First off, about that Cirque du Soleil book alleging late night adult fun hosted by Guy Laliberte, a book that Henry Edgar just had to gets his hands and eyes on. Says Henry after a dry read, it’s about “a lot of nothing, written kind of like a gossip column with all the substance of a pit show illusion. There may be a book out there but it hasn’t been written.” Perhaps, Henry, the naughty deeds alleged never quite rose to the level of a sheet turner. While we are on the subject, Charlie Rose (how did he ever get in here???) interviewing author Jim Collins about his book, How the Mighty Fall, in particular how they fail to foresee their own downfalls stalking them in the wings. In 5 easy stages. Hubris is number 1, followed by, Number 2, “undisciplined pursuit” of more more more. Which calls to mind a certain cirque king who can’t seem to stop syndicating his famous name. Stage 3 is denial, followed by stage 4, “Grasping for salvation,” digging oneself into a desperate pit of dangerous loans, etc. I hope the performing insects on their way to San Francisco do not represent stage 5, “capitulation.”
Here’s a wonderment: Is Zing Zang Zoom the most unreviewed Ringling circus of recent years? I’ve scanned cyber skies and found nearly nothing. The New York Times gave it a rosy nod, but, hey, seems that the Times, like the White Tops , never meets a circus it does not like. Am I onto something, World? One Times critic, Lawrence Van Gelder, over the past several years has, from what I can tell, never not enjoyed the shows he reviewed, from Ringling to post-Pickle. He deserves an honorary membership in the CFA.
Speaking of a Times favorite, Big Apple Circus, they’ve released the names of the family for the next opus, Bello is Back!, and judging by the mix, it looks like Paul Binder is back, too. Show to be directed again by Steve Smith, a family favorite, minus the bright ringmistress Carrie Harvey, evidently not a family favorite who, in my opinion, deserves a major gig in which she is more effectively placed ... Some high points to my eyes: the return of Picaso Jr, Roman style riding by Zerbini and Kumisbayev, and the Long Brothers from China, offering a “comedy contortion” act. Comedy from the Middle Kingdom? Oh, BAC, stop teasing me like that. I am still in a snit over your misleading website that fails to announce your shortened morning shows. I am NOT going back on principal. Not yet.
Root canal fit for a bear, if not a human. It happened down there in the Long Horn state, where a circus bruin with a horrible tooth ache ended up in a bear chair and was root canaled back to relief by Texas A&M vets. We learn from Dr. Johnathan Dodd that often wild animals die in the wilds at a young age from “the systemic effects of dental disease.” I’m glad this bear did not dial 1-800 dentist. I once did and ended up in the chair, where an impromptu root canal in lieu of a crown (about which I was not pre-consulted) did not root out, but resulted in a missing tooth. Had I only gone to Texas A&M first ...
Not nice to report, that Circus Juvenatas, up there In Minnesota, evidently was not too careful in seat maintenance, resulting in the collapse of a section, and with it 400 people. Seven sent to hospital with injuries, the circus closed down for not having bleachers inspected. City officials “working with the circus school to meet city standards in the future.
Heck, I’m tempted to fill out the form I got at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey which might win me an "original elephant art masterpiece." I was so charmed by the sight of Asia, the elephant, stroking a paint brush across a canvas and crafting such a lovely abstract. Now, here’s director David's new angle for a PETA-proof elephant act: Asia's artwork classroom. The pachyderms gather to crochet and stitch, do needle point, and, very modern, splash paint onto large sheets and stomp out their most expressive urges. I can see the clowns taking part, too, and maybe even earning a few big old fashioned laughs. Remember when clowns made you laugh?
Johnny Pugh should be smiling: Recent biz way up, confirmed by New Cole Circus's Renee Storey, answering an e-mail of mine seeking verification on a report of “packed houses” in Atlantic City. She would not exactly confirm the word "packed," but did grant that “business proved excellent during the three-day engagement.” Moreover, casting a smile over the entire tent show field, says Ms. Storey, “If good business enjoyed so far this season evidences an upward trend, all circuses would rejoice. But, it will take more than the experience of the past few months to feel confident that what we wish to believe proves a fact.”
Now Renee Storey is one big top executive with her feet planted firmly on the sawdust and not even near Stage 1 of How the Mighty Fall. Henry of Edgar, who wrote me that he was “doing about as well as the American circus these days,” might take heart. You see, Henry, the American circus, whatever may be said about it, somehow manages to stay on the road year after year after ... So, enjoy new days up the rails!