Comedy Juggling Performing Arts Photography Street Performing Variety Arts VAudephone Video

Joey Joey – Washington Square Street Performer film – 1989

JOEY JOEY – A film by Ilse Somers

Shot entirely in Washington Square Park during one of Joey-Joey’s performances. Ilse Somers (High Heels, Low Tide 2012) assembled a great camera crew and shot some wonderful footage of Joey performing live. This kind of performance was a regular occurrence in the park. Many other performers took this spot to entertain the ‘built-in’ audiences. Charlie Barnett was one of the other comedians that got his start in this park.

I was friends with Joseph Colon (lost contact after he moved to Europe) and I had the chance to document many of his performances as well as some shots in the studio. Here is one of them.

I really miss those days in Washington Square Park in the late 1980’s. It was a hot bed for great talent working on their material. Like a 20th Century Vaudeville circuit at home in NYC!

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Mime Music Performing Arts Video

NBC News coverage of Street Performing in NYC – July 1,1977

In 1977 the streets of New York City were buzzing with street performer activity. So much so that NBC thought it ‘newsworthy’.
Here is a short piece they did about the street performers on NYC and it includes a short segment with mime Jim Moore.

STREET PERFORMERS from Jim Moore on Vimeo.

Here is a clip from a News broadcast about the resurgence of street performing in NYC. It was broadcast on July 1, 1977.

Mime Performing Arts Physical Theater Street Performing

Guest Blogger – Martin Ewen – “She Smiled”- a recollection

You have to be absurdly fearless to perform on the street. You are auditioning for your life. You have to believe in something, anything at all, and expose your concern, your faith, your fearlessness to the world at large hoping you have disguised your abject terror sufficiently. Bravado masking a hopefully insular desperation for affection….Well that’s a bit cruel, sure you want affection, who doesn’t, but it can be a little more profound than that if you give yourself space and over the years synthesize your motive down to one immutable nugget

If you fail to ignite a flame of curiosity and commitment from the fuel of passers-by smoldering with indifference then that small flame of your own, brought out and placed exposed risks extinguishment.
For all the pat doggerel about love lost being superior to not having loved at all the attraction of yourself being a dry latent wick rather than a doused failure is self evidently attractive to any street performer who tries and fails and walks away a soggy wick.
I may labor the illumination metaphor however I do so because my one immutable nugget is this…
I want to bring light into the world.
I’ve seen it individually and in audiences, the light. It’s very strong but soft. My Clown is kindling and my structures and form are small puffs applied to the spark that is my ambition to create and amplify the light that is the momentary celebration of life’s random goodness.

You have to do one thing well. You also need to identify and remember that one thing rather than presuming that anything will do.
Because audiences are your own kind and they resonate. They simply will not invest more than you do in your show. A common mistake is to see them as objects to be moved about with simple slights of mind, to lose sight of yourself as prey in the sense that any audience condescends it’s attention.

You can do the smallest thing and if it means the world to you that’s enough.

There was a woman, a street performer who had synthesized her nugget down to the bone and it was, and is to me the perfect example of street theatre as profound poetry.

She was a minimalist pantomime of despair and joy. She did one thing well and her show was a setup for that one thing.
She would stand on a small black box with her name on it in white, she wore an Edwardian mens suit and had a top hat at her feet for donations, she wore whiteface.

She was not happy. She had a wonderful palette of unhappiness, each color individually crafted and immediately recognizable. Winsome and wistfully, regretfully, defiantly, sullenly, achingly, stoically, disappointingly, fearfully.
She would build an audience by looking down at the ground and forming a particular sadness before raising her gaze and directing it at one individual, sometimes scanning the crowd until she selected that person. She would focus on them until she had established some resonance then she would look down again. She remembered each sadness as it applied to each individual. After creating these relationships and creating also a rhythm of discovery for her audience who were mesmerized and delighted by each new nuance of unhappiness she would bring forth she would move onto the next level in which, like a juggler, she would keep all her unhappinesses in the air by shifting her gaze, with brilliant comic timing, from each audience member she had previously bequeathed some particular unhappy relationship.
It was sad and funny and beautiful and masterful and the setup.


Because the appreciation of her art would reach a point where unbidden one of her audience would respond to her and walk forward and drop money into the hat at her feet. As they broke from the crowd and approached she would amplify whichever sadness pertained to them until they had put whatever token into her hat, she would break her gaze, peek down at the hat then look up.

…And smile…at them.

They would walk away or back to the audience and she would follow them with her smile, her smile created light. It was as honed and genuine and pure as each of her unhappinesses. It was a form of love. It illuminated her audience, they smiled and laughed each time. Then it would fade and sadness would return. The particular sadness the audience member who had contributed a donation, that sadness would go to the bottom of the pile, the others would be refueled as they were kept in play and this small but profound game was this woman s career.

I feel privileged to have spent so much time prospecting the world for eccentric public interpretations of the human condition in which laughter is the goal, in which individuals or groups put themselves at risk to gift others with some collective joyful vantage and having made that risk been redeemed in laughter, gratitude and coin.

This one thing, the act of going from sadness to joy, is fiendishly difficult to do. I know because after coming across this act I tried myself as an exercise, repeatedly, in front of a mirror.

It is very easy to go down, to lower your mood. Lower moods are always there, always available, as genuine as any sadness you’ve ever felt for the purposes of reproduction. I found the reverse, and still find the reverse, one of life’s great challenges. To truly morph from sadness to joy is a discipline and a gift.

It was her one thing she did exceedingly well and it bears repeating.
You can do the smallest thing and if it means the world to you that’s enough.

Martin Ewen

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Martin Ewen Bio:

I’ve been performing as an international clown soloist for around 30 years.

My character ‘Lurk’ is a 12 foot disgruntled pantomime.

Using this module I’ve been lucky enough to travel the planet and observe and write about various surreal situations and people I’ve encountered.

I admire people with big hearts who take risks and who create laughter and whimsey. Rebels, renegades, eccentrics and contrarians make my life worth living and together we try to make others laugh for their own good….and because we like attention.

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Thank You Martin for contributing!

His book Panto Damascus can be obtained here!

Clown Festival of Fools Juggling Performing Arts Photography Variety Arts

The Clown Un_Mask – Michael Trautman – Maine

I photographed Michael during his few days in New York while performing at the New York Clown Theatre Festival.

Also the street shots were taken at the 2012 Burlington, Vermont FESTIVAL OF FOOLS.

Michael Trautman in the hallway for The Clown Un_Mask shot.

Michael Trautman demonstrates his licking power back stage at the Burlington, VT Festival of Fools 2012

Michael Trautman performing at the 2012 Festival of Fools in Burlington, VT.

In a back bend position Michael Trautman shoots the can off the stand with a ping pong ball.

After completing a few awesome ping pong ball routines he celebrates with a ‘Say Oh Yea” to the audience.

Great talent and really fun to photograph!

For more information on Michael Trautman and his work go here!

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Circus Film Juggling Magic Mime Performing Arts Photography Variety Arts Video

Philippe Petit – TED Talks

Having been part of the ‘inner circle’ of friends that helped Philippe Petit accomplish the World Trade Center High Wire walk I am posting this

TED talk by Philippe about his career and ideas.

Circus Clown Photography The Clown Un_Mask Variety Arts

The Clown Un_Masked – Rob Torres

“International Man of Mirth”

Rob Torres photographed in his trailer at the Big Apple Circus lot in Stamford, CT.

Performing in the Big Apple Circus in Stamford, CT. on tour.

Rob Torres has performed his way through 43 countries, and across 6 continents. (Including street performing)

Rob Torres performing an excerpt from his one man show at The New York Downtown Clown Revue 11/2010.

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ALL PHOTOGRAPHS © 2011 by Jim Moore




Music Variety Arts

Street Performing in the 1970’s – 80’s.

When street performing was popular in the streets of New York there were many old timers that came out to show their stuff and make a few bucks.

One of these gentleman was dancer Guy Mosley.

We use to meet on many locations and share the spot. I would perform and then he would do his juggling/dance routine.

This photograph was taken in June 1980.

Jim Moore and Guy Mosley

As you can read in the link above for Guy Mosley he had an amazing career before jumping into the streets.

He worked with BB. King, Slappy White, Lucky Miller, Duke Ellington.

It was always a great time talking with him in between sets about his work in the ‘show-biz’ world.

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