There’s a new theatrical circus called “Stand Up Eight”.
I’ve proudly written about them before, and I’m currently in the last steps of wrapping up their documentary. Since being financed by Dragon, W. Brett Wilson, I’ve had the honour of participating in the show through the making of their posters, graphics, logo, promo videos and the many incarnations of their behind-the-scenes documentary.
As an animator, it’s been an opportunity to stretch my wings and play with other mediums. I’ve discovered that I like it!
I’ve just watched the “Where Are They Now” episode of Dragon’s Den, which once again, focuses a lot on The Angels and “Stand Up Eight” circus. Not only is it exciting to be involved with these CBC stars, but now I also get to say that a whole few seconds of my documentary work has been aired on CBC! (Because in the end, we all know this is all about ME! …Isn’t it??)
You can watch the entire episode on the Dragon’s Den site:
I’ve just come home from a visit to Kalamazoo and nobody at home believes me. I may as well have said I was going to Timbuktu or Lake Titicaca.
Kalamazoo happens to be the home base of a new, innovative circus and Kalamazoo should be proud.
Allison Williams of the world renown Aerial Angels is writer and director of STAND UP EIGHT, a theatrical circus show that brings you closer to the performers and sometimes right up onto the stage, along side them.
After a great deal of development and investment Allison and the Angel’s co-Artistic Director Zay Weaver got one final and dramatic boost into production when they appeared on the CBC’s reality show, The Dragon’s Den. They received a generous investment from W. Brett Wilson, Canada’s cutest blue-eyed zillionaire, with soft spot for entertainers.
(If you’ve seen CBC ads for either The Dragon’s Den or for CBC programming itself, chances are you’ve seen Allison and Zay. They were by far the coolest looking entrepreneurs to appear on the show, eating fire and tumbling from silks, and having the most teeth grittingly tense discussions of any I’ve ever seen aired on that program, ending in a few tears and some accusations of arrogance. The Aerial Angels, in my opinion have single-handedly provided the CBC with a season’s worth of promotional ads.)
I went to Kalamazoo with my video camera in tow, to film the process of this new show and its first few performances.
What does it take to start a theatrical circus show and get it rolling?
What sorts of people invest their talents and personal lives into it?
This documentary will introduce you to them.
Along with other creative projects working their way out, I hope to spend my summer piecing together a masterpiece that captures what I see developing down in Kalamazoo Michigan, and quickly spreading across the globe.
Art. Passion. Drive. Skill.
…Lots and lots of kittens.
(It’ll make sense.)
As a peculiar little side note: My aspiration to break out into documentary (as I am primarily an animation filmmaker) was what originally brought me to the world of variety performance. I had desired to make a film about the life of circus/sideshow/street performers many years ago. Realizing I knew little about either documentary or the lives of variety performers, I dropped that story to experiment in actually performing as a comic fire eater for a while. Allison Williams taught me how to light my tongue ablaze in the back alley of a street festival one summer in Toronto.
After a few years and some short edits of performance related video footage, I have now come full-circle with an inside scoop of the variety life and some documenting experience. I couldn’t have worked it out better if I had tried. …and I did try. Funny, that.
I’ve just finished the first promo video for Stand Up Eight Circus.
Filming and editing by Rachel Peters.
Second camera man, Dragon Alexander.
Stand Up Eight in 90 Seconds! For the busy business person who just doesn’t have time for 4 and-a-half minutes.
My [now annual] excursion to St. John’s NFLD was, as usual, a lovely time. I’ve found that in every trip to The Rock I seem to get tricked into being educated, in some way or another. This year at the St. John’s Int. Women’s Film Festival was no exception. From Irish sailors stopping in to port, to films about Holy Heart High School, to dark comedies about Newfoundland life — everything seems to be crammed full of culture. Everything also seems to be uphill and against the rain.
I ate cod tongue.
I have yet to be screeched in.
I spent Oct. 11th and 12th with seven junior high students, creating animation flipbooks and claymation shorts for the festival-sponsored workshop, “2D in 2Days”. I was truly impressed by the quality and understanding of animation these guys achieved in only two days and it excited me to try the workshop again. I had planned it all out two years ago, but this was my first time seeing it through to fruition.
The morning of Sunday, Oct 12th was spent in the CBC radio studio, with Angel Antle, on the Weekend Arts Magazine, talking of workshops, festivals, films (specifically mine, “Nagasaki Circus”) and fire eating.
Then, a little break and on to the festival! I actually got rather distracted during most of the festival and missed a great deal of the films and workshops I had wanted to attend. I ended up starting a flipbook of my own, having been inspired by my kids from the previous week, and I hid away for most of the week.
“Nagasaki Circus” screened on the 17th with the Moving Stories Film Festival, within the St. John’s Festival — A festival within a festival. Like an onion. Or a parfait.
Luckily, I missed my flight home because I was too busy dancing atop of Signal Hill with filmmaker, Irene Duma, so I was able to attend the closing ceremonies and the after party where I was able to meet people I had hidden from all week and shove some helium balloons down my shirt. See? It all works out.
I then garnered a solid three hours of sleep, woke up while the others were still wrapping up the party, and I caught my next flight off that precious stone.
Here’s what you should expect next:
I will be on the panel of one of these masterclasses, “Animating Books: From Page to Screen”
Come to the screening Wednesday, October 22, 7:00 PM, at Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street
Tickets, passes and info: 613.562.1243.
The brilliantly written and puppeted “Nagasaki Circus” will be screened, along with many others, including Paul Quarrington’s “Pavane”, which is a short adaptation of (or alternate angle to) his latest Gillar long-listed novel, “The Ravine”.
The “Animating Books: From Page to Screen” masterclass with Rachel Peters and Gary Thomas, Hosted by Chris Robinson, and Presented with the Ottawa Animation Festival will be held Thursday, October 23, 6:00 PM.
For more information about the Writers’ Festival and all of its events, visit: www.writersfestival.org
I’ve got MY bus ticket. Do you?