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The Practice of MisuseRugged Consumerism in Contemporary American Culture$
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Raymond Malewitz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804791960

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804791960.001.0001

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Theaters of Rugged Consumerism

Theaters of Rugged Consumerism

Chapter:
(p.42) 2 Theaters of Rugged Consumerism
Source:
The Practice of Misuse
Author(s):

Raymond Malewitz

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804791960.003.0002

This chapter shows how Utopian versions of American rugged consumerism emerged from the material limitations of the nation's counterculture theaters during the late sixties. In keeping with left-libertarian DIY projects such as the Whole Earth Catalog and Adhocism, off-off-Broadway playwrights such as Sam Shepard drew inspiration from their financial limitations and wrote plays to accommodate the discarded objects that they re-appropriated on walks around New York City. Drawing upon a number of autobiographical accounts from off-off-Broadway playwrights collected in the New York Public Library's theater archives as well as important historical studies by Stephen Bottoms and David Crespy, the chapter show how both within and beyond the magic circle of the stage, off-off-Broadway's rugged consumers transformed commodities and their waste products (including the commercial spaces of American theater) into renewed sites of creative production.

Keywords:   Sam Shepard, Off-Off-Broadway, Counterculture, Whole Earth Catalog, Drag Performance, DIY

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