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Monday, October 19, 2009

Northwest Festival of Clowns

Four day event held in Olympia Washington.
The Alley I belong to was the host for this grand event, celebrating the 20th year of NWFoC!
The festival started Thursday morning for our alley, we met to get ready. Stuffing 150 goody bags to hand out to all the clowns coming to the event.
We had 118 signed up and 18 Junior Joey's! I think it was the largest convention to date for NWFoC. A Junior Joey is a person who is 7-15 years old and has chosen to do clowning. (I think) Anyway, this was a good turn out, and the event started on time and was going strong from the get go!
We invited many "head liners" to attend and teach. Silly Billy, Clarol the Clown, Terry Rickets, Theresa "Pinky" Garrett, Angel Contreras, Marcela "Mama Clown" Murad, and many more. Our own alley member Roger "Mr. Mokey" lander is a phenomenal balloon sculptor.
Face painters, balloon artists, magicians,(Me) and so much more.
Classes/lectures included topics like:
Who is my clown, Manic Magic 1, Manic Magic 2, Solving the top ten problems of performing for children, Face painting,
Developing my unique clown character,beginning balloons, intermediate balloons, advanced balloons...
Oh my the list goes on and on. All levels of clowns, new and old...
It was a fast paced, exciting weekend.
I was asked several times what I was doing there? As a magician, why are you at a clown convention?
My stock answer was that I am an associate member of the Bigfoot clown alley and we are hosting this event. But the reality is, I believe we can learn stuff from everyone and all our experiences.
I enjoyed much of the teaching on character building, like finding out who you are as a performer, whether it be a clown or a magician, it is still the same concept. I also wanted to meet Silly Billy. He is an internationally recognized Children's performer of magic and clowning. Many magicians do not want to do magic for children, they think it is beneath them, but that is very sad, as children's magic shows account for the vast majority of magic shows though out the world! We need to learn to be proud to perform magic for children!
I wasn't really assigned anything very responsible by our alley, so I just kind of roamed around performing close up magic for anyone wanting to see some. I had a blast entertaining and teaching some close up magic.
I was asked after the event to explain any differences I noticed between the magic conventions I attend and the clown conventions.
The first major difference between Magic conventions and clown conventions is.... drum roll please....
Hardly any women at magic conventions.
Mostly all men and boys.
So that was nice.
The second major difference is.....
Levity. At magic conventions it is a little more serious. People are more intense. Intensely watching everything a performer is doing, to try to "see" what it is they are doing. Many magic conventions are at Las Vegas casinos. So drinking is going on too. The magicians party well into the late hours, sometimes until 4 am and longer, working on sharing, and learning magic sleights, mostly with cards, but coins too. Sometimes several magicians will get together in some ones room and "session" all night long.

Clown conventions have more laughter, and are more slapstick, as you would expect.
I haven't been to very many conventions of either type so I am sure there are several other differences.
Both conventions serve a purpose. Both are a blast, and both help everyone improve in their crafts.
I entered the Red Nose Single Competition, and got the silver medal.
I performed the Legend of the Five Mystic Rings. I actually dropped a ring in competition. How about them apples!? Not good, got kinda flustered but did my best to soldier on. When I dropped the ring, it rolled off the stage onto the seating area floor, I looked up and said, "We are now doing a floor show!"
Everyone enjoyed that moment. Hey, they are all clowns, they are used to dropping things. I did not enjoy the moment and was upset about my performance later.
I have come to want to represent magic in a way that does it justice. That gives it honor, and doing good magic very well. It may be someones' first time to see, in this case, the Linking Rings live and in person, so I want to do it honor and justice. I felt like I didn't do this. Everyone was gracious and said it was awesome, and maybe it was in some ways...(I finished strong) but, I felt embarrassed and it was humbling... God has his plans, maybe my humanness was allowed to be exposed? Still, you know how it is, you work very hard and always want things to go perfect.
The Red Nose Competition is kind of neat in the way they do it.
They have judges and coaches grading your performance, all meant to be a positive experience and critique. After you have performed, you get the critique in written form. The "coaches" actually write comments and they have their names on the paper so it is not anonymous.
I would like to see the magic community embrace this concept at their conferences for the contestants. Everyone who entered, and there were many, received something.
The atmosphere is very different from magic conventions too. Way more laughter. Not as serious, and they all want to learn and do magic too.
There is this idea that clowns don't do magic well, and that magicians hate clowns that do magic, and this is true to a large degree. We should change that.
Wouldn't it be great if magicians could lighten up, and relax and enjoy performing magic in a light hearted fashion? And wouldn't it be great if clowns would take more time to learn their magic better, rather than having the fall back when they blow a trick, that "hey, I'm a clown what do you expect?"
It was a hectic weekend, full of fun and laughter!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't like clowns as a kid and now I know why. Clowns are creepy. Magicians are people with deep emotional issues who need to be in control of others. Creepy Clowns and Egomaniac Magicians.....what a combination!

7:46 PM  
Blogger Timmy Jimmy said...

Hahaha... people that don't like clowns have deep emotional problems, and people that don't like magic... well, they generally hide behind anonymous.. :)

6:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing was said about not liking magic....there's a great invention called reading glasses, check them out the next time you're at the drug store!
Clowns are creepy...magicians are control freaks with huge egos!

5:59 PM  
OpenID jusbytheclown said...

Thanks for the post and wonderful insight!
Clowns and magicians are actually PEOPLE... some are creepier than others and some are cuddlier than others.
Have you heard that TRANSPARENCY is big in the new social media? And accountability? I don't allow anonymous posts for that reason.
You probably don't need anyone to tell you what you ARE when they won't admit WHO they are.
Make those guys disappear!

7:04 AM  
Blogger Timmy Jimmy said...

Thanks Jusby, Anonymous is well, anonymous.. unless they resort to swearing or geting down right rude... I let em stay. Besides, I scoff and laugh at them secretly, like you, if they have to be anonymous....
not much to say about that!

7:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Transparency? Who hides behind the clown makeup?

"cuddlier".....Sounds like an Obama supporter.

"I scoff and laugh at them secretly" Typical bruised ego response....thanks for making my point.

Anonymous rules!

8:01 PM  
Blogger Timmy Jimmy said...

Oh man, anonymous does rule..
Crackin me up, that you would spend so much time here "making your point.
Probably is an Obama Isl;ama supporter, but not I said me!
Thanks for checkin in Anony.

8:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In all seriousness, check out Jusby's web page, especially the crucifixion photo...seems creepy and crossing the line of good clown fun.

Stick with the magic Timmy Jimmy. Remember, people check this sites out and may make a decision on whether to hire you based on associates.

Hang in there and best wishes for your success!

8:45 PM  
Blogger Timmy Jimmy said...

Thank you, and the crucifixion clown photo was not funny at all to me.
Ironic that we can slam christianity but not islam or homosexuality. Our freedoms are being eroded and dictated to us by Obamamaniacs.

11:14 PM  

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