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Topic: Rare!!! Harley Newman lecture/workshop
Message: Posted by: Caveat Lector (Nov 28, 2006 11:32AM)
Greetings fellow Magi,
This is a notice to let all of you that on December 12th The Al Baker Assembly #35 will be holding a very special meeting/workshop with Guinness Book of World Records holder Harley Newman. This lecture will be something like you have probably never seen before. Not only will Harley discuss his own spectacular escapes but he will be helping with your own. Please bring a note book and pen, because there will be no lecture notes available after the show. Harley gives his away for free by letting you take you own notes. Also, he has asked that you bring with you any escape devices that might have so he can help you with your existing routine or help create a new one. So come one, come all, this is your chance to learn from one of the best. If you ever wanted to learn anything about the art of escape or add that new effect to your show this will be the lecture to see. For those of you who might not be too familiar with this man here is a little something about him.

At birth, doctors wondered whether Harley would survive. They still wonder. Harley's first professional job was as the mascot for the Indianapolis Clowns Baseball Team, a group of back lot barnstormers who crisscrossed the US and Canada in a ramshackle old airport limousine. They were doled out $5 a day in food money. And Harley was the highest paid member of the crew. He made $25 per game, putting firecrackers under unsuspecting umpires, sneaking up on opposing-team batters and holding their bats, and generally creating mayhem.

He toured for a couple of seasons with Hoxie Brothers Circus. Harley recalls "You know those times when everything in the world is exactly the way it should be? One of mine is standing under a tent in the middle of a circus ring, smelling the remains of the elephant droppings from the last show, smelling the grass that's been trampled by the audience, hearing the lions roaring, because it's sunset and that's what lions do at sunset, seeing the audience holding their bellies, hearing them laugh so hard because I'm just standing there, completely oblivious to the fact that my pants have fallen down." "When you work for a circus, you do more than one thing. I was also an outside talker. I had to convince people to buy sideshow tickets. I lived in a trailer with a number of other performers: Princess Margaret Ann, a midget, the Baron, sword-swallower and fire-eater, and a few others," Harley said. "That's where I really cut my teeth, performing."

In the early 80's, Harley began to drift away from slapstick comedy, to create a performance that combines escapes and traditional sideshow stunts. But he's taken some of the stunts much farther than his predecessors.

"With a bed of nails, for example," said Harley, "the traditional performer would have one or two people stand on him, and have a concrete block broken on his belly with a sledgehammer. I usually have as many people standing on me as there is room for feet, including on my face. And I have blocks broken on my belly and face." Harley also has two world records: minimum number of nails in a bed of nails (four nine-inch spikes), and weight on top of someone on a bed of nails, over 1,700 pounds. "I'll do a ton next," he says.

Harley's interest in escapes is longstanding, but he doesn't like to do things that everyone else does. He does the now-classic straitjacket escape, but usually does it while riding a unicycle through the audience. He's also done it hanging upside down from cranes and helicopters, with and without burning ropes. He picks combination locks with his teeth, feeling the numbers with his tongue. Harley's been tied with ropes by sailors, mountain climbers, cowboys, and members of a US Army interrogation unit. None could hold him. He gets audience members to wrap him in over a quarter-mile of plastic food wrap, with just a snorkel for breathing, and then to jam a cork into the snorkel, cutting off his air. People panic. "They think I'm going to die! It's OK," he says, "100% of the people who eat cheese, die. Why should I be any different?" And yes, he eats cheese, "especially with a good apple!"

Harley's web site is: Entering the Harley Newman Webspace

This event will take place on December 12th 2006 at The Al Baker Assembly #35 in Poughkeepsie NY @ the Central Hudson Building 245 South Road. The meeting begins promptly at 7:30PM. For more information or directions please email us: SAM , or go to our we site at: SAM #35 Main Page I look forward to seeing all of our members out that night and hopefully some others from the surrounding assemblies. Please pass this on to all of your member and any other assembly that would be interested in this event.

Until Anon,

John Shaw