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)
“The atmosphere is more party than performance. The audience — many of whom will perform — bring beer from the local delis. Typical hallway conversation runs like this: “I’ll go on for three minutes, then you break in with this poem . . .” All performers get a care package, which this night included a condom, a lollipop, and a mint.”
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Quotes from the press about Surf Reality!
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“At Surf Reality a form of comedy is being worked on even more alternative than alternative comedy”– The New Yorker
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“Surf Reality is …the brackish undertow of the cultural comedic wave, a radical rejection of standard stand-up”– The Wall Street Journal
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“Surf Reality continues its quest to present the best in alternative comedy” – Daily News
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“Best Performance Art, Very Funny.” – NY Press, Best of Manhattan ’97
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“Surf Reality, the Lower East Side’s infamous bastion of cutting edge, theatrical zaniness…” – Shout Magazine 1999
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Check out the Surf Reality website from back-in-the-day!
Dzieci (djyeh-chee) is an international experimental theatre ensemble dedicated to a search for the “sacred” through the medium of theatre.
Integrating techniques garnered from such theatre masters as Jerzy Grotowski, Eugenio Barba and Peter Brook, ritual forms derived from Native American and Eastern spiritual disciplines, and an ethic based securely in Humanistic Psychology, Dzieci aims to create a theatre that is as equally engaged with personal transformation as it is with a public presentation.
Towards this aim, the ensemble balances its work on performance with work of service, through creative and therapeutic interaction in hospitals and a variety of institutional settings. Dzieci believes helping others generates a profound healing effect that not only serves the patient but also strengthens the ensemble’s work.
Dzieci is firmly dedicated to process. Our theatrical creations come organically over a long period of time, and a relationship with the world around us is essential. Therefore, public demonstrations of the work in progress are offered along the way, along with para-theatrical workshops, which invite participants to experience the work underlying our most current investigations.
note: “Dzieci” is the Polish word for “Children”.
For more information about Dzieci Theatre Group go here!
Visiting home from circus school, Jacob Deustachio wowed audiences with his freshly polished juggling act packed with amazing skill. He’d have to have balls to come on stage with that act and he had 7. 7 balls all by himself!
Chispi El Payaso
Chispi El Payaso is working his way around the world spreading his message of joy and peace. His brief stop here in NYC resulted in an orchestra of squeaking, squawking, and thumped balloons. Have a safe journey Chispi El Payaso!
The cleaning lady wasted our time yet again. (Katherine M. Horejsi)
Mariko Iwasa was the winner of the evenings clown game (a variation of musical chairs played with clown noses). Showing true Japanese sportsmanship she beat out contestants from GA, PA, and NJ taking home a DVD of classic clowning and three rubber chickens!
Just back from Japan and on his way to Flordia, Michael Schruefer took on the commission to create a musical clown act with a tramp character. He pulled together his skill as clown and flautist to create a fun and silly piece. Mr. Schruefer is off to be married soon, so get ’em while you can ladies!
Matt Mitler – Commission Work
Matt Mitler took on a commission that only he could create. The commission was to create a shamanistic clown piece with musical themes. If you missed it, you missed some serious comedy and serious spiritual cleansing.
Finishing up the evening were comic greats Joel Jeske and Barry Lubin, with guest appearance by Mr. Lubin’s Swedish sweetheart. These two are one of the best duos imaginable. Joel’s serious stillness is the perfect invitation for Grandma to run amok and slowly torture the great Jeske. Barry also proves that water-spiting with your girlfriend is always fun. Who knew?
Grotowski’s work was very ‘cutting edge’ and one of his premises for going to that edge was:
” focus on the very root of the act of theatre: actors co-creating the event of theatre with its spectators.”
He couldn’t compete with the technology of film and made his mark with what theatre had that film didn’t have.
A live relationship with the audience. Matt uses that principal for his company work.
Theatre Group Dzieci (djyeh-chee) an international experimental theatre ensemble (founded in NYC, 1997) dedicated to a search for the “sacred” through the medium of theatre.
It is a serious undertaking!
Using techniques garnered from his theatre masters Jerzy Grotowski, Eugenio Barba, ritual forms derived from Native American and Eastern spiritual disciplines, and an ethic based securely in his work in Humanistic Psychology,
Dzieci aims to create a theatre that is as equally engaged with personal transformation as it is with public presentation.Towards this aim, the ensemble balances its work on performance with work of service, through creative and therapeutic interaction in hospitals and a variety of institutional settings. Dzieci believes helping others generates a profound healing effect that not only serves the patient but also strengthens the ensemble’s work.
The word ‘Dzieci’ is the Polish word for Children.
Matt performed some wonderful solo pieces that I was fortunate enough to photograph. Here are few more images from his evening at The New York Downtown Clown Revue.
And from his hysterical piece
“Tango de la Coca Cola Classico”
Ladies and Gentleman.
May I introduce you to Matt Mitler
The Clown Un_Masked
To get more information on Matt’s work with his company and his solo work you can go to the following web sites.