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The Bizarre and Curious Quest of Killian Cog is well on its way to becoming a real show! Below is a bit more for you curiosity seekers.
“Killian Cog is a watchmaker who became so consumed by his work that he let love slip away from him. He is now determined to build a time traveling contraption to go back into his own past and change one pivotal moment, but he soon discovers time isn’t a straight line, and nothing (even time travel!) is ever as simple as it seems.
Through a “steampunk” lens, The Bizarre and Curious Quest of Killian Cog takes the audience on a cirque style journey through time and space. The audience begins their “Intro to Time Travel” with Professor Jane Prime in Killian’s studio. A flying clock comes alive, carnies contort, and a drunk monk sees flying Angels instead of bats in his belfry. From an isolated colony in outer space to a post apocalyptic future, an 80′s rock concert to a pirate ship on the high seas, Killian travels the multiverse chasing his own tail. When Killian finally returns to his studio at that pivotal moment, nothing is exactly as it was.
The Bizarre and Curious Quest of Killian Cog isn’t just a circus show with unique and exciting physical stunts. It is theatre for the whole family, sophisticated humor for the adults and otherworldly fantasy for the little ones. It tells the story of a man who goes on the type of journey we only dream about.”
Parts of the show will be previewed in NYC: SLAM, Williamsburg, Friday June 28 and Saturday June 29 at 8 pm
Full premiere Kent State Tuscawarus Theater, Ohio July 13 and 14
About Chris and his German Wheel!
Each week until the show we will let you know about some of the acts and how rehearsals are coming. This week’s blog features our lead, Killian Cog, played by the inimitable, Chris Delgado. Chris has been working closely with the creative team to create this show from the beginning, meeting with us week after week to write the script and figure out the tech. He has also been training all kinds of skills that he will be using throughout the show. So not only can he flip off a rolling wheel, but he can now fly through the air, moonwalk, and catch a pocket watch with
Below are some pics from the show. Chris is a patient soul who sits through fittings and photo shoots while we mutter
Every once in a while, we like to give you a little taste of some of the events we do. Recently, we spent an amazing evening in Texas pouring drinks upside down. Then we pulled out all the stops in a great performance! We had an amazing time as I think you can see from the pictures and video. Enjoy!
Check out the VIDEO!
DRUMROLL……..Answer: Rigging (duh)
Do not go on a professional gig without some basics. Do not rely on other people to know what they are doing. This is the single most important part of being an aerialist. Now, of course, it is all fine and good for me to sit here and wag a finger, but how do you know what you don’t know?
First, take a class if at all possible. It is worth going to another city to do so. Also join the aerial riggers yahoo group and listen to the conversation. Knowledge is power as they say. Find a rigger that is highly recommended and use that person whenever possible. The problems come when a job already has a technical person on it, but you have no idea what their experience actually is and you don’t get to meet them until the actual job. Whatever you do, unless you know for certain that good riggers know this person and recommend them, don’t just trust what they tell you. Double check everything.
What are the actual problems that you run into?
On several occasions, we thought we had made ourselves ultra clear about what we needed only to find something was missing or misunderstood.
We have been told a rigger has circus experience only to realize they still didn’t know what they are doing. It really helps to have someone you can call if you aren’t sure. Better safe than maimed. A scenario recently that we ran into… We arrived at a gig, were told that the rigger had circus experience and from far away it looked like a straightforward square box truss. Upon closer examination, it appeared what was holding the top section of truss on each leg was some wrapped chain (not secured) and a two by four. First, we made them remove the chain and use truck straps and secured them ourselves with moused shackles. Then for extra security, we had them remove the two by four and put in steel pipes that were thick and had some lip on either end. All this I ran past our amazing rigger friend who okayed it.
The client doesn’t often know about these things so they may not know who to hire to do it or there may only be one person available locally who does everything. So again it is super important to ask what each part of your rig is rated for separately. Do not be afraid to rock the boat. It is hard to do, but you will feel better and ultimately it serves everyone when you stay safe.
What are Aerial Silks?
As seen in Cirque du Soleil, the artist performs stunning flips, drops, and contortions on two long strands of fabric. Beautiful and elegant, this is our most requested act, and it’s versatility makes it perfect for nearly every event.
What do Aerial Silks look like?
What does this act need to perform?
Don’t worry – we have rigging options to suit nearly every venue! This act requires a single rigging point (exposed beam, sky hook, truss, theatrical grid, etc.), and a ceiling height of at least 15 feet (for ceilings under 15 feet, please see “Slammock/Hammock“). Free-standing rigs are also available. Email us at email@example.com or call us at 212-252-3131 – we’re happy to answer your questions!
- This act is 6-8 minutes long.
- This act does not swing.
- This act requires at least 15 feet to be safely performed in its entirety.
- This act is appropriate for all audiences.
- There are multiple costumes, music choices, and silk colors for this act.
For booking information, please email us at us@imaginAerial.com or give us a ring at 212-252-3131!
What is ImaginAerial up to these days?
I’m glad you asked! (I love conversations where I get to play both parts). We have been busy creating a show called The Bizarre and Curious Quest of Killian Cog since the summer. We will be showing a sneak preview of parts of the show at SLAM in New York City June 28, 29th, 2013. After that, we will premiering the full show at Kent State in Ohio July 13, 14. More about the actual show in follow-up blogs. Let’s cut straight to the interesting stuff, which is the behind-the-scenes insight, right?
How does one start this daunting process? First, you have to find a venue that is excited about showing a completely unseen, untested piece of theater to their faithful subscribers. Luckily, the personal connections we have at Kent State in Ohio have just enough tenuous faith in our actual experience (and truly this ain’t our first rodeo) to help us make this happen.
So, for the last few months Laura, I, and Chris Delgado who is our main character, Killian, have been busy meeting in cafes, at our houses, and rehearsal spaces to create this monster of a show. This show is quite different from our last show, Luminarium, because it isn’t a plug and play but has a real story to it. It also does not feature a cirque style aesthetic, but a steampunk aesthetic.
As with anything you actually try to create, many things that have sounded good on paper are quite funny when we try to work them out in the real world. Laura recently decided one of our clock spirits really needed a pink bustle. A pink bustle can really look like a pink bubble sitting on one’s butt. Needless to say, she’s redone that costume four times now.
I also had worked out the perfect physical transition to fly Killian in a harness while scenes changed, only to realize he was going to end up facing down instead of up hanging by his waist, like a wet washcloth flying around the space. That doesn’t create the excitement we were hoping for. Many bits we think are going to be totally hilarious end up a little cringe-worthy when we actually say them out loud, or do them physically.
So it is always back to the drawing board, but every week we get a little closer, and we learn a little more. So bit by bit we plug away. More soon!!
What is a Hula Hoop act?
In a Hula Hoop act, the performer manipulates multiple hoops for a hypnotic, high energy act.
What does a Hula Hoop act look like? Click on the arrow below to start the video.
** Our ImaginAerial hula hoop video is getting a make-over! In the meantime, here’s a great example of this kind of act!
For additional images of this act, check out ImaginAerial’s Novelty & Costume Character Act page on Pinterest! Click the ImaginAerial button to view all our boards.
What does a Hula Hoop Artist need to perform?
This act requires a clean floor, stage, or pedestal of at least 15 x 15 feet.
- this act is appropriate for almost all audiences (the act requires small areas of bare skin on the legs and torso)
- some performers bring their own pedestals, others perform on the floor, or on a small stage set up by the client
- This act is 5-6 minutes long.
- Depending on performer availability, glow (LED) hoops may be availalble.
For booking info for this and other awesome acts, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-252-3131.
I know you have been waiting for the real-housewives-hair-pulling-name-calling-drag-’er-through-the-mud! installment in this series. So here you go!!
Here are some calm and clear ways to resolve any conflict without drama.
Just kidding, that is not only impractical but utterly boring. If you are in a partnership and aren’t having any fights, congratulations!! You have either only been together just a few months, your partner is your imaginary friend (making aerial work difficult), or you don’t have long to live. But work together long enough, see each other often enough, and you are going to fight. That is all there is to it. Knowing that, you might as well learn to expect it and deal with it (and maybe learn the sleeper hold).
What’s fun about fighting in the circus is how public it is. Our rehearsal space is a giant warehouse where even the office area is exposed. Laura and I are so used to airing our dirty laundry in public that the front desk started to place bets on who would cry first.
The First Time We Considered Divorce
We’d only done one act together at that point, but we had invested a year of our lives in it. The honeymoon, however, was decidedly over. We were in the “you are a much bigger bitch than I thought you were” phase. We postured. We threatened. It got so bad we almost started writing a contract. But then a cold reality hit us hard. Where the hell were we going to find another redhead? We’d have to work it out for the sake of a good brand.
When You start Playing Darts with Each Other’s Headshots, You Might Need some Professional Help.
The second time we almost skidded into splitsville was after we’d been touring together for a few months. We were living together,
sleeping together, singing 99 bottles on the bus together, eating together, exercising together, and performing together. 24/7 of suffocating togetherness across the Midwest, Greece, India, and Portugal. We got to the end of that run and we realized we needed therapy, or somebody wasn’t going to make it. And well, hell, we figured we might as well entertain others in the process and threw in a camera crew. I’d like to say it was entirely our dogged determination to make it work that got us through, but the ten minutes of fame helped.
I’m sure different partnerships have come up with different rules that work for them, but here are some rules we came up with to minimize the bloodshed:
1.Do not perform mad.
Do I really want someone who at that moment would like to see me dead, holding me by one foot 20 feet up?
2. Do not tear apart a performance right after it has happened.
If something was really not good, we’d remember it the next day. If not, probably not worth mentioning. Rehashing every little detail is just not worth it.
3. No Discussing Real Issues by Email
If some issue starts to arise and digital words start to get tense, we have a policy that we must call the other person immediately and talk it out. Emails are the absolute worst way to discuss anything important. Tone is so easily misconstrued. Also, constructing perfectly worded ones is a huge waste of time. We just get on the horn and say what needs to be said.
4. Give yourselves a Time Out when Necessary
If it helps to stick your nose in a corner, then by all means go for it. But when things get heated, it is important to press pause. It gives us a moment to stop blaming the other person for everything and just feel what each of us feels so we can discuss stuff perhaps a little more calmly.
5. Figure out Who is Good at What and Separate Tasks
We both don’t have to be good at everything. Find the things that each of you like to do and are good at and divide them up. Then respect what each of you contribute.
6. Respect your Coordinated Creative Process.
Some moves one of us may have worked out perfectly in bed, but in the studio, we realize they are physically impossible. Other moves it just takes a while to get. Time pressures sometimes make it hard to decide what to pursue and what to let go of. While on one hand, we don’t want waste precious rehearsal time, on the other, we want to give each other a chance to explore new ideas.
7. Do Not Bring up Old Shit.
We never start a sentence with “You Always..”. That is the red flag that only makes the angry bull come running. We try to watch out for stories about ourselves and the other person. If you think that you are the one who makes all the sacrifices or are the only one who has it together or the only one who cares about the act or the only one who has any creativity at all?!- chances are you’ve made up some story in which you are the hero and the other person the villain. As fun as it is to feel superior, you may not really be seeing the whole story.
8.Do not Get between Laura and her Food
We all have our things and this was one I learned quickly.
9. Do Not Speak Before Coffee.
As always, Please share with us any rules you might have or helpful tips you have found in dealing with your circus significant other.
I’d like to say that Laura and I conducted long, well thought out interviews with each other before joining forces, discussing in depth our views on commitment, marketing, and Febreze. In reality, it happened something like this:
Ring ring, ring, ring, ring..”Hello?” (Remember when we only had home phones?! Yes, that’s how old we are, shut up.)
“Hi, this is Laura, the other redhead you performed with last night. Join me or I break your legs.”
“Wow, I’m flattered. How does Monday look?”
No prenup was signed, no references called, just a not so vague threat of violence and it was love at last. Some might tell you to sign a contract with your potential partner and to work out who gets the costumes and the trapeze if one runs away with the circus. That is probably the most prudent thing to do, but I honestly don’t know that it will lead to a successful partnership. Maybe we just got lucky, but we’ve never had a contract, nor do we plan to. I like knowing that we have enough faith in our communication to say honest if awful things to each other in strained tones, then hug it out without fear that one of us will empty the coffers and make a run for the border (although truthfully, our coffers might get you a nice dinner in Texas, but doubtful you’d have enough gas to actual get to Mexico).
Can you make it work if the two of you are completely different people?
Yes and no. on the surface, Laura and I are very different. She’s dramatic, I’m cool-headed. She’s a Christian, I’m a Yogi. She comes from theatre, I come from modern dance. She’s from Carolina, I’m from California. You get the idea. At the end of the day, none of that stuff matters. Here is what is important to us: commitment, honesty, sense of humor, sense of priorities (cup o’ joes before throws) and a flexible schedule. All the rest can be negotiated.
*An Aside on Drugs and Alcohol.
If you are Russian, skip this section because all bets are off for you people. Russians can drink vodka all night and it only makes them more precise. Freaks.
However, nobody in the rest of the world actually has those abilities. They only think they do. So if you aren’t Russian (grandmothers don’t count) and neither is your partner, you will have to keep it in check. If your significant aerial other is doing blow off a someone’s belly at 4 am and showing up to rehearse at 10 am, you might not get a lot done. Or worse yet someone gets bounced on their head which isn’t a head’s general purpose.
*Okay, thank you Nancy Reagan for that uplifting message.
The good news is that the honeymoon period where you think you’ve found the best partner in the entire world lasts exactly a minute and a half. A few nights in the middle of Indiana in a hotel room that smells like your grandmother’s nightgown and you should find out pretty quickly if you have what it takes not to kill each other in your sleep.
Use the first few rehearsals as a way to feel each other out.
Have plenty of mats underneath you and listen to your gut. Your life is quite literally (and I do mean literally) in each other’s hands. Notice how your partner reacts to your fears and your creative ideas. Start with one act and make it really good. Don’t invest a huge amount in costumes and websites until you think it is going to work. Figure out you work together, who is in charge of what. Time and experience will only make you better, but it is worth taking some time to refine your process. Laura and I worked on our first act every day for about a year. It is the one that we have also performed the most and remains probably our best act both choreographically and in performance quality.
Well, Aren’t You Two Just so Awesome? Wait until next week, when things get down and dirty. See, this is better than Jersey Shore.
Our First Act:
“Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. That dweam wifin a dweam.”
If you don’t know where the above quote is from then stop reading. This content is for mature audiences only.
When I got married, I wasn’t a nervous bride. I figured there was just no way marriage could be harder or less rewarding than having a trapeze partner. In fact, I feel extremely lucky that I got to exorcise (and exercise!) all my relationship demons first, before unleashing them on my husband. My aerial partner, Laura, and I have endured bad coffee, missed catches, single beds, sub-zero temperatures, oxygen deprivation, and a missing trapeze. After ten years, we know each other’s pushable buttons and smelly armpits (as well as other bits) intimately.
I don’t know the stats, but I would guess the success rate of circus duos is probably on par with the success rate of marriage in LA. The two of you have to be compatible on so many levels that it is not surprising that most only last one to two Kardashians (an excellent marital unit of measure, thanks Robert!). Although, truth be told, deciding to go separate ways dramatically increases the probability of ending up with a two-year binding Cirque du Soleil contract together. Seen it happen.
Staying Together for the Act’s Sake
However, for every split, there is a dysfunctional duo that stays together for the sake of the act. When we were performing for a casino in Portugal, there was a hand balancing duo (together for 20 years!) that regularly missed their curtain call, because they spent the time after their act screaming at each other in Russian backstage.
We’ve even seen identical twins who had absolutely everything going for them, youth, looks, lickable abs (we tested them), sunny dispositions, and oodles of talent skid to dissolution. Everyone wanted to hire them, and yet they couldn’t hack it together for more than a couple of years! For the love of Pete, these two are the same genetic material. You’d think you could avoid fighting with yourself. Sigh… but no.
In order for a duo to make it, so many pieces have to fall in place. You have to want the same things, see a future together, have aligned priorities, look aesthetically balanced, see eye to eye creatively, and approach the business side similarly. You each also have to have a fairly large arsenal of fart jokes handy.
There were times that Laura and I really thought we might be getting a divorce, then the thought of building a new website sobered us up right quick. No, seriously…We did what any savvy couple in trouble does, we whored out our innermost feelings to national television (aren’t you proud, Mom!)
Not content with one medium, our conflicts are also featured in The Blame Game by Ben Dattner (there is way more than us in there!). People who recognize us in the street are often surprised to hear we are still living the dream. And we are. Our relationship is stronger than ever. I have a cute mug with pictures on it as well as a YouTube video made just for me to prove it.
In the next few weeks we will explore these topics:
Why and How to Choose a Partner and Start a Partnership
How to Fight with Minimal Bloodshed
How to Thrive and Keep the Romance Alive
Please share with us any crazy stories about your partnership or partnerships you’ve witnessed.
So, how do I stand out if I don’t have an identical twin or can’t sit on my own head?
Not to get too touchy-feely-circus-as-spiritual-movement on you, but you have to find what Julia Cameron calls the “Vein of Gold.” The vein of gold is some aspect of the art that you are really good at and makes you uniquely you. Then go find a market for it. Easy.
But seriously, how.
1. Use what you naturally got
Laura and I performed in a competition at the Krystallpalast in Germany. There was a young front bending contortionist named Fleeky who was really kind of freaky (you can’t make this
crap up). An androgynous front bending contortion is a bit odd anyway. His act however was dark, grotesque, as well as skillful. Americans have sensitive tummies, and I could see it would have been a bit difficult for him to work in the US. However, having a German mom myself, I knew immediately that with his edginess he’d won the hearts of the Germans. And sure enough, he took home the gold.
2. Don’t be afraid to be funny if you can
3. Try a unique apparatus
4.Use interesting music
5. Work with others
6. Learn another skill
7. Spend time developing one act