Monday, March 18, 2013
Big Tops Hit the Road, Here's a Sneak Peak Under The Biggest (if not the best) Tents
The beat goes on, some shows stressing themes, others peanuts. The beat goes on, under tops smaller than then, more ambitious maybe than when last you walked the lot. Look here! Circus Vargas has a big grabbing theme for this year's outing, Magikaria, which sounds like one of those tongue twisters thought up by the Feld of Felds.
Circus Vargas with illusions from a "handsome" guy named Patrick Gable. Down to one ring, Carson & Barnes still turns its arching theme on size: "The world's biggest big top show!" Cole Bros. Circus of Stars can't let go either: "The World's Largest Circus Under the Big Top!" Hollow hype be dammed, they're all out there, or about to be, pitching perennial good will for the kids, maybe a pinch of class or two for mature moppets. Blitz 'em with free kid ducats, then go to work on popcorn, pony rides and coloring books.
As long as newkids keep getting born, piped a smart guy long ago, circus has a forever future. New baby customers get harvested every year, and onto the lot they stream, free coupons off the drug store counter in hand, the mamas and the papas about to be separated from their cash in hand, their plastic down deeper.
These days, they gotta give the public a little big top broccoli, for folks need the illusion of meaningful amusement --- then they'll buy your one-thousand percent markup pink sugary stuft. That's how the rings roll. The Vargas website looks mote intense, more committed to the Big Theme. This high-on-magic opus might suit show's newish ringmaster, Kevin Venardos, a dude who projects rough surly power, something like a suave barker in a red light district luring kids of advanced ages behind shady black doors. At least, give Vargas credit for trying. We here in California deserve our own version of Big Apple something. This outfit, as I see it, comes closest among the four under review here to reaching that higher level in solid 3-star territory . Production values last year easily trumped a so-so lineup. Two or three more first class acts, please, CV!
Cole promises NEW. That would be "a new white tiger act, and a new high wire act, and a new dog act" --- which stirs the inner circus in me. Inner circus meaning primal power. Wire to cage. Romping dogs to messy elephants. Pachyderm poo forever hovers not far ahead. You buy your ticket, take your seat, and wait to see if the whole thing can go on without one amusing emission. Or one juggling flub. Or --- oh, no! -- worse. That's the real big top. The real deal. The rings of reality.
Which takes us to the Kelly Miller, blogged about incessantly by You Know Who. Whilst taking my crisp morning walk this AM, musing over the mud in my mind I was struck by an epiphany. Trumpets! If Kelly Miller has anything close to a Big Theme at all, this is how I'd phrase it: The Steve and Ryan Clown Workshop Performed Before a Live Audience, Season 5. Or would that be Season 6, or Season 60?
Say whatever you will, they're all still out there, over asphalt, in mud, troupers who know how to extend seasons. Troupers who may settle for tacos over steaks. Why is it that I have a hapless hankering to see The World's Biggest Big Top and The World's Largest Circus Under the Big Top? Am I still a sucker for such hollow hype? Blame it on an early spring. No, make that a bird in a pew. (get it? Byrd -- Pugh, HaHa! Naw?)
Well, the joke was free. Now, hand over your PayPal account number, please. Have I got a slew of boffo broccoli to sell you -- fifty percent off with an elephant ride. Your money back if it goes poop on you.