Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Carl Capotoro's Twisted Head

Carl Capotoro and Mort Zacher spoke at the Tenement Museum yesterday as part of their wonderful Tenement Talks program
Both read from their new books. Carl's is Twisted Head
The video above combines his youtube clip about the book along with clips from his more recognizable claim to fame as Little Paulie Germani on the Sopranos He's the man who passed along the famous joke about Ginny Sack and later fell victim to Chris' coke fueled paranoia. He survived and his Uncle (Big) Paulie took revenge.
Little Paulie Germani: Ralph told this funny f....n' joke though at Albert's party. He goes, "Ginny Sack had a ninety five pound mole surgically taken off her ass."
Paulie Walnuts: He said that?
Little Paulie Germani: Yeah...
Paulie Walnuts: And you think its funny?
Little Paulie Germani:'s some bad taste...huh?

Some of the excellent reviews of Twisted Head:
Entertainment Weekly
Carl Capotorto's family name translates as ''twisted head,'' which, he writes, ''is no accident.'' The gay actor/writer grew up in an eccentric Italian-American family headed by a father so rigid, he spent much of his time throwing customers out of the family pizza joint in the Bronx for breaking his ridiculous rules (''NO SHARING, NO EXTRA CHEESE, NO SLICES AT THE TABLE!'' etc.). His tyranny didn't end there, either — he also heaped verbal assaults upon his wife and kids (and anyone else who happened to be around). But despite his semi-tragic upbringing, Capotorto has managed to writeTwisted Head, a delightfully zany memoir — see, for example, his account of his father's virulent anti-pornography crusade.
—Kate Ward
“Carl Capotorto’s first book was for me a wonderful reading experience. In part because my own upbringing was strikingly similar to Carl’s. On the other hand, you don’t have to be Italian to be moved by this powerfully touching memoir.”
—Mario Cuomo
“Like an Italian grandmother that hugs you fiercely to her bosom, Carl's memoir of his upbringing in the Bronx doesn't let go until you realize the melancholy one finds in joy and the joy one finds in melancholy. A splendid and insightful read, as funny as it is sad.”
—Lewis Black
“Twisted Head is a memorable portrait of a sweet and awkward boy growing up on the sometimes mean streets of the Bronx, struggling with his imposing father, brutal peers, inattentive teachers, his own sexual identity. Not since Mario Puzo’s novel The Fortunate Pilgrim, have readers been treated to such a sweet and sour tale of growing up Italian-American and of coming to appreciate the sturdy rock that is family.”
—Ken Auletta
“When I got Twisted Head, I meant to read ‘at it,’ like so many things. I really meant to put it down. I couldn’t. It’s one of the most hilarious descriptions of growing up Italian I have ever read. And then, to use that story to tell a far more serious story about growing up gay, moves the book way past the laughs.”
—Nick Pileggi, author of Wiseguy

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