Categories
Book Shelf Vaudevisuals Bookshelf

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf ~ “How Many Surrealists Does it Take to Screw In a Light Bulb?”

How Many Surrealists Does It Take to Screw in a Lightbulb? or, Why did the Intellectual Cross the Road and Walk into a Bar?: A collection of over 1,000 cartoons, jokes, and epigrams for the over-educated and cognitively curious (yes, that means you!) as compiled and for the most part understood by John Howard Towsen, Ph.D

John’s most recent book, Clowns, came out 39 years ago, so he figured it was high time for another. Yes, he really does have a Ph.D. (drama, NYU) —which will no doubt come as a surprise to some of his friends— as well as an NEH fellowship and a Fulbright. He grew up in New York City’s Greenwich Village, where he still lives and had his first exposure to laugh-so-hard-it-hurts comedy when he saw Danny Kaye on the big screen, probably in The Court Jester (1955). A few days after his 7th birthday he made his live television debut in a comedy sketch with Red Skelton and Jackie Gleason on The Red Skelton Show. He subsequently acted in dozens of television shows and commercials, working alongside such names as Gary Moore, Julie Andrews, Kaye Ballard, Alice Ghostley, Edie Adams, Myrna Loy, Claudette Colbert, Robert Preston, Tab Hunter, Sid Caesar, Ed Wynn, Claude Rains, Charlie Ruggles, Walter Slezak, Kate Smith, Shirley Booth, Sam Levenson, Margaret Hamilton, Patty Duke, and Joseph Papp. In his twenties he returned to show biz, this time somehow eking out a living in the world of clown and physical comedy, from the schools of Long Island to the circus sands of Saskatchewan, Saudi Arabia, and points in between, most of it with partner Fred Yockers. He was artistic director for the first two New York international clown-theatre festivals (1983, 1985) and has taught full-length physical comedy courses at Princeton University, Ohio University, and the Juilliard School, plus innumerable shorter workshops in numerous countries. Former students include Laura Linney, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Andre Braugher, Michael Hayden, and Michael Stuhlbarg. His latest research on physical comedy is to be found on his blog: physicalcomedy.blogspot.com. In other parallel lives he taught theatre, multimedia, and digital video in the Creative Arts & Technology program at Bloomfield College for 26 years, and spent many a summer working for the Open Society Institute doing media training for activists in hot spots across the globe.

REVIEWS:

Zany. Whacky. Hilarious (Apollinaire-ious?) More than twenty years in the making, author Towsen generously shares his collection of jokes, funny stories, cartoons, limericks, wise sayings, poems, and more. He gives us favorite knock-knock jokes and screw in the lightbulb jokes but, drawing from such creative minds as Mark Twain, Noel Coward, Albert Einstein, Bill Watterson, Leo Cullum, and Groucho Marx, also covers a whole range of subject matter—the meaning of art, mental balance (or was that imbalance?), language and literature, writing, math and science, history, technology, etc. This is definitely a prerequisite for the next history of the world book, so get your copy now (or, better yet, get several; they’re small and make great graduation gifts, just because gifts, or un-birthday presents). In just a few hours you can become smarter and funnier than the guy next door, so how can you resist?

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A fantastically funny collection of jokes and cartoons, some you will know, many will surprise you, it is a hilariously funny collection, well worth reading and then keeping on your shelf to read it again!

Available wherever good books are sold! (And on Amazon.)

Categories
Mime Radio Podcast Video Women

Introducing ‘Mime Radio Podcast’ online!

Karen Hoyer, James Donlon, and the producer Michael Dias interview working artists in the international world of physical theatre.  They are posted every two weeks. The first one is Bill Bowers and can be seen here or on the MRP website.

This and all upcoming episodes can be seen on the website.

Here is a list of the 1st Season’s upcoming interviews.

#2 Karen Montanaro July 5


#3 Geoff Hoyle July 19


#4 The Chameleons Aug 2 (Sharon Diskin & Keith Berger)

#5 Bob Francesconi Aug 16 (Former Master teacher at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts)

#6 Joan Schirle Aug 30 (Dell’Arte International)


#7 The Adaptors Sept 13 (Kari Margolis & Tony Brown)

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Categories
Clown Comedy Coney Island USA Sideshow Story Teller Tattoo Variety Arts Vaudevisuals Interview Video

Vaudevisuals interview with eccentric performer Jelly Boy the Clown ~ Coney Island USA.

A visit to the eccentric sideshow at Coney Island USA was a great trip. Now the show is OPEN again to the public and the performances are every Fri. through Sun. I had the pleasure of interviewing Jelly Boy the Clown backstage after his show.

Jelly Boy the Clown is currently writing his autobiography. Look out for it next year at your local bookstore.

Jelly Boy reveals the coat hanger to be used in the sword swallowing routine.
Volunteer audience member removes clown nose hammered into his head with a nail. A magnetic device is used for safety.

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Categories
Ask The Experts Circus Coney Island USA Midgets Performing Arts Rose's Royal Midgets Sideshow Variety Arts Women

Coney Island USA ~ Ask the Experts: Trav S.D. ~ “More than Munchkins: A History of Performing Little People”

Ask The Experts: Trav S.D. – Live on Zoom

For centuries Little People have been a mainstay of popular entertainment. In this illustrated talk, author and performer Trav S.D. traces the historical ups and downs of very short-statured entertainers from medieval times through the era of P.T. Barnum and dime museums, to side shows and circuses, to vaudeville, to movies and television. Along the way, we trace the evolution of the Little Person’s image in popular culture, from one of cruel derision in the age of the court jester…to one of glamour, as personified by sex symbol and Emmy-winning actor Peter Dinklage…to a virtual return to carny days on reality tv.

Bio: Writer/performer Trav S.D.’s books include No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Made Vaudeville Famous (2005), Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies (2013) and Rose’s Royal Midgets and Other Little People of Vaudeville (2020). He has spoken at such venues as the Modern of Modern Art, Columbia University, NYU, Brooklyn College, the New York Public Library, and of course the Coney Island Museum, His blog Travalanche contains the world’s largest repository of vaudeville biographies, and much more. Read him daily at travsd.wordpress.com

FOR TICKETS TO ASK THE EXPERT

Wednesday, June 9, 2021 – 7:00pm

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Categories
Magic Performing Arts Photography

Jeff McBride – Grand Master of Magic ~ MagicQuest online!

“Grand Master of Magic Jeff McBride takes you along on his lifelong quest to discover real magic. Limited dates for this Show, Tour, and VIP Afterparty!” May 2021

I promise you a virtual show unlike any you’ve seen before!

4 SHOWS ONLY!

Abagail and I would be delighted if you could join us for this unique combination of Interactive Illusion, World-Class Sleight of Hand, Mime, Martial Arts, Kabuki Theater, Tarot, Alchemy and more.  You have the choice of showtime but do this now please. Just go to this site to select you showtime https://mcbride.wellattended.com/

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Categories
Sideshow Southern Sideshow Hootenanny Tattoo Vaudevisuals Interview Video

Vaudevisuals interview ~ Geoff with a G

Connecting up with friends from out of town is always fun. A week ago Geoff was in town from Austin and we met up in Prospect Park. Here is the interview I conducted with this young energetic magician/sideshow performer and internet ‘twitch’ show host.

Talking to Geoff with a G in Prospect Park about his shows and life.

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Categories
Coney Island USA Livestream Music Party Sideshow Story Teller Variety Arts Vaudeville Women

First Ever Rock & Roll Circus Benefit ~ Thursday 4/29

What an amazing LINEUP!

Tickets are on sale now for our 2021 Spring Virtual Gala on Thursday, April 29th at 7pm, ET! A Night of High-Voltage Entertainment Produced in Cooperation with @jessemalin, @theboweryelectric and @rollinglivestudios!
The gala will feature a line-up of East Village and Coney Island personalities performing songs, spoken word, burlesque, and sideshow feats.
Tickets are $20. Donations made during the broadcast go directly to Coney Island USA, your Non-Profit Arts Organization at the beach!
Get all of the details at our event page! Invite your friends and thanks for your support!

For More information and tickets!

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Categories
Comedy Midgets Music Performing Arts Rose's Royal Midgets Television Vaudeville Video

Billy Barty on Spike Jones Show ~ NBC Jan. 1954

Talented Little People were quite a draw for audiences from the early 1920s through the 1950s. Billy Barty was no exception! His talent was musical and comedic. Here he is appearing on the Spike Jones show impersonating the extravagant musical media star Liberace. Along with Sir Frederic Gas (Earl Bennett) performing as Lee’s brother, George. Liberace and George, who played the violin, performed together when they started out. NBC ~ January 30th, 1954.

For more great stories about talented little people grab a copy of the new book from Vaudevisuals Press.

Text by Trav SD and Foreword by James Taylor. Illustrated with over 100 vintage postcards and personal photographs.

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Categories
Amercian Vaudeville Theatre Charlie Chaplin Cinema Clown Comedy Film History Online Course Performing Arts Silent Film Story Teller Vaudeville

Online Course in ‘Comedy” by Trav SD.

Check out the Onlne Course in Comedy taught by Trav SD.

April is a crazy month for classic comedy anniversaries, including the birthdays of Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd and (this year) the centennial of the first comedy short directed by Buster Keaton (though not the first one he released). And numerous others, as well. Join me Monday, April 19 (7pm) for my zoom crash course on classic comedy, where we’ll be talking about these guys and many others, and what makes them unique, how they influenced each other, and everyone who came since! The talk will be available only to members of my Patreon family — go here to join so you can take part in all the Travalanche zoom talks, and other exclusive benefits, like my upcoming Podcast about Old Time Medicine Shows, coming up in early May. Come find out why the poet tell us “April is the Foolish Month”!

Check out Trav SD’s course in Comedy by signing up here!

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Categories
American Mime Theatre Comedy History Mime Performing Arts Physical Theater Video Women World Mime Organization

The American Mime Theatre ~ Celebrating its 69th Wonderful year!

The American Mime Theatre will celebrate its 69th Year on April 7th, 2021. The Company and  School, in New York City, was founded by Pau J. Curtis in 1952. Mr. Curtis is the creator of the performing art form known as “American Mime”,  and his Medium and its services continues under the direction of Jean Barbour

Paul J. Curtis, Founder and Director of The American Mime Theatre

For more information about The American Mime Theatre.

Click here to see my previous post on The American Mime Theatre.

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