Years ago I saw my friend Juan Villa perform his one-man show. He's a good friend and a great artist and I was blown away by what he had done. After the show he came up to me and asked, "When are you going to do your show." He knew that I had a story to tell. Years earlier he knew I had dipped my toes into doing a solo show. I had been encouraged and taught by Jen Nails and Ali Reza Farahnakian.
Juan convicted me.
A funny phrase kept popping into my head "Everybody wants to be Italian Except Me." I thought it was funny and silly and wrong-- the perfect title for my show.
I started working one-on-one with April Yvette Thompson, another great artist, who pulled more out of me in one two-hour session than I had done in months on my own. I workshopped my stories at Desiree Mitton's family dinner table. I talked about it with Vicky Modica, Maria Rust, Aubrey Roemer, Johan Botma, and Brian Marshall and Cynthia Bastidas and Marcelino Feliciano. I even told Kevin Kline about it (he seemed interested).
I wrote and wrote and then Alex Mahgoub set me up with a workshop in Brooklyn.(Where he had workshopped his own very funny, poignant solo show) It went well and Joëlle Fontana, David Levy-Horton, Ander del Rioand Mike Higbee were there. It was raw and funny and sad. And then nothing. I was too close to it. The stories were still too painful.
Those stories have sat in a box in my living room for 4 years. And I'm a different person now. I can laugh at the things that used to make me cry. And I feel like God is telling me to take a Leap of Faith.
Well, I'm ready now. I'm ready to go back into that box and tell that story. Maybe it's a mistake to make a public declaration, but I'm not afraid of embarrassing myself.
So here goes.
I'm putting on a show in the near future. It's called "Everybody Wants to be Italian Except Me." Below is the poster. Details will be forthcoming. See you there.