You’ve heard I suppose of Britney Spears, in and out of jail, pop star, now in and out of the Big Cage for a circus video drawing PETA sneers ... Complains No-Circus-Animals Cemtral, “How quickly America’s sweetheart fell from grace. And it wasn’t pretty. Now, at the bottom of the barrel, she’s sporting elephants dressed in circus attire for her new video titled – what else – Circus.” ... Yes, what else, PETA’s Christine Dore. And while you are lecturing, might you aim your pious jeers at Mother Monifa, gorilla who rejected her very own upon its birhtly arrival at the San Francisco Zoo (that would be “zoo” rather than the city). Weirdly sad tale. I wonder if this is an animal kingdom thing, or maybe just a monster Mom under the spell of Bagdad-by-the-Bay narcissism. Zoo Interventionists put her under sedatives, placed her newborn onto her chest, woke her back up hoping she’d bond with and embrace her own. No luck. She’s “ready to move on without her infant.” Now, there’s a tale fit for an answer from the experts (Mr. Cage Man — are you there?). Here in captivity, I’m waiting.
Hey You and your outrageously HIGH PRICED concessions, and you all know who you are — Give us a bloody break, circus world! Even Chicago Tribune critic Chris Jones, high on Ringling’s audience pleaser Over the Top, not high on steep popcorn and lemonade tariffs. At the food counters, snarls he, “evil, up-selling tricks abound.” He mentions cotton candy suited up under "cardboard hats," fluffed up to a shocking $12 charge. Yes, I said TWELVE DOLLARS. And it’s not just the Felds, although nobody works concession rips off better than they ... I hereby propose Dollar Days, like how about once a week, when we the people can either, 1. Obtain a human sized bag of something for a buck or 2. bring our own pre-popped supply. Somebody out on the lot with an air popper could rake in a fortune.
...A Binder of Blank Pages: About all of my Paul Binder hyperventilating (over his imminent departure from power), a few souls offer some insight. Most intriguing was this from Johnny Ekk, “Like the great Wizard of Oz, if that curtain was pulled back you might not like what you find. If you're going to judge him on his own merits the answer may vary greatly if your response comes from a circus fan, circus employee or industry insider. I’d bet you’d be very surprised at what you’d hear, good and bad.” Okay, circus industry insiders, I'm all ears ... Curtain pull, please!
Let's bring back a little glamour, okay? And here comes pro John Herriott, offering his own page on the issue of blue jeans versus spangles. Barbara Byrd gets a Herriott thumbs up (I agree) for her wardrobe upgrades. They dazzled this season. Country and Western stars are keeping alive glitz and glitter, notes Herriott, tossing kudos to Dolly Parton, et all who “still maintain the rich showbiz traditions.” So, guess I’ll have to veer over to twang ... “We are seeing some circus acts in T shirts and it’s awful. It’s like liberty horses without nice harness and plumes because the bottom line is that they [the circus owners] are too cheap.” Most refreshing is Herriott’s concurrence with my own oft-stated misgivings about pre- and after-show audience-artist interactions: “I always felt as a performer and director that that meeting and greeting crap was demeaning and did not show off the performers as someone special” Yes, yes, and yes! Now there’s an honest page for the book from a circus industry insider ...
And that’s a light Friday wrap. Monifa, get back to the Zoo and act like a real mother before PETA adds your name to its circus criminals website.