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Topic: Harley Newman's Sideshow / Stunt Workshop?
Message: Posted by: Eric Starkey (Jun 2, 2005 06:46AM)
I spoke with Harley about the workshop that he is planning in Pennsylvania a number of weeks back, but I haven't heard from him in a while. There have been some rumors flying about the event over the past week or so... Does anyone know of any official information???


Message: Posted by: Rick Maue (Jun 2, 2005 07:56AM)
Greetings Eric,

Harley called me earlier this week and he was telling me about his plans. I don't have the details in front of me, but I know that he is holding the classes in July. I will give him a call and tell him to pass along all of the information.

Believe me, spending a few days with Harley is unlike anything else in the world. When the two of us get together, we both go away with tons to think about.

Keep the change,
Message: Posted by: Slim Price (Jun 2, 2005 01:31PM)
Stolen from the source... Slim

While this unmitigated pitch is specifically directed to a couple of
discussion groups, other selected people are receiving it. Please pass it
on, if you know of potentially interested parties.

A few of you have already spoken with me, and have bypassed my Q&A.

Ladies and Gentlemen, participants in this grand forum...

Please read this. It'll take just a minute of your time.

As we all know, this is a place where many people come, to learn from their
showbusiness peers and elders. It's a place where we can enjoy each
other's company. We tell stories, swap a few lies, share a bit of our

However, this is NOT the right place to learn stunt performance. Those of
us who've been around for a long time, know that even the simplest stunt
can have disastrous results.

I'm Harley Newman. I've been a professional entertainer since 1972, first
as a slapstick comedian, and then at the forefront of avante-garde
sideshow. I write, I perform, I design, and I direct.

Some of you know me, some of you know of me, some have never heard of me.
But if you've seen any sideshow performance in the last 20 years, you've
probably seen people who have been influenced by my work.

If you've seen somebody stick a running power-drill into their nose, hang
things from their eyes with fishhooks, or do extreme things with beds of
nails or barbed wire, there's a very high probability that it was me, or
someone who learned from me.

I tour internationally, and in each of the last few years, have been seen
by about 140 million people on first-run TV shows. (I have no idea how
many people watch the re-runs). So. I've been around. I know my stuff.

For years, I've received on average, a dozen requests each month, from
people who want me to teach them. To date, I've declined virtually all of
those requests.

Here's the good news! I've finally decided to say "Yes!"

So I'm cleaning out my barn, and have blocked out my schedule to teach not
one, but two intensive classes in stunt performance!

Here's what I have in mind...

Each class will last for three days, a total of 20 hours of hands-on
instruction in the basic levels of traditional stunts. Class sizes will be
limited, to insure that you receive quality instructor-student time.
Learning safe performance is paramount.

You'll learn how to:
-stick toothpicks, icepicks, screwdrivers, and nails into your nose.
-eat, manipulate, and spit fire.
-lie on a bed of nails, with someone standing on you, and breaking
a concrete block on your chest, with a sledgehammer.
-walk barefoot on sharp swords.
-stick your hand into a variety of animal traps.
-escape from ropes, chains, and straitjackets.
-walk on broken glass.
-swallow swords.

Learning these stunts will allow you to become your own personal
Ten-In-One! For those of you who aren't familiar with that term, it means
that when you've finished your class, you'll have enough material to start
creating your own full-evening show!

But that's not enough!

If you want to build a show, it's not enough, to know how to do a stunt.
You also need to know how to present it to an audience.

So, in addition to stunt technique, you'll get basic training in voice,
movement, stage direction, and (absolutely not last nor least)
script-writing. You'll learn how to grab the audience's attention and keep
it! You just couldn't ask for more!

But that's still not enough! And this, ladies and gentlemen, is unbridled
capitalism, pure and simple. Doing a great show, will only extract from
the wallets of the audience, the price of admission. You deserve much,
much more than that!

So, I'm going to teach you how to persuade them into giving you more! In a
special extra class, I'm going to teach you "The Art of the Pitch". You'll
learn what to sell, and how to sell it. You'll learn how make sure that
your audience will be simply delighted, to empty more of their wallets into
your bank account!

Let me recap, for those who were only paying attention with one eye shut...

You'll learn the basic techniques of enough stunts and escapes, to create
your own show. You'll learn basic techniques of using your voice and your
body in that show. You'll learn how to write a script that will make the
audience like the show. AND you'll learn how to sell them those little
"special" extras!

Could you possibly want more? Of course, you could, and you should get it.
So here's the deal.

There are other "sideshow schools" which are great! If you go to Coney
Island, for example, you'll be taught by my friend Todd Robbins, a
consummate master, the best there is, of the traditional approach to

If you go there, or to other places that claim to be similar, you'll learn
some of the same stunts, and some of what's called, in the business,
"talking", for around USD $600. You'd also have bills for hotels and
restaurants in an expensive city.

Instead, I'm inviting you to a rural village in eastern Pennsylvania, with
free parking, and cows for neighbors, for some of the most intensive
training you'll ever get, with a lot more, much-needed material.

Nearby motels are reasonably priced. And restaurants? Forget that! I'll
feed you, and you won't be sorry (though it's not a kosher kitchen)!

When is it? As I mentioned, there will be two class sessions. The first
is Tuesday thru Thursday, July 5, 6, and 7. The second is Saturday thru
Monday, July 9, 10, and 11. Classes will begin at 10 AM daily, and run
into the evenings. There will be break and mealtimes scheduled.

And the price for the classes? Think about it. If this was a college
class, something that would prepare you for a new career, with this amount
of course content, you'd expect tuition to start around $2,500. I'm not
asking that. I'm only asking that you contribute $650, for what will be an
incredible experience!

Is there a catch? Sure. You must be at least 18 years of age to take this
course. You must sign liability releases. You must tell me why you want
to learn this material, and why I should teach you. And you must ask me a
question, that you think is relevant to the subject. There will be an
application to fill out, and a deposit to be made.

I realize that this seems like short notice to some people. To tell the
truth, I wasn't even going to announce this to the community of interested
performers. Spaces are limited, and enough people have their checkbooks
ready, that the classes are already half filled. But in this, I'm being
lazy. I don't have time to track down interested parties.

Still interested? OK. There's one more thing. After you've finished this
course, you'll still have questions about performance technique. You'll
still have questions about scriptwriting. So, for a month following the
course, you'll have access to me, for consultation. Based on my normal
fees, this alone is worth more than the price of the course!

What's the next step? Contact me.

My email address is harley@bladewalker.com. Enter "class" in the subject line.

I thank you for your attention. But if you think you'll return to your
normal life, it won't be possible after this!



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Message: Posted by: Eric Starkey (Jun 2, 2005 02:09PM)
Thank you, Slim!
Message: Posted by: Slim Price (Jun 2, 2005 06:41PM)
It was a pleasure (to steal his mail)... There are very few of today's performers I respect at the level that I respect Harley, and oddly enough, they are teaching.
I call it "Keeping the candle burning." Harley buys a great lunch too! <G>
Message: Posted by: Eric Starkey (Jun 3, 2005 08:38AM)
On 2005-06-02 19:41, sanscan wrote:
I call it "Keeping the candle burning."

From all that I've read, you've done a fantastic job of keeping our little corner of the biz alive, and thriving. A true national treasure!
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Jun 3, 2005 09:32AM)
Aw, shucks! I'm glad you like the pitch. It's really meant to be spoken and heard, but words on a page will have to do.

I'm looking forward to these classes. It's been too easy to say "Don't do this without a good teacher", and I guess I need to do my part to do some of the teaching.

Several folks have inquired about single-skill workshops, and attending for only one day. As a result, I may reconfigure some of the schedule, to accommodate their needs.

One has asked to reserve time for next year! But I have to get there first, eh?

What really surprised me, is a couple of friends who have, out of the blue, offered to help teach. Hmmm.
Message: Posted by: The Village Idiots (Jun 3, 2005 02:04PM)
Just one question. Where is the workshop being held? I tend to speed read so if it is in your text I wish I could have heard you speak it.

A.D.D. and reading don't go together well.

Message: Posted by: Stephon (Jun 3, 2005 03:10PM)
Single-skill workshops sound like an interesting option--how does that effect the schedule and cost?
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Jun 3, 2005 07:07PM)
I live about 1/2 hour from Allentown PA.

Please PM me about single-skill things. I don't have the structure yet, but it seems to be taking shape, like any good routine.
Message: Posted by: Stephon (Jun 4, 2005 11:31AM)

You have mail.
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Jun 12, 2005 09:22PM)
A couple of folks PMed me about classes, and for some reason, the messages disappeared before I responded.

Please contact me via e-mail for questions or more information.

Message: Posted by: Sonny Vegas (Jun 15, 2005 09:22AM)
I hope these all goes well for those who sign up this session. This is an opportunity you can't pass up! Please let me know if this will be done again sometime soon. I cant make this session but would like to experience this lesson some time in the future. Thanks!

My tail is wagging.
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Jun 15, 2005 09:47AM)
We will sure let you know how much fun we had! I'll be at the session July 9-11.


Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Jun 15, 2005 10:53AM)
Just a note to those after 'Single Skills'...it would seem to me that even if you were only after a bed of nails or fire stunt the rest of the classes would be invaluable to you and your future even if you only watched and learned what you think you already know. $650 per skill would be fair...considering performers pay $350 to learn how to put a buck in a freakin'lemon! What Harley has to offer is worth the time and attention to get the WHOLE picture I'd say. Just imagine if years ago you had the opportunity to learn IT ALL from Houdini? Or any other Master of your choice. Think about it.

Just a thought...
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Jul 13, 2005 01:38PM)
Well, I'm back, and it was an amazing experience! Harley thought carefully about this and decided not to teach anyone individual acts, but rather to have the three of us spend three very full days learning a selection of feats.

I found that things that we learned from one feat helped us to approach the next one, and the feats were arranged in a logical sequence. Harley is tremendously skilled at watching people, and was almost like an externalization of our interior voice. He knew when we were frightened (and all of us were at some point!) and talked us through it. He also watched us to see how we might come across in performance, and each of us looked carefully at the others to make suggestions.

Those of you who know Harley know that he is extremely knowledgeable and has a massive amount of performing experience. This would mean little if he were not an excellent teacher. I think that his background in counseling contributes greatly to his ability to teach these feats. He is also a really nice guy with a joyful heart who told us all several times what he was learning from us. He provided us a really safe environment to learn some dangerous feats.

I didn't bring my camera, but Mark Poolos did, and has already sent me some pictures; I will eventually post some.

I could enumerate the acts that we were taught, but that would be missing the point. We were taught something much more valueable -- the ability to understand how we have acquired fears of things that are not supported by our bodily experience, and to go through many doorways leading to our improvement as performers. I learned a great deal about feats that I already perform. We also had a lot of fun doing this.

If you have ever thought about learning stunts from a master, sign up for this course the next time Harley offers it.


Message: Posted by: Jerry (Jul 14, 2005 06:22PM)
I really hope that this is repeated in the future, I could not make it, but would love to have the option if it happens again.

Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Jul 19, 2005 07:34PM)
Hi Jerry,

As Paul said, it was a pretty successful experience for everybody. I think we went a lot farther than anyone (except me) expected. I needed to sleep for a few days when we were done, but I could do it assured that the students were going to be performing safely, and in an interesting manner.

I think I'll do it again, though probably not before spring next year. Setting aside time for teaching this way, can put a considerable dent into my already complicated schedule.

I will announce it here, when it's time. If you'd like me to put you on my list, email me.
Message: Posted by: Jerry (Jul 20, 2005 04:06PM)
Paul, thank you for your responce. As all things in life, if I have the time and money I will be there. So now I have year to save up and I will make the time (well may be, no one can say what will happen in a year). As the date gets closer, I will let you know. I hope I can go to your event the next time it happens and I look forward to it. Please keep us all updated on your class. Thank you again for your time.

Message: Posted by: drwilson (Jul 26, 2005 03:06PM)
Here are some [url=http://www.memoryelixir.com/stuntworkshop/workshop1.html]pictures[/url], courtesy of Mark Poolos.



Message: Posted by: poolos (Jul 27, 2005 09:14AM)
Great Post Paul!

Harley’s workshop was one of the greatest events I have ever attended. Harley is a phenomenal teacher!

As soon as work slows down I’ll post more info and pics
Message: Posted by: danchanmagic (Oct 24, 2005 01:59AM)
I saw Harley during motionfest and he performed a great live upside down straight jacket escape with the rope supporting him burning. That effect was a great publicity stunt by a great performer.
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Oct 24, 2005 12:20PM)
On Saturday, October 29, I'll be performing the Ladder of Swords for the first time in public. This takes a lot of nerve, and I am not ashamed to admit that in practice, before I take the first steps onto the ladder, I have been visualizing Harley's calm, alert presence and his guiding hands. Thanks a bunch, Harley!

Thanks also to Ses Carny, who built me a very nice Ladder of Swords.


Message: Posted by: poolos (Oct 25, 2005 09:29AM)
Take a lot of pictures!

Good luck
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Apr 19, 2006 03:20PM)
So, is there any word on whether Harley is going to do these again? It feels wrong to tell folks posting here to take a class from someone if we can't tell them where to go. Todd's Sideshow School for spring is past, and dates have not been announced for summer or fall.


Message: Posted by: gsidhe (Apr 19, 2006 03:56PM)
He did post a new schedule for this summer...But then the post dissappeared...
I talked to him about classes, he said wait a few days and the schedule would be up. The post came up...And now I can't find it.
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Apr 19, 2006 04:36PM)
Sorry about the confusion. I was, too!

There will be two sessions, June 26-28, and July 7-9, 2006. We’ll start at approximately 9 AM and go until 11 PM on each of the three days. The content will be a little different than last year's classes, but just as intense. Class sizes will be limited.

In addition, I’ve received more than a few queries about teaching in other places, and about teaching one-subject classes. If there is sufficient interest, I’ll teach in the UK, in the second week of August.

Please e-mail me for more details, and put "classes" in the subject line.
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (May 3, 2006 07:13PM)
Sorry to note, the time I'd thought of, for a UK class, is now otherwise taken. The other sessions are solid, for those interested.