This Boondocks comic about gangsta clown Ronald McDonald is closer to reality than you think! Last week, I saw an amazing documentary called Rize, about a “clown dancing” movement in the ghettos of LA. It started with one guy, Tommy the Clown, who did kids parties around South Central but who also really got down.
Tommy had a whole posse of kids painting their faces and developing on his dance style in the streets as an alternative to hanging out in gangs. Eventually rival clown groups got started, each establishing their own style and holding friendly competitions in the streets. The dancing style was very powerful and innately, maybe even unconsciously, African.
The story took a turn when Tommy the Clown used his celebrity status to organize a huge stadium competition between his group and the very talented “Crumpers.” Things got nasty and began to devolve back into the violent gang culture they were trying to escape. Then there was the role of the church…
Anyway, this film is a really fascinating look into a micro-sub-culture, and is also really entertaining with truly incredible dancing. Here’s the trailer. Sadly its run in the Triangle area appears to be over already. Hopefully it will come out on video soon.