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December 05, 2016
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Send in the clowns

An art exhibit, “Through the Eyes of Wendell M. Upchurch,” illustrates the artist’s “obsession” with both clowns and self-portraits. This piece is titled “Missing Eye” and is currently on display at the River Market in Barryville, NY.
TRR photos by Jonathan Fox

Naturally, Dharma (www.facebook.com/DharmaTheWonderDog) was with me and as usual, the belle of the ball. Ironically her breed (Havanese) is known as one of many “clown dogs” for their ability to amuse and their charming visage.

Moving on to other venues, I was thrilled to learn that another playful creature (Alpacas) would be on hand for the first installment of the month-long Harvest Festival at Bethel Woods (www.bethelwoodscenter.org), which features a different theme each week. My clownish dog loves the Alpaca, so (sadly) she had to stay home, lest she attempt to play with them during the exhibit, which featured the adorable (some might say clown-like) critters (www.rosehavenalpacas.com) and the many fabulous creations spun from their incredibly soft, durable and oh-so-warm hair. The gentle giants really are as sweet as they appear, according to Rosehaven’s Rob Bruce, and once again, I entertained the thought of having a few join me and my girl at Green Acres as a permanent addition to my clownish lifestyle. “It’s absolutely doable,” Bruce told me, “and they’ll get along with Dharma terrifically. Let’s discuss it again in the spring.” Envisioning the “Insane Clown Posse” (myself included) that could be cavorting here at home tickles my funny bone, so I’ll keep you posted on that. If I had to describe myself in clown-speak, it would have to include the sad-sack aspect, which Emmett Kelly made famous, but has been repeated throughout the history of clowning. “Why are clowns often depicted as sad?” I wondered. “Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that a clown is also a fool, and it makes one sad to be thought of as foolish,” popped up in my Internet search (www.allaboutclowns.com), where there also appeared far too many images of them for my comfort level, so I veered off in a different direction. “Am I a fool for not appreciating the artwork of Wendell M. Upchurch? Perhaps. Do I play the fool while popping up at events scattered about the Upper Delaware River Valley? Undoubtedly. Is it foolish to be afraid of clowns? Who’s to say? As I scan the dark clouds that often loom overhead, I am reminded that “grey skies are gonna clear up,” so I plan to grin and bear it… and put on a happy face.