Variety Performance is Growing

There are more and more event producers seeking variety performers for their shows.  Many of them have produced burlesque exclusively but are expanding the kind of entertainment in their shows.  This is good for everyone; however, what they consider variety usually involves circus or vaudeville type acts.  They of course do not define what they mean by vaudeville acts.  VaudVil hopes define what this means.  A vaudeville act could be any kind of performance art.  It could be standup comedy, an actor reciting a monologue, someone who juggles and uses the balls to play the piano while he juggles…anything!

What these producers are likely searching for is something that has not been seen or done before.  It is very easy to find a standup comedian but how often do you find a comedy duo?  What about comedians who also play guitars during their act?  Where are the Abbott & Costello type comedians?  Where are the Smothers Brothers type comedians/musicians?  Where are any ventriloquists?  These are not likely found in Tucson and probably not in Phoenix either.  How does one nurture this kind of performance art?  Where are the people who are interested in learning these kinds of performance art?

VaudVil is going through a rough year but we hope to find ways to help would-be performance artists learn new trades and crafts.  There are few magicians in southern Arizona (I am only aware of four and only know of three who actually get work).  But again the question is how does one nurture this kind of performance art?  We at VaudVil are currently researching all the things we need to have buskers in Tucson.  Busker is a fancy word for street performers.  This will hopefully encourage more variety performers to crawl out of the woodwork and enhance the entertainment of Tucson and southern Arizona.

Branding Tips for Individuals and Businesses

What is Branding?  Branding is a person’s gut feeling about a person, place, or product.  Brands can be positive or negative and people opinions of a brand can change over time.  Branding yourself or your business can involve many things, such as; slogans and trademarks, online presence, and social media usage.  How you or your business interacts with the public is also a major part of branding.  Your customer service can create a positive or negative brand so it is always important to strive for excellent customer service.

It is important in branding to describe what you do in as few words as possible.  This is not a slogan or catchphrase.  Try to develop a short phrase around two to five words that sums up yourself or your business.  For example; when people ask me about what VaudVil is, I tell them it is “Tucson’s Source for Variety Entertainment!”  The worst that could happen when I tell people this is they may ask “What is variety entertainment?”  Another example; you have an Italian restaurant, someone asks what you do and you say “Authentic Italian Cuisine.”  Too easy!  You can develop a catchphrase or a slogan to build upon your brand, think of Nike’s “Just Do It,” but you first have to figure out what it is that you or your business does.

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What Inspires Me

I was raised by the nightmares of my parents.  Quite literally, I was born into the darkness; molded by it.  That first glimmer of light within me did not occur until I was already a man.

My mother faced sexual assault at an early age from her own father and later developed Dissociative Identity Disorder.  My father faced the onslaught of hatred from African American teenagers because he was white while living on the poor side of town in the late 1960s.  He was five-years-old when Martin Luther King was shot.  My father’s brother’s life ended too soon on Christmas Day, 1984 because of a mistake that never should have been made.

These are just a select few of the horrors I grew up hearing.  Then my own battles and horrors began.  A lifelong struggle of understanding and a search for purpose have been the motivation and inspiration for me to change the world for the better.  I studied theater and feel a strong connection with performance and self expression.  Am I the best?  No, but that is not what self expression is about.  It is about creating something.  The opposite of war is not peace but creation.  Creating something channels that darkness into something good.

My identity is unusual.  I am an asexual, masculine male with high functioning anxiety.  My goals and achievements are literally all I have.  Yes, I have friends and acquaintances but few of them understand my own drive.  I want to create a better world with fewer nightmares and more dreams coming to reality.  I can achieve this through theater and self expression.  As a mad scientist once said, “Don’t dream it – Be it!”

I am a Writer

I have been writing for almost fifteen years.  I really feel this is one of my strongest skills.  I believe I am good at many things.  When it comes to writing, I feel great.  Have I been professionally published?  No.  Have I sold lots of stories and made money from my writing?  Not really.  Have I self-published and sold a few to people who were not friends or family?  Kind of I guess.  It is not an easy market to jump into but I believe I have been writing long enough and have acquired enough knowledge and skill to really change the world through writing.

If you are reading this than I have already succeeded in one small way.  Who knew that was all it took?  It does not matter how much money one makes, or how many times one is published.  That is the business of writing, yes, but that is not what makes a great writer.  I can insert a couple of popular contemporary writers who are simply terrible.  I do not think this is the fault of the writer but more of the editor and the agent for not working to make the writing better.  That is the purpose of agents and editors, to make the story or book marketable and profitable.  That is all.

So, with the marketable/profitable angle, I am in no way successful.  From the artist perspective, I have made a small impact on a few people.  That is the purpose for any artist; to make people feel something.  It does not matter what it is if the person has some feeling from the artist’s work.  It could be anger, happiness, melancholy, ambivalence, whatever…  I recently realized this was, on a small scale, the purpose of human interaction.  We are here to make each other fell something.

People have spent centuries trying to discover what it all means.  I think the poets, painters, sculptures, writers, and any other artists are closer than anyone else.  The purpose of life is to create and to feel.  Unfortunately, everyone just wants to be numb and destroy everything.  Now more than ever does the world need painters and poets and any other artists.  Now more than ever does the world need to create and to feel.  It is in emotions that we are reminded of our humanity.  It is creation that brings out the best in everyone.  So, I write.

When I feel something strongly, I write.  When I cannot find the words, I write.  I do not always write about what has transpired but when I write something, when I create something, it brings out the best I have and makes me feel like I have a purpose.  While I don’t know what it is exactly, I have a divine life purpose.  I have a soul mission.  I have a reason for being and I think it involves writing.  Maybe most of you will not read this.  Maybe most of you in the world will ignore anything I can offer.  That will never stop me from writing because sometimes writing is the only thing I have.

The State of Entertainment in Tucson

Entertainment is a very broad term.  Before we can appropriately analyze this we have to be more specific of what exactly we are talking about.  When I discuss entertainment in Tucson, I am not referring to sports, I am not referring to national tours, I am not referring to seminars or festivals, I am not referring to films or movie theaters, and I am not referring to contests.  So what am I referring to?

We are talking specifically about the local entertainment and local talent right here in Tucson, AZ.  We are talking about local musicians, local singers, local actors, local dancers, local performers, and local entertainment.  Over the last five years there has been a surge of local talent in Tucson and it continues to grow every year.  Tucson has become a hub for Burlesque performance.  One can easily throw a rock and hit three people who perform or have performed burlesque at a local bar or other venue in Tucson.  And that is the problem.  There are so many performers but not enough shows or venues for all of them to perform.

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