[World wide popularity, 2/5 update: The book reached the top 10 selling circus books on Amazon Canada.]
Boyi Yuan, above, helped in so many practical ways, not the least being traveling to China with me in 2010, where we attended some of the cutting edge acrobatic troupes in Shanghai and Beijing. If you go: Be sure to catch ERA Intersection of time in Shanghai, and the Flying Acrobatics Show in Beijing. Both privately funded and produced. Both advancing ancient Chinese traditions into exciting new directions and production formats.
Having pledged the first signed copy of my new the book, Inside the Changing Circus: A Critic's Guide, to Boyi, I ran it down to his job last December -- only a day after I had sent several copies to others that would not reach them for at least another day -- suddenly realizing I must get it into Boyi's hands then in order for him to actually have the promised copy. (It got me some free tea.)
A few nights ago, when Boyi came by to visit me, we looked at the most recent blog; I wanted him to see what Steve Copeland had posted. I had asked Boyi to select among a few images of Steve and his partner Ryan. I gave Boyi the final say, believing that sometimes the eye of an outsider can put things into clear perspective. I think he got it right, for the photo conveys classic clown action.
Boyi also choose between two photos of Barbette, and he made a sensible case for the image I selected of new Big Apple Circus artistic director Guillaume Dufresnoy.
Some of the pictures we took in China are in the book, not to push them at all, but because I simply could not get permission from any sources in China to reprint photos, and these images tend to illustrate key points I wished to make.
Sensing my keen desire to use an image of a "sensual silks" duo (I had a great one from a Chinese program magazine, but not the permission) at my place one evening before the computer, Boyi pulled up the image you see below in the book. From where, I wondered? To my surprise, he had produced it by watching a video he took at the Charming Acrobatics Show in Beijing and freeze framing a sequence. Thus, the moon-like image in the background against which are cast the shadows of the aerialists, and the impression, to my eyes, of a shoreline, all of this from a very bare stage in a show not privately funded or produced.