4-the-geeze-logo-b-g

Rag Lady Productions Announces World Premiere of ‘The Geeze & Me’- March 31 – April 29, 2017

Original Musical Brings Humor

to the Truth about Aging…

 

WE GET HAPPIER

with the World Premiere of

THE GEEZE & ME

March 31 – April 29, 2017

Tenth Avenue Arts Center, San Diego

TICKET LINK

What if there was a musical – simultaneously serious and hilarious, that explores the wild ride of life’s later years, addressing the good, the bad and the ugly of aging? Rag Lady Productions’ THE GEEZE & Me is a musical production about the aging process, upsides and down. The World Premiere of THE GEEZE & ME will be presented in San Diego, March 31 – April 29 at the Tenth Avenue Arts Center.

THE GEEZE & ME Production/Creative Team includes: Original Music/Lyrics by Hedges Capers and Book written by Hedges Capers and Nancy Locke Capers. Produced and Directed by Nancy Locke Capers. Musical Direction by Will (B.J.) Robinson,  Choreography by Joanne Lovejoy,  Sound & Video by Joe Huppert,  Costume Design by Max Cadillac, Lighting Design by Cynthia Bloodgood, Script Consultants Dilip Jeste, M.D., and Danielle K. Glorioso, L.C.S.W., in consultation with UCSD Center for Healthy Aging,  PR/Media/Press by Susan J. Farese, SJF Communications,  Casting by Samuel Warren & Associates, ‘Invisible People’ portrait by Artist Neil Shigley with Brendan Hill as Assistant Director and Beonica Bullard as Stage Manager.

THE GEEZE & ME is a funny, irreverent, and poignant show about surviving aging. This timely show features a comedic troupe of eccentric players who team up to wrangle aspects of aging from an expert. An eclectic blend of songs ranging from pop to blues to corner street doo-wop, accompanied by electric choreography and state of the art projections. The perils and benefits of growing older are reflected in the concerns of this diverse group of people. Think “Hair,” after it’s gone…THIS IS THE DAWNING OF THE AGE OF BEWARE OF US! 

THE GEEZE & ME Promo Video

Meet The GEEZE & ME Creative Team

Hedges Capers & Nancy Locke Capers

HEDGES CAPERS – (Music/Lyrics and Book; Playing David, Soap-boxer and Beat Poet)  Capitol Records recording artist, singer/songwriter with 8 albums as Hedge & Donna in the late 60’s, early 70’s. A&M staff songwriter. Actor- Title role in The Legend of Hillbilly John. Hundreds of clubs and concerts internationally including Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, Greek Theatre, National Arts Center. Every television variety show of the late 60’s (Smothers Brothers, Mike Douglas, the Tonight Show and more.)  He later became a Marriage and Family Clinical Counselor, a behavioral consultant and patent holder in the corporate sphere.

Quote from Hedges Capers: “Have you ever done what you wanted in life? If you have, hats off to you. If not, best get busy…living the gift.”- Hedges Capers

NANCY LOCKE CAPERS (Producer, Director, Co-wrote Book) a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, SAG, CAMFT.  After 25 years in the film industry as an actress in film (Pretty Woman & 23 film projects), TV, commercials, and theater, as well as theatre producer & director, screenwriter (having one co-written script produced by an independent film company and another bought by Paramount Studios and in development for 2 years.)  Capers returned to school and passed the boards to become a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in La Jolla for almost two decades.   She also worked as a behavioral consultant in the corporate sphere, both domestically and abroad.

Quote from Nancy Locke Capers: “We both have performing, script writing, show biz backgrounds, so it’s a delight to be able to create a meaningful/hilarious project about aging which we’re both experiencing.  Can’t wait to open the show!”- Nancy Capers

Meet THE GEEZE & ME Creative Team/Crew

 

WILL (BJ) ROBINSON (Musical Director) is a musician, educator, composer, director, and performer, BJ has worked with the vocal dept. of Southwestern College since 2009; is host of KPBS Spectrum (airing every Saturday at 5:30PM), a program about arts and culture in San Diego; serves as baritone soloist at All Saints Episcopal Church in Hillcrest since 2010 and as an instructor/music director for J*Company Youth Theater since 2012. Composed original scores for San Diego-based short films (Mustang Love, The Fad and Furriest: A Documentary) with Cane Toad Productions, starred in short film Meetchu In Machu Picchu: A Musical Journey, by Larry Zieger. The voice of a character in the soundtrack to Dinner for God, a novel & CD by Rayme Sciaroni. In addition to having a private vocal studio, BJ is a vocal instructor at Francis Parker School and a frequent guest performer with the music ministry at the University of San Diego.

JOANNE LOVEJOY (Choreographer) Dancer, teacher, choreographer. As a teen Joanne performed along side the Bright Side Singers in Bob Hope’s USO shows in California; singer and dancer for Cabaret Review” produced by On The Town Productions, numerous productions with the Rhythm-Aire Players, including Rhythm is our Business and Final Encore. She choreographed Annie and Little Shop of Horrors at the Lyceum. For the past twelve years she has been on the teaching staff at several local dance studios including S.D. Danceworks and Culture Shock Dance Center. Please see more at: https://www.metrodancesd.com/joanne-lovejoy/.

JOE HUPPERT (Sound and Video Designer) Previously at San Diego Repertory Theater, The Oldest Boy (Craig Noel Award). Other local video designs include This Wonderful Life for North Coast Rep, Glengarry Glen Ross for La Jolla Playhouse and The Elephant Man with Backyard Renaissance. As sound designer, shows include Blueprints to Freedom, Peter and the Starcatchers (La Jolla Playhouse); Scott Joplin, Extraordinary Chambers, Yellow Face, Stick Fly, Kita Y Fernanda, 26 Miles (Mo’Olelo); Urinetown, Over the Tavern, King O’ The Moon (Mercury Theater); Mr. Burns (UCSD).

MAX CADILLAC (Costume Designer) Working on such an exciting new show brings Max the greatest joy. He recently finished costuming for 9 to 5: The Musical at San Diego Musical Theatre (SDMT) as well as their holiday classic White Christmas. Working closely with Janet Pitcher, he has also costumed My Fair Lady at The Welk Resort, and looks forward to continue working with Janet. Max loves all aspects of costuming and fashion, including recently modeling for San Diego Opera.  Performing throughout his home town of San Diego at Cygnet, SDMT, Moonlight, and The Welk Resort, Max is thrilled to play Lillias Pastia in San Diego Opera’s upcoming The Tragedy of Carmen, March 10-12. BFA, Musical Theatre (AMDA). A big OLD thank you to the cast and crew, his incredible geezer parents, and of course Susan Farese for making this happen.

CYNTHIA BLOODGOOD (Lighting Designer) Freelance Designer and Technician, Technical Theatre Teacher at La Jolla Country Day School, Technical Director San Diego Junior Theatre. BA from BYU, 1999.

DILIP JESTE, M.D. (Script Consultant) is a geriatric neuropsychiatrist, who specializes in successful aging, neurobiology of wisdom as well as schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders in older adults. He is the Senior Associate Dean for Healthy Aging and Senior Care at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and Director, UC San Diego Center for Healthy Aging, Estelle and Edgar Levi Chair in Aging, and Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry & Neurosciences in consultation with UCSD Center for Healthy Aging. Watch his excellent TED Talk: http://tedmed.com/talks/show?id=526815Quote from Dilip Jeste: “It’s wonderful to see our Research turned into art.”- Dilip Jeste, M.D.

DANIELLE K. GLORIOSO (Script Consultant) is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has been a member of the UC San Diego Division of Geriatric Psychiatry since 2001. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the UC San Diego Center for Healthy Aging and the Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging.

SUSAN J. FARESE (PR, Media/Press) Owner, SJF Communications in San Diego. RN, MSN, SAG-AFTRA. Provides personalized Marketing/PR/Social Media/Writing/Photography/Video Services /Coaching/Legal Nurse Consulting.  www.sjfcommunications.com

SAMUEL WARREN (Casting) Samuel Warren International Casting Services Member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, a Casting Society of America Member and affiliated with the Better Business Bureau http://www.samuelwarren.com/

NEIL SHIGLEY (Artist) Fox television story on Neil’s portrait of a homeless man won a 2013 Emmy. His most recent work consists of large-scale portraits of homeless people near his studio in San Diego. His work has been exhibited internationally. We are honored that he will be doing a portrait of our Homeless woman which will be on display in theatre lobby. http://neilshigley.com/

BRENDAN A. HILL (Assistant Director) BFA in Dramatic Writing from Purchase College, SUNY. Company Manager at Food for Thought Productions/Cause Celebre for 6 yrs., plays produced at Ensemble Studio Theatre, NYC, semi-finalist for the O’Neill Natl. Playwrights Conference and Clubbed Thumb’s Biennial Commission. Three plays produced in Paris. Eight years in NYC theatre community receiving readings, workshops and small productions from 2012 – 2016. 

BEONICA BULLARD (Stage Manager) is completing her BFA at San Diego State University in General Theater. As a stage manager, she has worked with the SDSU School of Theater, Television, and Film on shows such as Julius Caesar, Into The Woods and The BFG. Also worked with Intrepid Shakespeare Company, Quality of Life, Comic-Con and the Plays By Young Writers Festival 2015 & 2016. 

Meet THE GEEZE & ME Cast

THE GEEZE & ME CAST

DEVLIN  (KAY) Recently appearing in Sunday in the Park with George after years of extensive stage work and cabaret/concerts. Appeared in Into the WoodsFrankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune, Women Behind BarsA Christmas Carol, and The Devlin Show. Devlin will be performing in The Spitfire Grill at North Coast Repertory Theatre in May, 2017. For morehttp://www.ma4sd.com/service/devlin/.

HEDGES CAPERS  (DAVID, SOAPBOXER and BEAT POET)  formerly of Hedge & Donna  in the late 60s, Hedges performed in Carnegie Hall, the Greek Theatre, Hollywood Bowl, on the Smothers Brothers Show and many others.  Starring in The Legend of Hillbilly John, he returns to the stage as co-author of the book and writer of all music and lyrics.

KENT BRISBY (BOB) Kent focuses mainly on original work, appearing in 2015 in The Pitch starring Paul Rodriguez and the upcoming Three Kings/Tres Reyes this holiday season. Toured nationally, appeared on more than a dozen local stages as an actor. As a playwright and director he has many more local credits, including projects at the Old Globe and San Diego Zoo. He currently serves as Artistic Director for Asian Story Theater, as well as Radio Theater for KPBS, AirStage and Radio Lunch. (Just down the street he is a co-author and director of a new play Halo-Halo at the Lyceum Space through April 9. Bring your GEEZE & ME ticket stub for discount admission).  KLBrisby.com.

BYRON LaDUE (HOWARD) Byron LaDue is a veteran performer at many San Diego area theatres, including recent productions as Paul Gauguin in Prick (San Diego Fringe Festival), Gauguin in The Musical Paul Gauguin (Asian Story Theatre), and Willum in The Nerd, (Coronado Playhouse). Byron also has notable credits at The Old Globe Theatre, San Diego Rep,  and the former Starlight Theatre, Gaslamp Quarter Theatre, Hahn Cosmopolitan Theatre and Marquis Theatre. Byron has a BA in Drama from San Diego State University.  Extensive improv experience. Winner of the Best Actor Atlas Award as Big Harp in Robber Bridegroom and Winner, Comedy Festival  as Duke Ladoo in The Piparoos Live at the Globe

GABRIELA NELSON  (SHERRY)  Considerable stage, screen and recording artist who has worked nationally and internationally. She’s a former 80’s icon (NBC TV series regular of KIDD VIDEO). Recent San Diego appearances include SD Rep, 10th Ave Arts, La Jolla Playhouse, Black Box Theatre, The Horton Grand and Spreckels. Gabby also writes for the Latin Performing Arts Community. 

JESSE MacKINNON (DWIGHT)  Jesse is the recipient of the San Diego Critics Circle Craig Noel Award and The San Diego Playbill Award for Outstanding Performance in a Drama as Eddie Carbone in A View From The Bridge (Renaissance Theater). Other regional credits include: Jules in Sunday in the Park With George (ION Theatre); Roy Cohn in Angels In America (ION Theatre); Henry Peabody in Tobacco Road (La Jolla Playhouse); MacDuff in MacBeth (Intrepid Shakespeare); Polymester in Hecuba, (6th@Penn), Renee Gallimard in M. Butterfly (Diversionary); Horace Vandergelder Hello Dolly (Lambs Players); Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol (North Coast Rep); Henri Fontannes The Magic Fire (Moonlight at the Avo); Pharoah in Aida (Starlight); Emil De Becq in South Pacific (Lambs Players); Pop in Pajama Game (Starlight); Pat Denning in 42ndStreet (Welk Theatre) and Major Ed Lansdale Dooley at Diversionary Theatre.

LORRAINE DEVON WILKE (HELEN) Writer, photographer, singer/songwriter, actress – a true “Renaissance woman” who brings the sum total of her eclectic career to everything she does, whether indie films (To Cross the Rubicon), original music Somewhere On the Way  or her Huffington Post Column. Most recently she’s put her energies into fiction: her debut novel, After The Sucker Punch, and short story, “She Tumbled Down,” were 2014 publishing successes; 2015 saw the launch of her latest novel, Hysterical Love, and her current book, A Nice White Girl, is hoping for a 2017 release. Details and info can be found http://www.Lorrainedevonwilke.com

LOLLY BOROFF (MRS. DINGLER)  Actress/writer/director, Lolly is the daughter of the late George Boroff of The Circle Theatre, and niece of Academy Award winning actress Shelley Winters. Her acting credits include the original Broadway cast of The Effect Of Gamma Rays On Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds, films Blue Thunder and Star 80, and TV’s I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant1000 Ways To Die, and America’s Court With Judge Ross; has appeared on stage in All My SonsThe Dixie Swim Club and The Vagina Monologuesrecently directed A Long Way To Midnight, at the Lyceum Theatre. Wrote, directed and produced her first film, Think Tank. She has appeared in several commercials, and loves performing improv and stand-up.

SUSAN BENNINGHOFF  (MIRANDA) Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Susan is currently director of the legendary San Diego Playwrights development group, Scripteasers  as well as musical and stage work including the Phoenix Performing Arts Center.

KIERA MERSKY (BOBBI & MARGO) Having worked in live shows (Universal Studios), theatre productions as a dancer and actress and in commercials, Kiera received her B.F.A. in Dance Performance from Temple University.

LAUREN PRESKI (MARGRET) Natl. Assn of Singing Teachers – 2nd place, NC, Back to the 80sMoronga Casino, Last Chance Romance, Property of the Dallas Cowboys, Don Giovanni, Legoland – live shows, Six Flags, America – Wonder Woman.

ERIN VANDERHYDE (HOMELESS) Presently at San Diego State University (SDSU) Erin is pursuing her Bachelors of Arts Degree in General Theatre. Entertainer at Legoland. Theatre: Jesus Christ Superstar, The Drowsy Chaperone, Dr. Faustus Lights the Lights (SDSU), Hairspray, Godspell, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Legally Blonde, Footloose and Ragtime at Young Actors Theatre (YAT). Associates Degree in Music, Grossmont College.

SUSIE SINGER CARTER (SCIENCE & GINGER) As well as an acting history, Sue has also had success as a writer and is a talented singer as well. Also playing Ginger, here’s more about Sue:   http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0802053/ Sue has recently completed shooting a short film she wrote and directed, My Mom and The Girl, with Valerie Harper and Liz Torres.

SCOTTY BILLION (UNDERTAKER) Scott became involved in music at a young age.  He sings vocals in Madman SD, a cover band for Ozzy Osborne.  He is making his acting debut in The Geeze & Me.

TICKET LINK

THE GEEZE & ME Video Promo 

THE GEEZE & ME is thrilled to give back! Over 50 % of proceeds from ticket sales of THE GEEZE & ME will be donated to the following charities: Path, A New PathThe Unbattle Project and  The Center LGBT Senior Services as well as the UCSD Center for Healthy Aging

What audience patrons of THE GEEZE & ME staged readings are saying:

“So life-affirming. Even just seeing a reading was fantastic. Look forward to seeing it mounted!”

“…the story, writing, and music are stunning.”

“…intimate dialectic you achieved between characters/story/music is amazing. So well done!  Really smart.”

“…your inclusion of socio-scientific-political realities re: aging and society are never forced, always brief, and work. This is very hard to do. But you did it.”

“I’m in awe of the music/lyrics…”

Methusalah said, “It’s the best musical I’ve seen in 800 years!”

TICKET LINK

General Admission tickets are $30: http://www.sdartstix.com/the-geeze-and-me/ or http://www.thegeezeandme.com. For Group Discount rate ($20 for 10 or more) contact thegeezeandme@yahoo.com or call 858-232-9696. 

SCHEDULE: Previews/Pay what you can with a cast talkback following the preview performances March 29 & 30th. Performances: March 31 – April 29, Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday matinees  at 2:00 p.m. 

LOCATION: The Tenth Avenue Arts Center, 930 10th Ave, San Diego 92101

For press info, interviews, photos or press comps, please contact: Susan J. Farese,

SJF Communications: 408-398-5940 sjfcommunications@gmail.com or thegeezeandme@yahoo.com.  LIKE The Geeze & Me on Facebook; FOLLOW The Geeze & Me on TWITTER,  FOLLOW The Geeze & Me on Instagram

Feel free to subscribe, like, comment, & share!

 

slosarik.family

Extraordinary People Sharing Their Stories: Sharon Slosarik, Fierce Pink Warrior

Courtesy Photo Sharon Slosarik
Sharon Slosarik Before the 2014 Susan G. Komen Pink Tie Ball in Northern NJ

Extraordinary People Sharing Their Stories:

Sharon Slosarik, Fierce Pink Warrior 

By

Susan J. Farese, SJF Communications

In honor of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I’d like to introduce you to an inspiring, extraordinary person and true pink warrior, Sharon Slosarik, who is living life to the absolute fullest with Stage 4 Breast Cancer since 2006. That’s right, 8 years at Stage 4!!!! Sharon and I are “pseudo-cousins” and 2nd generation members of the very special one-of-a-kind “B-Cliff Club“, courtesy of our fathers and dear to our hearts. Little did they know what an impact the B-Cliff has had on our lives!

Much more about Sharon and her fierceness soon, but first a little history on the the B-Cliff Club (as you might be wondering about the name and how it came about)!

Tidbits About the B-Cliff Club

Sharon’s Dad Johnny (who sadly passed away in 2010) and my Dad Frank, along with 4 other grammar school buddies, Joe (Frank’s cousin), Steve, Paul and Vic, became lifelong friends in Passaic, New Jersey during the 1940’s and have continued through high school and life.

During the mid to late 1950’s…the six guys were courting and ultimately getting married to their sweethearts. They formed the very unique “B-Cliff Club”…each letter standing for the initial of their Italian last names. Sharon’s Dad Johnny provided the only vowel, the  “i” in the group.

Each month or so, the young couples would gather at one of their homes. The guys would play cards, the ladies would chat about this or that.  They’d all share conversations, listen to the music of the time, laugh a lot, enjoy food and light libations, etc. Twice a year they would host in some way or another.

The B-Cliff meetings continued over the years as each of the couples became parents, their kids endured K-12 and college, marriages, grandchildren and issues in-between etc. and we all became “cousins” by default! The families celebrated priceless friendships at Italian feasts, dude ranches, Great Adventure and other fun spots throughout the years. To this day, the B-Cliff Club meets every few months, despite miles between them the furthest living in Georgia, and some in Northern NJ and several in Southern NJ.

Sharon’s Story…Life Before Her Diagnosis

Now all about Sharon…She was born in 1967 to Uncle Johnny and “Irish” Aunt Connie and grew up with her older sister Dawn (who is 4 years older than Sharon) in NJ. She  graduated from Lenape Valley Regional  High School in Stanhope, NJ and obtained her degree in English Writing and Communications at the University of Pittsburgh in 1989. After college Sharon worked for Dun & Bradstreet as a National Business Consultant and Risk Evaluation Consultant and then as Administrative Assistant to the Head of Dermatology at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY.

The Ingrassia Family: Johnny, Dawn, Sharon and Connie, celebrating Johnny's 75th birthday in 2010. Sadly, he passed away October, 2010.
The Ingrassia Family: Johnny, Dawn, Sharon and Connie, celebrating Johnny’s 75th birthday in 2010. Sadly, he passed away October, 2010.

 

Just Kids
Blast from the Past: Sharon with Her Older Sister Dawn

 

Sharon and her future husband John had known the same friends since 8th grade but had never met. It was one infamous evening, however after she graduated from college, when Sharon was “stood-up” on a date with another boy, that hit the icing on the cake. Sharon’s fierceness surfaced when she encountered that “stander upper” at the establishment John was working at. After telling him a thing or two…she boldly poured a beer over the guy! Incidentally they remain friends to this day (but John lucked out)!

One late night in NYC Sharon and her friend went to a comedy club. There she was, in ’90’s attire, including stiletto heels, her “jersey hair”, & “lots of makeup”. After the club, in the wee small hours of the morning,  Sharon and her girlfriend went to a park because Sharon wanted to go on the swings. They had a heart to heart chat about what they were looking for in their future husbands. Sharon spouted off many of the qualities she was looking for..and her friend blurted out: JOHN! He is your ideal husband!

Needless to say, it took a little bit longer, but Sharon and John were happily married on 9.4.94. (fast forward…this year celebrated their 20th anniversary)!

After multiple attempts to conceive, they decided to try In Vitro. Their beautiful daughter Jennie, now 16, a Junior in high school, and a pink warrior-ette too, was born in 1998. More on Jennie later!

Slosarik Family Portrait
The Slosarik Family Portrait: Standing: John, Left to right: Jennie and Sharon

The events of September 11, 2001 strongly affected Sharon, as she lost several friends who either worked in the Twin Towers or were first responders who helped in the recovery of victims. After 9/11, she was compelled to make a drastic change. Sharon took a huge pay cut, took classes and embarked on her new career as a credentialed teacher. She has been teaching 9th and 10th grade English ever since (with gaps for medical reasons) at inner-city Passaic High School, the alma mater of the B-Cliff guys. She also is active as a class advisor. Additionally she serves as a tutor and chaperone for the New Jersey R.O.T.C. (Navy) as well as an advisor for the National Honor Society.

The First Diagnosis & Treatment

Fast forward to May, 2003, when Jennie was almost 5 years old. Sharon and John had gone to the rain delayed Yankees vs. Boston game in the Bronx that Wednesday evening.  Late that night when they finally got home from the game, John was taking a shower after his then split-shift at work, with Sharon sitting on their bed. Sharon felt some “itchiness” in the area on her chest. She rubbed the itchy area and sadly discovered a lump on her breast. That was the beginning. They both shed the beginning of many tears. The next morning they rushed to Sharon’s OB/GYN, who ordered an urgent mammogram that afternoon followed by an ultrasound the next day after work. Once the pre-op labs and workup was completed Sharon had a lumpectomy the following Tuesday, which was standard practice at the time. The diagnosis was stage 3 invasive ductal carcinoma an estrogen aggressive type of breast cancer which was bulging the lymph ducts. It was an omen that the ducts didn’t burst for fear of spreading. Five lymph nodes were positive.  The decision to have the lumpectomy was because at the time, she was told that chemo, radiation and lumpectomy had the same success cure rate within  5%. The surgeon removed 5-6 nodes were biopsied.

In December 2003, Sharon experienced nine rounds of chemotherapy and 36 doses of radiation. Sharon lost her hair from the chemo and had other side effects. The radiation caused 2nd and 3rd degree burns, which required “Silvadene with gauze, tank tops, and big shirts” to go along with the pain and nausea.

BRCA-1 Gene Positive

A few years passed. Then, in 2006, Sharon found out that she was BRCA-1 gene positive.  Of note is that her paternal grandmother and all of her grandmother’s sisters as well as all of her paternal grandfather’s sisters  had breast cancer and several paternal relatives had colon cancer. She was the 4th generation to have breast cancer. Sharon’s sister Dawn has tested negative. Jennie will be tested at age 18.

Sharon’s Cancer Returns…This Time Stage 4

Once she found out that she was BRCA-1 positive, she decided to have an elective bilateral mastectomy as a precaution. While having her preop workup with labs and tests, it was discovered “accidentally” that her breast cancer had unfortunately returned. Despite her earlier Stage 3 breast cancer and treatment regimen of her lumpectomy, chemo and radiation, this time, her cancer was classified as Stage 4.  Additionally, it metastasized to her lung, slightly on one of her ovaries as well as one of her fallopian tubes. Even with her physician’s reluctance, Sharon fought hard and ultimately had a bilateral mastectomy, removal of her ovary and had 4 inches of her lung resected.

The Surgery and Aftermath

After a terrible encounter in 2006 with her Oncologist  who “didn’t want to treat her due to the fact that she was going to die from stage 4 breast cancer”, Sharon waited a year and found a wonderful new Oncologist and team. She was advised not to have new implants. In 2009, Sharon underwent and endured a 14 hour trans-flap reconstruction comprised of 6 or 7 procedures from a team of physicians. She had an enormous amount of postoperative pain which persisted for months.

In  2011 Sharon’s Physician started her on a new med, Zometa, twice a year.  Zometa is an intravenous medication which treats bone problems from cancer. She suffers from difficult side effects from this treatment, including ongoing neuropathy.

Sharon sees her Gynecologist, Oncologist and Primary Physician regularly. She had scans every three months for awhile, then every 6 months. After celebrating 5 years at stage 4, since nuclear scans can lead to toxins she now has them every 18 months to two years.

Sharon’s Warrior Spirit and Community Involvement

slosarik.sharonjohnfinishing                               slosarik.collagepink                      slosarik.victorypink

Interview Q & A with Sharon

SF: Please share your involvement with Breast Cancer awareness in the community:

Sharon: My sister Dawn first saw a commercial for the Susan G. Komen walk in 2002 when I was undergoing my chemo and radiation treatment. The day I completed my treatment I registered both of us (without telling her) to walk 60 miles.  Dawn and I first walked in 2003. During 2006-2007 I was having extensive surgery. In 2008, my husband John walked for me for the first time. I was supporting cheering him and others from the sidelines, since I wasn’t cleared to walk yet. John has walked for me alone from 2008-2011. http://www.the3day.org/site/TR/2014/PhiladelphiaEvent2014?px=3672255&pg=personal&fr_id=1863. I’m so proud to say that we have walked together since 2012!

 

3Day Walk

Sharon and Dawn at the 2013 Philadelphia 3 Day Walk “PIt Stop”!

A Message from Sharon’s Sister, Dawn

It’s funny to think that when we were kids, Sharon and I couldn’t be in the same room together without trying to kill each other because now she is my best friend and I can’t imagine not having her in my life.  That’s why her diagnosis hit me so hard.  Your little sister is facing this nightmare and you can’t do anything to stop it.  You just feel so helpless.  Then I saw the commercial for the 3-Day and told Sharon about it.  I thought it would be a great way to do something together to try and make a difference, but she was in the middle of her chemo treatments.  Well apparently she thought it was a good idea too because when her treatments were done, she signed us both up and the rest as they say is history.  She and I did two walks together before her 2nd diagnosis.  We took time off from walking while Sharon began the 2nd round of her battle.  Now the 3-Day is a real family affair.  John, Jennie, Sharon and I walk and my mom and aunt volunteer as support staff.  We have also become part of an even bigger “Pink Family” through the friendships we have formed participating in the walk.  Our “pink peeps” as we call them are the most loving and generous people I have ever met.  Their dedication to ending this disease warms my heart and I know that because of them, Sharon lives to fight another day.  She charges forward with no hesitation to face every challenge that this disease throws at her.  She never complains, never slows down, she just stares cancer right in the face and tells it to kiss her ass.  I am so proud to call Sharon my sister.  She is a true Pink Warrior.  She is my hero and I love her very much!

Sharon, Her Sister Dawn and Mom Connie

slosarik.sharon.dawn.connie
Sharon, Her Sister dawn and Mom Connie

I was finally cleared and have walked in 2012, 2013 and 2014. I was one of five women to give a speech in 2013 in Philadelphia. After a three step preparation process, I became an affiliate of the North Jersey Susan G. Komen. I speak as a survivor, spread awareness and provide ongoing support. http://www.the3day.org/site/TR/2014/PhiladelphiaEvent2014?px=1226262&pg=personal&fr_id=1863 and…

if  you would like to support Sharon you can donate to her fight to find a cure and read more about her story at http://www.the3day.org/goto/sharonslosarik

Sharon’s 2013 Philadelphia 3 Day Camp Speech:

. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aysbLFLlkI

My daughter Jennie contacted Komen after she wrote and gave a speech. Jennie has now walked and crewed and has done an enormous amount of fundraising to support the fight against breast cancer. http://www.the3day.org/site/TR/2014/PhiladelphiaEvent2014?px=6946592&pg=personal&fr_id=1863

 

slosarik.john.sharon.jennie

I am also active in the Pennsylvania Chapter of Breast Friends, an organization that provides support for breast and ovarian cancer to those who otherwise don’t have support.   http://www.breastfriends.org/  and http://www.breastfriends.org/breast-cancer-charity/affiliates/pennsylvania/.

My Mom Connie and my sister Dawn also continually support me in my community involvement. Here are Dawn’s pages from her walks: 2014: http://www.the3day.org/site/TR/2014/PhiladelphiaEvent2014?px=4183023&pg=personal&fr_id=1863 and 2015: http://www.the3day.org/site/TR/2014/PhiladelphiaEvent2015?px=4183023&pg=personal&fr_id=1934

SF: Did you ever have “really bad days”?

Sharon: Yes, I remember three of them in particular. The three hardest days were definitely the day I lost my hair, the day I realized my daughter “gets it” and the day I had a doctor give up on me.

The hair day was really difficult because nobody really warns you. It is not a gradual thing it comes out in clumps and it hurts and it is horrible. I remember sitting there just pulling it out by the handful and I looked like that ratty doll from rug rats. My husband John said “That’s enough” and finally just buzzed it. Jennie was so sweet she was only 4, but she said “Don’t worry Mommy, you are beautiful on the inside so your hair doesn’t matter.” Oy that kid kills me but in a good way! John of course was already bald but a dear friend shaved his head for me and showed up at the Yankee game that night bald. He said, “Baby, it’s only hair… yours will grow back and so will mine.” I was speechless.

The next bad day was when Jennie was about 6. A friend from work had a heart attack and passed and I was getting ready to attend his wake. She looked at me and said, “What kind of cancer did your friend die from Mommy?” I said, “No baby, he had a problem with his heart.” Jennie replied, “Oh, he had cancer in his heart and that’s why he died.” In that moment I knew that she understood that what mommy had killed people and I cried the whole way to the wake. It’s one thing to know it yourself, it’s another to have your child know it. That part really hurts, she never remembers a time that mommy wasn’t sick, but at the same time it has given her such strength and compassion.

My other really bad day was when my physician  told me she didn’t want to treat me because I had Stage 4 and was going to die so why would she waste her time on me. I left her office and wandered for blocks in NYC finding myself at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I sat down and lost it. Sobbing uncontrollably. A security guard got a priest but I was so upset I couldn’t even breathe or speak. They hit redial on my phone and luckily I had spoken to a friend who was an FDNY chief on the way into the city. He came lights and sirens to pick me up parked on the sidewalk, drove me to the nearest bar and lined up shots of Jameson’s I threw back a few, told him what happened, he did one himself and asked me her name. I did another and began to laugh. I knew if I gave up her name he was going to hurt her so I refused!

SF: Tell us about the IV pole story…

Sharon:  When the cancer metastasized my poor husband was so upset. We hadn’t expected it but I pushed the doctor to biopsy “the probably nothing spot” on my lung, and what was supposed to be a “quick” procedure ended up a 4 inch lung resection with a chest tube. I was in the recovery room and John walked in and started to tear up. I looked at him and said, “Knock that off now, before I shove this IV pole up your *****, we beat it before we will beat it again.” The nurse looked at me and her mouth dropped, she asked, “Did you just threaten to shove that pole up that very large man’s ***?” I said , “yes I did and I will do the same to you if you don’t get me a wheel chair because I have to pee and I don’t do bed pans.” The nurses laughed so hard and we ended up having so much fun they pulled strings and got me a private room.

SF: How do you keep healthy?

Sharon: As far as keeping healthy I try to find a balance between healthy and fun. I don’t really deny myself “goodies” but I don’t over do it either. I walk as far as exercise goes, and I am careful around people who are sick or obvious germ hang outs. I also drive my doctor crazy sometimes but he has learned to trust that I know my body and I know my limits and has resigned himself that I am the only one allowed to set those limits.

SF: What are your coping strategies?

Sharon: Ok, so how I cope is easy, humor. I tend to laugh a lot! I never allowed cancer to interfere with my life, and my family never did either. I pushed through because I had a daughter and I knew she needed her mother. My dad lost his father when he was 7 and I wasn’t about to allow my daughter to face that because I knew how it had affected him even later in life. From the first diagnosis and every re-occurrence my question has been “OK, so how do we attack this the hardest.”

It’s funny, my conscious self is fine. I really handle it well but at one point I started to have night terrors. Apparently deep down inside, my mind was not laughing! I spoke to a therapist and my doctor finally ended up giving me some medication to help me sleep for anxiety. I am not big on meds but learned that it is sometimes better to take what you need and not be ashamed of it.

slosarik.carousel

 

SF: Where did you inherit your “fierceness quotient”?

Sharon: I think I learned how to fight from my Grandmother Jennie and my Aunt Kay. They fought the same fight but we never really knew they were sick, and both beat odds they shouldn’t have at the time.  Some days you could tell it was a “bad” day but they still always put us first. My dad remembered my grandmother telling them, “You lost your dad, you won’t lose me,” and she lived, she just lived.  I remember my Aunt Kay went in the hospital two months before my wedding and they didn’t expect her to ever come home. She laughed at the doctor and said, “I promised Sharon and John I would bake cookies for their wedding.” She made 50 trays with her arm so swollen from lymphodema we thought we would have to cut her dress the day of the wedding, but somehow she woke up, no swelling, color in her cheeks and ate better that day then she had in over 6 months. We couldn’t keep her off the dance floor. It’s funny whenever I wanted to feel bad or say “I can’t” I would look at the picture of her dancing at my wedding and say “Hell yeah you can,” and I just did.

SF: Do you have  motto or mantra?

Sharon: YES! I always say my motto is “Heaven doesn’t want me and Hell is afraid I am going to take over so really where am I going to go?”

Thank you so much, dear Sharon, and it is an honor to celebrate you as our Extraordinary Person sharing your story!

If you would like to support Sharon you can donate to her fight to find a cure and read more about her story at http://www.the3day.org/goto/sharonslosarik

slosarik.letterthanks

Laurence Juber at Canyon Crest Academy; www.sjfcommunications.com 2014

Acoustic Guitarist Laurence Juber’s Mesmerizing Master Class at Canyon Crest Academy, October 9, 2014

Laurence Juber at Canyon Crest Academy
Laurence Juber at Canyon Crest Academy                            SJF Communications   2014

We literally could hear a pin drop, when Laurence Juber, two-time Grammy Award Winner, and former Lead Guitarist of Paul McCartney and Wings (1978-81), gave a fascinating, entertaining, and educational Master Class on October 9, 2014 at Canyon Crest Academy (CCA) in Carmel Valley, San Diego. This event was sponsored by the Canyon Crest Academy Foundation and CCA Envision Performing Arts Program.

The master class embodied the mission of CCA: “to enrich the experiences of each student,every day”.  Students and parents were invited to the CCA Proscenium Theatre after the school day ended.  Mr. Juber enlightened the crowd with anecdotes about his early life, education, and musical journey. He also played quite a few well-known tunes, including “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “I Saw Her Standing There”, “Live and Let Die” and acoustic tunes such as “Mosaic” and “Guitar Noir”  flawlessly. Between his stories and songs, he kindly answered a variety of questions from the students.

laurence.juber.6
Laurence Juber at Canyon Crest Academy SJF Communications 2014

Not only is Juber a  rock musician, solo guitarist, and recording artist, he’s also an accomplished composer of over 160 songs, as well as an arranger. He won  the “Fingerstyle Guitarist Player of the Year” Award in 2000. (Fingerstyle as in playing guitar without a pick)!

An an award-winning studio musician Juber has been a featured musician in many films, TV shows and video games. He’s  performed with three of the four Beatles, (Paul, Ringo and George)…It was a poignant moment indeed when Juber mentioned that October 9th would have been John Lennon’s 74th birthday.

Juber delighted the audience and traced the beginnings of his musical virtuosity with anecdotes. Laurence began playing guitar in November, 1963 at the tender age of  11 during  “Beatlemania”. According to Juber, “L.J”. as he’s called, this was a “remarkable musical renaissance period” where new “twangy” guitar sounds were being explored after the late 1950’s “vanilla” guitar pop. Juber admired The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix and was mesmerized with sounds in the “James Bond” movies.

During his teenage years the guitar was thought of as a “hooligan” instrument, not an “orchestral” instrument. Juber learned sight-reading from a “Play in a Day” instruction book which included the musical notes for “When the Saints Go Marching In”. He mentioned that he had lots of time to learn guitar, since “it rained a lot” in London and he was often “stuck in his room”. He would listen to the Top 40 American songs on his transistor radio and listen to vinyl records that were 33 r.p.m. and 16 r.p.m. Back then, the classical guitar was like an “orchestral step-child”…yet he realized his burning ambition that he could one day become a studio musician and earn money.

It was a post-war, baby boom with “battalions of hormonal enamored teenage girls”. Juber’s musical influences were listening to Radio Luxenborg, pre-BBC, as well as American Top 40  where some of his favorites were Motown R & B and Carol King.

Laurence Juber;   SJF Communications 2014
Laurence Juber at Canyon Crest Academy; SJF Communications 2014

November, 1966 was the making of the  Beatles “Strawberry Fields”. Juber spoke about this transition from the “pop” to “psychedelic” era symbolizing the “awakening of musical possibilities and record making”.  There were new “backward studio tricks” in music. For instance, a B flat is a bit faster, and an A is a little bit slower. He described how George Martin would make the “slow-fast” and the “fast-slow”. There was also more “texture” and not the normal “classical” sound of cellos. The mellotron was a synthesized keyboard. Then came the advent of 4 tracks which evolved in to 8, then 16, then 24 tracks.

Juber then spoke of the differences between Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Paul was more of  “an artisan…a crafter of melodies and a fabulous singer as well”. John was a  true artist, visually and musically and also a poet who was passionate with rock and rhythm and blues.

laurence.juber.14
Laurence Juber at Canyon Crest Academy SJF Communications 2014

.

Juber spoke about the fact that the B flat is not your typical guitar key. As an arranger he attempts to find the nexus of music and guitar.

In his earlier musician days, Juber got his start playing what he called, numerous “chicken dinner’ events, like weekend weddings, Barmitzvahs, colleges and corporate events. All of this “sharpened his ear”.

He was a featured soloist in the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. He studied and obtained his music degree at London University’s Goldsmith College where he learned to be a “big band-trained studio musician”. As “target practice”, Juber performed with the 20th Century Chamber Ensemble, was guitarist for “Jesus Christ Superstar” at the Royal Albert Hall in the West End of London and  performed under Berlin Philharmonic Conductor Simon Rattle.

In 1977 Juber played lead guitar on the David Essex TV show where one of the Wings,  Denny Laine (also of early Moody Blues fame) was a guest. Denny was the catalyst for Juber to audition for Paul McCartney and  Wings. He also related a chance meeting with Sir Paul who was washing his hands in a rest room in England. He auditioned for Wings “winging it” as a “well prepped, versatile, sober musician”. Juber’s time with Wings earned him his “McCartney Masters Degree”.

Juber spoke about many of his influences, such as the “James Bond” movie scores, and where styles are “cross fertilized” like the Fahrenheit 451 score by Bernard Herman, where furious cellos drive the score. He spoke of Andy Summers having trouble with the guitar song “Every Breath You Take” by Sting (The Police) and how the group was influenced by Bela Bartok. He mentioned that he saw Jimi Hendrix play “Little Wing” twice at Albert Hall, and then played there himself. Juber played guitar for Dirty Dancing‘s “She’s Like the Wind” and “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”.

Juber professed that “variety is his favorite style of music, a bit of everything”. He is on the soundtrack of “Colors of the Wind” from the Disney film “Pocahontas”  is featured on the soundtrack of “Home Improvement” has played banjo wth Kermit the Frog on “Sesame Street”.

Juber spoke about his guitar made of rare Brazilian Rosewood and not being able to take it out of the country. And how the precious yet limited ivory from elephants  is affecting the production of  guitar string bindings and piano keys.

Laurence Juber with Canyon Crest Academy Foundation Members Photo by Susan Farese, SJF Communictions
Laurence Juber with Canyon Crest Academy Foundation Members Photo by Susan Farese, SJF Communications

And then, the magical master class ended, because Juber’s next gig that evening was at the “Museum of Making Music” in Carlsbad.  Everyone applauded and gave a standing ovation and recognized this humble musician of many talents. Find out more about Laurence Juber at  http://www.laurencejuber.com/

Canyon Crest Academy delivers not only an outstanding education but has the unique Envision arts program supported by donation dollars.  Envision utilizes working artists as instructors.  These professional artists work with the visual and performing arts students to deliver an outstanding arts experience at a professional level.  CCA’s theater program has won numerous awards and recognition. Performances are known as above and beyond a ‘high school theater show’.  The Canyon Crest Academy Foundation is a parent-led 501(c)(3) organization providing fantastic opportunities across academics, athletics, and the arts, and creating an environment where students can thrive. The mission of CCA and CCAF is to “enrich the experience of every student, every day”. Your tax-deductible donation to the CCA Foundation is vitally needed to continue our support of these programs. You can donate online at http://www.canyoncrestfoundation.org.

Gallery of Images of Laurence Juber by Susan Farese, SJF Communications, October 9, 2014