Food Donation Drive for Laborers in honor of Dwayne

Food for the Soul
By Mina Liccione

A few months ago one of my mentors passed away. His name was Dwayne Calizo. He sang like an angel and had a selfless heart of gold. I first met him the day I applied for my Master’s degree program in San Francisco. I felt a bit uncertain walking into the building that day, questioning if it was the right school for me. Then, he just appeared with a huge grin, a sparkle in his eye and a warm hand shake. I instantly knew that someone very special and important to my journey was standing before me so I followed my improv’ training and said “yes, and!”

Without having him as a teacher, guide and mentor I most likely wouldn’t have gotten through those challenging years. He ended up co-directing my first solo show Della Pancia and helped me walk through my fear of singing… an emotional ballad… alone… while portraying a very dramatic role that also required me to cry on stage for the first time! He got me there.

After graduating I continued to work with him on other projects and our friendship continued to grow. One of the shows he produced was called Sunday’s Best. He would invite a number of Bay Area performers to take the stage and the audience could either pay for a ticket or bring 10 bagged lunches. Following the show the performers and audience would hand out the lunches to homeless men and women and then deliver the money to a charity organization/shelter as an anonymous donation.

dwayne

I remember him asking me if I would host a few of these shows. I trusted and believed in his vision and of course accepted. He gave his whole heart to every performance, every student, every friend and every cause he believed in. A true practitioner of art for a cause.

Upon moving to Dubai I founded the Clowns Who Care Project after having deeply rooted seeds planted from Jeff Raz (SFCC Director), Paoli Lacy (Clown Therapist), Big Apple Circus Hospital Care program, my father’s passion for charity that he instilled in his children and Dwayne.

To honor Dwayne, I humbly dedicated a recent Dance Concert that I directed to him. The concert ran two nights in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. One of the pieces, entitled Scars (ant-bullying dance for hope), was the one I knew he’d love the most. Why? Because the central topics were racism and bullying sparked by the Chapel Hill shootings and the raise in suicide rates in youth due to bullying. Dwayne always supported the outsiders, the hurt souls, the ones needing to develop… a voice.

To continue his love for charity and giving back, I also wanted to do something special for him this Ramadan. For those who may not know what Ramadan is, it’s a holy month observed by Muslims through fasting, prayer, charity, kindness and reflection.

Ramadan is always a beautiful time of giving and many people of lesser means across the world are fed a daily donated iftar. Iftar is the meal eaten by Muslims after breaking their fast at sunset during Ramadan.

In an effort to keep Ramadan’s intentions going in coming months we are collecting non-perishable food items to distribute to labor camps. I know Dwayne would love this.

Items needed:

+ Rice bags
+ Dates
+ Cooking oil/vegetable oil
+ Bombay Mix
+ Soda: cans of Coke, Pepsi, Mirinda, 7Up
+ Indian or Pakistani pickles
+ Juice boxes
+ Chips: Box of individually wrapped bags
+ Dried pulses: chick peas, dal, beans etc.
+ Mixed nuts/peanuts
+ Tea
+ Powdered Milk
+ Spices: turmeric, chili, black pepper, curry, salt, cardamom, cloves etc.
+ Flour
+ Sugar
+ Additional non-perishable items such as canned food, noodles, soups…

For those in the UAE wishing to take part in the food drive, items can be dropped off at 1 Lake Plaza – Office1407, Cluster T in Jumeriah Lake Towers Sunday, July 12 – Thursday, July 17 from 12:00 pm- 5:30 pm. For evening timings please email us at LOL@Dubomedy.com.

May you rest in peace Dwayne. Thank you for the inspiration and believing in me even when I didn’t.

camp 5

Mawaheb: Workshop and performance

On June 11, 2015 we headed to Mawaheb from Beautiful People, Bastakiya Art studio for adults with special needs to lead a comedy, circus & dance workshop complete with a grand finale performance byBeatbox Ray. It was such a wonderful afternoon and we thank everyone who helped!

Please do check out their artwork (which is also on sale) athttp://www.mawaheb-dubai.com/

mawaheb collage

Al Noor Centre Party

Al Noor Center: Performance & Party

On June 10, 2015 we headed over to the Al Noor Center for children with special needs to help them celebrate at their “end of the year” party. HUGE thanks to all the performers and volunteers who made it such a special day for the students, teachers, therapists & parents.
For more information about Al Noor Center head to their page: https://www.facebook.com/AlNoorCentre?fref=ts
Al Noor CWC

Regency Labor Camp Party & Show

After years of wanting to organize a labor camp event, we are happy to say that on April 18th, we had the pleasure of visiting the Regency camps in Al Quoz. We gave them a special party and performance filled with snacks, dance, music and laughter! Little did we know that they in turn they would put on a show for us! What an incredible, and memorable, night! Seeing these hard working men smile and have fun was a beautiful feeling for all of us. This was the first in a series of camp events, if you’d like to get involved please email us at LOL@Dubomedy.com.

Huge thanks to all the volunteers, performers, Barakat – Fresh & Easy,Tea JuncTion Café & LouNge for making this event so wonderful.

camp 1 camp 2 camp 3 camp 5

Photos by Imran Ahmed
To see the full album click HERE

Annual Community Party & Performance

Another year, another excuse to party!

On Saturday April 18 at Time Grand Plaza Hotel, we had the pleasure of hosting our 2nd Annual Clowns Who Care Xtravaganza Party and performance celebrating the wonderful special needs community. Children of all ages, and their families, from around the U.A.E. attended. It was nice for them to be able to come together from different areas and schools to a beautiful venue to have fun, dance, take part in activities, each a delicious lunch and be entertained for the afternoon.

Many thanks to all the volunteers, performers and artists, activity leaders, Time Hotels, Barakat – Fresh & Easy, Action Care and everyone who helped bring more joy to the community!

cwc 4  
cwc 1 cwc 3

cwc 5

For more photos click HERE

Urban Arts for Palestine Children’s Relief Fund


On Saturday, March 28 our mother company, Dubomedy Arts, organized a very special comedy and urban arts concert in support of Palestine Children’s Relief Fund PCRF UAE. The show was co-hosted by Ali Al Sayed and Mina Liccione and was filled with comedy, music, poetry and heartfelt videos.

We thank all the performers, crew, audience, Centre for Musical Arts for helping us bring this event to life. We encourage everyone to get involved with PCRF, they are doing incredible work for those in need.

For more information visit: www.pcrf.net

For the full album of images by Ayesha Fernandes and Ayman Photography click HERE.
audience pcrf 2 pcrf ali pcrf

dana

Autism Smiles UAE

We were very excited to launch Autism Smiles UAE last month! It’s a comedy club for youth on the spectrum though it is open to children with other special needs. Students learned an array of circus skills, musical comedy, joke telling, physical comedy routines, laughter yoga, magic and more.

The program is completely free and lead by Mina Liccione and Ali Al Sayed along with assistant teachers and volunteers to ensure personal attention for each student. The 5 week workshop ended with a fun graduation ceremony and a relaxed “informance” where the students got to show off some of their new skills for their families.

If you’d like to sign your son/daughter up for the next round beginning Mid-May please email us at LOL@Dubomedy.com If you have a talent you’d like to share with these wonderful kids, do let us know and we’d be happy to have you as a guest artist.

Special thanks to Ali, Gabi, Abel, Ayesha, Uditi and guest artists Rachel, Preba, Cari for volunteering your time, energy and passion. The kids really loved it!!

Huge thanks to Barakat – Fresh and Easy for their endless support. They have sponsored fresh fruit juices and salads for every event we’ve organized for over two years now. We adore you!

Here are a few wonderful memories….

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