June 2016
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
« Dec   Jul »

Month June 2016


Now I live in Ljubljana, a city I’ve been a visitor to for a few years going. As a visitor I visit friends, drink some coffees, teach workshop on masks, talk about the workshop on masks, walk through night time streets guided by intuition alone. But now that I live here, I’m a lot less active.


What happened?

When I moved here in April I was ready to work. I had three months worth of visa waiver to rest on until I got a long term visa and could start working. Three months felt like more than enough time to get my long-term, it felt like an eternity. Unfortunately it was the purgatory kind of eternity.

You see, my application for a visa has been held up for two and a half months in the some ministry office waiting for who knows what kind of approval before they can pass it on to me and I’ll get to pass on to the next echelon of the process. It’s given me a lot of time to freak out about plan B, plan B. Because when you’re in visa approval purgatory there’s no chance of working. Not legally or even illegally. Who is going to take some one on who ends their pseudo-interview chat with, “it’s funny you should ask but no, my visa application is still in process.”


So what are you going to do?

I’m not making any money yet, but I’ve got a few projects to keep me busy. Casey and Barbara, two good friends from Helikos will be here in a few weeks and we’ll get working on a show they want to make. It will have something to do with birds.

As I was setting this site back up I looked back through the archives a bit to check that all the photos are showing up OK. I came across two posts that caught my eye as references in one way or another to this nebulous idea kicking around in my head about a bird show.

The first one is this cool dude. I was in Chicago when I posted this but I don’t know how I found it.

The second I found when I was at Helikos and thinking more specifically about masks. That’s these animal illustrations on human faces by Charlotte Caron. Seeing them again I think they’re an excellent scale for the human face.

The Sleeping Giant

The following is a transcript of a story I told for some 5-8 year olds in East Helena at the very end of 2015.

I’m going to tell you a story about right here. It’s a story from a long time ago, before we had houses around here, before we had roads around here. But there were still a lot of people who lived here. And one day they heard a sound.

Boom boom boom! BOOM!

Sleeping-GiantIt was so loud, everybody was so scared. There was an old man who said, “I know what that sound is, that’s the sound of the snow falling off the trees.” Everybody looked at him and said, the snow falling off the trees? It’s spring all the snow is melted, there’s no snow to..”

Boom Boom Boom!

A little old lady said “I know what that is, that’s the sound of buffalo running through the valley, it’s so loud it sounds like thunder.” Everybody looked at her. “The buffalo don’t come in the springtime, everybody knows they run in the fall…”

Boom Boom Boom!

All along standing in the back there was a little girl and she was looking to the east, beyond the mountains to the horizon.

Happy Reboot Everyone

I’d like to post here and give a little introduction to the new-old astroblastro.com.

IMG_9678 I’ve kept a blog for about 14 years. That sounds pretty crazy but when I count it all out starting in 2002 when I was at college to now? My fingers tell me thats 14 years. This blog that you see is only about 6 years old. I used to run it as kvncsy.com but now I use that url for my portfolio and here we are.

I learned a lot getting this back online. Or I’ve learned a lot since I make a back up and took it off line. I was able to get the old database out of the zip file on my hard drive and up onto a new server. Then I reinstalled WordPress and made it all link up. It went quickly, but only because I’ve been working on webstuff for Ed and Mary’s Mountain for the past few weeks. (Sneak peek.) That’s all a bit boring to go into the point is, Astroblastro.com is back online! Alive!

So what’s up with this place?

Why is all the type so small?

It’s too small for me too. I wanted to change the standard typeface on here to one I like better. Meanwhile, it shrunk everything. I’m working on it.

That’s an ugly astronaut!

I always liked how I could change colors on this site and now that it’s astro themed I thought I could add some Major Tom slides up there too. It’s rough looking I know. That’s what I wanted.

Sometimes I click a picture and it goes to a 404!

This is a bug with changing the URL for the site. All the pictures should display, but those links are still bad. There’s some way I can find and replace it in mysql but I don’t want to mess that crap up. So deal with it for now please.

This site looks like dog food on my phone.

I know. Me too. But you know what? I don’t know how to make that better. This is an old-ass theme. It’s fixed width and the iPhone version is terrible. I guess it will just have to be a part of the charm of the place. Also, sorry.


So what’s up with you?

Oh, thanks for asking. I’m living in Ljubljana now where I make theater and train storytellers. I’m here with the love of my heart and life of my blood Ilgaz Ulusoy. We came here as artistic nomads seeking a good life making art. The major projects that brought us here haven’t started yet, but it feels so damn close.

In the meantime she and I are going to be in a summer festival here, we’ll tell a story about love. It’s a good one. Not too sweet, but just right.

Casey and Barbara from Helikos are coming here next month and I’ll work with them on a new show. A bird show. More on that later I’m sure. Plus plus plus…


Benda Masks

W.T. Benda was a Polish American making masks in the 1920s and 1930s. He was as famous as mask makers get in his time or ours. His masks were in Hollywood movies, on Broadway and in magazines. He was also an illustrator and a graphic artist too, producing classic magazine covers for Collier’s, McCall’s, Ladies’ Home Journal, Good Housekeeping and many others. But as his career progressed he got deeper into mask making, eventually publishing a book that details some of his theories and his mask making process. It’s called “Masks.”


There are very few books available on the art of mask making, so I was fascinated when I heard of his. But it’s been out of print since it was published in 1944 and I couldn’t find much about it online except for a few low-res images and some Amazon resellers listing it for sixty bucks and more.

Public Library to the Rescue!

Imagine my surprise then when I found the book listed as available through interlibrary loan from the Lewis and Clark Public Library. Interlibrary loan is like the internet before the internet. I remember learning about it in middle school, back in the days before the internet was as awesome as it is now.

I put my middle school knowledge to the test. I ordered that bad boy. Waited four weeks for it to arrive and finally I had my hands on it. It’s a beautiful little brown book, 100 plus pages, lots of illustrations. And it’s funny.

But all this is beside the point. The point is, I scanned it in and put it online. Now it’s available for anyone to download.

Isn’t that Illegal?

I don’t know if it is. But if it is, it shouldn’t be. It’s a rare book full of relevant material out of print for decades. Why not share it? It’s the best kind of file sharing if you ask me.

MASKS – Benda.pdf (68.5 MB)

Here is is. You click that and you’ll be taken to MegaUpload. It looks kind of shady, I know, but it’s safe. I mean, it’s from New Zealand!

Enjoy that beautiful book.


The world’s first circus elephant

As a symbol of the circus, elephants are right up there with clowns and the flying trapeze. But recently the Ringling and Barnum and Baliey’s Circus announced that it would phase out it’s elephant performers by 2018, allowing them to be retired to an elephant park the circus set up in 1996.


Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, still keeps 43 elephants, 13 of which are performing. But years of pressure from activists alleging abuse have caused a “mood shift” among consumers, circus executive Alana Feld told The Associated Press, and the Feld family would rather spend money on elephant care than lawyers. The Felds say they’ll phase out elephant acts by 2018 as the remaining performers retire to their 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation in central Florida. (from AP News)

America’s first circus elephant was captured in East Africa as a calf and and shipped around Europe’s zoos for years. Jumbo the elephant grew up fast. By the time he was displayed in London he was larger than any known African elephant, measuring eleven feet tall at the shoulder. Certainly the largest Elephant on display in the world.

Most zoos and menageries at the time preferred the smaller Asian elephant. African elephants had a reputation for being dangerously wild and out of control. Apart from his size the other thing that set Jumbo apart was his calm and docile behavior around spectators, including children. But as he aged he began to show signs of a dangerous temperament. Afraid that their main attraction would wind up hurting someone, the London zoo sold Jumbo to PT Barnum for ten thousand dollars in 1881. (That’s about two hundred thirty thousand in today’s dollars.)

Elephants never forget

Everyone has to have a favorite animal when they are a child. African elephants were my favorite for a long time. I think the first image of an elephant I ever saw was a large poster of Jumbo that hung on a basement wall at the Grandstreet theater. It was there for years hanging next to the telephone and across from the pop machine. I was fascinated by the little hairs on his head, his cold eye, and all those kids on his back. Was it even possible that he was so big? “No,” my father told me, “he was big but he wasn’t that big.”


There is something magical but so dark about the image. The brutality of his truncated tusks and those chains. I remember going to the circus when I was a kid and getting to ride the elephant there with PJ and Ed. I remember her dusty dry skin, curious snotty trunk covered in thick bristles and the chains around her feet. That was the first time I saw the horrible spike/hook on a stick that the trainers use to get the elephants to go where they want. It horrified me. Such a beautiful animal, moving with a melancholy grace getting jabbed and prodded by some jerk with a stick. It wasn’t fair!

I loved the circus but I couldn’t stand seeing the abuse. So eventually I refused to go to any circus with animal shows and I avoided them all together until a few years ago I persuaded my family to go see a Mexican circus when we were vacationing in Belize. I could have missed that one too. Nothing had changed. Still just as inhumane as I’d remembered. But still, that stick. I’m happy that they are letting the elephants finally rest. It’s about time.