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“What are the odds?”

December 17th, 2012 · 1 Comment

Palminteri and Makkar

Palminteri and Makkar

Performance on Saturday December 15th, 2012 at the Throop Theatre/South Pasadena By Valerie Milano South Pasadena, CA (Hollywood Today) 12/17/12 – This show was an autobiographical journey of Joseph Makkar’s earliest memories of his family traveling from Egypt to America.  Wait, he was yet a fetus when his parents were in Egypt, how can that be his earliest memory? Are you surprised that an Egyptian actor exists that isn’t basing his career on terrorist plots, post 911 perceptions of his culture? He also asks, if the audience is surprised that there is such thing as Christian Egyptians?  His performance included history embedded in humor. Joseph indicated he would be taking us on a “Rollercoaster ride” while he continually begged the question “what are the odds?”  He introduced himself as he entered to the Italian song of Paolo Conte “via con me” and acted as if he was thrown off by a full house.  He welcomed the audience as if he were on Broadway in New York, as if they had trouble in the snow or beating the traffic at Grand Central station.  However, the real venue was in South Pasadena at the Throop Theatre; with not as much as even a hint of snow at the tips of the San Gabriel Mountains. The introduction is followed by a short clip of him opposite Nick Nolte, in Down and Out in Beverly Hills, with a sarcastic comment following, “I wish my life was that privileged.”  The clip can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6HVRCWTcLY.  His notable character was Amir, the rich Iranian kid next door to Bette Midler and Richard Dreyfuss. He took us back in time with moments filled with fun and laughter.  Joseph requested some audience participation; every time he made a specific questioning gesture, the audience responded with the show namesake “what are the odds?”  The gesture always preceded some percentage related to his amazing outcome, from beating birth control as a fetus, a potential miscarriage by his mother and anoxia brought on by his umbilical cord around his neck before his birth. Although funny, quite interesting that he deemed his story true.  Hard to believe anyone to have such early memories, but we’ve all heard of people’s past life recollections…so, maybe this was not farfetched. He takes us on a dance and music journey:  while telling the umbilical cord incident in the womb, he started to  belly dance and he said “this might be the first time the phrase belly dancing was coined,” as the audience participated with clapping to the Arabic belly dance music. What a gas, so funny and fun. And as if it wasn’t shocking enough to see Joseph belly dance, he refers to learning how to pop (form of dancing that New Yorker break dancers were known for) from the 2 nights that his family was on lay over when he was only 8 months old.  Wow, he is six foot three and can move amazingly.  He is a really good dancer, I might say. We are taken on his journey as if he made every decision from inception, choosing his parents, what sex he was before; we are surprised that the end of his solo performance would abruptly ensue.  It was a work in progress which gave him permission to leave us a cliffhanger, but what a way to go out.  He brought us to the end of the performance with what he says the streets of Los Angeles taught him: a short classical Shakespearean piece, but then shifts his focus and says that was not the language he learned.  He pulls out a gun in the scene and indicates the language he learned was the language of the streets, shoots off three rounds as he walks off stage and the lights fade to black.  The song, “Via con me”, ensues directly after, and the audience cheers shortly after with a standing ovation. jm_w_gun_ending_of_showWhen I asked him what made him perform such a show, he responded, with being inspired by John Leguizamo and Chazz Palminteri. “I met Chazz Palminteri whom I recall had bit parts in lots of films, but when he told his own story, A Bronx Tale, people respected his voice and his talent as an actor.  So as a result, I believe if you want to be known for the real talent you have , then tell it and share it; that is what I am doing now.  I have worked diligently to build a successful business that would sustain my acting career and I am right on schedule.  I would love for it to happen sooner, as my plan is to be interviewed by Jay Leno by the time I am 43.  I am 40 now; Conan O’Brien almost blew that for me.”  He laughs really hard, and then follows with, “well I do like Jimmy Kimmel now too, so I guess it would have been okay if Leno was replaced by O’Brien.” Well, Hollywood Today interviewed him before both Leno and Kimmel and we look forward to more shows revealing his depth of writing and acting talents.  Here is his IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0538654/ The event was sponsored by SAIPRO (Serving Artists in Process), a non-profit organization run by Debra De Liso, Elizabeth Wu and Deborah Berman. His performance was one of six; other actors that wrote and performed were Betty Weiss, Susana Korma, Heldine Aguiliz, Michael Purcell and Deb Dutilh.

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Jerry Freedman // Dec 19, 2012 at 1:02 am

    Joe was a student of mine when he was in high school (Los Angeles County H.S. for the Arts). He was talented, funny, and sometimes a good history student. He is an especially wonderful, generous person. The world needs to discover him.

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