Next Friday, on Parallel Exit’s Artistic Director Mark Lonergan’s birthday, Parallel Exit celebrates 25 years.
On Friday, February 26th, at 7:00 pm, we celebrate a quarter-century of work, with laughter, performances, and interviews with some of your favorite Parallel Exit artists
I have photographed many of this company’s wonderful shows and I can say that they are ‘brilliant’. Both the director and the company bring so much joy and laughter to the audience. You will not be disappointed if you attend this Celebration!
If anyone knows about the circus it is Karen E. Gersch. She has performed, created and directed circus and painted, drawn and illustrated it. Her work is beautiful and captures the whimsical nature of the circus soul. Here are a few choice examples of Karen’s work with her descriptive text.
The ‘Nickel’ in this oil painting, “Nickel Storms the Ring” was my teacher and mentor, Nina Krasavina, a star acrobat, aerialist ad the first woman clown ever to grace the ring of the Moscow Circus. After defecting to NYC in the mid-’70s with her husband, Gregory Fedin, they traveled with 3-ring circuses throughout the US and Canada. Nina and Grefory opened their own school, the Circus Arts Center, in an abandoned department store in Hoboken, which they ran for years, training many acts that had longtime professional careers.
“Gordoon”: acrylic on canvas portrait of Jeff Gordon, whose inventive and acrobatic routines made him a beloved and longtime featured performer with the Big Apple Circus, as well as Cirque du Soleil, Ringling Bros., Walt Disney World, and various NYC theatre productions.
“Kenny Raskin/New York Goofs”. Kenny is a physical comedian whose diverse and charming character work enlightens every stage, be it on Broadway, off-off-Broadway or Cirque du Soleil. He is someone I never tire of sketching; captured here during a New York Goofs engagement.
“Little Tich” and his Big Boots Dance was a headlining act of the English music halls in the early 1900s. Tich (Harry Relph) was only 4’6” tall, but left large footprints with his eccentric and energetic dance routines, combining balancing skills with acrobatics. The slender wooden boots he performed in were 28 inches long! Relph is considered the forerunner of all screen comedy.
Darja is a Latvian-born acrobat whose professional partners happen to be small dogs and a potpourri of cats. The setting for her act is a living room, complete with two dressers, a nightstand, and an oval carpet. The drawers glide open and cats climb gracefully out, then jump in an arc to her shoulders, where they run and balance along with her extended limbs, as she turns walkovers, handstands, cartwheels, and splits. A dog poses perfectly on her top hat while she executes back rolls and contortional poses.
Darja performs primarily in Russia and Europe, in circuses, cabarets, and theaters. Her animals travel with her – in carriers to the stage, but live uncaged in her hotel room, where they all share her bed. I know, because I had the room next door to her in Leipzig, Germany, and was serenaded by her Siamese and Egyptian cats, who sang gustily all night!
“Richard Hayes”, also a British Music Hall performer, was a noted juggler and silent, deadpan comedian, often billed as “The Laziest Juggler in the World”. His oversized head, languid manner, and slow-motion moves distinguished his ball juggling routines.
This is a very early pastel sketch of Hilary Chaplain (1990’s) from the CircuSundays Series I used to run. Hilary is one of the most prolifically funny and hardest working physical comediennes, whose recent work has delved deeply into emotional and historical elements. In particular, her current production “The Last Rat of Theresienstadt” which takes place in the “Ghetto town”/concentration camp of Theresienstadt during the Holocaust. Following a successful run in Europe, where she garnered top awards, the show will be presented at The Wild Project on November 13th and 14th.
“Senor and Friend”. Senor Wences began his career as an unsuccessful bullfighter before becoming a gifted ventriloquist. The Spanish performer was one of the highest-paid and most popular Vaudevillian acts in the world and appeared on the Ed Sullivan show throughout the ’50s and ’60s. Wences died at the age of 103 in Manhattan.
“Slava’s Snow Show”. I first saw Slava Polunin in Cirque du Soleil’s production of Alegria, back in the 80’s, and was delighted by his simplistic and organic clowning (finally oversized clown proboscis and makeup used well by the clowns who wore them!) His signature romantic imagery, the surreal environments and emotional physical work he creates were resurrected in his first “Snow Show” that appeared on Broadway. This drawing was one of many rendered from his second run in NYC at Union Square.
Born in Prague, Tomas Kubinek and his parents fled the Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia and settled in Ontario, Canada, when he was only 3. He fell in love with circus and clowns, began performing as a child and has never stopped, regularly traversing the globe with his imaginative and eccentric solo shows.
“Waldo & Woodhead” (Paul Burke and Mark Keppel) were a couple of wild and zany guys, whose character-driven physical comedy and strong partner juggling made them a well known performing sensation around the globe. This painting, exhibited at several IJA Conventions, was sold three years ago.
For more information or to see other artwork, visit:
Mark Gindick is a professional actor, clown, physical comedian, director, teacher and writer/creator of his own theatrical shows. Wing-Man, his original theatrical piece without one spoken word, won BEST ONE-MAN SHOW in United Solo Theatre Festival, the largest solo festival of it’s kind in the world. Mark has appeared in major feature films, including the Nora Ephron comedy Julie & Julia with Meryl Streep; on televison, The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien and was featured in The PBS mini series CIRCUS; starred Off-Broadway and at the Edinburgh Theatre Festival in the New York Times acclaimed hit The Comedy Trio Happy Hour; clowned on circuses such as Cirque Du Soleil, Ringling Brothers and the Big Apple Circus as well as teaching clowning at SUNY Purchase College and other New York City venues. Mark wrote and starred in How To Be A Man at the Palace of Variety on 42nd Street (NYC) and Mark’s unique blend of vaudeville, dance, and physical comedy earned him three Golden Nose Awards.
Adam Kuchler is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Adam followed in his uncle’s footsteps and became a clown. Since 1995, he has worked in 43 of the United States and 14 countries around the globe, in circuses, variety theaters, parks, cruise ships, and once in a bullfighting ring. He appeared on Late Night with David Letterman multiple times, and in 2012, was honored to be awarded a special prize for clowning at the International Circus Festival in Figueres, Spain. In his spare time, Adam enjoys playing ukulele and eating popcorn.
Vaudevisuals interview with Acrobuffos – Christina Gelsone and Seth Bloom
I have enjoyed watching Christina and Seth perform for many years. In fact, many of those times it was behind my camera documenting them either solo or together. I recently was so moved by their new show “Airplay” that I had to find out more about their work process and their lives. Here is my interview with Acrobuffos!
I sat down with Joel yesterday, and he mapped out the classes and what he would be teaching. I was thrilled to hear all about his theory about comedy, and it’s application in his upcoming classes. I wanted to help promote these classes since I know they will be wonderful. Here is the scoop from the workshops information.
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WHAT IS GOING ON?
Physical comedian and clown, Joel Jeske, is teaching a class. He is teaching five lessons in comedy performance: One a week for five weeks. Lessons will be focusing on character, presence, creating material, personal schtick, physical storytelling, and how to never be dull on stage.
WHO IS THIS CLASS FOR?
It is for any performer or actual person who wants to be funnier.
WHERE IS IT GOING TO BE?
SPACE at 520
520 8th Ave., 3rd Floor
New York City, New York
WHEN IS IT? : Tuesdays in Late February and March
Feb 28th, 12-3pm
March 7th, 2-5pm
March 14th, 12:30-3:30pm
March 21st, 12-3pm
March 28th, 2-5pm
WHAT IS THE COST?:
Early sign up: $60.00 a lesson until February 27th
Regular sign up; $80.00 a lesson.
All five lessons: $300.00 Until February 27th
$350.00 After February 27th
Payment can be accepted via:
• Paypal: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Venmo: email@example.comReserve your spot by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or by calling: (347) 446-0963JOEL JESKE is a clown, physical comedian, teacher, and director. For over 20 years, he has performed and taught nationally and internationally as a clown and physical comedian and has toured and created material for Cirque Du Soleil, Big Apple Circus, Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus, as well as serving as a Broadway and Off-Broadway physical comedy consultant. He has been nominated three times for the Drama Desk Award for comedy productions he created with director Mark Lonergan and their theater company Parallel Exit. Always at heart an improviser, Joel is the only person who got improv guru Del Close to admit out loud that he loved clowns.
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Joel Jeske talks about ‘what is funny’ in this Vaudevisuals interview.