An interview with solo performer Slash Coleman
by Joel Markowitz
He’s the man I keep bumping into at Warehouse, handing out cards for his shows and schmoozing with potential ticket buyers. I love a man who can schmooze, so here’s Slash Coleman enlightening us on his one-man, multi-character show, The Neon Man and Me.
Joel: When did you write the show and what motivated you to write it?
Slash: Three years ago my best friend, a neon glass blower from Roanoke, VA was blown into a power line while hanging a neon sign. A month after he died, his girlfriend discovered she was pregnant. In my effort to create a care package for his son, I ended up writing an all ages, 60-minute comedy about friendship called, “The Neon Man and Me.” It consists of 8 stories and 4 songs I play on my guitar.
Joel: How many characters do you play in the show and which character is your favorite and which one is the most difficult to play?
Slash: I play 30 characters in the show, a perverted French television host, Jacques Lemoixe, a flamboyantly gay fashion designer Pinky Whitefish….etc. Believe it or not, the hardest two characters for me to play are myself at 13 and myself at 19. It’s hard for me to go back into that place of feeling insecure and having low self-esteem. I like playing Cory Flintoff from NPR the best.
Joel: You have been been handing out cards at Warehouse the past two weeks. Do you think self-promotion and talking face to face with fringe goers has helped fill up your show?
Slash: I’m really big on the business side of things. Andy Warhol said, “After art comes the business of art.” About 1/8 of my audience follows me from my database marketing efforts and/or from Richmond for each show. 1/8 come from Myspace marketing. About 3/4 come directly from me handing out postcards and the rest come from the buzz of the show – it’s had national press exposure the past few years… and continues to be a favorite. The Baltimore Sun ran a large article for this show last Sunday on the front page of their Arts section and the Washington Post wrote about it this time.
Joel: What has been the reaction of the DC Fringe audiences to your show?
Slash: At the fringe, I have had, so far, my best audience to date at a show last week. I either tend to get audiences that laugh or audiences that cry. This audience did both with huge amounts of gusto. It was an amazing experience.
Joel: I hear PBS has filmed the show. Can you talk about that?
Slash: PBS is filming my show on October 20, 2007 in Richmond, VA…it’s actually on Sesame Street…( it’ll be a free show for audience members, so book your travel plans now and be a part of history). We’ll film in front of two live studio audiences with 5 cameras and then the producer will do the edits. Regionally the special should air by the end of the year. nationally, it should air Spring 2008.
Joel: Where has the show played?
Slash: Last year my tour took me to the San Franciso Fringe Festival, The Provincetown Fringe Festival, theaters outside Boston, down to North Carolina. After DC, I’ll be going to a festival in Minnesota called Mann Fest which is a festival for spiritual shows and then to the Boulder Fringe.
My hometown of Richmond has been pummeled by the production, it’s been running constantly there for the last three years at different theaters.
Joel: Are you taking the show to NYC and when?
Slash: The show ran Off-Broadway in April 2007 at a theater called Teatro la Tea on Suffolk St. It was an amazing experience and came about when I wrote down a bunch of random goals on a piece of paper in 2004. One was to perform the show On-Broadway by 2007. When I told my family that they rolled their eyes and I went back and erased On-Broadway and wrote Off-Broadway.
I’ve since not let others influence my own dreams. After the PBS special airs and my book comes out (it’s called The Marketing Dog: A writers, performers and artists best friend) we’re planning to move the show up to New York and run it at a, yet to be determined On- Broadway venue, with a large budget.
The Neon Man and Me continues at the Fringe Festival tomorrow night, Friday, July 27th at 9 PM and closes on Sunday, July 29th at 2 PM..
For more information and to watch a video of the show, go to: