COURTESY OUTREACH COLLEGE
Call him professor of lunacy
Tomas Kubinek's act defies description, but he'll stop at nothing to get a laugh
The closing credits of films sometimes include subtle jokes that the writers offer as a reward for anyone who takes the time to stay in the theater and read them. Tomas Kubinek, aka "Professor Kubinek," includes similar rewards for those who take the time to read through his Web site.
On stage: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Place: Paliku Theatre
Tickets: $22 presale; $18 military, seniors, UH faculty, staff and Alumni Association members; $13 UH students and children. At-the-door prices are $25, $20 and $15. Available at UH ticket outlets.
Call: 483-7123 or visit etickethawaii.com
Get through the first 60 lines or so of his performance credits -- EVERY SINGLE WORD IN CAPITAL LETTERS -- and you'll come to this :
"NOTICE -- IF YOU ARE READING THIS FAR, YOU ARE TOO NOSY, SUFFICE IT TO SAY THAT HE HAD PUT A LOT OF MILES ON THE TWIN-ENGINE'S ODOMETER, YOU NEEDN'T READ ANY FURTHER."
Anyone who has read that far will probably read on anyway, and will discover that seeing Kubinek perform has transformed criminals into "respectable pillars of society" and turned "shy stuttering wallflowers" into "mighty operatic divas." All this from a man "who weighs less than 130 pounds and is 90 percent water."
I'm not making this up. Maybe he is, I wasn't there, and I've never seen the show, but go to www.kubinek.com and you can read it yourself. Later.
For the moment, suffice it to say that Kubinek has entertained audiences all over the United States and Canada, and in such diverse locales as Germany, Ireland, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and Hong Kong. Not bad for a guy whose big break some 20 years ago or so was playing the back end of a horse in a comedy sketch. He's moved up to his current billing: "Certified Lunatic and Master of the Impossible."
The "impossible" part includes dancing while wearing a six-footed "continuous footwalking machine," soaring over the stage in a contraption inspired by early aviation experiments, and balancing a glass of wine on his head while doing a somersault as he strums a ukulele and whistles.
"I can do it blindfolded, too, though it's a little overkill," Kubinek told the Los Angles Times in 2005, more than five years after that seemingly impossible feat had thrilled a reviewer in New York.
Kubinek can also drink the wine without using his hands, although that's a trick one would assume he learned sometime after he became a professional magician at age 12.
Kubinek's interest in magic was kindled at age 5, when his parents took him to a circus. He was instantly fascinated by clowns, magicians and the art of theater. His parents, described in his biography as "perplexed yet well-adjusted," encouraged his interest, taking him to more shows and introducing him to the local chapter of the Brotherhood of Magicians.
Thirtysomething years after he met the magicians, Kubinek described himself to an unidentified "journalist from Pennsylvania" as a "fool, clown, visual poet, solo performance artist, multitalented vaudevillian, comic genius and charming huckster ... who uses every trick in the book to charm, transport, move and elicit laughter from, an audience."
Among his tools: stilts, a unicycle, bungee cords, optical illusions, a forehead so large he calls it a "fivehead," and a keen sense of the absurd. He describes his certification as a "lunatic" as something that happened "many years ago by mail order off the back of a matchbook," and attributes his flexibility to eating a lot of lard and sleeping in a milk crate.
"That, plus the fact that I stretch a lot."