Federal Government Support of the Arts

If it hadn’t been for the CETA program, I would never have found myself on an old burlesque stage getting kicked through a wall by a yeti. I was paid by the federal government, through the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA), to play three roles in the Dell’Arte Players’ “Whiteman meets Bigfoot.” One of the roles was a scientist who pisses off Bigfoot (actor Don Forrest on fur covered stilts) and quickly finds … Read More

Words to Work By

You may have seen Avner (the Eccentric) Eisenberg in the title role of the movie “The Jewel of the Nile.” Or in his solo clown show, which ran on Broadway for nine months and has toured the world. Or in “Comedy of Errors” which we performed, along with many others, at the Goodman in Chicago, the Olympic Arts Festival in L.A. and Lincoln Center in NYC. Avner is also a great teacher. Here are … Read More

It’s a Dog’s Life

Our dog Val seems to enjoy five of the seven deadly sins – sloth, gluttony, pride, envy and lust. Despite this she lives a good life, walking gently through the world, loving and being loved, avoiding most of the ills that we humans suffer and create. The last two sins, greed and wrath, just aren’t her jam. Dogs might have something here. As individual humans, we could stop worrying so much about the first … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapters 70 & 71 Plus Coda

Chapter 70 Full Circle  “Warning main curtain. Warning house lights.” John Quan pauses as the band leads the entire theater through a final chorus. He lets the last note echo off the gilded walls, waits one more second and shouts, “Black out! Main curtain in! House lights to full!” John covers his headset mic and turns to his light operator. “That was a hell of an ending. And I’m still going to kill that … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapters 68 & 69

Chapter 68 THE GRAND FINALE  Zip stands close and stares at Miranda Martinez as the emcee tries to introduce Bob Meadows. “Zip, I hope you’re enjoying your show.” Miranda turns to the audience, a little nervous. “Let’s give a big San Francisco ‘thank you’ to Zip Abrams for bringing us all together…although it’s not the way we’d hoped…of course…but still…” Virginia Barre is half out of her seat, trying to body English Zip back … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapters 66 & 67

Chapter 66 INTERMISSION  Reluctantly, Frank Singer lets go of Ellie Abrams and walks behind the closed curtain towards the green room. Before he gets there, the assistant stage manager calls him, “Mr. Singer! John wanted you to know that the first act ran seventy-seven minutes, seventeen minutes more than your projected time.” “Yeah, everyone went a little long. Not Tina and me, of course, but everyone else. Tell John I think we can make … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapters 64 & 65

Chapter 64 ACT I  After getting the lobby set up, Virginia Barre goes backstage, commandeers an empty dressing room and shimmies into a metallic silver sequined gown with a thigh-high slit and a shoulder-flaunting neckline. If you’ve got aerialist shoulders, you flaunt them. A month ago, before the show sold out, she’d asked the box office to save the best seat in the house for her – fifth row orchestra center. If you’re an … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapters 62 & 63

Chapter 62 Sabbath  The new assistant rabbi is stumbling his way through the Shabbat service. Deborah Matz, his boss, is sitting upstage of him on the bema, radiating trust and support. Frank Singer is in the balcony, last row, last seat, radiating angst. He came to temple tonight to get away from Jackie’s apartment and Zip’s show and his lack of a personal life and the cycle of death and disease and to hear … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapters 60 & 61

Chapter 60 Time is of the Essence  David Carter has been leading circus bands for decades, writing the songs, playing his bass and singing with a voice as raspy as Tom Waits’ and as nimble as Freddie Mercury’s. He’s a tall man, a little stooped now, with thick grey hair, a short grey beard and his signature porkpie hat. “Frank, I’m worried about Zip. You’re going to let her just wander on stage any … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapters 58 & 59

Chapter 58 A Family Act  The next day, Frank arrives at Ellie’s Treat Street flat to work on the multi-generational Abrams Family Clown Act. He’s barely in the door when Ellie says, “Would you hold Havvy so I can get in costume?” Frank takes the six-month old who is dressed in a tiny, two-toned yama-yama, the old-fashioned one-piece clown costume with a ruffle neck and three pom-poms down the front. Haviva is sucking a … Read More

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