Coming Back Live

An interview I recently did with Pirie Jones Grossman about my “second chapter” is now on the Authority Magazine website. As a teaser, here are three of the “five things I wish someone had told me before I became a communications consultant.” “The thing you are trying to hide, that you’re a circus clown, is exactly the thing that makes you good at this job.” “You will need to teach executives many of the … Read More

May 31, A History

Thirty-four years ago today, Comedy of Errors opened at Lincoln Center Theater. The producers were kind enough to schedule this big event on my 30th birthday. After the show, I got into an all-plaid outfit purchased just for the occasion and made my way down to Sardi’s with my date Amy Aquino. We walked in, Amy saw that the place was SRO and, in a voice that soared easily above the chatter and my … Read More

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

Connecting Deeply with Audiences

The art of communicating and building trust a Resilient podcast How do performers connect with their audience to build trust? And how is risk used to create an advantage? Jeff Raz, Stand & Deliver senior director, Clown Conservatory founder, author, and resilient performer shares unconventional wisdom about performing—and its remarkable similarities to risk management. In this episode of Resilient, Jeff Raz talks about the inherent resiliency performers must develop to excel at their craft. … Read More

5 Things That Should Be Done To Improve The US Educational System

Interview with Penny Bauder of Authority Magazine Although everyone in the world is now living under the threat of COVID 19, American school children, at least right now, when we’re doing this interview in mid-July, don’t have to live with the daily threat of getting killed or maimed in a school shooting. As a part of my interview series about the things that should be done to improve the US educational system I had … Read More

Wine & Acrobatics

Wine and acrobatics shouldn’t go together, this magazine cover from 1986 notwithstanding. Vaudeville Nouveau – Mark Sackett (pouring the wine), Danny Mankin (suavely looking at the camera) and me – usually performed this acrobatic trick with juggling. One time, when we were working between sets at a music festival, the belt that I used to hold Danny snapped. I flew back so fast I saw the bottoms of Mark’s feet floating in mid air. … Read More

7 Deadly Sins

Years ago I made an act based on the 7 Deadly Sins; ever since then I’ve been using one sin against another to keep myself on the straight and narrow. For example, after dinner, when my mind turns to green tea ice cream with hot fudge and whipped cream — the real kind, not that stuff out of the spritzer can—I rush to brush my teeth so my Sloth can keep my Gluttony at … Read More

John Henry Song

In the middle of one night, after watching too much TV news, I woke up to find my mind hard at work rewriting the song “John Henry” as a pandemic ballad. Yes, we live in strange times. In the morning, I worked on it for a while and then sent my “Joan Henry” to the great Kenny Raskin who recorded it. Enjoy!    

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