Starting, well, where to start? Rather amazing to read that, according to Big Show boss Kenneth Feld, his fun makers start out at around $40,000, and that's not per decade but per year. How times have changed; once, the new Clown College grads landing contracts to wiggle and giggle in pretty poses survived on far far less, and then still owed the paymaster for space on the train, etc. But, hey, I'm reading this latest from a London source, Market Watch, reading that, according to the Feld of Felds, "there's no limit to the salaries that can be earned in the circus." Spin it fine, Mr. F. BTW, sayz he, get out of your greasepaint and into the cannon, where you can "expect to earn a lot more."
Californians can see 'em down in Bakersfield, this side of the grapevine hump on the way to L.A. Carson and Barnes booked to spread hay and pitch peanuts at the fairgrounds on April 20. I predicted they'd scale back to single day stops. I hope they hit Bay Area markets, too -- they have a way of rampaging in and out of the Golden State in a red-light flurry ... Cole Bros Circus of the Stars, out of the barn and hitting the seaboard routes north, talking up not really much in the way of new acts to the press. Show's touting a pair of buffoons, one named Stephen Smith, a former firefighter with a dozen seasons clowning around. Here's the most impressive claim: Said the show's marketing man, Chuck Werner, to a news scribe, Cole is sporting a new tent "with better seating capacity." If better means more, I'm impressed ... Johnny Pugh, recently rumored offering to sell his trick to Barbara and Gary Byrd, apparently is doing something right. Anybody who adds more seating capacity deserves some kind of an award ..
Gotham rip-off leaves Bindlestiff's stiffed: Highly credentialed, highly recommended "Event planner" Hickey Shields, promoting a four-day Coney Island celebration that drew raves from the locals, is not drawing the same from Brooklyn's Bindlestiff Family Cirkus. Shields hired the group to perform and add color around "cheesy children's rides," but still owes them a balance of $26.000. Not a small amount for a troupe whose annual operating budget is in the $150,000 to $200, 000 range. They aired their discontent on Disgracebook: "Hickey Shields cripples Bindlestiff Family Cirkus." Other free lancers then surfaced with similar claims.
On the Steve-Ryan trail at Kelly-Miller: Modest crowds are finding plenty of spare seats to spread out in. On one recent lot, not particularly well patronized, the sponsor, as recounted by Steve, "gave a long winded guest ringmaster speech before opening" Quipped Ryan to his partner, "They can't sell a ticket, but they can talk for half an hour!" ... I say, hire Mr. Hickey Shields and bank on larger crowds, but not necessarily on larger profits ... Ah, the compensating joys of circus life! ...