Northern California Public Media’s Word By Word: Conversations With Writers host Gil Mansergh wanted to juggle things up a bit, so our first guest for 2019 is the internationally renowned juggler, clown, teacher, playwright and author Jeff Raz.
Jeff began his career at 15 as a street juggler in Berkeley. A graduate of Dell’Arte International, he has performed in le Cirque du Soleil), and Broadway plays, including Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors. He co-founded Vaudeville Nouveau in 1982, the S.F. New Vaudeville Festival in 1985, The New Pickle Family Circus in 1993, The Circus Center Clown Conservatory in 2000 and the Medical Clown Project in 2010.
His first book, The Secret Life of Clowns: A backstage tour of Cirque du Soleil and the Clown Conservatory, was launched at the Smithsonian in 2017. On today’s show, Jeff talks about his latest book, The Snowclown; Cartwheels On Borders From Alaska to Nebraska, a creative nonfiction book inspired by Jeff’s eye-opening, and soul searching trips to teach and “clown around” in Alaska and Nebraska from the late 70’s to the late 90’s.