Clown for a New Day

Clown for a New Day
Dagwood might make it in today's emasculated circus

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Twitter Time: German Circus War "Shootout" Over Lot Space Leaves Six Injured, Rival Big Tops in Disarray; Baraboo Rues Lost Role In "Water" ...


Regensburg, Germany, NewsCore via Covington Connected: Here's one for the books. Two German big tops battling it out over the same lot space, the ruckus ending up in gunfire, injured personnel, tent poles, canvas and props in lovely abstrat disarray. Each of the "warring circus clans" reported to have camped out and dug in on the eastern fringe of the southern German city of Regensburg. In fact, on about the exact same spot.

Hey, Rube! One victim left with a bullet wound in his leg, five others, ages 17 to 15, being nursed for modest to moderate injuries. Report is sketchy, not naming the circuses, naming only one Helmut Brumbach, seen above, a "circus director" surveying the damage. Police evidently not buying the same-lot rivalry angle, calling events provoking the melee "a complete mystery." Among items seized in the wake of the sawdust war were three guns, several knives, batons, and brass knuckles. No hula hoops were found.

Baraboo Blues: Circus World Museum's Steve Freese ruing the town's having not been used for location shots in the movie opening tomorrow, Water for Elephants. He had imagined a parade down Baraboo's main street, midway scenes filmed out on the nearby vacant Badger Army Ammunition Plant. His plans, which charmed the director, were nixed by new tax laws signed by Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle disallowing tax breaks for out-of-state film companies. Thus, film producers shot away in Tennessee, George and Southern California ... Circus World handed $350,00 for its scholarship, use of wagons, etc, in the movie. Half of that to be used on --- guess what,kids?!? -- YES, more wagon restoration. Meanwhile, me fears the Thimble Theatre, rotting away in a deep freese, will remain callously, criminally neglected.

Water for Elephants opens tomorrow; I'll be there for the first screening. Can't wait. Have avoided all reviews; it's a challenging thrill watching something with no preconceptions colored by early reviews. Look close, you of the spangled set, and you'll see P.T. Freese at the runs helping to unload wagons. So, too, Circus World's long-time restoration man, Harold "Heavy" Burdick, with the museum since he was 19 ...

Twitter Tips: Another Big Apple Circus exit, this being general manager Scott O'Donnell, who is reliably rumored to have resigned, reason not rumored. The show's website still preserves the grand old order, Paul Binder's name way up there, just below that of another soon to be ex, executive director Gary Dunning. There is some kind of drama lurking about and around this precariously in-limbo operation ... Let's fly away! A wing of the Wallenda family inked to appear in one of Discovery Channel's upcoming TV docs, in which, per Reuters, "audience will follow the Flying Wallendas." Sure ... CFAer Richard Tuck of El Ceritto, CA, founder of a tight little charm box of a museum walk-through, Playland-Not-at-the-Beach, gone at the age of 63. A sad loss. Tuck's colorfully diverse collection mixes remnants of San Francisco's old Playland-at-the Beach amusement park with, among other side novelties, the model circus of the late Don Marcks. According to one news story, Tuck was the owner of Circus Chimera. News to me. He likely held an ownership stake in the doomed show and, as I understand, for a period helped to promote it from his home base. Told months ago that he had terminal cancer, Tuck took the news in cheerful stride: "I'm going to party and have fun if I only have months to go, what a way to live them!"... Tito Gaona, in Venice, FL last Saturday at the old Ringling arena he is campaigning to turn into a a circus museum, raising money for the project and celebrating second annual World Circus Day. Does anybody out there, excepting Steve Copeland, even know that there was such a day? Now you know, twee!t tweet! ...

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