Featured Artist: David Lawson
This is a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens. Please check back weekly for new posts.
Where were you born?
Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
I’ve lived in New York City for five and a half years and in Astoria for three and a half of those. Also of note: for three months I lived in this basement apartment in Sunnyside where the landlord who lived upstairs couldn’t know I was living there. I did a lot of hiding in the bushes, waiting for the right time to enter what was, at that time, my own home. There’s no metaphor there. There were actual bushes. I hid in them.
How did you get involved in theater?
I was a total hyperactive fuck up in elementary school. It was only getting worse as I got older. I had this brilliant sixth grade teacher named Brett Heflin who made a deal with me: If I kept it together during the day I would get a few minutes in front of the class every morning to put on a little show. It was a masterstroke. It chilled me out, gave me clarity and gave me something to work towards. The days I misbehaved and lost the show were crushingly upsetting and made me not want to misbehave again. That’s when I knew I was a theatre guy. After sixth grade I lost contact with Mr. Heflin but recently he tracked me down on Facebook. He’s married with kids and still working in education. It was great to tell him just how much influence he had on my life.
Tell us about the play you’re working on in the Propulsion Lab?
It’s called The Algeria Alternative. It’s about a woman who works at an office facilitating drone strikes and decides to leak information detrimental to the company.
What do you love most about Queens?
Village Voice had this great article on Philip Glass last year. Glass says that in the late 60s/early 70s (that time that every Millennial hears about fucking constantly) Glass was living for $150-$200 a month in the East Village. He says in that article “One of the things that’s made New York so impressive is the constant wave of young people looking for fame, fortune, art, whatever, something…they were bringing the energy and ambition and determination.” He then goes on to say “which is still happening, except now they can’t live in Manhattan anymore.”
Where that’s “still happening” is in neighborhoods like mine in Queens.
Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?
Food stuff: Chicken korma at Seva on 34th Street, the Hollywood sandwich at Othello Deli on 24th Avenue, spicy pork with the works at El Rey Del Taco on 30th Ave, souvlaki gyros at Pita Pan on 30th Ave, Hawaiian burger at the original Bareburger on 30th Ave (they’re going national next year!), Sparrow Tavern on 24th Ave and the biggest no brainer: Bohemian Hall Beer Garden on 24th Ave.Entertainment stuff: The Secret Theatre (where it’s Chekhov one night, and a new play about an alien invasion the next night) Socrates Sculpture Park (best acid trip you ever had), walking the Queensboro Bridge, Citi Field (even if you don’t care about the game, dancing to “Lazy Mary” during the 7th inning stretch is an amazing tradition). I haven’t done so yet but I’ve been meaning to check out the growing comedy scene in Long Island City at The Laughing Devil on Vernon Blvd and The Creek and the Cave on Jackson Avenue.
My solo show about pornography VCR Love is available to purchase through Original Works Publishing (http://originalworksonline.com/store/monologues/vcr-love/). It’s an actual “book book” with an ISBN number and everything. So in 200 years you can look up my ISBN number and know I was once alive and I wrote a show called VCR Love. That’s reassuring.