We ain't just clowning around: Serious business underway at International Clown Convention

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

The clowns competed in best makeup, improvisation, best group show, juggling and, of course, best balloon shaping contests

More than 500 clowns have gathered in Mexico to take part in activities marking the 17th International Clown Convention.

Colourful wigs, large shoes, red noses and doubtless a fine collection of squirty plastic flowers were on show at the first day of the convention at a theatre in Mexico City.

On arrival, and in order to register for the conference, clowns were asked to raise their "official clown rulebook", without which they wouldn't be able to register.

According to Associated Press some clowns could only raise an imaginary rulebook 'while making a sad face.'

During the four-day event, the clowns competed in best makeup, improvisation, best group show, juggling and, of course, best balloon shaping. The event's main sponsor was a balloon manufacturer.

On a more serious note the clowns sought to distance themselves from the recent killing of convicted drug trafficker Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix, who was shot to death on Friday at the Baja beach resort of Los Cabos by a gunman wearing a clown costume.

Clown leader Tomas Morales, a 21-year veteran of the trade who goes by the stage name "Payaso Llantom," said he was certain the killer was not a professional clown.

He said clowns in Mexico, especially in outlying states, know each other and their costumes and makeup are individualized and recognizable. 

"The people who do that, they're not clowns. I can swear on my mother's grave it wasn't a clown," said Morales, whose costume includes frizzy blue hair and a tiny top hat. "We are not like that ... we are nonviolent." 

"Bufon Marley," the stage name of 49-year-old Alberto Villanueva, who dresses a bit like a medieval jester, said of the killer, "It's sad that it has fallen to that level." 

"I don't think it has anything to do with us; we do the complete opposite," Villanueva said. "I don't think it will hurt our profession, because in our communities, people know us." 

Morales said there have been past cases of thieves stealing clown costumes to commit crimes. 

"We clowns suffer robberies," Morales said. "The criminals have stolen our vehicles, our costumes, our sound equipment, our makeup, and with these same tools we use to work, they use them to commit robberies."

In the UK a sinister-looking clown recently made the headlines after standing on street corners around Northampton.

The mysterious character was seen around Northampton, waving at passers-by. Photos of him have been posted online, turning him into something of an internet sensation.

He was recently unmasked by a British tabloid and named as Northampton University ­student and budding film maker Alex Powell, 22.

Additional reporting by Associated Press.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
News
i100
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, poses at the premiere of
people
News
people
News
The frequency with which we lie and our ability to get away with it both increase to young adulthood then decline with age, possibly because of changes that occur in the brain
scienceRoger Dobson knows the true story, from Pinocchio to Pollard
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Life and Style
health
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen