Just A Clown

In a belated Punk Gospel, our resident clown says goodbye to an old haunt… and also to FONT.

Written by Dia VanGunten
Photographs by Lucie Berquiere

I’ve been back in Austin this month, watching bestie’s dogs, and it’s been a long, sad tour of a city that lost its soul. We knew it was happening and we tried to avoid it with “Keep Austin Weird” bumper stickers, but I knew we were screwed when we lost two trans icons. I’m not saying the city killed them, but it became a lot harder to stay alive. When big money moves in, artists move out.

There’s Teslas everywhere now. Apartment buildings have replaced little bungalows. It’s a two hr wait for breakfast on a Tuesday.

No more small town big city magic. 

Yet, there’s no denying that the city has been good to me. It gave me life and love and the most gorgeous red dog who used to swim in Barkin Springs every summer evening. Plus that aforementioned bestie who I desperately miss. It’s been good to me this month even. I had a burst of creative productivity: wrote 9 PZR stories and 4 of them have already been accepted for publication. 2 of them have already been turned into comics. I laid out most of Mum’s Garage, worked on a backlog of interviews and plotted Mayday. Old me, the ghost of me that’s still swanning around this city, she’d like to know all of this.

I’ve been listening to Charley Crockett on endless repeat, in part because I’m writing a new Undead – Detroit legend, Chubber the V-Dub – but also I’m in the city where I used to dress as a clown, literally, and punk all night long.

Circus is coming through
And everybody knows
That when you purchase a ticket
You expect to get a show
Take a look at me, I’m just a clown
And on my face I wear a frown
I’ve paid the cost to hang around
So take a look at me, I’m just a clown
The joker stands in the middle
And turns a trick for you
Because sometimes you know it’s better
To be thought of as a fool
Take a look at me, I’m just a clown
And on my face I wear a frown
I’ve paid the cost to hang around
So take a look at me, I’m just a clown
I’m just a clown, that’s what they say
I guess my clothes give me away

All of my friends have disappeared

You know it makes me wonder

If I was ever here

Take a look at me, I’m just a clown
And on my face I wear a frown
I’ve paid the cost to hang around
So take a look at me, I’m just a clown
I’m just a clown, take a look at me
I’m so lonesome I should charge a fee
I guess my clothes give me away
I’m just a clown, that’s what they say
I’m just a clown.

I shared my anguish over Austin, to which my brother responded “Yea, I miss lots of things about being young.” He’s right to some extent. I feel sadness for what was and what has been lost, not just in this city, but in myself. I miss that life and those relationships. I miss the city that I loved so dearly.

But that city is long gone

It’s weird that I’m even here, after this issue that started with images of artists in exile. “For Our Next Trick.” It could be said that any trickster story speaks to the liminal, the outlaw, the edge-dweller.

We always have ideas in mind. We collect images, make wish-lists and devise a palette. We’d interviewed the Bubblegum Slut so we wanted FONT to be fun and playful like the floor of a teenage zinester’s bedroom. We planned a section on gender and embodiment, with morphing, tricky bodies. I decided we had to have a stilt walker. I was obsessed and searched, exhaustively, but nothing was right and then I discovered Lucie’s photographs.

I was blown away when I found out that it was a series about French circus performers during covid. Being able to feature this series was an honor and we’ll always be proud to have brought this to you in our second issue. I hope you’ll help us share these images in the next few days, tagging art accounts, and telling them about Lucie Berquiere who you saw on Cream Scene. 

Katy and I had fun with FONT – too much fun. In many ways, it was 4 issues in one. We started with the circus (or lack thereof) before having the most spectacular craft bonanza with paperdolls, crayon porn, collage quilts and sticker halter tops. Plus fiction about crayons, pens, and papercrafts. We upped our lit game in FONT, with so many amazing writers.

Then we had a good old fashioned valentiney love fest, full of hearts and sex. Then we had flames and embodiment. Finally, we had that editor’s lineup. 

How great was that?

It’s good to see them in their element, as artists, doing their own work. It’s so easy to think of editors as “gatekeepers” who have it all together. Generally, they’re just nerds – bookworms and art lovers. Most of them are working other jobs to support their publishing habit. Maybe they’re facing homelessness (they are) or maybe they’re doing sex work (they are) or maybe they’re making their own mistakes just left and right.  

I am. 

I have made typos and announced intentions before thinking them through. I have made numerous errors and missteps. I bawled like a baby when I couldn’t fix the mysterious tech glitch. And harder still when we were hacked, especially because it came of my own carelessness. I’ve been a feeling, failing human being all issue long. Katy will say the same of herself. And we’re ok with telling you all of this, with publishing through the missteps, in all our imperfection, because we believe in the value of vulnerability. 🥴👹🤡💩 

We’re onto something with this.

This is why we have these marvelous weirdos who are willing to bring their impressive talents to this mag. We’re a team of twenty now. We have such spectacular artists involved. Thank you to FONT’s MVPS: Maressa, who illustrated half the mag, Jesse, who launched FONT with the punk valentines, Sean for being Sean, always in our hours of need, and Lejla who came in late as managing editor, but figured it out on the fly, hitting the spreadsheet for Mum’s Garage, and making it work. Thank you to Chris for amazing art and for talking me off a ledge during a tech snafu. It’s been a dream working with you, Charlie, Maggie, Bethy, Priti, Christina and Anthony. Thank you, Marz, Beppi, Cath, Frank, Sabrine. We welcome Kate, Val, Vince, and the old J Bird. We’re so excited for all of the ways you’ll create and recreate Cream Scene. 

Katy and I had a vision for community, maybe more than a magazine, and we’re overjoyed to see this coming to fruition. We both have the sense that we’ll all be saying in 20 years …. “Oh yea, that was year one of Cream Scene and that was when we met this editor, collaborator, lover, friend. That’s when something cool happened and someone good came into my life.”

This is true for me.

So many of you, gosh, I hope I know you forever. I just adore you.

About The Artists

Lucie Berquiere is a multidisciplinary artist who works in the field of theatre and photography. She is as an actress in theatre and TV and a voice actress for cartoons. She participates in different European Training about Embodied Learning Techniques. As a photographer, Lucie has won various prizes (Youth Photography Occitanie, Eusolidarity Photo contest awarded by the European Commissioner of Youth, Paris Opera Comique Photo contest). In 2022, she did her first monographic exhibition in Saint Ravy, Montpellier, France. Her work is steeped in this multidisciplinary journey. It focuses on social issues shown in a quirky way.

Clown PAF, performed by Christophe Som, an actor, violinist and clown working in Paris. 2021, Paris, France 

Ana Melillo is playing the King from Escurial, written by Ghelderode and directed by the Acquaforte Company. 2021, Montpellier, France

Clown Ramkot, performed by Roman Kutsevol, a clown working in Estonia. 2021, Tallinn, Estonia 

Kaupo Pild is a stiltwalker living in Tallinn, Estonia, performing with Tsirkusepood. 2021, Tallinn, Estonia 

Slava Leskovits, an actor, is playing The Man with a Hat from the play театр в чемодане (theatre in a suitcase) made by the theatre company Pikadu. He is an actor working in Moscow. 2021, Tallinn, Estonia   

About the Author

Dia VanGunten explores overlaps between genres, between poetry and prose, between the real and the magical. Her current fiction project is Pink Zombie Rose.

Dia is the founder of Cream Scene Carnival and the OG carnie.

5 responses to “Just A Clown”

  1. maggie Avatar

    I love being a carnie!!!!

    1. Cream Scene Carnival Avatar
      Cream Scene Carnival

      We love youuuuuuuuuu!!!!v

  2. J H Avatar
    J H

    I feel like I need to write for you. A column of some sort, full of oddities and phantasm, dreams and allegories of apathy…I dunno. Love to all Jacklyn

    1. Cream Scene Carnival Avatar
      Cream Scene Carnival

      Yes! We’d love that! Readers loved your poem “Question(s)” and those that didn’t, cool. Cream Scene is like vagina – a self cleaning organism.

      1. J H Avatar
        J H

        Some days I dream of having a vagina and other days I only write about it…

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