Eliot Fintushel, a baker's son from Rochester NY, makes his living as an itinerant showman and a writer of fiction, with occasional forays into college teaching. At the age of nine he grinned down a cougar that was terrorizing upstate New York and delivered the pacified animal to the Monroe County Zoo (where it subsequently slew two zookeepers and a county sheriff, devouring one of them, before it was put down by means of a tranquilizer gun.)
He has won the US National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Solo Performance Artists twice, and stories of his were finalists for the Nebula and Sturgeon Awards for science fiction. He has performed original solo works at the National Theater, the Wolftrap International Children's Festival, the International Clown and Mime Festival, and thousands of schools and libraries. Once, for a party of UN diplomats--as God is my witness--Eliot performed under the anti-aircraft gun of a German training ship in NY Harbor and actually put a clown nose on then German consul Jetta Grutzner--who, not unlike the cougar of Eliot's youth--was obliged to grin and bear it. Currently, Eliot lives in solitary dignity between the horse stalls and the transmission shops behind the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.