Saturday, October 26, 2013

Hawaii, big island, secret circus incubator.

Kona and the Big Island have played a quiet but very powerful part in the world of Circus arts and street performance.
It’s known by many that Guy Laliberte, the founder of Cirque du Soleil first arrived here as a burnt out street performer to rehabilitate himself and the character of Kona and this Island allowed him the time and space to incubate an idea that went on to change the way Circus is viewed forever.  

There is another connection very few people know or appreciate. Robert Nelson, also known as the Butterflyman was one of  the most successful and respected comic street performance artist America has ever produced. He was a very dear friend of mine and he spent his last 20 years based just out of Pahoa. His last ever performance was a show here in Kona that I dared him to do at one of the monthly village strolls. He was retired and content to simply maintain his property and take a handcart out and pick the litter up from a mile long stretch of highway 130 every week. He died peacefully at home last year, I was honored to share his last months and moments and there is already a commemorative plaque installed in his honor. at pier 39 in San Francisco where he would routinely draw crowds of up to a thousand people.

So Kona and the big Island have had a more or less hidden but powerful place and impact in the hearts of clowns and circus folk and comic street performers.

I am a clown with a big idea which is I want to bring it all back home.

My primary aims are

To promote for one week in April, the tourist destination of Kailua-Kona to an extent that the tourist occupation capacity is exceeded by demand.

To create an online audience over a year that exceeds the onsite population over the course of the event.

To invigorate, inspire, educate and create employment opportunities within the community of Kona to expand the perimeters of what is considered possible. Empowering it’s creative potential.



It's often been noted that I think too much however the upside is that after Byzantine routes and mind threatening gymnastics I sometimes arrive at simple conclusions whose foundations are unusually deep as a consequence of the journey taken.

One of the more profound conclusions I've stumbled onto is the awesomeness and ethereal beauty that surrounds the production of 'moments' in the context of my chosen vocation as a street performer.

A 'moment' as defined here is an instance where within the context of a performance a unique interaction takes place and both the performer/s and the audience are aware that something unique and creative is unfolding before them.

'Moments' can be prefabricated and counterfeited and often are and can work very well for an audience but by definition lack that mutual frission where all concerned step quite consciously into the moment and it's unfolding delight.

Theatre mainly involves the composite of produced and in most cases polished instances which create narrative moments for the audience. The production of a rehearsed one way transaction.

Street theatre in many cases employs the same mode and now that street theatre festivals have blossomed during the last 20 odd years there are many acts that are essentially displays. Acts that work just as well on stage as they do in improvised public spaces. For better or worse they are prefabricated products which is not to say they're lacking quality, the best are inspiring, spectacular, funny, etc. What they have in common is that their content is pre prescribed. They may produce moments but themselves do not contain any by the definition employed here. The moments they produce are devices rather than instances.

The type of street performer of most interest to me is one who creates a sparse structure that they depart from at will as they go fishing for moments. They are a subset on the spectrum however they tend to create consistently unique situations within their performance, either by branching off with some impulse that forms itself on the fly or by integrating some member of the public into the performance which brings with it a component of the unknown.

Most marketing for street performers or festivals associated with them focus almost reflexively on moments. I say reflexively because I have yet to see a festival focus on moments as the focal point of their marketing. Staged shots, produced visual impacts belie the bedrock foundation of advertising that is found in such abundance in street performance. 'Moments'

I see this as an opportunity, media has come a long way in the last few years.

A smattering of Talent..

The English Gents  and


Rob Torres and

Boy with tape on his face


Frazer Hooper


Peter Panic

Glenn Singer

Bobarino Gravitini

Mr Spin


Nick Nickolas

Modern Gypsies



Sharon Mahoney

Drew Richardson

Jonathan Burns

The Jim Show

Sunday, January 23, 2011

2011 Jan Update

Well I'm progressively devoting time to this project again.
I took part in the Kona Christmas Parade again to help cement my local participation. I got the crowd pleasers award the year before. No one has contacted me back re this year but my presence was certainly noted.

I have reached out to Mackenzie Muldoon, the director of the Toronto Street performance Festival. An eleven year old festival that has grown from strength to strength and is second only to the Edmonton festival in size and scope now.
She is advising me as regards finding local mandates for funding.

Also Liz Bolick, who runs the 'clowns in hospitals' unit of mostly ex Ringlings up in New York and thereabouts. I intend to have a significant outreach sector to this project and she and her especially trained performers are perfect for this.

Also Pat Cashin, director of the International Clown Hall of Fame and research center I have asked to help where he can. He's a clown and curator and historian and I want for this festival to be an eclectic annual meeting of Clowns from different backgrounds, The classic North American and European, Russian and also other less well known schools, Argentina, Australasia, Japan etc.

Additionally, on a whim and because the timing was perfect I submitted a very short application for initial funding towards getting the presentation together to promote this concept to
THE AWESOME FOUNDATION  [Sorry that just has to be in all caps]

The idea that initial funding for this comes from the Awesome foundation is funny.

That's all for now but rest assured I am working on this project earnestly.

I have got other things out of the way. Finished my book which is now being edited elsewhere and off we go.

Monday, February 15, 2010

augmented reality

By 2012 technology will be that much more advanced.
I intend to incorporate that into the projection of the reality created by performers and their audiences to be viewed hopefully both in realtime and in perpetuity by a secondary online audience.
As well as being inclusive and wonderful it will serve as an added vehicle for commercial sponsorship of the event.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Getting Metrics

The most formidable initial task is compiling the various advantages a specific project has to the similarly extensive array of potential patrons and sponsors.

This is what I am undertaking at present.

It's about compiling raw data and also deconstructing other festival's marketing shells to compare and contrast potentially similar relationships as well as using tried forms to spark new ideas and applications in an ever-changing playing field.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Why I'm embracing an open source attitude.{a personal statement]

I have pre-internet experience. Pre-internet people held their cards close to their chest because information was power. Post internet, information is relatively worthless in that one afternoon with google can give you or anyone all the information about anything you might ever need.

Post internet is about networks and mutual generosity and common goals realised and the power of collective application and many micro inputs and above all relationships.

I get gigs based on relationships, sometimes 2nd hand, sometimes third, recommendations etc far more than I do by sending shiny bits of paper to complete strangers in an effort to impress.

That said I will fully admit that I cannot, nor would I want to, do this project on my own. Rather than exploiting goodwill hard earned for profit I'd rather use my formidable social skills, my performance experience, my festival experience and my friends and associates to create something that embodies sustenance on many levels for myself, other individuals and beyond that communities of which I am a proud and grateful member.

Because without this [lets call it 'love' because that's a suitably vague concept] I've noticed I become profoundly ill or at the very least a wee bit jaded.

I refuse to apologise for my honesty and I will not be dissuaded from my ambition to produce wholesale laughter where none existed before. That's what we do essentially is it not?

`Ok that's my personal philosophy out of the way.
Give me what you have to spare and I'll reciprocate and let's see where it takes us.