Comic Mark Gindick creates the laughter in Hard Rock AC’s ‘Euphoria'; Tropicana taking Halloween fun seriously
There are those folks who would take offense at being labeled a “clown.” Mark Gindick is definitely not one of them.
Gindick (pronounced with a hard “g”) is the featured comedian in Euphoria, the wonderfully entertaining variety show that runs Sundays through Nov. 12 at the Sound Waves theater inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City. His “silent” comedy (it’s in quotes because while he does not speak in his segments, sounds play crucial roles in his hilarious routines) combines pantomime, lip-synching to music, slapstick and general mayhem to create a series of side-splitting moments. And not only does he not mind the “clown” appellation, he actually went to school to learn to be one.
“I was originally going to college for filmmaking; I wanted to be a director,” offered the 47-year-old Scarsdale, N.Y. native during a recent phone chat. “I was raised on movies by Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton and the Marx Brothers; I wanted to make those kinds of movies. So, I went to a school called SUNY Purchase Film Conservatory.”
But watching the great clowns of early cinema inspired him to leave film school and try his hand at the classic art form.
“I decided I'll take a little break and I'll go audition for this college called Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Clown College [in Sarasota, Fla.]. And I got in, and once I was there, I was like, wait a minute: This is, what I'm supposed to be doing. I just fell in love with the art form as a performer.
“So ever since that 1997 clown college class,” he added with tongue planted firmly in cheek, “I’ve completely ruined my life.”
Although Gindick looks back fondly on his successful career touring with the Ringling Bros. organization, being a traditional circus clown wasn’t quite satisfying enough for him. But yet again, he was buoyed by his time in Sarasota.
“I was really lucky that the year that I went to clown college, the dean, Dick Monday, really focused on different points of view of clowning, different approaches, different teachers. And like I said, growing up on the traditions of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, I always kinda had that in the back of my mind.
“And because of [Monday], I was exposed to artists like Bill Irwin, Kenny Raskin, David Shiner and David Larible. They’re artists that are the through-line character of the show, and they have highlighted storytelling moments—like what I do in Euphoria.
For Gindick, as for so many of his role models, physicality is the key. That, he explained, is something he had before he took up clowning.
“I did tae kwon do for like 15 years; second-degree black belt. And so physicality just came natural to me once I got into clown college. The idea of my body as my voice, and storytelling through physical silliness, really, really talked to me.
“The voice that leads the storytelling is always the body, the silly physical stuff that you can do.”
When you are putting your body on the line with contortions, pratfalls and the like, injuries of varying degrees are a fact of life, right?
“Absolutely, absolutely,” he said, “especially when you're in the grind of a show.
“This may sound grandiose, but we're athletes; we're using our bodies as our mode of communication, much like a football player would. And, you know, you get through one game and you're like, oh, that kind of hurt, but I feel, okay.
“Well if you do like some people do, 12 shows in a week, that soreness is gonna linger. So you gotta take care of your body, you gotta exercise, you gotta eat right. You gotta stretch, you gotta sleep.
“As I get older, the things that I do mature. I might not be at the same acrobatic level I was in my twenties, but then I do have the seasoned, knowledge of, of timing and the ‘math’ of a joke and other things that get laughs, rather than doing something physically spectacular that blows people's minds.”
Not that he doesn’t have his war stories to tell.
“I got a concussion once,” he recalled “I fell and I didn't fall properly, and got a concussion. That's probably the worst thing that's happened to me in my professional life.”
For ticket click here.
Halloween fun at Tropicana
Tropicana Atlantic City is going all out in order to scare up a spooktacular time for guests this Halloween season.
Various nightclubs and restaurants inside the gaming hall have (all-in-fun) ghoulish festivities planned.
At the popular, retro-themed Boogie Nights (which has been branded as “BOOgie Nights for the occasion), the fright-filled fun begins on Oct. 26, as the danceteria stages a “Boogie ’til Dawn” bash at which guests are encouraged to come dressed as their “favorite nocturnal creature” for a reduced admission fee. A best-nocturnal-creature-costume contest (boasting a $500 prize) is scheduled for midnight.
The next evening, patrons are encouraged to come dressed as either a ghost or Beetlejuice. Five-hundred-dollars will be awarded to those with the best costume in each category. And on Oct. 28, the “Ultimate Halloween Bash” will feature a Midnight Costume Contest with $500 each awarded to the sexiest, scariest and best-group getups, and $1,000 for best overall costume (the runner-up gets $500).
Other events include the “Dead of Night” bash on Oct. 28 at Anthem Lounge, the Nightlife Costume Contest at Cuba Libre (Oct. 28) and themed revelries at Kiss Kiss Nightclub (Oct. 27 and 28), Royce Social Hall (Oct. 28) and Gin Rickey’s (Oct. 28).