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Showing posts from 2010

Superheros and alien lifeforms galore!

Where could you get a cat eating alien, a modern wizard, a talking car with a guy in tight pants, a sideways driving car with a guy in tight pants, and a man and a boy traveling through time together and it NOT be creepy? ( The man and boy together not the wizard) All them were on my television set in the 1980's.

Such a plentiful landscape of characters and creativity! If the late sixties and seventies brought outside the box drug addled classic kids tv then the eighties gave us superheros and alien life forms galore. Some of my favorites were, "Mr. Merlin" with Barnard Hughes (whom I shared the film screen with in "Sister Act 2" a genuine man) The show follows Merlin as he trains a young man as an apprentice to take over the wizardry when he moves on. Another fav was "Voyagers" where we follow a muscular guy in a vest without a shirt through time as he tries to get a young boy back to his time period and they "give history a push" when it n…

"Comedian" the process of harvesting comedy.

If you're looking for a great documentary style peek into the obsessions of comedians and the "comic lifestyle".
Be sure to check out "Comedian" which follows Jerry Seinfeld after he's retired from his television show and re-entering the stand up comedy clubs to write all new material.

The normal process for developing successful stand up comedy set starts off with about 3-5 minutes of written jokes or stories with act outs. Of this amount of time only a handful of jokes will get a solid amount of laughter. These are "keepers" and the rest needs work. You slowly sharpen the good jokes and expand upon them to stretch out the amount of funny material. Each performance helps the comedian adjust the material according to the audience response. Soon the handful of material increases to an armful of material. Then from an armful to a bagful and so on until the whole 5 minute set is 90% to 100% predictably funny.
Jerry Seinfeld, over the years in comedy …

Greg Giraldo Rest in Comedy Heaven.

When I got notice of Greg Giraldo dying I felt I had to write a few words out of respect. I will point out from the start that I have never met Greg, but he has won my respect following him over the years through his television appearances.
On the stand up circuit Greg has been active for many years, but it is his consistent delivery of killer material on the “Comedy Central Roasts” series that has built a following for him that continued to grow. The team of Jeffrey Ross and Greg Giraldo on any roast is the A-list of harsh comedy writing that makes every appearance one of the best anyone’s ever seen.
With a fearless attack on stereotypes, rumors, habits, and lies he has crafted some of the funniest harshest truthful material on the comedy scene.

Vintage Greg Giraldo:

“Larry the Cable Guy, this is exciting. I have never roasted a fake character before. Maybe next year we can roast Sponge Bob Square Pants…Larry, you gravy sweating cousin fucker.”
“Jeffrey Ross, how fat do you plan on ge…

The "Neo" writing device and my upcoming" Tell All" book!

As coerced by the writing magazine, I researched and purchased a writing device called the “Neo” by Alpha Smart.
It is basically the writing version of the Kindle. Rather what the Kindle is to reading the Neo is to writing.
A simple dedicated device to output writing and not be distracted by the internet or social networking sites.
Just simple typing and either uploading into word processor of choice or directly plugging into printer and printing as a stand alone. This device runs on three AA batteries per year on average and weighs very little so I can take this solid little helper anywhere. The Neo has really multiplied my output. This is the first blog to be written on the device so we’ll see how easily it goes, but as far as writing lyrics and chapters the Neo is superb.

On a writing related note I have completed four chapters of my upcoming book about ME. My favorite subject! Publishers are already interested. Finally people can access the nitty gritty bizarre development of my l…

Look! Up in the sky...an aerialist flies!

Pendulum Aerial Arts has been growing like an artistic snowball for the last fourteen years in the Portland area. Suzanne Kenney has worked to nurture this company from the ground up...er...sky down? None the less, this work is paying off and nothing is more representative of this blossoming than the company's upcoming show, "High Art: A Surreal Portrait of the Soul" coming August 19 thru the 22nd to The Portland Art Museum.

I just returned from Portland where I enjoyed a two week residency collaborating with Suzanne and the artists of Pendulum, as a director of Story and Character work. I learned a lot during my time in the Pacific Northwest. I discovered that you can create an incredible amount of material in a short amount of time, under the right circumstances. Those circumstances in this case were a serious group of young aerialists, contortionists, and acrobats ready to trust a clown and comedian in pushing their comfort levels as performers and challenging themselv…

Poetry.

Poetry is always there to replenish me when I need it.
It can be grabbed at any time and injected like a much needed medicine to a quaking man.
Charles Bukowski introduced me to the versatility of poetry. He was dead at the time, but he didn't seem to complain about it.
Regarding poetry, Bukowski once said in an interview (and I’ll have to paraphrase since I couldn’t find the correct track out of my albums of his work)….Poetry is a kind of fancified way to scream a little in a self indulgent style.

But that’s what’s nice about it. You discover different poets and their styles and you sort out a menu to your own tastes. How do you want to feel? Read and invoke that state.

My personal menu is: Bukowski, for real life grit and unflinching truth.
Kerouac, for a verbal rollercoaster that may or may not end when you get back to the boarding area and it may continue backwards or descend down through the floor to a whole new ride.
Rimbaud, whets my appetite for luscious passion and thick dark …

Everyone's a Superstar in Little League!

I read an interview with a father who just relocated his family from Texas to New York. His son is in the highest division of Little League and the parents attended a meeting to go over the upcoming season with the coaches. The voice on the phone with the father said, “What is your child’s skill level? So we know where to place him?”
“Isn’t there a draft?” his Texas accent marked him as an outsider already.
“No. We’ll go over all the details at the meeting this Wednesday night”.

Wednesday night the father was one of about two hundred parents in attendance to get the details of the new Little League season.
The one detail that stuck out he almost missed.

Wait, they are not going to keep track of standings for anybody’s record for the season. “What?” the father mumbled to himself and stood up at the Question and Answer session to clarify.

“Did I misunderstand? Did you say you’re not going to keep track of anyone’s standings for the season in the majors division?” he asked.
“Yes” the coach a…

"Another round of goat's milk, garcon!"

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There are a lot of great places to buy fresh vegetables and meat for the table with a strong discount compared to the grocery stores in our area. Pittsburgh's cost of living is reasonable and the surrounding farms bring in fresh food of all kinds making living here all the more pleasurable.

My fiance has a treasure map of locations with the freshest foods at the lowest cost. You just have to know what to get. And where. In order to maximize the savings.
Meat can be procured just out of town by a butcher that is supplied by the local farms. The Co-op, five minutes from our home, has great herbs and seasonings of all kinds including "Thai" and "Jamaican" which I swear can be used in place of agent orange for chemical warfare by taking your breath away once exposed to the air and imbedding microscopic pepper powder down your throat causing you or anyone else who passes down the store aisle to cough and sneeze for minutes on end. But when rubbed into vegetables or …

An Acidic Astral Waterworld?

A lot of my dreams involve my work.
The nightmare is usually stressful and drawn out.
Horrifying in a completely mundane and repetitious way.

When I worked for Crazy Horse, Paris at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas,the reoccurring dream was getting through the never ending people and casinos to get to my show on time to perform. This would repeat , but my dream self would never get wise to the fact it was just a dream and stress out every time.

The last three nights have progressed from tedious to absurd.
Dream One: “The Touring” nightmare- Waiting for the elevator on luggage day , but there are only two elevators and everyone else is already done packing and I haven’t started yet.

Dream Two: I have to go onstage in a few minutes and I have little make-up, no hat ,and no shoes , but…I think I can pull it off….

And last night, Dream Three: Hanging out at an apartment and I’m led out to a bar where people are chugging beer in a dark room laughing with music and I go into the restroom (washroom f…

"Watchmen"...what a pile.

The good thing about NOT seeing any movies over the last four years on tour with Cirque du Soleil is that now that I am off tour I can rent the movies at the library. One film I wanted to see was "Watchmen" based on the graphic novel.
When it was about to be released there was great anticipation. A slew of graphic novels turned cinema have had great success over the years. "Sin City" being one of my favorites. ( I also like to stay current with pop culture references to use in my improvisation as needed. Maybe I can throw in a reference or two that will make a head turn or get a savvy chuckle.)

"Watchmen" was annoying from early on in the film.
The overkill use of cliche music from the era started becoming more offensive as the movie trotted on. But I guess you need to beat people over the head so they know what time frame the film takes place in.

The main offense?
I hate movies that introduce characters late in the film. "Watchmen" is a never end…

The esoteric meaning of, "See ya later chumps!"

As I sit here in my "Hemmingway" gazebo on a wicker chair enjoying the balmy breeze of PIttsburgh sipping a mojito waiting to take in a movie in my living room, I think about the fact that in my old job I would be doing a great amount of work and sweating today...for no money.

In tribute to my fellow Kooza comrades, I will abstain from bringing in an income today and try my best to rest as much as possible unencumbered by pads for the knees or maquillage for the face.

Let my cosmetic-less cosmogony cast off the debasement of my bodily form and bring me face to face with the macrocosmic peace that resoundingly shouts to all limitations, "See ya later chumps!"

With that I bid you, "Merde!" and broken legs.

What's a "Shriner"?

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Some people have seen Shriners in parades driving tiny cars or wearing their emblem the red fez hat which makes them noticeable in any situation, but many do not know the origins of this fraternity.

In 1870 a group of Freemasons in Manhattan, NY would meet for lunch and fellowship. They formed a club dedicated to fun and fraternity to balance the austere work of self advancement performed in the Masonic Lodge. They took it upon themselves to collect money and donate it to a charitable cause. In time they wanted their own organization to focus their funds into to help children in need of medical operations. Children born with clef lips, spinal problems, and those harmed in burns are all given the opportunity to live a more full life through medical enhancement and surgeries paid for by the Shriners of North America.

My introduction to this great fraternity came after I had already been active in Freemasonry for seven years. I was initiated through the "Hot Sands" Ceremonial in…

Crystal Penis is Energized by Swami for Easter.

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Today we made a pilgrimage to the mountains of West Sunbury in Pennsylvania and witnessed the consecration of a shiva lingam by a Swami from Mysore, India. His name is Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji and he makes this tour through North America once a year. He is a great Sage who is world-renowned for mystical music compositions as well as for uplifting humanity through Healing and Meditation concerts. This years event was attended by devotees from Ontario, Canada, New Jersey, New York, Alabama, North Carolina,

We got to the retreat center just before Swamiji arrived and immediately performed a wedding for some of his disciples. Then he blessed the sacred rock and proceeded into the temple to perform the energization ceremony of the shiva lingam (crystal penis). Why a phallic crystal? To symbolize consciousness in its primordial form; the eternal energy from which all creation emerges. This symbolic oval shape is a reminder of the underlying, unifying force of all creation, with…

"I live in a "dry" city?"

"Is this a joke?", I ask myself.
Is this possible? It seems legit.

Of all the places I could have moved. I moved from Las Vegas to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Las Vegas. Sin City. Where what happens stays.
And I moved to the borough of Wilkinsburg in the city of Pittsburgh in the state of Pennsylvania.

How can this be a "dry" city? I can cross the street and drink at four or five pubs ON MY WAY to the beer store at the corner. It’s not a “dry” city. It’s a “dry” borough.
“What the heck is a borough?” I grew up in California. We don’t have boroughs.
I thought a “borough” was a nickname for a part of town like, “Polish hill” or “Chinatown”.
Not so….poor niave, Christian.

A borough can be many things to many countries or areas. My borough, Wilkinsburg, has it’s own government and laws which in this case includes a restriction against bars.

When you cross the street from my house you are in the city of Pittsburgh.
I reside in the borough of Wilkinsburg by a few feet.
Wilkinsbu…
Well, the excitement of my final day is behind me and I enjoyed a relaxing day of downtime today.

How was my plan executed after my blog on Sunday? I leapt into the day with full force arriving hours early to formulate my plan for the attack upon the two shows. "Chaos should be pre-planned to maximize implementation." I warned the questioning eyes scoping the paper I was sketching upon.

I had two shows and many "open spots" to inject improvisation and/or "quotes" or references. I wanted to use every opportunity.
The first show, a matinee with 50% of the venue filled, was a lower than lackluster family audience which I ignored (rightfully so judging by their attitude or lack thereof) in order to WILL them through my version of KOOZA. I hit my marks and had a great time offering my co-workers a "who's who" of references from the beginning of the show. Some references even preceded our soft opening in April 2007 and took the one person in the au…

Kooza standoff! The final chapter.

Usually I write my blog about the previous day. This time...all eyes are ahead.
Today is my final day with my show KOOZA and sleeping was restless last night. I awoke early thinking of promises I made to people and seeing them through at the last minute.

I have more to follow up on, so I will make this blog brief as well, but here's my plan for the day.

I have coined the term, "Satisfactory Sunday" to denote, as an artist, pulling all of the energy that's left from a 9-10 show week and harnessing it UP to a satisfactory level for the last two shows of the week. As artists of Cirque du Soleil, we are not only skilled to a world class level, but expected to put out the most energy we can on a consistent basis. Again and again. Past the point of exhaustion and beyond a normal performers comfort zone. This has made me stronger and inspires me for the future...but NOT the point I am making now.

Today I will not be doing a "Satisfactory" job. I will do a "Sa…

My final "Date Night" with KOOZA!

Well yesterday marked my final "Date Night" performance with KOOZA. I spent the day with a strengthening performance choice. Last month I did the pre-show with only the help of a ticket. Let me explain. The "Obnoxious American Tourist" character has five different props. What I found over the last few years since creating this character in 2007 (2006 really cause most of the work was done in my audition in March 2006).

More props = More material easily utilized in creating a scene.

Less props = More need to improvise and actually create with less.

Doing the pre-show with only a ticket requires more effort than a cell phone and camera to distract and use to get out of situations etc.

Yesterday I did both pre-shows using zero props improvising all material. Result? I was more engaged with the audience around me and the other performers because I couldn't hide in the props. (My co-hort Jimmy pointed this out.)
Other goals I've had in the past during pre-show?

1) …

Michael's "All American Day!"

After our success in showing our Swedish friend Tijuana, "How could we follow it up?" we thought to ourselves. What else could we offer to show the experience of America? Granted Michael has been on tour throughout the U.S on and off since 2007,but sometimes touring life leaves details of real life out of the mix.

"Guns!" we gleefully exclaimed. There are few guns in Sweden and arms of the pistol/handgun variety are often banned because they are not used in hunting for food.

With that we told Michael we would take him on an "All American Adventure" the following day and he immediately got excited about what we may have in store for him. We met up at high noon and hopped onto our trusty white steed (in this case a rental Dodge Caliber). Reading the wind and tracing tracks, as our ancestors may have in the old west, we made our way to Walmart an American treasure of infamous reputation like that of and Wild Bill Hickock. Rushing to the hunting and fishing s…

Tijuana, Mexico 2010

I haven't been to Tijuana since 1998. Today I went with my girl and Michael the pickpocket from KOOZA. I remember walking over the border and having food and beers and buying leather beer holsters and seeing how dirty everything was.

Today our goal was relaxation and the joy of introducing an entertainer from Sweden to a California classic: TJ.
Now Monday is not the "party day" for twenty somethings to guzzle tequila and hit the strip clubs and the whole beheading on the Texas border has people skittish. But really. What has ever happened in Tijuana? More Mexican drug wars happen in Arizona than in Mexico!

Everyone will be happy to know TJ is the same. Monday was quiet.
It's hard to NOT look like you don't know where you're going when you are the only backpack wearing Caucasians on the streets and every street vendor is beguiling you with sunglasses and pictures of Homer Simpson as Scarface.

The first thing our Swedish friend noticed was how "interactive&…

"Tweet with Cirque du Soleil, beware of the Clowns"

(This is a repost from Twittamentary.com the Twitter site dedicated to the upcoming film about Twitter.)


People come to see my show with Cirque du Soleil, "KOOZA" and they Tweet before,during, at intermission, and afterwards. I am one of the three clowns in the show and we often read what people are Tweeting about the show for a laugh. The show is phenomenal so most comments are positive. We also use audience members in our act and our volunteers sometimes tweet their experience or post pictures on Twitter.
It's weird, to me, randomly picking a person out of 2,500 people and when you've sent them back to their seats and the show has finished, reading their Tweets or knowing their names! (I'm still adjusting to this- I like the anonymity..)
Recently someone who was watching the show put up on Twitter how incredible it was during the show. We read it and saw his other Tweets were entertaining and passed it around.
This guy has a small group of friends, (under 30 follow…

"Skill of the day"

Lately, I have been choosing one skill a day to work on or try to learn. You Tube is very helpful for this practice.
This can be as simple as learning to tie a strange knot (which I know sounds like a barrel of fun) or twirling a hat which can always be used to attract the victim of your love. (Note the word,"hat" not "cat". Twirling a cat may attract the wrong KIND of person. Practice with discretion.)

Origami roses are useful. Or making Alexander Hamilton appear to be smiling or frowning on a $20 bill (as taught to me by Portugese Magician and Balloon Artist, Sebastian Ricou). A friend from my high school recently told me she still remembers the bouquet of balloon flowers I made her for her birthday almost twenty years ago.

These little skills are flourishes to add to any situation for quirky fun or used in theatrical productions to add a nuance to any scene or character.

FACT: The reason people enjoy great actors like Johnny Depp and Marlon Brando are the choices t…

Business instead of pleasure.

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(Picture above is Guy Laliberte, Cirque du Soleil owner not the President of Cirque.)

Missed blogging the last couple days due to work. Between rehearsals and visits from Cirque du Soleil management types like the President of Cirque today, little time for blogging and any internet presence. We have also been training my replacement to go into the show this weekend so relaxation and privileges like blogging will have to wait.

FYI: The annual President's meeting went well and sushi was served in the kitchen. It was delicious.

The only relaxation I seem to get now a days seems to come from the brief minutes during the show when I can read Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol" on my Kindle. A great read and cinematically written. His writing keeps improving with each book. Very nice.

It was nice having a check in from Cirque owner, Guy Laliberte, now that he has returned from space and is watching his shows closely. We had great show tonight with an audience volunteer who looked …

"High Art". A fresh canvas.

Wielding the fiery energy of the wand, I will begin painting upon a fresh canvas with a residency in union with Pendulum Dance Theater in Portland, Oregon. I will be at the helm of all things story and character oriented crafting the through line of this wonderfully diverse show, "High Art: A Surreal Portrait of the Soul"

http://www.pendulumdancetheatre.org

Pendulum's multidisciplinary work has been revered for the last decade within the Portland artistic performance arena.

In association with the Portland Art Museum: http://portlandartmuseum.org the show, "High Art: A Surreal Portrait of the Soul" http://www.pendulumdancetheatre.org/perf. with incredible composer Sasha Lazard http://www.sashalazard.com/index. and world renowned drummer Ya'el http://www.drumaddict.net/about.html will conspire with us to manifest an intense offering into the nuanced depths of the soul.

So many talents swirled together in this intense creation it promises to astonish while act…

San Diego weather.

I have new appreciation for warm clothes and resting at times in a chair.
San Diego, California has given this wonderful gift. (Realistically "San Diego" is probably only responsible for one of these gifts the other is a heavy work schedule and natural mortality)

I used to look out the window and see the sun shining bright and think to myself, "Hey, what a great day to wear a short sleeved shirt and shorts! It IS a beach community." Oh how wrong I was. Soon cold breezes scraped against my body while my friend the sun is hiding like a wussy behind the clouds sniggering at my discomfort and ill prepared bodily protection in the form of textiles used to keep my flesh that much further from elements that conspire to turn my mind against myself.

Not anymore! Trust, suitably broken.
I layer myself like a yeti senior citizen and get mocked by local school children as they pass.
But mine will be the last laugh. For they know not that this is a DEAD END STREET!

Wear a sweate…
Meth Tweekers Should not work at Rental Car companies.


END OF POST FOR DAY, DUE TO CRAZY LADY EXHAUSTION

Twanks! ( A tribute to Twitter)

Simplicity.

The greatest comedy or variety acts have one thing in common: simplicity. This simplicity makes it so that you can't remember what was so funny about that Bill Cosby sketch about going to the dentist, but you know it was hysterical. You can watch a great stand-up comedian and laugh your eyes out of your head ,but you rarely can quote the act let alone deliver what was funny about the joke in retelling it. Leave this to the professionals!

Anyone can put on a rainbow wig, but that wig will not make people laugh. ( In some cases it will get injured.)
David Shiner said that he didn't want "clowns" for the creation of Kooza, he wanted funny people and they can learn to do make-up. Even within the show we clowns look the least like "CLOWNS" and the rest of the acrobatic troupe have more clown make-up qualities.

Simplicity. Less make-up more content.
In most cases you CAN"T describe what a great act was about. And when you try...you fail.
Simplicity is so simpl…

What's next, Christian?

Now that most of the morning was spent sending back virtual drinks sent to me on Facebook...I have to start to make a real dent in the day.

So let's get this clear...I have 17 days left at "KOOZA". (I'm not counting down the shows because I'm not in a hurry to leave, I want to appreciate my time and each show is "one more precious jewel"...to harass,annoy, and entertain people in the San Diego area.)

But what's the next step for you,Christian?

Number One: I will be freelancing from my newly purchased (Dec.2008) home in Pittsburgh,PA booking private engagements and working "smarter". Less hours of falling on the floor screaming and more hours enjoying my family and the lack of exhausting physical performance.

Number Two: I am being hired by some great eclectic companies to do some Creative Director work in charge of stories and character development. (More on these when appropro.)

Number Three: I'm working towards doing more European gigs …

A breath of fresh air!

I am cleaning up superfluous web garbage I have been collecting for years as I move on to the next level of my career.
It feels good to cleanse and move forward!

This blog will now focus on all of the crazy fun things as I transition from my life on tour in Cirque du Soleil's "KOOZA" as the last original clown of the trio to my new prospects in Pennsylvania and worldwide. Exciting times to be in the entertainment industry.

Join me for the "touching conclusion" of my time with my creative baby, "KOOZA".

Cheers!

TSUNAMI?

12:07pm La Jolla, California.

http://www.delmar.ca.us/News/Pages/ATSUNAMIADVISORY.aspxhttp://www.delmar.ca.us/News/Pages/ATSUNAMIADVISORY.aspx

So here I sit watching television coverage of the devastating Chile earthquake and the "Tsunami watch" and I realize I am in the coastal community of San Diego specifically La Jolla. The show I'm in is in Del Mar technically a ravine between two mountains off the coast of the Del Mar beach.

What to do in a tsunami DOES NOT cover go to work in a circus tent in a ravine off the coast from a tragic earthquake.
Especially 29 days away from my "retirement" from the show as this is the last city for me.

What will happen? Hard to say. The map on the news only shows Hawaii THEN San Diego. We'll see.

Take this opportunity to listen to my song, "Elements" for the full impact.

Chorus: "Waves may swell storms may crash. Swarming tsunamis steadily drop volcanic ash. Flash floods and strong winds cause an avalanche, bu…
Well the spell of non-productivity is behind me and it's a New Year of creating and doing.
I am up in Montreal, Quebec at the headquarters of Cirque du Soleil recreating and networking. Great resources and friends here. Had the ability to focus on music for a bit and now I'm headed back to work and have to focus on money and see what music bubbles during the transition. We'll see.

Until then, "I'm back."