Tom Murrin Performance Award

Also known as “The Tommy,” this annual award is granted to a NYC-based early career artist or company who embodies Tom Murrin’s generous artistic spirit and gift for unearthing big, meaningful ideas by creating resourceful, exuberant, mysterious, enlightening, theatrical, luminous and remarkable performance. The award was created in 2013 to honor Murrin, who passed away in 2012. He was an inspiration, a mentor and a role model for countless young and emerging artists. The award is intended to provide a transformative career opportunity to its recipient, who receives a yearlong residency, followed by a 3-night run at Dixon Place and an honorarium.

Tom Murrin

Tom Murrin photographed by Jim Moore  / Vaudevisuals

Tom Murrin (February 8, 1939 – March 12, 2012) also known as the Alien Comic and Jack Bump, was a performance pioneer whose life and work inspired both artists and audiences for over 40 years. He was a member of the first generation of La MaMa playwrights. Tom wrote four plays performed through La MaMa and produced by John Vacarro’s Playhouse of the Ridiculous, including the offbeat hit, Cockstrong, which toured with Ellen Stewart’s La MaMa Troupe to Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels. Under the guidance of famed rock manager Jane Friedman, Tom began to perform under the name Alien Comic, opening for acclaimed punk bands in rock clubs such as CBGBs and Max’s Kansas City. He performed in NYC clubs and theaters as the Alien Comic, appearing in such venues as The Pyramid, 8BC, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Performance Space 122, Dixon Place, La MaMa, and more. Since the mid 80s, he created, performed, and curated a series of variety nights at Performance Space 122, and later at the Club at La Mama ETC and Dixon Place, called The Full Moon Show. His plays Sportfuckers and Butt Crack Bingo were produced at Theater for the New City and La MaMa and directed by David Levine. Tom was the first performance artist to appear on stage at the original Dixon Place location at 37 East First Street in 1986.


2016 Tommy Award Winner: Laurie Berg



Laurie Berg makes work in a variety of forms including dance and performance, collage, and jewelry. With an ongoing interest in iconography, honed absurdity and sharp, sometimes dark humor, Berg draws out a multiplicity of meanings and associations from her subject matter to create a living collage. Berg is also a co-organizer of AUNTS, a roving event platform guided by core principles of collectivity, cooperation and sharing. Most recently her work was presented at Danspace Project and as part of the Joyce UNLEASHED Series at the Invisible Dog Art Center. She was a 2013 New York Live Arts Studio Series Resident Artist, a 2010-2012 Movement Research Artist-In-Residence. Her jewelry, which plays with the juxtaposition of real and fake, new and old, precious and plastic, can be seen around the necks of many dance artists in NYC.
The Panelists for the 2016 Tommy Award are: Noel Allain (Artistic Director, The Bushwick Starr), Ellie Covan (Artistic Director, Dixon Place), Alec Duffy (Artistic Director, JACK), Katy Einerson (Program Director, Dixon Place), Jeff Jones (Curator, Little Theatre), Robert Lyons (Artistic Director, New Ohio Theatre), Kristin Marting (Artistic Director, HERE Arts Center), Salley May (Performance Artist & Avant-Garde-Arama Curator), Pat Oleszko (Performance Artist), Nicky Paraiso (Director of Programming, The Club at La MaMa), Brian Rogers (Artistic Director, The Chocolate Factory), Lucy Sexton (Producer, Director, Performer), Patricia Sullivan (Photographer, Tom’ Murrin’s wife), Marya Warshaw (Founding & Executive Director, Brooklyn Arts Exchange) and Martha Wilson (Founding Director, Franklin Furnace).


2015 Tommy Award Winner: Monstah Black

Monstah Black is a performing artist known for his multi-dimensional funk drenched musical creations, blurring the lines of genre and gender. Fusing his love for music, movement, fashion and visual art, his aesthetic reflects pop culture of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. He has performed internationally from Art Basel, Miami to Brazil, Scotland, Ireland, Germany and the New Media Performance Festival in Moscow. Awards include: Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, American Music Center Live Music for Dance Program, The District of Columbia Commission on The Arts and Humanities, Career Transitions for Dancers, Topaz Arts Center, NYSCA and Franklin Furnace Fund. He holds an MFA from Long Island University New Media Art and Performance Program. He was the 2013 guest mentor for the International Choreographers Residency at Dance Omi in Hudson Valley.

2014 Tommy Award Winner: Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider photo by Andrew Schneider

Photo by Andrew Schneider

 Formerly a seven-year member of the Wooster Group, Andrew Schneider is a performance artist and interactive-electronics artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Currently, he is developing YOUARENOWHERE, which will premiere in January 2015 as part of PS122’s COIL festival. Andrew’s original performance work in NYC includes FIELD (2014) at Roulette, TIDAL (2013) curated by Laurie Anderson as part of the River to River festival; YOUARENOTHERE (work-in-progress, 2013) at the Performing Garage; WOW+FLUTTER (2010) at The Chocolate Factory Theater; five AVANT-GARDE-ARAMA! works (2005-2013) at PS122; PLEASURE (2009) at Issue Project Room; and resident artist (2006) at LEMURplex. Andrew creates wearable, interactive electronic art works such as the Solar Bikini, (a bikini that charges your iPod), and wireless programmable sound effect gloves. His interactive work has been featured in such publications as Art Forum and Wired, among others and at the Center Pompidou in Paris. Schneider has served as an Adjunct Professor at NYU and has taught courses on Technology and Performance at the Interactive Telecommunications Program and at Bowdoin, and Carleton Colleges. Andrew holds a BFA in Theater Arts from Illinois Wesleyan University and a Masters Degree in Interactive Telecommunications from NYU.

 2013 Tommy Award Winner: ANIMALS Performance Group

14-01-23 ANIMALS performance group Michael De Angelis 3

Photo by Michael De Angelis

ANIMALS is Nikki Calonge, Michael De Angelis and Mike Mikos. Their work includes dance, video, puppetry and crafted objects to serve elements of surprise, cultural exchange and irreverence to create moments that question the flexibility of the world and the nature of humans through instinct, ability and play. ANIMALS has performed at the Bushwick Starr, Invisible Dog, Dixon Place, ThreeLegged Dog Art and Technology Center and Incubator Arts Project. They have been commissioned by Dixon Place to premiere CHASE: What Matters Most, a dance theater piece staging the struggle for survival in a degenerating world in October, 2015.