Connection Not Perfection

“I was in the middle of a concert…everything was going perfectly…and I was bored out of my mind. That was the moment that I made a fateful decision (to) devote my life to human expression versus human perfection.” – Yo Yo Ma A month ago, I was in a theater watching the amazing director Amy Marie Haven work with a huge cast to stage my play ‘La Sirène‘. The next day, she was packing … Read More

Creating by Listening

Many years ago, I was commissioned to write a play about secondhand smoke. Being completely ignorant of the subject and starting to think that it was an impossible topic for a play, I decided to interview a pulmonologist friend. He was so excited, knowledgeable and entertaining that I used his words and images to finish a first draft of “Lungman and Windpipe’s Excellent Adventure” within a week. This experience of creating a play by … Read More

Big Changes

Eleven years ago, when I got home from Japan after my final tour with Cirque du Soleil, a communications consulting firm invited me to join their small team. Stand & Deliver and I have grown a lot since then and last week I finished saying good-bye to my fifty plus colleagues and dozens of clients as I headed into the next phase of my career. My job as a dad, helping my sons launch … Read More

Joy and Woe are Woven Fine

I had to drive out to Dublin way too early on a recent Sunday morning, taking my older son to his EMT training. Deadheading home, I heard this William Blake quote on the radio: “Joy and woe are woven fine” I turned off the sound so I could feel some joy, the joy of living with my boys-who-are-men, and then grief for the world we are all trying to live in. If joy and … Read More

Gossip is Living History

“Gossip is living history. History is petrified gossip“. – A.O. Scott I love this. Imagine finding a hunk of petrified gossip in your backyard. Here are some more quotes from A.O. Scott’s essay on the author William Maxwell: “Maxwell (is) an unacknowledged forerunner of autofiction, that much-argued-over postmodern style of almost-autobiographical, self-ventriloquizing prose.” I may not love this quote as much. Almost-autobiographical self-ventriloquizing? Does Scott think a ventriloquist is hiding behind a dummy, a … Read More

Simon Biles and the Arts Economy

When performing was my mainstay, the greatest accolade I could get was “Jeff works all the time.” In a fickle free-lance business, this meant that I had achieved a form of stability, that I had ‘medaled’ in clowning. I wore that medal proudly. “Works all the time” also meant that we all worked hurt – torn ligaments, sprained joints, broken vertebrae, as well as anxiety, loneliness and, for some, depression. Once, a Cirque du … Read More

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

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