Category Archives: Video
A little video I helped with this week at the request of Alex “the Zaniac” Zerbe.
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.
The last time I participated in the Go Game I had to make the post password protected for adult content!
[p.s. pw= 69]
When the Go Game contacted me this time, I invited Honey the clown along. Not only does she drive a fuel efficient Prius, but she had some clever ideas about parking that would save me from paying $20 to park right next to the rendezvous spot. She said that we could park in Queen Anne and take a bus.
However, things had changed since she’d last parked there. They now have a 2 hr limit on most of those free spaces. We wound up over at Warren & Howe. We were a long way from any Fareless Square type bus zone ($2.50 for a ride) so we walked the 2 1/2 miles to the meeting spot. I had worn my plain black garden clogs.
Then we played the game. Microsoft employees approached and asked if I could provide them with a mascot for their team. I gave them a balloon mouse. The computer kind instead of the rodent kind. Then I gave them a quick lesson on how to twist a balloon dog. Their smart phones timed them and gave them a score, and they were on their way.
Then we WALKED to 6 Arms McMeniman’s for dinner, and met some friends. I arranged with Rick Blythe for our first fast-to-face after connecting through http://micromentor.org. He’s been helping me on phone some strategies. Give a call to book a party and find out what I mean.
Then we WALKED to a friend’s house to get a ride back to our car. I used googlemaps to estimate that we did about 7 miles.
I was flattered when Ned Hayes asked me to provide some professional face painting to support Kids at Play during Sunday’s Sand in the City. It also provided another opportunity for intern “Crystal” to shine.
In email exchanges before the event, I quickly found out that an emergency comedy consultation was in order. They let me know they were providing two palettes of Diamond FX 12 Essentials with four #2 & four #4 brushes. It’s the same palette I use. However, the Hands On Children’s Museum (who sponsors the event) had suggested that painters be prepared for 2500 faces over the course of 7 hours! [uh… six faces a minute?!]
I would get way more brushes of varying sizes and shapes. And sponges. And baby-wipes. Just saying.
Especially if you let kids say ‘Tiger’ you need to get a square foot of orange (for example) up in a hurry.
Sidebar: if the paints are not depleted I might suggest you trade those for (a portion of?) the labor of my assistants. Those clowns have been using my paint!
Luckily, it made sense to them, and we had enough paints AND brushes to cover many many faces. Of course, we didn’t serve anywhere near the estimate. In the end, I was able to bequeath my used palette to Crystal and accept a brand new & unopened one as a perk.
“Justin is the consummate professional clown. He loves his work — and it shows! He knows his way around kids, makeup, crowd control, and parents. What I love most about working with Justin is that he strives to create a complete atmosphere of fun — with pies, music, professional props, and all the accouterments. Justin is great to work with — and I highly recommend him to anyone who wants to have a GOOD TIME !!!” Ned Hayes
Then I rushed home to get into clown and gather supplies [pies, Coke & Mentos, and water balloons]. I had a previously booked party for that evening. The client had called Marie from Sustainable South Sound asking whether I would extend my coupon from last year. She was especially excited when I further offered to bring Crystal as a Buy One Get One special.
Six Ways to Pick Up Jusby and Nine Ways to Bring Him Down
I received the following instructions from Go Game HQ:
Hello, Agent Hotstuff! Teams will be instructed to look for you and try out their best pick up line on you. It’s possible they’ll have a little trouble locating you. It’s fine if they hit on the wrong person a time or two, but if they’re struggling to find you/bothering patrons, give them some help locating you. Then they’ll try out their best pick up line you. Depending on how funny/cheesy/good the line is, you’ll give them a score to enter into their phones (and you pretend you’re giving it to them as part of your phone number). The scoring works like this:
4111: Pretty good
2111: Below average
You can always play around with them a little, too. Ask for a better line, ask them to deliver it the way they would in a real bar, ask for the best line they’ve ever heard in their own lives, whatever you think will keep things lively. Please remember this is a corporate event. Teams love this mission, and you’ll have a very good time today. However, on occasion, teams may push the boundaries of good taste with their pick up lines/moves. Please keep things comfortable at all times.
This is exactly what teams will see before they come to you:
Smooth Line: As superheroes, you need many different skill sets. And for this particular mission, you’ll need to showcase your skills in the ole pick up department. Why? Because it’s a lost art. So head on over to Local Color on Pike near Stewart. There you’ll find the debonair Agent Hotpants. Approach gracefully and try out your team’s best pickup line. Make it as original as possible because he’s one smooth operator! Also, your line will be judged against other teams. If your line has enough “omph”, then our Agent just might give you his phone number. Hit ‘Prove’ once you’ve entered THE LAST FOUR DIGITS below.
I left Olympia with great expectations and a great underestimation of the time I’d be investing in parking and navigating the big city streets. Five minutes past the scheduled rendez-vous at the Pike Place Starbucks I bit the proverbial bullet and invested $20.75 on a 3 hour parking spot beside the Lusty Lady. I spotted my contact easily. She wore an orange jumpsuit and sat at a table full of checks. I took my pay and beat the pavement to my designated encounter zone. While deciding where to arrange myself, a dude in a fez offered to share his table. It was the Howlin’ Hobbit.
After I got my little green laptop fired up [11:58am], a waitress told me that I needed to buy something if I was going to use their table. OMG! No, no, I’m with the Go Game! They told me to come here and people would maybe buy me a drink! Do you have whipped cream? Oh, good.
Howlin’ Hobbit & Jusby
Six Ways to Pick Jusby Up
“Let’s go. I have a rubber… chicken.”
“I love cream pies. Don’t you?”
“Hit me with your best schlock!”
“Want to share a bottle of seltzer?”
“Let’s make like a banana peel and slip some clown up!”
“What’s a kinky clown like you doing in a well-lit alley like this?”
I would have loved to hear lines like these yesterday, but Go Game Teams seemed pressed for time and imagination. The first team arrived, and they elected a woman spokesperson. She mumbled, “Can we buy you a drink and maybe get a room?” WTF?! Um, okay, I’ve been fascinated by that flashing neon sign advertising a Coconut Chai… 12 oz is fine. Here’s my number [written on the back of my biz card] 3111. I had no idea how the grading curve would play out. I was told that 200 Microsoft employees in 25 teams would be playing this game over the course of 2 hours. There were about 16 actors involved. Each scenario took a couple of minutes to play out. Although their pick-up was pretty awful, they were quick with the drink. It was a long time until the next group arrived.
[1:21pm] The second group sent a man, and he sat right down across from me and delivered his pick-up line. “There’s a circus in my pants, and the only thing missing is you.” OMG! Wow! I gave them a 5111.
[1:37] Third team also sends a man. He’s trying to keep it together, but his delivery is stumbling and the line isn’t working for me. “Do you know you’re in the wrong place? The Miss Universe Contract.. uh, Contest.. is down the street…” Yikes. It’s about to be a crash and burn. One of his team mates whispers that he should offer me a drink. The line is long, and my chai isn’t empty, so I decline, but I keep him squirming. I ask if he likes pie? Of course, he says yes. I have him fetch some whipped cream and pop him with a micro-pie on the nose, letting his team earn a 6111 for being a good sport and persistent.
Pied face ~451
[1:46pm] The fourth (and final) team is at the door. I’m getting the sense of when a team arrives without having to watch for them. The energy shifts when 16 eyes scan the place and somebody suddenly hisses something like, “That guy! Check out the clown! It’s gotta be him! Oh, no, what are we supposed to do?” Then they all consult their smart phone for the instructions. And laugh, embarrassed.
I’ve brought my fan, and I open it to signal them. [1:51] I glance over, thinking they have definitely confirmed a spokesperson and decided on a line.
OMG! WTF? Their spokesperson is sitting at the wrong table, picking up a civilian! I SNAP open the fan, drawing some stares, hoping he’ll get the clue to desist before it’s too late.
It’s too late. They’re shaking hands like, “Good to meet you anyway.” I cross over and ask the civilian, “Are you working? [no] Did that dude just try to pick you up? [I think so] They’re looking for a sharp dresser,” I say, brushing the lapels of my tuxedo coat and touching the brim of my top hat, “and I think you won. Niiice.” Then I go sit back down.
A minute later, the spokesperson shows up and asks, “Are you Agent HotPants?” YESSSSS… Very Good!
“What’s your policy on Manscaping? Old growth or scorched earth?” LMAO [That’s what you asked the civilian?!] Hmmm, I’m circus-scumscribed. Here’s my#6111
Christopher (middle) with civilian and the real Agent HotPants
Then I was cut free, so I packed up, but before I left the owner wanted my boss’s number. He said, “I want to stop having you come in. It’s nothing you did, but it’s a distraction and nobody buys anything.” I wrote her number on the back of my card and got the heck out of Dodge. First, I made a quick photo-op with Sage, who got me involved in this silly scheme.
Sage, Etienne, and Jusby in the spendy parking lot
Then I hit Friday rush hour traffic all the way home. 9:45 Depart Olympia, 4:45 Return Olympia. $65 Pay – $20.75 Parking & using up a Personal Day from work… not the best gig economically speaking… but that’s part of the rant you’ll find below the cut
9 Ways to Bring Jusby Down
- Don’t pay extra for 126 mile Round trips
- Don’t pay extra for parking
- Don’t understand the needs of business owners
- Don’t recognize that Jusby is a player in a larger game
- Act like Jusby’s unique brand of edu-tainment is a distraction from MATTERS OF CONSEQUENCE
- Occupy the bathroom after Jusby has been holding 12 oz of iced coconut chai in his bladder for 3 hours
- Avoid double-entendre like the clap [I prefer the clap-clap-clap… of applause]
- Refuse pie for other people and order it for Jusby
- Order pie for other people and refuse it for yourself
… waiting for stills from Party Mom cam…
[edit.. tracked down a few on facebook. This mom said her son had taken a big, medium AND mini.
My son has won many a “7 year old one up” conversation with the zinger, “Well, have you ever taken a PIE IN THE FACE?” – Erica Van Lierop, Queen Beef at Van’s Burger
Charlie “The Noise Guy” Williams (of Isaaquah) capped off the Summer Children’s Entertainment Series on Tuesday night. Capped it right off. bang-bang-bang. ke-BaaaNGGG!
Okay, kids. You can only make these sounds OUTSIDE, okay? Have a fun car ride home, parents.
Blasting the kiddy mosh pit with a Super Soaker to illustrate the effects of Hurricane Charlie.
And a third volley because they screamed “More, more, you fool! We must be subdued by your hydraulic arsenal or we will rush the stage!”
What a pretty face! It almost seems a shame to cover it in pie. Almost.
We arranged to meet on Thursday morning before Charlie’s next Olympia show (at the downtown library). We had a blast comparing stories and riffing on each others’ material. We’ had a delicious breakfast at the New Moon Cafe (Vampire themed vegan breakfasts – j/k). He ordered French Toast. I ordered the Monte Cristo… which is a triple-decker French toast club sandwich. I brought a Buy Local coupon. He brought a credit card. Breakfast was on him!
Charlie’s modeling the new Magnum salon cape that replaced the backwards lab coat for pieing. He’s always wanted a pie-in-the-face. It was fate that brought us together. Fate and FACEBOOK.
Now it’s time for his Jusby Desert.
Desert was on him too!
No skimping on the pie! If you look closely you’ll see Terry Zander, former piee, peering at us from inside. Also seen in the New Moon that morning, former client, Debe Edden.
Ooops. Somebody’s gonna have to clean that up! Out came Terry Zander to the rescue with several buckets of water and an industrial push broom. The catch? I had to listen to his jokes.
Speaking of water… an hour later Charlie’s back to squirting the children for the conclusion of Take a Splash, Read!
What IS that racket?
It’s your new light saber on the first day of Jedi School. Good thing Master Yoda had that tip about the AA batteries.
“My crops need watering on Farmville! I’m wasting time on Facebook!”
Charlie wrote a book: “Flush, an Ode to Toilets”.
OMG, I Pied ANOTHER AUTHOR!
I’m am the literariest clown in the whole reciprocating bio-region of Cascadia!
Charlie’s review of the Pieing
Out of the choices: Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree or Not Applicable
Charlie selected Strongly Agree for All 7 survey questions
- The pie had an adequate, clearly identifiable target.
- Pie met my expectations in terms of its stated target.
- Comedy was appropriate for the amount of time allowed.
- Pie increased my laughter and/or expanded my smile.
- I will be able to apply the pie content to my current job assignment.
- The clown was organized and prepared.
- The clown had a thorough knowledge of the subject.
- The clown used effective talking and hand motions and stuff.
He also added the following comments: “Pied Piper, Pied lovebird, Pie in the sky, the great pie of Sauron”
Here’s the short version of the Pie-in-the-face routine from NWFest ’09.
Courtesy David Raffin and blissfulremembrances.com
21 minutes of Northwest Festival of Clowns featuring all three of the events in which I competed… and some other clowns too. Courtesy David Raffin & Blissful Remembrances.
I spent the afternoon with Luke shopping for the new flaming pie hardware. We went to Home Depot for an hour. Then we stopped at Ace Hardware for the white gas (aka Coleman fuel). We walked to the dollar store and got cutting boards, red oven mitts, a red checkered tablecloth, and plums (for Orion). Then we had to go back into Ace Hardware for more screws and washers to attach the boards and mitts where scrap lumber had been.
Luke handled all the drilling and screwing from that point. They were done in time for me to rush down to the Midnight Sun and talk with Elizabeth Lord about the possibility of flaming pies in her upcoming Vaudeville show.
What was expected was “an audition”.
Two groups were before my conversation. A couple did a drag Mary Poppins / Chimney Sweep lipsynch and dance. I wasn’t familiar with the version, but it took aim, in part, at Disney. Then the woman had another partner do a Flamenco duet.
I told Elizabeth frankly that my new flaming pie act had never been tried, but I proposed a Clown-lesque act of approximately 5 minutes. If I felt I could not safely perform flaming pies indoors I was willing to work outside, perhaps during intermission. I was sure to light them up later that evening. We would be in touch.
Here they are soaking in white gas. Neighbor Aaron advised, after the fact, mixing the white gas with paraffin lamp fuel, to lower the flash point and mellow it out overall.
A fully soaked pie. Aaron also demonstrated how it is wise to shake off the excess fuel… before lighting it.
They lit up good!
So I did a little dance.
Then I consented to an interview with David Raffin.
Here’s the video
On New Year’s Eve afternoon, outside of Round Table Pizza in West Linn (my high school hangout) wondering when the rest of the audience would arrive and watching the whippersnappers lose my juggling props in muddy snow!
Getting squirted by the green fish.
My most enthusiastic supporter.
A great sport!
Their dad,Tony, got his pie and celebrated graduating with a BS after 21 years!
Brad Scoggins got the last pie of 2008! He celebrated graduating from French Culinary Institute in New York City AND turning 40!