Before Oksana Marafioti was 15, she had touched the Siberian tundra and the Mongolian desert, enjoyed the privileges of performing royalty in Russia, and suffered the indignity of being labeled a “gyp” at school. Then her family moved to America, the land of George Michael, processed cheese, and Harlequin romance. In her frank, funny, unsentimental autobiography, Marafioti explores the real world of a young American Gyspy, from dumpster diving in Beverly Hills to procuring earth from a cemetery for one of her family’s curses. While the tale doesn’t reach beyond high school years, there’s plenty of time for Marafioti to learn about sex by sneaking into Hollywood movies, become reluctant translator for the her father’s palm reading business, and find a hot Brazilian boyfriend to put her at odds with family tradition. In the end, we know Marafioti rises above the chauvinistic anachronisms that still dog her people -- trained as a classical pianist, she worked as a cinematographer, and was recently awarded the BMI-Kluge Fellowship in partnership with the Library of Congress -- but that doesn’t stop her from finding the enchantment and amusement which are, for her talented family, inherent.
Thu., Aug. 9, 7:30 p.m., 2012