Film documents local circus arts entertainer’s ‘Third Act’

The short documentary chronicles Homer resident George Faust, his history in circus arts and the impact of Parkinson’s disease

A short documentary about local resident George Faust will premiere April 11 at the Homer Theatre.

“My Third Act,” produced by Affinity Films, is about Faust’s career performing in circus arts in various places around Alaska and how his diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease at age 70 ended the physical part of his career. His circus skills included juggling, unicycle and general clown comedy. He also performed comedy onstage for mature audiences at venues like Chilkoot Charlie’s in Anchorage.

Mary Katzke is the founder of Affinity Films, a nonprofit educational media company based in Alaska since 1982, and has known George for 30 years.

Faust was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in May 2022 when he was 70 years old and currently lives in Homer’s senior citizen center. According to the National Institute on Aging website, Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that causes unintended or uncontrollable movements, such as shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination. Symptoms usually begin gradually and worsen over time. As the disease progresses, people may have difficulty walking and talking. They may also have mental and behavioral changes, sleep problems, depression, memory difficulties, and fatigue.

Both Faust and producer Katzke wanted to create the documentary to help raise awareness about the disease. Faust talked about his personal history and experience in freelance entertainment.

He said he started out as a clown, entertaining and making balloon animals at kids’ birthday parties.

“I was really good at the animals and I liked being around people, but I wanted more than that so I started working as a variety entertainer at bigger events like company picnics and parties and the Alaska State Fair,” he said in an interview with the Homer News.

He provided entertainment for large companies in the state like Alyeska and Arco. At one point he was flown to Los Angeles to audition for television commercial for Budlight and received the part.

“I told a dumb joke while I spun a hula hoop around my knees and juggled three coke bottles and three beer bottles,” he said.

Faust moved to Alaska from Arizona with his family as a child and went to school for a Bachelor of Arts in electrical engineering and an Master of Arts in telecommunications at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. He said he really didn’t enjoy working through those degree programs. He took an Anchorage Community Schools class in entertainment skills in the first step toward the entertainment industry.

“That first class also taught magic skills, but I didn’t really like that because I thought magic was kind of like lying and I wanted to be completely honest with people,” he said.

He started working out for eight to 10 hours every day and thought his physical health was really important and would improve all of his performance skills.

“After the balloon animals and comedy, I picked up juggling and pretty soon I could juggle three items in one hand and then three in both hands,” Faust said.

Eventually the items he juggled included bowling balls, fire sticks and surveyor machetes, while he simultaneously balanced a bowling ball on his face. Then, he added the skill of unicycling when he was 40 years old, including on top of a 5-foot-high device, and could juggle while riding.

“I never hurt myself, and everybody thought I was crazy but I just didn’t care,” he said.

When he lived in Anchorage he would ride the unicycle from his house to Earthquake Park, 10 miles, because he wanted to prepare himself for any situation. He could spin two cowboy lariats on the unicycle and make balloon animals behind his back.

“I don’t know why I was blessed with the talent, it was weird. I could spin seven hula hoops on my body in opposite directions. I don’t know how I figured it out but I just did,” he said.

In 1985, when he was 36 years old, he attended Dell’Arte International, a variety arts school in Blue Lake, California, 10 miles outside of Arcata. The school’s website history explains the organization: “Dell’Arte was founded by Carlo Mazzone-Clementi and Jane Hill in Berkeley in 1971 to bring the European physical training tradition to the United States and to develop actor-creators through training in mime, mask, movement and ensemble creation.”

In the 48-second film teaser, Faust states, “I would like to create some more general awareness about Parkinson’s.”

“I’m trying to have a sense of humor about the Parkinson’s. I’m trying to help people. I’m an open book. Now I base my comedy on my Parkinson’s,” he told the Homer News.

“I was in Sally Oberstein’s World Arts Festival show at Alice’s and I got up onstage and said ‘these days I’m not much of a mover, but I’ve become one hell of a shaker and I can shake my booty at the same time!’

“Put that in there,” he said, referring to the joke. “That’s funny.”

Faust was very open about sharing details about the role of depression in his life, including thoughts of suicide and how Parkinson’s has contributed to it.

“Thank God for my sense of humor, it’s what’s saved me. Every night I lay in bed and thank my lucky stars that I’m such a procrastinator. I never will commit suicide. I hate that word — we need to soften it up a little bit — but I just count my blessings.

“I try to have a good heart and be kind to people but I lose my thoughts a lot. It’s really hard for me to sort through what I can say and what I can’t say and it’s getting so much harder,” he said.

Katzke wants readers to know that April is the National Parkinson’s Awareness Month.

The film showing on April 11 will be followed with a discussion with Faust and Katzke. Hospice of Homer will then present “The Last Ecstatic Days” a two-hour film about a young man with terminal brain cancer and the thousands of people who follow his death on social media.

Katzke has provided an online teaser for the film at