A phrase that has been attributed to Mark Twain and others…could be applied to Nevada SAG-AFTRA member Earl Chaney Jr.
After missing a membership meeting it was reported that he was gravely ill and on his deathbed. That later grew on Facebook as having passed away.
Well, I spoke with him at last Sunday’s Nevada SAG-AFTRA Local membership meeting and he is very much alive. True he is ill and did battle life-threatening issues, but his mind and body are sharp and he is still clowning around.
For those who do not know, Chaney is a magician and clown, having been the lead clown and poster clown for Ringling Brothers and the real “original” Ronald McDonald (they purchased his “face” when they added other Ronald’s). Earl can tell you not only the history of Ronald, but the history of the circus, of Ringling Brothers, how the animal stock is really treated, the deep relationships between circus performer and the evolution of the circus as an International and American institution.
Meanwhile I run into people who say, “I thought you retired”, “Didn’t you move out of Las Vegas” and “oh, there is an Art Lynch”.
Set that straight.
First of all income left me. I am not that old and am far from wealthy. I do what I have a passion for, helping actors, union and those who seek to learn about and join our craft. I am always open to opportunities and work.
After 15 years I was let go at Nevada Public Radio (KNPR in Las Vegas), due to budget cuts and automation. I was part time, so there is no retirement.
I taught full time course loads at the Community College of Southern Nevada, now CSN, but new management choose to limit non-tenure track employees to two sections a term and to hire mostly fresh out of college women and minorities in this right to hire and fire at will state (CSN now has a union, but it only protects tenure track and tenured faculty).
I occasionally teach at Nevada State College, UNLV, and the University of Phoenix, all in Las Vegas.
My wife and I a dozen years ago moved to Boulder City.
For those not from here or who think Las Vegas is Red Rocks and Summerlin…. Boulder City is the gateway to the Hoover Dam. We are fifteen minutes from Henderson, less than a half hour to Las Vegas’s McCarran International Airport and the Las Vegas Strip and a half hour from downtown Las Vegas. We are a quiet small town of 15,000 sitting in the largest incorporated city footprint (mostly desert, solar plants and mountains) in America, over Railroad Pass in the El Dorado (as opposed to Las Vegas) valley.
I have been teaching or coaching acting three to four days a week in Las Vegas.
No, I never moved away or gave up on Nevada SAG-AFTRA or the Las Vegas creative community.
And while as a Baby Boomer, I may be looked at, as Brian Blu has said, a “Dinosaur”, I can say, along with Earl and others who know what they are talking about and still have a great deal to offer….
“I ain’t dead yet!” (“Monty Python’s Spamalot”)
Art Lynch Coaching