ABOUT: “I tend to bring history alive,” says The Fabulous Lulu Lolo. “I do a lot of plays based on obituaries and interviews.” Ms. Lolo's theatrical one-woman shows have retold the stories of historical characters such as Mother Cabrini and the victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. Moreover, as the daughter of East Harlem community builder Pete Pascale (for whom East 116th St is named), Lulu does more than re-enact history-- she is a living piece of history herself. “Someone once told me you're carrying on your parents’ work because all of your plays [deal with] social issues.” Ms. Lolo is currently working on a play that explores the lack of monuments dedicated to women in NYC. Her upbringing also leaves her with a memory of East Harlem as a historic Italian enclave; she is quick to acknowledge that her "Italian-American heritage" is a "strong influence" on her work, and cites El Barrio’s annual procession for Our Lady of Mount Carmel as one source of her inspiration for her visual art. Ms. Lolo’s East Harlem brownstone is home to a handcrafted outdoor chapel, which holds family mementos and small trinkets left by visitors, each carrying its own narrative.
COMMUNITY VISIONS: Although Ms. Lolo has performed worldwide, she continually finds herself back on 116th Street. “We always just kept coming back here. It’s a wonderful community, a place we always have loved,” Lulu explains. However, despite her history with the neighborhood, Ms. Lolo comments that “[she doesn’t] really know that many artists up here.” She says this is most likely due to the residential nature of the neighborhood; there is a lack of large, inexpensive studio space. Ms. Lolo would like to see more galleries in the area, and more exhibitions with open calls.