I recently had the honor of interviewing local clown and performer Jeff Raz (just back from a year-long tour with Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo). And, because—ever since I moved to the island eight ago—I have been pondering our island’s mystique, our island’s je ne sais quoi: What makes Alameda Alameda? I found Jeff’s response, as a world-traveling artist and Berkeley native, quite illuminating:
Growing up in Berkeley, Alameda was like the anti-Berkeley. This is the place where the base was and in our far-too-hip Berkeley teenage minds in the ‘70s this was the place to not be. I lived in the Mission for a long time–which is ground zero for new circus in vaudeville… And, like many people, we moved from San Francisco after we had a child and found that this is a pretty hospitable place to raise kids and be professional artists. And so now, living here, it’s actually an incredibly diverse community, with lots of very interesting and dedicated people. It’s also an island and you can actually get things done.
Speaking of getting things done, Jeff has been involved with the creation of the Circus for the Arts in the Schools, a world-class show and fundraiser. This year’s Circus will light up the stage with two shows at Kofman Auditorium on Sunday, April 27.