Sunday, December 14, 2008

Have a Banana, Hannah!

Have any of you received Christmas cards from me yet? No? That's because I'm wasting my time futzing around here. I know I'm becoming the video queen, and I apologize for my lack of creativity. I know that this stuff is basically the equivalent of junk mail (or empty calories) but I can't help myself!

For my birthday, Jeff gave me a second visit to the land of Slava's Snowshow. We saw it a couple years ago at the Union Square Theater and again last night at the Helen Hayes Theater. As a result, this morning I became fired with the ambition to use Slava himself to exemplify and share some essence of clowndom. Most videos of the Snowshow focus on the special effects, the mayhem and the wild blizzardy finale, but I was able to find one clip from the show that is both touching and funny and conveys some of its quieter charm:

I thought I gave up clowning long ago in favor of pursuing storytelling (from totally nonverbal to totally verbal!) When I've revisited clowning in recent years, I've enjoyed myself, but I've had a hard time reconciling my old makeup to my new face. When I first became a clown, my makeup was based on a face without glasses. And yes, I know that I could get clownish frames with my prescription (contact lenses won't work, trust me), but that's kind of a big commitment for the occasional festival appearance or classroom demonstration, don't you think? Also (and this is really weird) - I have wrinkles now. That old white greasepaint just doesn't spread as smoothly as it used to...

Plus - are you aware of how many people are afraid of clowns? When they say that they are "freaked out", it really means they are afraid. And who wants to go around scaring people? It can be very isolating.

However, here's something from Slava's earlier career that makes me think maybe clowning is not so much in my past as I thought:

Finally, I'd like to leave you with a little ditty called Blue Canary. The song has been a signature of Slava's and his compatriots for years. This is an older clip. Slava is not one of the trio. He's the one in yellow blowing bubbles with a red pipe (and I suspect he's also a guy in the audience.) I LOVE the way the tall clown in the middle is just oodles of thrilled with his singing friends:

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