Rosie Perez discusses her new book with The New Yorker's Hilton Als
Oscar-nominated actress (and Brooklyn resident) Rosie Perez is known for her effervescent personality and memorable roles in Do The Right Thing, White Men Can’t Jump, Pineapple Express, and The Counselor. But most of her fans would be surprised to learn she had a childhood straight out of a Dickens novel: abandoned by her schizophrenic mother, then sent to live at a Catholic home for boys and girls. In her new memoir Handbook for an Unpredictable Life, Perez tells her story in her own inimitable voice, as well as sharing stories from her professional life: her appearances on Soul Train which led to her work as a trail-blazing hip-hop choreographer, Spike Lee “discovering” her at a “big booty” contest at a club, which led to her being cast in her first acting role; meeting Sean “Puffy” Combs, Jennifer Lopez, Tupac, and others before they were famous; and more. Handbook for an Unpredictable Life has been highly praised by fellow artists, including author Hilton Als, who writes, “I read Rosie Perez's magnificent, very real, and heart wrenching book with equal parts joy and horror - horror that the world can and routinely does inflict its terrors on its children, and joy that Rosie made it out to become not only the superior, iconographic artist she is, but the magnificent woman this book reveals her to be. Her voice is the captivating instrument here: forthright, funny, and utterly her own.” Als, a New Yorker staff writer, winner of a Guggenheim for Creative Writing, and author most recently of the hugely acclaimed essay collection White Girls, talks with Rosie about her memoir at St. Joseph’s this evening, with a book signing to follow.