Clowns converge on Orlando for funny business : NPR
This week, dozens of clowns traveled to Orlando, Florida for the 40th annual convention of the World Clown Association.
But these are not your scary clowns, the clowns you might know from scary movies like “It”.
These are professional clowns who work in major circuses and county fairs and who volunteer at local hospitals, aged care centers and schools.
The members of WCA come from 35 different countries, and their sole purpose is simply to “bring happiness, joy, fun and humour to children of all ages.”
These funny clowns come in four types. There are white-faced and pompous clowns, as well as wandering clowns and characters, like Santa Claus.
Robin Bryan, who is known as Pinkie Bee, is the president of the WCA. She is a white-faced clown who often plays the “straight man” in jokes and routines.
Her entire face and neck is covered with white paint, glitters with many colors and wears a light-colored wig.
She mostly volunteers at local hospitals with her husband.
“My husband and I have more than 1,500 hours volunteering for Wolfson Children’s Hospital,” says Bryan. “So we come in every week and we try our best to bring smiles and tears and laughter and that’s what’s important about being a clown, isn’t it?”
Patsy Garland who goes by Patty Cake is also a white-faced clown. She wears full face makeup with fair skin, wears a light-colored wig, and wears a flower hat on her head.
She uses her antics to raise funds and awareness for people with special needs, like her, in her hometown of North Dakota.
“Patty Cake is just ordinary,” Garland said. “And I’m just an ordinary person, inside and out.” “I love being myself and bringing joy to everyone here.”
Representing the August clowns is Kynisha Ducre, who runs educational initiatives at the WCA. Auguste’s Clowns are a mix of a white-faced clown and a roaming or wandering clown, and offer light humour. They are the ones getting the cake in the face.
Michelle Bruzzese for NPR
Ducre wears less makeup, leaving her natural skin and hair exposed. A rainbow of colorful sparkles covered her face and hair.
She takes her clown around the world, where she interacts with local kids and families. Her last trip took her to Morocco.
“I love humanitarian trips,” says Ducre. “So I went to six continents in more than 37 countries to be a clown.”
The wandering or wandering clown also provides a sense of humor in the traditional circus and that is the kind of clown Paul Lauder prefers. He wore ragged clothes and the exaggerated frown of a hobo clown.
Lauder is from Canada and has been clowning since he was a teenager. He uses his crafting skills to not only show his own artistry and sense of silliness, but to show it off in front of his crowd.
“I was always a kid in the theater,” Lauder said. “But then the clown became significant. And then with the makeup, you immediately had a character on the stage and everything changed.” “27 years later, it’s no longer a mask but a kind of allowing the audience to be silly and silly.”
During the convention, clowns participate in workshops on face painting, balloon art and magic, and they compete for trophies like best costume and best skit.
Michelle Bruzzese for NPR
And they do business. There are vendors selling vintage red noses and clown shoes, along with puppets and other props for doing magic tricks.
With social media, it’s never been easier to stay connected with their members year-round and introduce new ones, says Bryan and Ducre. Most clowns who want to be can start by watching some videos on the WCA YouTube channel.
This easy access to the industry, along with the joy she personally has from being a clown, are the reasons why Bryan says the clown business will continue despite worthy movies. scared.
“I tell people, some people swim in a spoonful of water and say they get wet. But I wanted to dive deep and the antics gave me a life of deep diving. And it was full of joy, laughter and, you know, people having down time,” Bryan said. “Everyone has sad moments, but when you can be a clown, you can take it and leave it behind.”