If a clown honks his nose in the middle of a forest and no one hears it, is the clown still funny? Such questions would have been welcomed at the Zen Center of Los Angeles while Moshe Cohen was an artist in residence. The professional clown met frequently with the abbot, Roshi Egyoku, to talk about the intersection of their disciplines. They agreed that, while one seeks to enlighten and the other to enliven, both meditation and clowning find freedom and happiness in studying the moment. Cohen seems like a natural. As founder of Clowns Without Borders, he has nimbly transgressed the limitations of language by dancing the tango with big plastic bags and defying death with wind-up penguins. In the past 20 years, he has appeared amidst the wreckage in places like Kosovo, Haiti, Croatia, and Chiapas, and in concert halls from Brooklyn to Barcelona. Most recently, heworked with director Marek Pasieczny in Krakow. The internationally celebrated result is Mr. YooWho's Holiday. Set in a field of overlarge sunflowers, Mr. YooWhos fanciful travels combine European mime with Yiddish absurdism and San Francisco wonder. For YooWhos hometown debut, elements such as Japanese butoh and kyogen (a traditional form of comic theater that parodies Buddhist and Shinto rituals) are gracefully incorporated.
Fridays-Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: Dec. 19. Continues through Dec. 28, 2008