On the Ringling Midway, 1898

On the Ringling Midway, 1898
and on their way to guilt-free amusement. They did not enter the big top with "issues."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Monte Carlo: You're Going Home. Showbiz David's Circus Festival Photo Search Dumps Princess Stephanie. Next Pic, You're On! Go for it!

So what do you think, World? Showbiz David's next photo candidate for his upcoming book Inside the Changing Circus, was found on the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain website. Will photographer Christophe Raynaud de Laage, say "Yes"? Or will Showbiz David suffer another humiliating runaround?


Two days ago at 16:36:16 PST Time, I gave the gold clowns at Monte Carlo and their obtuse operatives from Germany to Florida, exactly 48 hours to make up their minds. Just as I expected, these specialists in chic fashion-runway indifference could not be stirred off their precious pedestals.

Fine with me. Absent even an e-mail reply from my letter to Princess Stephanie, I was starting to resent the image of her in the photo that I would like to have used. Starting to feel the absence of a soul behind the face. Perhaps when it comes to a one-on-one (I am the farthest thing from an institution or a committee), Prince Stephanie gets overwhelmed. Her younger years, as I've since learned in googleland, were socially turbulent, to say the least. As they say, money can't buy you everything.

Monte Carlo: Pack your essentials, pick up your courtesy Greyhound Bus through-pass return ticket at the front door, and have a pleasant exit out the tent flap.

OK, let's talk about some of the other circus festivals out there, of which I know virtually nothing. Sorry, but I just don't jump to Academy awards shows of any sort (way too long, boring, and, worse, sacred cows honoring sacred cows). Yes, whoever called them "beauty contests" may have it right. Neither do I feel much for the Rings of Fame, be they in Peru or Sarasota. Not since some very iffy names have been shamelessly enshrined, foremost among them scoundrel Ben Davenport. (Perhaps dear Ben was honored for providing such humane working conditions, even a private car, for his professional con men, thugs, and "red light" pushers.) And certainly not until names like Louis Stern and Irving J. Polack are awarded the respect they well deserve.

Now, as for Monte Carlo: It's been easy for me to default to Monaco. It started out first. It's the Big One. But here is why I am going to take a harder look.

Item: Yes, of course, their astonishing indifference to my letters, e-mails, etc., although I stand on my past assertions that, overall, the hand-outs at Monaco seem to reflect accurately upon the nations that currently produce the best talent. But more important, these little markers:

Item: At the Sonoma County Fair this week, I was handed a free copy of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, in which, on page two, there's a photo of some Chinese "Stackrobats" at a festival underway -- in Havana. Made me wonder if I ever see photos from Monte Carlo in our newspapers? I receive write-ups touting festival winners from Don Covington, but they are, as I recall, press releases from Monaco. This little encounter inspired me to search other circus festival websites for photos; thus, my current candidate at the top.

Item: Potential conflicts of romance in judging festival performers. This from the website, Mad for Monaco: "In 2000 Princess Stephanie began a relationship with the Swiss circus owner and elephant trainer Franco Knie who she met a festival in Monte Carlo when awarding him a prize for Best Animal Tamer (italics, mine). Unfortunately, Monsieur Knie was married and the affair only became known publicly in 2001 when Knie announced that he was leaving his wife for Princess Stephanie. For several months thereafter Princess Stephanie and her children traveled with the circus, living in less than luxurious conditions, and her daughter Pauline became so infatuated with the elephants that Knie included her in the act. However, by the next year that relationship was over as well." End of quote. Princess Stephanie seems to have majored in short-lived liaisons and/or marriages to a number of nefarious characters. I raise this as a credible issue because such a lifestyle has the potential to interfere with act selection and act evaluation.

Item: Judging Animal acts. A couple of months ago while surfing YouTube land, I watched two animal acts at a recent Monte Carlo festival. The 34th, I think. Of high note were Les Elephants, as they were called, three or four pachyderms executing a superlative routine of intimate human-like gestures; as far as I can find, they were presented by Sonni Frankello, and, if this is so, this act earned only a Bronze. But yet, an even more baffling judgment to my eyes was the Gold awarded one of the most do-nothing wild animal acts I've ever suffered, the one hosted by Martin Lacey Jr. Simply inexplicable. However, I did not realize until delving further that lions are a lot harder to train than tigers? Still, what a long boring display, hardly worth a Bronze in my opinion.

Which begs two big questions, who judges this event? And how does an act get included in the first place?
The tiger act I saw at Cole Bros. Circus this year was far superior in shaping, content, fluid presentation, and scoring. The hind leg walking tricks of Casey McCoys tigers that I've seen on You Tube are superior.

So there.

Will the photo above appear in my book? Will there be a photo from ANY festival? Perhaps, if not, I'll ask my friend Boyi to help me stage the first "international" Grand Hula Hoop Hoedown. I already have a picture in my book that will do justice to the event -- a deliciously plain image from Tim Tegge illustrating rambunctious hula hoop overkill. It may give satisfaction both to lovers and haters of the formless form. The whirling exponent seems to have, for a costume, removed her skirt, dress or slacks, and gone with what was left. Not exactly Miles White. More like, Say, Sears.

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