Introducing Dusty Siravo!

 

Hello, hello, hello my Ice cream truck legion! This week, I am releasing a longer version of our Via interviews. But trust me, it’s well worth the read. So make that banana split and have a seat…..

In 1976, the original Bad News Bears movie was released. I was 8-years-old. And probably like every other little girl of that time, I wanted to be a bad-ass girl like Amanda (played by Tatum O’Neal). We had similar hair, uncommon names, hated bossy boys, and had the same number on our ball uniforms (11)! In 1978, the original Grease movie was released. I was 10-years-old. My favorite part of the move was at the end where Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) puts out her cigarette with her high-heeled shoe and proceeds to sing to Danny (John Travolta) that he better shape up or else. While Sandy was only a bad-ass at the end, Amanda was a bad-ass all the way through Bad News Bears. But I still wanted to be both of them.

When I was adopted, my name was Veronica. I liked my name. No one else that I had ever met had it. It took me years to get over the anger I felt towards my adopted parents for making me change my name. However, they did let me choose what my new name would be. I resisted for as long as I could. But then Mom started suggesting names like Betty and Susie and that’s when I knew this was serious. It was a close call, though. Sandy or Amanda? Two bad-ass females I admired because they laid down the law in their own ways. Veronica was a child who let others persuade her to do and say many, many things so that she could be accepted. Who did I want to be?

After losing the refusal battle with the adopted parents, I finally decided on Amanda as my new name for a few reasons. One, the Bad News Bears character was closer to my age at the time and it just made more sense for me, a little girl, to name myself after someone I admired who was nearer to my age. Two, I had never met an Amanda (just like Veronica) and, I could have a nickname (Mandy)! Three, before my adoption I had a big sister from the state-funded Big Sister Big Brother program – and her name was Sandy. So Amanda it was. And the irony of that? Sandy (Big Sister Sandy) had a baby girl at the time of my adoption and, before she knew I was changing my name, she named her daughter Amanda. Freaky, right?

Veronica/Amanda has always wanted to be a bad-ass female. She still does, and bad-ass females in movies are still a favorite thing. In real life, however, Veronica/Amanda has a mind that does not stay focused long enough to go around kicking butt. Plus, she enjoys being able to walk on her feet normally. And then there’s Chuck Norris to deal with.

This week, my friends, we are going to celebrate knowing another bad-ass female. If I were a little girl being adopted today and knew anything about this woman, I would want to change my name to hers. But for me that would be awkward because my younger brother, who was adopted to another family, changed his name to Dustin. Dusty and Dustin. Yeah…definitely awkward. Although he married an Amanda, so there’s that. I’ve decided Amanda was the right choice, even though there are way too many of them out there now. So much for originality, eh?

In case you haven’t guessed, this week we are going to scoot up closer and get to know a bad-ass female I admire……Dusty Siravo! Are you ready? We all know her, we all love her…and she IS a force to be reckoned with whether she wants to be or not! It’s just part of her charm. “Well-behaved women seldom make history; …” and all that jazz.

Ladies and gentlemen….I present to you our beloved mis-behaving (she doesn’t like tacos OR brownies, for pete’s sake!) Dusty…..

 

1. Where are you originally from? I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

2. Where do you live now and what do you like about your town the most? I live in Elizabethtown Kentucky. I have to answer this question all the time when people find out I am a transplant from the North. My patented answer is that I like that it has small town feel. I mean, seriously, I love that I can sit outside on my front lawn and hang out with neighbors like it is no big deal. My kids are going to be in parade this month, marching with high school band and I get to sit on the side of the road and cheer. Almost like a movie. It is awesome. Little moments like that make up my love for this town.

3. Why didn’t more than one chicken cross the road?  Maybe chickens find it hard to step outside of their comfortable barnyards. The chicken who crossed the road – that chicken knew the deal and hit the road – I like to think that he had a guitar on his back and a map in his soul.

 

4. What kind of robot would you create? I wouldn’t. With my luck, that robot would wind up being some super villain with a mechanical arm and a white cat and take over the world all because I wanted someone to make my coffee in the morning and put away my laundry.
5. How did you first get involved with Via Colori and when? So I have been involved with Via since the beginning. Ten years. Time flies. A decade ago, the event had another beneficiary – it was to raise money to help domestic violence victims. I was in a relationship at that time that definitely could have met that criteria. Despite knowing the physically painful consequences, I put my defiant hat on and painted. Now it is to help foster children. Who wouldn’t want to be involved with that?

6. What was your first Via chalk piece? What has been your favorite you created? That first year I was so scared. I painted an elephant sleeping in a bed dreaming of a dragon. Above it- the line said “Sleep safely and dream big”. I guess that has kind of become my motto. I have two favorite pieces. Where I love all 9 paintings, the year that I painted a tribute to my mom was amazing. My mom is an awesomely creative human. I grew up at her feet while she played guitar in a band and on our back porch. So I painted her guitar and the lyrics to one of her songs that dealt with fighting back against domestic violence. I was 3 years outside of my awful relationship at that point and had just started dating the man who is now my husband. It was his first Via. My second favorite was a 20 foot octopus. He had on a mad hatter’s hat and was holding a lollipop in one tentacle and real balloons (literally) in another. I like it so much and realized with that painting the impact Via had on my life that I had it tattooed on my forearm.

7. Who was your childhood best friend when you were 12 and what is a favorite memory of that friendship? I didn’t have a lot of friends when I was little. My name is weird (or was in a time that there were a lot of common names) and I am actually pretty awkward and shy. But I was heavy into theater and did a lot of classes outside of school. I met this boy for the life of me, I can’t remember his real name. Why? He didn’t go to my school and this was before the days of cell phones and the internet. Being an introverted kid, talking was not my strong point so we used to pen pal each other with “dramatic character” names. I called him Houdini and that was what the letters were addressed to. We were pen pals for years and one day – it stopped as it can. I still have every single letter he sent me when I was little. Maybe one day – I will figure out who he is.

8. What is your favorite hobby and why do you enjoy it? This one is hard. I don’t really have a hobby. I have moments in life that are amazing. So I guess that could be my hobby. Finding awesome. I enjoy it because I have met so many people in my travels and projects and crazy ideas and every one of them, in some way, has had an impact on me. Good or bad. Those impacts influenced who I am today.

9. What would your dogs Punkin, Sherlock and Darth Vader chalk if they chalked a piece about you? Punkin, who is now an old and extremely lazy basset hound would probably open one eye, yawn, look at the chalk and promptly fall back to sleep. In his hay day – he would have painted hot dogs. Because he loves hot dogs. And I was the bringer of the hot dog. So maybe me, on a pedestal dolling out magical and wonderful hotdogs. Darth Vader, who is incidentally a white fluffy ball of goodness, would probably paint my feet. Because every morning he sits at my feet and we watch birdies together while I drink coffee. And Sherlock, oh Sherlock. My little rescued from a trash can doggie. He would probably not paint and just bark at the chalk like it was a monster ready to harm me. He is part werewolf when it comes to protecting his mommy.
10. Tacos or brownies? Neither. Gross. Bacon and any kind of cheese please.

11. What mythical or mystical creature would you take on a road trip? Why? The Loch Ness Monster. Why? Because man – Nessie is the champion of avoiding the limelight while still being famous. All she would ask for would be $3.50 and some nachos.

12. Who, or what, is your favorite super hero? I love the Doctor. But he is not really a superhero, he is just a mad man with a box. I guess I would have to say, if pressed, Captain Caveman

13. What would your pro wrestling name be and what would your signature move or slogan be?  hahahahahaha. I know some pro-wrestlers. I imagine I would be “The tornado” – my signature move – the flying cow.

14. What is the furthest you have traveled for a chalk event and what did you learn? I had the privilege of attending the Houston Via Colori after my first year running ours here in Kentucky and I learned that I had and still have a lot to learn about running a successful event. I also learned that our street painting festival will always be just a little quirky.

15. What do your children think about your career? My children are active in Via. Two of them are via artists and the third helps his dad paint. I would hope that they are proud of me and not embarrassed to call me “mom” when I am running around the festival looking for a dalek to selfie with.

16. Including science fiction, do you speak more than one language? Does angry mom count as a language? I have that down pat with teenagers in the house.

17. What is a hidden talent you wish you had? I wish I could sing well. I can sing, but it is like nails on a chalkboard.

18. What has been the greatest reward during your involvement with Via Colori? There are so many. From the looks on kids faces when they meet their favorite superhero in person to the artists who get to be creative and whimsical, to the thousands of people we touch with this festival to the friendships I have made and treasure. Seriously hundreds and hundreds of rewards. I have so many personal stories that I could share about the impact of Via on the community and the good it truly does for our foster kids. I will say this – the greatest reward on a personal level is that something that is so very important to me is shared by my family, friends, and associates. It is my passion and has been for a decade. So that I get to hang out with Daleks and musicians and artists and kids and my family all the same time? Who wouldn’t love that?

19. Do you sing in the shower or the car? Both. See above mentioned hidden talent.

20. If you traveled to Morocco next Tuesday, how many slugs would Bobby toss if Suzie ate 21 carrots barefoot in the Grand Canyon when an alligator bites your big toe? Math is the Devil.

21. And finally…….what is your favorite ice cream?  Mint Chocolate Chip – this one time, I ate ice cream made from Rose Petals – it was amazing.

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