My father is “white” (Italian) – I don’t know him and I don’t know any of his family. I grew up Puerto Rican and in my mind that’s what I am, through and through (though I got way whiter after joining the theater world). My mother would tell me “Don’t tell anyone you’re Puerto Rican.” And I’d say, why Ma, why? And she would explain that things would be easier for me. And in reality, things have been pretty darn good for me in my life, and I haven’t been the target of racism (though definitely some misogyny). When did I experience racism? Interestingly, I’d say it was NOW (and even this, indirectly). Now that Puerto Rico is in dire straits, and I’ve read comments on threads under stories and on twitter, where people sneer saying things like “Hispanics are always looking for a handout” and learning that apparently many people don’t know Puerto Rico is an American territory and its residents are citizens, and when I see that the president doesn’t care a whit about us American citizens or even pretends. This new experience has allowed me to, somewhat, “walk in the shoes” of a person who has actually experienced racism, and it’s awful and I want to cover those friends with 10,000 kisses.
This is my uncle Carmelo who lives in P.R. -I love and adore him:
Puerto Rico is in such deep trouble. I looked at so many pictures- mostly from San Juan, Humacao, Fajardo, Levittown, Catano. Flooding everywhere. It will be like New Orleans- but it’s an island in the middle of the ocean and the mold and the devastation… I am fearful. It is awful. I want to sweep in with a helicopter and save my uncles, aunts and cousins. The good news for the time being (2nd hand info received yesterday morning from my cousins, who spoke to people before… power went off)- is that my uncles Carmelo and Pepe are ok; Carmelo’s house sustained some damage but not too bad. Dali and Dorca are ok. I don’t know how Cuca is, or Somaya, or Victor, or Evelyn. In the aftermath of the bankruptcy so many of the promising young educated population moved to the U.S. and now it’s bad– the hospitals were so bad before; it’s going to be like a great big refugee camp there. If the Ice Bucket Challenge made a dent in Lou Gehrig’s disease, maybe we can make a difference, the millions of us, to help PR, DR, and Mex start to recover. GOD, so much giving we are doing (the resistance, Houston, ACLU…) but just a little more. Puerto Rico, te quiero y estoy rogando a Dios que nos ayude, nosotros pecadores, y salve la Tierra que esta tan danada y peleando para sobrevivir.
On September 19 the most destructive earthquake in decades shook Mexico City and claimed over 200 lives. On August 19 I landed at the Mexico City airport to do a job. Kenny was the P.A. assigned to take care of me and Gabe much of the time. Kenny was a wonderful production assistant, always friendly, happy, helpful (helping the 1st AD Mexico with the extras from time to time in addition to carrying around our umbrellas and chairs), productive and always at-the-ready. I’m thinking about Kenny and wonder how he fared.
The Mexican crew were unfailingly cheerful and up to the task of standing/running around under the sun for 12 hours. I recall that delightful 1st AD Javier, who spent three days yelling directions to the extras through a bullhorn, until by the end of the 3rd day he sounded like Tom Waits and was on the verge of almost completely losing his voice. I wonder how he fared. I wonder how Charlie, that delightful, handsome make-up artist, fared.
I was incredibly impressed with how tough and hardworking the Mexican extras were — working all the livelong day for the equivalent of 64/8 I’m sure, with a smile. I am sad for Mexico City and their horrible travails.
In the meantime I keep wondering what will happen to Puerto Rico and my myriads of cousins and uncles/aunts/uncles and aunts-in-law etc. I found out my dear uncles Pepe and Carmelo did ok – they and their wives are safe (though Carmelo’s house sustained some damage).
Let’s pray for our fellow humans during these terrible weather catastrophes.
The latest is that I’ve been working for many days on a film — 2 days in Mexico and several days here in Atlanta. Here’s a picture of Louie, the costume truck poodle — he’s as chill and as awesome and cute as can be. I played a grandmother, and my grandson was Gabriel Silva. Gabe’s mom Tiffany Silva was like a fairy godmother. She made all of us on set feel all right! THANKS TIFFANY!
If you scroll down a bit, there I am, with the other Nicks, go-go dancing at Danceteria. We went to NY ca. 1982 to perform a comedy review that we called Anarchy in High Heels. We had a giant pink high heeled setpiece. It was very very FEMINIST I’m telling you. Me (2d row L in black wig and Daisy Mae outfit), and Monica (in this picture in the upper R in a checked romper) also were go-go girls in cages for a performance by the Zazu Pitts Memorial Orchestra during that NY trip. I had a crush on the saxophone player.
I got some new pictures– important for the casting directors. Shout out to Ted Westby – he is a pretty great, experienced and innovative picture taker. And he has amazing special deals. Check him out on niceshotted.com — the one below has not yet been retouched. Btw — just learned I booked a movie; which involves international travel for a couple of days. Not too shabby, woot.