Carson and Barnes Circus, in the 1960s

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Scramble: Big Apple Bello Lopsided? ... Ringling Tongue Twists Another Puzzlement ... Cirque Storms Russia ... Death Stalks the Big Top

Another So-So Big Apple Circus? ... First review I could find of Bello is Back! comes from Peter D. Kramer on his blog In the Wings. Kramer found Bello Nock in return to be “good news and bad news” for the show. Bello’s engaging comic and acrobatic contributions, wrote Kramer, “makes Big Apple’s less comic and less daredevil acts pale by comparison.” The critic expressed disappointments in several of the acts. He gave high marks to identical twin Chinese contortionists Long Jun and Long Bin, Picaso, Jr. and Barry Lubin’s Grandma. “Other acts lose their luster when compared to past Big Apple productions.” I'm waiting for the New York reviews, expecting them to be generally-generically supportive as they usually are.

The Russians are lining up to get their first taste of the Cirque du Soleil magic. 80,000 tickets already snapped up, Guy Laliberte happily noted. “Russia has a strong circus tradition. This is a good place for Cirque du Soleil.” He might have gratefully added that his artistic empire, in fact, owes its heritage to this very spot on the globe. The roots of Cirque are solidly in Russia soil. And if you don't believe me, just ask Guy Caron. Twenty percent of Laliberte’s artists, in fact, are Russian. BTW: the big bop boss got back from up there in space AOK.

Kenneth “Overly Clever Title Concoctor” Feld: Please enroll me in your Ringling Tongue Twister Titles pronunciation school. I’m still trying to pronounce Barnum’s Ka, Ka, ka LAID oh, or collide and scrape, shape ... skip? ... Then there was that long and winding name alluding to something out of Monte Carlo years ago. Now from Feld’s Funqueurlous Name Division comes this: Barnum’s FunundrumSM. It's the letters “SM” that sometimes appear at the end of this name that give me pause. I mean, are the Felds taking on Cirque’s porno unit in Vegas? The advance press agenty is spell binding, complete with a typo. “Thrill seekers may pay for the entire seat, but will only need its edge as a rip-roaring" ... and you know the rest of the drill. Let’s get to the best one and a real howler: “funomenal animals” What is a funomenal? Is that me? You? Animals raised on funomenal? Oh, it’s so vaguely fun, I say, let’s funvaguely Feldge forward: “the funtastic and the funbelievable experience answers the conundrum...” Please somebody, untwist my tongue before I gag on all the Feldific fun! ...

End Ring Twitters Down the Covington Chute: San Antonio Witt Museum to open a new wing “Circus Folk: Secrets Behind the Big Top,” incorporating, anong an array of items, a 1902 Gentry Bros. Wild Animal Show wagon; a timeline tracking a circus at the time; video segments and “chewed on chairs” from Clyde Beatty’s act ... Cirque's Kooza drew an L.A. Times rave out of Santa Monica, causing cyber catcher Don Covington to aptly note, as if spotting a rare drop of water in a desert, “reviews!” ... Good news about the hereteforic profiled FunununudriummmenialSM is that Johnathan Lee Iverson is returning to the ringmaster role; that guy had such great potential when he first hit Ringling -- until he turned his restrained persona to Afro-Centric gospel hall. No, no, no, sayeth Showbiz David! ... Dangerous Russian Rehearsals: Here is tragic news to report and respect: A skating Russian bear with an ice circus in rehearsal in Bishkek turned on and killed the manager, Dmitry Potapov and mauled another worker. Bear was shot and killed by police ... Sadder still is the death of Ukrainian gymnast Oleksandr Zhurov arising out of a mishap while practicing on a Russian swing during a CDS rehearsal in Montreal. Said Guy Laliberte, “Today, it is all of Cirque that is in mourning. An incident like this reminds us of the courage and determination displayed by our artists each and every day. They are exceptional human beings who share their talents with great generosity.”

Well said, Mr. Laliberte. I share your same deep appreciation and sadness.

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