Author Archives: JBW
Once upon a time there was a little blond girl named Sydney. Sydney could be a boy’s name too. It’s also the capital of Australia, but this was a little blond second grade girl named Sydney. One day Sydney said to me, “I have a woos toof. See my toof is wiggawee!”
On this particular day Sydney’s class had PE. P.E. stands for Physical Education. Usually a P makes a Puh sound, but when it’s PH it says Fuh. Physical Education happens in the gym. It’s when they try to teach kids how to use their bodies better. Second graders have lots of energy and can run and jump and throw balls but they don’t always have great coordination and they sometimes run into each other or the walls or they jump on each other’s toes or fingers or they throw the balls into each other’s faces. The gym is a hard place, and the balls are hard and it’s possible to lose a toof when someone runs into you or throws a ball in your face. Even a toof that is not wiggawee.
Pieing Charles Shelan at CYS in 2008 on April Fool’s. Read the original blog entry here>
I got a call from Drew Perine asking if I’d like to be part of his photo-essay on Work Clothes for the Tacoma News-Tribune. It would also appear in the Olympian. Both are McClatchy papers. Well, duh. The Trib has a 78K+ circulation and the Daily O has 33K+ circulation! What did he want? Well, to interview me as I got into character and see me in action.
I conscripted a few confederates and arranged to deliver pies to their willing faces at the Tacoma Museum of Glass on Tuesday the 5th of August. [Thanks to the speedy opportunism of Hillary Ryan, the head of their PR dept, seeing my Facebook post.]
Hillary and her two children were among the five confederates to accept pies in honor of National Clown Week. I also brought artist Bil Fleming and patron of the arts, Erin Oly, with me from Olympia. Erin had supported my Quest for the 100th pie in the face and wore her limited edition hand screened commemorative T-shirt for the occasion. She was honored to be the 1101st pied face on that day.
I chose to do the pie-ings on the Chihuly bridge of glass outside the museum to allow for public interactivity and appreciation. Sure enough, as we were basically blocking traffic, I was able to convince a random traveler to accept a pie. Breezy was a good sport. When offered a complimentary pie-in-the-face her two companions declined, but she said, “Sure.”
At the suggestion of the Small Business Development Council, I contacted Inside Lacey magazine to get a plug in for the upcoming Timberland Regional Library Crash Course Clown Camp.
The editor (“Centralized Publication Manager”), Pete Kennedy, replied asking me if I would be interested in an email Q&A, and that I should send 10 High Res pictures. Ah-hem. Yes. Here there are, and what are your questions?
He sent two dozen questions and gave me 48 hours to answer them.
The final piece included answers to 8 of the questions and all 10 pictures.
What I had not realized what that they produce a sister magazine, West Olympia Life. For Inside Lacey, this became a featured article. For West Olympia Life it was the COVER STORY!
One question that didn’t make the cut was this one:
—You also have interns through Evergreen. How many interns have you had through this program, and have any gone on to be professional clowns themselves?
I have worked with emergent clowns as interns and assistants and less-formal collaborations over the past few years because I felt the profession needed more in the way of apprenticeships. When I work with college students I have recommend texts and videos and expect reflective journals in exchange for my evaluation of their work. All my collaborators should expect a fair mix of show and business when we gig. One of my partners, Honey the Clown, now offers pie-in-the-face in New York.
A little video I helped with this week at the request of Alex “the Zaniac” Zerbe.
An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane.
Similarly, we clowns have an ancient legend that First Clown will grant a wish to anyone who delivers a thousand pies in the face.
Clowns provide many surprising gifts but none are quite as powerful as a pie in the face when it comes to pleasing First Clown enough for wish granting.
We do not ordinarily count how many balloons we have twisted. I know colleagues who have undoubtedly re-enacted that ritual well over a thousand times. Balloon twisting also goes back to the ancient times. Early clown shaman twisted the intestines of sacrificial animals into the basic dog/ quadruped sculpture. It symbolized a resurrection and primacy of breath as life. The dog/ quadruped was also sacrificed to indicate the inevitable end of human creation.
We do not ordinarily count how many faces we have painted or arms tattooed/ bejeweled. We accept that these are a constant part of the ancient tradition of body decoration/ modification. The clown shaman performed a magical transformation on members of their tribe with pigmentation and design. We call for the characteristics of animal totems or admirable human role models when we assume their faces. We recognize this practice as part of the infinite flowing process of becoming. The face paint washes off and the tattoos/ jewels are only temporarily affixed in place.
A pie delivered to a willing face is a different matter. Although it is also symbolic of things ephemeral, the memory of that sudden moment lasts a great deal longer than most complicated multi-balloon sculptures, full face paintings, or even arm-length henna tattoos. It has to do with the trust generated between the clown, the clowned, and those around. A pie delivered as a spectacle can help those in attendance to face their fear and believe that in spite of it all there is sweetness in life.
While soliciting donations toward the 1000th pie in the face expedition, I was asked whether I had documentation for each of the pied faces I’ve been claiming.
Yes and No.
When I pied the first face on April Fool’s of 2007 I never imagined I would be celebrating the 1000th now.
It took a year for things to get rolling. On April Fool’s of 2008 I set out to see just how many I could do in a day by bartering and bundling with other visits. [It was eight.]
My birthday is also in April, so I made pies available to guests at the party. Eleven more faces.
I brought a pie to a family member’s 60th birthday and thought ahead to bring extra whipped topping. Sure enough, FIVE more people agreed to accept pies.
I (almost) always have people sign a waiver, and I (almost) always take a photo.
Problems with the Waivers
- I haven’t kept all the waivers!
- I don’t usually date the waivers.
- I continue to use waiver sheets when there are blank lines left.
- Sometimes people get in line without signing up.
- Sometimes people sign and never show up for their pie.
- I can’t always read the names because of the GIANT PENCIL and because sometimes the children’s handwriting is illegible anyway.
Problems with the Photos
I have sometimes had technical difficulties with my camera during a pie-ing.
- Sometimes I haven’t brought it.
- Sometimes the batteries run out.
- Sometimes I accidentally leave the SD card in the computer.
- Sometimes the hosts or guests at a party have their own cameras, and I think I don’t need to prove anything. I think I don’t need to spend my time processing & uploading all those before/ during/ and after shots.
- Sometimes I forget to take the picture.
- Sometimes an assistant is taking pictures, and they miss the shot.
It was the Fremont Solstice Parade of 2008 where the count got a little blurry. I estimated that I had done 15 pies in 90 minutes for a new personal best. It brought the total to ABOUT ~45. I estimated based on the number of dirty pie pans and empty canisters of whipped topping I had at the end of the parade route.
Let me tell you what qualifies and what does not qualify as a pied face for this count.
- any sized pie that I personally hand deliver to a face
- any sized pie that I provide to an assistant which is hand delivered to a face (including mine)
- any sized pie that I provide to a willing face, who then hand delivers it to their own face
- each new pie-ing occasion of a face. (i.e. I pied Bill Fleming on different days, each had a separate count)
- any delivery of whipped topping directly to the mouth as long as some spills beyond the lips
- a face that receives whipped topping by accepting or initiating a kiss with a pied face
What Doesn’t Count
- multiple pie-ings of the same face at the same event (i.e. The kid who says ‘Again, again, again!’ is counted only once)
- pie-ing myself once a day just to boost the numbers
- having an assistant pie me on a regular basis to boost the numbers
- pie-ing animals
- pie-ing inanimate faces (statues, paintings, dolls, action figures)
I update the count on Twitter as soon as possible after each delivery. It feeds to Facebook. I then switch the count on Jusbytheclown.com.
Indiegogo Campaign is up and running…
I took the opportunity of my aunt’s wedding to schedule a clown quest with my wife and son to Washington DC from October 2nd- 9th, 2013.
1000th Pie in the face for… Somebody
I deliver pies in the face to willing faces only. As of today I have delivered pies to ~962 willing faces. I believe the pie-in-the-face symbolizes innocence, purity, new beginnings, and the sweetness of life.
A willing face HAD agreed to rendezvous with us on the 8th, so we booked our flights to coordinate with his schedule. However, he abruptly walked away from the project, and our tickets are non-refundable & non-transferable. Typical clown reversal of fortune.
Click on the link or picture above to help crowd-fund this project. Some great perks are offered in exchange for your generosity.
This is a preview of a limited edition, hand silk-screened T-shirt. The first batch is only 20 shirts. 10 Large, 5 XL, & 5 XXLs. And Six of these have been claimed. For a supportive gift of $25 you can have one.
You could also receive: Pie shaped soap, a DIY Pie-in-the-face Kit, a Pie shaped paver stone, the NW guide to clowns, the original Flaming Pies, and much more… including discounted services or a party every year FOR LIFE!
I returned to Unity of Centralia today to deliver a message about Laughter Yoga and the Sacred Fool. It was full of hysterical stories of historical and prehistorical clown pie rituals. I also quoted liberally from Monica Drake‘s essay “The Clown Continuum” in which she describes getting pied.
I got 8 more willing faces to accept the sacramental pie including one woman whose birthday just so happened to be today.
“Bapak Utan” sang “Ol’ King Kong” by Sandman the Rappin’ Cowboy.
I read “A Birthday Clown for Archer” by Kathy Mashburn about a boy who convinces his coulrophobic mother to hire a clown for his birthday. After all, it’s HIS BIRTHDAY!
PLEASE MOM PLEASE MOM PLEASE MOM j/k. He’s a nice kid that Archer. Not like some people’s kids. This lady here has a kid. The middle kid. I worked with him. I have lots of notes. A real sweet heart and funny guy but he could turn on you, start throwing crayons faster than you can say Jack Asperger’s.
In March, I came out to Elliot’s 7th birthday to pie his parents. He wasn’t interested in a pie for himself, but his friends lined up.
For his 7th birthday, I pied 7 faces, I hit the 777th mark and passed it, reaching 782.
One of the guests was a boy named Malakie who was VERY into getting pied,
So.. his mother asked me to show up for HIS 7th birthday.
We did 9 willing faces, most of them LARGE pies, including his mom. Current total is ~873, almost a hundred more in less than two months!
Unprecedented 63 Pied Faces! New Total ~864
If you rcv’d a free pie-in-the-face, please Like Jusby’s fcbk page to show your appreciation and continue to get announcements about special offers.
Also that way we can tag, share, & comment to our hearts’ content!
I got a call around 11 AM from California. A mom’s travel plans had fallen through, so she was looking to surprise her son with a pie-in-the-face delivery that evening. She used to plan elaborate theme parties for him, so when he had heard the news he remarked, “You’re not coming? What, no clown either?”.
Quickly google-ing, she found a clown offering “a twist” on traditional birthday clown services: C’est Moi!
Jonathan is turning 23. He’s a senior at Evergreen, my alma mater. He’s the proud father of a 6 week old. I asked him, “Is it too early to ask what you’re doing next?”
“Graduate school,” he answered without hesitation.
“Well, there is one economical alternative in post-baccalaureate certification I can recommend: the food handlers’ permit!” (said while donning fingerless dishwashing gloves)
His mom originally scheduled me for a 6:30 delivery, but pushed it back until after 7.. which coincidentally had me arrive during the middle of another epic hailstorm.
Neither rain nor sleet nor dark of… afternoon… will stay this clown from the sloppy delivery of his appointed pies!
First of May Intern, “Spontgomery” debuted today for a 3 hour party in rain and hail. He translated, juggled, and documented these 8 faces getting pied.
New Total ~792 Willingly Pied Faces
We arrived on schedule and were told to wait a bit longer, which is hard when you’re in clown and people can see you and want to begin interacting with you, so we unloaded as slowly as we could and began to set up the comprehensive equipment.
We were expected to entertain for a THREE HOUR PARTY, so it included:
- Enjoying a meal
- A trunk full of pre-made balloons courtesy of Ken Trombley of Chehalis
- Mardi Gras bead dogs
- The soundtracks of Cars & Cars 2 playing through my kindle & audio reinforcement system
- Dancing in the rain, lip-synching & playing air guitar to “Hotel California” (their jukebox)
- no faces were painted due to inclement weather, but I was prepared to do characters from Cars (cheats were loaded on the kindle)
- Playing in and under the parachute in the hail
- a short demonstration of magic scarves & juggling
- working pinata safety
- distributing goody bags
- cutting (sloppily) and serving cake to ~50 guests [I could bring my own candles (they forgot to get some), knife, & serving utensil]
- delivering Mexican flag toothpicks to cakes & hamburgers
- and although I had almost THREE PAGES of sign-ups, only 8 faces were actually willing
It was a good day to be a clown.