I had known Bradley for many years. Ever since he returned from his studies with master mime Etienne Decroux in Paris. We stayed in touch and spoke on the phone periodically during the last few years. He was living near Washington DC. I was producing/shooting some video interviews for my blog post on Jack Adams. Bradley was in NY visiting the APAP conference and came over for the interviews that are posted here.
A wonderful person and charming performer. R.I.P. Bradley Fields.
. Bradley as the ‘barker’ in the Broadway show ‘Barnum’ that Opened in 1980.
Bradley spent a few years as an assistant to magician Jack Adams. Here is an interview I did with Bradley about his time with Jack.
Bradley Fields at the APAP convention promoting all his shows.
Before the ‘pandemic’ hit NY I had the pleasure of attending a performance of “Nothing Here is Real” with Gary Ferrar. The show is held in a cellar at The Oxbow Tavern in the Upper West Side’. It is like a ‘speakeasy‘. Intimate and well-furnished. Gary’s performance persona is upbeat, charming and a little nerdy but he delivers a wonderful evening of mind-blowing magic and mentalism.
For more information about Gary’s upcoming shows visit his website!
Featuring a lone human performer against a tide of geometric performing objects and a chorus of indifferent puppeteers, Erdos submerges the audience in a series of meditations about our dependence on technology, the allure of blind faith, and the question of whether participation is even a choice.
The show featured Kate Brehm, Rachael Shane, Alex Young, Maiko Kikuchi, Sarah Plotkin, and Kate Reilly. Directed by Amanda Friou. Music by Nehemiah Luckett. Costume design by Sarah McMillan. Set and puppet design by Kate Brehm
Beginning with this post I will be making weekly ‘flashbacks’ To “5 Years Ago Today“. Mixed in with current interviews with performers and photographs from shows either happening ‘online’ or previously posted! Enjoy!
I met Luca online as he was perusing the internet for historical information on the art of Quick Change. I had begun writing a book in 1989 title “Quick Change in American Vaudeville” which I researched for over 3 years and had accumulated many volumes of xerox copies (Pre-Internet days).
Having posted a few items on this blog Luca was interested in finding out more about the American history of Quick Change. He is from Naples and only knew the artist from his country and Europe. I emailed him and we set up a time/date for an interview. I thought using Zoom would be great. He agreed but then we realized his English wasn’t up to par (and my Italian was terrible!) to do a thorough interview. I then emailed him the questions I wanted to ask him and he answered them in text. Here is the interview and a video clip of our attempt at a Zoom interview. Along with some videos of his performances.
Interview with Luca Lombardo
Q: You are a magician, quick-change artist, magician, and clown. Can you give us a little history about these skills and where you acquired them? What schools you attended or what teachers you studied with?
Luca: When I discovered the art of magic I was 15 years old and it really moved me. I studied every kind of magic for many years attending workshops and conferences of worldwide fame magicians. I decided it was my path when I watched Arturo Brachetti’s theatrical show. So I studied clownery both in Italy and abroad while I was practicing my magic tricks. I came up with the idea of a quick-change act with magic tricks. At first, I started only as a magician I then evolved in time as a clown developing a much deeper understanding of the audience.
Q: Can you tell us about your thoughts regarding the mixing of all these wonderful disciplines?
Luca: You can use as many tools and disciplines as you acknowledge to tell a story. The message is important. I love being and playing the clown because it is the closest to the truth, you can’t lie to your audience. However, my character is not a pure clown and I like to use my character to create my story.
Q: In a few articles I have read they refer to you as “The Crazy Performer”. Can you tell me why you got that title from the press?
Luca: I got this nickname because I always tried to overthrow all theatrical rules still existing in the conservative Italian theatre scene.
Q: I read a quote that mentioned ‘Fregolian Transformation”. Can you tell us what that is?
Luca: The Fregolian Transformation is a transformation not only in the clothes but also in the character, the moves, the attitude. In my act, there is a story and I have to change character not only a costume. In the Russian quick-change instead, the artist changes the only costume and the effort is more in the choreography of it, the story is less important.
Q: While you were in Rome a few years ago you met with Augusto Fornari who helped you write your current show: “Poubelle – Magic Beyond Imagination”. He also directed you in this new show. Can you tell us about the work you did with him?
Luca: Augusto Fornari is also a film director and he is a very much acclaimed artist in Italy. I owe him everything as he believed in my talent and my creativity since the beginning. We are friends and I am very happy to be his friend.
Q: One of the things I heard about your show was the importance of empathy. Can you tell us how important this emotion is for you in your work?
Luca: Empathy is what makes an artist happy. I think an artist needs emotions and if you are able to pass these emotions on to your audience, those will come back to you and it probably means you did a good job! I like to gift my audience an emotional and maybe surreal performance. I feel more grateful when someone says you really moved me instead of appreciating how quickly I was with the changes.
Q: Why do you think “Poubelle” has been so successful?
Luca: The nice thing about ‘Poubelle’ is that despite the fact that the character never speaks, he still manages to reach everyone. Empathy with the public is certainly the key to the success of this character. It is not a traditional show but a story of my childhood, the story of my life. With my dress changes – from Peter Pan to Mary Poppins to Super Mario Bros – I am able to tell my world. And this world then becomes that of the spectator who identifies with Poubelle. The great success of this character makes it clear that we all need magic and to play again.
Q: What does magic represent for you?
Luca: Magic is the ability to bring others into your dream, into your world. Changing the world is becoming increasingly difficult, but each of us can create one of our own in which to transport people. The magician does this by profession
Q: What are you working on now? Any new shows? Luca: It is very hard to think about future projects right now with the ongoing virus outbreak. I am supposed to be on stage in France at the ‘Avignon Off Festival’ next July. If everything goes further I will preview a new interactive quick-change act where a member of the audience chooses the character I change into.
Poubelle is a multitalented show ( Without words) : magic, poetry, comedy, and solo quick change. In this video the quick change it’s in real-time NO EDITING
Photographs of Characters from Luca Lombardo’s show
Today at 4 pm the second edition of Virtual Vaudeville we be broadcast on Instagram. This is LIVE entertainment folks! At least for now! Today I interviewed the very charming ventriloquist Nigel Dunkley who is performing in the upcoming ‘Virtual Vaudeville’ show. You can see his performance at the following times: 4:35 6:35 and 8:35. The show starts at 4 pm on Instagram – @phonograhdjmac (due to a technical glitch I didn’t get to record the questions so I posted them in text for viewers!)
Since many shows have been CANCELLED in the past weeks I have decided to rerun some of the interviews I did that are with the performers/directors involved in these shows. Today is the funny man Joel Jeske who created with Parallel Exit director Mark Lonergan “The Artist Will Be With You In a Moment“. It was open for several performances BUT I didn’t get to see it! The reviews are ‘great’ so I am thinking it will be mounted again in the not-too-distant future! In the meantime here is Mr. Jeske talking about his show.
“The commanding performance artist Joel Jeske during his uproarious, clever and thoughtful self-created and self-written show, The Artist Will Be With You in a Moment. Relying on his dazzling clowning, his winning presence, and plentiful audience participation, it’s 70 delightful, breezy and theatrical minutes.”
Keep your eyes open for more information at Parallel Exit‘s website!
Considering the cancellation of so many wonderful shows due to the ‘coronavirus’. I decided to ‘rerun’ some of the wonderful interviews I did with directors/performers of those shows. Today is the delightful, Jennifer Miller. A uniquely talented performer/director. Listen in as she talks about the show “Bloody Brains in a Jukebox” (written by Dick Zigun with music by Nikos Brisco) that she directed and never ‘OPENED’ due to this event. We are thinking it will arise and OPEN in the not-too-distant future at the delightful Coney Island USA.
During my 4 days documenting the Southern Sideshow Hootenanny in New Orleans in early March, I sat down with juggler Thom Wall (who performed at the Festival in the All-Star and Living Legends Show) and he talked about his niche publishing company Modern Vaudeville Press.
Along with Geoff performing his mentalist act on Sunday 3/8 was his pal Skabz The Clown. Below I have captured Skabz The Clown juggling in slow motion. Not sure what happened with my camera but this is what I got. I love it!