Support the Family of Master Lu Yi

Please click on the link below to support the family of the man who made great circus events possible, Lu Yi. “I don’t know where I would have found my voice had I not worked with Lu Yi and his students,” said Gypsy Snider. Lu Yi cultivated in his students not prettiness and grace, with toes turned out and ta-da razzmatazz, but rawness and creativity, added Snider, noting that her own gritty, stripped down … Read More

Share Your Credentials

When Cirque du Soleil offered me a contract 17 years ago, my wife said, “This will open doors we don’t even know exist.” She was right. The cache of that gig helped me get started in the strange new world of consulting, where being introduced as a “Cirque du Soleil star” works much better than “here’s some clown.” But being introduced this way bothered me. Most of the skills I use as a consultant … Read More

My First Non-Fiction Book

Yesterday I sent a first draft manuscript to Thom Wall, the publisher for my new book. Of course, it is really the ninth or twentieth or thirtieth draft, depending on how you count. I’m excited. This is my first non-fiction book, the first time I’ve worked with a group to create a book, and the first time that the book itself is only half the project — bringing the Bay Area circus community together … Read More

Revisiting Corteo

I took my family to see Corteo when it was in town. My sons got a visual and musical trip through their childhoods and I got to kvell about the folks I performed with who are still in the show. Fifteen years on they look and sound better than ever. Corteo has been re-conceived for arenas and, to my surprise, it still has its charm and is funnier in some places. To shorten the … Read More

Fascinating Interviews for My New Book

The book I’m working on is a new kind of challenge – it’s non-fiction, a history of the thirty-year collaboration between Chinese acrobats from Nanjing and San Francisco circus performers. I’m working with a team of five, and we’re all part of the story we’re trying to capture. The interviews have been wonderful, getting to hang out with my acrobatic mentor, Lu Yi, and a bunch of dear old friends I haven’t seen recently. … Read More

New Book in the Works

I’ve started working on a non-fiction book about the thirty year “circus affair” between Nanjing and the Bay Area. The focus is master acrobatic trainer Lu Yi, who has had a profound influence on circus in China, Australia, the U.S. and Canada, as well as the world of synchronized swimming here and in Japan. He has also been my teacher, my lâoshī, and a friend. At first, a group of circus folks and I … Read More

Working with My Heroes

It was 1972, I was walking past my school, Berkeley High, and music was blaring from Provo Park a block away. Provo was my park, where I spent hours balancing on a rope tied between two trees, learning new club routines, and practicing handstands and dive rolls. The other denizens of the park were stoned hippies and the occasional picnickers — no bands playing loud enough to rock City Hall across the street. Curious, … Read More

Parenting Adds Perspective

In my teens and twenties, and well into my thirties, I was pretty sure I would never be a father. At lot of us who toured for a living felt this way and, since I didn’t have a father for most of my childhood, I also had no image of what a father was. Now I have one son with a handlebar mustache and another with a giant red beard. I was deeply in … Read More

Learning from Acrobats

Dance Your Ass Off was the “gym” where I trained for my first acrobatic act, forty-five years ago. The owner of the infamous nightclub, Stu Goldberg, performed in circuses as a teenager and offered to train Wendy Parkman, Billy Kessler and me on the dance floor early Sunday mornings (most days, Stu was still counting money from the night before when we arrived). Over a decade later, I joined the Pickle Family Circus and … Read More

Talk to Jeff

For the last dozen years and counting, I’ve been taking what I know from a life on stage and using it to help folks in corporations grow their communication and leadership skills. In this year of the Water Rabbit, a year to focus on longevity, peace and prosperity, I’m going to go the other way, too, helping folks in the performing world grow their leadership, art, and business chops using skills learned in my … Read More

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