Clown for a New Day

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

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mid Week Scramble. We toss, you catch ...

Okay, in no particular order, I’m taking one piece of paper at a time, off the top and working down, and if you sense a roll of wagons off a train oddly loaded last night, trust me, we’ll get the tents up somehow...

A one-word note “Logan” reminds me to wax rustic about Logan Jacot's new rabbit act in training, which has me enthrall. At county fairs, I’ve often spent quality time gazing into little cages housing mature bunnies of all facial expressions, and read into every one a whole different attitude. So much fury fun. I’d reach a finger in to touch the little darlings, feeling as brave as Clyde Beatty in the Big Cage.

The World is never far away from this humbly rising blog. At any given point, as many as a quarter of my stampeding patronage (oh, maybe about two or three) are checking out my stand, and not all of them goggled in here by mistake. From France (I feel smug) and the big UK, Israel and the Ukraine, Tokyo to Finland, Athens to Mexico, Quebec to Colombia, they come. Search words that get ‘em here? “Circus” often does the trick. Random reaches spell out “Alex Chimal 2008," "David Joy in NC” (who he?); “circus pay,” and “circus barkers,”“Bellobration” (big) and “zoo tragedy.” However you got here, World, welcome inside and, by the way, what are you thinking? Cotton candy or imported Chinese tea for your comments ...

We know what a few are thinking. Wade Burck recently commented with working authority, stating what seems rational: “Although I know better than to give an animal human emotions....” And yet Me the romantic is a sucker for the John Pugh school of being able to sense an animal’s emotions. You have company, John — Here’s a found item from the Seattle Times in 2005 suggesting that “a growing number of scientists agree that animals are conscious and capable of experiencing basic emotions.” Nailed! Having interviewed a number of trainers, I’ve gotten a feeling that they can understand the moods of their charges. And there is something mystical about how they do communicate, or is it all in the edible payoffs?

Don Covington, amused at my tenuous connection to the NBC Celebrity Circus (so tenuous, I feel like one of hundreds of names on a Hollywood Rolodex), sends me news about the sudden death of the other version that was in the works at ABC. No surprise to me, but rather uninspiring to learn of actors spending so little time trying to resemble circus performers. Idol delivers virtual pop stars. A circus show? If they can avoid the hula hoop, I offer advance accolades ...

All of which randomly reminds me, the stars of vaudeville might have lost vaudeville, but they kept it alive first on the radio then on early day television. Those who argue that big tops are going the same road fail to account for the primal power of true circus talent; this I know, it will live on in some form — if not inside a plastic tent, maybe in a renovated chicken coup. But oh, how the crowds have shrunk. In days gone by when our circuses came to town, the whole world was there. Now, only the angry animal crowd who belong, in my opinion, behind bars.

Smaller is better? What a day this would be for John Strong, the master of the little little one ring show. So many one-ringers might now be competing for his rare ringmastering charms.

One visitor, chancing belatedly upon my posting about the Jim Judkins Chimera tour cancellation due to the visa glitch, states anonymously, “I find it hard to believe that, in a country of 260 million people, he can’t find any US citizens for his unskilled labor positions (roustabouts). There are many young men in our cities who would love a chance to work and travel with circuses. Did he advertise?” Well, if he did, he’d have to offer a lot more money than what, I suspect, most shows get away with paying. He’d have to compete against more lucrative welfare dept. payouts.

Lastly, feeling a desire to send you out in a gallery frame of mine (Buckle’s big top and Bill’s Yesterday’s Towns, you know), here’s my best shot for the moment. And what, you ask? No, that’s not a Ringling float from a Western spec. But gaze upon the hallowed ground. On that very spot, I once stepped of a Greyhound bus going south from Santa Rosa, and beheld the muscular drive of men and wagons thrashing across weed and grass and mud, dispatching Al G. Kelly & Miller Bros. tents into the air with gusto. And might the old codger that I fondly recall riding about on a small rig have been one Obert Miller? Great day under a long narrow push pull canvas top. How wonderful it once was to be guilt-free in one’s unequivocal admiration for animals and the wondrous things they did in star-laden rings. Long live Logan’s performing rabbits!

1 comment:

Wade G. Burck said...

Show biz,
You want to be careful validating those studies, that "seem to", that have been going on for years. Who funds them? The Animal rights movement doesn't need any more help. They have just about convinced the world on their own.
Wade Burck