Circus

Sublime nonsense: extended interview with Wet the Hippo's John Gilkey

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Note: this is an extended version of an interview that appears in this week's paper.
 
The sets are gone, and the costumes, and that giant blue-and-yellow tent. Master clown and performance maker John Gilkey has ended his fourth stint with Cirque du Soleil since 1996. But if the wiry, often wild-haired Gilkey and his Muppet-like mug are no strangers to the big time, they move just as ferociously through a bare stage in a small venue wearing not much more than, these days, a bushy beard.
 
It’s been three years since Gilkey last performed in San Francisco — flanked by comedians Alec Jones-Trujillo and Donny Divanian, the deadpan naïfs of his avant-comedy trio, We Are Nudes. Just as the very funny yet vaguely unnerving, off-center style of Nudes occupied some indeterminate territory between sketch comedy and Dadaist destruction, Gilkey’s latest venture — the Los Angeles–based eight-member improvisational ensemble known as Wet the Hippo — takes its audience beyond the usual endpoints of improv.

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"Charitable beer circus"? Is this a miracle?

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Come one, come all (unless you’re under 21) to Petaluma this Sat/20, and witness death-defying displays -- with a twist. A screw-top twist, that is (sorry). Attendees of the Lagunitas Beer Circus can “ooh” and “aah” at aerialist acts, laugh at outrageously face-painted clowns, watch a lithesome figure breathe fire or swallow swords, and gape at the magnificence of exotic burlesque dancers, all the while drinking the fine beers and sweet ales of Lagunitas. It'll be three rings of tastiness! And it's charitable.

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Get ready for Bonaparte

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So let’s just pretend I made a clever joke about Napoleon invading and just skip to the point: Bonaparte, an electro rock'n'roll circus led by an inspired madman, is hitting San Francisco for the first time next week (after playing SXSW and Dim Mak Studios in LA). Read more »