Sunday, March 24, 2013

Big Top Bits: Big Apple Circus Inks Ringmaster Kane to 3-Year "I Do"... Ringling Trucks into Brooklyn ... Nik Wallenda Takes on Grand Canyon the Old Fashion Way ... And ... End Ringer Surprises

A Big Apple future blossoms for the jolly ringmaster

This ringmaster has a big whistle to be proud of:    John Kennedy Kane's contract with Big Apple Circus has been extended by three years, and he's feeling lucky to be focusing in on the performance rather than having to do everything but -- "selling the  popcorn and all (the other  things)."  Indeed, given BAC's  indifference to the man in red in recent seasons and, moreover, the company's annual drive for a complete new lineup of acts, Kane's contract extension amounts to high praise from the company and its artistic director Guillaume Dufresnoy.  Notes Kane to a reporter, "They create the show from the ground up, and it’s really quite amazing to  watch .... I’ve never  been on a show that had that  much rehearsal time, maybe  four hours sometimes, but not  four weeks. And, man it does show in the performance."  Yes, it does, Sir Kane.  Ringling-Barnum once spent six weeks in Florida sun rehearsing production numbers, etc..

Big Apple's founding ringmaster, Paul Binder

Their man Kane snared lively buzz from the NY press, a rarity for circus announcers, too many of whom blow hard and long, acting as if microphones do not exist, and the tents in which they hyperventilate seat 15,000 people ... Perhaps he's seen as a spiritual replacement for Grandma, the human link that Paul Binder  has so valued ... To his and the show's credit, Kane has adapted from blastmaster down a more intimate presence.  "I don’t  have to bellow ‘Ladies and gentleman and children of all ages!’ It’s more of a conversational tone because it’s more  like you are in my living room and I’m taking you through the show.” Somebody out there is finally getting it right.  Fact is, the so-called "classical ringmaster" (wordy, loud, in your face) is largely a myth.  No?

A passion for skywalks: Nik Wallenda

Famous High Wire Guy, Welcome Back!   He's showing his true Wallenda blood, Nik is, after the Viagra Falls PR fallout.  People everywhere noted, even if only they whispered, "but his feet were tethered to the wire!"   Just as they are now noting, "he'll be walking without a safety harness."  They know. You can't fool them.  Nik signed to cross the Grand Canyon on June 23, to be telecast live.  Very daring.  He's instantly earned back my respect, though I would have not urged him onto this latest exploit, and I prayerfully wish him a fine heroic crossing.   Hmm, was that earlier Niagara gig a set up for this, to exploit, in comparison, the fact  that he will now be walking the wire cold turkey?   It alone is driving the story, and it alone, I predict, will pull in an ever larger TV audience.   Karl Wallenda, I can hear his spinning silenced, a smile of family pride returning to his face. 

Trucking into Brooklyn, the Big Show Way.   Now that Brooklyn has its own Madison Square Garden (the new Barclay's Center), Ringling, of course, lusts after the new venue, and in order to reach the place, they've got to park the trains in Seacusus NJ, and from there, rings, elephants and concessions will be trucked the rest of the way, performers bussed. I imagine, this being their first year at the new Barclay's, they'll pack 'em in.

A passion for circus: Johnny Pugh

END RINGERS:  Trucking forever, Johnny Pugh's "I-95 Circus," as he calls it (Cole Bros.) staying true to its tried and true territory.  Come fall, going south, "we do make a right-hand turn on I-10 ... so we kind of play the Gulf Coast." ... In Baraboo these days, the great circus parade of yore is now a little town procession, not even as a long as the one of 2005.  This July 27,  they'll parade during the downtown Circus Celebration.  Circus World hosting a wild west re-enactment that weekend, and it'll make parade as well. ... Tito's vanishing dream - City of Venice director declaring the 50 year old structure, where Ringling circus shows once rehearsed, "unsafe," mandating swift action in 60 days. Among building hazards, roof leaks.  Locals coming to grips with "the end for what was once the winter quarters of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus"  This idea for yet another museum never made sense to me.

 A passion for airhead blather, bla! bla! bla!

Comedy Closer:  If you lose your audience to insulting cellphone addicts, clown your way into their conversation, which is exactly what Kelly Miller buffoons Steve and Ryan did during a recent performance,  unable to get any respect from a teenage girl jabbering away in the front row.  Blogged El Steveo, "I walked over and took the phone from her and started talking to whoever was on the line. I then handed the phone over to Ryan and he carried on the conversation a bit before we finally hung up and returned the girl's phone."  Way to go!  I can see this nervy duo,  capriciously improvisational, making it a recurring gag, wandering into the audience to join any other cell phone conversations insultingly in progress.  Another reason why I recently called these creative goofballs, "The Steve and Ryan Comedy Workshop Performed Before a Live Audience." Well, most of it live.  How I'd love to book myself a front row seat at K-M under the circus critic witness protection program, go to work on my cheap little cell, and ... see what happens.

Oh that was fun, and not too insulting a wrap, I trust ...


Harry Kingston said...

I just saw Steve and Ryan in action and what great gags and the home made props looked like as professional as you can get.
I never laughed so much in my life and they would make Laurel and Hardy proud of them.
It is a great pleasure to see real clowns work instead of whistle blowers.
They are carrying on a long time tested tradition in makem laugh.
Harry in Texas

Showbiz David said...

I'm glad you enjoyed, Sir Harry!
Even if their work is hit and miss, I'd go to the show every year if it came out here, just to see what Steve and Ryan are up to, because they are so passionately creative, they try so hard. Circus on!