The “Happy Funeral” lives on in San Francisco
The only folding coffin in the world (designed by P&B Valises et Co.) bears the name “Something Better Houdini”. This worldly casket has now happily cradled the rites of passing of the old to the new on five continents of the planet Earth. In January 2014, accompanied by former angels of the San Francisco Ballet, “Something Better Houdini” gently and graciously rested on the cliffs of the Golden Gate skyline.
We greet death as we greet life… with hopeful anticipation of a gentle outcome with the inevitable. It is the same for all things of the universe.
(Jeff Cohen 2014)
Choreographer: Julia Adam… former principal dancer of San Francisco Ballet
Videographer: Benjamin Pierce… former principle dancer of San Francisco Ballet
Dancers: Pauli Magierek… former soloist of San Francisco Ballet
Liz Minor… former soloist of San Francisco Ballet
Jane Rehm… current member of Smuin Ballet of San Francisco
Zoe Lucich… Julia’s daughter
Muriel Maffre: Former principal dancer San Francisco Ballet; Executive director of The Museum of Performance and Design San Francisco
David Chase: Dance teacher, Actor, former dancer of Martha Graham Dance Company
I did not get any flowers after my San Francisco Happy funeral… But the day after I received these words, written by the executive director of one of the most avantgarde museums of the United States of America… As beautiful as the scent of 99 red roses.
“Hi Mario Vinko,
Bravo for your daring and beautiful performance in San Francisco. Your art and books are now a part of our lives, thank you! We hope to make it to Le Petit Festival 2014 in June…”
This undertaking has gathered and involved more than 888 artists from all 6 continents
My Happy Funeral (actually a series of many happy little funerals) is a light game of metaphysical enchantment about a poor poet still searching for the beauty of the unknown, still grappling with the question, ” Why do we die and how long will our death last?…”
In March of 2009, the United Artists Project embraced the latest Vinko Prizmic masterpiece. This work of outstanding artistry is paradoxically entitled My Happy Funeral. Six continents and the participation of 888 artists hosted a series of many “happy” funerals that convey the metaphysical enchantment of a poor poet searching for the beauty of the unknown while seeking the answer to the question that asks, “Why do we die and how long will our death last…?”
The first Happy Funeral was held in Paris on the 21st of March 2009, more performances followed all around Europe–St.Moritz, Wroclav, Berlin, Copenhagen , Stockholm, Helsinki, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Cahors and Florence. During this unusual journey, Vinko Prizmic was accompanied by his Muse, Nora Amore Conde, and by a coffin with a soul – Something Better (decorated by German artist Niki Boden).
The most recent leg of this journey brought Vinko Prizmic to Asia—to the magical volcano of Mt. Pinatubo where he met up with Something Better Jr. (an amazing coffin that transforms to a Steamer Trunk, a masterpiece of furniture designer Don Quixote Jr. alias Matthew S. Brill). This unusual performance of My Happy Funeral lent the volcano’s crater a brilliant glow of sad and joyful happiness and poetry. Shortly after, this metaphysical fairytale continued to Sydney, Australia, then to Zimbabwe, Africa…
Vinko Prizmic felt the call for the fifth continent yet to be visited, and went on to San Francisco, North America. In January 2014, accompanied by the former angels of San Francisco Ballet, Something Better Houdini (the only foldable coffin in the world designed by M.S.Brill ) gently and graciously resting on the cliffs of the Golden Gate skyline.
The sixth and last continent was South America. Welcome to Buenos Aires. The guests, as well as the statues of noble angels of the “La Recoleta Cemetery” were delighted, amazed and confused by such unusual performance.
The upcoming performance, in Hanko, Finland, will be a World Premiere, something you probably have not seen or imagined before
Along with this exquisite voyage will be presented two magical machines, by French wizard of mechanical movements Gilbert Peyr.
Aimer est plus difficile que mourire…
Traveling to six continents carrying one’s own coffins is a wondrously daring tour… embarked upon to enlighten the living with the metaphysical concept of a divergent view of the end of life. It cannot be described as a theater piece, nor as a performance act. It cannot be embraced in any known art form because nobody ever has ever served as a traveling ambassador of the sensitive, emotional, and painful subject of death.
To love is more difficult than to die
is a world premiere of a brazen attempt to cause one to look past the defined boundaries of discussing the inevitable.
The Critics of Pre world premier of Happy Funeral in Hanko, Finland
Written by Steven Ditmyer, Director and Acting Teacher from NYC who teaches the Meisner Technique internationally.
Vinco Mario Prizmic’s performance art piece “Happy Funeral” is an intimate, thought provoking, intense and fun evening of theatre which takes us on an amazing journey to confront the one thing we all try not to talk about – death, and especially our own death. And he succeeds wonderfully with poignant tales taken from his own personal encounters with death from different points in his life and all the while making us smile and laugh at such a serious subject. This is the beauty of Happy Funeral. It is wonderful story telling. Moving around his own coffin Mr. Prizmic captures the audiences attention and never lets it go. We hear about very personal and moving moments in his life that made him think about death as well as stories about his experiences traveling around the world performing Happy Funeral for different cultures in many exotic and dangerous locations. When he talks it feels like you are in a small room with him somewhere having a deep personal conversation and he is trying to pass on what he has learned and to make you think about things in a different way and to look at things from a different angle. Before you know it he has your full attention and you can’t wait to hear what comes next. I especially like the interjections and questions he asks the audience between his stories such as “We celebrate our birth with singing happy birthday, why don’t we ever sing happy death day? Wherever Mr. Prizmic performs Happy Funeral he ends with getting inside his coffin and then has it closed and carried off to a nearby location of importance while the audience follows turning into a funeral march. The effect is powerful. I was lucky enough to have witnessed his performance in Hanko, Finland where his casket was carried from the theater down the street to a beach on the edge of the Baltic Sea at night with a full moon. He then opens the casket and tells his final story. Happy Funeral is a beautiful piece of theatre that will make you not only question your own death but your own existence as well…
Heinz Peter Schwerfel
Born 1954 in Cologne, Germany. Studied philosophy and art history in Aachen and Paris (Sorbonne IV). In 1979, political editor at AFP (Agence France Presse) in Paris. Correspondent in Paris for “ART – Das Kunstmagazin” (Hamburg) from 1981 to 1987. Also worked for the popular cinema program “Etoiles et toiles” on French TV station TF1 and French & Germain Tv Arte.
A poet like Vinko on a theater stage is neither an actor nor a standup comedian – Vinko is a story teller of a different kind. Different in presence, because he is non-professional. Different by authenticity because he is himself. Different by his stories because he tells his own life, not fiction. He is not fictionalizing his life, even if the public might have this impression, he is not dramatizing, he is just himself. In the Eighties the American actor Spalding Gray invented this kind of stage presence – telling the public with his very own words his very own experiences.
Vinko did the same, using very few objects – a suitcase, some photos, and, of course, his coffin – to speak about his performance of the ‘Happy Funeral’, performed on all six continents. Using his very special way of speaking in English, his humor, but also his spleens, his melancholy, his loneliness, he created a fascinating monologue, an intense moment of living poetry. As if live was adventure in verses – which it should be.
An Economist and Marketing Consultant from Moscow, Russia
His performance was very special and sincere, very touchy and emotional. It is solo performance, improvisation, monologue, philosophy and a fairy tale at the same time.
He have a talent of catching people’s attention and bringing them to other worlds: may be to the worlds of their childhood, may be to some secure places of their imagination.
What I can say for sure, those few people who came were listening to you literally with open mouths like…, when they listen to the stories of their bellowed grand parents. And we would stay listening for much longer. I regret I failed to film all the performance. One moment I unconsciously put the camera away because I wanted to listen and listen and listen. I turned into two big ears )) You are the best story teller I know. And you stories heal.
The second part was a bit messed up but never mind. When death came everyone behaved decently. No tragedy, but sweet shades of sadness and mystery in the moon light.
No rehearsal, no professional equipment, just ‘madmade friends’ that have their souls and stories and an your open heart. What you do, Vinko, is wonderful. Please keep on. We are hungry for these kind of stories.
Винко, твое выступление особенное, очень искреннее, трогательное и эмоциональное. Это одновременно моно спектакль, мипровизация, монолог, философия и сказка. У тебя есть талант завладевать вниманием людей и уводить их в иные миры, возможно в миры их детства, возможно в тайные мирки их воображения. Я могу сказать точно, что те немногие, кто пришел на твое вытсупление, слушали тебя буквально с открытым ртом как дети, когда они внимают расказам своих любимых бабушек и дедушек. И мы могли бы слушать тебя намного дольше. Мне жаль, что я не смогла заснять твое выступление полностью, потому что в один момент я машинально отложила камеру. Мне хотелось только слушать, слушать и слушать. Я превратилась в два больших уха. Ты лучший рассказчик, которого я знаю. И твои истории лечат.
Вторая часть выступления была немного смазана, но это не важно. Когда пришла смерть, все стали вести себя как подобает. Трагедии нет, только легкий оттенок печали и тайна в лунном свете.
Никаких репетиций, профессионального оборудования, только “самодельные друзья” у которых есть душа и свои судьбы и твое огромное сердце. То что ты делаешь, великолепно. Продолжай, пожалуйста. Мы изголодались по добрым рассказам.
Ines Trickovic… Jazz singer from Croatia/Macao
The Happy Funeral performance in Hanko, by Vinko Mario Prizmic is I can honestly say one of the best, maybe even the best and most magical performance I have seen in my life. The passion, the art that he shows in this performance surpasses stage, you can hear see and experience that he is living it fully and constantly in his life. It goes beyond a stage performance, it is life. It made me think of the golden surrealist age and Dadaist times, times I always yearned I could experience and see live. During and after the show I realized and felt how it must have been to see some of the greatest like Dali, Max Ernst, Meret Oppenheim, or Kurt Schwitters to perform live. That is how this performance made me feel. It lifts up the human spirit, It breaks borders, it ping-pong’s you through time and space and leaves you breathless and lifted up, yearning for more. It’s bold, crazy, honest, magical. It’s alive. Vinko Mario Prizmic in my opinion is one of the greatest living artists of our times.
Kaori Suzuki , artist from Japan
J’ai été très heureuse que tu m’aies fait découvrir ton univers, ton histoire, enfin en direct .
D’autant plus que tu as pu joué dans une jolie petite ville qui s’appellait Hanko, avec la pleine lune .
Que tu sois sur scène ou pas Vinko , tu es pour moi une personne unique, qui possède
une telle qualité, ton extra power fait que nous ne pouvons que suivre.
Ta présence avec ton énorme passion , générosité , sincérité captive et fascine chaque fois les gens .
Au spectacle , tes histoires de voyages avec ton cercueil dans les 5 continents
soit disant pour une forme représentation , la durée a été peut être un peu long ? pour certaines personnes mais
tes histoires sont vraies et vécues m’ont fait faire des voyages très particuliers et introuvables … c’est extraordinaire!!!
Quelles aventures, tu as fait à chaque endroits.
A la fois très réaliste et très surréaliste, show? conférence? Vrai? Faux? On ne sait pas trop mais pas grave.
La beauté était la personne qui vie sans tricher, juste vivre le moment avec de l’amour face à l’ objectif!
Dedans ,toujours il y a quelqu’ un avec toi pour te guider lorsqu’on est dans la MERDE?!
Aimer est plus difficile que mourir?
La mort est tout le temps présente pour toi, nous , guider vivre au temps réel.
dialoguer avec une présence invisible.
A la plage, face à mer, sous la pleine lune.
Je crois que tu as été bien reçu ce soir là?
Tout ce que tu avais fait jusqu’a là dans le monde entier
ton voyage avec ta profonde histoire par rapport à la vie et la mort
que tu étais attaché depuis longtemps est arrivée à son final.
Ta mission a été bien accomplie.
Toi avec le cercueil, devant un tapis blanc brillant, Mi est un messenger au ciel à la lune…
Quel magical moment , quel moment intense que tu m’as fait ou vous m’avez fait vivre.
Ces memoires vont rester et partir dans le lointain.
Le festival a commencé par le tapis rouge et terminé par le tapis blanc qui à fait le lien entre ciel et la terre.
Comment mon fils Oscar parle de toi,
Vinko est un magicien qui a une baguette magique.
L’amour change l’avis ou la vie des gens.
Welcome to Buenos Aires!
One of the most popular musical stars of Argentina, Alejandra Radano, singing “Rosa Reseca” and the professor of “Tango Teatral” from la Catedral del Tango, Alberto Goldberg, with his dancing partner, Irina Jabsa, elevated “The Happy Funeral” to a new dimension – ahhh… the beauty and flair of improvisation.
The guests and the noble angels of the exquisite “La Recoleta Cemetery” were delighted,amazed and confused by such unusual performances.
No hay principio… No hay final… Hay sólo un viaje.
There is beginning… There is no end… There is only a journey.
“Memories are the most magical kiss of time.”
Photos: Obama Victory Fund 2012
Vinko Prizmic, George Clooney & guests
After spending an unusual night with the celebrities of Hollywood and the most important people of Washington’s White House… poor poet has realized;
When you have a lot it is easy to give…
When you have little it is much more difficult to give…
But when you have nothing… it is much easier to give…
The most beautiful things in the world do not cost anything.
Sun rise… Sun set… Rainbow… Serenity…
Happiness… Dreams… Love… Rain… Wind… Sea… and Smile
Everybody on this glamorous night loved his books… But he did not want to sell them… He was giving them away, signed by the author.