Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

The Clown School

(Red Skelton and Lucille Ball)

When my daughter told me she was going to go to clown school, I thought, Okay, what new adventure is this? Is she going to join the circus? The rodeo? What’s up with this?

After a few chuckles, she explained to me what clown school is — a school for performing artists to learn the intriguing history of clowns, a variety of new acting skills, and a way to incorporate playfulness and fun into theatrical acting.

The Clown School, located in Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, California, is one of the top clown schools in America. People from TV and film attend the school in order to further their careers. My daughter, who is a professional singer and performer, has been taking their online classes, and she loves it.

One famous TV clown was Red Skelton, but Lucille Ball was also considered a clown. Her comedy routines, playfulness, and ability to make people love her and laugh, are legendary. I Love Lucy re-runs are still on traditional TV and streaming.

Clowns have been around for thousands of years. In 2400 B.C., Ancient Egypt’s Fifth Dynasty saw priests assuming the role of clowns in order to promote social and religious concepts. Jesters were common in China as early as 300 B.C. They were used in India as interpreters in 100 A.D.

Greek and Roman theater featured clowns and mimes. During the Middle Ages and Renaissance period, fools and jesters entertained members of the public and the royal courts alike. They were often used to promote religious concepts for the Church. In the 14th century, clowns began to appear on tarot cards.

The Aztecs were employing court jesters for entertainment when the Spanish arrived in 1520 A.D. The Commedia del Arte established the tradition of the three Zannis in 16th century Italy, which included the character of Harlequin.

Among Native Americans, clowns were used to make social and religious statements. Their antics made people laugh and think about the message the clowns were trying to deliver.

The first circus clowns were brought to England by Philip Astley in 1768. And Joseph Grimaldi (1778-1837), a British entertainer, expanded the role of the clown and earned the title “Father of Modern Clowning.”

For more information about The Clown School, click here: http://www.theclownschool.com.

Have a fun-filled, happy day!

Dawn Pisturino

September 28, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

21 Comments »

Summer Funnies

Just thought I’d start out the week with a little humor! It was nice visiting with out-of-town relatives, and we were able to get started on some home improvement projects. With that in mind, I will mainly be posting on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for a while.

Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate all of you.

Dawn Pisturino

July 18, 2022

15 Comments »

Hell on Wheels

(Photo by Dawn Pisturino.)

Hello! My name is Isis.

Don’t let my sweet, innocent little face fool you. Although I let my human mommy hold me on her lap and cuddle me and kiss me on the face, I’m the Queen of the Jungle. Whenever the OTHER cat comes into the living-room, I want to rip her ears off. A couple of weeks ago, I tried. My human mommy got mad at me, but she doesn’t understand. There can only be one Top Cat, and that’s me. My human mommy strokes my fur and tells me to be a good little girl. I try, Mommy, I really try! You know how I always stop in my tracks and listen to you when you scold me, but I just can’t help myself. I just have to attack my housemate cat, whether you like it or not.

I’m sorry. Please forgive me.

I love you, Mommy.

Isis

~

Dawn Pisturino

June 24, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

24 Comments »

Happy Groundhog Day!

(Photo from Mental Floss)

Today, we wait with bated breath for Punxsutawney Phil to emerge from his burrow and decide whether to hibernate for another six weeks or to celebrate that an early spring is coming!

This annual ritual was borrowed from the Pennsylvania Dutch (Amish and Mennonite) farmers in Pennsylvania and dates back to the 1800s. Rumor has it that if Phil sees his shadow, we will have six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, an early spring is on its way. Allegedly, Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions have a 39% accuracy rate. Not too cool, Phil!

But, whatever he predicts, this fat, over-sized rodent is a fun way to mark the middle of winter. After all, the Spring equinox will arrive no matter what Phil says!

Here’s a cute video by CGP Grey which explains Groundhog Day:

And don’t forget to watch Bill Murray in the hilarious 1993 comedy, Groundhog Day!

Groundhog Day, if nothing else, is a great excuse to party!

Happy Groundhog Day!

Dawn Pisturino

February 2, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

12 Comments »

Following the Zombies

(Scene from Shaun of the Dead)

Yesterday, I followed the zombies around in Walmart. They were silent, shuffling along more slowly than usual, their shopping carts creaking between the narrow aisles. Their faces never changed. They just poked along, crouched over their carts with bent shoulders, looking at the same old products with dead eyes. I impatiently followed behind them and finally got stuck in the pain aisle between several carts. This is always the most popular aisle in the store. The next most popular aisle is the laxative aisle. It took several minutes before I could quietly maneuver my cart around the cluster of walking dead. Once I extricated myself, I headed for the checkout stand and got the hell out of there. I survived another trip through Walmart, unscathed. Next time, I might not be so lucky.

Dawn Pisturino

January 28, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

NOTE: No offense intended to real zombies.

30 Comments »

Christmas Funnies and Cuties

Last night, I finished writing a 6,214 word research paper on the Ethics and Politics of War. I was brain dead by the time I was finished and needed to recharge, so I went to Pinterest and brightened my spirits with some holiday cheer. I will be getting caught up with responding to people’s comments and visiting people’s blogs. Thank you for your patience!

Here’s wishing all of you a day full of good cheer!

Dawn Pisturino

December 10, 2021

18 Comments »

Laughter is the Best Medicine

A man took his wife to the doctor. After a short examination the doctor said, “Your wife’s mind is completely gone!” To which the man replied, “I’m not surprised. She’s been giving me a piece of it every day for the past 25 years!”

We all know that laughing feels good, but researchers are now confirming that laughter is good for us.

A study done at the University of Maryland Medical Center showed that laughter can actually relax arteries and increase blood flow.

Laughter is good aerobic exercise.  It increases the heart rate, improves our ability to use oxygen, helps clear the lungs, and lowers blood pressure.

When we laugh, our muscles relax and tension is released. The production of stress hormones is reduced, and we feel a greater sense of control over our situation.

Humor and laughter have been shown to reduce anxiety and pain and to enhance the immune system.

Laughing makes us feel good because it stimulates the release of endorphins in the brain, natural substances which give us a feeling of euphoria.

Laughter is a form of communication which strengthens our bonds with other people, makes us feel younger, and gives us more energy.

Humor is a form of creative expression which helps us to cope with life’s problems and allows us to comment on the human condition.

Laughter therapy is now being utilized by healthcare and mental health professionals to promote more positive outcomes in patients. Corporations have discovered that humor programs are an effective way to reduce stress in the workplace.

The next time you’re feeling depressed or stressed, give yourself a little laughter therapy! Watch a funny movie, TV show, or favorite comedian. Pick up a joke book. Hang out with someone with a good sense of humor. Play with your kids. Do something silly and fun. Memorize your own jokes and tell them to everyone you meet. Throw an impromptu party.

As Thomas Edison once advised, “When down in the mouth, remember Jonah. He came out okay.”

Dawn Pisturino
April 2, 2007

Copyright 2007-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

16 Comments »

The Time Warp

In the early 1980s, before our daughter was born, my husband and I decided to attend the local revival of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. At midnight sharp, we were sitting in the audience at the old, art deco Millbrae Theatre in Millbrae, California, anxious for the movie to start. It was fun to look around the theatre at the many strange costumes worn by Rocky Horror fans. But, watcher beware! Once the movie started, we were pelted with candy, rice, and popcorn, and squirted with water from squirt guns, as fans reacted to various scenes in the movie. That was the fun of the revival – interacting with each other and the movie.

That couldn’t even happen nowadays because the Fun Police would be out trying to shut it all down. Kids are missing out on a lot of clean, harmless fun!

At that time, there were old, art deco theatres in just about every town along the El Camino Real, the main business artery that courses down the San Francisco Peninsula. I remember the red plush seats and elegant, red velvet stage curtain in the old Millbrae. I was fascinated by the gold gilding on the intricate art deco interior designs. Sadly, most of these theatres have been demolished or closed down.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) has always had a large cult following of people who just want to have a good time. The story is quirky, the characters and costumes bizarre, the music lively and entertaining.

Barry Bostwick (Brad Majors) and Susan Sarandon (Janet Weiss) play a naive, “square,” straight-laced couple whose car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Forced to take refuge at Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s house, they are reluctantly exposed to the twisted, bizarre characters who live there.

Tim Curry plays the transvestite scientist, Dr. Frank-N-Furter, who is experimenting with creating the perfect male sex symbol (Peter Hinwood). The theme of the movie is pursuing “absolute pleasure,” which reflects the overriding social theme of the 1970s.

One of the most memorable scenes in the movie is the musical number, The Time Warp. Here’s where the audience gets up out of their seats and starts dancing in the aisles!

Enjoy! And don’t let the Fun Police spoil your fun! They are already trying to shut down Christmas this year.

Dawn Pisturino

October 11, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

16 Comments »

Funny Memes and Cartoons

Take a break and have a good laugh! Laughing is healthy! Laughing is good medicine! Laughing is fun!

Dawn Pisturino

September 15, 2021

5 Comments »

Yankee Doodle Dandy

Yankee Doodle Dandy

For Independence Day, I watched the 1942 musical “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” starring James Cagney, Joan Leslie, and Walter Huston. Cagney plays George M. Cohan, the famous vaudeville composer, writer, and entertainer. He was known as “The Man who Owned Broadway” and wrote many popular songs that are still known today. During World War II, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt presented Cohan with a Congressional Gold Medal for his contributions to America.

Songs by George M. Cohan:

Yankee Doodle Boy

(watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/EKeYS1P9j1c )

You’re a Grand Old Flag

(watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/lxyt1Vt5ejY )

Happy Fourth of July! Happy Birthday, America!

 

Dawn Pisturino

7/4/2017

Copyright 2017 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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