Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Wake-Ups: Clown Face on Brit Billboard Freaks out Londoner; Circus Owner, Ordered to Remove, Offers Psychiatric Intervention ... Bob (that you-know-what critter) returns to Big Apple Circus ... AND More!

You’re half way in the tent.  Leave or SIT DOWN!   The show is now on, so ... if you suffer from any of the big top-induced anxieties, take your pills, pray or leave NOW ...

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? ...

You don't like clowns?  Well, then, how about a rodent or a rat, neither lurking behind greasepaint?  My demented circus heart cheered by news that Big Apple Circus is bringing back Jenny Vidbel’s half-way-performing live “chubby” South American capybara, said to be related to the guinea pig (shhhh! - really means "rodent"), good old, Bob, who drew smashing  Gotham reviews a couple years back, ho ho.  Also in the act will be "one trained rat."  Jenny’s a wow of a trainer, an American original, helping Big Apple show the world you can go on without wild animals and still pack the tent now and then ...

This year's opus, Luminocity, under wide-reaching creative aegis of artistic director Guillaume Dufresnoy,  took specific direction by Michele Barette, from up there in Cirque du Soleil land, who co-crafted back in 2004,. with Paul Binder and Michael Christensen,  one stunning near-masterpiece, Picturesque.  First frame on this year's outing,  which uncorked over the weekend in NY, goes to 15-year-young juggling  wonder boy champ Ty Tojo.  Says director Barette (who, by the way, was Cirque's first ringmaster),  “he performs as the first act in the show because he gives it the whip of energy that we need.”   Ty is high on my list of Big Apple Must-Sees, along with sly audience teaser, Bob, and the nameless rat.  Photo, above, is of Duo Guerrero.

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?

Anyway, among the gratifying credit Katharine grants me, there is this:   “a breadth of knowledge to the world that is hard to come by elsewhere ... " Ah, thanks, Katharine ...  BTW: on E-bay, Inside sells for from $25.37 up to $60.28.  Who ever buys a book for that ridiculously high-end  price?  I don’t know how these pipe-dreaming vendors do it...

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.


Harry Kingston said...

This is off the subject but if you ever were planning a trip East to see a circus you need to go and see Cole Bros Circus.
Not coming my way very often they played New Iberia, Louisiana for a one day stand.
This was a substitute dates as Houma was supposed to be a 3 day stand but the last day conflicted with a Feld 90 day ahead date. This looks to me they want all the pie plus what ever else they can get.
The circus goes up quick and Pugh and Bale are right there to welcome fans and welcome you to the Cole Circus.
Johnny has no plans of retiring and has plan to add to the show for many years to come.
I saw the best shop truck I have ever seen and a very large generator for the tent and another in the back yard.
The performance is great and well done and you get your bang for the buck.
Johnny has a large mobile bus that would put many homes to shame and first class all the way from top to bottom.
And to be welcomed and treated like a circus fan gets my high recommendation to Cole Bros.
It is worth the trip to see it where ever you are in the U. S.
Harry in Texas

Katharine Kavanagh said...

Hi, thanks for the mention and your email (sorry I didn't reply sooner; bad Katharine) - if only we had a European book with from someone with a similar experience and knowledge as yourself! If anyone knows of one, do get in touch!