June 4th, 2017
An aspiring and successful actor, Che is deeply immersed in the Rochester cultural scene. So much so, we’ve named him Che of The Town!
Exclusively for Talker, Che has solicited and is conducting interviews from about 80 Rochestarians working in a diversity of creative fields.
For the full series, see Che of The Town: Interviews
I went to private schools with a lot of white kids. Dutifully instructed: what to wear, how to present. Tie up, pants rolled, buttons fastened. Dress code enforced, humanity lost [in the shuffle of masculinity, u see]. Physical, mental, emotional violence. We forgive them for it.
A grey prison of imaginary trophies called grades that win college, a job, money, a wife, offspring [be fruitful and multiply, amirite?]. Send your kids to private school, become investment bankers or hedge fund managers or presidents.
jk jk, not for me.
The Wicked Witch of the West. Literally shows up in a ball of fire looking for a fight. That’s it, right there. The ultimate display of guts, showmanship. She isn’t taking shit from anyone. That’s me.
I don’t know what makes someone be an artist. I have to make things. Songs, stories, sounds, people, poetry. This desire is the exact opposite of what I understood formal schooling to be. It’s complete unbridled thought (some people say ‘creativity’). For many years I created in secret. In school, for example, I’d be told a character I was writing couldn’t speak a certain way because it wasn’t proper English, and my grade would be reduced. Developing my artistry has been me taking the uniform dress code off of my brain, and saying “go! run! fly! wherever!”.
Invention doesn’t happen if the mind doesn’t have the ultimate freedom to go anywhere it wants. We are all free.
I am told “no” probably every day in some form. In the ‘biz’, in saying hello on the subway, in pitching a project, there are a million daily “no’s”. I don’t take it personally. The whole world is waiting for each of us to show up and do our work. That piece of it, the art-MAKING piece, has nothing to do with one person’s “no”. It has everything to do with my “yes”, every day.
What do you believe sets you apart from other artists/entertainers?
I am not any other artist or entertainer, I am this one. No one is me, and I am nobody else. Social media encourages us to spend so much time thinking about what everybody else is doing, except ourselves.
Each of us is inherently unique because of our biology and social experience. So what is there to do besides show up and do the work? Claim ownership over it, and let other people determine what is original or special about it.
Do you have other interests or hobbies?
I meet strangers daily.
Also, I am actively learning astrology.
Any projects you have out or currently working on?
FARMED is a podcast-album of songs and interviews inspired by George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” It will be released digitally sometime this calendar year. A version made for the stage will appear at American Theatre Company in June, 2018.
Chasing Fear, a refugee musical based on an ancient Turkish folktale, is currently being developed with my collaborator Blake McCarty. To my knowledge, it will be the first musical in the music-theatre cannon written in both Turkish and English.
On a committee that reshapes the form and function of Broadway musicals. We have the largest stages in the world. What are we using them to say? Who has access to their message? I do not know if art can change the world, but it has certainly changed mine. Theatre-makers need to be going out of their way to reach audiences outside of their usual spheres. Whatever it takes. Nothing is more powerful than ideas, and we need great ideas immediately so that in five years we still have the opportunity to share them.
What advice can you give to aspiring artists/entertainers?
Show up, articulate a vision, and get really good.
How can we follow along in your journey? Social media?
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