This August ClownZero held their first ever Super Hero Clown Activist Camp at the Possibility Alliance in LaPlata, Missouri. The camp consisted of a weeklong intensive in the study of clowning, performance and peace activism taught by Dan Griffiths and myself, Danielle Conover, founders of ClownZero and Ethan Hughes, one of the founders of the Possibility Alliance. The Possibility Alliance is an off the grid education center, farm, sanctuary and superhero headquarters located in the beautiful soft rolling hills of northeastern Missouri.
Who are the superheroes you ask!
The Superheroes are a group of activists and citizens from all over the country who converge a few times a year to ride bikes in superhero costumes through the United States. Their mission is to serve the different communities they visit in any way they can when they arrive. That’s it! No political agenda! No financial incentive! This is really just community service, peace activism and dress up! You can find out more information about the superheroes by doing a google search or asking around until you find a real live superhero. There are lots! You never know, you might already know one.
The possibility Alliance is a place that grew out of the superhero idea/reality. It is an 80- acre piece of land dedicated to the practice of radical simplicity, peace making and sustainability. Check out this article to read more about what those things really mean to the folks at the PA:
Oh and this one too:
So Dan and I met Ethan (one of the founding members of the Possibility Alliance) because we used to live at Dancing Rabbit Eco-Village, which is about a 45-minute drive from the Possibility Alliance. We got together just as fellow communitarians to share ideas and learn from each other and we discovered that our mission to bring humanitarian clowning to all parts of the world for the relief of different communities and individuals in crisis was really beautifully in line with the mission and principles of the Possibility Alliance. So the three of us sat down for about 2 hours last June and drew out a rough sketch of a weeklong workshop culminating in a public performance that would benefit the community of LaPlata Missouri.
Then, in August, 20 Students from all over the country and all over the world (we had a student from Montreal and one of our students lives part of the year in Thailand!) gathered under a giant elm tree and started a very condensed and intense week of learning, laughing, vulnerability, service and peace making that was truly spectacular.
Throughout the week we practiced the absurdity and vulnerability of clown through physical exercises led by Dan. I taught some classes that focused on the emotional and vocal realms in performance, and Ethan gave us inspired examples of all the different kinds of peace activism one can practice. He also led us through a very moving and hilarious superhero initiation as the sun went down and we all turned into otherworldly silhouettes in our first incarnations of our superhero characters. Quite a sight to behold I’m sure.
Towards the end of the week, we spent on a day of superhero/clown activism /reality bonking /service in Kirksville, Missouri where we visited the Twin Pines Adult Care Center for a performance of clowning, acrobatics, music and juggling. We then headed out to the Truman State Campus for some reality bonking…We showed up in different classrooms unannounced…we started impromptu dance parties in the courtyards. We asked people to tell us their dreams and danced and sang for them to come true!
It was quite a day. We were all very tired superheroes upon our return to the Possibility Alliance.
Then on Saturday we performed our final show at the Silver Rails event center in La Plata. The show was billed as the “Clown Extravaganza Ice cream Social” and it was for the benefit of the Friends of La Plata Preservation Society. There were literally 20 gallons of homemade ice cream at this thing. And about 20 sheet cakes as well. The men and women from the preservation society all got together to make the cake and ice cream. It was delicious… the whole experience.
The show was totally packed full of really great acts put together by our clown superhero students. In the middle of the final show I remember thinking “wow, they are really good!” I don’t know why I was surprised, but I had a genuine sense of being truly impressed with them. They really got it! And the audience loved it too! They were a joy to perform for. Oh yeah, there were about 200 people at this show! La Plata has a total population of 1500, so we did good I think.
And that very evening, while we mingled and stuffed ice cream in our faces and started to clean up, some of our clowns and superheroes snuck out of the Silver Rails and walked down the street to the to the La Plata Nursing Home where they sang songs and shared stories with the residents. It turns out that they were supposed to come to our show but their bus broke down or some such inconvenience and they couldn’t make it. So we got a call and half of us decided to bring the show to them afterwards. I hear it was very well received and lots of fun for our clowns.
It was a fantastic week, all of our students where incredible performers and beautiful superheroes. And everyone we met along the way was so generous and supportive of what we were doing. It felt really great to bring such absurdness and levity and joy to the people you see everyday and never get to connect with. Somehow deciding that you are a superhero or a clown can alter the universe just enough to connect, play and discover things about your world and your community that you never thought you needed to know.
A warm thanks to all the clowns and I hope we can do it again next year!
If you’re interested in the Superhero Clown Camp or the Superhero Bike Ride, please email us at email@example.com or contact the Possibility Alliance @
28408 Frontier Lane
La Plata, MO 63549