Anne-Marie Mulgrew


Anne-Marie Mulgrew

08/16/18  Anne-Marie Mulgrew

Interviewed by Jeff Cain and Terry Fox 

[Anne-Marie had a cache of flyers, printed programs and press clips she referenced throughout the interview. Some related to Old City come not. She references dancers of the time Christine Villardo, Karen Bamonte, Paula Deihl. She had two 2 Philadelphia Dance Alliance calendars with Terry Fox on the cover and several Painted Bride’s Dance Day printed programs.  She has a trove of Joan Kerr Dance Company programs, her obituary and other. Because Mulgrew danced in so many other choreographer’s works before she began choreographing her own work, she is a resource about other dance happening in Philly at that time.]


A-M M: I graduated Temple in 1973 with a BSA with a Dance Minor. I was adjunct there and officially entered the Master’s Program later. I came to Old City in 1973, but not sure.  The fire in our 3rd Street building was (? date). I performed with Terry Fox and Ishmael Houston-Jones at Philadelphia Museum of ART outdoors in 1976.   Someone was painting in the background. [Steve Lebowitz]


I was born in South Philadelphia. We were the first ones in our family, my sister Eileen and I, to get higher degrees, although my mother went back to business school at Temple while all her kids were growing up. Then she went into a banking career. 


Eileen knew more artists than I did.  Maybe it was Stanford Hughes, who she knew who lived in Old City, or maybe we came to classes at 217 Church Street that brought us to Old City. In our building there was Eileen was on the 5th floor, Gary Grissom on the 4th, John (Meklinchuk) and I on the 3rd, then below us a photographer and after him, a saxophone player.  We did all the work of sanding the floors, all that stuff.  


[TF Asking about what people she remembered. TF recalled game night at the Mulgrew lofts.] 

Yes, we had a ping-pong table.


[AM shows a Jeanne Quinn “The Girl In the Green Bikini” flyer. ] 

I’m trying to find a photo from BWTDB with me and Chuck Mattern.  I remember Thom Shafer. I remember Kathy Halton.


[Memorable OCA event] 

I remember “People Piece”  


[Looks at a printed program of Wear White At Night] 

I remember climbing in the gates of the Old First Reformed Church.   I was in the Box Dance with Fred Holland and Ishmael.   Who was it that had a TV and a folding chair out on our balcony (fire escape) as an art installation?



Others artist spaces like those of Warren Mueller and Michael Biello 

I was waitressing then and taking a lot of dance classes so couldn’t hang out much. 


[Atmosphere of Old City] 

It was really innovative. It was supportive.  For me it gave me a great foundation as an emerging artist, even though I didn’t do a lot of training until later. I had a lot of catching up to do. There was so much going on. There was lot of experimental theater.  There was a lot of excitement in the air.  Just to meet so many artists from so many different disciplines.  But Philly is tribal. Always has been tribal.  And even nowadays it’s still tribal, even more so in terms of dance groups and collectives. I’m older, so I’m not so connected to them. There were separations among traditional styles and other esthetics.  

But there was a lot going on. There was a lot of poetry going on in Old City.  The Bride Came to Old City 

But I worked weekends, so I didn’t get to see everything.  But I also performed with Woofy Bubbles. We were in inflatables, [which made] different relationship to the dancer’s body.  Dancer Tonio Guerra was in a lot of those productions. 


Art and Life were intimate, because living space was art making space. There was a lot of social interaction as well. And somehow the artistic happened during the social.   It was all part of the artistic process. There was a lot of sharing It reminds me of a big snowstorm when we were all stranded. Michael, Dan, Jac and me sharing dinner and talking…

The research for the OCA History Project is ongoing...

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