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ICEWOMAN (press here for video)

What do you love? Here are things I love and how I turned these loves into solo performances…
I love throwing Spaldeens at a chalked X on a brick wall.  This is what I grew up doing. — So, my first solo show was built around that core image/action of chalking an X on the wall of the theater and throwing not one but a succession of fifty Spaldeens over and over at the X over the course of the 30 minutes.  The show was called “Confessions of a Bronx Tomboy: My Throwing Arm This Useless Expertise” and premiered at Under One Roof Theater, and Manhattan Class Company Performance Mix in NYC. Directed by Victoria MacElwayne, with Live Sound Action by Eliza Ladd.

I love street cries from pushcart peddlers.  I love fish peddlers, and the wailing cries in Arabic and Napolitan. I love walking through the Bronx and listening inside myself to the imagined memory I have of the days when all the street peddlers were calling, hawking, squawking.  —- I became the pushcart peddler.  I wrote my own pushcart peddler cries. The melodies came to me by my process of phrasewalking.  I interviewed elders in The Mount Carmel Senior Center about cries they remembered from their youth.  I found some old wooden wheels and had my friend build me a pushcart.  I wheeled it around the Bronx, barefoot, and cried my pushcart chants up at the windows.  I named my character “Chimaroot” which is a dialect slang for fingers like ginger root, something my grandmother used to say. I brought these pushcart cries on stage in many shows and even a radio interview. One show was called “Rule 23” named after NYC mayor’s little known policy to outlaw hawking and squawking in the city streets. “Rule 23” played at Roulette, NYC for the UMAMI Festival of Food and Performance.  Street Cries From Around the World  (click here to listen to radio interview of Annie Lanzillotto by radio host Jean Feraca. Annie brings special guest Jacque Dupree)

I love big blocks of ice that are crystalline and weigh 300 pounds.  I love the way the ice cracks, the way the crack moves through the ice when I stab it with a pick.  I love the way light throbs through the ice.  I love that I can spin ice and spin the light through the ice onto the audience.  I love my naked skin on the ice, the way the ice melts and my skin freezes.  I love the history of the men ancestors in my family who all carried ice around the Bronx to the people’s iceboxes.  I love that I know the history of the Hudson River, that the river used to freeze up and be cut into chunks for people’s iceboxes.  — I prayed at the graves of my ancestors. I went to all the graves of all the icemen in my family.  I visited ice-houses.  I bought ice tools. I hunted for the most crystalline pristine clean ice.  I experimented with lights and with spinning the ice.  I brought the ice on stage and figured out what to do when it melted.  I learned how to carry ice.  I pushed my body to the limit with lifting and breaking ice.  I created the character ICEWOMAN.  To date, I think of this as my signature role, signature prop.  I am so connected to block ice.

I love sitting on the blue corner mailbox and hanging out.  I love banging the heels of my feet against the mailbox. I love that the mailbox was the site of New York City storytelling.  That’s where we hung out as kids.  I love the echo of my voice between two giant mailboxes when they are side by side.  —-  I chose the corner of Prince and Elizabeth Street where there’s a great mailbox, for me to sit on and regale my audience with stories, and then “host” the mailbox by having audience and passers-by get up there and tell their New York stories.  The first half of the solo show was in a theater, in Dixon Place, and act two was on the corner at the mailbox, on the mailbox.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE?  Gimme three things.  And write about it like I did here.  Gimme three paragraphs…

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