Alcalá View 1994 10.9

By Jacqueline Genovese When a ca r e ngine fe ll on his hand 14 yea rs ago, John Highkin didn't know the injury he susta ined would change his life. The fo rmer bluegrass performer was forced to take time off whi le his hand hea led, and he took that time to re-eva luate the directi on of his life. "I rea li zed then that I didn't want to be 40 years o ld and playing music in a bar," says Highkin, who is a part-time English

Picnic Schedule (Continued from page one) 1:40-3 :30 p.m., Music, door prizes and games. 3:30-5 p.m., Lifeguard avail- able for swimming . All times are approximate. Events follow one another. For more information, call Calista Frank at ext. 2621 . See you at the picnic! Benefit Briefs If you have questions and/or concerns about your health care coverage or a course of treatment, difficul- ties with a provider or prob- lems with the processing of a claim, you should first con- tact the appropriate member- ship services office for assis- tance. If the membership ser- vices representative or the physician's office fails to answer your question or resolve the situation , then call human resources for additional help. It is very helpful if the health care problem or con- cern is identified in writing . Employees may use a provider service report form to report any problems they may be having with their plan . Forms are available in human resources. The completed form is sent to a customer service consultant at the insurance company; as well as the uni- versity's insurance broker, Barney & Barney. Most con- cerns are quickly resolved with this reporting method . Call ext. 8762 for further information. The Employees Assistan- ce Program (EAP) is avail- able to all benefit-eligible employees, their spouses and dependents. EAP will help employees and/or immediate family members with many types of problems including stress, alcohol or drug abuse, family, medical, legal, financial and marital. Contact with EAP is strictly confidential. The first three counseling sessions are free. Contact EAP directly at (Continued on page three)

is needed to apprec iate it." In 1990, Highkin took his idea to the C ity of San Diego Commiss ion fo r A rts and C ulture. There he found an enthusiastic supporter in C indy Zimmerman, who advised him throughout the grant-seek ing process. Highkin rece ived a $15,000 grant from the counc il and , in 199 1, the Fern

S tree t C ircus was bo rn.

The first c ircus took place in Highkin's ne ighborhood park, Grape Street park. A us Kelps Bu. sho rt time later, ano ther memo- ~\t\, _____ IJd C. rab le event took place

lecturer at USO. "So I dec ided to go to co llege, something I had been fighting all • ~If,

0~ there. "C indy and I •-~=::~ ~• marri ed in the {ff~-f~~~~ says with a ended up ge tting pa rk," Highkin

of my li fe."

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After ea rning a •

bachelo r's degree in Engli sh li te r-

ature at

sheepish grin . "Pretty amaz- ing isn't it ? I got marri ed

UCLA, Highkin went on to Cambridge,


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] because of r[: thi s!" ;§

where he aq· earned a mas- "' ter's degree and continued his study of the famous Ge rman playwright, Ben o it Brecht. It was at

Fern Street

0 ,cJ C ircus has § become an £": cf annual event, "$:.;- and includes per- ~---,, fo rmers as diverse as




I . ' '


,~1.: an 11 -yea r-o ld contor- tionist and members of the





Cambridge, and later in Berlin at the thea ter Brecht



th e Fern Sireec C ircus cln-ne ' 0 acrobatic Canestre lli c ircus fa m-

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fo unded, that Highkin discove red a pass ion fo r telling stories using means other than words. "I became interested in physica li ty and finding a theatrica l fo rm that was less With stints first as a directing intern and then as an ass istant d irector at the O ld Globe Thea tre and the Seattle Repe rto ry Thea tre, Highkin's career path seemed to be headed in the direction of regional theater. "I saw C irque du Sole il in 1987," he remembers. "So many c ircuses have a cheap second - or third-hand Las Vegas aesthetic, but C irque du Sole il wasn't like that. It brought the concept of family back into the That discovery inspired Highkin to ere- ate a c ircus that would bring ne ighbo rs together. "In today's fragmented soc iety, there's a need fo r act ive neighbo rhood events that get people out in the streets dancing and ce lebrating," he says. "The appea l of a c ircus is universa l. No language language-based," he exp lains. But then the c ircus came to town. c ircus."

ily. In additi on , Zimmerman offers parade- making classes at ne ighbo rhood community centers, and the circus has been hired to perfo rm at severa l events, including a party in Rancho Santa Fe and the AutoZone co r- porate conventi on at the San Diego Con- the Yellow Pages," Hi gh kin exp la ins. "Events like AutoZone help fund the neigh- borhood work we do. To me, that's a ni ce way of ge tting indirec t corporate support fo r Highkin and members of Fern S tree t C ircus performed at USD on April 20 in conjunction with the Linda Vista Multi- cultural Fa ir. The ir "DooDah Parade" included Highkin on stilts, clowns in full cos tume and ch ildren from the Linda Vi sta community as well as USD's Mancheste r Family C hild Deve lopment Center. Members of the circus a lso perfo rmed at the Senior Class Sp ring Fina le, and have vention Center. "We're the only c ircus company listed in a meaningful community projec t."

(Continued on /Jage four)

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