Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I have nothing against breasts, they kept me alive a number of months and I’m grateful.

 From Nth Carolina to Pittsburgh by train, arrive after midnight, John Pike, ex Invisible Circus and a veteran of shared Halifax and NZ festivals, himself an Englishman, is managing an Irish Bar in the South side.
He’s had a taxi waiting 30 mins without the meter on when I arrive. I note he hasn’t lost his touch.
He runs a smooth bar, he’s been increasing all the metrics. Some people are just good to hang with. John’s one.

I just stayed over the weekend, I was told it might be workable South Side.

I had meant to work the friday evening but as I approached the square I was smothered in a dense spectrum sense by a mega gaggle of hideous women all mincing along to the premier of “Sex in the city 2.

Some ‘Ladies night out’ had been arranged and hundreds were invited to a happy hour complete with manicures, massages, tarot card readings and a Botox demonstration before the movie.

I was suddenly surrounded by a weighty funk of estrogen driven malfunctionists. My desire to reproduce, a hardwired constant since puberty, immediately flatlined.

Somehow contained inside evening dresses bought with the aid of circus mirrors or chronic delusion, teetering on heels handicapped to a spina bifida equivalent. Careening unsteadily in a scrum of similarly programmed tipsy tribeswoman towards a theatre after two drinks and a Botox lecture. Competing alpha females shrieked and bellowed their woosy attempts at wit.

The phalanx meandered unsteadily with me immersed in it’s many overexposed bosoms.
I’d worked at the Maryland Renaissance Faire for 7 years, I wear stilts, I’d seen my share of undulating uplifted breast lagoons from above. I have nothing against breasts, they kept me alive a number of months and I’m grateful.

No it was more the overall complexion, these woman were grown under the fluorescent light of  typing pools, fed convenient empty foods and easily digested TV culture and given just enough disposable income to have some colorful and tightfitting joke played on them by the fashion industry while they fuel their brittle dreams of one day being treated like they themselves treated their barbies. Love being simply  a means to accessorise.
[Not that I pretend to know what love is]
It’s not Dante’s fault, how was he to know hell had other levels?

Well that kind of thing just depresses me so I didn’t work the friday. I just rode in the midst of the fractured femininity until I could shake them loose and loop back home.

But Saturday! [see how quick I bounce back?] I was back at the South Side square for some uninterrupted fun. I worked one corner, then danced with the band in the square and then did a much larger show  that I didn’t hat because I’m a too cool for school fool.
All good.
It was interesting to revisit street theatre in of all places an old steel town in the states.
I payed my way.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hand Shadow Puppets; Hans Davis; The world greatest Cabaret

The Flying Karamazov Brothers

Among their repertoire is something known as the "Terror Trick" in which they gradually introduce nine very strange items—a cleaver, a torch, a salt shaker, a ukulele, a skillet, a fish, an egg, a block of dry ice, and a bottle of champagne (which they call a "time bomb")—then juggle them all at once only to end up cooking the fish and the egg in the skillet and drinking the champagne.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

snuff comedy porn, Tommy Cooper.

He seemed to go gently with an audiences laughter his last input.

Still kind of creepy though...

here's him in his prime

an interview

Guitar, knee puppet, street piece [on stage]

Avner the Eccentric at Moisture Fest 2011

An excerpt from my book, a brief summation from a performance I saw at the Glastonbury Fest.

"Abner the eccentric.
He's a mime/ clown and while us mime/ clowns are used from time to time to disparagingly represent everything that is twee and pathetic and self indulgent and irrelevant, I have one thing to say in our defense.
Suck pus asshole.
It's only because its so hard to do well and looks so simple when done well (and also because its the refuge of a lot of twee, pathetic, self indulgent, irrelevant, govt subsidized pseudo intellectuals who mistake unpopularity with genius) But anyway all a good mime has to do in my opinion is to stop you thinking about what you were thinking and instead follow his thought processes for as long as he can keep you and if also a clown then laughter every couple of minutes doesn't hurt.

Abners show lasts an hour and a half, he plays with props, ideas and the audience collectively and sometimes individually, he's in his fifties and has a confident playfulness that's reinforced by his many years of experience. Its a gentle show with its own understated power as he takes a couple of hundred people on a journey into his world where nothing works like it should but he triumphs anyway, absurd, charming, skillful and beautiful, he fails, succeeds, gets angry, sad, frustrated, celebrates and shares it all with an audience of all ages who are spellbound. "

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Circus in Ethiopia

Came across this movie. It interests me because the culture of it involves people walking from a to b without being nearly as bombarded by stimuli as most western folk and also, perhaps as a consequence of that, the unhurried interactions appeal. It has a languid quality.

I wonder also what Robert's Juggling equipment might be doing. He was told it went to Africa.

CIRCUS DEBRE BERHAN • collection petites plan├Ętes from Vincent Moon / Petites Plan├Ętes on Vimeo.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Robert, 21/7/12

Robert's allowed to designate the gender of his hospice nurses and I suggested he was within his rights to reapply and exclusively request an albino hermaphrodite. The planet must be searched for such a person. He's gone off his medication for anxiety the last 24 hours and was off oxygen all morning. Kumi left, he got up came out, smoked chatted,told stories, all without oxygen, then went back to bed. He says he feels cured, on the mend, it was just an infection. We agreed a miracle had happened.

Earlier I'd suggested we film a series of ."Well I've been dead for a year now." Pieces.  Got a chuckle but too much work. Binned the idea. Got Robert to make his mark on my new telescoping flyswat so that he can live on in street theatre as I carry him round in a comically intimidating instrument. He made two 'X's, I was hoping for a triple X but one must make do.

 I tried to obtain permission to download "The works of Robert" that I know must exist in a file on his computer somewhere. I was stonewalled. He could die any day but won't give up his literary stash.Musings, letters out.

He did want me to reply and replace Kumi as the keeper of his Facebook day to day stuff until I outlined some of my responses in his name. …"Robert just wanted me to tell you that he never liked you and now his energies are waning the idea of tolerating your continued correspondence is no longer mitigated by the challenge and pleasure of thinking foul insults about you behind your back."

He sleeps a lot and Kumi says he mutters. Sea shanties mainly. Sometime in the next few weeks a somali pirate   will be born.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

NY subway/sewage, and a bridge , Let's go trespassing!

I like it, the tension is palpable. Underground exploring the hidden places of the NY subway system
and also parts of the sewage system.

"I don't think we should really do this.......So let's go."

UNDERCITY from Andrew Wonder on Vimeo.

Dogtroep 1993 1997 Site specific theatre.

Via  Brian Foley  Thanks

Friday, July 13, 2012

Outsource your self hatred.

It's Never Been Easy Escaping Yourself.
The Harder You Try, The Worse You Feel.

Rid Yourself Of Those Negative Inner-Voices Today.

Empower Yourself And Jettison The Burden Of Low Self Regard. ReInvent A New, Positive, Flippant, Fearless And Extroverted You!



* An authentic 'Self Hatred Outsourced.' wallet ID certificate.
* A monthly e-mail review of negative personality aspects.
* Provision to edit or add units of Self Hatred monthly
* The priceless peace of mind of a problem shared.

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Cock and Balls Story; Paris.

One of the more remarkable street performances I’ve ever seen was a French Hypnotist in Paris who’d get a crowd, grab a handful of men out of it, put them under, convince them their genitals had disappeared then ransom the crowd for their return.

 I heard he'd trained in Hypnosis for physicians at the Sorbonne University.

It was truly masterful, there were no props but his skill and I watched him for two months work two or three times a week, always with different men selected and the end of his show posed beautifully the questions not often enough asked.

What are we doing?

How did we get here?

How much fun was that?

I’m convinced the most interesting parts of life occur whilst getting from point A to point B.

Sure you can drive to the circus or turn your TV on. The circus will undoubtedly contain prefabricated circus-y goodness and the TV’s on/off switch contains the power to keep you mindlessly tranquilized until your mind melts and you become a sentimentally reactionary nub easily triggered to cosmetically overcome any recognition of your muted humanity at various points of purchase.  

….anyway. If you were to risk walking in a public place towards the circus or whimsically attack your TV with a baseball bat.

He arrived like an understated swashbuckler. He wore a turquoise full-length coat that was suitably timeless yet intriguing. He carried a small suitcase and extruded confidence and powerwalked like he was going to beat his child when he got home.

He was handsome and swarthy, slender and olive with some cryptic symbol painted onto his cheek. He had that magnetism that sets a good con artist apart and a subterranean yet steely authority.

What theatre is essentially is manipulating time and space for effect. It could be said that it’s a conceit in which certain incomprehensible truths are alluded to and felt on some barely fathomable level.

 One of these truths is simply this; we simply don’t have a clue what’s going on. We take direction and call it individuality. We succumb to rituals and conventions that define us and occasionally if we’re lucky some canny technician will temporarily remove our bedrock and yet we will be too entranced to be frightened.

What I love about street theatre done well is that this collective wonder is produced in that endangered environment known as a public place.

He started out marshaling his audience, pointing and directing, molding the edges, bringing people forward. It was all in French but I understood the mechanics he was employing. I could follow his tone and his subtext. I wasn’t so much interested in what he was saying  [sadly I don’t speak French] but how he controlled his audience by what came out of his mouth. You can decipher the message by observing the medium.  I’m an avid student of street performance dynamics. I think it’s the closest thing to real magic I’ve found.

The pitch he was using was Paris’s prime daytime street venue; the sprawling courtyard behind the Pompidou is large enough to run three shows simultaneously, it’s gently banked and you can fit hundreds comfortably. He fashioned his crowd, He would face them and bark directions then walk up into them, the banked stage meant he was always visible to all, and select targets, women to whom he’d play small conjuring tricks, eroding tension, establishing trust, marking his authority like pissing on a post using slight of hand.

He made a point of stepping throughout the main core of his audience. He would make people stand and answer questions put them at ease and seat them again. He was scanning his audience for the right individuals to use his powers of suggestion on later. Some he would just lay a hand on in passing, as if to use them as support as he scrabbled through his crowd. I think he could work out by whatever tension he felt as he passed whether they could be useful later on.

He made his way to his stage, rearranged his small suitcase briefly from the middle to one side and then asked for male volunteers. I suspect he said they would have to be brave and fearless and that they would experience something profound and that not all who volunteered would be chosen. About fifteen guys, as if challenged by him somehow, stood and made their way to the stage. He lined them up and walked their ranks a couple of times, staring into each of their faces, sometimes putting a hand on their shoulder or grasping a hand.  He then strode down their line behind them, laying a hand on one or the other. selecting seven men and sending the others back.

He then lined up the men; they stood in a line shoulder to shoulder looking bemused.  He told them he was going to put them to sleep, they would remain standing and safe however when he touched them on the forehead they were going to go into a deep sleep.  I suspect he had the most suggestible at one end of the line and the others would simply follow the lead but nevertheless he then went down the line touching each of the seven on the forehead and saying some word and they each nodded out, their heads drooping.

He turned to his audience and presented his seven entranced French men and then explained to them what was about to happen. He explained that he had hypnotized these men and they were under his spell and he could do with them as he wished. As a demonstration of his powers he was going to make their genitals disappear. He phrased it something like. I am going to take these Frenchmen and make that which is most precious to them…disappear.

He further explained that he would do this and after snapping his fingers directly in each of their faces they would awake and run to a private place to check and sure enough they would find that that which was most precious to them had indeed disappeared. After checking they would each return and form the line they had left from.

The audience were themselves entranced. This was surreal, unbelievable, and yet the seven men stood there. Primed.

With a flourish he walked down the line snapping his fingers in each face. Each man woke and in some way put their hand or hands between their legs and turned 180 and began to run the 50 ft. backstage each to one of the massive pillars at the back of the Pompidou. Each ran with a comic fragile gait, each to their individual pillar that they ducked behind to pull the waistbands of their jeans or pants and peer down to where their genitals had once been.

The crowd were roaring with laughter and that roar escalated as each of the men, sheepishly, convincingly, returned, amused and perplexed and seemingly convinced their genitals had apparently vanished. They glanced at each other, on their return, each reinforcing to the other this collective confusion, [or deceit depending on your outlook] as they once again formed a line and the crowd howled in glee.

The hypnotist waited for that moment to peak and then went down the line again touching foreheads, putting each of them to sleep again and then once he had seven head bowed victims and a crowd who’d bought into this hilarious situation completely he went into the heart of his show.

It was quite simple. He ransomed seven pairs of French genitals.

He stated that he had the power to remove what was most precious from these men and he also had the power to reinstate what he had taken but that the question that his audience had to ask themselves was this; what were these men’s genitals worth?

He grabbed his small suitcase and opened it and handed it to the bottom right hand of his audience with instructions to put what they thought these men’s genitals were worth into it and pass the opened suitcase on. Again, a banked stage meant that the suitcase never left everybody’s sight and he directed it go from bottom to top then back down to the front row then up to the back again in a close zig zag that took a good 5 minutes in which he directed and kept up a constant stream of monologue.

The suitcase eventually made its way to the front left of the audience and he grabbed it, snapped it shut and jiggled it, the coins and notes bouncing round inside as he gauged the weight and approximate amount. He was, of course, insulted at whatever amount was in there and went straight across to front stage right and started the procedure again. This time his monologue was more indignant on the behalf of the seven men lined behind him. He demanded a little more respect for his powers and hinted that unless his audience satisfied him these men might lead confused lives as a result of his audience’s cheapness.  I suspect he accused some of them of merely spectating, leaving the fates of these seven men to others, content to avoid responsibility in general and simply take and never give.  I didn’t speak French but he spoke very passionately and these are the phrases I’m prepared to concoct on his behalf.

He got his suitcase back for the second time and tested it again for weight. This time he was speechless with rage. He stormed back to the lower left and started the whole procedure again and simply screamed “Ladies and gentlemen, we are speaking here of seven pairs of FRENCH genitals!”

The suitcase made its progress while he paced and muttered in front of his line of stood sleeping Frenchmen. He would glance up at its progress and glower. Eventually it made its way down to the front right for the third time and he once again weighed it and remarking no more about it, placed it standing just to the outside of his seventh Frenchman.

He then declared that he would go down the line and click his fingers once more and each of the men would once again run to a private place to discover that what had disappeared had now miraculously reappeared!

The audience was abuzz with anticipation and glee as he walked the length of the line clicking his fingers and waking the men up who immediately turned and started once again running in various comic gaits back to their pillars to inspect themselves.

The final and most profound piece of magic happened at this point. Structure creates theatre and as a performer structure interests me more. I find the way things are structured sometimes profound just as an audience member I can find the effect of the structure profound.

This is what happened structurally. The hypnotist walked his line of groinless Frenchmen waking them up as each woke, turned and ran for a pillar. When he got to the end of the line his suitcase was waiting and he simply picked it up and kept walking, first in a line sideways to his audience and then up away behind them to the nearest metro station a few hundred yards away.

No one but me I suspect paid any attention to this. The focus was on the woken Frenchmen who each ran to a pillar, pulled their pants out and peered down at themselves before turning and each wearing their own particular smug looks of self satisfaction, swaggered back to the stage as the audience laughed and cheered and climaxed.

But the performer was not there any more. There was no architect for the construct. The laughter died. The smug looks faltered. The audience was rudderless. There was almost disquiet as a bunch of strangers came to terms with having to define for themselves once again their lives.

I thought that was beautiful and powerful and profound because it encapsulated for each individual those incredibly important questions not often enough asked.

What are we doing?

How did we get here?

How much fun was that?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

decade old writing

My head feels tight
and I'm angry--cause unknown
when in doubt--pass out.
As you know, being a deep grownup guy with a sensitivity that envelops painfully the global trauma. It is, in those short moments before donning your twin dorsaled wet suit and adding your contribution to the shark infested waters, that offers of spare beds on the other side of the world evoke feelings similar to that of a lone maternal post apocalyptic historys major sifting through a newly rubbled city and finding a still functioning sperm bank with tubes labelled Einstein, Chaplin, Zappa.

Apart from those of us who have to exist via subsistence grain handouts We all exist in a state of dreams, What we are and what the world is, is a collective hallucination brought on by an excess of nutrients. Having realised this I try to sleep as much as possible. Giving meat to the metaphor, sacrificing nothing but the dreams of others.

Spiralling Down
And spiralling up again
Attending to your integrity
As I say this I smile carefully
Its not a sulk Its more a dry resolve
Wetly attended

The fabric of life
Is all dead wood to a writer

The fabric of life
Once stretched by indulgence
Sags embarrassingly in folds
In time of decline

The fabric of life
The loom of ritual
The rewards of startled harmony

The fabric of life
An all purpose garment
Part evening wear, part straitjacket
Part varnished history

The fabric of life/No loom to groove 

The fabric of life/Cast offs rule

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Flashmob, art in public places

It is invariably not what you think it is...

We live in a world where a constellation of cognitive illusions – that infinite growth can be sustained on a finite planet, that consumerism can make us happy, that corporations are persons – are dragging us into an ecological apocalypse. These cognitive illusions won’t disappear because they’ve been proven false – they must be overcome at a deeper level. We need something other than rationality, statistics, scientific thought … we need something more, even, than what has passed for activism thus far. We must spark an epiphany, a worldwide flash of insight that renders our blind spots visible once and for all. This collective awakening begins the moment we look inward and ask ourselves: Am I caught inside a grand cognitive illusion?