Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Doing More With The Balloon...

I was doing a gig the other day I saw a ferry princess do a bunch of comedy with a balloon. 

It's Christmas time so she was calling her balloon a reindeer.  It wasn't that great a balloon but I was very impressed with the comedy she was doing.  

Go back to the basics of the balloon.  Why is it so magical?  




  -people don't see them very often
  -they are brightly colored
  -they are long and skinny, this is just strange looking. 
  -a balloon goes quickly from a long skinny balloon to a dog nearly instantly.  That's magic
  -they stretch really far
  -they pop
  -if you don't tie them they fly all around the room
  -if you throw them they sort of float

When you are making kids laugh it's often imagination.  What I liked about the Ferry Princess, she took a balloon and called it a reindeer by taking out her pump and laying it across the nozzle like the balloon were the ears of the reindeer.  I was very impressed. 

Here is a little hint with improv.  What the Ferry Princess did, she told the kid what she was going to be makign up front.  This allows so much more.  I'm making a reindeer...

  -oh sorry it's still an egg (if you roll up the balloon a little) it's funny because it makes you think about an egg... a mammal. It reveals the balloon. 

  -blow up the balloon let it fly.  "I guess it heard Santa call and went flying that way"

  -snap it as you stretch.  "That's Santa telling the reindeer to hurry Christmas is here"  or Ouch it thinks I'm stealing presents..."

- make the farting noise. "Excuse me, eggnog does that to me"

-get the balloon stuck on your finger.  "It's biting, it's biting"  or "it thinks my finger is a carrot, get it off get it off"  

Jokes work within your character.  Fart jokes work for me because of the type of character I am, if you are a gentle character you can try and talk to the balloon and tell the balloon to be nice to the children.  If you're silly, there are many ways of accidentally

letting the balloon fly around the room. It's funny if it takes you by surprise. 

Let me know if you need to brainstorm.  

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

MyTruth About Real Bearded Santas...Meh

Most of my Santa gigs are through agents and I hear over and over.  "You get paid less because the agents (or family) really wants a real bearded Santa.



I don't know where this came from most real bearded Santas look scruffy.  I love the look of the big fluffy cottony white beard, mustache and hair.  It totally matches the old image of the traditional Coca Cola Santa. Which is where this whole Santa thing came from in the first place.

You may not have realized it but Christmas is a marketing scheme.  Santa is shill for imperialist dogs to keep us buying stuff.

But it's cute to have kids hug me.

I was in a mall the other day a kid walked by and said..."That's the real Santa.  Mommy he's the real Santa"  Because you know, I'm a real performer that takes the look, feel, the way I hold my body as a character.  The character happens to be Santa.

I had another lady that sat on my lap at a party at a real estate office look at me from one inch away and say..."You really are Santa..."  Yup I am.

There are some great real beard Santas but my rant is hiring some old guy that isn't a performer to perform just because he has a beard is lame.  I see a lot of Santas.  Create a physicality.  Go to a beard groomer get your beard properly groomed, dye your eyebrows. And remember Santa never stops smiling.

Be better Santas.  

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Santa and The Screaming Child...

It's that time of year and I'm taking lots of photos with kids.  I'm Santa

From my point of view I see a lot of very excited children and a lot that look at me and when their parents approach they start screaming and scrambling to keep their distance.



Your hear over and over "Children cry when they see Santa"  Or "It's the big beard"  Or the one I hate, "It's not the real Santa, it's someone dressed up..."  Ugh.  I'm very real. In the moment, I'd need gunshots ringing out to break character.

I had a revelation the other day.

Children aren't afraid.  They are overwhelmed.

Who is the person children start hearing about from the time they are babies?  Santa and grandma and grandpa.

Children probably see grandma and grandpa fairly often but it's a big deal to see these give away people.

Now Santa is on TV, ornaments on the tree, on cartoons, on pajamas, everyone is talking about Santa.

So when you get close, it's just too much.

The children that are afraid and scream are consistently around 2 to 3. They happily come up to me at 4 and up.  I think by 4 there is a lot in a child's life.  They've got school, they go to Disneyland, they see Toy Story on Ice so meeting a character come to life is not quite so huge. Plus Santa is up close.

I don't take the screaming children too seriously.  The cute thing is as they walk away, they wave to me.  What I'm present to is how I get to bring people together. I make people smile, I might make them laugh.  It's actually magical. 

Friday, May 11, 2018

What Is Your Goal Boswick?

I've been going through a life's crisis for

About 45 years....

I keep waiting to become famous.  And waiting and waiting.

In my thoughts last night, I was thinking about how much energy I put into the show/play I'm in The Speakeasy (http://www.thespeakeasysf.com check it out clowns ).  I have spent my life obsessing about my own performance.  My performance in circuses, in doing a commercial, filming my video blogs.  Writing.

I have put almost all my emotional energy completely into The Speakeasy.

We are coming up on two years.  And I'm wondering, what exactly is my goal. You know as a clown.

I dug out a book I had been working on Snotty Comebacks for kids.  I find it incredibly funny.  I began reading them and rewriting them. Then working on more jokes.

If I were to get this published my goal would be to become a character like Lemony Snicket. (A Series of Unfortunate Events).

My son and I went to see Davis Sedaris on Tuesday night. I loved it.  I could see how he managed the audience the interactions and how he read his stories and took questions from the audience.  Not only an incredible writer but adept and making each moment seem special to the audience of 2500.

It's a skill I have on stage.  It's the joking skill.

I'm lucky enough to have met Lemony Snicket.  He lives in San Francisco with his kids.  My kids used to go see him when they were little do talks.
Me and Lemony Snicket!

I'm writing and thinking. This is what I want to do/be.

I'd like to be the king of snotty comebacks.  To create a character for stage that talks to large groups.

Hmmm.

More to come.


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

My New Artist Friend...

My dad is an art dealer.


My dad circa 1985


Not a very good one or I wouldn't have a 2008 Toyota Yaris...I'd have a 2010 Yaris.

My sense of being an artist is way screwed up by my upbringing.  When I'm called an artist I have a fake smile and say thank you.

Art to me is about being better than others.  Knowing something others don't know, judging what's hanging on someone else's walls.

I don't like art galleries.  I don't like museums.  The thought of going into them makes my intestines. clench.

Yet, I love art.

When my kids were little I would go on the field trips and listen with rapt attention as the docents asked the children questions.  I chimed in all the time. (because I'm just excited to be asked my opinion)

Once I was inside the museum it was wonderful.  I love staring at a piece of art.  There is a piece in The San Francisco De Young Fine Arts Museum I couldn't break away from in the California collection.  It was art from the late 1800's from areas I grew up before they were suburbs.  I love it.  I want to steal it.

But the thought of going back in; once again the clench.

In the early 1970s my dad partnered up with other scoundrels and invested in artists doing etchings.  I was very young and I was dragged to fancy dinners.  Part of the deal of the printing was my dad got to own a few prints for himself.  He even had the artists dedicate some to me and my brothers.

There was one that hung at the foot of my bed.  My entire young life.

A piece by James Torlakson. An amazing water color of a jackknifed truck that had crashed on the interstate.  So realistic.  It looks like a photo from a distance.  When you come close you realize it's drawn.

I stared at that.

I have the painting.  My wife put it in a closet.  It's a very modern piece of art.

I met with Jim yesterday.  He had looked my dad up and ended up finding me.  He lives 20 minutes away.

I had a lot to deal with.  A lot to take in.

The idea that my dad had helped a young artist and changed his life.  That's quite something.  I hadn't thought about it but he took a big risk on Jim.

At the time, Jim was in his mid 20s.  It also turns out, the process for making the lithograph was incredibly complex and had never been done before.  I don't understand but Jim explained it to me.  My dad believed in him and spent a bunch of money for this to happen.

It's a puzzle to find out about your parents.  It's quite a journey to not look at them not as your parents.

Jim showed me his art.  His art studio.  His collections.  His toy collections.  His fascination with clowns (why he got in touch with me).

And we talked
And talked
And talked.

It turns out I may be an artist after all.

Jim talked about the gift we've been given.  I never see what I do as a gift, closer to a curse because I have no choice in this.  I have to perform or I die.  I feel that clenching again.

He talked about touching people and touching 3 generations away from us.

His art had done that to me.  His truck on it's side meant so much to me.  I dug it out of the closet and stared at it again last night.  Jim didn't know me till yesterday yet he had touched my essence.  Which had touched others through me.  Many many others.  Not only my family, all the people I perform for.  That may be approaching a million people by now.

Wow.  A million people.

As I think it out probably more.  The Speakeasy has performed for about 50,000 people.  When I was in the circus, I must have appeared before a quarter million people.  I've done thousands and thousands of shows.

Out of that.  I moved someone.  I must have.  Someone did something they might not have, thought a way they never have before, tried something they never thought they would try.

I'm clenching again.

Go see Jim's work  https://www.jamestorlakson.com

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Rehearse...rehearse...rehearse...

We did an anniversary performance for The Speakeasy.  That's a show I've been in for almost two years.

I play Bosley the Magnificent.  A ne'er do well drunk magician that never had a whole lot of ambition in life.

I also play Carrie Nation.  She's the woman that started the temperance movement.

I also play Keller The Magician.

I also play Joe, the Clock Shop owner.

I also Play Fred Russell the terrible ventriloquist.

I'm busy in this show as I look at my line up...

We had an anniversary party.  I wanted to do my magic routine from the first incarnation of the Speakeasy 4 years ago.  I've done the routine a hundred plus times.  I have really good comedy timing and know the routine inside out.

I volunteered to do the routine last week.  But for some reason didn't go over it.  Even for five minutes just to get it back in my head.

I got up there in front of 150 people and I was rusty.  Ugh.  I was so mad at the end of that routine.  There were little subtleties of the act that were coming to me as I did them.  What a dope.

Apparently I killed.  I keep hearing from people how funny I was.  It should would have been nicer to do the routine and been comfortable.

Lesson?  Rehearse rehearse rehearse...






Wednesday, April 11, 2018

I've Become A Big Fat Clown...

The hazard of my job...

Pizza...Cupcakes...hotdogs...goodie bags...slices of cake...2 liter Pepsi bottles...

I have very little self control in regard to food. I love sweet things (Hey baby...How you doin'?)

I do a lot of business at home.  (Funny business?  Nah too easy).  I often pace around my house eating and thinking.  I'll say to myself "I'll have one cookie, that can't hurt.."  One cookie always always turns into an entire bag.  Because.  I'm a pig.  

I went to the doctor a couple of weeks ago and holy fat man bat man I am fatter than I've ever been.  

So here I am like my mother my entire childhood.  On a diet.  (My mother has been on every diet known to fat Americans.)

And because I'm obsessive.  I downloaded an app.  Because I'm obsessive I enter everything on that app.  Because I'm obsessive I mostly quit eating.  



My guess is that I've lost about 12 pounds.  I am one notch closer on my belt.  That's good.  It's a guess because my bathroom scale is a liar.  

But not one person has said to me.  Did you lose weight? I mean 12 pounds?  I should have one person coming up to me saying it.    

I must be fatter than I thought.  

My goal was losing 20 pounds in three months.  

My new goal my birth weight.  I was a 9 pound baby.  That's pretty fat.