Category Archives: Laughter Yoga
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.
As the 6th month approached I realized that I had some hot gigs on the burner, so I put off my recap until after the April Fool’s service. Then I waited until I had something to report about the Spring Break Clown Camp… Pretty soon it was Summer Clown Camp, and then it was National Clown Week. That’s when I found out that all of her sites had been hacked and she was not able to do the follow-up article after all.
Now it’s been 14 months since the first article. Here are the updates I was going to share with Becky Cortino.
In “Launch”, Michael Stelzner emphasized the power and necessity of collaboration, and his examples and suggestions helped me focus on a better collaboration strategy. Per the suggestions in “Launch”, I have continued to seek out and involve Other Great People and “exchanging offerings” with them. Notably, I actively recruited successful peers and industry experts to visit the local clown alley, the Red Nose Brigade. I convinced Guinness World Record Winner, Alex “the Zaniac” Zerbe, to give a skill share workshop. He later called me needing a pie-in-the-face consultation for a regional library promo video he was shooting.
Each year around Halloween I spend time working with the scary clown stereotype instead of against it. I did three consecutive years at the Tumwater Halloween House. On the third year the owner also accepted a pie-in-the-face, and I inaugurated a scarier look complete with prosthetic teeth.
In 2011, I negotiated with several non-profits for an 11 night run as a scary clown in a Haunted Firehouse. In addition to cash and logo placement on the flier, one perk was a pair of season tickets to a local theater.
I sponsored a successful 10 week “First of May” internship with an Evergreen State College student, who studied clowning through a Marxist feminist lens. This gave me a chance to reflect on suitable reading and viewing lists. Books included: “Pie any means necessary” (the Biotic Baking Brigade), “Clown Girl” (Drake), and “the Death of Ben Linder” (Kruckewitt). I shared videos ranging from Danny Kaye in “The Court Jester” to Chaplin’s “the Circus” to the inner city Krumpin’ Clowns of “Rize” and the spacey clowns of Cirque du Soleil. She accompanied me on a variety of gigs: a parade, a birthday, a drive-by pieing, several workshops and spring break clown camp. I introduced her to a half-dozen members of the local clown community, and she interviewed them for a wider perspective on the craft.
My Laughter Yoga practice has also grown beyond the free weekly club meeting at the Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation (OUUC). A PE teacher from Elma hired me to give a lecture-demo for her school’s staff meeting, and the Olympia Occupy Solidarity Social Forum invited me to give two workshops.
Since April Fool’s fell on a Sunday this year, I coordinated with the minister, worship arts committee, and eight clown confederates on a church service around the theme of “How Humor Serves the Soul”. I led a Laughter Greeting & Laughter Meditation portion.
Several Sundays later I led a church service at the OUUC on the topic of “Laughter: opens minds, fills hearts, and transforms lives” partnered with another Certified Laughter Yoga Leader. We made the connection between the church’s mission statement and the use of laughter as a tool to achieve those goals. After the service I was approached by a man from a smaller church to the south. They don’t currently have a minister and they share the responsibility for a weekly message. His official title may be President of the Board, but he was actually also a talent scout. He offered to hire me to do a service for them.
I was the “2011 Best of Olympia” Staff Pick in Tacoma’s Weekly Volcano for “Best Pie (in the face)”.
I also got good publicity by offering a free class in “Esoteric Red Nose Clowning” at Waves, a local dance studio, as part of their Community Event Nights. A reporter from Olympia Power & Light attended, and his article made the front page.
I hosted a spring and a summer Clown Camp. I taught a total of eleven students, and I was able to bring in five additional part-time counselors. The larger success, however, wasn’t the number of students who actually enrolled, but the scope of the advertising I was able to achieve by partnering with the Parks & Recreation department. They published several photos with the camp description in their catalog that went to thousands and thousands of locations. The school districts allowed me to send fliers home to students because the parks department is a non-profit organization. After the spring camp I decided to upgrade my flier and made a deal with local illustrator, Chelsea Baker. She stays busy drawing a 4 panel comic every day. It was the best advertising investment I’ve ever made.
It was my 3rd year pieing at Festival of Purim and 2nd with a large entourage of clowns. The rabbi was on sabbatical, but I’ve already pied him twice. This year I stayed for the whole megillah.
It’s come down to a “Go Big or Go Home” mentality. Technically, it’s a “Go Big and THEN Go Home” thing. If other clowns sometimes offer a 2nd clown, I like to offer half a dozen. I like to arrange a multi-clown team to accommodate the balloons, Laughter Yoga, singing, dancing, and piñata bashing. Clown OVERKILL is really my favorite thing. It’s especially efficient when we’re doing one-on-one activities like face painting and balloon twisting.
Some clowns work in pairs. I like to roll about 5 deep whenever possible. I keep a clown in every corner and one in center stage. Guess who gets center stage.
I recently jointed the Youth Enrichment Foundation as a Platinum Participating Merchant > You can now buy $100 gift checks through them toward my services. They invited me out to their annual Block Party at the Hawk’s Prairie Home Depot Parking lot. They had 60 vendors and shows every hour on the hour. I took the 2 o’clock spot and also offered to improvise during set changes with some witty banter. Since I was so close to breaking the 500th pie mark I played that up.
I reached the 500th pie by 12:45!
Kai Lyn got pied
Clown campers, Smoothy, Memo & Checked the clowns showed up and helped with the show. We did 15 minutes of Laughter Yoga and then they handled pieing another dozen faces .
the sprinkler laugh
I stuck around until after the Kids at Play set. They had about 50 youth singing and dancing selections from Honk, the musical (based on Hans Christian Anderson’s “the Ugly Duckling”). I got it into my head that I would try for a new record of faces pied ALL AT ONCE. I figured that I’d get each kid to hold a mini-pie, and I could run down the line pieing them in a wave.
They had other plans…
complete chaos and mass hysteria! They pied each other and then pied me! Oh, well. It guess I had it coming.
Is it more fun to give than receive?
Share your opinion in the comments
The Campers got their turn to be pied… and, of course, to pie Jusby!
Campers also had the chance to do their own make-up or have it done by a counselor. Memo, Smoothy, and Monstro did their own; they’ve been trying different types of make-up each day in the same basic pattern. Mini-Silly had her face done by Miss Kate. Miss Kate did her own and created a new speaking clown, Curley. I recreated Checked’s checker-board face using grease paint instead of water-based face paint.
We reviewed the skills by rotating at 1 minute intervals through 12 stations:
- juggle balls
- juggle rings
- juggle scarves
- balance stick/pole/club/etc.
- laughter yoga – hula hoop
- devil sticks/ flower sticks
At 1pm we were joined by an Olympia Parks & Recreation Camp and put on a show for them. We concluded by inviting counselors up to supervise several of the stations (stilts, hula hoop, parachute). We replaced the unicycle with the wagon and miniature bicycle.
Silliness wasn’t required – but it certainly was encouraged last week at one South Sound day camp.
Technically, there were only three rules at Clown Camp, according to instructor Justin “Jusby the Clown” Wright.
“Just be safe, just be supportive and just be challenged,” he said.
Clown Camp, Day 1: balancing, juggling, impro, parachute games, laughter yoga, nose fittings! Campers were Safe, Supportive, & Challenged!
Meet the campers: Checked (7), Mini-Silly (10), Memo (11), Monstro (11), & Smoothy (11)
Day 3 (Wednesday July 27th) will be FREE & All-Ages!
For Kai’s 11th birthday at the Circle Hawk Farm house on the 11th with approximately 11 guests…
a highly interactive mini-clown camp from 1 – 3 PM, a microcosm of the week-long camp in July: juggling/ object manipulation lesson, balloon twisting lesson, joke telling lesson, laughter yoga session w/ Trish & Orion, & pies in the faces… in the theme of Lego Star Wars meets Old MacDonald.
For this party, I realized where the advice of other clowns was leading me astray from my natural instinct. It’s been ‘common knowledge’ among party clowns that the clown’s role is over when the cake arrives. No one wants to compete with the cake and presents. I’ve been making my exit as mom takes over and everyone gets their sugar buzz on.
During the discussions with Kai’s mom, however, I followed my own inclination and offered:
- Presenting the cake by Clowns!
- Lighting the candles by Clowns!
- Singing the birthday song by Clowns!
- Slicing and serving the cake by Clowns!
- Delivering the presents by Clowns!
- Thanking the gift-givers by Clowns!
A comprehensive multi-hour, multi-clown party package that everyone would be sure to remember!
“I hired Justin to manage the entertainment at my son’s 11th birthday party. The entire class was invited, and I wasn’t sure how to keep a dozen pre-teenagers (boys and girls) adequately and appropriately entertained. The results were nothing short of spectacular. “Jusby” and his team of clowns engaged the kids by first leading them in an icebreaker Laughter Yoga session. He came prepared with lots of different activities, but the two that the kids went absolutely ga-ga over were the face painting and the pies. I’ve never seen kids line up so enthusiastically to get a pie in the face. Additionally, several of the parents opted to be pied as well. Everyone was laughing hysterically and very happy. As an added bonus, Jusby and his team handled the cake presentation and serving (clowns serving cake!) and the unwrapping of gifts (hilarious). BUT THAT’S NOT ALL – Jusby also provided me with beautiful online photos of the event (he’s a terrific photographer). Would I hire him again? In a New York minute. He will give you every dime’s worth of your money and then some. He’s also great with all ages, from little kids to adults. Highly recommend –
– Jennifer Waldref, Communications Specialist at Democratic Caucus/Washington State House of Representatives