The women’s experimental theater space called the WOW Café (Women’s One World) has been a vital part of New York’s downtown theater scene since 1980. Since that time, WOW has provided a place for feminist and particularly lesbian theater artists to create, perform, and witness a cultural revolution. Its renowned alumnae include playwright and actor Lisa Kron, performance artists Holly Hughes and Carmelita Tropicana, the theater troupe the Five Lesbian Brothers, and actors/playwrights Peggy Shaw, Lois Weaver, and Deb Margolin, among others.
Memories of the Revolution collects scripts, interviews, and commentary to trace the riotous first decade of WOW. While the histories of other experimental theater collectives have been well documented, WOW’s history has only begun to be told. The anthology also includes photographs of and reminiscences by Café veterans, capturing the history and artistic flowering of the first ten years of this countercultural haven.
“Powerfully captures those early years when the founding members of the WOW Café were figuring out new ways of making performances that enabled them to reimagine the world . . . The story of how these women navigated such circumstances, with all the intertwining of public and private lives, the necessity of working through conflicts, and the intensity of artistic passion infused with the struggle for identity is riveting, inspiring, and instructive.”
—Kim Marra, University of Iowa
“Reflects the anarchic spirit and cacophonous laughter of the WOW Café as it documents the origins, operations, and creative output of one of the most important, innovative, yet critically neglected artistic experiments in the United States.”
—Sara Warner, Cornell University