BOOK REVIEW in Clowning Around Magazine, World Clown Association
A Fool’s Guide to Clowning, Leslie Ann Akin
What do a folding tray table, an old telephone, a popcorn box, and a big bag of peanuts have in common? They are all used as props in some of the tried and true routines described in a recently published book, A Fool’s Guide to Clowning.
Author Leslie Ann Akin, aka Flower T. Clown, has been performing since the mid-70s. She has entertained for countless families, private businesses, and huge corporations. Leslie has toured with several circuses and has even performed at The White House! Leslie has been a teacher at Clown Camp and was a columnist for Laugh Makers Magazine for many years. After a long and successful career in clowning, Leslie continues to share her passion by sharing her experiences and mentoring new clowns.
This book was written for seasoned clowns who may want to learn something new, and for clowns with established makeup and wardrobe, who are ready to take the next step. It includes practical advice on how to organize your stuff, plan birthday party routines, and ways to relate to a big crowd. Ms. Akin offers specific details about funny routines you can adapt and use in your own clowning.
There are 22 intriguing chapters, some of which are—Wacky One-Liners, Tiny Knee Slappers, Whopping Warm-ups, Vanilla the Wondiferous Wonder Bunny, Clowns Taste Funny, and The Sole of a Clown.
Two chapters are dedicated to the value of landing and keeping a local restaurant gig. She offers excellent advice and guidelines on how to approach management, suggestions for scheduling, and how to make advertising work for you. Leslie freely shares her tried and true hints on how to successfully entertain patrons.
The book also includes an entire chapter of resources for supplies, educational opportunities, books, and on-line videos.
The bonus chapter, “The Performer’s Guide to Smart Business” offers many bits of advice that one can use right away.
Angel Ocasio had this to say about Leslie’s book, “When you’ve been in the business for over 30 years, like I have, you tend to get set in your ways and set aside some of the clown tools you’ve used before; those little things that kept you organized and focused. Leslie’s book, “The Fools Guide to Clowning” is filled with important information that will help you in the growth of your clowning if you are starting out. However, if you’ve been clowning for a while, this book is a wonderful reminder, or for me, a kick in the butt (with huge clown shoes), a reminder of the basics of clowning. As I read through the book I kept telling myself, “Oh yeah, I’ve forgotten that, or, that’s a cool idea, why am I not doing that?” This book is inspiring and motivating. I love how Leslie’s book goes into details on performing at picnic events and restaurants, both of which I’ve performed in. Some of the things described in her book I have done and some I wish I had done; I would have avoided some of those trial and error moments. I also enjoyed The White House story. It shows that we as clowns, no matter all the distractions, we should always be focused on the job at hand. Read the book, it’s great stuff.”
Kristi Parker, American Northeast Director
World Clown Association
Clowning Around Magazine, May 2018