‘Bitch and Tell’, a vaudevillian comedy variety show at The Exit recently, included some fascinating individuals whose real lives seem more compelling than their act. One would have no idea of the depth and character behind these clowns, per se, but a look at their humanitarian bios is well worth it, particularly with young and lanky Lars Adams, the son of Patch Adams.
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Patch and Lars Adams, clowning to relieve suffering of the ill
If the name sounds familiar, Patch was a real life medical doctor who treated the poor in unconventional ways. Patch with perfect casting has been portrayed by Robin Williams in a commercially successful film, albeit panned critically. The film also starred Philip Seymour Hoffman. The film, released in 1998 on Christmas Day in the US, showed box office receipts of over 202 million dollars. The screenwriter based the script on the book written by Patch Adams about the medical clinic he founded with services provided with clowning. Gesundheit: Good Health Is a Laughing Matter by Patch Adams and Maureen Mylander. Some scenes took place on Treasure Island, a diner in Point Richmond and on campus at UC Berkeley.
Patch in real life had first committed himself to a mental institution where he decided to go to medical school. He found relieving suffering of others through his clowning also healed himself. Accordingly at medical school he clashed with the straight laced administration for thinking outside the box and treating patients with humor and clowning rather than clinically, as cases. It seems Patch appeared to settle down and conform but did so just to graduate, Robin Williams as Patch taking a bow at graduation and showing his bare ass under his gown. (warning, plot spoiler)
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So, like father like son. Lars Adams, a tall and lanky young man, donned a clown wig of ebullient yellow curls like a Shirley Temple doll gone mad. He was some kind of Scandinavian Viking in love with an entrancing soft sugary round poof with a hole in the middle, a doughnut. It may have entertained small children until the suggestive part but the segment had a really cute and sexy ending for any age. The scene left a lot of passionately mangled doughnut pieces on the theater floor, which producer Mary Alice happily helped sweep up afterward. Photos in the slideshow.
Mary Hicks, clown therapist of ‘Play Attention!’
Mary Hicks appeared after Lars Adams in another absurd and childlike piece where she played with plastic bags. Hicks created her own clown therapy program, which she calls ‘Play Attention!’. She danced merrily about with the coveted plastic bags now banned at most grocery stores for environmental reasons. She rolled and frolicked and danced and tossed them about like a little girl playing in new fallen snow. She studied clowning at the SF Clown Conservatory as did Lars Adams and a fellow performer that night, Drea Lusion.
Drea Lusion, dancing clown and mime
Drea Lusion performed a mesmerizing improv dance where her hippy clown partner, a Summer of Love man with wild red hair, narrated. She mimed along. Lusion, in a dancer’s leotard, danced as she acted out. She performed with extra long arms, made longer with gloves containing filler in the fingers. These came in handy when the male clown narrator suddenly discovers female gender attributes.
Bob McIntyre, waiter and comedian. ‘Please Wait to be Seated’
Bob McIntye, a wry gentleman with over thirty years of serving as a waiter in various diners, actually headlined the show with his monologue based on real life. He begins at the beginning, saying how he got hooked on immediate gratification. Not on diner food but on earning a dollar for running at his town’s bingo hall, delivering cigarettes to elderly ladies as a fourteen year old.
His town would be Jersey, from where he still nurtures some thick skinned attitude but not much dialect. McIntyre lives in San Francisco and still keeps his day job, as well as a great demeanor. He’s an affable and quirky man who weighs in at about 120 pounds, still on his feet and in his forties. He’s got a well-honed gift for being low key and establishing immediate rapor.
McIntyre evolves into a current day fixture who gets yelped by diner patrons. He’s on a roll with this one, making observations about real yelp reviews and comments such as: Waiter to patron, “Are you a cop? Because you arrested me two days ago.”. Catch him next with a show he’s producing far from the domestic and the kitchen. It’s Barbarella, the 1968 Jane Fonda space comedy adventure where an uninhibited and sexy young astronaut hunts for a space villain and meets many aliens.
Footloose and Mary Alice Fry
‘Bitch & Tell’ producer Mary Alice Fry is working with McIntyre on the full length book of ‘Please Wait to be Seated’. McIntyre is one of the professional and international performers Fry presents in this recurring show. The organization Footloose specializes in new and emerging artists and shows. Fry has been artistic director since 1982. She looks like a businesswoman or nice teacher, with shoulder length blond hair and a friendly, supportive and professional demeanor. The program Footloose is for nurturing young performers and it’s funded by grants from the SF hotel tax. Footloose has a new street address on Grove where it’s been for a year, near Civic Center BART. For more information: www.ftloose.org.