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A Performer’s Life

A performer’s life is never a dull one. Once bitten by the performing bug, the sweet poison continues to course through your veins, regardless of what you do in life. It is the ultimate love affair, complete with butterflies, elation, devastation, and heartache. And just as it stays with you all your life, it can prepare you for whatever may come your way.


I was only five years old when I was bitten. We didn’t have much at that time. My dad worked in a hobby shop and my mom was teaching part time while attending school herself to become a fully accredited teacher. We lived on one side of a two-family home where my parents shared their bedroom with me and my little brother while my older brother had the other, tiny bedroom, to himself. Though we didn’t have much money or space, we were rich with friends. From a Metropolitan opera star to folks who lived out of their cars while they chased trains across the country to photograph. Every nationality, religion, orientation, status, education, and financial level was represented in our wealth of friends. Among them were the incomparable Geoffrey Holder and his wife Carmen de Lavallade. Geoffrey had just become the first black man to be nominated for and win Tony Awards for direction and costume design of The Wiz on Broadway and he gave us tickets to see the show.


Most people have few vivid memories of their early years, but I remember the night I went to see The Wiz on Broadway like it was yesterday. The touch of the velvet seat on my skin, the excitement as the lights lower, the hush that comes over the crowd as the orchestra begins….it gives me goosebumps to this day. Then it happened, the twister swept across the stage, graceful dancers, long, flowing strips of dark fabric, swirling lights, the hum of voices and music enveloped me and transported me to a place I knew I would want to be forever, the theatre.


That night lead to years of classes, auditions, coaches, performances, some successes, some failures and more precious people and memories than I can name. Performing introduced me to many of the magical places that are the basis for Broadsides & Brews, including The Drama Bookshop and Don’t Tell Mama’s. I also learned many valuable lessons that prepared me to be an entrepreneur. I learned the ins and outs of the restaurant and bar industry, I even sang for my tips! I learned how to handle rejection…boy did I learn that! I also learned that the role you may think you want and audition for, and the role you get are not always the same. The funny thing about not getting the role you think you want is that you usually find the role you receive is not only better suited for you but a role you come to love and appreciate for the character, the journey, the impact to the story and the opportunity to bring it to life.


Don’t panic! Broadsides & Brew IS HAPPENING! Due to Covid-19, many existing small businesses are struggling. Funds for starting a new business, especially one that is food/beverage industry related and aims to gather people together, are not really available. Unfortunately this means the full SBA start-up loan “role” is not being cast at the moment. I am reaching out to you, my beloved community of Wake Forest, lovers of books, the arts, live performances, talk-backs, tastings, coffee, tea, beer, wine, specialty cocktails, comfort food and cozy spaces in which we can gather together, to see how you’d like to help support Broadsides & Brews. The available “roles” are:


1. Crowdfunding (like Kickstarter) – Individuals make donations in any amount with rewards (products or services) tied to donations based on amount donated.


2. Community Lending (like Fundera; WeFunder) – Individuals make structured loans to Broadsides & Brews. Loans are repaid in quarterly payments over the course of five years. Repayment begins one year after Broadsides opening date, which is still to be determined. In addition to earning compounded interest, lenders also receive “employee” discounts during the life of their loan, as well as other perks like having cocktails named after them or a plaque at the bar.


3. Membership Program – Creation of a Broadsides & Brews membership program including Founders levels, related perks and yearly dues.


4. Temporary Location - Pop-up shops, local delivery, and online sales with related content.


We are open to additional suggestions as well as a combination of these solutions. As any performer knows, the casting directors, other performers and audience all have valuable input as to what role might best suit a performer so please, leave a comment, a number, a combination of numbers, a suggestion, or just wish us luck! Feel free to comment below, chat or follow us on Facebook or Instagram and comment there @broadsidesandbrews.



And stay tuned…there’s plenty more to come!

With love and gratitude,

~Joni



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So excited for you in this new adventure! Can’t wait to see it all come together. I also LOVE the idea of a pop up shop!

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