Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Circus Clowns

When I was a wee, wide-eyed youth clowns represented merriment, joy, fun and wonder. I can picture the giggly innocent child I once was seated in front of the television mesmerized by the antics of Bozo the Clown.

Since then I have noticed a definite shift in the clown persona. Juxtaposed with those old happy images are others of creepy, evil clowns. These clowns dwell in the land of terror and nightmares.  

How did that happen?

When I was planning a school trip to The New Victory Theater on 42nd Street, NYC, to see La Famiglia Dimitri the clown issue was on my mind.

One adorable little tyke with big eyes and lots of curly hair told me in utter seriousness "clowns freak me out".  

Happily, Clown Dimitri (yes, that is his name) brought about no such fright. La Famiglia Dimitri is a small family circus.  The five members consist of patriarch Clown who at 74 years of age can still bring on the laughs, his three children David, Masha and Nina and son-in-law, Kai.

David is a talented tightrope performer and musician.

Masha is a slack wire walker and musician.

Nina plays the guitar like Charo. Believe me this is a huge compliment (Coochie! Coochie!). She also performs solos in Italian with a knowing twinkle in her eye. 

Kai is a clown and singer. One of his bits had a student in first grade belly laughing so hard he couldn't breathe.  For a moment there we were really concerned.

They will be performing at The New Victory until April 19th so if you are in New York City please check out this enjoyable show. It is time for clowns to mend their soiled reputation and return to the positive force they once were.  La Famiglia Dimitri is taking us a step in that direction.


Barbara said...

Somehow I seem to have missed out on the evil clowns, except I think I might recall one in a Stephen King thriller... Was it Pennywise?

Mickle in NZ said...

My introduction to clowns was Popov from The Moscow State Circus.

My Parent took older sister and me to see this circus here in Wellington, New Zealand for my fifth birthday, back in January 1970.

Mum and Dad must have prepared me well, and I do remember there being an article in a local magazine that had lots of photos of the circus. Some on the shots of Popov were in colour!

At the actual Circus, well....I can still remember the atmosphere, my joy and purer wonderment of at it all. And I remember laughing at their clowns, together with the special excitement of knowing "That one there is the Famous Popov"

My Dear Folks didn't do so well taking us to the film "Fantasia" when I was about six - I fell soundly asleep part-way through.

Thank you for the incredible (and happy) memories, your post has prompted in my memory.

Kind wishes, Michelle

Joy Keaton said...

How are we BFFs again? ;) I never liked clowns (except maybe Bozo-because he spoke) - 'they freak me out'. It's the make-up that inspires the freak-out/scary aspect. Their faces are complete masks making their true intentions difficult to read. At least that's my take on it.

Of course I also made a lot of dough dressing as a clown for parties, so maybe... hey maybe my mother was right! I AM a bad influence! :D

Reya Mellicker said...

Clowns have always frightened me.

Even as a small child I hated zoos, playgrounds, ferris wheels or any of those carnival rides and certain dolls (the ones whose eyes open and close.)

I guess I'm easily spooked!

Brian Miller said...

agree. i was a clown once, long ago. these days you see them in several formats as agents of fear. a shame.

WAT said...

The scientific term for the fear of clowns is COULROPHOBIA. Yeah man, TV and film has not been good to tha clown. They have taken a whole new creep-O factor and that movie KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE is a HOOT and really freaky at times.

You said: "Nina plays the guitar like Charo."

That is a huge compliment. No kidding man. Did you know she is considered or was at one time I believe one of the top Spanish guitarist in the world? NO JOKE MAN. That chick is amazing with her fingers.

Salty Miss Jill said...

How can a comparisio to to Charo be ANYTHING BUT a compliment? She's fabulous!


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