Categories
Comedy Quotes

Comedian Steven Wright – “Quote”

Steven Wright has always been a favorite comedian of mine. I am not a big fan of ‘standup’ comics but his sensibility and surreal slant to his routine just struck me the right way. Here is some more information on him.

Steven Alexander Wright (born December 6, 1955) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and film producer. He is known for his distinctly lethargic voice and slow, deadpan delivery of ironicphilosophical and sometimes nonsensical jokesparaprosdokiansnon sequitursanti-humor, and one-liners with contrived situations.

Wright was ranked as the 15th Greatest Comedian by Rolling Stone in their 2017 list of the 50 Greatest Stand-up Comics.[2] His accolades include the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film for writing and producing the short film The Appointments of Dennis Jennings (1988)[3] and two Primetime Emmy Awards nominations as a producer of Louie (2010–15).[4] He is known for his supporting role as Leon in the Peabody Award-winning tragicomedy web series Horace and Pete.

Here is a nice interview with Steven Wright from 2006 from AV Club

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Categories
Performing Arts Radio Vaudeville Vaudeville Vaudevisuals Bookshelf

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “Charlie Weaver’s Letters from Mamma”

Look what I found in my storage closet. A long lost classic from early TV. Copyright ©1959.

“Today your father said to me, ‘Honey, I’m home sick.’ And I said. ‘But dear, this is your home!’ and he said, ‘I know it – but I am sick of it!”

From Wikipedia

Clifford Charles Arquette (December 27,1905 – September 23, 1974) was an American actor and comedian, famous for his persona, played on numerous television shows, of Charley Weaver.

Arquette was born on December 27, 1905, in Toledo, Ohio, as the son of Winifred Ethel (née Clark) and Charles Augustus Arquette, a vaudevillian. He was of part French-Canadian descent, and his family’s surname was originally “Arcouet”. The eventual patriarch of the Arquette show business family, Arquette was the father of actor Lewis Arquette and the grandfather of actors RosannaRichmondPatriciaAlexis, and David Arquette. In his early career, Arquette was a nightclub pianist, later joining the Henry Halstead orchestra in 1923.

In the late 1930s, Arquette invented the modern rubber theatrical prosthetic mask, flexible enough to allow changing facial expressions, and porous enough to allow air to reach the actor’s skin.

For more information go here!

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Categories
Comedy Film Vaudeville Vaudevisuals Interview West Fest Women

Vaudevisuals interview with Trav S.D. – “West Fest”

“I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it.” Mae West

Vaudevisuals interviews Trav S.D. about the upcoming ‘West Fest‘ dedicated to all things Mae West. August 17th to the 29th at numerous historical locations.

Mary Jane “Mae” West (August 17, 1893 – November 22, 1980) was an American actress, singer, playwright, screenwriter, comedian, and sex symbol whose entertainment career spanned seven decades, known for her lighthearted bawdy double entendres and breezy sexual independence.

West was active in vaudeville and on the stage in New York City before moving to Hollywood to become a comedian, actress, and writer in the motion picture industry, as well as appearing on radio and television. The American Film Institute named her 15th among the greatest female stars of classic American cinema.

WEST FEST – Aug 17 – 29th, 2018

For more information about the West Fest Click Here!

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August 17 (Friday)
Mae West Walking Tour
Time: 11:00 am
Location: Cypress Hills Cemetery
833 Jamaica Ave, Brooklyn (meet at main entrance)
Cost: $25 (cost of lunch and drinks separate). Advance registration required; space is limited.
To purchase tickets, visit: http://bit.ly/2Jj2pk8
Visit Mae West’s final resting place with historian and tour guide Kevin Fitzpatrick. Afterwards, walk (.7 miles) to Neir’s Tavern, an 1829 bar where Mae is said to have performed, for lunch and drinks before visiting her former home.

August 18 (Saturday)
Let’s Talk About Mae
Time: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Location: Jefferson Market Library, 425 Sixth Ave
A series of talks about Mae West will take place in the former courthouse whose prison she spent the night in after being convicted on obscenity charges in 1927.
Cost: Free
Full schedule below and here: https://on.nypl.org/2mRBV0d

12:00 pm: Mae’s Early Life, Career, and Vaudeville—Trav S.D., writer and performer; best known for critically-acclaimed “No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous” and the blog Travalanche.

1:00 pm: Mae and Broadway—John Calhoun, librarian, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

2:00 pm: Mae and Race—Chicava Honeychild, scholar, actress, proprietress of Brown Girls Burlesque, and artist in residence at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater.

3:00 pm: Mae and Spiritualism— Kathy Biehl, scholar, actress, freelance writer, and certified, award-winning psychic and astrologer.

4:00 pm: Rebel Mae West—a panel discussion moderated by Grady Turner, curator of “Bare! True Stories of Sex Desire and Romance;” featuring Dirty Martini, the international burlesque sensation; Elyse Singer, CUNY teaching fellow, artistic director of Hourglass Group, and director of two critically-acclaimed revivals of Mae West plays: “Sex” (1999) and “Pleasure Man” (2003) as well as participants Trav S.D., John Calhoun, Chicava Honeychild, and Kathy Biehl.

August 19 (Sunday)
Mae West Double Feature
Screenings: “She Done Him Wrong” (1933) and “Belle of the Nineties” (1934)
Time: 2:00 pm
Location: Jefferson Market Library, 425 Sixth Ave
Cost: Free
Films introduced by Michele Gouveia, West Fest chair, writer, and producer.

August 25 (Saturday)
Screening: “My Little Chickadee” (1940)
Time: 1:30 pm
Location: Metrograph, 7 Ludlow St
Cost: $15
To purchase tickets in advance, visit:http://bit.ly/2OuLVbJ
Film to be introduced by Dr. Harriet Fields, the granddaughter of W.C. Fields. There will also be a Q&A following the film.

August 27 (Monday)
Staged reading of the musical “Come Up ‘n’ See Me”
Time: 8:00 pm
Location: Friars Club, 55 W 57th St
Proper attire is expected.
Cost: $15
Tickets must be reserved in advance and paid for at the door (check or credit card only).
To reserve tickets, visit: https://www.comeupnseemethemusical.com/news
“Come Up ‘n’ See Me” is an original musical about the life of Mae West. Book by Bianca Leigh, Bonnie Lee Sanders, and Ellen Schwartz. Music and Lyrics by Bonnie Lee Sanders and Ellen Schwartz. Directed by Crystal Chapman. Musical Direction by Thomas Spahn.

August 29 (Wednesday)
Screening: “I’m No Angel” (1933)
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave, Huntington, Long Island
Cost: $11 members/$16 public
To purchase tickets in advance, visit:http://bit.ly/2vNX2Vm

Categories
Book Shelf Vaudevisuals Bookshelf

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “Fred Allen – His Life and Wit” by Robert Taylor

A portrait of the great radio comic follows his rise to popularity from vaudeville–where he appeared as “World’s Worst Juggler”–to the Broadway stage, and on to “Town Hall Tonight”–his wildly popular radio show.

For two decades Fred Allen, “the man with the flat voice,” was America’s most brilliant radio humorist, and for a time his program was the most popular in the country. This appreciative biography, enlivened by hundreds of quotations from Allen’s books, journals, letters, scrapbooks, and scripts, follows the career of Boston-born John Florence Sullivan (1894-1956) from his early days as a vaudeville juggler to his subsequent appearances as a Broadway comedian, culminating in his 25 years of national prominence. Boston Globe art and book critic Taylor ( Saranac ) discusses Allen’s meticulous working methods, his longstanding “feud” with Jack Benny, his happy marriage and working relationship with Portland Hoffa, Allen’s wife of 27 years, and the characters he used to interview in Allen’s Alley : Ajax Cassidy, Sen. Beauregard Claghorn, Titus Moody, Mrs. Pansy Nussbaum and Falstaff Openshaw. Allen’s cleverness and wit, his preeminence as a master of pace and timing, acknowledged and proclaimed by the likes of James Thurber and Groucho Marx, are fully represented in this delightful, distinguished biography.

Unlike Jack Benny, his long-time contemporary, Fred Allen is perhaps almost forgotten today, except for those who grew up listening to the radio for an evening’s entertainment. He was, nevertheless, one of the leading radio comedians of the 1930s and 1940s. This book covers Allen’s roots in Boston, his days of vaudeville and Broadway revues, and his coast-to-coast success on radio. Television was his downfall, however, and nearly overnight his type of humor, shrewd and sardonic, became passe. This book is very much worth reading, but its excerpts from radio scripts really do little more than suggest what it was that made Allen so funny. Listening to tapes of Allen’s actual broadcasts would give a better sense of his remarkable style.

~ From Wikipedia~

John Florence Sullivan (May 31, 1894 – March 17, 1956), known professionally as Fred Allen, was an American comedian. His absurdist, topically pointed radio program The Fred Allen Show (1932–1949) made him one of the most popular and forward-looking humorists in the Golden Age of American radio.[1][2]

His best-remembered gag was his long-running mock feud with friend and fellow comedian Jack Benny, but it was only part of his appeal; radio historian John Dunning (in On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio) wrote that Allen was radio’s most admired comedian and most frequently censored. A master ad libber, Allen often tangled with his network’s executives (and often barbed them on the air over the battles) while developing routines whose style and substance influenced fellow comic talents, including Groucho MarxStan FrebergHenry Morgan and Johnny Carson; his avowed fans also included President Franklin D. Roosevelt and novelists William FaulknerJohn Steinbeck and Herman Wouk (who began his career writing for Allen).

Allen was honored with stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for contributions to television and radio.[3]

To purchase the book on Amazon go here!

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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
Comedy Vaudevisuals Bookshelf Writer

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “How to Talk Dirty and Influence People”

LENNY BRUCE – HOW TO TALK DIRTY AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE

During the course of a career that began in the late 1940s, Lenny Bruce challenged the sanctity of organized religion and other societal and political conventions; he widened the boundaries of free speech. Critic Ralph Gleason said, “So many taboos have been lifted and so many comics have rushed through the doors Lenny opened. He utterly changed the world of comedy.”

Although Bruce died when he was only forty, his influence on the worlds of comedy, jazz, and satire are incalculable. How to Talk Dirty and Influence People remains a brilliant existential account of his life and the forces that made him the most important and controversial entertainer in history.

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REVIEWS:

“I read this book for the first time when I was twelve years old. It made me want to be in showbiz, have a lot of sex, and be Jewish. I’ve rethought that last one.”

Penn Jillette, author of God No!

“If there was a God, then he sent down Lenny Bruce to create the art form of modern stand-up comedy. He sought the truth fearlessly and hilariously until his tragically muffled First Amendment rights surely enabled his dying for our sins.”

Richard Lewis, author of The Other Great Depression

“Outside every American comedy club, there ought to be a statue of Lenny Bruce—the type of big bronze statue that commemorates and immortalizes heroes…Bringing Bruce’s ideas and stories to a new generation might just be the next best thing to erecting those bronze statues.”

Playboy Magazine – August 2016

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Categories
Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show Clown Comedy Dixon Place Magic Magic Music Performing Arts Photography Physical Theater Variety Arts Women

Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Revue – Feb. 6th, 2017 @ Dixon Place

THE BINDLESTIFF OPEN STAGE VARIETY REVUE

Hosting the evening’s entertainment was ‘Magic Brian‘.

First up was the ‘Amazing HouDino’ performing a wonderful card trick with his father Magic Brian.

HouDino carefully selected a card as audience volunteer looks on.

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Penelope the Clown carried a cinder block on stage. WOW..must have been heavy.

Albert Kirchner does some funny standup material.

Ellia Bisker and Adam Kuchler  perform a lovely duet with uke and bells.

The Flying Luango Brothers performed a musically accompanied escape/magic act.

Christie Cahill and Amy Schulster perform a wonderful aerial act.

Magic Brian places HouDino on the stage with his ‘straight jacket’ sweater ready to escape.

HouDino escapes the ‘straight jacket’ sweater with time to spare and a nice smile.

Magic Brian moves the show along with the classic ‘linking rings’ routine. 

Ambrose gets an audience member to ‘nose up’ and hands him a whip cream pie.

Ambrose gets the pie in the face as both he and the audience member laugh.

Carol Sirugo performs a solo piece about mountain ranger guide.

Greg Dubin performs the lovely classic magic routine ‘cups and balls‘.

Jerline Custa performs 3 ball juggling on the unicycle.

Lucy Shelby performs a ‘political’ piece with an audience member.

Maks and Skyttles perform an enchanting aerial drama.

Curtain call for the cast and MC of the Feb 2017 Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Revue.

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Categories
Comedy Film Performing Arts Photography Variety Arts

Joe Franklin – A Pioneer in Entertainment – Dies at 88

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 3.12.03 AMFB(Joe Franklin at The Bowery Poetry Club hosting the Loose Caboose Variety Show 6/2012)

Longtime radio and TV show host Joe Franklin died Saturday at the age of 88.

Franklin died of cancer, according to his former producer, Steve Garrin, the Associated Press reported.

Long before Jay Leno or Conan O’Brien, Franklin sat behind a desk and interviewed movie stars and up-and-coming musicians.

According to Franklin’s website he was, “in many ways, the pioneer of the modern TV talk show format.”

Franklin began hosting The Joe Franklin show in 1950. During his career he talked to more than 300,000 guests including Woody Allen, Barbra Streisand and Liza Minnelli, according to his website.

Franklin was often parodied on Saturday Night Live by Billy Crystal, and played himself in the movies Manhattan, Ghostbusters, 29th Street, and Broadway Danny Rose.

Billy Crystal tweeted about Franklin’s death on Sunday, writing that, “Joe Franklin was a New York original, I grew up watching Memory Lane and loved imitating him on SNL. A sad day for all who knew him.”

Categories
Dixon Place Performing Arts Photography Story Teller Variety Arts Video Writer

Jim Turner – Dixon Place – 08/09/2014

Jim Turner is a very funny man. Last night he did a ‘work-in-progress’ performance which was titled “The Now of Low: Misadventures of the Glucose Highway”

Jim Turner at Dixon Place, August 9th, 2014In this work he delivered an informative, hysterical rant on his 44 years of Diabetes.

The curtain behind him was plastered with large index cards with written titles from ‘events’ that he had experienced in life with his diabetes.

Sample Card Titles:

The Joys of Psychotic indecision…

A day at the beach, what could go wrong?

The 100 foot journey to nowhere…

Speaking in tongues at family camp…

Funny, heart wrenching and all wonderful. He took me along for the ride and I learned all about Diabetes at the same time.

2014.08.10_JimTurner_019A story teller, comedian and talented writer. Jim Turner’s adventures are nothing short of ‘brilliant’. The way he captured the audience with his stories and touching experiences was delightful.

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Some Bio:

Turner has appeared in 22 feature films and shorts, 28 TV series and appearances, 18 stage plays, one-man-shows, and comedy tours.

From 1987 to 1990, Turner performed on MTV and Ha! as Randee of the Redwoods, a character he adapted from his days with Duck’s Breath Mystery Theatre. As part of a marketing stunt, Randee became the dark horse candidate for President.

MORE HERE!

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I had photographed Jim Turner at Dixon Place in 1989 when he shared the bill with Tom Murrin.

Downtown  Clown

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Here is a video excerpt:

Categories
Clown Mime Performing Arts Photography The Clown Un_Mask

The Clown Un_Mask – Adam Kuchler

Adam Kuchler in Clown Un_Mask seriesAdam Kuchler poses in my hallway for Clown Un_Mask series.

Adam Kuchler performs another funny act with balls.

Adam Kuchler performs as the 'bird' character.Adam performs in many different disciplines and guises and brings his own delightful zaniness to make them all shine!

A regular with the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus and he will be performing this summer with Circus Flora in St. Louis, Missouri.

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