Back in November, I was asked to do a book reading for Lost Boys of the Bronx: The Oral History of the Ducky Boys Gang at the Museum of the American Gangster in the Lower East Side section of New York City.
I was kinda hesitant to do it because I wouldn’t really call the Ducky Boy “gangsters” since they were like 13-16 years old at the time. They were tough kids for sure, but there really wasn’t any connection to organized crime. I expressed my concerns to Lorcan Otway, the awesome curator of the Museum, and he understood my concerns, but told me not to worry.. While his museum has an element of organized crime, its full mission is to show “American Gangs” not just the Mafia. He also includes the Underground Railroad as an exhibit in his museum, so he is serious about that distinction. Well, the Ducky Boys are an American gang, so I agreed to doing the reading at the Museum of the American Gangster, and we set the date for Thursday, December 16th, 2010 at 6pm.
I started worrying shortly afterward that doing a book reading on my book might be a little difficult. If you don’t know already, it is in an “Oral History” format, so it reads almost like a movie script as the interviewees tell the story in their own words – sometimes alone but more often interacting with other interviewees. Basically my problem was that I would have to read stories with multiple characters speaking. And I’m not Rich Little – who can do great character impressions…
At one point, I came up with a great idea (to me anyway) – Being that I originally planned this to be a documentary film (see my books introduction for how that fell apart), I had the original interviews filmed and digitized on my computer… So all I had to do was show the clips to the audience and I would kill two birds with one stone. Not only would it be an interesting take on a book reading, but it would also mean that all the video I shot/digitized/edited wasn’t going to go to waste. It was win-win all around. I called Lorcan to see if that was ok with him (and technically feasible), and he thought it was a great idea too, so we were off to the races!