“Don’t worry about being better than anyone else, just challenge yourself to be the best YOU, you can be.”
Happy New Year!!!… I know it’s a few days late, but wanted to give everyone a chance to settle into the New Year. So, I hope you guys are off to a great start with all the resolutions (lose weight, gain money, thank everyone J)
So much has happened IN 2014 and I know I haven’t sent out a Capo update in months…so now I’m starting again. THIS IS A quick recap so that those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook, will know what I’ve been up to.
So here’s what crazy success and challenges I had last year.
Sit back and enjoy.
A QUICK LOOK AT 2014 CAPO YEAR IN REVIEW
PANDAS, BLACKHAWKS and TV PILOT
IAWTV –Basically it’s the Oscars of the Internet and I got asked to do the pre-show. (You know warm everyone up for the big event.) Then I walked the Red Carpet with John Basedow and did a One minute comedy video on how to prepare for an awards show. (including when to suck your stomach in to look thinner, in case your Spanx don’t work.)
Florida – Had to fly immediately to Florida from awards show because my dear Aunt rose died. Reconnected with that side of Family and learned some pretty awesome stuff about what my aunt and parents did…like the time my mom and dad went skinny dipping and got arrested, and my uncle Donald had to sneak out of the house so Aunt Rose didn’t see to him, to bail them out. Naughty parents.
Hawaii Cruise with my fiancé…(Yes after 15 years he is STILL my fiancé…hey takes me a long time to get used to people J) But I had my new fit bit- and I was determined to climb everything I saw… even circled the deck of the boat several times to make it to 10,000 steps a day and had fellow passengers timing me how long it took to make laps. (I’d cheat and run very fast when they weren’t looking.) I also commissioned, Michael Provenza, the whimsical artist (who I think will be the next Dr. Suess) to do his rendition of our backyard. I posted it on facebook, and lots of you have now befriended him as well.
Comedy Gigs galore: worked at Casinos, like Parx and Mohegan Sun, plus running shows at my clubs: Piazza Roma (Westchester) and Rocco’s (In Brookfield, CT). Been running shows there now for over 5 years!
Got New headshots taken by the fabulous Pete Budraitis…(People who see the headshot think it’s from years ago, and were surprised to learn…nope this is what I look like now!)
My son, Spencer moves into his own apartment to be closer to his job. I plead and try to reason with him, “Hey you’re Italian, you’re not supposed to move out till you’re married!.” He moves anyway. I cry and promise to bring him Chicken Cutlets every Thursday (Yes I’m still doing it!) Then I proceed to set up and decorate his entire apartment in one week. ( I called my service “Home in a week” ) Steve’s daughter moved out in Jan…so now we have an empty nest…to compensate, I have tons of girlfriend sleepovers!!!! Steve’s a happy guy.
Penguin Plunge- I do my yearly Fundraising performance for Barbara Noyes, Penguin Plunge that donates money to Children in need of operations. Then we all jump into the icy waters in Nyack. (I did not do it, because I figured I already did it twice in Antarctica and it doesn’t get colder than that! Plus the real penguins looked at us like we were nuts. (Btw if you so desire to try it… The event is March 1 2015 at noon.)
Creative Bathroom: Decided I needed to make my bathroom look like a forest, so I had one of my favorite artist friends, Karen Finney make the bathroom look like a nighttime forest, complete with a bear heading into an outhouse with a newspaper…under his arm saying, “Yes I do!” In answer to the question, does a bear shit in the woods. (Now I’m getting asked to design unique bathrooms for people…yet another service I provide.)
China – So my dear friend, Puzzle Artist Alli Berman was doing an Exhibit in Shenyang, and asked if I wanted to help her. Sure! Under one condition, I get to fly to Chengdu to hold a baby panda bear. Even though it was clear on the other side of the country…So with the help of our friend Gail who organized the journey every other day we hopped on a plane or train and journeyed from Beijing to Shenyang, to Cheng Du, to Xian to see the warrior soldiers, to Gulin to see the gorgeous mountains, then back to Bejing. We saw rat in a cage that was on the menu, dressed like Opera stars and Climbed the great wall. And don’t you know it, one of the biggest climbs of my life and my fit bit didn’t record it!!!) Bad Fit bit, bad. (Article on this coming out on traveling moms soon. (We also had found one of the best tour independent tour guides: Rose in Xian – (firstname.lastname@example.org) If you go there you have to get her. I’ve been all around the world, and she was the most impressive tour guide I’ve ever had!!!! (tell her Fran the fast talker sent ya)
Traveling Moms – So without letting any Chinese grass grow under our feet. A few days after we got back from China, Alli and I headed off to Disney to blog about being the first to ride the new Dwarfs Mine Train Ride.. Awesome little ride and special since my mom LOVED SOW WHITE…Then we met fellow traveling moms, learned about social media, took a picture in the trunk of a car (Hey I’m Italian, I was comfortable there….) and rode as many roller coasters as I could with Kim Orlando and Cindy Richards! (The founder and editor extraordinaire)
FRIARS CLUB INDUCTION – May 20- Had the great honor of being inducted into the Historic Friars club- (You know where all those Roasts on Television are from.) My sponsors were Friars Nancy Lombardo and Bob Greenberg….and a bunch of my close friends came to watch my initiation!!! The host Mark Simone (famous radio guy) remembered me from years ago when I did his show and asked me to do some fast talking in front of the friars…so I did…Amusing to see the Soprano actors sitting in the audience laughing at the fast talking…maybe they are used to people trying to fast talk their way out of wearing cement shoes.
New kitchen appliances – So after having to smack the oven for 4 years to get it to go on, we decided to get new appliances….now I who hate to cook, am happy because I no longer have to argue with the oven…now if I could just get it to cook it’s own meals I’d be in heaven.
Hosted and did the Ribbon Cutting for my dear friend, Richie Magic’s new store called Hocus Pocus on Cedar Street in Dobbs Ferry. Took pictures, signed autographs, fast talked for the children and was the only comic amongst a sea of magic…
VID GONE VIRAL – July 6th,
Three years ago Tru TV approached me and asked me to do a funny video on my fast talking. So I met this producer guy at Bryant Park, improved some bits like telling two chess masters what pieces to move really fast, ordering from a hotdog lady, and interrupting two guys having lunch. The the video sits, and sits…then the Tru tv guy sees it on his shelf and decides to edit it, and put it up on the web under the heading of “Worlds Fastest Talking Woman reads 3 Little Pigs in under 15 seconds.” He does not tell me he is doing this. The next morning a friend of mine calls me to congratulate me for the article in “Metro News”, I didn’t even know what Metro News was so I say thanks. Then Steve’s tech guy, Seth, says, “Tell Fran I just saw her on ABC news. “ Okay, how is that possible? I’m laying in bed. So I text Spencer and ask him to find out what everyone is talking about. He says, “Mom a vid of you went viral…you’re in the news in Scandinavia, Croatia, Vietnam etc. Then I start getting calls from radio shows all around the world…the next thing I know I’m featured on Yahoo news, Buzz 60, Huffington Post, ABC< CBS, NBC< Fox and get asked to be on the Meredith Viera Show. This went on for weeks. I loved it…but while that was happening….
My Cat ROSIO went missing…on July 15.
He was an indoor outdoor cat, and always came home (except for two times when he got caught up a tree and I found him and had to climb a ladder and rescue him.) So in the midst of all this press, I’m handing out flyers and calling lost animal departments and checking neighbors basements looking for him. Everyone new I was looking for him. I even talked to a psychic. I knew he was in trouble, just didn’t know where to find him, he had a chip, but not a gps….so I kept searching….
BIG BIRTHDAY BASH- Animals Gone Wild… July 27, Meanwhile every year I have this big non- alcoholic Birthday bash at our house. (Why? Because I like people better when they are not drinking!)
Every year new surprises. This year we had a 150-foot water slide, and a house full of animals and I’m not talking my friends.
We had Llamas, baby alligator, hedgehog, giant turtle, miniature goat, rabbits, ducks, snake, bearded dragon, and a wallaby..(Yes the kangaroo was booked again!). Then we ended it with a Crystal Bowl Meditation by my friend Coleen from Jersey. We all meditated on me finding Rosio before I had to leave for Korea on my real Birthday, July 29th.
July 28th – Colleen told me to meditate and at 6 PM she felt I would get my answer to where Rosio was. At 6:05 the doorbell rang…it was the Wildlife Animal Guy. He found Rosio…dead. He had crawled into the neighbors shrink wrapped boat through the back where the rotor was…he got trapped on some rope and chocked trying to get out. He had been dead for about 10 days. I cried, I put flowers on the boat, I was angry at myself of not checking the boat even though I had looked there thinking about the Boston Bomber who had hidden in a boat, but since I didn’t see any holes in the shrik wrap, I thought Rosio couldn’t get in. Lesson learned. LOOK Everywhere! For you cat if it’s missing!!! Left the next morning for South Korea.
July 29 S- Aug 14 – Headed out with fellow comedians, Jim Mendrinos, and Carole Montgomery to do the National Mom Tour for Armed Forces Entertainment in South Korea. Our mission to entertain the troops, we did 12 shows in 17 days. Our first stop was the DMZ zone, where we were told not to look at, wave or engage in any way with the North Koreans who were standing less than a few feet from us. Then we went in the room that the treaty was signed in , and for a few minutes I stood on the side of the room that was in North Korea. I kept looking at the door to North Korea, making sure it didn’t open and I’d get kidnapped. (Although Steve told me know to worry, he said, I’d probably talk them to death and they’d return me.:)
We drove all over South Korea in a giant tour bus, stayed at the various bases and visited soldiers in all units who couldn’t make it to the show. They had us trying on bomb suits ( I did 20 jumping jacks while wearing one,) Sitting in Black Hawks. We ate a ton of kimchi, bargained with locals, saw the “Juicy girls” try to engage soldiers, and watched the to soldiers run back to base to make their 11 PM curfews. Great group of men and women. (On one excursion on our day off, I tried Dr. Fish with the fourth comic Jay Hewlett on our tour. Dr. Fish is where you put your feet in a pool and these little fish eat the dead skin off your feet. They were munching on mine till, Jay stuck his feet in, then they wanted no part of mine. Afterwards the fish smoked a cigarette and Jay wrote them a thank you note.
On the last day of the tour, we performed at the very tip of South Korea, at one of the smallest bases. The soldiers came into the show after 3 days of exercises in full gear and with guns. You don’t know what pressure is till you perform in front of an audience with loaded guns. So I asked for a gun myself, just in case they didn’t like my act so I could shoot back. They gave me a paintball gun! (At all shows we took pictures with the soldiers and signed autographs…and I offered to any soldier who wanted a free copy of my e-book Hopeville: The City of Light.)
Upon return found out Steve had remains of Rosio put in our garden with a headstone, and a little angel overlooking him so I could have a place to remember him by.
Got a call from a British agent to do a speaking engagement in Oman. In case you don’t know, Oman is in the Middle East, on the Yemen border with a lot of Al Quida activity. So I was a tad hesitant. Although they reassured me that this “thought leader conference” would be safe, I worried because I was a female, an American and going the week of September 11. I figured the compound where we were staying was safe , but I worried more about the driver that would pick me up at the airport with a sign that says “Capo.” How would I know he wasn’t a kidnapper…I’d just go with him, and next thing I know I’m in the desert, begging not to get beheaded. Ultimately I didn’t go. (Although it probably would have been okay.)
Did the Meredith Viera show in a special segment called, “People you should know.” Since I had gotten asked also to do a special Guinness Week edition of “Who wants to be a millionaire.” I asked Meredith if she wanted to be my plus one lifeline. (I knew she couldn’t but how cool would that have been.)
Anyway, the Millionaire show interviewed me and narrowed down from 100 world record holders to 11 they wanted on the show. All time Jeopardy Champ, Ken Jennings was also on the show. Out of all the people in the country we both choose, Tony Hightower, to be our plus one. That was a first for Millionaire with two contestants having the same plus one guy. They dismissed 5 of the world record holders because they had run out of time. It was down to me and Ken for the last half hour of the week. I was miked up, made up and ready to go, and then they switched to have Ken go on before me at the last minute. Knowing that Ken knew a lot of stuff, I asked him to utilize my fast talking skills and answer quickly. Alas he did not answer quick enough and there was no time for me to go on. So he walked away with $100.000 and I got a mere $1000 for being asked. I had studied for 2 months with my mentors Andrew Lin and Barbara Noyes.
So…. not to let this ability go to waste I am now running a “Fran-tastic Trivia Night every Wednesday starting Feb 4 at 7 PM at Roccos’ in Brookfield CT. My friend Rose is helping me. Come and check it out..it’s free to play and there are prized to win.
Did a Fundraising Extravagana with Comedy Cures at Gotham Comedy Club…Tons of fantastic comics and the Cake Boss was there as well. Free deserts! Lots of money was raised that night…
Flood in my son’s apartment at Avalon Gardens Community. They handled it very poorly, pulled out the padding, then put the wet rug right back on top of the dry padding, as a result, my son broke out into hives…he’s been on medication since. I’m going to write a huge thing on YELP…Turns out this complex has tons of complaints.
Anyone in the business has heard of Cynopsis…(a newsletter that gives you all the cool info on what’s happening in TV, Sport and the Digital world.) Well I got asked to do a special fast talking piece on all the award recipients – A great way to spend a lunch date and get a nice swag bag.
Show business is a funny bred. You have to wait for someone to discover you. Well I’m tired of waiting….so if Hollywood is not coming to me, I’m going to it.
Myself, Janette Barber( 6 time emmy award winner) and Jim Mendrinos (Creator of Living in Exile – the second most successful independent tv show since “I Love Lucy”) got asked to write a sitcom for the Launch TV Network. It’s called, “Radio Housewives.” We taped the Pilot in 2 days!!!! Now we are going to try to sell it at NAPTE – Keep your fingers and legs crossed! If we don’t sell it, we’ll do a fundraiser on Indigogo, to do the other 6 episodes. STAY TUNED!!!!!
Ended the year by running at the stroke of twelve with Steve. Okay we walked but what the hell, we exercised first thing in the New Year. I asked Steve if he was happy he was doing it, he said, “My face is frozen, my nuts are shriveled and all I can think about it getting home…” 2015 Off to a great start!!!!
MOVING Into 2015-
Do 10,000 steps a day, 5 days a week.
Get Hopeville into as many hands as possible
Do 5 Episodes of “Radio Housewives.”
And whatever other crazy adventures come about.
First Article on me in 2015: