The Show Me Clowns For Jesus conference is three weeks away. You will find an article in this issue on the classes that I will be teaching there.
A performance open to the public is part of the Show Me Clowns For Jesus. I will be one of four entertainers taking part in this two-hour performance.
You will find a link for obtaining more information about the Show Me Clowns For Jesus conference under the Educational Opportunities column to the right.
In this issue you will also find information on an article I wrote that appeared in the January 2012 issue of Clowning Around. In previous issues of this newsletter I have tried to encourage my subscribers to write and submit articles to variety arts publications. Katie Harmke, one of my subscribers, has done that. Her article on clown props appears in Clowning Around following my article which also has information on props. She did a great job with her article. I would love to see more of my subscribers in print.
I'll see you down the road,
Thought For The Week
January 30, 2012
By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson
"Whoever you are, there is some younger person who thinks you are perfect. There is some work that will never be done if you don't do it. There is someone who would miss you if you were gone. There is a place that you alone can fill." -- Jacob Braude
There are many people from my childhood that I still remember because of the influence they had upon me. One of them was Helen Cure. She was my high school American Literature teacher. We started the year reading short stories. She talked about how the authors created images using words and how what they said could influence your opinions. I had always enjoyed reading stories, but she awakened in me an understanding of the power of the written word. Each unit of the curriculum included extra credit writing assignments. I wrote a short story attempting to create a specific image that would turn out to be false. She critiqued it, and suggested that I rewrite it following her comments. I turned in my revised copy, which she critiqued. She offered to critique my next version if I was willing to rewrite it again. I eventually wrote five versions and she critiqued each one in detail. I learned that the process of producing writing doesn't end with the first draft. A piece of writing can be polished and improved. Mrs. Cure uncovered and nurtured my writing talent. I am probably a writer today only because of her influence. I went back to visit her a couple of times while I was in college, but she retired before I started writing my magazine articles so I was never able to tell her what I accomplished because of her influence.
In addition to her influence upon me as a writer, she is also an influence upon me as an instructor. I remember her enthusiasm for her topic which was contagious. I remember that she made classes fun. I especially remember her philosophy that education is not limited to the official class period. I learned the importance of individual attention. That is why I try to always be available to answer questions outside of class, and am willing to give one-on-one help at my dealer table.
Because of her and others who influenced me, I understand that without knowing it you can have an important impact upon a young person's life. I consider that an important obligation. When I am at a performance or a variety arts conference I make an extra effort to speak to the younger participants and encourage them. They probably won't remember that I said anything. However, if I keep quiet there won't be anything for them to possibly remember. I try to create as many potential memories as possible. Then the odds are that something I say sometime will perhaps be a lasting influence.
When I was a youngster, the people who influenced me the most were probably middle aged. As a young adult, I was influenced by others who were a little older than me. Don "Dee Gee" Gonsalves was one of those influences when I became involved in clown organizations. He had more experience than I did, both in life and as a performer. He is a true gentleman who continued his education, constantly strove to improve his performances as a clown, and tried to encourage others with less experience. In 1987 he was named the World Clown Association Clown of the Year.
Now that I have reached an age where I sometimes qualify for senior discounts, I am trying to remind myself that some people may see me as an "elder statesman." There are adults who might appreciate my encouragement.
A Chinese proverb says, "A room common to many is never swept." That means that nobody does it because they assume somebody else will. I believe that too often people don't receive encouragement because others assume they must receive plenty of encouragement. The reality is that they get too little. It is safer to assume that if you don't provide a little encouragement they won't receive any at all.
What opportunities do you have to encourage youth involved in variety arts? What opportunities do you have to encourage adults? What position are you in that you alone can fill?
|New Article by Bruce Johnson|
An article that I wrote on the history of Jargos, a costume worn by two people to portray a four-legged animal, appeared in the January 2012 issue of Clowning A round, published by the World Clown Association. The article traces the history of the routine from the early 1800's through 2011. It describes two techniques, Simultaneous Movement and Squash & Stretch, that are used to add humor to the routines. The article also describes the process of making a Jargo type head, a process that can be used to produce other props. The article draws upon my historical research. It also includes my personal experience constructing a Jargo type head while a student in the California State University Long Beach theater department and performing a Jargo routine while appearing with a circus.
To lear more about the World Clown Association and to join, which includes a subscription to Clowning Around, go to
|Show Me Clowns For Jesus Classes|
At the Show Me Clowns For Jesus conference, I will be doing a preconference intensive class. The description of this class is, "During this two-hour intensive class you will learn some of Bruce's strongest magic methods to use in earning the right to be heard and then teaching important spiritual lessons. Bruce will demonstrate the easy to use process he follows for making customized silk scarves. Much of this class will be hands on so you will learn by doing."
In addition to teaching the preconference intensive class, I will be teaching three classes during the conference.
I will be teaching a 90-miunte class on Creative Gospel Magic Routines. This class will have different content than the preconference class. The description for this class is "Bruce Johnson is known for his creative magic routines. During this class you will learn the secrets of some of his magic routines that you can customize to teach many gospel lessons. The emphasis is upon easy to perform magic with maximum impact that makes your message memorable."
My second class is titled The Creative Process. The class description is, "We are born in the image of God, the Creator. We were made by God to be creative. Creativity seems mysterious to many people, but it is actually a process you can learn to apply more effectively. No matter how creative you believe you are, this class will help you become even more creative. This will empower you to write better routines for your performances and bring them to reality. (This class is based on Volume One of Bruce's popular Creativity For Entertainers trilogy.)"
My third class will be a Gospel version of my Trick Cartoons class. This class remains my most popular class. The class description is, "If you can print the letters of the alphabet and numbers you have all the skill you need to do the cartoons taught during this hands on class. Trick cartoons are a versatile medium for connecting with people, teaching lessons, and leaving a reminder that will be kept and cherished for years. They are perfect for teaching gospel lessons in intimate settings or on stage. They are also an inexpensive sanitary latex free give away for caring clowns."
In addition to teaching formal classes during the conference, I will have a dealers table where I am always happy to answer your questions and provide one-on-one help with anything I have demonstrated in the class room or have available for sale.
Show Me Clowns For Jesus Conference
Thank you for being a subscriber. I am always interested in your questions and comments.
Remember if you have missed an issue, you can read it by using the archive link in the right column. If you want to change the address where you are receiving this newsletter, use the update profile link below. If this newsletter no longer meets your needs, you can use the SafeUnsubscribe link to be permanently removed from my mailing list. If you want to spread the word about this newsletter, you can use the forward email link below to send copies to others that you think might be interested.
I hope to see you down the road.
Charlie's Creative Comedy
Copyright 2012 by Bruce "Charlie" Johnson.
All rights reserved.
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.
Show Me Clowns for Jesus
February 17-19, 2012
Two-hour preconference intensive on Gospel Magic
Additional topics to be announced
Big Foot Clown Alley
Tuesday March 13, 2012
(Meeting starts at 6:30)
Big Foot Clowns
California Clown Campin'
July 30 - August 5, 2012
San Bernardino, CA
The Art of Clowning Exhibit (Clown portraits created by Bruce Johnson)
Classes: To Be Announced
California Clown Campin Information
For information on additional services that I can provide for an educational event