December 2019

Dear Friends and Family, We’re deep into the winter holidays, a time when helpful friends and social pundits are warning us to avoid talking about politics or religion or anything else that might devolve into an argument. Good advice, perhaps, but only talking about safe topics is like only eating mashed potatoes – boring and ultimately unhealthy. What if we could have respectful, exciting, joyful conversations about truly gnarly, nasty, stomach-knotting subjects? Read more… … Read More

November 2019

Dear Friends and Family, A student, I’ll call her Beth, stood facing away from the audience in a theater class I taught last month. She turned, walked downstage and said, “Hello, my name is Beth.” Just that, and my eyes teared up. It was her third try at an exercise I describe in The Secret Life of Clowns. “Let’s start with something basic, the very simplest performance — one human being standing in front … Read More

October 2019

Dear Friends and Family, “My mama came to visit me in San Quinton every time she had the money for a Greyhound from Bakersfield.” Merle Haggard’s grizzly old face turned soft and teary in Ken Burns’ documentary on country music. Haggard’s mother was his ‘secure base,’ a metaphor that becomes very real in acrobatics, although I find it harder to be an emotional secure base than to hold people standing on my shoulders. Read … Read More

August 2019

Dear Friends and Family, I am all for taking risks, lifelong learning, ‘getting out of your comfort zone’…for my students. For me, I’m pretty comfortable being comfortable. I only get uncomfortable when I’m tricked into it. Like the other day when my friend Tara asked if I would perform in her site specific dance piece set in a bar. I don’t dance and I hate bars so, of course, “no thanks, I’m good.” But … Read More

July 2019

If you enjoy the Raz Gazette, you’re going to LOVE this in-depth interview I did with Yitzi Weiner. We covered everything from medical clowning to workplace well-being to leadership styles to a story about my mentor. It is now available on two different sites, Thrive Global and Authority Magazine (yes, you can read it twice!). If you were not among the 100+ folks on the webinar I did for the International Association of Business … Read More

June 2019

  Dear Friends and Family, My recent presentation at the Commonwealth Club was yet another lovely reminder of how stories beget more stories…how sharing my experiences and those of the characters depicted in The Snow Clown resonate with people and inspire them to find parallels in their own lives… and then the rich conversation flows. The podcast of this interactive program is now up on the Club’s website – enjoy! When I was running … Read More

May 2019

In The Land of Hope and Grief, An Art Therapy Project in an Alaska Native Village Helps Teens Talk About Suicide in their Community I discovered a wonderful article in Pacific Standard Magazine recently, “In the Land of Hope and Grief: An art therapy project in an Alaska Native village helps teens talk about suicide in their community.” This compelling piece was written by Kiliii Yüyan, whose work in Gambell, Alaska has a lot … Read More

April 2019

  Dear Friends and Family, Stories are King As a kid I got grief from my family because my stories would always veered toward the dramatic. Since mine was a scientific family, facts were king. When my mother died a few years ago and I became the last living member of my nuclear family, I realized that my stories were now the stories. There was no one else to offer a different point of … Read More

March 2019

  Dear Friends and Family, Ken Burns, the documentary film maker, says that communication only happens between people who see eye-to-eye, who see each other as equals and equally human. This sounds obvious, even a cliché, but it is very hard to do in practice when you take the full weight of this seriously, and to heart. For example, I’m doing a book event at S.F. State University later today – how will I … Read More

February 2019

  Dear Friends and Family, It’s surprising, and somewhat disconcerting, when other people understand my books better than I do. Chris Ertel, author of the national bestseller ‘Moments of Impact; How to Design Strategic Conversations that Accelerate Change‘, told me that ‘The Secret Life of Clowns‘ addressed corporate “learning and development” in “a vivid and universal way.” Not what I was thinking when I wrote it. At recent Snow Clown readings, I’ve been getting … Read More

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