Brad Weston’s Stagecraft: Costumer

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This column explores different art-forms and the creatives who work in them. We look at how choreographers approach their work, what an improviser needs in his tool kit to do well, and how a painter sees the world. In each case I will apply the techniques of each specific art-form to juggling and demonstrate ways in which we can apply the creativity of other disciplines to our own.

To call Cookie Gluck a costumer may be a little bit misleading. Her work has transcended that title. She has become a highly sought after designer of mascot costumes for sports franchises like the Chicago Bulls, Detroit Lions, and the Boston Celtics. In addition to that, she has created corporate mascots for products ranging from pharmaceuticals to cell phones. Personally, I have spent a lot of time animating her creations from the inside, both as Benny the Bull and as a giant stomach at trade shows for the drug Prevacid. Cookie is a prolific creator and I was grateful for her clearing a part of her schedule to make time for the interview that follows.

YOU MUST BE AN IJA MEMBER TO READ THE INTERVIEW…

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This exclusive article is for IJA members only. Go to http://ezine.juggle.org/membership-options-page/ to join the IJA for this and other benefits.

Brad Weston’s Stagecraft: Clown

NOTE: While most articles on eJuggle are free to the public, this exclusive content is for IJA members only. If you're a member, Log In on the top to read the full article. If you're not a member, read about the benefits of IJA membership in the "Join the IJA" menu at the top of the page and register today!
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This column explores different art-forms and the creatives who work in them. We look at how choreographers approach their work, what an improviser needs in his tool kit to do well, and how a painter sees the world. In each case I will apply the techniques of each specific art-form to juggling and demonstrate ways in which we can apply the creativity of other disciplines to our own.

This month I interviewed one of the world’s greatest clowns, Avner the Eccentric. I first met Avner Eisenberg in 1995 when I was studying theater at Dell Arte. He had a huge impact on me because he had challenged many of the things that made up the artistic rules I had acquired as a self-taught juggler and street performer.

The thing that makes his work such a standout is the way in which he connects to his audience, allowing them to not only be entertained but also to feel moved emotionally. In addition to performing, Avner is a master teacher, so he excels at articulating the artistic principles that make the up the framework of what he does.

In 2002, Avner was inducted into the International Clown Hall of Fame. He has performed at Lincoln Center and had two long runs on Broadway. He was also cast as The Jewel in the feature film The Jewel of the Nile.

YOU MUST BE AN IJA MEMBER TO READ THE INTERVIEW…

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This exclusive article is for IJA members only. Go to http://ezine.juggle.org/membership-options-page/ to join the IJA for this and other benefits.

Brad Weston’s Stagecraft: Bubbles

NOTE: While most articles on eJuggle are free to the public, this exclusive article is for IJA members only. If you're a member, log in on the side to read the full article. If you're not a member, read about the benefits of IJA membership in the About menu at the top of the page and join today!
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This column explores different art-forms and the creatives who work in them. We look at how choreographers approach their work, what an improviser needs in his tool kit to do well, and how a painter sees the world. In each case I will apply the techniques of each specific art-form to juggling and demonstrate ways in which we can apply the creativity of other disciplines to our own.

This month I sat down with bubble performer Geoff Akins [bubbleshows.com] to find out how he manages to make a living with soap and water. In his show, Geoff not only blows bubbles, he inspires a whole new generation to get out there and be true to their own visions. His program is not only cool to watch, it makes you think about what you can accomplish in your own life.

Perhaps inspired by the topic of bubbles, we met up at a laundromat halfway between our homes. In a couple of hours we managed to make a short movie, get our laundry done, and share some ideas about what it means to be a working artist.

YOU MUST BE AN IJA MEMBER TO READ THE INTERVIEW WITH GEOFF AKINS…

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This exclusive article is for IJA members only. Go to http://ezine.juggle.org/membership-options-page/ to join the IJA for this and other benefits.

Brad Weston’s Stagecraft: Mime

NOTE: While most articles on eJuggle are free to the public, this exclusive article is for IJA members only. If you're a member, log in on the side to read the full article. If you're not a member, read about the benefits of IJA membership in the About menu at the top of the page and join today!
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This column explores different art-forms and the creatives who work in them. We look at how choreographers approach their work, what an improviser needs in his tool kit to do well, and how a painter sees the world. In each case, I will apply the techniques of each specific art-form to juggling and demonstrate ways in which we can apply the creativity of other disciplines to our own.

Mime: the most hated variety art-form in America. It’s also the least understood and, at this point, one of the rarest. Billy the Mime [http://billythemime.net/] is pushing the boundaries and delivering a solidly entertaining and thought-provoking show. The creator’s name is Steven Banks. I got him on the phone and we spent close to an hour talking about creativity and what it takes to be successful.

When I first contacted Banks to do this interview, all I knew about him was that he was a mime. What I didn't know was that he’s also a musician, an actor, and a writer for television and books. He had his own sitcom on PBS, wrote a New York Times bestselling book, and as head writer for SpongeBob Squarepants, he was nominated for an Emmy.

YOU MUST BE AN IJA MEMBER TO READ THE INTERVIEW WITH ARTHUR TRACE…

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This exclusive article is for IJA members only. Go to http://ezine.juggle.org/membership-options-page/ to join the IJA for this and other benefits.

Stagecraft: Magic

NOTE: While most articles on eJuggle are free to the public, this exclusive article is for IJA members only. If you're a member, log in on the side to read the full article. If you're not a member, read about the benefits of IJA membership in the About menu at the top of the page and join today!
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This column explores different art-forms and the creatives who work in them. We look at how choreographers approach their work, what an improviser needs in his tool kit to do well, and how a painter sees the world. In each case I will apply the techniques of each specific art-form to juggling and demonstrate ways in which we can apply the creativity of other disciplines to our own.

This month brings us an interview with a modern legendary magician, Arthur Trace. He received international recognition in 2005 by winning 1st place in the stage competition at the International Brotherhood of Magicians stage competition. At the same convention he was also awarded the people’s choice award and the Gold Medal for Excellence in Stage Magic award. To get a sense of what his highly crafted and entertaining show is about, I recommend watching his demo video at http://arthurtracemagic.com/

My conversation with Arthur lasted over an hour and he had so much to say. It was a pleasure to talk with someone who has done so much deep thinking about what it means to be an artist. As difficult as it was to synthesize our talk down to 2,000 words, I think that you will find his approach informative and inspiring.

YOU MUST BE AN IJA MEMBER TO READ THE INTERVIEW WITH ARTHUR TRACE…

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This exclusive article is for IJA members only. Go to http://ezine.juggle.org/membership-options-page/ to join the IJA for this and other benefits.

Stagecraft: Improv

NOTE: While most articles on eJuggle are free to the public, this exclusive article is for IJA members only. If you're a member, log in on the side to read the full article. If you're not a member, read about the benefits of IJA membership in the About menu at the top of the page and join today!
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This month we look at the art of Improvisation. The word ultimately comes from the latin: improvisus, which translates as unforeseen. When an artist is involved in the creative process, they literally can not see the terrain that lays ahead.

The creation of performance pieces and the development of new juggling tricks is a pure act of improvisation. We uncover the unseen and reveal the hidden. Although long and short form comedy improv on the whole stands apart from the variety arts, there are so many similarities that it bears a closer look. What’s more, there are many resources that can be found in print that can help us deal with our own issues, such as creative block, free association, and continuity of theme.

Many of today’s great improvisers such as Mike Meyers and Tina Fey got their start at a school in Chicago called Improv Olympics, a school founded Charna Halpern. She is also the author of a classic improv manual: "Truth in Comedy". Here is an excerpt of an interview we did last week.

YOU MUST BE AN IJA MEMBER TO READ THE INTERVIEW WITH CHARNA HALPERN…

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This exclusive article is for IJA members only. Go to http://ezine.juggle.org/membership-options-page/ to join the IJA for this and other benefits.