Addictive Connections

Wednesday, January 25, 2023, 7 - 8:30pm

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Addictive Connections

The NY Phil and The Cooper Union co-present a panel exploring issues of mental health, addiction, and social justice. Hip hop / theater artist Baba Israel, sound artist Fay Victor, and NY Phil Director of Media Production Mark Travis discuss the nuanced impact that the criminalization of addiction and drug use has had on music and other creative arts. The group examines luminaries including Billie Holiday and Timothy Leary, as well as Hector Berlioz and Julius Eastman, both of whose works will be presented by the NY Phil in February. Leah Goodridge, Managing Attorney for Housing Policy at Mobilization for Justice, moderates.

This program is part of The Cooper Union’s The Gardiner Foundation Great Hall Forum series, and the NY Phil’s The Unanswered Questions, a series that builds on the Orchestra’s programming to serve as a lens through which to examine complex issues of our time.

Attendees must show proof of vaccination. Masks are encouraged.

Baba Israel is a Hip Hop/theater artist, poet, educator, and consultant raised in New York by parents who were core members of the Living Theatre. Baba is part of Bronx Banda with  Arturo O'Farrill and has shared the stage with artists such as KRS ONE, Lester Bowie, Outkast, Bahamadia, and Medusa. He is a teaching artist in the areas of Hip Hop, music production, spoken word, and theater. He works with City Lore and organizations such as BAM, Piano Slam, and Arts Horizons. He holds an M.F.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College and is the Artistic Director of the Performance Project based at the University Settlement. His newest production Cannabis! A Viper Vaudeville premiered in 2022 produced by HERE at the Ellen Stewart Theater at La Mama.  

Sound artist/composer Fay Victor hones a unique vision for the vocalist’s role in jazz and improvised music regarding repertoire, improvisation, and composition. Her ‘everything is everything’ aesthetic permeates her work in performance where a standard can lead to a free improvisation or an outburst...and back again. In over a 20 year span, Victor has released nine albums as a leader to critical acclaim as well as worked with luminaries like Dave Burrell, Archie Shepp, Marc Ribot, and more. Currently Victor is leading two groups; SoundNoiseFUNK with two releases out in the world - 2018’s Wet Robots and 2020’s We’ve Had Enough! SoundNoiseFUNK is an improvising unit that also uses Victor’s ‘launch pad’ compositions for further improvisational exploration. Victor is on the faculty of the New School of Jazz & Contemporary Music and Rocnation at Long Island University; a member of the International Contemporary Ensemble and chairs the Advisory Board for the Jazz Leaders Fellowship through the Brooklyn Conservatory, a Fellowship designed to offer funding and support to black female and non-binary jazz musicians.

In a career that has spanned more than two decades, Mark Travis has just about done it all, serving as a writer, producer, broadcaster, lecturer, podcaster, voiceover artist, multi-cam director, video editor and audio engineer. Currently Director of Media Production for the New York Philharmonic, he has directed the orchestra’s broadcasts (hosted by Alec Baldwin) since 2003. From 1999 to 2011 Mark served as a producer for Chicago’s WFMT Radio Network, where he wrote and directed more than 800 nationally syndicated programs. He also has an extensive discography as a music producer, including three Grammy-nominated recordings in five categories by the New York Philharmonic. A recipient of more than 40 medals and honors for his broadcast work, Mark has earned the 2015 Grand Jury Prize and five best-director awards from the New York Festivals, and he was named a special honoree for his writing in the 2017 Webby Awards.

Leah Goodridge is a litigator and educator with over a decade of experience in community empowerment, housing rights and racial justice. Currently Goodridge serves as the Managing Attorney for Housing Policy at Mobilization for Justice where she leads housing policy efforts and eviction defense litigation. She has won several cases which have been published and previously argued before the New York State Court of Appeals. In 2018, Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Goodridge to serve as the tenant representative on the New York City Rent Guidelines Board where she worked to achieve affordable rent for for tenants city-wide. She is a frequent guest speaker on housing justice and has won many accolades for her advocacy.  

Located in The Great Hall, in the Foundation Building, 7 East 7th Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.