CJ Imperatore (pictured middle)
CJ is the creator/writer of “Stick ’em Up!” He is a non-deaf person who has held national certification as a sign language interpreter for nearly 30 years.
A fan of sci-fi and a creative writer, he became interested in acting and filmmaking at an early age, creating 8mm home movies which experimented with special effects. His first professional attempt in film was 1993’s The Sign Language Video Dictionary, a VHS version of what later would become the DVD Learning Sign Language Rules! The VHS version was among the earliest of instructional videotaped programs in ASL.
I am a firm believer in the laughterlife. -CJ Imperatore
Isias Eaton (pictured right)
The “Stick ’em Up!” Sign Club was thrilled to welcome Isias to the cast in Learning to Sign is Cool! and Learning to Sign– it’s a Party! Isias brings to our programs his unique talents as a signer, an actor and a comedian. He is widely recognized as a language model and creative language artist. Students of ASL will not only enjoy but stand to benefit greatly by viewing his work in this series of DVDS.
Mike appears in Learning Sign Language Rules! He is a member of the original “Stick ‘em Up!” cast, assisting with the VHS to DVD update of the above named program. He has gone on to enjoy a successful career as an ASL instructor near Rochester, NY.
Paula (Gerbasi) Rose
Paula is a Deaf person who has Deaf parents, making her a native user of American Sign Language. With such a rich linguistic background, she has been relied on heavily for evaluation of sign content in all three DVDS. Her performance of “Music Soothes the Savage Beast” in Learning to Sign is Cool! demonstrates her natural ability and artistry in telling a story in ASL. In addition, her work as production manager made her responsible for creating and supplying most of the props, and for making behind-the-scenes arrangements for many key elements of our programs.
Ruthanne Gerbasi (pictured right)
Ruthanne appears in Learning to Sign is Cool! and Learning to Sign–It’s a Party! She performed with the Fairmount Theater of the Deaf for several years in the early 70’s. Her talent for arts and crafts is demonstrated by her assistance in the design of many of the props used throughout our programs. For good reason, she was chosen to portray the art teacher in the segment
“When Colors Collide” included in Learning to Sign–It’s a Party!
Kenna Tweed (pictured middle)
Kenna is a member of the original “Stick ’em Up!” cast, appearing in all three programs. She lends her talent and command of ASL as a Deaf person to many segments, and especially so in her performance of “Look Out for That Dog!” in Learning to Sign – It’s a Party! She brings an unmistakable energy to her scenes, with a smile that lights up the screen.
Arthur Costello (pictured middle)
Arthur attended the first school for the deaf in the US, The American School for the Deaf (ASD), in Hartford, Conn. In Learning to Sign is Cool! his talent as a comic and storyteller shines while performing “Heads or Tails?” as well as in his Vincent Price persona as the narrator of the prologue to “The Mad Plot of Dr. Cochlear.”
Arthur was one of CJ's first ASL teachers, giving him private lessons when they both lived in Connecticut. It was a thrill for CJ to have Arthur accept the invitation to join the “Stick ’em Up!” cast nearly 25 years later.
Ryan is the non-deaf son of a Deaf father. As a fluent signer and talented actor, he has appeared in several other widely distributed educational DVD programs produced in ASL.
Ivan is a hard of hearing person who graduated from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, NY. His comedic flair as the evil video interpreter is a highlight of the segment "Baby's Sick" from Learning to
Sign is Cool!
For additional information about the cast, see the CAST BIOS screens included in the EXTRAS of each DVD.