with the
spaciousness of nature, his craft developed and his work took on a layered, focused
power. Lucy describes breaking through from representational space into imagined
space. At the same time, his medium broadened from oil on canvas to include
colored pencil drawings.

Lucy moved to NYC in 2006 where he was accepted to take part in the AIM program
at The Bronx Museum. In 2014, Lucy’s collection of eleven thematically linked
colored pencil drawings on colored paper were featured with Robert Barnes and
Barbara Rossi in a show about serial drawings at the David and Alfred Smart
Museum at the University of Chicago.

In 2013 Lucy, and his partner Chris Wells, moved to the Byrcliffe Art Colony in Woodstock, NY where he makes idiosyncratic, highly polished paintings exploring images of popular culture and personal transformation. He is also the proprietor of Robert Lucy Animals, specializing in commissioned portraits of animals, both human and otherwise. and


India Kotis | Featured Artist


Our dear India Kotis is coming back from her first semester away at college and we’re thrilled to welcome her back. She’ll be reading the Cultural Calendar for us–Yippee! Join us this Sunday, October 25th at 11:30 am for EVOLUTION. Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie Street. Can’t wait to hug India.

Here’s her bio, with some editing by The Secret City:

  • Born in ’97. Moved to Brooklyn on New Years Day, 2000, and been there ever since. (Except she’s now in Chicago, attending Columbia College.)
  • I’ve been writing plays since 2011, and good plays since 2013. (She’s also a filmmaker.)
  • I have three thumbs (no really, I do.)
  • I graduated from LaGuardia High School (i.e. the “Fame” school) in their drama program.
  • I’m never not panicking about the environment.
  • I believed in Santa well into middle school.


JoNell Kennedy | Featured Performer


For this Sunday, my dear pal from LA theater days, JoNell Kennedy, is going to do the reading for us. The theme is FANTASY and JoNell is a fantastic performer and person so it’s a great fit. The service is Sunday, October 11th at Bootleg Theater at 12 noon. We think she’ll be reading a little something about falling down the rabbit hole…

Here’s JoNell’s bio:

JoNell Kennedy was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her father is retired Federal Government Employee (Labor Dept.) and mother was a vocalist with 1960s group “The Dixi Kups”. JoNell is a graduate of Southern Methodist University where she majored in theatre. She is a recipient of a Joseph Jefferson Theatre Award Sings with Rock/Soul Band “The Soul Of John Black” She was awarded the 1992 Joseph Jefferson Award for Actress in a Revue for “Spunk-Three Tales by Zora Neale Hurston” at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. Recent TV appearances: The Mentalist, Southland, NCIS and Shameless.


Megan Rippey | Featured Performer

For this Sunday’s gathering in LA, the theme is FANTASY and so we have a wonderful burlesque performer taking part. Megan Rippey is an actress and singer and burlesque performer with a background in Gender and Sexuality Studies–Megan comes to us via our pal John Henningsen and she’s going to grace our service with illusion, the power of the feminine and the aura of fantasy right here on earth. So excited to have her with us.

Here’s Megan’s bio:

Megan Rippey is a Baltimore girl, a Calartian, and a passionate explorer living and working in Los Angeles. She holds a multidisciplinary Bachelors degree from St. Mary’s College of MD in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, as well as a Masters of Fine Arts Degree in Acting from the California Institute of the Arts. She is an accomplished burlesque performance artist, and incorporates acrobatic pole dancing into her art. She practiced classical vocal technique as a soprano with the Johns Hopkins Peabody Children’s Choir for eleven years. Among the things she adores are Maryland-style crab feasts, unicorns, and cross-country road trips.


Anthony Ausgang | Featured Performer


This coming Sunday, October 11th, we kick off the first service of the season in Los Angeles and the theme will be FANTASY. Anthony Ausgang, our featured visual artist, is someone who makes fantastical works of art and animation and he’ll be sharing his work with us. With references to hi and low culture and an understanding of the classic and the kitsch, Ausgang is a art-world rebel and a charming prankster with a great sense of color and play. His work is often seen at the legendary Zero One gallery in Los Angeles and we’re delighted to share his work with our community.

Anthony Ausgang was born in Trinidad and Tobago in 1959 to a Dutch mother and Welsh father. The family moved to Houston, Texas in the early 1960’s, a particularly difficult time for an immigrant family to parse American culture. Nevertheless, Ausgang’s father made brave attempts to assimilate by attending custom car shows and demolition derbies. Ausgang eventually encountered Ed Roth and before long had a shoebox full of Rat Finks, a small plastic figurine of a noxious rodent that had somehow become the embodiment of Hot Rod and Custom Car Culture. Ausgang’s mother continued the European traditions by dragging her son to endless operas, symphonies and art museums.

This combination of High Art and Low Art was to prove a fertile cultural mulch for Ausgang’s artistic inclinations. After a short stint studying art at The University Of Texas in Austin, Ausgang succumbed to the myth of California and moved to Los Angeles where he began classes at The Otis Art Institute. Disappointed to find out that the curriculum there didn’t include target practice, admiring cars or watching surf films, Ausgang dropped out to start showing his artwork to as many galleries as would tolerate his frequent visits.

Finally accepted by the infamous Zero One Gallery, a combination of after hour’s nightclub, gallery and crash pad, he had his first official sale, to a drug dealer. At his solo show later that year Ausgang sold to a more diverse and socially acceptable crew as collectors and critics began to take notice. At the Zero One, Ausgang met Robert Williams, who was one of the main forces at Roth Studios in the 1960’s and was the most successful practitioner of the type of art that would later be called Low Brow.

As the “official” art world began to accept Ausgang’s work so did the commercial art world and he began making record covers and posters and working as a consultant on computer generated animation. In 1993 Ausgang was included in the Laguna Beach Art Museum’s seminal exhibit “Kustom Kulture” which investigated art influenced by gear head car culture. In 2003 Ausgang’s paintings could be seen in Morning Wood, a primer of Post Graf art; in 2004 his work graced the pages of contemporary art survey Pop Surrealism and in 2005 Weirdo Deluxe explained his art to the unenlightened.

Ausgang draws influence from as many outside channels as possible, preferring the toy contents of grocery store gumball machines to the latest exhibit at the Whitney. Opinionated but informed; he is able to see the beauty in both a Rembrandt and a rat rod. This variety of interest has led him to design his artwork on the computer but complete it on the easel, the perfect combination of new technology and traditional media.

Ausgang continues to live and work in Los Angeles. Check out some of his recent work in Volcom’s Summer 2012 Featured Artist line and at

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