Quite a few years ago I was hired by the Big Apple Circus to photograph ALL the Clown Care Units.
New York City
I did and got some great shots. Here is the one I did on the New York group. See if you know anyone!
From the Website:
“Circus Co-Founder Michael Christensen created the program in 1986 based on his desire to provide a unique service to youngsters undergoing treatment in pediatric facilities. In partnership with a participating hospital’s chief medical and administrative staff, members of the Clown Care team conduct ‘clown rounds,’ their own version of medical rounds, where the healing power of humor is always the prescription.”
The Big Apple Circus Clown Care information can be had by ‘clicking’ HERE.
The event was very emotional. Michael spoke about the role of the clown in the hospital environment. The Big Apple Circus Clown Care has been working in hospitals for 25 years and has brought joy and laughter to many children.
Mr. Stubbs (Michael Christensen) speaks to the hospital patients and press.
Directing part of his talk to the clown members of the audience he spoke of the importance of their work.
The Clowns gathered together at the end of the celebration and collectively chanted;
“See you down the road”
The tuba and banjos began playing as they marched out of the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and into the street.
They gathered their belongings, suitcases and instruments and paraded out the front door and took the subway to another hospital in Harlem.
Here are some photographs from the day.
Audrey Crabtree and Andy Sapora
Dikki Ellis and Deborah Kaufman
Getting ready to Parade out the door.
The Big Apple Circus Clown Care CLOWNS!
(Not listed in order)
(Michael Christensen, John Grimaldi, Erin Schmahl, Karen McCarty, Josh Matthews, Julie Pasqual, Will Shaw, Audrey Crabtree, Watson Kawecki, Laine Barton, Leo Dessilets, Phyllis Capello, Ron Hoffman, Deborah Kaufman, Sarah Petersiel, David Engel, Lauren Sharpe, John Leo, Dikki Ellis, Hilary Chaplain, Maria Para.)
(L to R)Audrey Crabtree, Michael Christensen, Deborah Kaufman and Hilary Chaplain
The Big Apple Circus Clown Care ensemble (in hospital coats) travel to the next hospital in Harlem.
Mr. Stubbs (Michael Christensen) entering the subway at 165th Street station with props and gear!
Juggler Will Shaw with Big Apple Circus Clown Care 25th Anniversary Banner getting on the elevator with peers.
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Help the New York Big Apple Circus Clown Care community outreach program continue by donating here!
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!
Tonight we saw the Golden Nose Awards Ceremony. IT was a festive evening with Golden Noses going to Eric Davis for “Clown of the Year’. The “Clown Organization of the Year” Golden Nose Award went to Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit. Michael Christensen accepted the award. The Audience Choice award for Best Clown Act went to “Otto and Lewis” and the award was accepted by Brian Foley. His partner Matthew Duncan was in St. Louis getting married. The Audience Choice Best Clown Character went to Brett Alters for his – Squeeks the Clown.
Host and Producer Christopher Lueck leaves the stage a proud man!
Christopher Lueck (and Amanda Pekoe) have produced the show for the past 4 years and has presented over 400 clown acts during that time. The entire clown community would come out for these shows which happened the 3rd Monday of every month. Christopher announced during the March show that he was going to not produce the show any more and the Golden Nose Awards Ceremony would be his last ‘hurrah’. It was a splendid evening with great performers and organizations getting their just awards. It will be missed!