Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Bridge to Your Imagination

Original Velocity costume design painting for our character Ms GG Bridges,
Guardian of the Golden Gate
By artist: Stephan

We hope that your year is off to a genuinely gratifying start.

We are so grateful to you, our longstanding, new, and potential clients, for choosing our artistry to help bring your events, experiences and shows to life! In turn, you have supported an economy of local and dedicated multi-disciplinary artists, who richest currency is to contribute their unbridled inspiration back into this beautiful city which we continue to call home.

A very special thank you to the never ending flow of fascinating visitors who contribute by coming to explore the labyrinth tours of our Velocity Headquarters aka The Gregangelo Museum.
We'd love to see many of you back again!

We are perpetually delighted with our core group of wonderful collaborators, directors and performers of every discipline from aerial mirth-lings to zebra clad contortionists who add in bringing every vision to full bloom.

And of course, cheers to our team of highly skilled artists in residence, artist managers, and crew here who are the prolific "X-Men and Women" who make everything work!

Our purpose this year is to continue to produce new and meaningful experiences  which connect people, encourage bridging culture clashes and link divides here in SF and anywhere in the world.

We sincerely look forward to joining forces with each and every one of you in welcoming our new SF residents and entertaining our diverse visitors with our 'only in San Francisco' brand of genuine, exemplary and customized hospitality ….

Gregangelo's Velocity Circus | 415-664-0095

Thursday, August 3, 2017


I rarely if ever talk about my professional work as an artist, the lifetime job I’ve created and shared with so many other artists.
Perhaps because it is undefinable, ephemeral , or that my eloquence is limited. Though the true reason is that I am too consumed and impassioned in just doing it and living it.
In my line of work there is a vast amount of rejection. This rejection in the world of arts and entertainment is typically derived from a multitude of useless fears (currently of gluten and clowns- so we created the character - Gluten The Clown! ) , indecision, insecurity , lack of $, and many other harmless , unintentional  yet never-the-less, disappointing decisions from our potential clients. After three decades+ in this wonderful entertainment industry , I am fairly calloused to the rejection, though it still stings a bit. But, I’m soon immersed in the next great project, collaborating with a more visionary client , and the extraordinary team of artists here at Velocity. This action of creative work quickly erases any previous disappointment as we move together with full inspiration through the multitude of magical and technical details in every new work from concept to completion.

Today, I experienced a new reason for this stinging rejection- Cruelty , a force that I find to be intolerable. And a force that is now at the helm and core of our government , and of many world governments. It is apparently trickling down fast into the acceptable workings of business. I find it to be unacceptable.

To preface, much of our artists earned income is derived from creating new and unusual experiences for corporate events of all sorts. Regardless of if we agree, disagree or even understand various corporations policy and practices-  we actually love to bring the impactful humanity of our work to these very human audiences, who do not expect us. They are often a bit timid at first ,but by the end of the arc of an experience become awed , playful, and full of wonderment from each and every artist, crew, performer, and entertainer which they encounter from us. We have to earn their trust to ‘ignite their imaginations’ , and I enjoy the challenge and often leave feeling that we mutually contributed something empowering . The corporations and all event professionals involved succeed on a very satisfying kind of personal-and-up-close-level.

When I listen to, or approach a client or artist, my instinct is to be unapologetically straight forward, which comes from a genuinely deep care and passion in wanting to learn the truth and understand every new client, artist, venue, audience, concept, and in turn create and deliver the most poignant, beautiful and meaningful experience for the guests - period.

Recently , among many projects , our creative sales director had been in negotiation for 2 months for a large live entertainment project. As artistic director, I was assigned to meet with a regional team from the respected international corporation. As always , I showed up eager and ready to learn. They turned out to be the most lackluster and intentionally cruel team who I have ever encountered. This standard meeting and walk through of the venue was simply meant to inspire, hash out, solidify and enlighten us of the ‘elite' event mission, audience, etc, so that we could get to work building and rehearsing the ultimate experience.

When asking for insight into the guests, I simply received  the highly un-intelligent,  condescending , slam-the-door-in-your-face words:
"They have seen and done it all” (What the heck does that even mean?!)
Of course, I’ve heard this a few times in the past and take it as my cue to either leave, or to humorously turn it around. I choose the latter-  which has been successfully accomplished many times. This crew had no humor or warmth and clearly - no vision. No sense of humor in my experience is basically- the demise of the human spirit. However, the creative meeting lasted 2.5 hours and though tedious, progress was made.

When leaving the dry meeting, I was in fact against all odds- still inspired, even hope-full - and had a shared vision to deliver .
Below is what was written in our 'inspiration column', from the meeting notes. These are the only very enthusiastic words spoken direct from the lips of the corporate team leader (I am replacing the proper name with ‘founder’ and the occupation with ‘worker’ ): “The founder hated women, he despised his wife and was intentionally cruel to her, he did not care if his workers died, in fact he preferred that they died so they could be replaced with better workers...."
To which I earnestly replied: “Is this the concept you would you like me to weave into the guests' experience?”

Of course he had no reasonable answer to this or any other question, so we shifted focus and came up with a beautiful concept gracefully woven through the evening and departed on a handshake and agreement.
After 2 months of negotiation, about 15 revisions imposed by them, hours of meetings and travel time, disrespectfully depleting our many resources and tapping both our internal trusted relations and event professional relations to the maximum - they dropped us 2 weeks before the event, no explanation, no additional creative direction.
Velocity is not entitled to the job, and perhaps we did not present well enough for them to understand the vision- a challenge we often face creating new site/audience specific works. The clients actions do not surprise me , but it still hurts and disgusts on so many levels.

Typically, the next revelation with these types of clients is that they take all, or part of our concept and farm it out to others to produce it for ‘ cheaper ' . Of course, this is not how any inspired or great art is accomplished, but they do not care.
To me , Care is the only force which bonds anyone personally or professionally with each other.
It is despicable that operating with a lack of care is becoming the normal model of large companies doing business with artists, two disparate entities who have so much to offer to support one another.

In any event, we’ll continue to find new strategies and battle to keep the arts and artists afloat for the many people and businesses who do care.

To any friends out there who give a shit- remind me to run next time I hear the lofty, ambiguous, careless words “We’ve Seen and Done it ALL’ !!!
How can anyone seriously even speak those words? I think I feel a comedy act coming on…

Glad to be in the memory making business, rather than the $ making business- though a few bucks helps!!.

Off to higher grounds...

Monday, September 26, 2016

Small Miracles, Coincidence, Imagination, Inspiration, Friendship ...  

On a recent improvised trip to Colombia on which no set itinerary was planned and anything that was planned never came to fruition, I found myself at the mouth of Tayrona Jungle Park on the Caribbean coast…and behind me heard a slightly bewildered voice questioning “ Gregangelo?”
Against all odds is was a friend from Italy who I had met, hosted and befriended in San Francisco a year earlier and who I had not seen since, but whom I think of fondly often. We spent a wondrous day together. I later sent him a message : 'Alvise, it truly was a small miracle to run not you in Tayrona and an absolute joy to be able to share some time together. I could  not have been more surprised and delighted by anyone else.'  Here is his his response:

 Hello Greg!
I arrived yesterday night in Bogotà and really enjoyed spending an hour watching your work on tumblr, thank you very much for that link! And that latest infinite light costume is simply amazing.

Aurora and Delphi ‘Infinity light ‘ costumes 

What you do is truly inspiring to me, the way you materialize your imagination is so powerful. You can't stop, and other things you said and did in front of my eyes have been echoing in my mind in this months. I think about the imagination as a driving and wonderful force now, that create and makes things happen, the most powerful one.

I think imagination is not only capable of the creation of tangible artifacts but also of events, thus the manipulation of time and space, and our meeting confirms to this dynamics.

I'm very fascinated by coincidences, I believe they are a tool that life uses when it wants to speak to us. The reason is that our mind is pretty shocked by them, and therefore tries to explain and see deeper on the reason about why they happen (As if it is saying "Hey there's something important going on here, find it"). I spent those 3 days in that beach with this thoughts in mind, and that's what I got:

Two months ago in London I heard a song somewhere I kinda liked so I saved it on my phone, I looked its youtube video few days later which was all shooted in the beatiful Tayrona park, Colombia, for which I had just booked a flight ticket, I thought It was a sign I had to go to see that park, and that's the reason I came. That's the video (I also slept in the hostel which is pictured). That very morning I decided to go, someone also offered me a drive, which made me meet you duly at the entrance.

Well, all of this makes very few sense though, since there are an infinite amount of events like this ones that led us there in that moment, that can be traced back God knows when.
In fact, not only "Every step we made in our lifes led us here, now" but also the steps of the people that preceded us and forces around us did that. But that's only the "how" not the "why".

What I found more interesting is what life had to say, which I think for me consisted in two things.

You are one of the most interesting persons I know and you don't know what you will do "when you grow up", but you know that for sure something good will happen.
Well, I realized that this is actually a "plan", and at the same time it's the realization of this plan: if we are able to imagine that something good will happen, and be convinced about that, then the wonderful power of the imagination will make this good happen. As simple as that.

Since I left San Francisco I found myself changing and seeing those days as very far, maybe nostalgic about the person I was. Seeing your face and following you along the jungle reminded me of the day we walked down to the beach, making that whole period very lively again, and myself of course still capable of that same attitude. I realized that we change cause that's how nature and life works, but this change happens through evolution, a process that keeps track of the past, which is therefore living inside us, and can be recalled.
Now, this time life was kind enough to remind me that, but that's not going to happen all the time, here the importance of keeping in touch with people I had a special bond with and that are far now, to help me (And maybe them) be aware that the present and who we are know is also the result of that special moment.

Allright I think that's all, I hope we will keep in touch in the future and for sure you will keep me very inspired!

I have a website as well if you want to take a look, which I use to find my clients

Alvise Rizzo

On Tayrona beach the day of that small miracle

Thursday, January 7, 2016


Marisa Lenhardt on Trapeze in ‘The Earth Room’

It’s been called a wonderland, a museum, and adventure, an experience, a rabbit hole.
For those of us who create there, we call it work.
But every one of us remembers our first time through the door; a “my god, what have I stepped into?” moment that is completely washed away by the subsequent moments. We all know by now that the living room is comparatively normal.

I first fell into the rabbit hole 13 years ago.
In the throes of a bad breakup, Gregangelo called me looking for someone to sing the song from the fifth element for an event for which he was providing the entertainment. At the time, before a bunch of little girls started singing the piece for talent shows and everyone I know started sending the videos to me on Facebook, in fact, before Facebook, I was the only person many people knew of who sang the piece. Gregangelo had heard me at a Burning Man decompression event, and remembered me when he heard a request for the song.

The house has grown, as I have I.

The house has expanded, hideaways, rooms, alcoves, new art, new artists employed, mosaic, hidden passageways, a kaleidoscope bathroom so insane you’ll forget why you went in there.

Instead of just being an opera singer who sings with techno, I’m an operatic fortune teller, a fortune roulette teller, an aerialist who sings opera on trapeze, an aerialist who sings opera on trapeze after riding her motorcycle onstage.

'Through Gregangelo and his work and, more than that, his simple way of being, I have become limitless.

In my day job, I have gone from being a project coordinator to being a Senior Manager. I have, in part because of association with Gregangelo, discovered my own limitlessness.

 I write this from a villa overlooking the Thai sea; one of my favorite places in the world.

Just before I departed for this journey, I took my team at work on a tour through the Gregangelo museum, combining so many of my passions; creativity, my day job, bringing people together to explore new things and challenge themselves. I have learned that it is possible to live entirely, that the areas of my life don’t need to be separated out to achieve success and, in fact, that it’s better to combine them.

 Photo by Hiromi Yoshida

Thinking of the true creative greats - in arts, sciences, and everything in between, passion drove them, and they doggedly pursued a creative vision. We can’t make the mistake of separating our creative lives from our practical lives. Doing this cheapens both. Gregangelo’s museum, his work, and his own person, exist as a perfect example of this; the clients he engages recognize this - that he is the ultimate creative businessman, and that he can bring to their concept something truly unique.
 I look forward to the next 13 years of growing, and wonder what kind of artist…and business person… I will be then.

Thank you, Gregangelo and crew! I couldn’t do it without you.


Marisa Lenhardt

Friday, December 25, 2015


Me and a small group of European travelers at Lands End San Francisco

Among many performing highlights of 2015, I have had the pleasure to expand my minimal private life and host many international travelers in my home AKA Velocity Circus headquarters. Occasionally a visitor of great talent shows up and of course – I put them to work in one of our productions!

There are far too many fascinating and meaningful encounters to note; however each varied guest, disparate traveler and distinct person with whom I have encountered and shared time has changed and inspired me for the better. Overall, through the cultural exchange, both my and their horizons have forever expanded.

I have recently had a repeat guest named Alvise who is an Industrial designer from Venice, Italy.
He is working on project in San Francisco designing fabric and garments that will be produced by means of 3D printing.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I still work making costumes by hand, stitch-by-stitch.

Alvise and I are opposites in every aspect of life, yet have forged a true friendship during his short visit here.  


Based on his experience in my home, with my arts crew, and witnessing my ever-changing, always-adapting philosophy, he wrote this very special “review” which deeply resonated with me and that I choose to share with any readers here:

“Sometimes you listen to a song or you read a sentence or do whatever, and this thing changes you. 
I did change somehow every time I've been in Greg's house of happiness. 
Touring his world gave me the kind of dream-like feeling that I had watching Lynch's Muholland Drive, everything has the right to be in his own form and position, the whole picture though is imperceptible or subject to interpretation. 
Gregangelo literally can't stop putting himself in the position of changing continuously because this is a truly curious and eclectic man, and since changing yourself changes the way you see at things around you, he is experiencing the place he created himself each time differently. That's why he won't be able to explain himself the whole pattern if you are lucky enough to be invited in this incredible place. And believe me if you are, you want to go. 
He is talented, funny, unpredictable, and a good friend now for me in the city, amazing careful host, and it’s a true honor for me to have a look into his life and meet the nice people he is surrounded by. Thanks Greg. Sorry for this cheesy reference, but you are a very special man.”
-Alvise Rizzo
Veneto Italy

Alvise is a rare and special man who stands out among my many guests. 

He is expansive in his thinking, active and adaptable in his philosophies, very present and sincere, playful and unafraid, and is as interesting himself as he is interested in the world around him. 

Overall I find Alvise to be a gentle and unassumingly inspiring man with a magnetic and comforting presence. 

I look forward to continuing to meet new friends, share meaningful time eye-to-eye with people in the real world and find new inspiration from folks whether they are just passing through, or here to stay…

Artistic Director
Velocity Arts & Entertainment
Velocity Circus
San Francisco
415 664-0095