A Clown Prayer

As I stumble through this life,
help me to create more laughter than tears,
dispense more cheer than gloom,
spread more cheer than despair.

Never let me become so indifferent,
that I will fail to see the wonders in the eyes of a child,
or the twinkle in the eyes of the aged.

Never let me forget that my total effort is to cheer people,
make them happy, and forget momentarily,
all the unpleasantness in their lives.

And in my final moment,
may I hear You whisper:
“When you made My people smile,
you made Me smile.


 from Ellen “Sunshine” Koval

Thinking of Schwanns

or as most folks write and say the word … swans. 
You can take me back to Kettering UK anytime just as long as I can go sit with the swans again.  Swans are a good example of not really being like their stereotype.  Like blondes.  Swans are archtypally pictured gliding along the lake, with their wing half raised in that lovely position, that so many wedding favor plastic gimcracks imitate.  However, they are not posing for aesthetic beauty – this is the male swans posturing of assertion – their “alpha bird” pose.   What it really means is “DON’T MESS WITH ME”.  Likewise most do not expect (and do not accept) young blonde women to take the “don’t mess with me attitude”.  Storybooks and folklore paint the swans as the graceful denizens of the lake, while in reality they are the bossiest, most agressive birds out there.  Just let any hapless goose or duck tread even within a yard of their cygnet on the shore, or swim near their precious baby on water.  That graceful arching neck becomes a writhing weapon – zap zap zap – in all directions.

Having spent a lot of time now, really up close and personal with swans, I can tell you, they are not sweet or too serene.  They are white warriors.

(insert some swan pix from kettering and maybe a video)

T2 Day -3 and counting

Tonight I sign a note for a huge loan.  I am going from being debt free to being in debt for the next 5 years easily.  400 clown shows to pay off I estimate.  Interesting comment in the delawareonline.com article on using clowns in the ministry titled “Blessed Are The Silly“….

“Baker [Rev. Baker of Aldersgate United Methodist Church] praised the Merrimakers as wounded healers, borrowing a phrase from Catholic theologian Henri Nouwen. Wounded healers are people who’ve known grief, loneliness, sickness, tragedy or death — and what it means to be cared for by others.”

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” – Out of Solitude by Henri Nouwen

Clown Couture

well there are some of those “gotta have it” items …. and these were one of them:

{insert pic of blue MaryJane clown shoes}

They were purchased from “mcprod” on eBay through their store, which has lots of reasonably priced clown shoes.   One thing about the clown shoes – one size usually fits all – ROFL.  These Mary Janes will Sooooo match my new “white clown” suit.  I am making a traditional Pierrot based clown suit, as most of the rest of my clown couture is character based.  It is not anything fancy, but a good durable cotton washable suit.  I am going to make a detachable white ruffle collar and pompom buttons though.  One of the lessons learned through dance costuming – make parts that are washable, and detache the glitz if possible.  This clown suit is soooo ViviANN – it will be a quartered one piece suit with the division exaggerated with a very high waist to make the legs look even longer.  I have a WAverly home dec fabric with a “shopper girl” theme with purses on it and great phrases.  The purses and tops have polka dot and flowery clownish patterns.  I want to put stripes in one quadrant in the legs (for lengthening effect) and dots in the opposite quadrant in the top, with a little white ruffle at the waist division.   It will have the traditional ruffle-edge gathered at ankles and wrists.   Now she will have the Mary Janes that will declare her such a girl clown even in the traditional white clown garb. 

In my research, it says that the white clown outfit is usually the one that is more color coordinated, and often based on the Pierrot suit and pointed hat.   The Auguste clown is traditionallly the loud, oversize, mismatched one.  The character clown can be anything, but often is a caricature of some real clothing type or occupation.  In thinking about my clown couture designs, I have very blurred edges on the stereotypes.  All of my first garments were caricatures of fashion – but they all share a common color palette.  As a matter of fact my entire clown wardrobe shares a color palette to keep accessorizing flexible.  Although this is a characteristic of the white clown, I am using it in a theatrical design sense to create “high fashion” in my character clown couture.   This suit I’m making is my first foray into the white clown archtype.  However, I do foresee a need for a white clown suit – every clown should have their white clown somewhere in the closet, just in case.  I already have my white clown face idea, muchisimas gracias a Mark Renfro.

I don’t have many Auguste-type outfits that are purposefully cartoony-clown traditional exaggerations.  The zoot-suit frock coat we bought for the DaddyCati is definitely an Auguste outfit, and on me the frock coat is so oversize it makes me look smaller and even more sticklike.  It could be a back up Auguste for me should the occasion warrant.  I am thinking more on the felt coat I am planning – to make sure it is definitely in the Auguste type.  It is a reversible two-color felt coat – charcoal gray and neon green.  I think I will look at “The Greatest Show on Earth” again and see how the clown costumes play with the standard lines of mens formal wear to create a definitely Auguste coat.  My intention was to wear it with my multicolored pedal pushers, which I still can do – either side out.  However with a bib front and big bowtie, it could be definitely Auguste.  This is why we have to find the itty bitty hat for the Daddy Cat’s zoot suit.  It is definitely  Auguste’s haberdashery.

 I am most comfortable in the character world – no surprise, having lived there for decades.  I think this is one way I can really help other clowns – to develop their unique looks in clown couture.   I have so many ideas for my clown couture future.  I am going to sell my own collars and bow ties as soon as I get my clown couture web site up and running.  I want to write intstructions on how to design your own clown costume.  How to modify standard commercial patterns.  [ As I know I really dread sewing standard stuff to order ]

 well gott go back to the ordianary world….  make a few phone calls.

Catching Up

New browser interface.  Better.  Finally dorky user-friendly-ish.  Hope to see Slava’s Snowshow again in NYC on Saturday.  Second round of teeth get implants on Thursday next.  Big Ouch.  Need to get back to writing in here and transcribing Clown School journal.

Someone needs to inform the chef here that bay leaves are not salad, and if left in the soup in large bits, do not interface with the palate well.  Crunch.  Not tired of the soft diet yet, and am still hoping to shed a few more pounds before the final implant integration phase is complete.



Gotta Get Me Some Of These

I am working on a new aspect of ViviANNs persona – ostensibly for a roller rink birthday party.  But as I got a really cheapo great fiberoptic wig in purple, I am going to add in some of these blinky braids ……

with some bows and flowers and hairspray to color them if needed.  Wear with it the new reversible jumper I am working on – flowers over polka dots with stiffener in skirt to make it stick out as much as possible.  Working on the proportions.  Gotta make so it keeps with my long-skinny clownish figure instead of cutting me in half.  Longer torso, right proportion on skirt – a variation of the 60s dots/gingham dress.  – longer skirt, slightly shorter bodice.   Also am making a short boxy dot crop top for all purpose matching.  From Cape May pix, I need to “shoulder” me up a lot – too skinny up there in the natural.  Also need bloomers, tites, and petticoat.  Gonna “fix” my dot tites – hope it will work for lengthnening them without ruining them.  Otherwise, they are hard to wear, as the “one size fits all” does not include tall people.  Crotch works its way down and then only your bloomers are holding them up.  Pretty strange feeling having your tites coming down all during a show. 

Went roller skating.  I braved the rink.  Only at first I would go the short distance with the two exits, and then, like Columbus on the Santa Maria, I set off to circumnavigate the entire rink without possibility for escape until I went all way round.  I think it will be a while before I do a balancing act on roller skates…..ROFL …. but I might be able to work out a little schtick for the party.  We will see.