Thursday, June 30, 2011

Solstice Fun

When you hear the crowd roar, they’ve arrived. Coming and going in an endless stream of bicycles, back and forth they strut their stuff – usually covered in paint using their bodies as a canvas for their creative muse. It’s living art. Some hardly seem nude. My favorites were the black and white symbiotic sisters, one with white dots over black, the other with black dots over white. Then the parade follows with all sorts of craziness. The giant octopus made me smile the widest.

Fremont was made for the Solstice Parade

Everyone in Seattle knows the Fremont neighborhood is whacky fun. Its most famous elements are the 18 ft troll that lives under the Aurora bridge, the 16 ft statue of Lenin someone personally imported after the fall of the USSR, the Interurban statue of people dressed up by whoever in whatever, the Brontosaurus and her baby dinosaur sculptured by some bushes down by the canal, or the building I can see from my porch that has a pinwheel on its roof. It’s all whimsical fun.

Then there are the constant stream of happenings – some planned annually, some newly formed, some spontaneously created. Such as the time last December on my walk to the market, I encountered throngs of Santa’s, seeming to be a cross between a pub-crawl and a flash mob. They took over Fremont.

The zombie parade has now had two annual events here.

Every summer we have an outdoor cinema using the blank white wall of one building, flanked by oversized portraits of Bogie and Bergman.

But the madness culminates every June with the Solstice Parade. All of Seattle comes to revel, participate, play, go wild, whatever. The highlight being the mass of nude bicyclists who now number in the hundreds.

I moved here for very different reasons: the large old growth trees that line my street coupled with a spectacular vista of the Olympic Mountains.

But it can’t be denied I’ve had plenty of laughs while living in Fremont, the self-proclaimed Center of the Universe.

The brochure says “It’s a place to let your inner spite out to play”.

The truth is I never know what I’m going to encounter when I head out my door. Keep me laughing Fremont!

Photo: Wikimedia

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Friends make you Laugh

Dr. Robert Provine cites friendship as the number one source of laughter.

In his book, Laughter A Scientific Investigation, he explains that after spending hours and hours observing how and why and when people laugh, he found that laughter most often occurs just being with the people we like and having a good time, i.e. being with our friends.

Several years ago Time Magazine dedicated an entire issue to the subject of Happiness. They also reported friends as the #1 source of happiness.

Keep friendships alive in your life. They’re a major source of laughter.

Photo: My friend Cathy

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Big Man

I adored Clarence Clemons.

The Big Man with the Big Presence and the Big Smile!

Bruce Springsteen’s longtime saxophone player and treasured friend passed away yesterday. Springsteen called it an “overwhelming loss”.

In a 2003 Associated Press interview Clemons stated “I have no agenda – just to be loved”. How beautiful. I believe he was very loved.

I couldn’t find a copyright free photo with his huge smile, which is crazy because to me that was his signature look. If you peruse his photos online, he’s either smiling huge or he’s got a sax in his mouth.

By those who knew him, Clemons was called “a sweet spirit” and “ an enormous presence”. He was someone whose mere name “brought a smile to our face”.

AP reports today that “Unlike many musicians Springsteen and Clemons were more interested in the heart and substance rather than the glamour of the music”.* I couldn’t agree more.

Blessings on your journey home Big Man Clarence!

*N. Moody

Photo: Wikimedia

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Laughing Statues

Giant laughing men are taking over Vancouver, B.C.

They are huge, cast-bronze statues depicting the artist himself (Chinese artist Yue-Minjun) in various poses of hysterical laughter. Some are doubled over. Some are making silly gestures with hands. Some are interacting to incite laughter. They are truly over the top.

I recently discovered this interactive outdoor art exhibit. I encourage anyone who is going to Vancouver to seek them out. They are in Morton Park in English Bay and the exhibit is called “A-maze-ing Laughter”. They should be there until the summer. (Yikes, that’s almost now!) If you can’t visit them, find them on the Internet. They are truly unique and worth the laugh.

One writer refers to them as “laughing madmen”.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Magic Flute

“Enlightenment is useless without a sense of humor.”

So says Phil Kelsey, who plays the magic bells in the orchestra at Seattle Opera’s recent performance of Mozart’s Magic Flute.

It’s a playful magical opera deeply lain with Masonic undertones. It’s an opera about the healing power of music as well as an homage to silliness. Seriousness and playfulness are two themes continually juxtaposed throughout this masterpiece. The initiation rites of one princely prince and his soon-to-be princess are coupled with the antics of one goofy birdman, called Pappageno, who cares only about women, wine and the fun easy things of life.

It is said that in this opera Mozart identified the most with Pappageno.

Pappageno is the silliest character in all of opera. He makes this opera fun and light. He brings silliness and joy and laughter. He wears feathers. He jumps and spins when he’s excited. At times he can hardly contain himself. He shakes wildly with ecstasy when he finally meets his Pappagena. And they go on to procreate little green-haired babies.

Pappageno would be great fun at my laughter club. He’d embrace silliness as the best part of life. He shows what we all might feel from time to time but are too inhibited to act it out.

Photo: Seattle Opera/Rosarii Lynch

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Humor vs Laughter

“What did one earthquake say to the other? It’s not your fault.”

“What’s the difference between a Rottweiler and a Jewish mother? Eventually the Rottweiler lets go.”

One joke is harmless; the other offensive? Possibly. For me, they both made me laugh. But with humor, you’ve got to be careful not to offend. Humor is a tricky game. It’s one reason why we stick only with laughter in Laughter Yoga. It offends no one. It goes straight to the desired result – laughter.

Photo: Laughter Yoga International