|Vin & Patricia V. Davis|
I was very honored that a former teacher, Patricia V. Davis
, author of "The Diva Doctrine"
& President of Harper Davis Publishers invited me to be a guest blogger & interviewer at "The Women's Power Strategy Conference."
My first thought was I wouldn't fit in... I'm a man
& a displaced New Yorker who blogs about nyc2suburbia
! Well I was wrong, not that I am a man
, but that I certainly did fit in. It was a day full of panels, presentations & vendors (oh yeah & a pretty darn good lunch). I thought I'd be the only man, but I wasn't. The goal of the event to "educate, inspire & believe in your own talent & potential"
was Universal. We all feel isolated, displaced or lost in one way or another at some point in our lives. We all struggle to fit in, find happiness, contentment & hopefully find ourselves in the process!
, one of the moderators & honorees, is a friendly, outgoing comedian who likes to call himself "a square peg in a round hole."
We got along right away, after all, remember I AM a displaced New Yorker living in Suburbia ~ so I asked Joe why he left the Midwest to live in San Francisco. He told me he moved with his family but would have left eventually, Suburbia wasn't his thing.
I was curious what's the difference between playing to an audience in a City
as compared to Suburbia.
Joe said that in the City he can be more aggressive, less "safe" with his material & express opinions more freely. Wow - my sentiments exactly!
He said San Francisco
PC & intelligent & that they usually take a beat or two to react to jokes ~ thinking whether or not it is PC to laugh. I find this so true whenever attending theatre in SF & now I know the reason!
My last question for Joe
was "is there a joke that can't loose anywhere... Suburbia OR the City?"
He looked at me with a perfectly straight face & said you always get laughs anywhere with dick jokes. He was right again ~ I cracked up. You can visit Joe
|Listening & Writing & Tweeting - Oh My!|
I was very interested in interviewing Niko Volonakis
, who is a very creative independent filmmaker, writer, actor & composer. Wow, talk about a Renaissance Man! What grabbed me most about Niko was his film titled "Hate Your City."
I related to this immediately since I am a displaced New Yorker & I write about how challenging it is for me "Surviving Suburbia".
I wouldn't say "I Hate Suburbia" but you can see the analogy & I try not to use the word hate. I hate that, don't you? I just hate when people hate. (Okay, I got a chuckle outta that!) Niko
was busy most of the day taking photos & multitasking, plus he was on a panel, so our time together was very limited. You can visit his site vimeo.com/nikovolonakis & check out his work.
Listening to Jennifer Gennari,
a writer & speaker, was very touching. She was promoting her book "My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer"
about bullying. She explained that bullying can stop by just stepping in & that we should all do our part. After all, who wasn't bullied as a kid? Remember how awful you felt? I certainly do!
I don't know how I survived it, but suicide never entered my mind! I was a "triple threat" when it came to bullying
... I was Fat
, I was Gay
& I disliked sports
! I know some of you may think "Oh, he can sing, dance & act!" (Sorry, I gotta keep myself amused!)
Jenn explained that you need to be assertive & stand up for yourself, but that being different can make you a target. We should all have the courage to be ourselves, "it's okay to be different." Brava Jen! Check out her site www.jengennari.com.
|Patricia V. Davis & Malissa Feruzzi Shriver|
The Keynote Speaker was Malissa Feruzzi Shriver
, who is a California Arts Council Chair
& Founder of Feruzzi Fine Art
. From the moment she started speaking I was impressed & felt a kinship. She shared many personal experiences that most of us have felt at one time or another ~ not being quite good enough, the need to please & the need to be loved for being ourselves. She always questioned what people were thinking of her & felt "outside of herself".
She was fat as a child & had eating disorders later in life. She was able to rid herself of her self doubt many years later. Malissa's advice was to "take risks & be brave, being brave pays off in life."
She suggests to do something everyday
that scares you.
I was amazed at how honest & open she was in telling her story. Her story is about being vulnerable & about her healing. She was inspiring to me & I felt like she was telling my story. Starting out as a fat kid with an Italian background, to becoming an artist/designer, to wanting to be loved/accepted & even now as I am still trying to "fit in" Suburbia. Oy, does it ever stop?
was also promoting a great program of The California Arts Council
which is a joint project with The Department of Motor Vehicles
called Art Plates (see photo) & was designed to solely benefit the Arts in schools. The website can be found at http://www.artsplate.org. Thank you, Malissa!
I met & spoke to many interesting & talented people at The Convention, too many to mention, but a special shout out to Evan Bailyn
, Vicki Larson
& Hyla Molander
. What a great group of people! And lest I forget, the very supportive Patricia V. Davis
whose site can found at www.patriciavdavis.com.
At the end of the day, even though I am a New Yorker, I was not displaced
& I fit in this Suburban Event. Being a Man at The Women's Power Strategy Conference
was just secondary... it was jam packed with Universal messages for all. Who knew???
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