Javier Ávila’s one-man show hits you (and me) on a personal level


Javier Ávila, an English professor, discusses this lovely “speak English” sign. I think you can see the irony here. 

Flock, sometimes a day just works in my favor.

Today was absolutely one of those days.

Right before my 12:40pm class, I caught a glimpse of a sign talking about a one-man show that was being held at 2pm in the lower level of the Gallagher Center at Niagara University.

The show also offered a chance to win a 32-inch television, which might have contributed to my interest. Of course you have to go to multiple events to get it, but it was a nice in.

Another nice in was the Latino food. Tacos with the good meat, empanadas, and all that great stuff filled my belly.

Then, he came on stage.

Javier Ávila.

Very rarely do I connect personally to a speaker. I connected personally to Javier.

Javier’s one-man show, “The Trouble with my Name,” is a spectacular, humor filled chat that dives into life as a Puerto Rican in Pennsylvania.

The combination of poems and anecdotes made this show mesmerizing.

Now, I’m not Puerto Rican. I’m not even Latino. I’m a wide span of Europe thrown into a blender.

Despite this, I completely connected to Javier on a personal level.

I laughed when he discussed mispronouncing his own name his entire life, since Americans clearly knew the correct pronunciation.

I rolled my eyes as he discussed his wife “not existing” since she doesn’t share his last name: myself sharing my mother’s last name.

I reminisced as he discussed his grandmother cooking in the kitchen, reminding me of garlic-filled meatballs of my Italian heritage.

I sat solemn as he discussed the death of his father, that fact hitting both my past and my present.

When all was over, I strolled to the back of the room, impulsively threw $10 at the wall to buy his book, and immediately rushed over to have him sign it.

I had to have these poems, these words that somehow echoed my life.

Mr. Ávila, if you ever do stumble upon this site and get to read this, I want to thank you for coming to Niagara University. Your show was one of the highlights of my time at this college, and I will never forget it.

Oh, and since this is being published on September 15, happy birthday to you.

-Sheepie ❤

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