Edgy! In the wobbly world, across the pond, of sawdust, spangles, and psychotherapy, latest to amaze is a report of circus owner and ringmaster John Larson being ordered by City of Leighton Buzzard (no, I did not make up that name) to remove posters alleged to have driven a motorist suffering from coulrophobia (FEAR of CLOWNS) into a "terrified" panic. To the BBC, said Larson, reassuring a reporter, "most people were cheered by the clown posters." But to Mirror Online, he let go: “I think it’s absolutely ridiculous. There’s about 28,000 people in Leighton Buzzard, and our posters get taken down because of one person ... The battered big top boss (and we thought they have it hard over here) offered free therapy to the whacked-out motorist, hoping to help her "overcome her phobia." I have a question, World: Is there a phobia called FEAR OF LIVING ON PLANET EARTH? ...
Discovered by cypberditipy (a word I thought I’d invented - until I found out that I hadn’t): A younger, newer circus-inclined Brit blogger named Katharine Kavanagh, issuing a nicely affirmative review of my book, Inside the Changing Circus: A Critic's Guide. She, somewhat on the fence, rues most of all my lack of on-site European research, resulting, believes she, in my slighting Euro contributions to the new circus movement routinely linked to Circus du Soleil's global impact ... Am I guilty? Truth is, while I’ve been to Russian, and lately to China (which Katharine fairly acknowledges ), yes, I haven’t hit the streets of Paris, the lots of London in many years, and there’s a real reason why, trust me here: fear of flying. Before flying to China in 2010, it had been 31 years since I lifted off for space flight. Last time was 1979, when the Old Soviet Circus granted me access for interviews In Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev and Odessa ... But I do harbor a wish to go over there and take in a few circuses. How fun that would be, if only ... Nothing, absolutely nothing like seeing them for myself, in person, from a seat, first fanfare to final blast. Old World, are you still a Bold World?
End Ringers: From DC, Guy Palace sending me news of new Circus Conservatory of America, getting ready to open in Portland, Maine next year. Academic arc promising “higher education with a primary mission to provide the highest caliber artistic education available in the United State to circus artists.” I’d suggest trimming that sentence a bit. They’re calling themselves “the first US-based circus college.” Now there, I liked that sentence a lot more ... Jack Ryan, on Monte Carlo Circus Festival's failing to land TV coverage over here, “I noted the jury of the recent festival did not include a single member from the US, UK, Canada, Mexico, or Australia. Good noting Jack. “I’m not sure that a commercial network or PBS sees the value of running the festival. Neither does the BBC.” Still, thinks Jack, “it would work well if well promoted. A French network records and broadcasts it annually."
Big top as high art: from Circus Conservatory of America website.
CFA turns a blundering blind eye: Take a look at the Circus Fans Association website posting in tepid response to the Los Angeles city council ban on bull hooks. The press release, as candy-cotton spun as a Feld handout, extends unequivocal support for the Ringling elephants being perfectly trained, treated, put through their tricks. I wonder what the CFA thinks of damming visual evidence to the contrary - not a comment about that. But then, CFA was born to "fight anything that fights the circus." At least, they might explain to us how the footage of Ringling elephants being whipped and cursed at backstage was somehow "edited" to foster the negative impression it clearly conveys. No, this is what they officially state: "These magnificent creatures are beloved and protected by the circus professionals who care for them 24/7." Nothing, Kids, is as simple or as black and white as that, period.