Clown for a New Day

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

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Midweek Midway Mixup: As Ringling Falls, Rome Rises Again???


Reading the tea leaves, for free: Okay, what a shameless hook, that headline above, to lure all seven of you in — before you escape up the midway to another shameless concession. Yes, I know, the Balloon Man has his lot all fancied up with red white and blue, posters and balloons flying high, or maybe you’re wondering if the Sawdust Nights Kid had another WOOT WOOT day ... But wait, here inside the tea tent, have a little hype and history on me. No, Ringling is NOT falling (not yet, I don’t think), but Rome may be rising anew with a modern version of Circus Maximus, planned to play the crumbling old coliseum. Remember when chariots rumbled and gladiators stumbled? When Christians were thrown to the lions? Open casting call for all Born Agains! ... So apt a symbol — the fall of America; the rebirth of Old Europe. Not so far off base, folks? I know, it IS scary out there, and I feel sadly humbled and humbly sad for all the people who may suffer ...

A rush back to smaller tops? May I repeat myself by suggesting that affordable circuses may thrive as more Americans park their cars and learn to enjoy life closer to home ... And Marcia, who co-owns L’Amyx, just came in bearing evidence of gambling addictions, holding up some lottery tickets freshly purchased. (Between you and me, shhhhh, I hope the lady’s biz is okay, for it’s a super grand place to hang out and feel cool) ...

Where are we, anyway? Gotta shuffle my papers. Gotta get Covington Connected. Let’s see, more on gambling. I saw a video of Guy Laliberte playing a world class poker championship last December and nearly winning. Instead, the circus mogul put down the highest pot in high stakes poker history, about oh just under a million. What rather amused me were comments posted about the man’s performance, not exactly what he draws for his Cirque du Spectaculars. Let’s hear one: “How can anybody throw away their money like that? Laliberte is a world class jackass.” BUT, to balance it out, PBS style with opposing spin, the kinder side counters, “He’s a billionaire, that’s how he can throw money away. This isn’t your neighborhood $5 dollar buy in game. Obviously you have no clue who you’re talking about, who’s the jackass now?” ... Oh, to have a bank in your pocket for spare change ...

At our Rome Reunion, maybe Wade Burck will reveal the results of his latest circus awards. He’s a Big Picture global guy in search of the "BEST CIRCUS IN THE WORLD.” Myself, I am hopelessly local, dreaming that maybe out there in the States are say 10 characters who will have seen all, let’s say 10 regular touring tents this year and would agree, under an honor system, to fill out a questionnaire for the Showbiz David Circus Ring Awards ...

Page Two, and I’m still having fun. Is anybody there? Yeah, I just heard a stampede over to Buckles big big top. Okay, for the three of you still listening, a cup of Gold-Flecked Green on me. Back to the rebirth of circus essential ... “Restoring the Circus Maximus,” writes Nick Pisa in The Telegraph, “would include setting up platforms, security exits, a stage at the center of course, a ditch and outdoor stables.” They’ve got 35,000 seats. They’ve got history, do they ever ... They hope to engage charioteers “from all over the world.” Gosh, am I glad I didn’t put my old Chariot up for sale on ebay. More about this as time tolerates....

Walkarounds: The New York Times essays about Americans spending millions on “mood altering drugs for their cats and dogs.” Asks the reigning paper, “Is it because we’ve driven them mad?"... Well, for starters, maybe, but why don’t you ask PETA, NYT? Which reminds me, what a nasty argument I fell into with a Long Island friend on the phone. She hates circuses for you know why. While she lectured me, she tried coaxing one of her ailing dogs back onto its feet (no luck) and talked about the wet nights it suffers. Now, why did I not suggest that SHE is guilty of animal cruelty? Why did I not ask her what SHE would think were she to come across her OWN dog in its end-of-life condition at a circus? Hypocrisy unlimited ...

Orientation Respect: Referencing the late great cloud swing aerialist Billy Barton, whose columns gave Don Marcks Circus Report jazz and juice, I’ve sometimes closed off, as did he (in a way), with “see you up the road, Luvs." No way, says trouper Wade of Burck. Turn around and get your arrows right. It should be “down the road.”

Indeed it should, Mr. Cage Man. Even inside a proper tea tent ...

2 comments:

Raffaele De Ritis said...

I've been investigating in Rome about that Circus Maximus story.
This is just a daydream idea of a group of peoples owning a small event company trying to raise money from the town to do this next October.
I don't know if that will finish in something concrete.

Wade G. Burck said...

Raffaele and Show Biz,
Dammit!!! I love this deal so much but why does everything Big in the Circus have to be a daydream. I watched a wonderful documentary on the history of the rail Circus, narrated by some great Circus historians, and came to realize, when it was all put together for me, that the big, big glory days, were built around grift, theft, unlawlessness, and non regulation. It sucks that they couldn't stay with that tradition and move it into the 21 century.
Show biz, I understand numbers are way down in the "big, big tent." Seems he has lost a couple of the featured performers. It's an open market now, so hang some "it's the most stupendous, colossal, grandest, never before seen" paper. Forget those half price children's tickets, they don't work twice. Are there "10 regular" shows? What is regular? Don't blanket them all together. How about the 3 Best Circus's, and then a "what name should we give these?" festival for the other 7 "regulars." You seek "characters" with "honor?" Monaco and the other European "awards" festivals have done such an honorable job of it, follow their lead. I have such high hopes for Raffaele's FUHAMBOLIKA. Imagine the precedent. Apple against Apple. A competition instead of a pageant.
Regards gentlemen,
Wade Burck