Motivational Speaking
     Joey Ventura, the altered ego of variety artist and actor, Craig Sjogerman, will spice up your event with his custommade comedy, eccentric vaudeville skills, and unique audience participation, all while celebrating creativity and service.


     The Prep: Craig will speak at length with members of your school or organization about leaders, organization history, etc. to develop a conceit that he once attended your school, or was a part of your organization.  

     The Show: As he juggles and brings audience members up to experience "Ventura-obics" Joey will integrate stories and anecdotes about favorite and well-known staff members.



     The message of the presentation is twofold: (1) "Follow your passion." We are all creative, interesting, and interested humans. We not only have the ability to create, we have the need to express ourselves. People who find a creative outlet and get involved with the world are less likely to engage in destructive activities. This leads to the second part of this message:
 (2) "Service to others." Through engagement with the world, through making a difference, we can find our truest selves. Joey relates stories about his work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and senior centers. The stories are filled with humor and inspiration.

     The Fun: Although Joey is an exaggerated character with an attitude, his message is clear. It is told through laughs and stories, not through sermons or pontification.


Hospital Clowning/
Vaudeville For Seniors
     Hospital Clowning: Since 1999, Craig has donned a doctor's coat under the auspices of New York's famed Big Apple Circus. The

Big Apple Circus Clown Care (sm) program entertains and and inspires young people and their families in hospitals throughout the country. Craig, aka Dr. Gesundheit, makes regular rounds, going room to room at Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago and LaRabida Children's Hospital. Since February of 2005, he has been the Supervising Clown at LaRabida. He has had extensive training in hygiene and hospital protocol. His partners are some of the best performers in Chicago and include actors from 500 Clown, The House Theater, and Barrel of Monkeys. Clown Care (sm) is a vital part of the Child Life programs in their hospitals.
     Work with Seniors:  Craig has many years of experience performing for senior citizens at nursing homes and independent living centers, performing vaudeville schtick, old and new songs, and comic improvisations. He has also been a leader in developing a new project for the Big Apple Circus, the Vaudeville Caravan. This exciting program takes the room-to-room format of clown care, and adapts it for senior programs.



     Playwriting: Craig has written over 16 scripts that have been professionally produced. His plays for young audiences include productions about environmental issues for Gaia Theater, and other work

for Imagination Theater, Make-A-Circus, and Whirlwind Theater. His musical, The Wanderers, won the San Francisco Bay Guardian's Award for Best Children's Theater Production in 1995. Craig's plays for adults feature dark humor, comments on popular culture, and explore both personal and political issues. Opie Taylor Must Die won the New American Plays Competition at Humboldt State University. Suburban Viking -a play about Craig's upbringing and how Vikings turned into Lutherans- was performed at the Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco, at the New Vaudeville Festival, and at the Chicago Director's
Festival at the Bailiwick Theater in Chicago. Curtains -a comedy about dying- received productions at The Intersection, the Company-In-Flight Theater in San Francisco, and at the Sheppard Theater Complex in Los Angeles.

Please contact Craig for samples of his scripts:

     Business/Commercial Writing: Craig can also create a custom-made presentation for your business, not-for-profit, private party, or community event. Combining his writing skills with his physical and verbal comedy, Craig can help you create a memorable and unique way to spread the word about your organization or product. Past clients include: Borland International, Photo Show International, Murder Mystery, Inc., Sun Microsystems, IBM, and School District in Skokie, IL.


Creative Nonfiction/Memoir: Harnessing a near-eidetic memory of things that happened a long time ago, Craig has begun to write strange and fascinating stories about his past. Studying with S.L. Wisenberg at the Chicago Poetry Center has helped him develop these nonfiction writing skills. Please email Craig for samples of his stories (





     In addition to his stage shows, Dr. Gesundheit can spice up your parade, trade show, street fair, or party as a walk-around performer. Whether you want a bowling ball-tossing, firejuggling skill act or a European style clown, Craig is happy to bring one of his personas to your event. He has strolled at such venues as: Andersonville Street Fair; Navy Pier; MGM Grand Hotel, Las Vegas; Photoshow International; Comdex; Pier 39, San Francisco; US Cellular Field, and Chicago Bulls' games.


Cool Links:

       To apply for an ArtsTour grant click:
For info about the Big Apple Circus Clown Care (sm) program, cut and paste this link to your browser:
For info about the Shanti Foundation for Peace contact:


Photos by: Suzanne Plunkett -

Web hosting and HTML coding by: Ken Schultz -


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