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Night Howl
By Karen Reardanz

[whitespace] The Flying Karamazov Brothers
Paul Boyer

Hear No Evil: The Flying Karamazov Brothers juggle entertaining the Palookaville audience with raising funds for the New Old Time Chautauqua's summer gigs on Thursday.

Go for the Juggler:
Juggling and grassroots organization make for a night of old-school edutainment

GRASSROOTS TAKES ON AN ENTERTAINING DEFINITION when the New Old Time Chautauqua introduces Santa Cruz to its melding of vaudeville, theater, music and comedic antics. The Chautauqua's touring conglomerate features a revolving handful of musicians, jugglers, clowns and stilt walkers--you know, your average entertainers--that band together a few times a year to bring a world of cultural enrichment to those not normally exposed to it.

The Chautauqua pulls into Palookaville this Thursday, featuring the juggling talents of The Flying Karamazov Brothers. This quartet helped found the Chautauqua touring group in the '80s, basing it on the 19th- and 20th-century groups that toured the country presenting lectures, dance, music and drama.

"We were interested in combining entertainment and education and bringing it to smaller towns," says Howard J. Patterson, resident Karamazov Brother. "We provide entertainment but also offer workshops and lectures on things like alternative energy, organic gardening and things that may not be available to those living in smaller places."

Each summer, the group singles out a particular area and brings its particular brand of enlightened entertainment there. This summer, the gang finds its way to the wilds of Alaska.

Patterson says the New Old Time Chautauqua puts on events like Thursday's Palookaville show throughout the year to raise funds for these summer shows. Organizers initially wanted to make the shows free so everyone could experience what they had to offer, but soon "found people wouldn't go because they'd think that if it's a free show, it must be bad," laughs Patterson. "Now we charge a few dollars so people will show up."

The Flying Karamazov Brothers are well-known in the stage community for putting on hip and happening shows, combining the studied dexterity of a Zen master with the energy and hilarity of circus clowns. Methodically flinging airborne items more adult than your average juggler's bowling pin (the Brothers past juggled liver, Jell-O and a dead octopus), this foursome also incorporates its adoration of music into its latest show, Sharps, Flats and Accidentals.

Incorporating tunes by composers from Bach and Beethoven to Cole Porter, they create a series of productions that show the musicality of their beloved art form. "Juggling is rhythmic activity on its own," says Patterson. "So we add a musical element to the visual act of juggling and make the visual aspect of music more apparent."

The Brothers will perform bits from this production, as well as past and future shows, on Thursday when it joins up with the rest of the New Old Time Chautauqua (Martin and Jessica Ruby Simpson, Gregangelo the Whirling Circus Dervish, Fighting Instruments of Karma, Fon du Caniveaux & Amis, and Bee Jay Joyer, Diablo) at Palookaville, 1133 Pacific Ave., SC. The show starts at 8pm, and tickets cost $10. For more info, call 454-0600.


There are still tickets left for the March 6 and both March 8 shows of UCSC's production of Carmina Burana.

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From the February 26-March 4, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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