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The Slipper Room

The Slipper Room – needs your help!

The Slipper Room is a New York institution. A House of Variety!

The Slipper Room is facing serious financial difficulties.

I did a wonderful interview with producer James Habacker in 2016. I am posting it here for your viewing. In the meantime, I have put a link below the video to the GoFundMe campaign that is currently set up to help them make it back in one piece! Please Help!

HELP THE SLIPPER ROOM!

The Slipper Room – No Place Like it!

In the meantime, you can watch some of the ‘exile’ shows here!

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Categories
Here Arts Center Physical Theater Vaudevisuals Interview Video

Vaudevisuals interview with Richard Saudek – “Beep Boop” @HERE

“BEEP BOOP”

Created by physical comedian Richard Saudek (Balls at 59E59), TV and film composer Jesse Novak (BoJack Horseman), and director Wes Grantom (Eager to Lose at Ars Nova), beep boop is a multimedia clown show carelessly crafted to be both meaningful and meaningless. It’s a hilariously twisted romp, exploring our obsession with technology and our increasing loneliness in a world with so many ways to connect.

Here is another great interview with Richard!

For more information/tickets click here.

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Categories
Clown Comedy Dance Photography Variety Arts Video

George Carl – Golden Clown Award Press Kit

GEORGE CARL

I have been fortunate to have met and photographed George Carl at my studio in the early 1980’s. He was funny even off stage. Inviting him to my studio with Francis Brunn and Natalie Enterline was so much fun. He passed over his press kit to me and I am posting it here. He won the Golden Clown Award from Monte Carlo Circus Festival in 1979.

From Wikipedia:

George Carl (7 May 1916 – 1 January 2000) was a “vaudevillian” style comic & clown. Carl was born in Ohio, and started his comedy career traveling with a variety of circuses during his teenage years. In time, Carl would become internationally famous as a clown and visual comedian. Johnny Carson, a fan of Carl’s, invited him to appear on The Tonight Show on March 21, 1985 when Carl was 69. His appearance was so well received that he was asked back within weeks for a second appearance which also received raves from viewers. He appeared again on May 27, 1986 doing essentially his same act and received great laughter from an obviously appreciative audience.

With hardly any props,[1] except for a microphone, a mic stand, his hat, and sometimes a harmonica, Carl would seemingly accidentally become tangled up in the mic cord,[2] get his thumb stuck in the microphone stand and, through a flurry of silent bits, wind up accomplishing nothing at all in the time spent onstage.

At the age of 79, George Carl made his screen debut in the 1995 film Funny Bones also starring Jerry Lewis. He played an old music-hall comedian, one of the Parker brothers, who never spoke until a scene in which his character explains the reason performers perform;

“Our suffering is special. The pain we feel is worse than anyone else. But the sunrise we see is more beautiful than anyone else. The Parkers is…like the moon. There’s one side forever dark. Invisible. As it should be. But remember, the dark moon draws the tides also.”

Comedians using similar visual material include Charlie Frye, Bill IrwinGeoff HoyleBarry LubinChipper Lowell, Rob Torres, and Avner the Eccentric.

Carl died of cancer in Las Vegas on January 1, 2000. [3]

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George Carl on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

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Another wonderful performance from George Carl.

Click here for my previous posting for photographs and video of George Carl.

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Categories
Comedy Film Interview Vaudevisuals Interview Video

Vaudevisuals interview with Shannon Plumb – Filmmaker/Actress

Shannon Plumb makes funny movies. Usually with her in the leading role. You call them ‘personal art films’. They are in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art as well as in Private Collections. Here is the interview I did with her in Prospect Park. (Planes flying over, baseball practice and wind competing with my sound!) Her work is very ‘low-fi’ so I decided to shot the interview in that style.  I attended her screening at MOMA’s New Directors/New Films series and was very moved by her wonderful sense of the absurd in daily life expressed thru her very funny short personal films. My friend Ben Model accompanied one of her silent films on the electric organ.

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From IMDB:

Shannon Plumb’s cinematic studies of life’s various roles and characters explore the complexities embedded in the ordinary and extraordinary. From the humble persona of a new mother to iconic figures from the silver screen, Plumb portrays these characters with zest and humor. Inspired by the curious spirit of slapstick comedy and the physical humor of silent film legends such as Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, Plumb employs a low-fi aesthetic by using Super-8 film, stationary camera shots, long takes and hand-made props and costumes. Plumb is a one-woman show starring as all characters and acting as the creative force behind her films. The low-quality production of the films and her elastic expressiveness as an actress adds to the charm of her work and pushes it beyond its obvious predecessors and influences. She wrote, directed, and starred in her first narrative feature,”Towheads” (2013) and is now in pre-production for her second narrative feature “The Narcissist”.

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From MOMA Website:

Shannon Plumb (American, 1970) becomes a literal one-woman show when she stars as all of the characters in her humorous, often caustic short films. She weaves her life as an artist, wife, and mother into these comedic works, morphing the ordinary into the astonishing by channeling the physicality of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and Lucille Ball. There is also a charming low-tech aesthetic in Plumb’s work, particularly with her preference for Super 8mm film and handmade costumes and props. But the payoff is sophisticated, shrewd, and wholly original, offering deft commentary on fashion, domesticity, body image, and the curious world of contemporary art.

In 2013 Plumb’s first feature film, Towheads, a self-assured visualization of modern-day motherly responsibility, premiered in MoMA’s New Directors/New Films festival. Plumb again played all of the key roles, defining her fictional characters using wigs, stuck-on mustaches, and the nobility of a woman pushed to the edge by two young sons and a distant husband. Many of these familiar themes are persistent in Plumb’s work—a result of her constant intertwining of real life and art making.

Shannon Plumb joins us to screen several of her films—including Rattles and Cherries, Rollercoaster, and Olympics—and premiere a performance from her new work Chopped Liver.

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RATTLES AND CHERRIES

SUNBATHER

To find out more about Shannon Plumb and her work visit her site here.

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Categories
Circus Clown Comedy Dance Magic Mime Photography Physical Theater Variety Arts Video Women

The NYC Physical Comedy Lab

The NYC Physical Comedy Lab —or “fiz com lab” for short— is not a class, not a workshop, but a jam of practitioners in a field that includes clowns, circus and variety artists, dancers, mimes, comic actors, etc.  Different people come each week, and out-of-town guests are always welcome. We share warmups, games, improvs, skills, gags, and works-in-progress. Very little is planned, every week is different, but usually, one idea leads to another to another and we arrive somewhere new. 

We usually create some kind of a scenario by the end of the 3 hours combining the skills worked on that day.
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I think of it as a research lab, meaning we are free to explore whatever without the time constraints of a workshop intensive or of a show about to open. We don’t have to jump to a final product but can just aimlessly play with objects and movement to see what we might discover.  During Jim’s visit, we did a warmup with different people leading different stretches, then played a wild and wacky movement game involving all kinds of objects and patterns, then had a knife-throwing lesson from magician Ben Robinson, which had everyone channeling their inner Jim Bowie or Davy Crockett.
Then we continued last week’s experiment with repeating patterns of people and objects passing through our MTW (modular trickwork wall), only this time we transferred the concept to more of a story, a sort of human Rube Goldberg machine, a high-speed mechanical restaurant with Ben Model as our repeat customer. 
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For more information and location of the lab check out the Facebook Page HERE!
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Categories
Clown Comedy Silent Film The Slipper Room

Attack of The Slipper Room Movie Mondays!

Mon, March 5, 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

FREE ADMISSION! FREE POPCORN!

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WINNER OF THE CONEY ISLAND FILM FESTIVAL

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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.

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

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Categories
Clown Comedy Commedia dell' Arte Mime Music Performing Arts Physical Theater Story Teller Vaudevisuals Interview

Vaudevisuals interview with Jos Houben – The Art of Laughter

Several years ago I had the pleasure to interview Jos Houben. A very funny man indeed!

He was appearing at the time in a Beckett play directed by Peter Brook at the Baryshnikov Arts Center. We did the interview in his dressing room and he talked about Beckett, Peter Brook, his show and his teaching of slapstick, theatre, and physical comedy. A great interview posted below!

On Oct 27th thru Nov 19th, he is appearing at Theatre for a New Audience doing his delightfully funny show “The Art of Laughter”.

Run! Don’t walk to get tickets to this production. He is sharing the bill with another very funny physical comedian Marcello Magni in the duet show titledMarcel“. (a duet with Jos.)

Click here for more information about the current show of Jos Houben and Mario Magni

“Jos Houben and Marcello Magni are two towering figures representing some of the highest form of physical theatre and clowning existing today. They are splendidly brilliant.
– David Shiner, Lucille Lortel Winner for his work in OLD HATS with Bill Irwin.

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Categories
Performing Arts Story Teller Vaudevisuals Bookshelf

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “The RedThroats” by David Cale

“This book, a collection of prose and poetry by David Cale, changed the way I look at life and love. Cale’s way of putting human emotion into words liberates and invigorates. His meanings are sometimes obscure, so I do not recommend this book to the linear thinker. It’s out of print, but find it and read it any which way you can.”

Copies of this wonderful book can be purchased here!

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Here is an interview I did with David in 2011.

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Categories
Comedy Film Marx Brothers Photography Vaudevisuals Interview

Vaudevisuals interview with Noah Diamond – “Marx Brothers Weekend”

For those of us who are ‘huge’ fans of the Marx Brothers, this event is supreme!

Here is Noah Diamond talking about this special weekend and the upcoming ‘Fredonia‘ event as well. 

Noah Diamond as ‘Groucho’ in the 2016 production of ‘I’ll Say She Is’.

Both of these events promise to be hilarious for all that attend!

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