Professional Whip Artistry Training & Entertainment

Professional Whip Artistry Training & Entertainment

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  • Bullwhip Lesson with Gery L. Deer: Candle Snuffing

    April 2014 – For many years, The Whip Artistry Studio director, Gery L. Deer, has been asked to produce some “how to” videos and here is the first of those. Here, Gery teaches whip student, Hollie Bradley, how to snuff out a candle with a whip. This is one of the most common whip tricks, dating back (on film) to Douglas Fairbanks in “Don Q: Son of Zorro” (1925).

    Here, Gery teaches Hollie the art of the direct candle snuff, using basic, vertical utility candles and a 5 1/2 foot, 8-plait, single-belly kangaroo whip with an ordinary nylon popper (not polypropylene). The direct candle snuff uses the circus crack (cattleman’s crack) to blow the candle out straight across, rather than the easier ‘scoop vacuum’ version, using a variation of the sidearm crack. This was the very first time Hollie ever tried the candle snuff. Great job, Hollie! (Our thanks to Rich Hoffman for the video clip!)

  • Wild West artists descend on The Whip Artistry Studio

    Filming some demo material for Richard and Donna Best.

    Filming some demo material for Richard and Donna Best.

    Saturday, April 12, 2014 – The Whip Artistry Studio played host to a half-dozen Wild West arts practitioners who met up to enjoy the company, the arts and the preservation of their crafts. Studio director, whip artist Gery L. Deer was joined by nylon whip maker David Crain of Heartbeat Artistry, who arranged the gathering for the benefit of Richard Best, of the Black Lightning Wild West Show.

    Richard and his wife Donna traveled down from northern Ohio. They’ve known Gery Deer for more than a decade and have worked with him for many years at the Annie Oakley Festival in Greenville, Ohio. Originally, Crain and Best chose the Studio simply as a meeting point but managed to arrange for some video to be taken by another patron of the studio, Rich Hoffman of Middletown, Ohio.

    Hoffman is a whip practitioner himself and the author of the books, “The Symposium of Justice,” and “Tail of the Dragon.” In 2009, he and Gery produced a film short that won them Best Experimental Micro Film at the Indy Gathering film festival in Cleveland. They’ve worked on several projects together and have discussed a new film project in the near future.

    “The Whip Artistry Studio” – with Gery L. Deer and David Crain. Video by Rich Hoffman:

    Also in attendance was roper, musician Doug Smith, of Medway, Ohio. Doug was one of the founders of the Annie Oakley event, running the roping activities for several years. He attended this particular meeting of the Western arts to catch up with one of his roping students, Hollie Bradley. Hollie is just getting started as an up-and-coming trick roper and recently started whip lessons under Gery L. Deer at The Whip Artistry Studio.

    Here are some photos and video from the day’s activities. Thanks to Debra Bays, Rich Hoffman and all who participated in a great day! Watch for information on other Wild West activities from The Whip Artistry Studio and GLD Enterprises.

  • Whips & Wands – A one-of-a-kind, comedic combo

    IMG_4386In 1993, Gery Deer and Jim Karns met while working at an engineering design center in Vandalia, Ohio. The two had a common friend, co-worker, Dan Shotwell, who happened to be talking with Gery about Gilligan’s Island when Jim overheard from a cubical next door and joined the conversation.

    While Gery remained with the design center only a short time, Jim stayed on but it was the start of a lifelong friendship and a future neither of the men could really know was about to happen. Gery, already a well-established whip artist, was performing all over the area and had been giving whip lessons for several years. Jim, an accomplished stage performer, had undertaken classic magic as his calling card. Over the years, Gery and Jim found ways of working together, both on and off stage.

    A few years later, it would be Jim who fabricated the famous “Zorro Candle Contest Board” used in The Whip Artistry Studio for practice on the famous competition – which no one ever won. He also later joined Gery’s family music and variety show, The Brothers & Co., as a bass singer, writer, comedian and magician.

    It wasn’t until 2007 that Gery and Jim first combined their talents into a show that featured only the two of them – Whips & Wands. Utilizing some of the most basic classic magic, they wrote new routines around them that included their comic timing, natural gift for stage banter and, most importantly, brought their two primary talents together – magic and whip artistry.

    wandwslideThe first show was, in a word, terrible. Trying to capitalize on their Brothers & Co. content, they included music, and separated the magic and whip acts into different parts. Each performer was on stage separately, unless they were singing, and it left audiences cold, to say the least. Add to that the fact that it was a 2-hour performance – far too long for anything of that kind – and you have a disaster, albeit one with a good deal of promise. They would keep trying and refining until they discovered that the funniest and most engaging of their shows kept both men on the stage as a comedy team. Sort of Abbot and Costello meets Indiana Jones and David Copperfield. It seemed to work.

    Years after that first performance, Jim and Gery would learn about another dynamic duo who combined their show for a time – Lash LaRue and Harry Blackstone, Senior. At a time when promoting a movie meant sending the actor on tour, Blackstone and LaRue teamed up to do a full stage show, separately but on the same bill. While Jim and Gery combine their work in a kind of “Martin & Lewis” package, Blackstone and LaRue kept their shows individualized, one playing after the other on the same stage at a showing of a feature film.

    whipsandwandsToday, Gery and Jim have refined their show into a 45-minute, high-paced family act that includes everything that made each performer popular in the first place. The music has been removed and now the show consists of a combination performance of whip artistry and magic, sometimes combined, but always in a funny context. There is plenty of audience participation and even one magic trick that no one even sees coming, making it a fantastic finale.

    Whips & Wands contains the full talent of Jim Karns (two-time IBM Ring 324 Magician of the Year) and Gery L. Deer, champion whip artist and one of the fastest and most accurate in the world. This is a one-of-a-kind show and this Christmas, it’s coming to Columbus, Ohio’s Franklin Park Conservatory for two performances on Sunday December 29, 11am and 2pm. The show is free with general park admission and great for the whole family!

  • Bandares / Berry Screen-Used Whip Featured On Local TV

    LD_GLD_ZORROMoraine, OHThe Whip Artistry Studio director, Gery L. Deer, appeared on the February 18th edition of WDTN-TV2’s Living Dayton program to talk about film and television collectibles. Deer, who is also creative director of GLD Enterprises, a media relations and commercial writing agency, is a regular business contributor on the program.

    The segment featured a series of Star Trek and related collectibles and costumes and the only bullwhip in existence to have been used by both Antonio Bandares (The Mask of Zorro) and Halle Berry (Catwoman). Previously owned by legendary stuntman Alex Green, the whip was made by David Morgan and dyed black for a single shot in Zorro then kept by Bandares for a period of time. It was returned to Green a few years later, with Deer taking possession of the whip just after Green used it to train Halle Berry for her Catwoman role.

    The whip is a 12-plait, 6-ft, Australian style bullwhip with an 8-inch handle and double belly. It was originally made in brown but dyed for the Zorro film shortly before shooting in Mexico City in 1997. Since coming to the collection of The Whip Artistry Studio Museum, it has appeared on screen several more times used by comedian Steve Harvey, talk show host and actress, Bonnie Hunt and several others.

    Watch the clip from the WDTN website …

    Sci-Fi Collectibles

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