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: 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.


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.)

Art Book Shelf Clown Comedy Music Performing Arts Photography Recommended Reading List Television Vaudevisuals Bookshelf

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “How Sweet It Is” – Jackie Gleason

This is one ‘helluva’ funny book!

 Inside book jacket flaps.

Back Cover of the book.

This book is great! If you like The Honeymooners and any of Jackie Gleason’s TV Specials over the years you will enjoy reading these stories about his wonderful life. There is one that I remember very well. When he stayed at the St. Regis Hotel he frequented the in-house King Cole Bar   and sat next to  Salvador Dali. This drinking companion ended up drawing an album cover for his music album “The Romantic Moods of Jackie Gleason“.

The rest of the book is equally hysterical and so enjoyable!

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Film Performing Arts Photography Physical Theater Story Teller Street Performing

Theatre Visionary – 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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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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Clown Performing Arts Photography VAudephone Video

Bob Greenberg in ‘Accept No Imitations’ – A Vaudephone Presentation

Vaudephone is a co-production of and the American Vaudeville Theatre/Travalanche<br />

Recorded at Dixon Place on January 19th, 2012