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Clown Comedy Dance Magic Music Photography Street Performing Tap Dance Variety Arts Video Women

Central Park Variety Show ~ November 20th, 2020

Central Park Variety Show producer/performer Ambrose Martos introduces the evening’s festivities.

MC for the evening was Muffy Styler.

Muffy Styler sang some great tunes with Aldo Perez on guitar.

Brian Klimowski performed a ‘chinese yoyo’ routine and a magic yoyo string restoration. Wonderful!

Tyler West performed two very wild physical comedy sketches.

Ambrose Martos followed with another wild ‘flasher’ routine!

Muffy sang another song and closed out the show.

Curtain call group shot ~ Lea McGowan with Dingo, Muffy Styler, Brian Klimowski, Ambrose Martos, Tyler West and Aldo Perez.

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Categories
Jazz Music Pangea Performing Arts Street Performing Variety Arts Women

Eccentric Mr. Matt Roper & Miss Muffy Styler @Pangea 10/23 ~ 7pm

Seating is strictly limited. Pangea has about 20 seats outdoors, so table reservations are necessary.

We would strongly suggest calling (212) 995-0900 to book.

A suggested donation of $15 would be warmly welcomed to support the artists and Pangea.

Everyone is welcome. Pangea is following Covid19 guidelines!

Remember to wrap up warmly for these cooler fall evenings… . 


Pangea has been supporting and providing a platform for artists of all persuasions since the 1980s. Pangea is an out-and-out East Village staple and in these urgent times they, and NYC, need your support more than ever! Plus, the staff are the best and the hospitality is legendary.

Since the Pandemic, many favorite restaurants that are very supportive of the performing arts have been having financial troubles.

No restaurant patrons = Financial Trouble!

So in light of this situation, I am asking anyone to contribute to the GoFundMe campaign for PANGEA!

go HERE for More information

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Categories
Film Man on Wire Performing Arts Photography Street Performing Video WTC

Philippe Petit – WTC highwire walk – 46th Anniversary

Philippe Petit – WTC highwire walk – 46th Anniversary – August 7th, 1974

On one of our visits to the top, it was so windy I couldn’t believe Philippe wanted to go up there. We climbed the 110 flights and when we arrived on the top floor (below the roof) the wind was so strong that debris was flying all over and coming into the entrance we needed to use for access to the roof. We finally climbed the wooden ladder that led us to the roof (still unfinished concrete) and Philippe walked cautiously across to the other side of the roof. I remained near the entrance with camera in hand. A huge wind came and blew Philippe off his feet but he was able to hold onto one of the concrete columns and prevent from being blown away like a leaf in the wind. I was petrified! I had never seen Philippe walk on a wire before I agreed to help him with this crazy caper. The rest is history and with the help of Jean Louis Blondeau (pulling an attaching the cable from one tower to the other successfully!), Philippe was able to fulfill his dream of walking on a wire (1″ thick) between the North and South towers of the not yet completed World Trade Center.

One of the scariest and mind-boggling things we did was to rent a helicopter service to fly over the top of the towers. I hung out the side window and took this photograph. We flew up the Hudson River and had spectacular views of the city and the towers. These photographs were used by Philippe later to plan the actual ‘day of’ strategy.

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Categories
Art Exhibit History Magic Performing Arts Photography Street Performing Variety Arts

Revisiting Jeff Sheridan Conjurer/inventor/magician

A few years ago I went to Frankfurt to visit magician Jeff Sheridan. He was working on some art collages and new magic illusions which were very amazing. Recently I spoke to him on the phone and he mentioned the Youtube video that he made in 2005. I have attached it below. Also, I created this slide show from photographs I have taken of Jeff Sheridan performing in Central Park and images taken from book covers and magazines where he was featured.

It was projected during Jeff’s performance at Monday Night Magic in 2005 which was hosted by Todd Robbins.
During the past several decades, Jeff has made Frankfurt his home and during this time he has performed at the legendary variety club Tiger Palast as well as many private engagements (Mercedes, Deutsch bank, etc). He has created many pieces of art/collages during his time in Frankfurt as well as invent many new magic illusions for Milton Bradley Magic Works, Japanese company Tenyo, and Viking Magic.

He authored the 1977 book, Street Magic, An Illustrated History of Wandering Magicians and Their Conjuring Arts. The book was co-authored by Edward Claflin.

Jeff Sheridan also authored in 1982 ‘Nothings Impossible, Stunts to Entertain and Amaze’ published by Lothrop Lee and Shepard. The book was illustrated with photographs by me.

His film “Jeff Sheridan – Hand to Mind” has been seen by over 24 thousand viewers on You Tube.

Posted here for your convenience!


Other posts about Jeff Sheridan can be found HERE!

~And HERE~

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Categories
Clown Comedy Magic Music Performing Arts Photography Sideshow Southern Sideshow Hootenanny Street Performing Variety Arts Vaudevisuals Interview Video

Vaudevisuals interview with Dante

Beginning his performing career in the street DANTE has moved onto stage work and music. In this interview, he talks about his life and the changes he has moved through to get to now.

For more information on Dante and his show go here!

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Categories
Juggling Performing Arts Sideshow Street Performing Variety Arts Vaudevisuals Interview

Vaudevisuals interview with Nathan Wakefield – juggler

My 4 days in New Orleans were very productive. I photographed the Southern Sideshow Hootenanny (all 3 shows) and did several wonderful interviews with performers attending/performing at the Hoot. This interview is with juggler Nathan Wakefield from Michigan. His act was with cigar boxes and clever knot tying with one hand. He is currently researching and writing the definitive book on Sideshow ‘Geek’ acts throughout history. Check out the interview!

Nathan performing his knot tying routine at the Southern Sideshow Hootenanny.

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Categories
Bouffon Burlesque Clown Comedy Coney Island USA Juggling Performing Arts Photography Sideshow Street Performing Tattoo

Roc Roc-It, the Clown Prince of Berlin

Roc Roc-It makes carny gold out of everyday objects. Grinning like a roly-poly overgrown tattooed child, he ambles onstage declaring, “This is the most dangerous stunt ever!” Then he reaches into a black drawstring bag and pulls out an ordinary disposable latex glove.

Making a big hoopla over stretching the glove out, he finally manages to distend the cuff over the top half of his face. Then he proceeds to huff and puff, inflating the glove on his head until it resembles a bloated coxcomb or a balloon mohawk. The audience laughs at the ridiculous sight of a potbellied man wearing a blown up glove on his head, but as the glove gets larger and larger, the laughter turns to cringes and cries of protest. Roc-It jacks up the mounting anticipation with goofy pratfalls and sideshow banter until the glove finally bursts all over his face.

With ingeniously simple acts like these, Roc-It has earned the monicker Clown Prince of Berlin. He has indeed lived in Berlin for about ten years – in a caravan outside a squat in an industrial part of Kreuzberg – but Roc-It was actually born in a small town near the Black Forest. “I’m a country boy,” he says with a wide smile that reveals several missing teeth. After several failed apprenticeships, he finally found his calling on a trip to Barcelona. “I saw all these street performers working on the Rambla,” he recalled, “and I was like, yeah, wow, that’s what I want to do.”

Sleeping on the beach and practicing everyday, he built up skills in Diabolo and fire. He learned to hammer a nail up his nose and juggle balls. Then after five years performing throughout Europe, he found himself in New Orleans breaking up with an ex-girlfriend. “I had two weeks left on my visa,” he said, “and I thought, fuck it, I’m going to go and visit some friends in New York.”

It was on his very last day in New York that he made a fateful visit to Coney Island with no other desire than to do a final show on the beach. “I knew nothing about what a sideshow is,” he said, “My friends were jugglers, guys riding a toy unicycle, doing all this classical stuff, and my show was always a bit weirder. And I was always a bit weirder character. So for me, it was basically, like, okay, there’s the main show and I’m the sideshow.”

With that in mind, he put his kit an old green suitcase and painted the words CIRCUS SIDESHOW on it. He was carrying the suitcase when he strolled past Coney Island Circus Sideshow and caught the attention of impresario Dick Zigun, who invited him to perform. Roc-It was a hit and stayed on for the next three years. “They fired the midget,” he laughs.

“While I was in New York, I did a thousand shows a year,” he estimates, but his visa had run out and living illegally finally wore him down. “I was working so much and so intensively, I got injured quite a lot,” he remembers, “I knocked my teeth out. I broke several ribs on stage. I burned my face off. And at one point, it just got to be like, it’s too much.”

Since returning to Europe six years ago, he continues to wow crowds in burlesque shows and street festivals. Twice a year, he performs with Kabaret Kalashnikov, a variety show with an Eastern European storyline. On summer nights, you can find him in the middle of a circle of people at Alexanderplatz during Berlin Lacht Fest. He also regularly performs with the Squidling Brothers Circus Sideshow when they are in Europe.


“Dazzle them with brilliance or baffle them with bullshit,” he declares, rolling up his sleeve to display a motto tattooed on his arm, “Either it has to be really poetic or just so ridiculous, that it’s just as good.”

Roc Roc-it at Baum Haus Comedy Open Air 
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Categories
Comedy Juggling Performing Arts Photography Street Performing Variety Arts VAudephone Video

Joey Joey – Washington Square Street Performer film – 1989

JOEY JOEY – A film by Ilse Somers

Shot entirely in Washington Square Park during one of Joey-Joey’s performances. Ilse Somers (High Heels, Low Tide 2012) assembled a great camera crew and shot some wonderful footage of Joey performing live. This kind of performance was a regular occurrence in the park. Many other performers took this spot to entertain the ‘built-in’ audiences. Charlie Barnett was one of the other comedians that got his start in this park.

I was friends with Joseph Colon (lost contact after he moved to Europe) and I had the chance to document many of his performances as well as some shots in the studio. Here is one of them.

I really miss those days in Washington Square Park in the late 1980’s. It was a hot bed for great talent working on their material. Like a 20th Century Vaudeville circuit at home in NYC!

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Categories
American Circus Big Apple Circus Circus Comedy Exhibit Juggling Performing Arts Photography Street Performing Variety Arts Ventriliquist

Capturing Clowns – Dance Magazine article April 1983

Not to get reminiscent about the past but here is an article published in Dance Magazine in April 1983.

Titled “Capturing Clowns”.  Featuring my photographs of performing artists.

Dance Magazine April 1983

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Most of my work at the time was done in studios since I was working a ‘night shift’ job at a photo lab and had access to rental studios.

The first picture above is a studio photograph of MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’ award winner Michael Moschen. Juggler/Inventor/director.

Second is ventriloquist/actor David Strassman taken with his friend ‘Chuck Wood’. David has created some brilliant videos and inventions in the ventriloquist genre.

The third picture is one of the first photographs taken of Big Apple Circus founders Paul Binder and Michael Christensen upon their return to New York from traveling thru European circus juggling as a duo.

Portrait photographer Gordon Munro took the photograph of me with the flower.

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Categories
Film Performing Arts Photography Physical Theater Story Teller Street Performing

Theatre Visionary – Reza Abdoh

REZA ABDOH

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 7.53.21 PM from interview with Reza Abdoh by Tom Leabhart/Mime Journal

“Before that I did a piece in New York entitled “Father was a Peculiar Man“. The title was taken from vaudeville, which interests me a great deal. I took certain 19th century psychological realism and mixed it with vaudeville and American music hall. I’m influenced by reading about vaudeville, and also by television performers of the 1950’s, who were vaudevillians: Jack Benny, Art Carney, Jackie Gleason. My hero is Buster Keaton, one of the great American artists. In fact, he is a character in “Father Was a Peculiar Man”. The point of departure for Father is The Brothers Karamazov; it deals with the family as a degenerating unit. We were dealing with things I’m obsessed with, like the killing of authority, in several different stages. The trajectory of the piece started with the killing of father, patricide in the family, Karamazov; then, killing of the king, the president, the assisination of J.F.K,; the the killing of God, in the crucifixion. In the end there was a redemptive act, when after the crucifixion the audience and the actors sang “Dream a Little Dream” together. There were 60 performers, an entire marching band and it took place in 4 street blocks of the meat packing district in New York. It is an area of cobblestone streets, abandoned storefronts and meat warehouses; it is very dark and it’s all about what is happening behind closed doors in the psychic underbelly of the streets. The piece took place in some abandoned slaughter houses where you could still see the dry brown ask which remained from the blood that had been spilled there. That’s where the vision of heaven and hell was created. The characters were J.F. Kennedy, Jackie O., Buster Keaton, Karamazov.”

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 “The original impulse behind ‘The Hip Hop Waltz of Eurydice” was my gut reaction to systematic repression and erosion of freedom taking place around me. Instead of feeling helpless about it I decided to create a piece. I think I am on a multi-track; I never think mono. Art today needs to have a holistic nature; it’s not the time for atomistic, Newtonian approach to art. I don’t believe in creating work that is too easily digestible. It’s important to create work that resonates in every aspect of one’s personal and universal self. That impulse grew into different aspects of the piece. “Hip Hop” summarizes what my struggle has been with my work in the last eight years or so. There are certain themes, certain preoccupations,  certain obsessions, dreams, nightmares that I’ve had continuously which somehow were tied together in this piece, but not necessarily resolved.

“A spiritual pidgeonholing takes place in this culture; it is a feeling of my God as opposed to your God. Spiritual entrapment is shown in the spear shaking of morality in the name of decency. What is decent is to care about people, not to thumbtack them on the wall and say this is this and that is that.”

ABOUT REZA ABDOH (Excerpt from the Kickstarter Campaign)

Reza Abdoh (1963-1995) was an Iranian-born American director and playwright known for his large-scale, experimental theatrical productions. A prolific artist even in his short, creative life, Abdoh died of AIDS in 1995 at the age of 32, having created an impressive body of stage spectacles known for their sensory overload, ferocious energy and hallucinatory dreamscapes. With his company Dar A Luz, formed in 1991, Abdoh created plays that have made a major impact on experimental theatre worldwide.

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Adam Soch is making a documentary film about Reza’s work. He has been documenting Reza’s work for 30 years and needs your support.

Here is the link to the Kickstarter video/site. 

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OTHER RESOURCES

Link to Collection of Papers by Reza Abdoh at New York Public Library

Link to Reza Abdoh production Video on UbiWeb.

For copies of the full interview conducted by Tom Leabhart write to Mary Rosier to get a copy of the “California Performance/2”

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