MONTE OAKLAND, CA. Inside the Changing Circus: A Critic’s Guide, by David Lewis Hammarstrom (aka: Showbiz David) will make its debut on the world stage in January at Monaco during the 36th Festival International du Cirque de Monte Carlo.
‘I am gratified by this totally unexpected invitation,” said the author, who received it from the Festival’s executive director, Laura van der Meer. He noted that a previous book of his, Big Top Boss: John Ringling North and the Circus, earned a warm endorsement from the late H.S.H. Prince Rainier III, who established the annual festival in 1974. (Circus impresario Ringling North and Rainer were good friends, and North judged a few of the Monte Carlo meets.)
But why the “second” autographed copy”? Answered the author with a smile, “because I promised the first to my good friend, Boyi Yuan, without whom I would never have traveled to China last year and thus would never have experienced close up the bold artistic advances transforming leading acrobatic troupes in Beijing and Shanghai.”
Prince Rainer’s daughter, H.S.H. Princess Stephanie, now oversees the annual event, which generally draws upon the greatest circus talents and is regarded in circusdom as the international “Academy Awards” of the big top.
“The perfect setting, absolutely, to introduce my book to the world,” said Hammarstrom. “Circus is universal, and however you write about it, you are dealing with its many incarnations throughout history — from Egypt to China, London to Paris to Baraboo and Bloomington, Moscow to Montreal.”
Indeed, this author, who says that “until I can see something for myself, it is not sufficiently real,” has traveled the world rings to get the story. In 1979, he conducted independent research in the Soviet Union. And last year, it was China. In the United States, he says he has walked miles, hopped busses and flagged taxis to take in circuses off the urban trails.
“I am thrilled that my book will be a part of the festival. And I hope it appeals to a younger audience. I have done my best to discuss and illustrate not just ‘the good old days’ but the ‘good new days’”