Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week
April 12, 2010
Issue #369

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson

I decided on this week's topic because this is Public Library Appreciation Week.  I am a frequent visitor at my local public library.  I think it is a great resource for entertainers.  There is an article on my web site tiled In Appreciation of Libraries that explains some of the ways you can benefit from your public library.
I hope to see many Thought For The Week subscribers at the Branson Magic Bonanza later this month.  Although the name includes the word magic, this conference is not just for magicians.  Over the years I have seen many clown participants at this conference.  Last year Steve "Peachy Keene" Long, a clown, was one othe instructors. This year Patty Davidson, a ventriloquist, is an instructor.  The emphasis of this conference is not learning how to do another trick, but how do you make the tricks that you know entertaining and what do you need to know  to be successful in different types of performance venues.  The conference registration includes seeing two of the regularly scheduled Branson shows, the Kirby VanBurch Illusion Show and the Jim Stafford Show.  Jim Stafford does incorporate some illusions into his show so it is of interest to magicians, however any variety artist can learn from observing his outstanding showmanship.  Often the stars of the shows spend time with the conference participants after their performance.  Branson has a new airport, and I discovered that airfares into that airport are much less than what I had paid flying into Springfield in previous years.
Have a great week,
In This Issue
Thought For The Week
History Trivia Quiz
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

April 12, 2010

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


"What is a great love of books? It is something like a personal introduction to the great and good men of all past times. Books, it is true, are silent as you see them on their shelves; but, silent as they are, when I enter a library I feel as if almost the dead were present, and I know if I put questions to these books they will answer me with all the faithfulness and fullness which has been left in them by the great men who have left the books with us." -- John Bright


When you read a book or magazine article you begin to get a sense for what the author is like as a person.  The topics they select reflect their interests.  The way they express themselves is determined by their personality. I have been reading some biographies recently, and in a couple of cases I have learned almost as much about the author as I have about the person they were writing about.  As the author tried to explain the significance of events in their subject's life I saw the influence of the author's attitude, bias, and personal philosophy.  When I read biographies of the same person written by two different authors I was amazed by the divergent viewpoints.  It was almost like they were writing about two different people.


Lee Mullally started writing a column for Clowning Around magazine in the 1980's.  At the same time I was writing a column for Laugh-Makers magazine.  As I read his articles I realized how much I appreciated his philosophy and approach to being an entertainer and to life itself. I felt that he had a great deal of class, tact, intelligence, and wisdom.  I especially enjoyed his sense of humor.  I thought he was one of the great people in variety arts.  I was delighted when he wrote to me in response to one of my articles.  We began corresponding with each other.  By the time we actually met in person at the 1990 World Clown Association convention I felt like I already knew him very well.  A year later we began serving together on the WCA board of directors.  We began working together on the Clown Camp staff, and he eventually became the Assistant Director of that program.  We have been on several trips together, and are both going to Singapore in July to teach at a Clown Camp program.  We worked together on a WCA committee this past year.  He is the education director for the South East Clown Association and invited me to lecture there next September.  All of our experiences together have confirmed the opinion of him that I formed by reading the articles that he has written.  My respect and admiration for him has grown over the years.  I am grateful that I was introduced to him through his writing.  I am fortunate to have been introduced to many great entertainers through their writings in variety arts publications, and eventually became friends with them.


Books allow us to get to know, and learn from, the great people in previous ages.  Abraham Lincoln is considered one of the greatest Americans.  I have been reading books about him and also the text of some of his speeches.  One of the things he said is that nobody will be persuaded by you, no matter how just your cause, unless they first feel that you are truly their friend.  I have recently realized that is an important concept for anyone using variety arts as a teaching tool.  I have instinctively used volunteers early in an educational program, and now I know why that is a good practice.  Volunteers serve as a proxy for everyone in the audience who will feel like they have been treated the way you treated the volunteer.  By interacting with a volunteer as if they are my friend I become friends with the entire audience.  Then I have earned the right to persuade them and can present the educational content of my program.


Fiction also introduces you to the author.  I enjoyed Lawrence Block's mysteries for many years and began to feel that they were written by a friend I would like to get to know.  Then I discovered Spider, Spin Me a Web: Lawrence Block on Writing Fiction.  His advice for writers was consistent with the type of person I thought had written the mysteries.  Paul Gallico is another fiction writer that I greatly admire because of the philosophy that permeates his fiction.  I highly recommend his The Man Who Was Magic to every entertainer because of Gallico's comments about creativity.


What great person do you wish you could get to know?  What did they write that is available for you to read? 

History Trivia Quiz
  Click on what you think is the correct answer.
The only person to serve as president of each of the three international clown organizations based in the United States is
(These links will remain valid until May 1, 2010.  After that use the History Trivia button to find the correct answer.)
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I hope to see you down the road.

Bruce Johnson
Charlie's Creative Comedy
Copyright 2010 by Bruce "Charlie" Johnson.
All rights reserved. 

Educational Opportunities
April 29 - May 1, 2010
Branson Magic Bonanza
Branson, MO
I will be there with a dealer table.
July 9-15, 2010
Clown Camp Singapore
Sixteen hours of classes over three days plus four days of performing in Singapore schools. 
September 8-12, 2010
South East Clown Association Convention
Jacksonville, Florida
 Introduction to Juggling, Creativity Techniques, Trick Cartoons, Banquet Show, and Dealer Table
I believe in promoting any event I will be lecturing at.  If you schedule me for an educational event that you are hosting, I will list it here.  My goal is to do what I can to best meet the needs of you and your group.
For information on additional services that I can provide for an educational event 

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