Archive for March, 2013

What’s Behind Creating a Touring Show

March 25, 2013 Comments Off on What’s Behind Creating a Touring Show Uncategorized

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?

Hmm... That isn't quite right, is it?

Hmm… That isn’t quite right, is it?

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.

Cool, but maybe not...

Cool, but maybe not…

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.

Not exactly tinker bell, is he?

Not exactly tinker bell, is he?

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!!

 

Hula Hoops

March 10, 2013 Comments Off on Hula Hoops General, Ground Acts, Uncategorized

hula hoops edit

 

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? 


 

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?

Hula Hoops glow

This act requires a clean floor, stage, or pedestal of at least 15 x 15 feet.

FAQs

    • 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.

 

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More than Just Staying Alive

   So we have found the “one” to hang on for the rest of our acrobatic lives and we have discovered how to not kill them.  As Miss Jackson says at the end of Miss You Much: “That’s the end? No!”

 

Now, how do we move beyond mere toleration of each other into enthusiasm that we can annoy people at cocktail parties with?

This is very serious, people!

This is very serious, people!

After Laura and I went to therapy, I had an epiphany. We were so busy trying to keep up with the business, writing emails, getting choreography done, and marketing,  that we weren’t having any fun at all.  The crazy part is that we are in the circus, for f***’s sake! How is it even possible to hate it? We aren’t surgeons or hedge fund managers. There is no one scowling over our desks either. Circus isn’t even recognized as a fine art form. How did it all get so SERIOUS?

     The ridiculous part is that you can take yourself too seriously even if you are a clown (reason #281 why many clowns deal with chronic depression, but angry clowns are another blog).  If all you are doing is making art with a capital F or killing yourselves on Linked In, etc   you are going to start resenting the business and each other. The pressure just starts to build. You might as well be making some real cash if you are going to spend your time just checking things off an endless list and getting uptight about it.
   Getting perspective on your work and making sure circus doesn’t become a circus is one part. The other part of a long-lasting, good, productive partnership is loving on your partner. You are going to spend more time with this partner than the one you have sex with, so you might as well treat this relationship with as much care.

 

Thriv-al techniques:

 

 1.You need a sense of humor. 

Sometimes you have to explore viking hats

Sometimes you have to explore viking hats.

Pretty much every situation has a ridiculous side, if you can see it and point it out, then you win. Also, a lot of conflict can be diffused if you can point out how silly it really is.

 

2. Do stuff for fun not just gigs.  
If you want to explore your inner hamster or what it would be like to wear top hats for an entire trapeze piece, then you should go for it. Who cares if no one would ever want to pay to see it. Force some of your friends to watch. That’s what they are there for. You will have to go see their stupid play or beat poetry at some point. Take advantage.

 

 

3.Don’t expect your partner to fulfill every need.
If your partner is not interested in something you are, don’t just scuffle your feet and complain, go work on that thing with someone else. As long as you you don’t sneak around (let’s face it rehearsal places are limited, you’ll get found out) and assure your partner that they aren’t being replaced entirely, they should understand.

 

Laura exploring a different side.

Laura exploring a different side.

 

4. Along those lines, try skills that you don’t perform. If you are a serious handbalancer, maybe try some rola bola.  If you contort, change it up with some hula hoops. Or maybe just pick up the ukelele (except if you live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn because that would be redundant). Whatever you do, just mix it up with something that is pure fun, that you are going to enjoy being a beginner at again.

 

5. Do something with your partner that isn’t business related.
You don’t have to hang out all the time, but go see other circus shows together, or have dinner here and there. Just have a date night once in a while.

 

6. Write each other love notes.
Okay, I realize this could cause some scoffing among the straight males. However, it could be as simple as, “Hey, bro, thanks for putting up with me.”  Mainly, let the other person know you appreciate them. It also helps you look at their positive sides. As humans, we have a tendency to look at the problems and ignore everything that is working well. By expressing what is working, you are forced into seeing the whole picture.

 

7. Give a gift.  Even just the thought counts.  
When we were on tour, our favorite game was, “If I had my wallet, I would buy you…” And it was always things like vanilla scented dream catchers and light-up stuffed mousse heads, basically complete crap that you would never want in your house.  But it is the thought that counts….
Hey wait a minute!!!

 

As always, if you have stuff to add to this, please do!!

Girlfight! How to Reduce the Bloodshed

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,

A recreation of how I appeared in one of Laura's dreams.

A recreation of how I appeared in one of Laura’s dreams.

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.

My first and only attempt at taking cheese from Laura in Paris

My first and only attempt at taking cheese from Laura in Paris

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.