When multi-talented performer Anita Giovannini first graced our pages in November 2016, she was excited to talk about her then-upcoming show, Anita Luna THE DIVA, which premiered in Rome the following month. She was also excited that it was her first ever interview in English. Anita has since begun producing her own short films in English.
Anita has also been developing her musical skills since her last visit here. Besides studying the piano and drums, she plans to soon release her first music EP, which is a collaboration with her good friend, musician and producer Massimiliano Scarcia. Anita wrote the lyrics to the songs herself and she describes her music as electro-swing and jazz.
Another one of Anita’s new projects to take not of is her “Sexy Shop” video series in which she plays the proprietor of a sex shop. A role she’s enjoyed researching. She tells me; “When I visit a different place, I always visit them. In San Francisco, I visited the Castro district. It was a real eye-opener for me. As an artist, I find it fascinating to see how sex is portrayed and seen in different countries.” Read on to learn more of this very colorful lady in her second exclusive interview with Idol Features. All accompanying photos courtesy of Anita herself.
ANITA GIOVANNINI: It’s a pleasure for me too, Chris. I really enjoyed being interviewed by you, you asked really original, interesting questions. I shared our interview on my web page and on my official Facebook page and received a lot of positive comments. For me, your interview was a key point in my career that has spanned over 15 years, it was an honor and gave me encouragement to continue my artistic path. I’m still filled with gratitude from that experience, so I’m so excited now to repeat it. Although some people say the second experience in anything is always worse, I’m confident that this new interview’s gonna be different, but amazing. So …let’s do this!
CHRIS: So, since our last interview, in how many cities have you performed your show, Anita Luna the Diva?
ANITA: Well, when we last met I was in the final stages of creating the show Anita Luna THE DIVA with my master of clown and magic director, Jango Edwards. We finally premiered in Rome for two nights in December 2016. The show was recorded and you can find the 15-minute trailer on my web page and Youtube channel (Links at the end of the interview). My director and I are very satisfied with our project, Anita Luna THE DIVA is ready, we are searching for the next right venue to perform it. Watch this space!
ANITA: I was recently the lead actress for L’altra musica by Arau, an Italian singer and songwriter. This is a short film music video about a famous Italian songwriter Lucio Dalla. The shoot was in a very special location, Vito, in Bologna, my city, where many musicians met in the ‘80s and ‘90s including David Bowie. It was so fun because it’s usually a nocturnal place and we were shooting from dawn, and we saw a few drunk people staggering home when were starting. I am expecting this to be released any day now. Since we last met, I’ve also been focusing on singing and songwriting and developing my musical attitude by studying drums and the piano. The biggest news I have for you is that I’m about to release my first music EP. This is a collaboration with a great friend and musician Massimiliano Scarcia. I can describe my music as electro-swing and jazz. I wrote the lyrics and my style is a mix of singing and talking.
CHRIS: Your 2017 short film Like a Sister was very good and I didn’t expect the ending. Did you write it yourself?
CHRIS: Well, since your character was the one cheating with your friend’s boyfriend, and was about to cheat on the boyfriend with your friend, it seemed like she was a woman if ill morals. Perhaps the only way the couple would be able to forgive her, assuming they found out the had both been betrayed by her, would be if she agreed to a threesome? Anyway, moving on; do you have many other short films you have done , but have not been released yet?
CHRIS: I look forward to it. So, what gave you the idea for your “Sexy Shop” video series?
ANITA: This video series was my idea. It came to me when I was doing some acting classes in America. I thought it could be interesting to talk about sex in an ironic way, as an artist and as a woman. At the beginning of the film, we see a woman who owns a sex shop who in appearance seems provocative, and a man who isn’t used to that world. He seems very curious and uncomfortable at the same time. As the film progresses, their attitudes change and the tension between them grows reaching a climax with a very funny and unexpected ending. Therefore, we realize that we shouldn’t judge a person based solely on appearance, their attitudes can change in surprising ways like what happens in real life. This is my way of developing my characters, I always search for the real human aspects that are in all of us, even in a murderer. This series was an experiment, training; what was special was that we only had the beginning scene to start with and the rest was improvisation. But it went so well that we decided to release it. I also want to give a special mention to my partner in this series, Giovanni Romagnoli. He is very generous, genuine and a natural-born comedian.
ANITA: Yes, of course! When I visit a different place, I always visit them. In San Francisco, I visited the Castro district. It was a real eye-opener for me. As an artist, I find it fascinating to see how sex is portrayed and seen in different countries. Sex is important in life because it’s something very instinctive and at the same time, profound and how we live it tells us many things about who we are.
CHRIS: Last year in Bologna, you starred in a stage show entitled “To Vegan or not to Vegan.” Tell me about the show and ….are you a vegan?
ANITA: I had the opportunity to challenge myself doing stand-up comedy and I instinctively wrote a piece on food. As you know, I come from Bologna and my city is very famous for food. I grew up in a traditional environment, so I used to eat tagliatelle ragu, lasagna, prosciutto, the list goes on. Like sex, food is also instinctive and profound in our lives. Food is also very important in my characters, what they eat, what they don’t eat. So, the piece starts with the famous soliloquy from Hamlet “To be or not to be” and I transformed it to “To vegan or not to vegan”. The monologue, from start to end, makes fun of being a vegan but the ending is a complete overturn, where I reveal myself as a vegan demonstrating that you can be normal, healthy, funny even if you don’t eat a cow. I also sing a song from Janis Joplin’s “Crybaby,” transforming the lyrics to ‘Cry Vegano’ and singing about Bolognese grandmothers exclaiming “How can we make gramigna salsiccia if you don’t eat salsiccia anymore ??!!”
CHRIS: You still perform on the static trapeze. How often to you train these days?
ANITA: To keep myself in shape and to do static trapeze and aerial silks, I work out with a personal trainer and I do yoga. I increase my workout routines when I’m about to perform in the air.
ANITA: When I first starting doing aerial acrobatics, I was focused on learning difficult feats. Now, at this moment of my life, I’m changing my focus to how I do even a small maneuver. It’s about fluidity and simplicity. I’m working on my personal interpretation and style of each movement. When I go on stage, it’s all about giving and not about showing off. I want to enjoy every movement I make, filled with emotions, gracefully.
CHRIS: I see you have also gotten several tattoos since we last spoke. Were they all done by the same artist?
ANITA: In the recent years, I feel tattoos are a way of developing myself, they have a profound meaning to me. They represent what I want to become. Last year, I met a wonderful tattoo artist, Giovanna Cacciatori, who’s based in Bologna. With her, I felt an immediate connection and we started working on my body. This year, we have updated some old tattoos because I believe in Kintsugi. This Japanese philosophy and practice consists of using a precious liquid, gold for example, to bring together shattered pottery making the item whole again but at the same time, making it unique adding value to the cracks. So I Kintsugi-ed my old tattoos! About getting new tattoos, it represents a self-confidence ritual to me. I’ve always wanted them but in the past, I was worried about their consequences : what people would think, how it would affect my work, but now, I feel getting them is something very natural and it’s who I am. Just to name a few, the most recent one is a lion on my chest which is one of my spirit animals, regal and powerful. I also have a ballerina on my side (if you look at it, there are three details which identifies that the ballerina is me) who’s strong, elegant and graceful. She’s a rock and classic ballerina because in life it’s important to be both. And finally I want to talk about the mandala tattoo on my right arm, my alter-ego Anita Luna; she’s The Diva, eternal and immortal, and when I am her, on stage and in life, I can do everything and anything. At the same time, she’s taught me that because I am only human I must quit doing things which hurt me. So we could say that Anita Luna saved my life.
ANITA: In Italy we have a saying “Mal d’Africa,” which is a feeling you have after returning from Africa, a longing to return to a place you belong in, a nostalgia. Well Chris, I think I have Mal d’America! Being in America is so different to being in Italy and I need both to energize and balance myself. So yes, I’m looking forward to returning soon and I’ll drop by to say hello to you!
CHRIS: I guess we have in common the disappointment that our countries’ teams will not be in the World Cup this year. Will you be cheering on another team in the World Cup this year?
ANITA: I’m sorry Italy and the US aren’t in the World Cup too. I feel I’m half Italian and half American so this is a double whammy for me! But Chris, to be honest, I’m more of a basketball fan because I really love basketball and have been playing it all my life. I’m a big supporter of Virtus, the basketball team of Bologna. When I was in New York, I watched a national game at Madison Square Garden and for sure, the next time I’m there I wanna watch a NBA match live!
CHRIS: With that, I’ll thank you again for doing this with me Anita. In closing, do you have any shout-outs to your international fans?
ANITA: First honors go to you Chris, I really adore your interviews. Thanks for having me! I really want to express my gratitude to every person I’ve met in my journey of life, for they have helped me grow and understand who I am and what I want to become: a better person day by day. A special mention to those who have given me confidence and encouragement to pursue my artistic path, they are too many to name them all here, I’ve been lucky to have them in my life. As said by one of my favorite writers, Truman Capote; “Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.”
profound meaning to me. They represent what I want to become.”
was written by Anita and Massimiliano Scarcia and is performed by Anita.