Category Archives: Reading_List:
“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.
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.
My pal, Steve Eggleston, has now written THREE on-line pieces interviewing me AND wrote a character into his latest book based on me!
His first piece was in 2009> https://jusbytheclown.com/2009/05/23/folkshine-at-blue-heron-bakery-pie/
His second piece was in 2011> https://jusbytheclown.com/2011/02/19/folkshine-2/
He used his new iphone and went even more multi-media.
His book “Pilots” is available on Lulu > http://www.lulu.com/shop/steve-eggleston/pilots/paperback/product-20191459.html
The character Jefferson Spee appears in the short story “Alpha” (p172), and has a dozen characteristics based on true facets of my story. In a dozen other ways Steve made the character his own and created believable and more literary tangents for the narrative.
Jefferson’s clown character was known to show up at parades and local festivities and people in Olympia were familiar with the clown that juggled on stilts though the streets and gave out balloons to kids. Of all the facts that every Olympian knows, that the artesian well is cursed, that Kurt Cobain wrote most of his famous songs in Olympia, that basically the entire cast of the Simpsons is based on people who lived in Olympia, most people don’t know that the straight-up pastry guy is also the parade-clown-juggling-on-stilts guy.
“Yep. I am him. But we’re at odds sometimes. He wants to just go laugh all the time and turn everything into a joke, but someone has to pay the bills. Somebody has to actually get some real work done.
“I do parties, all kinds of parties. I’ll cater to my audience. People think they don’t like clowns, and that’s when I really enjoy clowning. I love the reluctant laugher. I love the guy who’s like, “I’ not going to laugh, there’s no way I’m going to laugh. Those are the easiest ones. Ducks on a pond. I also do a camp for kids. I’m not talking about people who want to grow up and actually be clowns, and book gigs, but kids who just want to experience what it is like to be a clown, to be allowed to be a clown, even encouraged to. Kids want to be outrageous. If they don’t, that worries me.”
Most recently, Steve did another interview with me… over Facebook Instant Messaging.
It was published on-line at http://www.ladybottleblues.com and looks something like this slideshow.
Here’s Wendy Sumner-Winter!
Pied in Memphis, in her own back yard… celebrating her M.F.A in Creative Writing Degree!
Another Author Pied! I’ve got such educated and talented clients!
Yes, she is also a chef. She served us such wonderful treats during our Memphis stay. For example: Bacon and Basil Salmon with Grits followed by a Scotch & pear liqueur over French vanilla ice cream.
We adjourned that evening to a monthly book club held at a swank Memphis maison bourgeoise de toute facon. ZUT ALORS! We’re talking swank in-ground saline pool! We’re talking blender full of Daiquiris and fancy BBQ chicken nachos, BACON spring rolls, and all the kids with a sitter!
The monthly book club was to discuss Mary Akers collection of short stories Women Up On Blocks. Wendy had let us know about the club meeting at the beginning of our week together, and I took the opportunity to give the book a try. Wendy loved it. She gave it 5 stars on Amazon. All 11 Amazon reviewers agreed: 5 STAR BOOK.
I only finished the first two stories. Only one other person of the 10 at the club had, in fact, read the book. A lively, if theoretical, discussion ensued. I’d been intrigued by “Animo, Anima, Animus” the story of the woman who paints herself like a tiger and protests animal cruelty in a cage outside the circus. It was stimulating on several levels. However, I did notice the pattern that the other two readers mentioned: the women in these stories don’t progress. We’re left hanging and frustrated.
The other big critique we heard was “I didn’t learn anything from her voice.” Many of the characters are low rent Appalachians, and, as Southerners, this affluent and educated group didn’t quite buy it. Well, yeah, sadly, the majority didn’t bother to buy the book though they could obviously afford it. [granted, there were mitigating circumstances, slight miscommunication, parental obligations, Summer ennui, the WORLD CUP!]
Then they took suggestions for next month’s book. Two people suggested the classic novel “Cry, the beloved Country” [set in South Africa], one suggested a new non-fiction hardcover “Cognitive Surplus”, and…
I suggested “Clown Girl”!
Clown Girl, by Monica Drake, a Portland author, I’ve had the pleasure to meet… and pie. Her husband is an author, and I pied him too. She brought two other author friends. I pied them all.
For a slightly lighter fare (than apartheid-era South Africa), this is the story of a clown who wants to raise her clowning to a higher art form by developing a clown version of Kafka’s Metamorphosis, but she finds that what sells is either Christian balloon sculptures… or private adult parties for clown fetishists. Clown prostitution, in other words. For a good time, Clown Girl by Monica Drake.
I thoroughly enjoyed the company of sophisticated adults engaged in friendly debate. Not a passionate argument, not a political or religious shouting match, but a literary critique. Refreshing. Because they were digitally sophisticated, they were able to look up Clown Girl on an iphone and noticed it had a flattering forward by Chuck Palahniuk, but in the end they voted for “Cry, the Beloved Country”, and so I don’t have to host the club in August.
But they were prepared to either fly me back out or Skype me in.
Try also, the Red Stiletto, invented by mixologist Kate DiMaggio in honor of Women Up On Blocks!
My facebook has been crowded of late with notes from educator and author, Steve Eggleston (“Short Drop”), trying to arrange an interview with me. We’ve had to schedule around not only our spouses, children, and vehicles but also a photographer.
Today we made it happen. We arranged to meet at the Blue Heron Bakery.
I immediately started scheming up confusion. I called Blue Heron.
“Do you have whipped cream?” I asked.
“No. We have half & half,” the man replied.
“MMM. This is Jusby the Clown. I’m planning on coming down and giving someone a pie in the face as part of an interview, and I thought it would be funnier if I got it from you than bringing it in with me. Oh, well.”
“Ummm. You’re going to put a pie in someone’s face? In our bakery?”
“Well, yeah. Or outside.”
“Outside would be better. I don’t want to be involved in an assault.”
“Of course not,” I replied. “I never pie anyone who hasn’t agreed. For that very reason. Okay. See you soon.”
Then I twittered and phoned friends, trying to coordinate an emergency meeting of “the Jusby Fan Club”. The only person who I could reach was “Honey the Clown”. I couldn’t quite describe what I had in mind. I only knew I wanted to stack the deck with more jokers in my favor.
She thought it might make a nice prank somehow and give her an excuse to get out of the house.
I decided on a fair weather ensemble: blue swim trunks, polka dotted shirt, red cummerbund, and the new blue fedora. I brought the nose along for the pieing.
I arrived, and Honey followed me in. Steve was getting his drink. I ordered an iced Chai. A stack of Steve’s book was sitting on the counter. He said, “I was just explaining to them that I can’t sell these anymore, since they’re getting picked up by Random House. I have to give them away.”
I took my cue there. “Hey, want a free book?” I asked, handing one to Honey. She accepted and asked, “Should I get a Honey Almond Twist?” Well, by all means. Then I offered one to the next old guy who had just walked in the door. He declined. “Hey, this guy wrote it, and it’s about Olympia!”
Then the photographer arrived and followed us around for a while. We walked down to the overpass and behind the old dive store until we’d eventually covered the majority of my life story. The interview will appear on Steve’s website http://folkshine.com complete with sound bites.
Then it was time for the pie.
Curious and expectant, we anticipate the arrival of The Present Moment.
Now Mr. E fully experiences the simple mystery of the pie.
These nice folks helped out with the “Right Now!” part and applauded enthusiastically afterward.
I let them keep the pie to eat for dessert. The fellow asked, “Weren’t you in ‘Love is Stupid’?”
Yup! And to prove it I said to the ladies, “I love you both… equally.”
by David Raffin, originally generated as a facebook note, then put up on Raffin’s site http://vision-nary.com/ after he attended my 40th birthday.
I am not one of those people who will use the tired phrase, “Some of my best friends are clowns.”
I do not know Justin well. All I know is that he is old. Older, even, than the late Jack Benny. I have met him in the past. Justin, not Jack Benny. He was younger then. At that time he had not yet chosen to be old.
Don’t be fooled. This is a choice. Jack Benny lived more than seventy years while famously never reaching the age of forty. That’s clean living. That’s determination. That’s the power of the will. Perhaps even a triumph of the will.
Justin is better known as Jusby the Clown, as he has made himself available as a practitioner of the sciences. Often he appears without being in whiteface. I applaud this as a blow against whiteface. Accentuating the paleness of people who lack melanin, albinos, is not funny. Whiteface- stop the hate. Still he wears a red nose, mocking alcoholics and Irishmen. Sometimes he wears light whiteface, mocking half-breed albino alcoholic irishmen. Enlightenment is a path.
Many people are afraid of clowns.
Why not? There have been Killer Klowns From Outer Space, Killer clowns not from outer space, and, if I am to believe Jerry Lewis, a clown who was a pawn of the Nazis. And why would Jerry Lewis lie to me?
Whatever the reason, fear of clowns is a common phobia. The technical name is Coulrophobia.
Who would choose to scare children as a vocation? Someone who, in the past, was traumatized by children. Is there a name for a child phobia? Indeed there is. Fear of children is called Pediophobia. It is the leading cause of Adultism.
Think of how horrible it would be to have a phobia of children when you are elementary school aged. This is the future clown. This is the clown past, present, and future- the true clown.
This is why clowns are obsessed with violence.
The pie in the face. The squirting seltzer bottle. The squirting fake flower in the lapel. The gun that unrolls the flag that says “bang.” The old plank or ladder upside the head gag. Ultimate Clown Fighting.
This explains the derogatory use of the word “clown” in the English language; for example, “That guy is nothing but a clown!” “Who? That clown?” “What are yous guys doin’ over there? Clowning around again?” “I’ll have the clown fish and a side salad.”
I would not be able tell a young clown from an old clown except for the fact that old clowns live in homes for aged clowns. Clown rest homes.
There the pies are vitamin enriched and the ladders or planks they smack one another with are made of foam. The gun, when fired, unrolls a large flag which says “BANG!” in extra large type. Ultimate clown fighting is prohibited.
Is that any kind of life?
Occasionally circuses will participate in a charity event known as “Old Clown Day.”
This is a day, usually occurring during what is known in the industry as “the slow season,” when participating circuses raffle off old clowns. Winners leave with an elderly clown. They are then responsible for the care and feeding of the retired clown.
OCD is often seen as the industry’s way of copping out on a retirement fund, leaving the clown at the mercy of the public. Critics charge that OCD is just the method circus bureaucrats use to wash their hands of aged and less productive clowns.
Statistical data shows that while winners, especially small children, are initially enthused by their new family companion, it is commonly a matter of weeks before the clown gets less attention, is walked seldomly, and is often left to its own amusement. You can sometimes see these clowns staring out of the window of a house. When they are left in the backyard too long they similarly stand outside the house, staring in through the window.
So sad, clown.
At Batdorf & Bronson’s, Friday 7/11/08
What I learned from Steve McLellen on the eve-afternoon-never-at-dusk of the Long Goodbye Part One to Laugh Tracks on KAOS.
Although they could have continued longer, their final show will be within a day of their actual 10 year anniversary on the air. They both liked the symmetry of that.
He’s old friends with Robyn Albro of the New Old Time Chautauqua and Fighting Instruments of Karma Marching Chamber Band/ Orchestra. She had studied clowning but moved into corporate Fun-sultations, pitching creativity.
He recommended “Crazy Wisdom Saves the World Again” by Wes “Scoop” Nisker. And the short stories of Thom Jones, who had been a janitor for the Olympia school district while he composed his art. I’ve added both to my GoodReads feed.
He recommended ME: “You’ve got follow through!” ~ Steve McLellen, author, comedy consultant, radio host, and tennis coach.
He was actually referring to my 10 years as the producer of Dance O’ Dance on TCTV.
Since he has an adult son, I asked him about the average price a parent could expect to pay for a premium birthday party. Without much deliberation he replied,
“Oh, easily between $250 and $300. For 10 kids. After all, even at Chuck E. Cheese’s it’s $20 each. You could spend less. You could spend $150 and make all the goody bags yourself, or you could just write a check, sit back and watch the thing unfold. When we were both working full-time we couldn’t have done it. Oh, and don’t make the mistake of putting healthy snacks in the goody bag like fruit leather. Ewww. What they want is candy. You don’t need to get paralyzed by PC. However, could, for instance, offer bubbles with that special cachet. [i.e. eco-friendly, recycled bottles]. If you want to use the buzz words, it’s interactive.”
And he enjoyed my new Coby Keychain slideshow. It’s got about 15 of the Laughter Yoga visual prompts and 45 pics of Jusby in action.
The Randy and Steve blog has finally been getting entries, and, ironically, it will grow more after they no longer produce a weekly radio show. I’ve added it to my sidebar blogroll, and I anticipate they will RECIPROCATE THE LINK SOON! ;)
Tune into K.A.O.S. 89.3 FM on Saturday, July 19th a 9 AM Pacific for their last original hour of Laugh tracks. Or listen on-line at http://kaosradio.org
I love the library. There was a time when I wouldn’t set foot in one, but I love the library too much to stay away.
I’ve been bringing home trickster tales, world mythology, and relying heavily on the books librarians have displayed on top of the shelves. We can do a library run in five minutes and leave with 20 items. That’s important if we’re going to read 20 minutes before bedtime and not repeat ourselves over and over and over.
Here’s Confrere Lapin, the Cajun Brer Rabbit trickster. “Lapin Plays Possum” adapted by Sharon Arms Doucet.
Of particular interest to me is this book of Indonesian Fables of Feats and Fortunes. On the cover you see the trickster mouse deer convincing an alligator to roll over.
Edit: I’ve now got a Good Reads shelf for even more Trickster Tales> http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/1314613-justin?shelf=trickster-tales
Further Easter details
I actually omitted the first Easter basket. Again, the Food Bank provided one. I chose a metal one and cleared out all the chocolate and caramel. A set of jacks was left in the Easter grass, so I substituted in a CAN OF PEACHES.
How absurd, right? Maybe to anyone who has other Easter baskets against which to compare it, but Orion doesn’t. So he was mighty pleased to eat that whole can by himself. Trish, of course, had to BUY a gift. She got him an expanding fabric tunnel. It calls to mind Pooh getting stuck leaving Rabbit’s hole after EATING TOO MUCH! Nothing to do but wait until you get thinner, but we will read to you.
‘Would you please choose a Sustaining Blog such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?’
Dad and me would stop by the store when the day was done
Standin at the counter he said “I forgot to get the peaches, son.”
“What kind should I get?” I said to him there where he stood in line
And he answered just like I knew he would “Go and get the cheapest kind”
But the love, the love, the love
It was not the cheapest kind
It was rich as, rich as, rich as ,rich as, rich as
Any you could ever find