Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Showbiz by the Slice, Rough, Real, Ready to Go! ... Are You Up to It? Hang On!

From top to bottom down a stack of papers, tear sheets, notes: First off: First circus act from Vietnam to appear at Monte Carlo, the Giang Brothers, head to headers, hand to handers, Don Stacey in Circus Report, while back, giving them a golden salute:  “simply stunning.” Ah, now that’s a nice send-off for this ramble ...

Monte Carlo Refreshing: It’s annual festival of the World's Best bring people out of their I-do-not-criticize-circuses shells, to dare say what they feel! ...  How novel.

Sir James Royal a while back tickling me with this: “You will be pleased to learn that after weeks of dry lots [oh, how they must have suffered for the lack of slush] we have had a few muddy ones (I believe it would be appropriate to place ‘LOL’ here). Whilst on the Kelly Miller lot, me wonders (shhhh, don’t tell Shirley North!) how excitingly different next year’s program might be? The operative word being "different."  If,  in fact, John Ringling North II will go out and hire some new acts ... Gone will be Copeland and Combs, clowns and PR kings of high note.  They leave a void that  that tradition-bound Johnny Come Lately may have to fill.  Have I said enough here?  I’m waiting for them to tent out to the golden state, that's all. . Heck, North & Royal, I'll buy FIVE bags of your designer peanuts, I will!.

Twas thrilled this last year to get a fine review of a  semi-recent book of mine, Flower Drum Songs: The Story of Two Musicals, by a respected critic in D.C. Theatre Scene.  Why am I  talking this up? To offset an Amazon review that treats my work as rubbish. Ouch!  I think I can spot a legit review from a nasty hit piece.  You be the judge:

You see, I’m going down a stack of things I have long harbored a faint wish to do something with before doing nothing with.  It's now or the waste basket. 

Baraboooooo, they love you!  Sounds like a song in the making.  That’s what Smithsonian.Com proclaimed in a list “America’s Best Small Towns.”  Ringlingville came in at Number 4. Tis a charmy little burg, it is. I love going there, but you gotta have a car or a horse and carriage .. .Here’s what they said, in part  “On the lawn of the historic court house, folks gather on summer nights, kids in jammies, for concerts and movies.”  Love that spot. I sat there atop a bench few years back, feeling my future, if you of a certain age know what I mean.  Actually, I was feeling fine, as still I am, just imagining.

Planet Circus is a marvelous magazine, maybe the best of its kind in the world.  It makes big top people and their ways look glamorous. Gives circus the certain aura of a booming art form. Old World, we're counting on you!  And to that, I say, Kudos to editor Dirk Kuik and prime contributor, Helmut Grosscurth (forget it, spell checker, go onto the next word) ... Speaking of which, not sure why here, but next on my pile are some questions I intend to ask of a well liked comedy duo, once their seasons over, hoping they might answer. If they do, be prepared for hyper reporting form yours unruly ...

Here’s way off course, into rock land, guitars long retired getting lured back into recording studios by one determined agent, Reed Seerman of Beverly Hills.  Read about it in WSJ. Some of the old names, not known to me: Stickmen, Lost Beat Heroes and others.  Dozens of songs, sayz Seerman, that deserve a second chance.  Same applies to music theatre, to all the shows written that never reached Gotham. All those lonely neglected ditties out there, doomed to obscurity. Sad, isn’t it. Well, another tear sheet onto the exit heap.

A letter from new Circus World boss, Scott O’Donnell, thanking me, yes, ME,  for my support. this season.  Well, okay, if you insist ..  Did somebody see me back there? Handicapping the O’Donnell tenure at Circus World, let's take a look.  He has been around in a lot of places, so ...

Remember Anonymous who dissed  Thomas Chipperfield as being no different from any other abusive animal trainer, and my, in turn, asking A for some evidence and a name for A?  Anonymous did try crawling back to slip thru a rather innocuous new comment..  And wasn't my mentioning this a waste?  Sorry.

Oh, no, is this how I gotta end -- Another big article in a local SF Bay Area rag about Oakland being the next center of a new circus movement hitting the universe, this one called  “Tech Circus.” Its proponents are looking “back to days of old.”and finding earlier troupes more or less like them, sans animals, sans multiple rings, etc. etc.  Lovely fairy tale.  I just hadn’t the willpower to push my eyes through it. Ambitious jugglers, etc., hanging out in warehouses in Oakland, resolved to craft the next cutting edge big top.  Now that I admire, ruing in advance the likelihood that they will go nowhere but end up selling derivatives and/or waiting on Starbucks addicts.  Nice?  No matter what you may be up to these days, just call yourself a "circus" and you'll  get a little free publicity.  

Gotta give you an exit laugh: Ooops, it sounded funny back then.  Chinese state workers putting in maybe an hour of hard or soft labor a day, the rest spent chatting, reading the paper, drinking tea.  Might that also characterize the U.S. worker?   Why does it no longer seem funny to me.  Maybe that’s why I tossed it on my Maybe Stack ...

Oh, wait!  Here's a cheap laugh.  Did  you hear about the Berkeley acrobat-clown, among the Snot Bombs, who performed ad lib, in the nude near an San Francisco  BART Station. Not to funny? No, I guess not, but the slip bearing this and other information I can barely read (my handwriting) may now be added to my paper outcasts .. Oh, what a relief to see the pile gone gone gone...

Now, to an evening flick from Netflix, Hitchcock's Frenzy.


Harry Kingston said...

Hi Dave,
North and Royal have been in the business a long time and I am sure they will have some great surprises for us in 2014.
Kelly Miller has the whole show what you expect in a tented circus.
Mr. North has a lot invested and adds to his show each year and the bottom line is you got to maker the nut.
I am sure what the nut was years ago it is a lot higher now.
I was very lucky as the show came close to me in March and I was treated great as a circus fan.
I know Dave you would like the show to come West but what you got to go thought to get there.
The old railroad shows played evening only and night only to make long jumps to get West.
But in circus History Denver and West saved the old Cole Bros as they raked in the $$$$$$$$$$$$.
But Cole Bros today is the I-95 circus and makes the nut and has full houses.
Well lets hope one day they will come you way.
I cannot wait to see the 2014 Kelly Miller Circus.
Put me down for 5 bags of those peanuts too.
Harry in Texas

Anonymous said...

A number of new acts on the way for the 2014 edition of Kelly-Miller. I'll defer to Jim Royal and JRN III to share the specifics when the time is right.