Are We Allowed to Laugh?

Are We Allowed to Laugh?

By Tim Cunningham, CWB-USA Volunteer   I was invited to participate in a very last minute and end-of-year capacity building project with our friends in Turkey who are on their way to forming a new chapter of Clowns Without Borders in Turkey– Sınır Tanımayan Palyaçolar. I arrived the night of December 30th to Güray’s neighborhood, which had not had electricity for two days because of heavy winds. He walked me through the quiet streets of Kadıköy, the ancient neighborhood just on the Asian side of Istanbul. The streets were not quiet only because there was no power—this was a Friday night, the night before New Year’s Eve and we were in the bar district—people had just not been going out. Güray’s friend’s met us at a candlelit bar, one of the few that were open and immediately began cracking jokes about bombings, terror attacks and how no one came to Turkey anymore to visit. “So what’s wrong with you?” One asked me. At some point during our second beer the power came back on, the bar came to life with light and sound, but still, not many other people came in that night. The next day, Güray, Ecenur, Melike, and I met at his apartment to plan an afternoon show for a nearby hospital. Though strong performers, none of them had extensive experience working in hospitals. We planned and rehearsed for three hours and then, in costume, took a cab to the Siyami Ersek Hastanesi, a cardiac hospital. There we were first greeted by a cat that walked from the hospital lobby to rub up against my leg—for those...
18th Annual Portland Benefit for Clowns Without Borders

18th Annual Portland Benefit for Clowns Without Borders

18th Annual Portland Clowns Without Borders Benefit Show   The area’s top variety and circus performers put on an amazing, hilarious, family-friendly show to support a great cause. Friday, January 27th, 8:00 PM, doors at 7:00 pm. Family friendly! Beer, wine, pop, and snacks available. Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St. Tickets https://www.albertarosetheatre.com/ $25 Advance, $35 At the door, $15 Kids (12 & under) $50 Premium Seats (support CWB and sit in the front center section – advance only)   The Scoop: Clowns have a bad rep these days, but it doesn’t get us down because we know some of the best clowns around! They are performers who can make can make children and adults alike, laugh out loud with few words and a handful props. Good clowns create beauty in a difficult world. For more than 20 years, Clowns Without Borders USA has sent circus and theater professionals to war zones, refugee camps and crisis areas all over the world. And for 18 years the Northwest’s best circus artists, physical comedians, and variety acts have been coming together annually to create a thrilling evening of comedy and circus to support Clowns Without Borders USA. This year’s CWB-USA Benefit Show is no exception, featuring the area’s top acts, with live music by the Shoehorn Hat Band. Last year’s show sold out in advance, so get your tickets now. Featuring: Paulina Muñoz and Omri Geva come from separate backgrounds working with a variety of circuses and dance companies and have come together in the last year to create an aerial dance duo that displays extraordinary creativity and athleticism. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qegqkSW8AGY...
Coming Full Circle: Our 100th Project

Coming Full Circle: Our 100th Project

  It’s a watershed moment for Clowns Without Borders USA. Our first undertaking of 2017 is also our 100th project since our organizations’s founding in 1995! Therefore it is fitting that we are returning to Chiapas, Mexico, where it all began for CWB-USA. Founder Moshe Cohen began making trips to this magical part of the world to serve the people of Chiapas in CWB-USA’s nascent days.   The indigenous community residing in Chiapas were oppressed in poverty and brutalized by the government of the time because of the land on which they live. The region where they reside and have for hundreds of years, is rich in minerals, water, and crops such coffee and cacao, but the indigenous people are among poorest and most marginalized in Mexico. Chiapas is a jewel, but the people and region have been taken advantage of by power, politics, and trade agreements. The Zapatista Revolution began in 1994 and was the locals way of saying, ‘we want autonomy.’ They succeeded in becoming autonomous, but at significant cost.   Rudi Galindo, a long-time volunteer, professional clown, and colleague of founder Moshe Cohen, is leading the team returning Chiapas this January for CWB-USA’s 100th project. Rudi has been traveling to share levity and moments joyful play, every year for nearly two decades. He is compelled to return and give the gift of laughter and to keep a promise.   Many years ago, on a trip to Chiapas, Rudi and another volunteer, David Lichtenstein, went to a displacement camp for the indigenous people seeking escape from recent massacres at the hands of the military. It was a wet...