Categories
Clown Comedy Photography

The Clown UnMasked Series – A Comprehensive List 2010 – 2016

The Clown UnMasked

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)

Matt Mitler

Clowns ExMachina

John Leo

Eric Davis

Hilary Chaplain

Audrey Crabtree

Keith Nelson

Ambrose Martos

Joel Jeske

Amy Gordon

Rob Torres

Patrick de Valette

Tiffany Riley

Dick Monday

Julie Ferrier

Fred Blin

Tanya Elchuk

Nina Levine

Hew Parham

Mark Gindick

Peter Daniel Straus

Kevin C. Carr

Jeff Hess

Chris Allison

Drew Richardson

Lilli Sukula Lindblom

Mona Ray

Thom Monckton

Sampo Kurppa

Jenny Lee Mitchell

Michael Trautman

Jennifer Sargent

Maja Bieler

Helen Donnelly

James Godwin

Avner Eisenberg

Summer Shapiro

Neil Arthur James

Gustavo Pace

Didi Sanchezco

Kenny Raskin

Mooky Cornish

Adam Kuchler

Barry Lubin

Daniel Passer

Angela Delfini

Armitage Shanks

Matt Roper

# # # # #

 

 

 

 

Categories
Circus Clown Comedy Performing Arts Photography Women Writer

The State of the Clown – by Sara Moore

Reposted by Permission from Sara Moore at CircusCenter, San Francisco.

THE STATE OF THE CLOWN | BY SARA MOORE

I am a clown.  I’ve shared the same trailer, the same dressing room, the same midway, with all manner of people who enhance the idiocy and paradox of their own bumbling humanity by turning themselves inside out and presenting themselves to an audience. I have performed with everyone from Carol Channing to “Freckles.” I have been on the bill with every type of performer from opera singers, stand-ups, storytellers, jazz singers, “bubbleologists”, psychics and eccentric dancers. I’ve also played Shakespeare’s clowns and stood in a circus ring and brought an audience of 10,000 to screams of laughter by doing nearly nothing. Hell, I’ve made people laugh on the damn A-Train on the way to a gig in full clown geish. You learn early on with a career in show business that there’s a whole lot of education and empathy that grow as much from a junkyard as from Lincoln Center.  Be versatile. Be ready for any kind of job, anywhere, anytime, with all manner of misfit entertainers. All are welcome. Except for magicians: they take up too much space in the dressing room and smell like Aqua Velva. Joking. But serious.

Historically, most clowns have been men. As a woman I have had to work very, very hard to be seen as a funny being while also not being a particularly “pretty” woman, which seems to be the golden combination as defined by men: she’s funny AND a real looker! I never wanted to be pretty. Being genderqueer I’ve always been happy with my cute factor, riding the misfit streetcar of desire between the genders. Even though I’m confident that I’m funny, insightful, and dare I say innovative, when I approached The Big Apple Circus, I was told flat-out that they would never hire a woman clown. That I didn’t even make the first cut because, y’know, I simply wasn’t man enough. Truth is, they had hired women clowns in the past – just coupled with men who were their husbands and partners. But this is what I was emphatically told: no women clowns.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages: the newest addition to the #MeToo bunker is, heartbreakingly, a beloved Big Apple Circus clown. It is devastating and utterly unsurprising. These guys are absolutely everywhere, beneath and on top of every rock in every culture: toxic masculinity. Only this time, Don Draper is wearing a freaking clown nose and a bad frock. Insert multiple expletives! And just when I was really amping up about clowns not being scary…

For a long time, I haven’t known quite what to say about the fear of, and continuing sarcastic commentary about, and horror-movie imagery of clowns. Perhaps, I thought, it’s the word itself that no one likes since it’s so fully associated with Ronald McDonald and all manner of overly painted, mask-ish creatures that made little Emily cry her eyes out at the county fair. Maybe it’s the bad singing – or dinosaurs themselves – but I remember flinching when I first saw Barney. I also flinched and was repelled by all manner of costumed characters as a child.

But now I’m wondering if perhaps, just maybe, the very male-ness of clowning has been one of the main reasons why images of scary clowns have had such power in our culture.

Today, finally, we are at the birth of a new era. There is a vital new American Clowning emerging from the demise of Ringling Bros. and this historically mega-male art form, and it is fiercely female and based on the concept of the poet-in-action: more Lucy than Bozo. More Annie Fratellini, Diane Wasnak, Mooky Cornish. Don’t recognize these names? Google them. Fine, funny women all, and all cousins to Mr. Bean, Lee Evans, George Carl. Keep Googling! In many ways, the Clown transcends gender and bounces right into the realm of wonder and magical realism personified, a powerhouse prankster embodying all the mischief, mayhem and freedom of a human cartoon.

So, maybe now that our industry, like so many others, is facing its demons and becoming more inclusive and equitable, the image of clowns in the broader culture will change, too. I for one am working to help everyone see and absorb this new vision of what clowning is and can be: humanity exposed for all of our collective foolishness. It’s the fearless exposure and performance of being really human, in all its paradoxes. We are all beautiful, we are all ugly. We are all clumsy, we are all graceful. In many types of tribes throughout history, clowns are part of the healing community. When despair is crushing, kindness and humor become as vital as air. We bring medicine through laughter, joviality, silliness, and pure play. Yes, I’m just highfalutin enough to believe that clowns are part of the world’s solution, not its problem.

In this mixed-up culture, where every other person is considered a “reality star,” where gun orthodoxy outshines arts advocacy, and where even our most beloved cultural icons fall hard from grace, it is a miracle to find refuge in any kind of innocence. But a great clown can get us there, with the highest language of humor and pathos. Who better than the clown to bring us all together with what we already have, who can render the “everything all at once” of being human in high relief?

Send in the clowns? Don’t bother. They are in us all.

Sara Moore is a clown, actor, playwright, filmmaker, deviser & Director of The Clown Conservatory.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 Check out the upcoming ‘Clown’ class starting in September at Circus Conservatory in San Francisco  – HERE!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Categories
Clown Photography The Clown Un_Mask

The Clown Un_Mask – Mooky Cornish

Usually when you think of a clown…you think of a male clown.

But there are a few (should be more) wonderful women clowns in the world that have made their mark. (and are hysterically funny!)

Mooky Cornish is one of them. A veteran of Cirque du’Soleil and other world venues, she is currently performing in LA SOIREE in NYC.

Mooky plays piano, makes and performs with puppets, is a mask maker, accordion player, and always a great conversationalist!

Mooky Cornish in Clown Un_Mask series.Mooky was hesitant to have her picture taken without costume.

Mooky Cornish performing at La SoireeMooky performing as ‘Gloria‘ at La Soiree in New York City.

Mooky Cornish performing in La SoireeMooky gets her ‘volunteer’ audience member to sing along with her on one knee.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Categories
Burlesque Cabaret Clown Comedy Juggling Magic Performing Arts Photography Physical Theater Puppetry Union Square Theater Variety Arts

“La Soiree” – A NeoCircus, Comedy and Burlesque Cabaret @ Union Square Theater

“A decadent and downright dangerous show that is ‘not for the kids’.”

Low inhibition and high glamour!

‘One of the best I have seen in years’!

~ ~ ~

Here are a few photographs I took the evening I attended.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The English Gents

(Hamish McCann and Denis Lock)

The English Gents @ La Soiree in NYCWhat a great duet. Hamish and Denis do amazing balance and strength act plus are as charming as two english gents.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Marawa 

Marawa performs at La Soiree @ Union Square TheaterWith grace and stamina Marawa The Amazing rocked the house with her hula hoop act.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Scotty the Blue Bunny

Scott the Blue Bunny performing at La Soiree.Unique, risque and bold are the key words for Scotty The Blue Bunny

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Bathtub Boy

(Steven Williams)

Ryan McCarthy performing at La SoireeSoaking in the bathtub as his acts opens. Then elevating himself to heights above the crowd while exuding an amazing sensual strength on the straps.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Marcus Monroe

Marcus Monroe juggling at La SoireeMarcus Monroe is an amazing juggler with great sense of comedy.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Gloria

(Mooky Cornish)

Mooky Cornish performing at La SoireeGloria entertains the crowd but not without getting an audience member involved in her wonderful antics.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Manchego – The Sexiest Man Alive

(Ambrose Martos)

Manchego performing at La SoireeManchego entertains the audience with his audacity and colorful underwear…Many pairs of them!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Hamish McCann

Hamish McCann performing at La SoireeHamish McCann arrives on stage with an umbrella and ‘Singing in the Rain‘ playing. Then he performs amazing feats of strength on the lamppost.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Bret Pfister

Bret Pfister performing at La SoireeLike an angel in the clouds, Bret Pfister performs on the aerial hoop with charm and beauty.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Aidan O’Shea was the most Welcoming MC

Not pictured here but hysterically entertaining were the Cabaret Decadanse (Andre-Anne LeBlanc and Serge Delauriers)

Produced by Mark Rubinstein, Brett Haylock, Mick Perrin, James Tod, Nick Zuppar and Gavin Kalin/Edward Snape; creative producer, Mr. Haylock; lighting by Willie Suddon; sound by Richard Fitzgerald/Sound Associates; production stage manager, Bianca Houston. At the Union Square Theater, 100 East 17th Street, Manhattan, 800-653-8000, ticketmaster.com. Through March 30. Running time: 2 hours.