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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 Performing Arts Photography

Vaudevisuals Gallery – John Towsen and Jan Greenfield

John Towsen and Jan Greenfield @ NY Clown Theater Festival 1983John Towsen and Jan Greenfield in their “Conflict/No Resolution – A Clown Expose”

Performed in March 1982 at BACA, Downtown Brooklyn. Directed by Ron Wilson

“This is an old-fashioned (neo-Brechtian)(semi-structuralist)private eye investigation into the angst of modern man as reflected in the dilated eyes of ten clown-offenders”

Photograph originally published in the 1983 program for The New York Clown Theater Festival.

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Categories
Clown Juggling Music NY Clown Theatre Festival 2012 Performing Arts Photography The Brick Variety Arts

“Return of the Old-Timey Clowns” Cabaret – 2012 NY Clown Theatre Festival

Three years ago, John Towsen, artistic director of the first NY Clown-Theatre Festival in 1983, hosted a clown-theatre reunion of performers from back in the 80s. When he made plans for a “second tri-annual” clown-theatre reunion this September, Audrey Crabtree suggested he stage a cabaret of older clowns as part of the 2012 festival. The happy result was the sold-out September 28th cabaret, “Return of the Old-Timey Clowns,” which featured twelve acts from a total of fourteen performers.

Area man John Towsen put on his best circus tie to host the festivities.

Hank Smith performs The Mime, a parody of mime clichés to the music of James Brown.

David Tabatsky somehow convinces himself he’s a black cowboy in If I Tell You Now, There’s No Surprise, and Really, What Fun is That?

The Tunisian Toe Tapping Twins with Liz Bolick (left) & Therese Schorn.

Storytelling and face painting come together in Story Faces by Christopher Agostino, a finalist for the 2012 Unique Artist Awards. The volunteer is none other than festival luminary Summer Shapiro.

Hovey Burgess introduces Jim Moore and his film, The Ridiculous Romantic.

Jim Moore’s The Ridiculous Romantic, winner of the Best Silent Film award at the Coney Island Film Festival

Jan “Yoyo” Greenfield defends his right to dance to the music in his piece The Music Box, accompanied by his son Daniel..

Terry Dineen (Ireland) performs The Birth Day, a selection from her latest solo show.

Stephen Ringold confronts the audience as Charlie The Hunchback Geek.

Zeke Peterhoff charms the audience and gets them singing along with his sweet, contemplative, and original song, Stone Buddha.

Celia McCarthy & Joan Merwyn twist words and their own bodies in Help Yourself

Fools Unlimited take a curtain call.

After a mere five minutes, we were all worshipping our new guru, Bernie Kramer as The Mime Master.

Michael Trautman proves he’s not as old as he looks as he performs King Pong’s Ping Pong Rodeo

With only a mirror he was able to knock the can off his head with a ping pong ball.

Michael Trautman yells to the audience ‘Say OH YEAH’

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

Shorty and Fatty’s Half Century Extravaganza – NY Clown Theatre Festival Show

The show was a collection of performers that HAD to be at least 50 years old…IF not older!

The hostesses of the show were Karen McCarty and Deborah Kaufman.

Of course the IDEA for this foolish evenings festivities came from the mind of Jan Greenfield. (over 50 too!)

I had a chance to get to the theatre early and take a portrait of the hostesses.

Deborah Kaufman and Karen McCarty Host the Cabaret

They get the show on the road by dancing a number together to rev up the audience spirits.

Are you ready for the show to begin?

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First to start the show is Hilary Chaplain with her delightfully demented piece  THE DIVA.

Uh Oh…What show must go on?

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GORK (Michael Getlan)  the stage hand helps clean up the roses.

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The next act to appear in the cabaret comes from the wilds of Finland.

LILI’s HAIR AND BEAUTY PARLOR

Lily Sukula-Lindblom and audience member Bryce Kasson.

Innocent audience member gets her ‘makeover’ and responds!

The Final Picture for Hair and Beauty Parlor

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The ‘oldest mime in the world’ is Richmond Shepard.  He was there and performed a few comic mime pieces.

Comical stories with nice funny mimetic touches.

Richmond was an inspiration for many mime performers to follow.

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The show was not without disturbances. An act titled ‘Clifton’s Senior Moment’ turned out to be an impostor.

John Leo tried to get in on the show’s action but got pulled off soon.

Out you go impostor. Stay out of here!

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THE HOLE

Next up was the piece featuring Nancy Smithner(c), Therese Schorn (r) and Bernie Kramer(l).

It was a strange piece to say the least!

The young girl is being scolded by the grandmother for misbehaving.

After climbing down a ladder into ‘the hole’ they put on mask and play. They also pull out their tails.(?)

After playing they climb out of ‘the hole’ and back to the drawing room. Grandma reads them the bible.

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WILL SHAW sings ‘This Old Man’.

Very unique discussion of the lyrics during the song! lol

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JULIE GOELL performs ‘Feminity Tonight’.

Preparing a nice facial using uncommon ingredients.

A little egg on the nose is always good for the overall appearance.

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VASES with David Sharps

Not only is David an accomplished juggler and performer he also happens to be a captain of a sea vessel.

Karen and Deborah with signs.

David manipulates the small vase.

David with the very heavy and large chinese vase.

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BERNARD KRAMER performs “My Way”.

Singing Frank Sinatra’s  MY WAY as he proceeded to visually portray his ideas about his ‘way’.

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Mildred and Foo Foo

Here we had another example of a performer trying to ‘get in’ to the show even though he wasn’t qualified. (not 50+)

John Leo was remarkable in his never ending attempts to perform in the show.

(and his never ending array of wild and funny characters! Thanks for the hilarity JOHN)

The gig is over. They found out who you really are John Leo!

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THE AMAZING ZAKAHHR

featuring Michael Christensen

Michael has had a long revered career in the NY circus scene. Having performed in Europe with the one-ring circus’  he and juggling partner Paul Binder came back to NY in 1977 and created the BIG APPLE CIRCUS. Michael also created in 1986 the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit. One of the first season’s of the BAC Michael performed his new act with his new character The Amazing Zakahhr.

Now many odd years later he shows us again his wonderfully creative and off beat mind in action.

“Carnavorium bloodius maximus, the Latin name of one of the most remarkable and vicious creatures of the animal kingdom, the Long Haired, Silverback, Soldier Mole! The Soldier Mole, capable of burrowing through solid granite, having no known predators, this mole reigns supreme in the vast arid wastelands of the middle east.

Ladies and gentlemen, for your safety please remain seated!

We now present

The Amazing Zakahrr

And his trained Soldier Mole, Githha!”

Karen and Deborah help Zakahhr get curtain away for the entrance of his trained mole.

His head to the ground to hear the rumblings of his trained mole.

Exasperated by the effort to keep the trained mole from causing havoc on stage.

His arm under the carpet means only one thing. He is performing the finale  ‘grip of death’!

(he is taking a huge chance not to have his hand chewed off  by the mole Githha)

With a hand bloodied he comes out from beneath the rug ‘alive’.

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Final Curtain Call. All of the performers are ready for bed!

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