Monday, September 01, 2008

Midweek Midway Mix: Long Live Sawdust Circles and Affordable Fraud

Here we go, down the flats and off the runs in no particular order ... Let’s let Paul Binder kick off this ramble, telling WCAX-TV 3 News in Hanover, NH of his life-long respect for the sawdust circle “This is the original form. This is the form that pre-dated Theatre ... pre-dated Opera and ballet and musical theatre.” Now, does that make you feel proud of our bigtopian addictions? Duz me ... Big Apple Circus’s upcoming season promises a fetching mix of talent and threatens to fly high again, says I, merely examining a released list of some of the acts: Horse rider Christine Zerbini (might that be Sylvia??), Anastasini Family dogs from Rome; the Nan Jing Troupe from China “performing incredible acrobatic ballet;" a Russian barre act named Rodion; the juggling Lasalle Brothers from the USofA — AND Brazilian flyers named Rigolletos — a welcome trend back to the air for the recently ground-bound Apple troupe. ... Remarks impresario Paul, “The work becomes secondary to the joy and passion of doing it.”

Those Funny Pfenings: Have you seen the recent issue of their Bandwagon? Upon first glance, I thought I’d received maybe a copy of MAD magazine from the fifties. How daringly different, but only did they reproduce the cover of a 1902 mag put out by Bill Poster Display advertising, to promote the services of its litho advertisers, the Courier Company splashing on both covers. “WE PRINT THEM. YOU POST THEM.”... Into the Bay Area, day and dating without lithos (but with tv ads) comes first Circus Vargas, tenting up in S.F. on August 13, and then, the next day, opening over in Oakland, Ringling-Barnum ... This one will be interesting to watch, and let's hope there's still a crowd for Carson & Barnes, when it spreads its canvas wings across the Cow Palace parking lot a few weeks later....

Why I Like Circus Animal Turns: I do not have to witness a compassionate man being jailed for daring to care for a bear. This from New Delhi, by way of AP: The man, Ram Singh Munda brought home an orphaned bear cub to “console his 6-year-old daughter,” who had just lost her mother. He was subsequently arrested and sent to jail for violating wildlife laws. All three parties were left depressed. The bear “refuses to eat,” the girl was sent to a boarding school. CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS: Maybe there is hope from those animal rights loonies, who are endeavoring, in a flash of reason, to liberate Munda from the brig and restore the family threesome. Maybe there is hope ... In the end rings, this: Should human rights be granted to monkeys? Currently, they are considered so close in IQ to humans, that the argument goes, they need to be treated as full fledged citizens. But are they smarter than a fifth grader on television? ...Whoa, we gotta follow this wagon up the road. No, no, I mean down the road...

Kelly Miller Circus inside and — inside. Some of you will recall a certain aerialist named “Holly” denied the center ring in the film the Greatest Show on Earth. John Ringling North II remembers well, for when recently coaxed into his single ring for a photo op with tiger man Casey McCoy, he quipped, “I don’t have a Holly or a center ring, so I went into a cage of tigers.” Looks to me, Mr. Great Sebastian, that Mr. North the Sequel will NOT pay for your speeding tickets, so you can turn around and go home, guy ...

In the mind of the advance man: From the same show, if you check staffer Ben Trumble’s blog, there he is wondering about the tricky mix of sponsors and locations, etc, and how they might or might not result in good and bad days ... You will also learn that not all of the show’s biz is at all busy ... This marks a new era in on-the-spot reporting. Trade talk you are unlikely to get in other quarters ... Count this a gift of the Internet generation.

Fraud is a relative sin, I hereby declare: When I hear about sub prime scams, corrupt banking tycoons, bogus lenders and the hidden credit fees that are bringing overzealous consumers to their knees (and this country, what's left of it, to the brink of an economic blowdown), I kind of wish all the suckered victims had spent their money instead on an old fashioned midway. Yeah, they might have gone home minus a twenty, but they still would have gone home to a home they could still call their own..

And that’s a random wrap, and let’s all meet here again somewhere “down” that long and winding road — or, if you prefer, down the lonesome one traveled by Sinatra in the days of three-ring glory ...

First posted, Circa 9.1.2008? [check]

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