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A Saturday Night with Tania Katan

Tania Katan and her brother Paul Katan goofing around at a party
Tania Katan and her brother Paul Katan goofing around at a party
Katie Johnson

To say Tania Katan is a character would be an understatement. Her personality is as colorful as her resume, which includes her memoir My One-Night Stand With Cancer; comedic solo performances including her most recent, Saving Tania's Privates; as well as featured works and shows in The New York Times, BUST Magazine, Bitch Magazine, and The Huffington Post.

Add to all that, Ms. Katan is also one of the main characters in the local literary arts scene as Lounge Program Coordinator for the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, where she birthed Lit Lounge, a hybrid show of live musical performances and dynamic storytellers.

See Also: A Friday Night Out w/ Bucky Miller - Tania Katan Kicks Off a Literary/Performance Series at SMoCA Lounge - Atherton|Keener's Meadowbrook Residence is for Sale (and the Architects are Staying in Phoenix)

The next SMoCA Lit Lounge on September 28, coincidentally Tania's birthday, will feature the Program Coordinator herself among many other talented writers (see the full list on the SMoCA Lit Lounge site).

An author, playwright, and globetrotting one-woman show, Tania's reputation intrigued me, which is why I asked to be her Wingman for a night. Here's how it went down.

We started off our Saturday evening by meeting up for a spinning class, Tania Katan's new hobby, and my new excuse for being unable to sit or stand without cringing from muscle tenderness.

Rocking out to fast-paced hip hop beats which could easily be classified as audio porn, I take the occasional glance over at Tania who is breaking a sweat without breaking a smile, this will be the first of many instances throughout the night where I wonder what this woman operates on (my guess -- heavy duty lithium batteries).

After 30 minutes of spinning and sweating, Tania and I break to our respective homes to shower and gear up for the better portion of our evening. We rendezvous at the home of Jeffrey Harakal and Tim Rodgers, Director of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

Ok, maybe 'home' is underselling it - this Meadowbrook residence is a work of art. The structure is a collaborative design of architects, Jay Atherton and Cy Keener and was featured on the cover of Dwell Magazine (Dec/Jan 2011issue). Upon entering, I find Tania surrounded by people; artists, architects, actors, you name it. She may not be the host of this party, but she's certainly the star.

 

Tania Katan and friend Vince Avallone on the dancefloor at Cash Inn Country
Tania Katan and friend Vince Avallone on the dancefloor at Cash Inn Country
Katie Johnson

Throughout the party, Tania and I are easily separated as half the room is waiting for their chance to talk one on one with Tania and the other half is warmly welcoming me into their conversations, sharing their personal stories of Tania (many of which I'm told can't see the light of day).

What initially started out as a brief cameo at the party has now turned into hours of free flowing conversation, champagne, and sexual jokes that interestingly enough make a newcomer feel welcome. Eventually Tania looks at her phone and realizes it's time to move on to our next stop. She's mapped out the whole evening but didn't plan on how easily enamored I would become with all of her friends.

 

An evening with Tania Katan at Cash Inn Country
An evening with Tania Katan at Cash Inn Country
Katie Johnson

We leave the party with Tania's twin brother Paul and partners Paul Domaleski and Vince Avallone, friends of Tania's visiting from San Francisco. We make a quick stop at The Main Ingredient to refuel on sandwiches and tacos. Between bites, Tania and I discuss a new young adult novel that Tania is currently co-writing with an undisclosed author.

After our late night eats, we head south to Cash Inn Country where Tania plans to show and teach her impressive two-stepping skills. This would be the second time during our Wingman adventure, that Tania has taken me completely out of my comfort zone -- and just to be clear, I'm talking about line dancing, not the lesbians.

Lucky for me, the country music was short lived, and Tania and I were left to present our interpretive dance moves to the crude hip hop beats that had apparently followed us from spinning class.

Tired, tipsy, and too sore for words, I bid my adieu to Tania and her crew, but not without letting her know that I would gladly be her Wingman again because Tania Katan doesn't just bring a lot of energy, she gives it. Adding color to the mundane, and life to the lackluster, Tania Katan easily fits the mold of both the writer and the subject, making her not just an excellent person to Wingman but also someone you'd want to hang out with on any given weekend.

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