From running rampant on the then-gritty streets of New York City as a technically feral child to being plucked from the audience by the Grateful Dead to become the underage beau of guitarist Bob Weir to run-ins with drug cartels, Felicity Seidel’s wild-but-true life of sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll almost seems like a movie.
So Seidel made it a one-woman show called “Lucky Chick,” which is pretty much what she is for surviving all that unscathed. The show is at the Paradise Factory on East 4th Street through Saturday, and Metro caught up with Seidel to find out what it’s been like performing in her hometown, what Weir thinks and how she’d fare growing up in the city today.
Metro: How has it been performing “Lucky Chick” in your hometown?
Felicity Seidel: I love New York City. “Lucky Chick” goes from New York City to Alaska to San Francisco to Wyoming, but in the end, it’s still a story about a New York City kid who busted a move. I can’t imagine developing the piece anywhere else.
The show definitely has that vibe you cannot get from anyone but a native New Yorker.
The show is not for the prim and proper. And NYC is not for the thin-skinned. It’s a pretty good match. And I especially like when people come see it and know the old New York from the ’80s. It’s a rich and fun topic, and people who know it love to trade tales.
It’s just you up there. What do you do to prep before hitting the stage?
I’m usually right there with the fairy tale that opens the show in the form of an animated short film. I can hear it while I’m backstage. I follow along in the story and think about that old New York City that I’m about to go out and talk about: the sounds, the smells, a particular pizza joint we used to hang out in, a rumble at the corner.
Do you have a favorite part of “Lucky Chick?”
It changes night to night, but truth is, it’s fun to play pretend. I get to rob a store, drop acid and meet the Grateful Dead, swing between a rough-and-tough drug-dealing boyfriend and Bobby Weir of the Grateful Dead, go to Red Rocks, Colorado, head out to John Barlow’s ranch in Wyoming and even go through a big cocaine bust. But I always enjoy the last line of the show because there’s something satisfying about bringing it all home in one line.
What does Bob think of the show?
He hasn’t seen it yet because the timing hasn’t overlapped where he’s been in the city, but I hope it will because I think he’ll get a total kick out of it. He’s been cool, we talk about it, and he likes to hear about it and is totally supportive.
How different do you think your childhood would be if you were coming of age on today’s streets of New York City?
Oh, my God — it wouldn’t have happened, it couldn’t have happened. It’s so different. I think people tend to romanticize that time in New York — the city was covered in graffiti, everybody’s parents were divorced, the dads were gone and the moms were trainwrecks. We were all left alone to make it up as we saw fit, which is a terrible idea with young teenagers! It was really fun and really free, but it was just really dangerous and precarious. There’s a lot of good stuff now and conscientious parenting, plus women and girls are in better positions.
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