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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
Circus Clown Comedy Performing Arts Photography Women

“My Heart is in your Shoe” – A clown play directed by Yury Belov

To Commemorate the Birthday of Yury Belov I present this remembrance of his first NY show!

“My Heart is in your Shoe” – The Clown Conspiracy

yurib.3The cast, crew of show and family members of Yury Belov.

yurib.1John Grimaldi(Left kneeling), Joe Killian(Green shirt), Tanya Belov(Center), Jan Greenfield, and Fred Yockers (Front Right kneeling)

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We landed in the USA at the end of March of 1981 and our Show “My Heart is in your Shue” was premiered in October of 1981! YES, WOW!!!! What a joy that was! What a wonderful and talented and generous people Yury and had a pleasure to work with!

Big Thanks to John Towsen and Hovey Burgess for their Friendship, Jim R. Moore for his great Photo, and of course The Theatre for the New City! That was Yury Belov’s first Directing job in the USA! And that was my a very first acting experience on the American stage with American actors! Thanks to our Lucky Stars and to everyone who believed in us!

Tanya Belov

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tanyajoe.1Tanya and Joe with the great ‘plate routine’

fred.1The unique clowning of Fred Yockers.

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I met Yury in Hoboken at the circus school there. I suggested that he contact some NYC clowns, including Karen Gersch.
When Yury started classes at If Every Fool, John Towsen’s studio, Yury asked me to help out and how could I not? The classes were interesting and enlightening! Yury would sometimes reproach me, saying “John. Too much Stanislavsky. Clown!”
When Yury wanted to have a show in NYC, I asked Chrystal Field at Theater for the New City (where I had recently done a one-man show, “Swimming in the Sky – A Fool’s Travels”) if she would be interested in Yury’s show and she was!
Once the show was booked, I called someone I knew a little at the Village Voice and touted Yury’s story, which came out under the title “The Clown who came in from the Cold.” We had full houses for the first run of the show. Better than the houses for my one-man show!
Rehearsals for the show, “My Heart is in Your Shoes” were exciting and expanded my understanding of clowning and performing! Performing with Tanya was a joy and I must mention our wonderful Stage Manager, Jeff Gordon, who went on to fame and glory in the Big Apple Circus!
PS: The bubbles in that cast photo were my idea. Some others in the cast thought that was too clichéd! Ah, the power of bubbles!
JOHN GRIMALDI
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jim- great photos..seeing what you’ve archived is quite impressive..feeling I should connect into my inner clown a little more often..please keep me informed of any interesting clowning that comes your way..with regard to Yuri. I remember quite vividly meeting Yuri in the studios of if every fool..he was quite the misfit, all over the place with some very revolutionary visions of how clowning should meld with our everyday lives..I always thought Tanya (his wife) was the real genius behind the so-called genius..I had the pleasure of doing a duo with her..our creative minds really connected when we had the chance to explore our concept of clown..she was very grounded where Yuri was very kinetic and sometimes scattered..in the beginning, Yuri ask me to assemble a group of clowns that was talented enough to execute his ideas..I remember John Grimaldi first turning onto Yuri and he I think brought him into the confines of “if every fool”..the rehearsals were very chaotic, expressive and totally a surprise..but without the talented group that was assembled Yuri would have never been able to get “my heart is in your shoes” off the ground..I hope I’ve helped you out..it’s amazing to me after all these years clowning is still part of the road we travel by..Jim, I can’t comment on the photo because I don’t see it on your blog you sent me..please keep in touch and I’m hoping we’ll see one another real soon.. a happy new year..be well..god bless.

.Jan Greenfield

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY YURY! We Always will Remember YOU!

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Categories
Clown NY Clown Theatre Festival 2010 Performing Arts Photography Variety Arts

2010 NY Clown Theatre Festival ‘Kickoff’ Parade

On Friday September 3rd The NY Clown Theatre Festival got off to a great start with the Clown Parade. Beginning in Union Square and moving to The Brick  Theatre in Williamsburg where the festival is presented. More than 100 clowns and admirers moved through the streets of NY and into the L train station for their fun trip to Brooklyn. I have posted a good selection of photographs from that adventure.

John Towsen was present at the parade. John and his performing partner  Fred Yockers were the producers of the First NY Clown Theatre Festival back in the 1983. He was happy to see the tradition continue under the guidance of Audrey Crabtree cofounder with Eric Davis.

Audrey Crabtree muscling in to the picture.

Jeff Seal will be performing with his partner Chris Manley at the Festival

Lilli Sukula-Lindblom(l)  hangs on to Gabriela Munoz (c) and Sabine Choucair(r).

Gabriela and Sabine are perfoming at the festival in ‘Perhaps, Perhaps, Quizas.’

Jonathan Kaplan will be performing in the festival in ‘Le Fleur’.

Center in the platform is Audrey Crabtree giving advice to the passengers.

Nick Trotter as ‘Ferdinand the Magnificent’ taking a well deserved rest

Peter Musante is performing with Summer Shapiro in “Legs and All“.

Eric Davis -shooting photographs at the parade.

Butt Kapinski with a handcuffed friend looking proud.

Once the crowd arrived at The Brick Theatre it was only a matter of time until the ‘Pie Throwing Contest’ got started.

First the referee had to lay down the rules and then all hell broke lose!

If you want to see more Clown Theatre that will bring joy to your bones and laughter to your soul…

go here and buy some tickets to the shows!

FERDINAND SAYS “COME AND SEE SOME SHOWS!”

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I will be posting more photographs from each performance I shot in the upcoming weeks.

Stay tuned or subscribe in the upper right hand corner!

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All Photographs are © 2010 by Jim Moore