Clown for a New Day

Clown for a New Day
Dagwood might make it in today's emasculated circus

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sunday Morning, Looking Back: The Garden: Ringling Out? Cirque in?


Facts, Rumors and Rants ... Cirque versus Ringling at the Garden? ... John Ringling North II Scouting the electronic trail, sans Cadillac ...

Fear and Loathing at Feld Central? The Garden (as in Madison Square), so go the rumors, was not singing “New York! New York!” after Kenneth Feld’s new ringless circus left town last spring ... His radically reconstructed opus struck the shocked as more like a Saturday morning kiddie carton than the greatest show on earth we sort of kind of remember from — well, how many years back?

Are Garden Officials Angling to ‘86 the Feld Parade? ... That’s what my Sarasota sources tell me ... the Garden website does not list Big Bertha as a visitor next April. The Ringling website does ... I called the ticketmaster number Ringling is giving out , but they have no NY tix for sale just yet ... I tried reaching MSG public relations, a hold line for those with nothing else to do... Ringling without the Big Apple? Last summer Ringling snubbed San Francisco’s Cow Palace (or was it vice versa?) For the first time in fifty seasons .... Perhaps the nation’s most liberal (excuse me, “progressive”) city was turning to hostile against the Ringling menagerie. :PETA types over there will chain themselves to the parking lot fence, making a trip to the circus a real vehicular challenge.

Mental Health Advisory to Kenneth Feld: John Ringling went nearly berserk after losing the Garden date back around 1929. Scrambling to recover it — and his sanity — Ringling tore through a cavalcade of reckless financial blunders that left him, alone and near-forgotten, on the sidelines.

Cirque Du Soleil at the Garden? Contrary to rumors rocking cyberspace, Cirque is NOT playing the Garden. Cirque is playing the Theatre at Madison Square Garden, a 4,000 seat venue, thank you. Billionaire new-wave big top king Guy Laliberte of Montreal inked a four-year deal with the house that Barnum built to deliver a ten-week show each winter ... Hmmm .... Could “the world’s most famous arena” be angling to replace Big Bertha with Little Quebec?

Don’t Bet on a Cirque Knockout, Not Yet. Feld is one shrewd surviving operator who defers to the crowd. This competitiveness might force him, however, to try the role of showman (as opposed to merchandiser). Although, given the man’s sudden retreat from his own artistically promising Barnum’s Kaalidsoo ... Kaldo – heck, what was it called? -- it makes you wonder if he can muster the artistic resolve and patience to forge a viable challenge to those maddeningly successful Montreal reinventers.

In The Meantime, Life Outside the Big Apple: John Ringling North II is scouting acts the new fashioned way. His partner, Jim Royal, asks ruefully, “Where is the big Cadillac with the driver, the night clubs, the circuses of Europe?” Yes, where is the grand tour once feted by North’s famed uncle? Not on the nephew’s itinerary. The younger North, you see, full wired, is, per Royal, “reviewing videos/cds in the comfort of Northbrook” [that’s in Ireland]

Okay, Kelly-Miller at the Garden?

[above: The Greatest Show on Earth at the Garden, 1954/photo by Ted Sato]

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