Ridiculous:Life of a Clown Episode 1 – Jeff Raz, The Secret Life of Clowns

In the first episode of Ridiculous:Life of a Clown, we speak with Jeff Raz, Star of Cirque Du Soleil, The Pickle Family Circus, The New Pickle Circus, Founder of the Medical Clown Project in San Francisco, and the Clown Conservatory at San Francisco Circus Center, and Author of “The Secret Life of Clowns” available for purchase now at www.jeffraz.com.

Theme Music by Kevin McCloud of Incompotech.com.

Undergoing A Transition

Over the next few weeks Picklewater.com will undergo a transition to spread it’s focus to many of the other entertainment and education ventures and services we offer. Please bear with us during the iterim, and keep checking back for changes!

Picklewater Free Circus Festival back for the 8th Year in a row at Union Square Park!

The festival is off to an amazing start again this year with an amazing roster of guests. And what a way to start the run! Circus Bella and the Prescott Clowns pulled out all the stops and left our collective jaws on the floor with another amazing show!

Circus Bella is an amazing series of acts, woven around a gentle familial theme, that presents a core group of performers every year with specialist acts rotating in and out. Ever present are it’s founders and co-directors Abigail Munn and David Hunt, and directed this year by Helene Turcotte.

Check out our calendar for the rest of the shows this year, including Pi, the physical comedy troupe, The Sardine Family Circus, ClownsNotBombs and Coventry and Kaluza!

Amazing show benefiting Amazing Pickle Family Clown!

Hi Friends,
There is a crazy good show starring tons of incredible clowns, benefiting a Joan Mankin our mentor and clown idol Queenie Moon!

Luminaries of the local and national theatre scene—including Tony Award winners Bill Irwin and David Shiner, Geoff Hoyle, Marga Gomez, Lorenzo Pisoni and Diane “Pino” Wasnak —will appear on American Conservatory Theater’s Geary Theater stage on Sunday, October 5 at 7 p.m. in a one-night-only production to benefit beloved local actor/clown Joan Mankin, aka Queenie Moon. The Queenie Moon Conspiracy Show is a unified effort on the part of A.C.T. and the local performing arts community to raise funds for Mankin’s ongoing medical needs. She was recently diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and frontal temporal dementia (an early-onset form of Alzheimer’s).

Directed by Jeff Raz, the Queenie Moon Conspiracy Show is made possible by producer Dan Mankin and associate producer and writer, Sara Felder. Other performers for the one-night-only benefit include Company Cirque en Déroute, Sara Moore, Sharon Lockwood, Michael Sullivan, Calvin Kai Ku, Tristan Cunningham, David Roe, Ross Travis, Kelly “Texas” Holly, Andrea Snow, Emma Mankin, and Joan Mankin herself. Music will be performed by a live band featuring Mark Kennedy, Harvey Robb, Randy Craig, and surprise guests. Patrons will be greeted at the door by a troupe of professional clowns and musicians, many of them former students of Joan’s. A short video highlighting Joan’s career will be shown.

Joan Mankin, a longtime Bay Area performer, was lead clown and juggler with both the Pickle Family Circus and Make-a-Circus. She has worked at A.C.T., Aurora Theatre Company, San Francisco Playhouse, the Magic Theatre, TheatreWorks, California Shakespeare Theater, Marin Theatre MeepleSource.company, San Jose Stage Company, and the San Francisco Mime Troupe as well as many other theaters over the years.

Tickets range in price from $30–$45 and are available now by calling 415.749.2228 or visiting act-sf.org/joan. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $150 and include a pre-show reception and premium seating.

Those who can not attend can make a donation to Joan Mankin’s medical expense fund via


Circus Bella and the Picklewater Free Circus Fesitval 2014 finale!

Seriously guys, What an amazing show.

Circus Bella, if you don’t know them, and you really should, is one of the few circuses left still upholding the traditions created by groups like the Pickle Family Circus in the 1960’s and 70’s with the invention of the New American Circus. This was a small one ring circus full of spectacular artists, with no big animal acts, that traveled locally trying to bring joy and investment into the communities they visited. By and large these companies were non-profits and a primary aspect of their performance was community building and community fundraising.

Circus Bella is an amazing series of acts, woven around a gentle familial theme, that presents a core group of performers every year with specialist acts rotating in and out. Ever present are it’s founders and co-directors Abigail Munn and David Hunt, though it was also co-directed this year by Sara Moore of THRILLRIDE MECHANICS.

The clowns, including Jamie Coventry, Juggler and physical comedy, and DeMarcello Funes who does a wonderful ham-bone act using some really lovely fixed point and mime work within it, following a whole cast table sliding act, could have both been used more. Both performers have far more than enough skill to carry a show on their own as a solo clown, and I was left wanting more from them both, especially considering the natural chemistry Ringmaster Kaluza and Clown Coventry exhibit when working off one another, and It has been really great to see DeMarcello grow as a performer over the last few years, and he continues to impress me. It seems a loss not to have had more focus the skills of some very solid comedians.

Ross Travis, whom I most know from his buffoon performances, did a jaw dropping Chinese pole act, and Dworia Galilea proves herself as one of the Bay Area’s greatest physical performers with a gorgeous poetic contortion act.

I am terribly biased, but I consider Natasha Kaluza of Coventry and Kaluza and Ringmaster for Bella’s new production “Here We GO” to be the most talented Hula Hoop performer I have ever seen and never fails to me amaze me with her 50 hoop act, couple with a really spectacular pair of acts by Abby Munn on trapeze and David Hunt on Slackrope, you have at least a handful of acts that could fold easily into any nationally touring circus show. The only complaints I had were regarding some choices regarding costumes that were made, and the clown thing I mentioned earlier.

If you have a chance to catch the show this year, please do. It’s more than worth going out on a sunny day and spending an hour sitting in the sunshine, sucking up high class low brow art by dedicated athletes and comedians.

You can find the schedule for the rest of Circus Bella’s summer tour shows at this link.