Jasper Patterson is the master of ceremonies of “Mittens and Mistletoe,” the charming annual circus cabaret presented by Sweet Can Productions. (Courtesy Shoot That Clown)

Holiday fun for all in ‘Mittens and Mistletoe’

Jasper Patterson’s got an excellent seasonal vocation.

He gets to be the villain clown in “Mittens and Mistletoe.”

“It’s been fun the past two years,” says Patterson, of his role as master of ceremonies in the extraordinary annual family production opening Friday (for 15 performances) at Dance Mission Theater in The City.

“It’s a nondenominational show for everybody,” Patterson says, adding that somewhat provocative themes give the stunt-filled yet intimate circus cabaret presented by Sweet Can Productions extra juice.

His character, in particular, gives the show its story arc and explores the idea of the counterpsychology of people who don’t like the holidays, and how people who are happy all the time display a “brittle false happiness.”

Of course, in the end, feelings of love and presence — the real meaning of the holidays — prevail.

San Francisco-born Patterson, a longtime circus performer – the son of an original member of the famed northern California troupe the Flying Karamazov Brothers and most recently associated with Fou Fou Ha!, Vau de Vire, and City Circus AcroSports —  says this year’s “Mittens and Mistletoe” has a cool video design, again using reverse psychology, that takes on the commercialism of the season.

“It’s a surreal game show, with a cat-in-the-hat scenario in which everything goes a little awry,” he says.

Patterson admits that sometimes video components of live productions can be ineffective and hollow, but that growing connections between artists and technicians are changing that.

He’s enjoying being involved in theater education, he says, combining the vibrant local indie circus world with theater and technical production.

“There’s really fertile ground for tech and art in San Francisco,” he says, in which coders, programmers and animators are creating truly amazing fantasy and magical worlds with projections and set design.

At the same time, “Mittens and Mistletoe” will showcase physical talents and real, rather than virtual, feats from energetic Bay Area performers.

The lineup includes: wire walker Eulalie Blanc from Switzerland; slack rope artist Beth Clarke; clowns Jamie Coventry and Natasha Kaluza, acrobat, juggler and hula hooper Marria Kee, juggler and handstand expert Jeremy Vik and Russia-born parkour athlete Andrey Pfening. Musical accompaniment is by New Orleans-based harpist Luke Brechtelsbauer.

Together, they have created what Patterson calls “a wonderful family show, with some new and old elements.”

IF YOU GO: Mittens and Mistletoe presented by Sweet
Can Productions

Where: Dance Mission Theatre, 3316

24th St., S.F. When: 8 p.m. Dec. 18-19,

2 and 4 p.m. Dec. 20, Dec.22, Dec. 24 and Dec. 26- 27, 2 p.m. Dec. 23 and Dec. 25, Tickets:  $18 to $65 Contact: (415) 225-7281, www.brownpapertickets.com,

www. sweetcanproductions.com.

Note: An added adults-only show is at 10 p.m. Dec. 26.

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