I Hate Memory, an anti-musical “co-starring the streets of New York and the late 20th century”, will have its inaugural performance at Joe’s Pub on Saturday May 21, 7PM, kicking off a monthly series and eventually an album release.

I Hate Memory was written by songwriter / violinist / actress Eszter Balint, based on an original concept by her and Stew, this pair also contributing the anti-musical’s songs. This production is directed by Lucy Sexton, produced in association with Arktype. The cast and supporting musicians include Felice Rosser, David Nagler, Marlon Cherry, Esme Thorne, and Tammy Faye Starlite.

The performance is arranged around a set of songs tracing Eszter Balint’s journey from communist Hungary to ’70s-80s NYC by way of her parents’ radical theater group and winding its way through the Lower East Side.

The production says:

The show digs fearlessly into oppression, freedom, the possibilities in chaos, the dreams and lost dreams of America, and the battles with memory when you are most invested in is the now.

Balint says that I Hate Memory deals with “Family, Film, Fame, Immigration, Joy, Theater, Shame, Dance Floors, Open Doors, Papaya Ice Cream, and the Shah of Iran’s Wife (?!)”

Originally conceived as a live theatrical musical performance, I Hate Memory was one of the first shows to be cancelled, due to Covid, at Dixon Place. Since then, the team has been working on a film adaptation as well as another rewrite for the stage. In its current live incarnation, I Hate Memory is a theatrical song cycle with projections and text performed by Eszter Balint, with the other cast and band members chiming in.

Eszter Balint is a singer-songwriter with three solo albums out. She grew up as a member of the avant-garde theater company Squat Theatre. She’s had featured roles in films by Jim Jarmusch, Woody Allen, and Steve Buscemi, including a role alongside David Bowie, and starred in a six-episode arc in Season 4 of Louis CK’s TV show Louie.

I Hate Memory received commissioning funds from Dixon Place with support from the New York State Council on the Arts and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs with the City Council.