Monday, September 05, 2011

Speakeasy Dollhouse

Speakeasy Dollhouse is a biographical tale of murder, bootlegging, mafia, and intrigue, set in New York City and explored through a graphic novel and live performances.

This is a true story about my grandfather who, during prohibition, along with my grandmother, bootlegged liquor and owned two speakeasies in New York City. He was shot and killed in 1935, but nobody in my family ever found out why. I'm uncovering the facts and telling the story in two ways: First, a graphic novel with photographs of miniature dolls and sets that I've created to visualize and convey the story, and second, in an immersive play through which the events unfold in real life. You can help me solve this mystery by pre-ordering the book or by purchasing tickets to the play through Kickstarter. - Cynthia von Buhler (née Carrozza)

In 1922, my grandfather was given a free trip to America because he was a brave soldier in Italy.He ran an ice delivery business in the Bronx and someone owed him money. He needed the money because he had four children and his wife was pregnant. So he grabbed his coat and went to collect the debt. He took his twelve-year-old son, Dominick, with him. They unlocked the door and let him into the apartment.
But before he could finish taking off his coat, he was shot. He couldn’t defend himself because his arms were stuck in his sleeves. He died.When Grandma found out, she fell down and went into a long sleep. Two days later, Grandpa’s coffin was being carried into their apartment when the man who carried it tripped and fell, and dropped the coffin right on the ground! My mother says that Grandpa’s ghost tripped him.The sound of the coffin hitting the floor woke Grandma up. Her baby started to come out. In the living room, my grandfather’s body was laid out in his coffin, and in the bedroom next to it my mother was born.
For more information click HERE to watch a video about the project.
Thank you to Howard Fishman, Amanda Palmer and Kim Boekbinder for donating downloads of their prohibition-era songs to my Kickstarter project.
Howard Fishman by Anne Vellis. Amanda Palmer by Anabel Vázquez Rodríguez. Kim Boekbinder by Heike_Schneider-Matzigkeit.