Saturday, December 05, 2009


Shane Patrick Cashin, Dec. 5th, 2002

Mommo made sure that Shane's first stop on his way home from the hospital was to visit Santa and Knucklehead at the Galleria in Red Bank.

Shane today, a seven year old big brother (who is reading at the very top of his class and just got his third consecutive perfect score on this week's Math test) taking Jamie to visit Grandpa at the Galleria in Red Bank.


Shane's very first word, before a clear "Mommy" or "Daddy" was an extremely clear "BATMAAAAAAAAAAAN!" after hearing the theme song to the 1966 television show for the first time.

Shane with Adam West

Shane with Burt Ward

Shane with Frank Gorshin

Shane has met Batman several times and Batman has been known to drop in on Shane's birthday parties.

Shane has even been fortunate enough to sit in the #5 (Chinery) Batmobile on several occasions and this past summer he even got to sit on the Batcycle.

What ultra-cool Batman present will Shane get for his birthday this year?

Tune in tomorrow!

Shane Bat-time,
Shane Bat-channel!!!

JESKO & GUENNADI: Blades (2007)

TOM DOUGHERTY: Musical Entree

Thursday, December 03, 2009

CHARLIE RIVEL: Student Presentation



Chelsea Business Draws International Clowns

By Serena Solomon

DNAinfo Reporter / Producer

CHELSEA — Stanley Allan Sherman specializes in making the smallest masks of all — the clown nose.

These aren't the cheap foam noses you can find in any novelty store across the city. They're custom made: painstakingly cut from leather, molded around a golf ball, and mostly painted the famous red that we've come to expect from a clown's nose.

And Sherman's been making them for clowns across the world in his 14th Street apartment and workshop for more than 30 years.

"Each nose has its own energy," said Sherman, a leather artist and clown, when DNAinfo visited him recently. "It is very individually made for that individual clown. The nose and the clown become one."

In fact, some clowns have chosen to be such individuals that they've broken convention and had their leather nose painted blue, he said.

Sherman said the process begins by clowns sending in a mold of their nose.

“They make a mold of their nose," Sherman said. "They send it to me along with photos of themselves. Then I mold the leather to their nose. But it is easier to do in person."

After he gets the mold, Sherman begins cutting the leather, before it is softened by being dunked in water and then around a golf ball to give it shape. Two days later, when the leather is dry, it can be painted and the string that holds it to the clown's head can be attached.

In addition to the noses, Sherman has also made larger masks, including a leather model for World Wrestling Entertainment wrestler Mankind, as well as a leather doctor's mask for the movie "Patch Adams." Noses run $75 for an in-house fitting, or $95 for international orders.

Stanley Sherman in one of his handmade leather masks.

He also teaches classes on nose making with up to five students. On a recent evening, two apprentices were learning the trade.

"This one nose that I have been using, I have been having all kinds of problems with it, like my nose starts running," said Jonathan Katlan, a 29-year-old graphic designer and part-time clown. "I want something that I can breathe in."

"I like that I am putting my heart and soul into this thing,” Katlan said, holding up his leather ball. "I put my heart and soul into performing, too."

The other student was Michael Getlan, 53, who volunteers as a hospital clown. He laughed a clown laugh when asked why he came to the class, then added, "Well, it's the only one there is."

Sherman has been a performer since the 1970s when he attended Jacques Lecoq's theater school in Paris.

"I started performing on the streets of Paris so I could eat," he said. After Paris, he was off to Seattle.

"I did hospital clowning before there was hospital clowning," Sherman said. He also used juggling to help teach children to read. On a trip to visit his brother in New York City in the mid-1970s, Sherman said he planned to stay only two days.

He never left.

When a recent class ended, Sherman puts on his 20-year-old clown nose. The energy in the room immediately changed.

The other two clowns applauded.

"Did you see how he became a completely different person," Getlan said, about the power of the nose. "He became his clown-self."

The next two day Custom Fitted Clown Nose making workshop will be January 3rd and 5th, 2010. For more information on the workshop go to and if you have any questions please ask.

Mask Arts Company

Wednesday, December 02, 2009



From Wikipedia...

Mah Nà Mah Nà

"Mah Nà Mah Nà" is a popular song written by Piero Umiliani. It originally appeared in the Italian film Sweden: Heaven and Hell, but is best known in English-speaking countries from its use in the first episode of The Muppet Show.

Debut version

"Mah Nà Mah Nà" debuted as part of Umiliani's soundtrack for the Italian mondo film Svezia, inferno e paradiso (Sweden: Heaven and Hell) (1968), a pseudo-documentary about wild sexual activity and other behavior in Sweden. The song accompanied a scene in the film set in a sauna. The lead part was sung by Italian singer/composer Alessandro Alessandroni.[1] The song also appeared on the 1968 soundtrack album released for the film.

"Mah Nà Mah Nà" was a hit in many countries in 1968–1969. In the U.S. it peaked at #55 in the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and #44 on the Cash Box magazine chart in October 1969.

The song's lyrics contain no actual words, only nonsense (iambic) syllables resembling scat singing. The original version interpolates melodies from "Swedish Rhapsody" (Midsummer Vigil) by Hugo Alfvén, "Santa Lucia", "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy", the jazz standard "Lullaby of Birdland", and others.

Other early versions

In 1969, Henri Salvador recorded a variation titled "Mais Non, Mais Non" ("But No, But No" or "Of Course Not, Of Course Not"), with lyrics he had written in French to Umiliani's tune.

The song became familiar to many from its renditions by the Muppets on television. On 30 November, 1969, "Mahna Mahna" was performed on the The Ed Sullivan Show by a Muppet also known as Mahna Mahna, and the Snowths. Also in 1969, "Mahna Mahna" was performed on Sesame Street by a character that was later known as Bip Bipadotta, along with two Anything Muppet girls.

During its 1969-70 season, "The Red Skelton Show" used the Umiliani recording as background music for a recurring blackout sketch. The otherwise silent bits featured Red and another performer, dressed as Moon creatures, playing with equipment left behind by the Project Apollo astronauts.

In 1973, a rendition of "Mah Nà Mah Nà" on the Moog synthesizer was released on the album More Hot Butter (Musicor MS 3254) by Hot Butter, best known for the pop tune "Popcorn". It was re-released on CD in 2000.

More recently, the musical group Cake recorded a horn-driven version of this song featuring many different sounds. This version was recorded as a children's song.

The British pop group Vanilla also used the song as a basis for their first single "No Way, No Way" in 1997.

A thrash metal version was recorded by Skin in 1996.

Versions by the Muppets

In 1969, the first season of Sesame Street featured a sketch featuring two muppet girls who are unsure of what to do, until they decide to sing a song, enter an unusual-looking version of the latter Muppet character Mahna Mahna (whose named was later changed to Bip Bippadotta, so as to differentiate him from the Mahna Mahna character on The Muppet Show) who begins singing "Mahna Mahna", prompting the girls to join him.

In 1976, the first episode of The Muppet Show to be recorded (featuring Juliet Prowse), used "Mahna Mahna" as the first sketch. It was performed by the Muppets "Mahna Mahna and the Snowths". As a result, the original Piero Umiliani recording finally became a hit in the UK (#8 in the UK charts in May 1977), where the Muppet Show soundtrack album featuring the Muppets' version went to number one.

A snippet of the song "Lullaby of Birdland" is 'hummed' during one of the improvisational passages.

The Muppets' comeback series Muppets Tonight (1996–1998) revisited it as a parody using the word "phenomenon" in place of the title, a reference to the film of the same name that had recently been released. Kermit the Frog and actress Sandra Bullock appeared in place of "Mahna Mahna" to provide the lyric "phenomena".

On November 23, 2009, Bip Bippadotta and The Snowths appeared in the video for the Muppets' cover of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody.

Commercially licensed versions

In the 1990s in the UK, a variation of "Mah Nà Mah Nà" was used as part of an advertising campaign for the BN Biscuit.

In the early 2000s, Scottish based drink Irn Bru used the song with the words "phenomenal" to replace 'Mah Na Ma Nah'. As a result the song became very popular in popular culture at that time.

Brazil's Pato Fu used the song's melody in the chorus of their 1999 hit "Made in Japan"

The sunscreen brand Banana Boat filmed a TV advertisement for the Australian market, using the song with new words. The words are sung by a boy toddler on the beach, dubbing "baby talk" on a mixture of animation and live action.

In the first episode of the second series of the U.K. version of The Office, Gareth Keenan and David Brent sing the song at the beginning of the episode.

The song is played as background music in the German film Summer Storm (2004), and is listed in the ending credits.

The band That Handsome Devil samples the song heavily in their 2007 song "Hey White Boy".

The Muppets filmed a new version of the song in 2005, for a New Zealand charity called CanTeen. In the ad, an updated version of the Mahna Mahna puppet was performed by Bill Barretta, and the lyrics were changed to "Bandanana", supporting CanTeen's "Bandana Week".

The electro house artists Finger & Kadel also heavily sampled the song in their 2009 track "Mana Mana".

LANCE BROWN: Gag Auditions

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

DREW RICHARDSON: How to Think Like a Fool #1



Sad news comes that Jim Cellini (aka Richard Sullivan), master of street magic, passed away last week in Switzerland.


When asked this is, Cellini says...

"Exactly who or what is a street magician?

In my humble opinion he is a wanderer who believes he is the inheritor of all he surveys.

Someone who goes from place to place with or without a settled route or destination.

He is a boundary crosser; his purpose is to discover new places, meet new people, make new friends and preserve a way of life while perfecting his craft.

He is a person who is both loved and envied for his way of life which appears to the untrained eye as jolly-good, and fancy-free. But in fact it is a life of unremitting toil and unfailing persistence.

He must be willing to stake his future on his ability to persist no matter how hard the going gets. He must have an unshakable faith in himself and in his specialized knowledge to resist all the temptation; to buckle under the weight of society, to refuse to be herded like sheep into a pen and to be told when, where, and how long he can stay.

He is the first Church of the Street Theater and claims the same rights as any religion. To stand on any street corner and gather a crowd. To say and do as he wants whenever he wishes as long as it is within the bounds of propriety and good taste. And lastly, ask for support.

He is adventurous, persistent and courageous. Along with those characteristics, he has the determination to survive, the tongue to persuade, and the hand to execute any mischief called for.

He is a man possessing a touch of the earth with a warm and sincere interest in his fellow human beings. His heart, soul and thoughts are those of a king. He is a man blessed with the Royal Touch."

-- Cellini excerpt from "The Royal Touch"

Monday, November 30, 2009

JANGO EDWARDS: Teaching at the Brick Theater in NYC

Folks are working very hard at the moment to bring Jango back the the US this February.

I'll post information as soon as it's available. As you can see from this video, a workshop with Jango is the experience of a lifetime.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

WHEELER & WOOLSEY: "We Need Each Other" (1929)

Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey with Dorothy Lee and Bebe Daniels performing a perfect example of a simple but effective "tit for tat" gag from the film version of their breakout stage hit Rio Rita.

Just as an aside, two summers ago when Mark Lohr and I were teaching Physical Comedy at Michael Rosman's Circus Camp, we taught the kids a few of the basics of slapstick and when we came to this type of stuff, rather than "tit for tat" we referred to it as "The Humor of Escalating Reciprocal Violence" rather than risk being the two big creeps who inadvertently taught the kids a dirty word.

Michael asked us after the first day to find something else to call it as the kids would never understand what "The Humor of Escalating Reciprocal Violence" meant.

He hadn't been there when we defined it for the kids.

The next morning we performed a short bit and asked the kids to tell us what foundation that bit was based on. Every kid knew it as "The Humor of Escalating Reciprocal Violence" and even the youngest ones could tell us precisely what it meant.

And that's what we've called it there ever since.

Proving that a sharp poke in the eye is always funny... and despite what your Mom and your teachers think, is an excellent educational tool as well!

From Wikipedia and IMDB...


Rio Rita is a 1929 Radio Pictures musical comedy starring Bebe Daniels and John Boles along with the comedy team of Wheeler & Woolsey. The film is based on the 1927 stage musical by Florenz Ziegfeld, which originally united Wheeler and Woolsey as a team and made them famous. The film was the biggest and most expensive production for Radio Pictures for 1929 and it proved to be a huge success and was chosen as one of the ten best films of 1929 by Film Daily. The last portion of the film was photographed in Technicolor.


Bert Wheeler plays a New York bootlegger who comes to the Mexican town of San Lucas to get a divorce so he can marry Dolly (Dorothy Lee). After the wedding, Wheeler's lawyer, Robert Woolsey, informs Wheeler the divorce was invalid, and advises Wheeler to stay away from his bride.

The Wheeler-Woolsey plot is actually a subplot of the film, which stars Bebe Daniels (in her first "talkie") as Rita Ferguson, a south-of-the-border beauty pursued by both Texas Ranger Jim Stewart (John Boles) and local warlord General Ravenoff (Georges Revenant). Ranger Jim is pursuing the notorious bandit Kinkajou along the Rio Grande, but is reluctant to openly accuse Rita's brother, Roberto (Don Alvarado), as the Kinkajou because he is in love with Rita.

Ravenoff successfully convinces Rita to spurn Ranger Jim on the pretext that Jim will arrest Roberto. Rita unhappily agrees to marry Ravenoff to prevent him from exposing Roberto as the Kinkajou. Meanwhile, Wheeler's first wife, Katie (Helen Kaiser), shows up to accuse him of bigamy, but conveniently falls in love with Woolsey.

At this point, the film switches into Technicolor. During the wedding ceremony aboard Ravenoff's private barge, Ranger Jim cuts the craft's ropes so that it drifts north of the Rio Grande. The Texas Rangers storm the barge, arrest Ravenoff as the real Kinkajou just in time to prevent the wedding, and Roberto is revealed to be a member of the Mexican Secret Service. Jim takes Rita's hand in marriage and Roberto escorts Ravenoff back to Mexico for trial.


  • Wheeler and Woolsey were the only principals from the stage version to appear in the film. Based on the success of this film, Wheeler & Woolsey were also given contracts to star in a series of comedies for Radio Pictures.
  • One of the first blockbuster hits for fledgling RKO studios.
  • The film re-launched Bebe Daniels and John Boles into stardom and both of them starred in a number of musicals in the years following. They proved to be so popular with audiences of the day that they were both hired by RCA Victor to make a number of phonograph records.
  • Bebe Daniels' first talkie.
  • The set used in the final scene is the same as that used in another film's final scene, Dixiana (1930), also with Bebe Daniels.
  • John Boles was on loan from Universal.
  • The 1929 Rio Rita is a faithful rendering of the stage version of the show. It is one of the few films personally supervised by legendary showman Florenz Ziegfeld, who also produced the musical onstage. It is very likely that the film gives an accurate impression of what a Ziegfeld stage presentation was like.
  • The 1942 Abbott & Costello "remake" has little in common with this version.
  • The stage version of "RIO RITA" was seen by famous Aviator Charles A. Lindbergh the night before his famous 1927 flight from New York to Paris.
  • Costume designer Walter Plunkett worked uncredited on this early talking film. At the time, Hollywood was going through an extremely difficult transition from silent films to talkies. An incident that occurred during the production of this film was later immortalized in Singin' in the Rain (1952). While Plunkett was designing the costumes for that film, screenwriters Adolph Green and Betty Comden drew on some of Plunkett's recollections as the source for gags about the perils of early sound filming. An example of this is the scene in Singin' in the Rain (1952) in which Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) taps Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) on the shoulder with her fan but causes a thunderous noise on the soundtrack by disturbing a microphone hidden in Lockwood's clothing. This was based on a similar incident during the production of "Rio Rita".


Five reels of the film are believed to be lost. The print currently circulating (105 minutes) is the re-release version from 1932, which was significantly cut down from the original length of fifteen reels down to only ten reels. This is the print that is currently being broadcast on cable by Turner Classic Movies, which is missing about forty minutes of footage. New York's Museum of Modern Art used to have a print of the original full-length version, but this print seems to have been lost or stolen from their archives. The entire soundtrack for the original film survives on Vitaphone disks. Both picture and sound for at least two musical numbers from the long version are also known to survive ("When You're In Love, You'll Waltz" and "The Kinkajou").

Principal Cast

  • Bebe Daniels as Rita Ferguson
  • John Boles as Capt. Jim Stewart
  • Bert Wheeler as Chick Bean
  • Robert Woolsey as Ned Lovett
  • Dorothy Lee as Dolly Bean
  • Don Alvarado as Roberto Ferguson
  • Georges Renavent as General Ravinoff
  • Helen Kaiser as Mrs. Katie Bean