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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Clowning around never gets old


Beatrice "B-Noz" Koza paints on the face of Jack Meyers of Park Ridge at Mayslake Village in Oak Brook.

FROM: The Chcago Tribune

Clowning around knows no age limit. Both young and old enjoy a bit of silliness now and then and, really, who ever gave much thought to the age of a clown?
Harry McCullagh, 79, of Stickney, has been performing as "Max" the clown for 44 years now and has a youthful attitude when it comes to clowning.
"I'm not old," he says. "I feel like I'm 40 years old. I think I'm having fun all of the time. I don't say 'Oh, it's a lot of work being a clown.' I can leave my clown makeup on for 10 hours a day and it wouldn't bother me."
Underneath the makeup and hilarity are seniors who thoroughly enjoy the art of clowning and want to keep it alive for generations.
Brookfield resident Lynda Miller, 74, created the La Grange-based West Suburban Clown Club in 1984. Miller, who goes by her clown persona "Toot-Toot," taught a clown class at Lyons Township High School in La Grange for 12 years. In her class, students wanted to know how to get together and explore clowning, so Miller formed the group.
The group has about 40 members who come from Oak Lawn, Berwyn, Cicero, Willowbrook and Hinsdale. Some of the membership comes from Triton College's Triton Troupers Circus, a River Grove-based nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving circus arts.
While the group attracts all ages, between 10 and 15 members are seniors, Miller explains.
"You're never too old to learn new tricks," Miller says with a laugh. "We have fun.
People can't sit in front of a computer and say that they have nothing to do. Get out there and do it. Find line dancing or clowning or something to do. The do-nothing days are over."
Meeting the second Monday of the month at the La Grange-based Meadowbrook Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation facility, members develop friendships and learn about costuming, face painting, balloon art and juggling.
The group shares its talents including a recent appearance at a busy ice cream social at Mayslake Village in Oak Brook. Mayslake is a nonprofit corporation that provides affordable housing for low-to moderate-income seniors.
Reminiscent of an old-fashioned circus atmosphere, clowns "Toot-Toot" and "Max" worked the room creating balloon art, engaging in light conversation, and encouraging the residents and visiting families to do a chicken dance.read more at:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/special/primetime/chi-primetime-clown-090711,0,1843247.story

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