In 2010 I had a concept in my head one day that I should photograph my favorite subjects (Clowns) without their performance costume and makeup and match it with a performance shot. The ‘Unmask’ shot would be black and white and the performance shot in color. I decided to call it The Clown UnMask. I began shooting in Feb. 2010 with one of the funniest clowns I know and admire. Glen Heroy.
I followed up with many more (almost 50) until I stopped shooting the series in 2016. Here is a comprehensive list of the performers (with links to the original posts) I documented in my ‘hallway’ studio. In the order in which I photographed them. Full post are reached by using the links. Some portrait are provided for visual excitement!
(The wall came down in 2016 so the series was discontinued)
(Description from NY Clown Theatre Festival Brochure)
This absurdly fascinating comedy comes straight from Finland, known for its wintery darkness and summery light, where people neither talk, kiss, nor laugh out loud. The bold and hot-blooded Mona Ray conjures up therapeutic as well as hysterical and infectious laughter. Don’t run, RUSH! features four different pictures of reality in its most absurd forms. A one-woman show where the viewer is never safe. The feeling of danger brings that extra spice to this comedy act where the recipient gives and all is taken.
In this presentation, believe it or not, the audience really wants to participate! Come along and experience Mona’s incredible characters!
Mona Ray takes the stage with much charm and silliness.
Mona Ray tries to get her electronic device to work.
Mona Ray needs to find a husband in the audience.
A gentleman is volunteered for the position of ‘husband’.
Mona and other audience members get their ‘wedding’ picture taken.
Mona Ray changes her identity to a business man giving out diplomas.
Mona Ray awards audience member Mandi a diploma.
Volunteers from the audience participate in an ‘art project’ performance.
The ‘art project’ involved blowing up paper bags and popping them.
Mona Ray changed her identity into a chef with toilet cleaning brush.
Mona Ray removing her tie forcefully.
Swinging her clothes in the air and dancing was the culmination of a wild show.
Lilli Sukula-Lindblom performed in the “Short and Fatty’s Half Century Extravaganza” on Sept 10, 2010 as part of the 2010 NY Clown Theatre Festival. Her piece was titled LILLI’s HAIR AND BEAUTY PARLOUR
Lilli Sukula-Lindblom (r) performs with audience participation at 2010 Clown Festival.
Lilli directed her fellow Finland clown Mona Ray in Don’t Run, RUSH! at this year’s 2012 New York Clown Theatre Festival.
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’.
Final Curtain Call. All of the performers are ready for bed!
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.