|‘Shut Up and Sign’ Speaks to Audiences 10 and Up
By Autumn McAlpin, Orange County Register 3/16/12
All three members of rock band Beethoven's Nightmare are deaf, and this world-famous trio is sure to amaze.
They will be one of many acts brought in to entertain crowds at Walt Disney's first ever "SIGNin' in the Street" event at Downtown Disney on Saturday and Sunday, March 17 and 18.
Members of the Deaf Community will be featured throughout the weekend in films shown at the AMC theatre, Q&A sessions with the casts, and live musical performances featuring deaf performers.
Beethoven's Nightmare drummer and producer Bob Hiltermann is a familiar face in the Deaf Community. A well-known deaf actor who has performed on television, film, and stage, two of his films, See What I'm Saying and The Hammer, will be playing in the AMC line-up.
Hiltermann has a new project to promote; he is the star of the new Shut Up and Sign ASL DVD series.
Shut Up and Sign originated when L.A.-based director Marty Elcan wanted to take a course to brush-up on her ASL skills. She credits good fortune for leading her into Hiltermann's class where she witnessed "the most entertaining teacher for any subject ever" and wanted to share him with the world. Elcan wrote, directed, and produced Shut Up and Sign, and the DVDs are now available as an educational tool for those hoping to learn ASL in a fun, interactive way.
In the series, Bob brings his classroom comedy into episodic sketches in which he plays several wacky characters who do all but shut up. While deaf since the age of four, Bob can speak and does as he signs, using repetition and zany gags to liven up the mini-lessons.
His sense of humor is probably just one of the many coping mechanisms he developed early in life when as the tenth of eleven children born in Germany to the Hiltermann family, an early childhood bout of meningitis left him deaf. As he was new to language in general, his parents didn't realize his loss and just thought he was "slow." It wasn't until he was ten years old that a hearing test showed Bob had lost all hearing. But he was in college in Washington D.C. many years later before he discovered the ability to communicate through ASL.
Wanting to stay in America, Bob formed MuSign -- a Signing/Mime company that granted him his green card. He caught a new bug -- the entertainment kind. After playing the role of Orin against Marlee Matlin in Children of a Lesser God, Bob moved to L.A. and has since acted in various roles while teaching his highly acclaimed ASL class.
Shut Up and Sign "speaks" to an audience older than popular children's signing series, Signing Time and Sign-A-Lot, but audiences 10 and up will enjoy Bob's conversational wit and Elcan's whimsical art direction.
The series is available at http://shutupandsign.com/