The look on Charlie Adonizio’s face told me I may have made a mistake. A big mistake.
Charlie was sitting across a table from me when I read the email from Barbara Sciandra on my phone. “I’m writing to see if you’d like to be one of our honorees!” she wrote. The exclamation point lending an air of excitement. The word “honorees,” it turned out, an air of deception.
These “honorees” were to be not necessarily “honored,’ but rather “roasted.”
There’s a difference. You bet there’s a difference.
But it didn’t matter. Of course, I would say “yes.” I’d never say “no” to a request from Barbara Sciandra. Even when five years ago she asked me if I’d be willing to run down Main Street in pink high heels.
That was the inaugural year of Paint Pittston Pink, an event that has become almost as synonymous with the City of Pittston as the Pittston Tomato Festival. And almost as impactful.
Paint Pittston Pink involves a series of events each fall designed to raise money for cancer research. In four years, nearly a quarter of a million dollars has been raised.
Barbara Sciandra, a breast cancer survivor — a “miraculous” breast cancer survivor, to use her word — is the founder, along with cohort attorney Qiana Murphy Lehman, who guided the legal process in obtaining 501c3 status as an official nonprofit.
This year’s Paint Pittston Pink goal is $100,000, and one way the group hopes to hit it is with the addition of what they are calling a “Rockin’ Roast.” That’s where I come in. As well as fellow “honorees” Pittston Mayor Michael Lombardo, local legend Dave Fusco, 97.9 deejay Lazy E (Adam Sieminski), and Rock 107’s Prospector (Eric Logan).
In her original email, Barbara asked me to come up with four people to “roast” me and that’s where Charlie comes in. Since he was sitting right there, I asked him. And the way his eyes lit up, I was a little sorry I did. For one thing, we were on a houseboat trip in Canada at the time and had been taking our nightly baths in a lake, floating a bar of Ivory back and forth between us.
And that’s not even the most embarrassing thing Charlie could bring up. I’m blushing just thinking about it.
I needed three others and quickly turned to Rep. Mike Carroll with the hope, in his typical dignified fashion, he might temper whatever Charlie had to say. We’ll see.
My third “roaster” is Ron Reino, a teaching colleague at the community college. Ron directs the college radio station, which has been named the top college radio station in the nation, and is a part-time deejay on Rock 107. I always say Ron’s voice on the radio is so smooth it reminds me of a perfect cup of coffee with just the right amount of cream. I am saying that today so that maybe Ronnie will go easy on me.
Finally, there’s my niece Paulette Kern. Paulette is my dental hygienist and, as such, gets to do something no one on the face of the earth gets to do. She gets to talk to me for 45 minutes without me interrupting. She’s also the funniest person I know.
The Paint Pittston Pink Rockin’ Roast is Saturday, Sept. 22, at the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with cocktails and light hors d’oeuvres and live music followed by the stage show which features the Scranton Civic Ballet, the nine-piece band Hoopla, and of course (gulp) the Roast.
MC’s are the Rev. James Paisley, Rabbi Larry Kaplan, attorney Jarrett Ferentino and my friend and former newspaper colleague Lori Nocito.
The event is open to the public. Tickets, at $50 per person, are available at Ticketmaster (Paint Pittston Pink Rockin’ Roast) or at the Kirby Center box office. Tickets also will be available at the door.
As mentioned, the Roast kicks off 2018 Paint Pittston Pink. Other events include: Paint the Night Pink, Sept. 28, at Riverfront Park; Pittston Pink Purse Bingo, Sept. 30, at St. Maria Goretti Church Hall; Paint PAZZO Pink, Oct. 1, at PAZZO restaurant (this is a gala Pink Carpet event); Paint Pittston Pink Yoga, Oct. 4, at Sapphire Salon; Paint the Red Mill Pink, Oct. 5, with celebrity bartenders at the Red Mill tavern; Paint Pittston Pink 5K Run, Oct. 6; and Gentleman’s Dash, Oct. 6. The run and dash are on Main Street, Pittston.
Search “Paint Pittston Pink” online for full details.
Barbara Sciandra, a mother of three, was diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago. If not for an experimental vaccine, she truly believes she would not be here. She took her fears and her gratitude and, with Qiana Lehman at her side, turned them into a wave of positive energy that has taken Pittston by storm. By pink storm.
I consider myself an optimist. But I pale considerably next to these two.