Friday, October 19, 2007

Eccentric Dance Gold Medalist

Well, you’re now reading the blog of a New York Clown Theatre Festival, Clown Olympics GOLD MEDAL winner in the Eccentric Dance Event with a more than perfect score of 31 (out of 30). I keep saying it in my head, trying to shorten it somehow so I can fit it on my poster. I keep saying it in my head, trying to fit it into a hyper-self critical mind that is doesn’t want to accept that I could be really good at something. I keep saying it in my head, figuring out what it means that I could be really good at something, and that I could possibly get paid for what I do.

My first weekend here, while taking a bouffon workshop, I bombed. I bombed big. “You want to move to NYC? This city’s gonna eat you alive.” The teacher knew just which button to push. The next day, I sucked it up and rocked it. I was on top. My competitive spirit was working for me. Then a few days later I performed at a cabaret at the festival and bombed. Big. A few people said they “liked it” but I knew. The Clown Big Wigs who come to every show and have blogs and teach and Write Books on the subject, well they ignored me. When a Clown bit is bombing there’s no way around it, but through it…and I wasn’t going through it. I was trying to ignore that I was sucking, which, as one clown friend said is a good sign, “at least you were aware that you were sucking.” In the aftermath of my big NY debut bomb, my friends and fellow clown compatriots have been lovely and inspiring. And then one of the festival organizers asked if I was doing something in the Olympics. My iddy biddy shiddy committee told me she’d asked because they were desperate. BUT, I’m here in NYC now. And my competitive spirit knew that I had, HAD to get back on the horse.

Fast forward to me in the theatre’s tiny bathroom, minutes before my event, peeing my brains out (when I’m nervous before a show I usually drink a gallon of water). And I remember what my Clown friend Jane Chen from San Fran said to me a month ago when she was helping me with my show. Each time’s gotta be the first time. What is THIS show, THIS performance about? For ME, in THIS moment. And so, I thought about all the people out in the audience, half of whom saw me bomb the week earlier. And I thought about all my friends up in Alaska, all the supportive faces, all the faces that I’ve been seeing, playing with and sharing with for the past seven years. And then I think about the Clown Olympic Judges who have Wrote Books on the subject (and no, they do NOT wear big wigs and shoes). And then I get even more scared. And then I finished peeing and a calm came over me. Maybe the calm was because I’d had to pee so bad, but I’m trying to think that admitting to the thing that scares me the most gives me some power. Not in a “Power Over My Fear” woo-woo kinda way. It’s more like I’m going into the barrel of the canon not fighting. As Ronlin Foreman (my Clown teacher from Dell ‘Arte) said, it’s admitting your poverty, your cross to bare. My alternating drive to win and acknowledgement that I’m worse than slime, somehow fueled a pretty darn good show. Of course, having a little dog in the show who does dumb tricks helps too. BUT, I felt like I had the audience. I could See Them. Flying through the air, crapping my pants and I could make out their faces and their eyes. These strangers and these fancy pants Clowns became familiar, friendly even
2007 New York Clown Olympics, GOLD MEDALALIST in Eccentric Dance (31 out of 30 poss. points)

ps. The extra point was from my bribing one of the judges with money. (I’d tried to butter her up before the show with compliments and charm, but she directed me to an ATM down the street).

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

NYC part I

And so I sit, looking out at Manhattan through a parrot cage (a real one), from the 42nd floor north and west from 42nd street. Out in the distance are small bumps in New Jersey that are probably geographic features made of earth, but I don’t believe it. More real is eighth avenue stretching north, which from up here reveals it’s intelligence, gulping calculated bites of taxi’s, trucks and buses, sending goods and people where goods and people are needed. The brain needs that suit who is in that taxicab. Those shoes must make it to that store to get on the feet of that fashionista. The white blood cells in that ambulance nudging cross town must make it to save that gasping old woman who feeds the pigeons in the park.
And there’s me, the Alaskan Clown sitting in a lent apartment, parrots preening, a small dog on my right, a grey kitty on my left.
My first night I stood on the balcony and got the worst vertigo ever.

“The world’s got me dizzy again, you think after 22 years, I’d be used to the spin, but it only feels worse when I stay in one place, so I’m always pacing around or walkin’ away” Land Locked Blues, Bright Eyes.

And so you don’t. You don’t stay in one place. That was me when I arrived. Afraid of the beast. I’m making friends with it, now. I’ve ridden the edge. Like when my video camera was needed to tape that woman’s solo show and I was half an hour late and was going to cause that woman’s director to be late. Pushing east and then north from Brooklyn through the plod of rush hour, my bike became a hymn that I sung out through open eyes, narrowed psyche. That bus doesn’t want it enough, it slowed for that mother, and so I’m off, soaring, weaving through the drifting Midwesterners of Times Square, the foreign bodies that the city engulfs and dazzles with lights and height, and then picks up with Pedicabs. Because I’m so pushy with the city, the little dog gets to pee, everyone makes it to the solo show with plenty of time to schmooze, and the city lets out a sigh.

Funny that everyone personifies this city so much. It seems the only way to relate with something so inhuman, so unnatural, yet made by human madness and muscle.

Friday, October 5, 2007

September 20 to October 1 New Orleans

Alluring and Repulsive. The two adjectives that I read on the placard in the swamp, the two adjectives that the forest interpreters have chosen to describe the incredible wetness and vibrancy of the bayou. Two words that they give us Dry Land folks from the North to hold on to. The two adjectives become words that I use to interpret, to make sense of what I see. Smell. Taste. And feel. Like the man that Amy and I follow on out of the bayou, a sweet man with a thick accent who’d grown up hunting everything in the bayou for meat: ‘gatrs, d’r, sqr’l’ (what hpp’n t’ll th vw’ls dn suth?). He walked along on soft feet like a tracker and found us turtle egg nests and huge spiders along the way. The repulsive part? His cologne. Amy, thought it disgusting and hung way back. It reminded me of my dad and so I followed close.

Other repulsive/alluring things about New Orleans:
The Paupers Cemetery in City Park, with all of its crooked and broken (mostly handmade) markers (not many were stone…many were cement or plywood).

Bourbon Street. Perhaps more repulsive and less alluring than the Cemetery. Every other bar was an odd neon open-faced fun-house filled with swirling daiquiri mixes and blaring dumb music way too loud. The other half of the bars were filled with more dumb live music, either CCR covers or postcard versions of Cajun music. Oh. Also, plenty of pictures of naked ladies and an occasion scantily clad lady, encouraging passersbys to come in.

The Clover Grill. At the end of Bourbon Street. Small, cheap and disgusting greasy spoon. I was looking for a bookstore and asked my waiter if he knew of any nearby. You’re not in the right place for ‘intellectual ‘ pursuits his reply.

Frenchmen Street. Much more alluring. In fact there wasn’t anything repulsive about it at all. Every night, instead of returning home to flip through the TV channels, we walked down Frenchmen street trying to decide between Brass Band music, French Django-esque Jazz, Washboard Chaz and his funky blues (he let me play my Saw on a tune).

Second Line. One of the most awesome things I’ve ever seen. A mini Mardi Gras that happens every Sunday year round. The Second Lines are put on by Pleasure Clubs and are basically marching bands surrounded by dancing folks (98% black) that surge through the city for four or five hours, dancing around cars, stopping traffic and generally causing everyone who is nearby to smile. I have not been around such pure buoyancy before. MmmHmm.
It was especially bittersweet as we danced down streets that seemed much more affected by Katrina than other areas. The smell of Death was all over the city (literally), but we were hopping and sidestepping and grooving along, trying to clear it up, psychically.

The Condo-fication of NOLA. Repulsive, there’s big changes in N’awlins. Developers have bought up all the wreckage and are turning it all into way expensive places to live and driving up rents. Half of the people I’ve met down here have just moved here.
A friend down here told me rents used to be $200 to $300. Now it’s more like $800 to $900. The tourist parts of the city seem bustling. Most people can’t afford to come back to a city that is SO RICH culturally, artistically, Soulfully. The city, full of seemingly empty condos, is at 40% population.

The Calliope. From a mile away you can hear this musical instrument. And it is the apidomie of alluring and repulsive. Take a look and listen.

My Last Show. Performed by last show of the tour tonight. My favorite show so far. It was electric. The last show always has this sort of energy and it both pisses me off and gives me hope. Before the show, I had been thinking, maybe I’m done with this show, maybe it’s lost it’s allure to me, and that’d be okay, it’s been a great run. But during the show, I threw all of it out the window (‘it’ being ‘knowing’ what I’m doing), and connected fully with myself and with the material.
Also what was different tonight, besides it being the last show, was my warm up: I played songs that energized me and got me moving, but also looked for songs that evoked strong memories that are long gone. Also, I took time to lay down with my dog and do some eye gazing with the most special creature in my life. More than my Best Friend, he’s been my Best Coworker, and Peaknuckle does all of it so that he’ll be near me (and so that I’ll give him tasty beef T-R-E-A-T-S shhh! he might hear me think the word).

So. It’s important to remember that with a form like Theatrical Clown, I’ve got to come on stage Each Time like it’s the last, like my life depends on it, like, like I don’t know. Because I don’t, and when ever I think I do, I’m lying.

September 20 San Francisco

Amazing food that my sister Cyn cooked for me in Oakland, California


Lavender Sea Salt Crusted Halibut, plank grilled and cooked to perfect succulence with corn pudding (ala her wife, Barb).

(stuff I cooked! SO nice to have a kitchen to cook in)
Italian Artichokes (our mom’s recipe) stuffed with stuffing (imagine that?!) stuffed with diced red peppers, parsley and garlic.

Thai Red Japanese Winter Squash soup, Coconut milk. There you have my secret! Also with ginger blossoms (my sister, out at the S.F. Farmer’s Market finally admitted to her addiction: acquiring weird food at Farmer’s Markets. “It’s worse than CRACK!”

(Last night’s “John’s Going Away Meal)
Appetizer: Grilled fancy peppers, salty and sweet (my favorite)

Main Course:
Super thin, fancy Japanese Noodles in broth, over super fresh and yummy Farmer’s Market tofu, garnished with cilantro sprouts (!!!), and roasted baby summer squash.

On the side:
Paper-thin sliced Cucumber Salad with Avocado (made from bizarro knarly looking cuke- again one of my sister’s Farmer’s Market finds)



Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel (a graphic book) about a woman who comes to terms with her father dying as she comes to terms with her sexuality.

Dry. memoir by Augustine Burroughs (also wrote Running With Scissors)Augustine's battle with alcoholism is hilarious and devistating, inspiring and shallow (which is the word he uses most to discribe himself). �

September 6 Santa Fe and Peñasco, New Mexico

It’s no wonder that people get enchanted with New Mexico. What with all the chocolate, Japanese hot tubs, crazy circus farms in the hills and lovely funny people, that this fine state has provided this visitor…enchanted is too dull a word. It all started with my visit to my dear friend Amanda Crocket’s (and her wife Sarah-Jane Moody WHO it turns out wrote and sings one of my favorite songs that I got on a mix one day-she’s from the Dolly Ranchers). My shows were well performed and received at the Wise Fool Studio and because I started adding “come tell me where else I should perform” to my little curtain speech (thank you, Jessica Cerullo) I might have a gig in New York City and an extra one in New Orleans. Then, THEN the decadence started! Amanda, Sarah-Jane and I ate at a greasy spoon counter, and I had the yummiest huevos rancheros this side of the border (go Christmas!) (New Mexico speak).
And I sat next to this guy who reminded me of an oil baron, ‘cept he was ‘minin’ for natural gases that came out of the landfill.’ And he wasn’t gettin’ rich, “cause he was sharing all the profits.” And then onto the chocolate. The historic, ten different kinds of drinking chocolate and the crazy coconut truffle that the tall guy (it’s run by a short guy and a tall guy-which certainly adds to the charm) dropped off at our table. I got SO high drinking that chocolate, so high that I hardly noticed it when I slipped off my kimono and slipped into the tub up at Ten Thousand Waves. We spent maybe 4 hours there, soaking, sauna-ing, lounging, soaking and cold plunging.

And now? Now I’m up at this cool (somewhat Fellini-like) circus theatre in Peñasco, a teeny town outside of Taos, just doin’ nothin’ really. Ooh La LA! And in between nothing and nothing, I’m rehearsing in the theatre and getting some great feedback from aerialists, eating at the Sugar Nymphs Café (run by one of the women who started the famous “Greens Restaurant” in San Fran), working on my uke, sleeping in a van and eating greens from the garden. What a life! Did I mention that I’m enchanted?

POSTSCRIPT (on performing in Peñasco)

HOLEY MOLEY. What a ride. Kinda like riding a Bull. Imagine the Adobe theater with high ceiling and trapeze stuff dangling, the seats, old theatre seats from the 20's (Definately Fellini- imagine the trumpets towards the end of this clip ARE the theatre), and me waiting outside for my entrance (my Clown is warming up on a trampoline by walking around on it- a sensation I'm going to keep part of his walk) and the Septic Tanker guy shows up...he and my technician, the woman who runs the theatre get into a seemingly intense discussion about poop. It's getting later and later (8:15 by now). So I decide to walk around the theatre to tell the door guy to stall the crowd. I forget about the fence and in the dark, split my lip on it. I then use the blood on my mouth to go back and distract them from thier poop discussion and we start the show.

The beginning of my show is intentionally...well...bad. I'm trying to ellicite that "Ohmygod, WHAT have I gotten myself INTO" feeling in the theater. This feeling, combined with the vibe in this bizarre place and the sound that the poop truck is now making (VERY LOUD. VERY INSISTANT- as the poop is "hard as a rock"), sends ME over the edge of comfort. I feel like I want to jump out of my skin. Just leave the shell of me there to take the embarrasment bravely and vacantly. But then...well, I don't really remember particulars (I said something about the 'poop truck'), soon I was back in my body hanging on and letting my body metaphysically flop all over the place. The mishaps, luckily, kept coming- gifts from the Clown Gods-as Sue Morrison would say. The kids that were supposed to be outside with the babysitter that I'd hired (isn't that SMART? make it a Family event by setting up Childcare!), were all of a sudden in the theater, which I discovered quite suddenly as they were the first thing I saw as I popped out of my garment bag. I attempted a joke about my being 'squarepants sponge-guy' it flopped. But was funny. It got to the point were Everything was SO Funny that I had to shut everyone up. SHUT UP! was my creative exclamation...

The rest of the show was like this, a bucking bronco, with me hanging on for dear life, everything going wrong around me, the audience eating it up.

Hmm...wonder what the lesson here is?�

August 23 Boulder Colorado (and Toronto and Rochester)

o. My show is about loss. And, of course…duh…life is starting to imitate it.

I haven’t been ‘blogging’ for a while because the feeling’s been: This sucks. Who wants to hear about all of this crap.

BUT, now, dear friend, family and/or stranger, the crap’s piled up into a neat stack that has transcended mere crap. Now! For a limited time only! I will turn this crap into…Poetry (inspiration, even)!

1. I was walking down off of some BEAUTIFUL rocky mountain or another with one of my bestest friends after the bestest camping by a high desert oasis, thinking, “I really should through this camera over a cliff. I’m not really Seeing. I’m just taking. Pictures.” And so I lose my camera accidently. The Universe supplies the absence that I seek.

2. My Aunt Nancy and I and my brother and sister all took a tour of “The Home.” Those dreaded two words that connote both a leaving and a returning. It’s not as bad as it seems. Aunt Nancy seems to be readying herself for the change…and her struggle, bravery and transparency/openness are so inspiring to me as I wrestle the constant flow of Change on the Road. Also, we never knew it, but she is a poet (we found beautiful, morbid and romantic poems of hers that she wrote like more than 70 years ago. I’ll try to put some up here.

3. I lost my baggage for a week or so. And not metaphorically. United Airlines, or rather their representatives in India, could not find most of my Clown stuff/makeup for five days (during which I was trying to have my one vacation up in the Rocky mountains). I spoke with at least Ten different Indian people and spent almost as much time on the phone and nobody besides ‘Beverly’ (her real name has been changed to protect her from Big Brother) at the Denver airport could interpret the information in their system that said that my stuff had been in Bin Ten. ‘Beverly’ seemed to me like someone trapped (like my stuff was) in a Kafka-esque nightmare. “Help Me! Please!” the super supervisor seemed to say, as she begged me to write to United and ask more workers and better training. SO IRONIC that my show is about losing and rising above that which I am attached to. The Universe’s got a hell of a sense of humor.

Sidenote: Beware of flying with United into Denver. ‘Beverly’ won’t be there very long to help you find your luggage. Soon she’ll be a nurse.

4. So. The Universe’s sense of humor. Here at the Boulder Fringe on Saturday night I was playing to a nearly Sold Out audience that was Eating It Up. I was on Fire. I was improvising all the in-between moments. I had the audience in my hand. And then, like someone punished for their conceit, just as I’m pushing and building towards the Big Payoff (I won’t spoil the show for those of you who haven’t seen it) of my Big Show That I’m Doing so Great…fake tomatoes start appearing on either side of me, rolling one by one from the backstage entrance. 1. Tomatoes aren’t part of my show. 2. Maybe I’ll ignore the tomatoes. 3. The audience isn’t ignoring the tomatoes. 4. I’ll go ask why the tomatoes are coming.

The Tomatoes are coming because I’m OVERTIME? Oh no! I go back onstage and thank everyone for coming and quickly start to take down my set.
BUT WAIT. We’re in a new venue that no one knows about and all of the shows are starting 10 minutes late. So I’m not overtime at all. And I Hate tomatoes! They upset my stomach. It’s all a bad dream. My show is bad dream enough, but the Payoff turns the nightmare okay again. But the tomatoes leave me (and the audience too?) with a surreal sense of anger and loss. Again the Universe takes it upon itself to imitate my art, and with tomatoes there’s an added admonishment that humbles and confuses me. Okay, I know that I’m thinking too old testament that there is no wrathful being up there waiting, just waiting for us to screw up, but lately the loss and the weirdness and the feelings are so intense that it’s becoming poetic and poetry and Gods are the only way to make sense of it…

BUT. The sense that is coming from all of this is not all bad. The tomato person and I have since made up and actually made a little cross publicity stunt (involving a smooshed tomato in the face) out of the whole thing at the late night

And I’m glad to have lost my camera. The place where we camped up in the Rockies was simply the most gorgeous place in the world and photos just box, crop and flatten. There were moments up on that mountain, talking with my friend Sarah and her cousin that made all of it (unaided by illegal substances) congeal into a big blob of beauty. The Stars. And my Big Realization (which so many have had before), that the universe is one body. One entity. And inside my body: one universe. No separation. Cause and effect, sure. Wars, famine, birth, love and confusion, sure. But it wasn’t till I could see the stars from up here (and perhaps the lack of oxygen helped too) that I could see what has always been there.

And the baggage. Am I glad to have lost the baggage, temporarily? No. That sucked.

And my Aunt Nancy. I’ll never lose her. And all of this change in her life is spurring a little of a change in my family’s life. We’re starting to email each other and call a little more often. And what with my being on the road, I could use that.
One of the pictures on my camera that I lost was a picture that I really wanted to show Aunt Nancy. It’s of a giant Scrabble board in Toronto. Once a month they’ve a pedestrian only market area and when I went, a whole crowd was surrounding a scrabble board bigger than any bed I’ve seen, with tiles that where each the size of a normal sized scrabble board. In these dimensions the game became a spectator sport, with the crowd yelling out words and free agents walking from player to player whispering amazing words into their ears. It was a little hard to (when I played) see the whole board, but then again I had the whole crowd behind me and that free agent (who, as it occurs to me now, must be that guardian angle that my Aunt has hanging around me, making sure that I lose (and find) the right stuff. Thank you, Aunt Nancy. �

En Route AMTRACK (Mass. to Rochester) July 21st

Me and Ida Lod Solrosgatan at July 4th Contact Jam

It’s dusk on a train headed west to Rochester to see my Aunt Nancy again, and I’m listening to a wonderful 6pmDusk-themed mix that a new friend made me. There’s a bunch of Amish in the seats ahead of me and my mind turns to the end of the day after a hard days’ work. A returning home. A returning to comfort and the familiarity of family. As I’m settling into this incessant moving about, I’m developing the ability to drift to where I need to be at the moment. And so I drift home. Inside. Into my living room with a cozy cup of tea.

Been on the road for two months now. How am I doing with my fears/goals. “They” do like my show. At the Montreal Fringe, I got great audience buzz. There are people telling me that my show has the potential to ‘go far.’ And only two people have left in the middle of the show (anchorage) and I think that they were drunk and so maybe needed to go and throw up. And my show still isn’t PERFECT. If it were where would the work be? But the work that’s happening on it is organic, and isn’t bruising my ego that much. (yes, Elsbeth, you told me so. It’s time to lose the Dead Bird at the end). And regarding making new friends. I’ve made friends with folks from Japan who want to bring me and my pup to do a show there and make clown there. I’ve met a few Clowns in the Northampton area who will be creative collaborators in the future for sure: Rose, Dana, & Tanya. I made some cool couchsurfer friends in Montreal. If you’ve not done couchsurfing yet. DO IT. It’s like MySpace, but REAL. Folks all over the world are opening TheirSpaces to strangers in the name of making the world smaller and friendlier. Within 4 hours of posting a profile and my plea for a cozier place to stay (my former accommodations was smokier than I had bargained for), I had landed a place for two weeks with my own room and a really cool quebecwaa (how is that spelt?) woman who brought me to a wild dinner party where I learned the quebec swear words “Tabernac,” or “Chalice” the most holy objects in a church, sputtered and flung across the kitchen with mean, sexy gestures.
I made friends with a guy on the train who had logged more than 20,000 miles in his boat after three back surgeries. He retired and bought a boat and travels on the rivers, canals and inner-coastal waterways all over the country. The guy was a nut. I’m definitely inspired. Just think, I could float my home from town to town and jump off and sell my show…gypsy-circus-style. Pea would develop his sea legs and be my alarm system at night. Speaking of Peaknuckle and safety, my fear that he’d get hurt. So far so good. Right now he’s in his Green Room (his green hideaway bag under my feet-trains and buses don’t like dogs), and has been kept the nights un-lonesome and generally ensures that I don’t spend much time by myself…the great Icebreaker that he is.
As for my fear that I would be too small a fish down here…I feel like my work sits nicely amongst the work that’s done down here. There are shows more polished and they’re on Broadway (is this where I want to be anyhow?) there are shows that are not as…intriguing as mine. I’m an artist in the world. Having developed my work in Juneau, Alaska just means that I need to get out in the world and make connections so that the world can see it. As for my fear that I won’t want to return to Juneau…I AM psyched to return there and direct a Christmas Clown show. Superfun. What happens after that…well…I’m psyched to get out in the world and show more of the world my work.
All and all, I’m going for the ride. And I’m enjoying it. Doing Contact Improvisation in the woods with wonderful artists and peeps for 6 days doesn’t suck. Getting really sick at the end of that week didn’t even suck- a rotation of friends came up to tell me stories, sing me songs, tell me a really dirty joke (even if it was a joke that ended with a river of S%#$, all too pertinent to my plight-it’s okay Megan, I’m over it-the joke and the plight).
Getting my first Standing Ovation the other night (at P.A.C.E) didn’t suck. Especially since even ME, my worst critic, thought it was a great show.

Hmm…so. The young Amish boy in the row ahead of me cozies his head onto his dad’s lap, the sun’s honey bright is almost out of sight and it’s time for me to make my way upstairs to bed…I’ve got to save some energy for hanging out with my Aunt Nancy in Rochester…otherwise she’ll squash me at Scrabble.
G’night. �

Rochester June 28th

Arrived in Rochester a couple of days ago to visit my dearest Aunt Nancy. I think I may die of malnutrition. I know I write a lot about the food as I go, but what else IS there really. In between shows I set up more show and more publicity and inbetween that I seek sustenance. AND being away from the big city where Restaurants and Grocery Corner Stores abound, and being stuck in suburban nowheresville, it’s been a strange culinary journey. I decided that due to my low blood sugar problems on the Road, I require within easy reach at least cereal and soymilk; peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Driving down the road my eyes caught the Aldi logo in the strip mall…a sign that I had seen during late night TV gluttony the night before on a Food Channel. They had done a spot about this store that cut costs along every step of the way so that the food was cheap, including the shopping carts taking a quarter deposit each time you used them. Well. The food Was cheap. And Sam’s club bountiful. My favorite part was the special Active and Lean brand soymilk (and canned peaches and frozen pocket sandwiches). Of course I was drawn to these foods as they were…well…food. And to look at me, well, I sure am Active and Lean. But to call it this seems so…insulting. As if, by implication, the other food should be called “Slothy and Fat.”

What a food snob I have become. Not everywhere is it possible to get organic, whole foods…though it IS possible in Alaska. Within walking distance of a lot of peoples’ homes. We’re spoiled.
I ought to seek out some farmer’s markets…it IS the fingerlakes region.

My Aunt Nancy is doing okay. Just Okay. She thinks, of course, that she is totally forgetful, whereas she is simply regular people forgetful now…which must be hard for a sharp, sharp woman like her. Gosh, I love this woman…almost more than anything else in the world.
And today’s her birthday. I’m going to go over there now and give her a hug and card that when she opens it will play “The Age of Aquarius” and probably scare her big time. Fun.

Well. Till next time. Oh and Call Me. I love getting calls. 907.957.2776�

The Big Stink

Toronto. The breakfasts are Alright, the pavement and stench are overbearing: but there’s tons of Clown. (incidently, Montreal is called the Big Sky, while Toronto is the Big Stink- just perfect for Clown Eh?). The Toronto Festival of Clowns (I was just a spectator):
Two Really good shows:
1. Hanging with Jesus: Forty Minutes on the Wood. Fun F-ing Tastic. Wholly Wholly Wholly. They could have gone a little deeper, into the Realness of being crucified in the shadow of Jesus Christ, but they managed to make a Clown show out of it. I Loved the moment when one of them gets helium filled ballons (he had wanted a Sign like Jesus had, but oh-well) It’s just my bent to want Deeper Deeper.
2. Bubkis —Awesome. I will make a show like this one day. All he had was a sheet, a toothbrush, a water bottle and a pillow….and he managed to create a world and a story and a raport with his audience in ways that astonished me. Still…Deeper. I want deeper. I’ve got a lot of work to do on my show.
Another Really Bad one.
I won’t name it. But at least it wasn’t my show. But I still have a lot of work to do on my show.
Which brings me to going back to Stinky Toronto in the end of July:
To have my show worked on by some fun Clowns (Miss Becky and Adam Lazarus the producer of the Toronto Clown Theatre Festival. AND take a workshop in Play with a woman from Complicite (basically, the more intense European Clowning).
AND I met this guy who knows this woman with a Clown/Dog act that she’s been doing for 9 years. And it sounds like she might be able to give me some advice. SO COOL!
I’m psyched. I get to go deeper.

Montreal Fringe 2007 Post Op (June 25th)

As the bus spirals out of the city, around the mountain, we are headed for Toronto. San Francisco is a series of hills and things hidden and mysterious, Montreal gives all of it to you, and invites you deeper, the spirals are everywhere. The staircases, the food, the culture are all set up helix-like. French and English are on opposite sides of the DNA Strand, but they are not oppositional. The codes are complementary and despite the initial shock of what the Hell are they saying, the Quebec-ers are so gracious and welcoming to the Anglafone (sp?) side. They’ve won in so many ways, and so sure I speak English, what do you need or no, and I’ll continue talking to you in Quebecoux (sp?) until you understand via context and guessing. In France the French they spoke was a wall…’Posted: No Trespassing’. In Montreal, I went to a party that was all French and the feeling was you’ll understand, follow the twist of it and you’ll understand. (They served up a strong beer and were a VERY sexual bunch…and so it was not too hard to Get It.)
All of it was a spiral. The food. The FOOD was a spiral. A specific breakfast comes to mind. Reservouir. Very hungry after a night of Fringing and Drinking. Again the menu is in frengch and so I order ‘just a basic breakfast…you know eggs, bacon, etc…’
‘wee, jes we haff zis.’
When my plate arrives I question how ‘zis’ is worth $12. there are two eggs, a small pile of potato salad, a few sprigs of some sort of greens and two strips of bacon or “Lard” as the menu frankly calls them. Doesn’t look like the sort of Hungry Man Denny’s breakfast.
After my first bite of the potato salad I am sucked tongue first into a pit of yum. The potato salad is not hunks of carb like in the states. It’s delicate and surprising. The capers are little nymph heads. The eggs (which I could not get ‘over-medium’ because they are ‘pree-baked un zee oven’- a cheepie way to do it I had thought) are little shiny opuses with balsamic blood dribbling (I’ll never cook my eggies on the stove-top). And as I fall deeper and deeper I discover the marvelous contrast of centimeter thick pig (bacon is too thin, too flimsy a word for the slab of carnage before me) and light spriggy greens, the hillside bathed in spring time sun, the greens that make the pigs and stop and wonder about flight. And of course the bread. The crusty crusty bread that could only be made in a Francophonic city, spongey moist encased by crusty. And all of this IN ONE MEAL.

So yea. The Spiral. I have left Montreal physically, however my relationships there are only getting deeper. I will most likely teach a Clown workshop there, and hopefully do my show again (September).
How was my show received? Again a spiral. (and not the kind that ends up in the sewers). Once a few key people got in the door, word spread and I kept on getting bigger and bigger houses, which led to more and more fun. During my last performance the audience member that I chose to play zombie/victim with was fun to play with. So fun, in fact that the audience gave her a huge round of applause when she killed me.
A crazy group from Tokyo, HANAKENGO and SHOSHINZ who had this wacked out physical comedy/dance/??? have invited me to Tokyo to do my show (they came to my show TWICE!). And I got some great ‘Buzz’ on the site (with a very curious thumbs down). Anyhow, feels great to have had a good run in such a bit city while competing with such great acts. Two of my favorites: Joe. (Thank you Joe for making me believe in the Glory of Idiocy!) Die Roten Punkte. (F. I haven't laughed this hard in a long time. SO Inappropriate and SO sweet)

What did I learn? That I need to poster and flyer my (little) ass off. That I need to figure out how to get the Press in the door to review me. That walking Peaknuckle before a show is Essential…he’s been actually doing his tricks since I started that practice and he’s getting Really Funny…checking in with the audience and varying up his timing. We’re getting used to the idea of a Public together. Yea! And thanks to my friends back in Juneau Town for the encouraging emails. I’m not really on the Road by myself anymore. �

Bard College, New York, May 22nd (first performance down south)

Wow. Holy Mohly. This is the way that it can be. Performing can be overwhelming in a Good Way. I had Four, not ONE, but FOUR Paid technicians, with a Three Hour tech rehearsal with a stage manager who was Professional! I had a Lighting Designer (and a really good one!). I had my own dressing room with it’s own bathroom/shower (with removable shower head!). Someone printed out my programs AND folded them!
And for all of this they are paying ME! Sigh. It’s not Alaska anymore. �I performed inside THIS! (in the smaller "Theater Two' part)

The show went very well indeed. I had a nice rehearsal with one of my Dance professors from way back (I graduated Bard in ’97). Her addition to the show…she said that what I was doing was Magical Realism, and that I have to be Very Clear with my script, which is good advice. Also she said that she wanted to see me be more sexual with the Chair. To figure out all the ways that we could Do It. Not just dance with it. More good advice. And so now we have sex in many ways, the Chair and I, ending with the Chair bending me over and doing me from behind (a movement which is fairly realistic when performed with a folding chair btw).

Some other interesting feedback: Aileen Passloff, a wonderful advisor of mine from the Dance department called my character a “lost soul.” I like this. I like playing with the idea that he’s trying to find his place…it seems so personal too.

Some dear friends came too. Dusan and Dwayne from NYC where there and giggled the whole time. Dusan was the one sitting on the Chair and was very good. He didn’t give it up too easily.

Peaknuckle’s auntie and uncle were there too. Gretchen and James, who knew Peaknuckle from when he was just a puppy. She said that she saw a lot of Jimmy (Pea’s father who gifted him to me and then went and died a couple of years ago) in my performance.
Awesome to have my world converge like this for my first show Down South. Sigh. �

May 19 (airplane JNU to SEATAC)

Funny to leave Juneau on a day like May 19th: Everyone barbequing, smiling in the sun, all of the kidless Thirty-somethings playing kickball and drinking cheap booze, unnaturally happy in JUNEAU of all places...and then my BFF and Caroline seeing me off to the airport, a long awkward wait in line followed by a painful rush to the plane that sat there for an additional half an hour.

And here I go with my show, my dog, and a few of my favorite shirts in tow. In the tradition of little Clown Camp opening circle ritual, just what ARE my hopes and fears for this six month odyssey?

FEARS, first: that THEY (whoever ‘they’ are) won’t like my show, that I haven’t rehearsed my show enough, that you’re supposed to have rehearsed a show like this till my Clown nose breaks, till it’s PERFECT. That I’ll get lonely on the road and that the decision to go alone was the Wrong one. That I won’t make new friends and/or I won’t keep in contact with the friends that I DO make. That Pea will get hurt. That I’m over stretching myself as an artist: Big Fish leaves Small Pond and is eaten by Bigger Fish in Huge Ocean. That I’ll shed my Fish Skin just detach from the Food Chain all together and feel to comfortable to go back to the Small Pond of Juneau. Or that I’ll really want to go back to Juneau. Or that I’ll continue Not Knowing where my place is in the world.
(seems to be a theme of impermenance and perfection here)

That I will somehow embrace my situation of being On The Road. That I will find a way to travel gracefully and graciously. That I can use this time of being Alone to learn to be friends with myself and learn some good ‘ol self-dependence.That I can stay connected with my Juneau Peeps AND be open to letting in New People (can there BE more fabulous people in the world? HEY! That’s a fear! Back to Hopes!) That I can serve this show whole-heartedly and Get Out of the Way and let it be, AND that I do the work that it asks me to do. That my relationship with my dog deepens. That I can garner the attention for my show that it needs: Audiences, Reviews (good ones). That I can, again, be graceful and gracious when things don’t go Peachy. And if they do, that I can be Humble. That I can be open to Going for the Ride.

Sigh. Tall Order. But manageable. And good to see it all before me. Now To Work. �