Cover art for podcast The Hill: A Thieves Theatre Podcast

The Hill: A Thieves Theatre Podcast

24 EpisodesProduced by Untamed NetworkWebsite

Artist/activists Nick Fracaro and Gabriele Schafer tell the story of their three years living in the “tipi on the hill,” by way of their radical alternative theater work leading up to it, their 40+ year creative partnership, and reflections on a life lived together at the intersection of art, cultur… read more

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Ep 23: Goodbye... Until Timeless Spring

September 21st, 2023


The end of the story. The story that never ends. 

Nick and Gabriele narrate their final days on The Hill, leading up to the day it was finally razed, and tell what they know about what happened to their neighbors and …

Ep 22: Psychotic Break/Hero’s Journey – Red Pill/Blue Pill?

September 14th, 2023


Plagued by grief and guilt, and estranged from everyone, including Gabriele, Nick wanders the streets hunting for Mister Lee’s murderer. Wearing his ghost shirt, he dances himself into trance-like states, and starts …

Ep 21: Aftermath of the Arson/Murder

September 7th, 2023


Nick and Gabriele knew from all the articles written about it that the fire was designated as arson, but neither the press nor they were privy to any information as to how that was determined.  

Who committed the arson …

Ep 20: Search for Absolution

August 31st, 2023


We are coming toward the end of this story. A few more episodes and the events of the tipi in the shantytown will have been told. This episode will …

Ep 19: The Lost Cause

August 24th, 2023


On the 101st anniversary Gabriele and Nick explore the site of the Wounded Knee Massacre and the adjacent landscape –– the sacred Black Hills of the Lakota –– seeking to find acceptance and support for the tipi memorial …

Ep 18: Until Death Calls My Name

August 17th, 2023


Gabriele and Nick examine the nature of memorials and gravesites. The tipi on The Hill was both a memorial commemorating the centenary of the Wounded …

Ep 17: Nick Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

August 10th, 2023


Many years later, Nick begins to understand what motivated him – both to erect the tipi and to stay on The Hill after it became dangerous. 

He recounts a mental health crisis experienced upon returning home from the Army …

Ep 16: The Drug Lord Brings Violence to The Hill

August 3rd, 2023


By the summer of ‘91, less than seven months after putting up the tipi, The Hill’s character had changed dramatically. A drug dealer had infiltrated the tight-knit community that until then had felt like family.  

The …

Ep 15: The American Indian Movement (AIM) Visits the Tipi

July 27th, 2023


Nick and Gabriele talk about how split the Native American reaction was on them having erected a tipi as a memorial to the Wounded Knee Massacre. …

Ep 14: Appropriation or Appreciation?

July 20th, 2023


Gabriele and Nick place their work on The Hill in a historical context of popular culture’s use of the terms “woke” and “cultural appropriation.”

They …

Ep 13: The War for Self-Representation Meets the Drug War

July 13th, 2023


Four months before G & N arrived on The Hill, the New York Post came out with an article about the community entitled, “Squatter War Coming to ‘The Hill’.” The article turned out to be prescient.

The initial war to …

Ep 12: The War for Self-Representation: The Media and The Hill

July 6th, 2023


In going through the journal gathering entries concerning The Hill’s relationship to the media, G & N also discovered evidence on how life on The Hill went from light to dark without them noticing.  

The New York …

Ep 11: Nick is arrested amid a high-profile NYC police corruption scandal

June 29th, 2023


One week after erecting the tipi, cops “Frick and Frack Fury” arrest Nick for taking a roll of linoleum from the edge of a construction site and …

Ep 10: The Geomancer and Mister Lee, Hermit and Ragman

June 22nd, 2023


The final two original core residents that greeted Nick and Gabriele when they arrived at The Hill were “The Chinese Man in the Back,” or as Nick referred to him, the Geomancer, and Mister Lee. They built the two most …

Ep 9: Ascetics, Thieves, Foragers, Citizens – Part 5

June 15th, 2023


Nick and Gabriele continue to profile their neighbors on The Hill, highlighting Tito and Woodsman Tony. They come to understand how the tipi has become a site where routines and everyday conversations become ritualized …

Ep 8: Ascetics, Thieves, Foragers, Citizens – Part 4

June 8th, 2023


Nick and Gabriele continue to profile their neighbors on The Hill, highlighting “Chinese Jimmy,” Larry and Elaine. 

Jimmy was Chinese mob connected. The gangs extorting money from Chinatown business owners have their …

Ep 7: Ascetics, Thieves, Foragers, Citizens – Part 3

June 1st, 2023


Nick and Gabriele continue to profile their neighbors on The Hill, highlighting the four brothers - Billy, Mike, Donald and Eddie - as well as Billy Toyota. 

The hierarchy on the Hill was never really fixed, but the four …

Ep 6: Ascetics, Thieves, Foragers, Citizens – Part 2

May 25th, 2023


Nick and Gabriele continue to profile their neighbors on The Hill, highlighting Louie, Indian Jim, Ace, Juan, Sammy, and Lisa.  

Running partners Louie and Jim were the last of the “Bowery bums.” They had used the …

Ep 5: Ascetics, Thieves, Foragers, Citizens – Part 1

May 18th, 2023


Nick and Gabriele profile their neighbors on The Hill, beginning with Ali, Red, and “the Chinese man in the back,” aka the Geomancer. 

Ali was the “keeper of the wrench,” and opened the corner fire hydrant every morning …

Ep 4: The World Premiere of Fassbinder's Trash, the City and Death, Theater of Scandal

May 11th, 2023


Thieves Theatre’s final significant production before the #tipionthehill was the controversial R. W. Fassbinder play, “Trash, the City and Death.”

Seven productions of the play were attempted, including by Fassbinder …

Ep 3: The Marat/Sade, Theater as Asylum

May 4th, 2023


This episode highlights Thieves Theatre’s 1983/84 production “The Marat/Sade” in Toronto and how it crystalized the paratheater aesthetic that would …

Ep 2: Who are Nick and Gabriele?

April 27th, 2023


Trying to reckon with the tragic fallout from The Hill project, Nick and Gabriele contemplate the big picture, which includes their 42-year history together. They recount the series of personal biographical and …

Ep 1: The origin story of a historic tipi in New York City

April 20th, 2023


The opening episode of The Hill elucidates the driving force behind Thieves Theatre and, in particular, the inspiration for the tipi that graced the …

The Hill: A Thieves Theatre Podcast – Trailer

March 1st, 2023


The year 1990 marked the centenary of the Wounded Knee Massacre. In commemoration, Gabriele and Nick installed a replica of a Lakota tipi in the center of a Manhattan homeless encampment known as The Hill and moved in …

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