October 2018

Jeff Raz taught in Alaska
Jeff taught circus arts to Alaskan students.

Dear Friends and Family,

Today’s virtual swag includes invitations to Dell’Arte International for a Snow Clown book event on October 20 and Medical Clown Project’s Grand CIRCUS Rounds at Laguna Honda Hospital on October 7. First, I have a few thoughts on living in the moment.

Be Here Now”, the deceptively simple idea that Ram Dass introduced to mainstream America in the early ‘70s, shows up in improv, education and even Judaism, sexist language and all (“Man plans, and God laughs”). In the last couple of years, I’ve been using this concept a lot in my teaching and performing. It ain’t easy. And taking it into my personal life, like, say, with my kids, is even harder. First, you have to be aware enough to see what is going on right here and now, then you need to have the humility to say, “This is better than what I had planned” and then the skill to make magic in the moment.

Working in a wildly different culture can sometimes make “Be Here Now” easier. In The Snow Clown, the protagonist and his partner Tina get an inkling of this concept in a scene set in the Yup’ik Eskimo village of Akiachak on the Kusukwim River in Southwest Alaska:

TUESDAY WAS ACROBATICS DAY, starting with a dozen fourth graders. I asked the kids to take off their shoes and line up. Nothing happened. 24 eyes just stared at me. I repeated myself, a little more slowly and with better articulation, “Please take off your shoes so we can do acrobatics on the mats.” Read more…


Medical Clown Project

As you may know, I co-founded the Medical Clown Project almost a decade ago. Our annual fundraiser, Grand CIRCUS Rounds, is coming right up at 5pm on October 7 at Laguna Honda Hospital, San Francisco. One of our featured performers is former Cirque du Soleil star Joel Baker who is profiled in The Secret Life of Clowns.