We welcome the ladies from Crime & Cookies, Gina Gennari and Andrea Duffy, at the library on Friday, August 16th, for their live show.
Gina and Andrea took some time to let us get to know them before they come for their show:
Briefly describe yourself and what to expect for the Crime & Cookies @ TPL program.
We are Andrea Duffy and Gina Gennari, two Philly comedians and true crime buffs who host Crime & Cookies. We are excited to bring our show to TPL and believe this is the perfect pairing because there are so many rabbit holes and subjects for further interest in every true crime case. Whether investigating the geography, geology, or genealogy in a cold case, deconstructing the human behavior of a serial killer, or even dissecting the decisions made during trial, what better place to deep dive into crime than the place where you can continue your investigation or dig into a new one.
How did you get into true crime? And how did you decide to incorporate some elements of a live show to true crime?
GG: I don’t remember the exact case that got me into true crime, but I can remember being really compelled by America’s Most Wanted and being fascinated by Robert Chambers/The Preppy Murder in the 1980s. I have always loved storytelling and mysteries, and I binge watched Law and Order and Dateline before I knew binge watching was a thing. The recent popularity of true crime podcasts has helped to normalize the fascination and make it okay—for the most part—to talk about in public.
I desperately wanted to do a live show about true crime because I wanted to gather a big group of people together to talk about and process the stories that captivated me. The humor comes naturally because that is how I filter most of the world/cope. We never laugh at the victims or the crime, but rather the absurd details in the periphery, and the oddness of being a person in a world where these things happen.
AD: ahhhh Dateline! We had Dateline and 20/20 on all the time in our house growing up. I think Gina and I grew up in an interesting time: the rise of the 24/7 news cycle, and being exposed to those huge crime stories that just churned on and on for days/weeks/months non-stop (for example I was 14 during the Jonbenet Ramsey case and 13 during OJ’s trial). So “True Crime” has always been, just, in the air. My case that got me into it as an explicit interest, though, is a pretty recent one: the disappearance of Elisa Lam from her hotel in LA. Probably because it’s so strange and unsolved, it was the first case that made me go “I have to know Every Single Thing about this” and google anything and everything related.
I love our show because it’s live. I love the people who come out because they’re just like us, they want to talk about this weird niche interest that we all have. And we’re all talking back to the podcasts we listen to so with a live show we can actually have a conversation in real time.
What true crime/survivor story has impacted you the most?
GG: I have too many answers for this because there are so many survivors who are strong, kick ass human beings. But I will include two here. First is Mary Vincent, a fifteen year old who was savagely attacked and left for dead by monster Larry Singleton in 1978, but somehow found the unimaginable strength and courage to survive. I am abbreviating the details here because they are gruesome, but her story remains one of the most haunting and unforgettable I’ve ever heard, and I am humbled by her will and fierceness.
The second is Josefina Rivera who survived after being trapped in Gary Heidnik’s basement and enduring unspeakable pain, torture, and abuse. Her book, Cellar Girl, tells the harrowing story in her own words, and it is all at once moving and devastating. It is difficult not to be in awe of her fortitude.
AD: Ah screw it for positive effect, true-crime-wise I’m going to say Karen and Georgia of My Favorite Murder. BECAUSE they made “f*** politeness” a rallying cry (sorry, am I allowed to swear? I only need, like, two more). SO many predators rely on social mores of not making a scene or being difficult, especially because women are socialized to have a mortal dread of being labelled a Difficult Woman. “F** Politeness” reminds us to not go along with things we aren’t comfortable with just for going-along’s sake– good to remember in all areas of life! I think it’s a good effect all-around to have that reminder out there in the world.
What is your favorite book and why?
GG: My favorite author is Ray Carver, and I have read all of his short story collections, so I would include those as well as Nine Stories by JD Salinger. I also love Tennessee Williams and Eugene O’Neill and enjoy reading their plays. Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five are both on the list.
AD: I read so much—usually like three books at a time—that it’s hard to pick a favorite. I will say a book that had a profound effect on me is The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker, which is true crime related! It’s about how our brains are always taking in information and that we can trust our instincts to avoid danger (which ties back to F*** Politeness, and now I am through with swears). I will also add that I only still have one book from my childhood, and it’s my taped-together copy of The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown.
Interested in reading some of Gina & Andrea’s favorites? Place your holds:
Nine Stories by JD Salinger
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker
The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown