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Neon Man hits Janet’s Java on the road to PBS

Posted on Nov 19,2008
Filed Under News , Community,

Slash Coleman performs the Neon Man and Me

Susanne Seidman, Style Editor

Through tragedy can come triumph. For a quirky and creative performer, from the tragic loss of a best friend and fellow artist came a labor of love in the form of a one man show. Intended to be a love letter to his friend’s child about the father he would never know, the performance became a vehicle for Slash Coleman’s energy, compassion and grief.

Slash Coleman is an award winning playwright, performer, artist, educator, surfer, and musician. He is best known for his one-man show, “The Neon Man and Me,” which ran Off-Broadway in 2007 and makes its debut as a PBS special on stations in Richmond this November. Talks are underway for a national distribution.

“The Neon Man and Me,” is a tribute to the life of Coleman’s best friend, Mark Jamison, a neon artist from Roanoke, VA who was electrocuted in 2004 as he was hanging a neon sign. Since the first show in 2005, the production has enjoyed three national tours, helped raise over $50,000 for non-profits and earned Coleman The Groucho award for best one man show and a Top 40 under 40 award for his artistic and philanthropic contributions. Most recently, Coleman was nominated for the 2008 Virginia Governor’s Award in the Arts.  

From Off-Broadway to Janet’s Java, devotion to another long time friend, Lara O’Connor, brought Slash to Alexandria to perform his live show for a select crowd on her birthday. The neighborhood coffee house plays host to special events after hours.

In addition to being a funny and passionate performer, Slash is also an educator. He seeks to help students uncover pieces of themselves through creative expression and also to conquer loss, finding freedom from fear and violence.

Slash says he has always been on a quest to live the life of an artist. It's in his blood: his grandfather danced at the Moulin Rouge, his grandmother was a watercolorist, and his father is a sculptor and painter.

At 38, Coleman's résumé reads as if he's much older: he has worked as a standup comedian, painter, concert pianist, art therapist, massage therapist, upholsterer, educator, and writer — his output includes songs, plays, fiction, nonfiction, magazine articles, and four novels. He holds a B.A. in English from Radford University, a M.A. in education from Columbia College, has taught preschoolers in Montessori schools, students in college, and trained teachers in early-childhood development. He has also taught writing, anatomy, kinesiology, massage techniques, behavior modification, and sign language.

Slash Coleman is a Virginia original artist and one to watch as his star shines bigger and bright. Watch for his name in neon lights on your local PBS station.

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