Oakland Writer/Artist Gary Turchin was 58 years old, afflicted with Parkinson’s, and suddenly laid off from his job. His future didn’t look promising. So what did Turchin do? He wrote and illustrated a funny and inspiring picture book about life, called If I Were You, which is receiving a warm reception and great reviews wherever he goes.
Now Turchin is turning the journey of his book’s creation, and his 7+ years with Parkinson’s, into an evening of inspiring, whimsical, and heartfelt storytelling. The presentation, “The Healthiest Man On Earth: A Poet’s Journey With Parkinson’s” chronicles the power of creativity in keeping Turchin healthy, productive, and thriving. Through poetry, comedy, stories and readings from If I Were You, Turchin will take his audience on his journey with what he calls his “obsession” with creativity. The presentation premiers at Alameda’s Rhythmix Cultural Works, 2513 Blanding Ave., on Thursday, Nov. 3, at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $5 to $10, sliding scale followed by a Q &A and book signing.
“With my back against the wall, I’ve been doing the best, and clearest creative work of my life,” Turchin said. “And I’m excited to share what I’ve been doing. But more importantly, I want to inspire others with afflictions, not just Parkinson’s, that there is life and art and creativity and even success after a diagnosis like Parkinson’s. I want to be an inspiration to others, to show them what’s possible.”
“I take medicine for Parkinson’s,” Turchin explained, “but my real medicine is art and writing and putting words and pictures together and making them sing and dance and laugh. And when something I create, like If I Were You, moves people, affects them, makes them laugh, brings them to tears, than that means my medicine is working and that makes me ‘the healthiest man on earth.’”
Rhythmix Cultural Works (RCW) opened its doors in 2007 as a community arts center to bring people of all ages together for a wide range of high quality arts experiences. Only five minutes from downtown Oakland off Hwy 880, RCW offers a beautifully renovated 150-seat theater, art gallery and classroom as affordable space for live performances, exhibitions, arts education and cultural exchange for youth, families and adults. By providing a range of exhibits, workshops, classes and performances, RCW supports local, regional and international artists in the presentation of their work and strives to encourage community awareness through participation in the arts.
More info: www.rhythmix.org