Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The Incredible Clown - Sid Caesar

Astounding.
The link below is the main link/source that someone has made to list ALL of Sid Caesar’s work available on youtube!!!!!!!!!!
There is one category of 16 of his pantomime solos!!!!!!
I suppose I told you I saw him LIVE. NYC. Lower East Side venue called The Village Gate a 300 seater cramped in.
Certainly the most talented clown I have ever seen live.
He would have been in his late 60s perhaps even early 70ish
Perhaps that was around 1989?
I left a note at Stage Door that I was seeing the show and would come by after if there was a chance to meet?
When he walked on stage, the audience stood as one and gave a thunderous standing ovation.... when he walked on stage!!!!!
Thunderous.
They ‘knew him’ they ‘knew what he had done and been’.
That went on THUNDERING for a few minutes. He tried to accept their love but not to incite it. Finally as he bowed and bowed and finally gently with his hands he got the audience to calm and be seated and he got on with doing a GREAT performance. There was a small band, and about 3 other actors who joined him in some sketches.

HE WAS ASTOUNDING.
Then i didn’t know how I could face him he was so extraordinary.
But .... I know even bigshots are people and even though it was just me who left the note, even Sid would wonder why didn’t that person who said they would come, not come.
So I went.
The Stage Door fellow had been told by Sid that someone might come by so the Stage Door man told me he’s expecting you. 
The doorman called and said Sid told him that he would be right out. 
I was then to come inside and to walk down the hall. 
Sid came out of his dressing room at the far end of the hall.
We walked towards each other like the shootout at OK Coral.
But I was so shocked at his talent he had just displayed on stage that ....
I could not speak
I tried
We shook hands when we met
I tried to speak
I could not
I could only put my hands on my heart and shake my head and could get out a tiny whisper
Hardly audible even though Sid was standing right in front of me I barely squeezed a very quiet whisper ‘thank you, it was great, thank you’
With my hands on my heart and shaking my head
We smiled. He with a big grin and me just smiling out of one side of my mouth
Then we both just nodded and then shook hands and we parted
My friend was waiting outside and so it was.
Sid Caesar. 
He had one of the greatest teams: Carl Reiner, Imogen Coca, Howard Morris were his main tv stage partners. 
His writing team that he worked with every day included himself, Reiner, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Neil Simon, Selma Diamond, and another three equally talented comedy writers. 

Here is one skit. The Russian Arthur Godfrey. Arthur Godfrey was another American tv comedian in the 1950s. Carl Reiner who recently Passed Away at age 98, introduces the skit and later plays the auditioning comedian. He is imitating well known actors and the comedian Jimmy Durante whose nickname was “The Schnoze” ‘the nose’ for his big nose and Reiner/Godfrey puts on a nose for Durante. Caesar is the main actor and Howard Morris is the smaller Russian. Neither Imogen Coca nor Nanette Fabrey are in this skit.
The link links to over 100 Caesar skits.

Here is a review of the show I saw in 1989.
Review/Comedy; Sid Caesar and Friends, In a Show From Shows June 23, 1989
Before improvisational theater, Second City and New Vaudeville, there was Sid Caesar, a grandmaster of innovative comedy. Mr. Caesar, his fellow television performers and his writers (who included Woody Allen, Mel Brooks and Neil Simon) have defined American humor. For these reasons and others, it is heartening to see him on stage at the Village Gate in ''Sid Caesar and Company.''Forty years after his television heights, he has lost his manic edge and his youthful unpredictability, but his comic imagination remains sharp and his facial features - all of them - are as expressive as ever. In performance, he freely mixes zany physical comedy and verbal virtuosity.His new show, which opened last night, is subtitled ''The Legendary Genius of Comedy,'' which, in his case, is not an overstatement. The legend and the genius are in attendance, but more work is needed on the comedy. The show, which is uncredited as to authorship and direction, is formless, far more of a nightclub turn than the theatrical showcase Mr. Caesar deserves.In fact, it is only in the final 20 minutes that he really seems to relax and to take off. As his famous polymathic professor, he is interviewed by Lee Delano (in the role traditionally played by Carl Reiner). This exercise in baggypants wit leads Mr. Caesar into double talk, double takes and nimble adventures in foreign tongues such as have never been heard in Germany, Italy or Japan.

In its multinational mockery, the interview reminds one of his ad-lib brilliance improvising movie parodies on ''Your Show of Shows.'' Perhaps this sketch should open rather than close the show. Instead he begins with three monologues about growing up that culminate with Mr. Caesar imitating infancy. Though each sketch has its laughs, there is admittedly something disconcerting about seeing a man of advancing years playing a newlywed young husband, an adolescent at his first dance and a 6-month-old baby.

Mr. Caesar's stage time is shared with supporting players, who, for the most part, are operating in a different performing galaxy, especially so in the case of the Elliot Finkel orchestra, which precedes the show with an unwarranted overture, as if warming up the audience for a musical revue. Theatergoers who go to see Sid Caesar also do not need to hear Marilyn Sokol and Gerianne Raphael sing a selection of songs from his Broadway musical, ''Little Me,'' or to listen a xylophone-piano duo playing a medley of Gershwin.

When the focus is on the star, there are moments to enjoy, including that classic monologue in which Mr. Caesar impersonates a gum machine with a mind of its own and a mime in which he plays a Grieg piano concerto and succeeds in smashing his pinky and the imaginary piano keys.

Funniest of all - until the finale -is the old Caesar favorite, ''At the Movies,'' with new permutations. In this routine, Mr. Caesar is a moviegoer who is rattled by an exceedingly restless woman (Ms. Sokol), and then is besieged by her lover (Mr. Delano). In true Caesar fashion, he becomes the hapless target of their excessive wrath, and wistfully endures even an attack on his suit. The original ''At the Movies,'' as performed on television by Mr. Caesar, Imogene Coca and Mr. Reiner, is unmatchable, but the new version is a reasonable approximation.

For those with affectionate memories of the comic in his prime time, the show will be a nostalgic journey and a reminder that Mr. Caesar's talent is intact. For those unfamiliar with the comedian, ''Sid Caesar and Company'' will offer more than an inkling of his genius. FROM THEN AND NOW - SID CAESAR AND COMPANY, THE LEGENDARY GENIUS OF COMEDY, production supervisor, Duane Mazey; stage manager, Neil Haynes. Presented by Art D'Lugoff and Larry Spellman. At the Village Gate, Downstairs, 160 Bleecker Street, corner of Thompson Street. WITH: Sid Caesar, Marilyn Sokol, Lee Delano and Gerrianne Raphael.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sid_Caesar
Continue readingIn its multinational mockery, the interview reminds one of his ad-lib brilliance improvising movie parodies on ''Your Show of Shows.'' Perhaps this sketch should open rather than close the show. Instead he begins with three monologues about growing up that culminate with Mr. Caesar imitating infancy. Though each sketch has its laughs, there is admittedly something disconcerting about seeing a man of advancing years playing a newlywed young husband, an adolescent at his first dance and a 6-month-old baby.Mr. Caesar's stage time is shared with supporting players, who, for the most part, are operating in a different performing galaxy, especially so in the case of the Elliot Finkel orchestra, which precedes the show with an unwarranted overture, as if warming up the audience for a musical revue. Theatergoers who go to see Sid Caesar also do not need to hear Marilyn Sokol and Gerianne Raphael sing a selection of songs from his Broadway musical, ''Little Me,'' or to listen a xylophone-piano duo playing a mWhen the focus is on the star, there are moments to enjoy, including that classic monologue in which Mr. Caesar impersonates a gum machine with a mind of its own and a mime in which he plays a Grieg piano concerto and succeeds in smashing his pinky and the imaginary piano keys.Funniest of all - until the finale -is the old Caesar favorite, ''At the Movies,'' with new permutations. In this routine, Mr. Caesar is a moviegoer who is rattled by an exceedingly restless woman (Ms. Sokol), and then is besieged by her lover (Mr. Delano). In true Caesar fashion, he becomes the hapless target of their excessive wrath, and wistfully endures even an attack on his suit. The original ''At the Movies,'' as performed on television by Mr. Caesar, Imogene Coca and Mr. Reiner, is unmatchable, but the new version is a reasonable approximation.For those with affectionate memories of the comic in his prime time, the show will be a nostalgic journey and a reminder that Mr. Caesar's talent is intact. For those unfamiliar with the comedian, ''Sid Caesar and Company'' will offer more than an inkling of his genius. FROM THEN AND NOW - SID CAESAR AND COMPANY, THE LEGENDARY GENIUS OF COMEDY, production supervisor, Duane Mazey; stage manager, Neil Haynes. Presented by Art D'Lugoff and Larry Spellman. At the Village Gate, Downstairs, 160 Bleecker Street, corner of Thompson Street. WITH: Sid Caesar, Marilyn Sokol, Lee Delano and Gerrianne Raphael.


Thursday, June 25, 2020

THE UNIVERSAL MIND AND NON-CLOWN CLOWNS

“Non-Clown Clowns” is a concept that there are numerous people in all sorts of fields who are natural clowns but express their humour and creativity outside of the field of clown or theatre. In this case there is not a lot of funny-ness from the two Jazz musicians. However, the host is the brilliant ‘clown’ comedian Steve Allen who was an accomplished jazz pianist and composed thousands of tunes and songs. He also was an expert on clown and comedy. His parents were a Vaudeville comedy duet. 

The Evans brother’s conversation is one of the closest concepts to my method and philosophy of creativity that I have ever heard of. The other closest concepts are from Hassidus and Kabbalah, both of which, along with jazz are practical inspirations to me and to my work. I also relate the same inspiration particularly from the work of the painters: Kandinsky, Klee, Miro, Chagall, Arthur Boyd, and a few others. 

The Evans brothers discuss the ‘Jazz brain’ or ways of thinking jazz. This is completely in harmony with what I call “The Quantum Point”. I am currently editing my 2nd book about my work. It’s title is the same as my method “Quantum Theatre: Slapstick to Shakespeare”. It will be released in 2020.

The Evans’ are both also teachers of music and jazz. I am highly critical of what has been perpetuated as ‘clown teaching’ and ‘physical theatre training’ both of which I consider hoaxes stemming primarily from Paris schools and their cloned businesses. I explain about that in the beginning of Clown Secret and there I relate and connect the hoax to two myths/stories: The emperor’s new clothes; and, the worship of the golden calf. Evans’ have seen similar problems in the teaching of music and jazz and explain the problems and solutions which to me are essentially the same issues and solutions in the teaching of clown and physical theatre and improvisation.

What the Evans’ articulate can be applied directly to clowning. My introductory template “The Four Articulations for Performance” provide a “framework” and techniques as Evans’ explain. In fact, I would say my method is the same as what they articulate about the learning, teaching, creating, performing about Jazz, only my ‘jazz’ is clown.

In fact, I would say the relation between what they and Allen tell has an uncanny relation to how I actually think about clown. But it is no coincidence because as they articulate and as I tell in the book Clown Secret my method is actually to establish and reveal “Universal Principles”. As they are universal they can be found in science and in mysticism such as Kabbalah and Hassidic philosophy. 

“The Universal Mind of Bill Evans”:

Steve Allen:

Bill Evans:



Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Is Nonsense Necessary to Make Sense of Society?

Is Nonsense Necessary to Make Sense of Society?

I think that nonsense is a necessary part of the human mind. It is not something likely to be provable. Provable generally tends to mean - scientifically provable.
But the social science are soft sciences and that involve ones perception.
Hard science claims that perception and the personal are not part of the science.
Quantum Physics seems to have a different acceptance that ones perspective dictates ones conclusions.
Here is a video about traditional Chinese medicine that is notably as much an art as it is a science. 
TCM today is not actually the original indigenous form of traditional Chinese medicine as Dr Duffy in the video explains.

I paused the video after 22 -23 minutes when Duffy showed two Chinese symbols: one for music and the other for medicine. He explains and we can see visually the two symbols are very similar but that medicine has two extra elements which look like three-pronged spears or tridents like that of the mythical archetype - Neptune is said to have had such a trident.

However, as soon as I saw the symbol for medicine I noted that the two ‘tridents’ look exactly like the 21st Hebrew letter ‘shin’. Interestingly, When the Hebrew alphabet 22 letters are written there are actually 23. The reason is that ‘shin’ is actually presented as a double letter with one version pronounced ‘shin’ and the other pronounced ‘sin’. Some other letters in Hebrew also have a doubling. Some of the letters have a vowel point added so the pronunciation differs like the letter ‘pe’ has a hard sound like ‘pee’ or a soft sound like ‘fe’. A few letters also have one appearance when placed in the beginning or middle of a word but when placed as the last letter they have a changed form.

Back to Duffy, he points out that the double trident at the top of the symbol for medicine represent ‘shaman’ as a double image of a male shaman and a female shaman. The Hebrew letter shin/sin appears like a trident and represents the sound ‘sh’ or ‘s’ depending on where the ‘vowel’ point is placed. When the point or dot is placed on the right side of the trident it is sh/shin. When placed on the left side of the trident is is s/sin.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Collaboration - “The Quantum Point”

“The Quantum Point” is what I call the magic space in time where creativity can move in any direction or manner. Physically, the pineal gland is like the embodied metaphor of The Quantum Point. In the book Clown Secret (2018, 2020) there is a chapter Co-Creating. The Quantum Point can be the fulcrum between and balancing collaborators. Another book is soon to be self-published “Quantum Theatre: Slapstick to Shakespeare”. I liked this article and the way the writer/mother/artist reflected on a challenging environment. https://busymockingbird.com/2013/08/27/collaborating-with-a-4-year-old/

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Truth Is Not Black or White... it is much more grey and more fluid like Yin/Yang

This book link below was posted on fb today. This is great to see such a book. I will order it. Certainly in the USA the Entertainment Industry was an ‘activist’ in making the wedge into the public’s psyche to change it’s programmed and historic racism. That activism started already in the early films, but, as the public generally was living in a fully racist society, activism had to be cunning and incrementally introduced into films. Even Sammy Davis, Jr in his autobiography explains for example how he had to enter venues by the kitchen and was not permitted to use the front entrance even though he was one of the most talented and highly revered entertainers. Then is was Las Vegas and the “Rat Pack” which he was a part of that forged an open path for him. His friends in the pack included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, who along with Jerry Lewis ensured and forced greater exposure of Davis. But there is a set of ‘politically correct’ myths including how ‘black face’ functioned. Black face though controversial was consciously turned into an important wedge. Also the so-called ‘demeaning’ roles in films as servants (historically accurate) in almost all cases (not each, not all, but most) the film makers ‘placed’ the Black Americans so that people could visually see yes they are an equal part of the society. Additionally, almost always the Black servants and characters were recognisably with a nobility. Some were the opposite, but most were positive roles even if the character’s job was as a servant. Hal Roach already in the 1920s insisted to have a Black American child in The Little Rascals/Our Gang. Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, Milton Berle were just a few of the most famous entertainers who fought the system and used their stardom to do so. Two books which deal with some of these themes are: “Blackface, White Noise” by Michael Rogin; and, the even politically oriented “The Eddie Cantor Story” by David Weinstein.
https://www.amazon.com.au/African-American-Entertainers-Australia-Zealand/dp/1476677956/ref=sr_1_2?_encoding=UTF8&dchild=1&qid=1591312337&refinements=p_27%3ABill+Egan&s=books&sr=1-2

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Post-Pandemic Comedy of 1922 about Doctors/Medicine

Comedy made shortly after the Spanish Flu Pandemic. Doctors in the same field may often hold very different opinions. Thus the old adage “get a second opinion”. If you need a doctor go to one. BUT it is known that one tries to find a ‘good’ one as some doctors are better than others. For the record for change of seasons, and sometimes before or after long overseas trips, for those occasions when I feel maybe I should see a doctor ..... I almost always go to A CHINESE DOCTOR or a Doctor of Chinese Medicine who is either FROM China or Korea or Japan. The first time I went to one, it was because a friend was going and knew this particular one who was from Japan. That was in 1976. So I happened to see this the other day and had absolutely no idea about the subject nor story. “ Dr. Jack, has plenty of practice but scant fees. He believes in using sunshine methods and avoids medicine as far as possible. This is quite contrary to the methods employed by the renowned Dr. Ludwig von Saulsbourg (Mayne), who for four years has reaped a golden harvest out of the father (Prince) of the Sick-Little-Well-Girl (Davis), keeping the latter in dark rooms and feeding her drugs without end.” Western Medicine is brilliant with emergency care!! And microsurgery!!! And one form of diagnosis (Chinese Medicine has a different perspective). And several other areas. Chinese Medicine has its own virtues including 1000s of years of practice. A few years ago while on ‘tour’ with Cirque du Soleil I was near the teacher of my friend (a juggler who became a Doctor of Chinese Medicine). So I went for a general checkup. That Doctor was 15th generation of a Chinese family of doctors of Chinese Medicine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBsu6luYThI&app=desktop

The Incredible Clown - Sid Caesar

Astounding. The link below is the main link/source that someone has made to list ALL of Sid Caesar’s work available on youtube!!!!!!!!!! The...