Clown for a New Day

Clown for a New Day
Dagwood might make it in today's emasculated circus

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Out of the Past: Sunday L'Amyx Scrambler: Circus World Bans Winter, Axes Ace Archivist ... Gardens Grow More Weeds .... Barbette's Lip Lives On ...

First posted December 20, 2009

Post Update, Monday Morning: How sad to have to revise this post. I just learned from two comments herein that Erin Foley was let go. What an inexplicable loss. Politics? I found her to be a total pro. Let's not forget that under HER direction, the Ringling-Barnum Archives, for far too many years horded over exclusively by a good old boys club, were finally opened to ALL researchers. Does Museum Director Freese have any idea how significant that action alone was? I am waiting to see if she gets replaced by the good old boys and just how open those Ringling-Barnum Archives remain. This development merits further investigation.

Sad news to hear that Circus World Museum's exhibits won't be open during the winter, but hear this, in the chilly off months often they draw only 7 or eight people a day, if that. Good news: Under the evidently swift direction of new exec director Stephen Freese, revenue rose by 22 percent this year. Paid attendance was up 17 percent from the year before. Ringmaster Dave SaLoutos guessed that Circus World’s 50th anni bash helped accelerate turnstile action. “I think we just had a dynamite set of programs during the summer season and word of mouth kicked in, too.” ... I trust their stellar library remains on scholastic high level alert the year around ... And Christmas Cheers to your archival excavations, Erin Foley!

Oh, what is it about those Felds and their optimally obtuse title ticklers? I think that Kenneth Feld is a frustrated medical research scientist wishing to assign trenchant terms to strange new diseases. One of his next shows to be called Illuscination. And it stars "illusciantor" David DaVinci (I guess magic is selling these days). Now, to me it could be either a drug for self-induced acid fantasies or a gigantic gadget to crumple them into shreds ...Then there’s Funundrum, which I rather like riding. A pill for too much fun up the ears. Dr. Feld?

These Gardens Grow More Weeds. I'm talking about Canada's reigning impresarios of dreck, Richard Garden and son Niles, who just tore up another lot. 'Twas they or he alone who gave us the precarious Toby Tyler Circus seats. They who brought a true circus from hell to the Cow Palace over there in Navel Gazers Central some years back ... Something about their latest aborted venture, if nothing else, shows how shameless they are. A Sarasota something or other billed as “a larger than life New Year’s Eve dinner extravaganza", going for ticket prices up to $550 ($2,400 for couples seeking heaven on earth, stretch limb included) — is not to be. The Gardens suddenly canceled. Not the first time that they’ve pulled the plug on a venture. Per the Sarasota Herald Tribune, which aptly describes them a "father son promotion team," this dubious duo has "been sued more than forty times in Manatee and Sarasota counties, largely for non payment of bills.” Oh, let’s leave it there. For every Guy Laliberte, there are a dozen Gardens.

Not for the Kids of Yesterday: Here’s another Barbette howler, courtesy of former Ringling flackmaster Jack Ryan (thank you, Jack) Barbette was at work in the Ringling winterquarters on the aerial ballet when a Hanneford girl showed up hung over in a black leotard and proceeded to stumble through rehearsals. Cracked Barbette as only he could, “Miss Hanneford. We all know your ass is dead but MUST you drape it in black?” More, please, Jack ...

High Seasonal Thanks to Don Covington, who sends me so much stuff that he sniffs out on the cyber midways of life, so much that informs this tent and makes it that much more fun three dotting away, dot dot dot ...

End Ringers to Go: Goodbye once again, friend Henry Edgar. How I miss your comforting contributions. I, too, am human. And how sad that Henry’s passing last September, inexplicably, seems not to have been noted by the bigger big top blogs in which he actively took constructive part. That he loved in his last years. Is it really that callous a midway I hang out on? A provisional Humbug to such indifference! ... Speaking of which, to all those few mortals (a tiny fraction of my tiny crowd) who do leave comments here now and then, they are regularly appreciated. Sometimes I’m flattered, other times challenged if not shattered, which serves to keep me in a sort of accidental classroom, and open to new-fangled views, so my life is still ALIVE, thank you ... Despite the profane grumblings of some, I am open to all points of view. I have my idols. You have yours. On with the Show. And, in deepest appreciation once more, I raise my Sunday Morning Tranquility Mao Feng teacup to you, Sir Don of Covington! ...

12.20.2009

13 comments:

Margaret said...

....Merry Christmas David....

Showbiz David said...

And the same to you, Margaret!

Anonymous said...

Erin Foley was one of the four terminated employees from Circus World.

Chet De Maio

Jack Ryan said...

David,

Had a message from Erin Foley that she was part of the layoffs and is no longer working at the museum's library.

Very sad news, indeed.

Jack

Showbiz David said...

not only sad but senseless. this bears looking into. it changes my enitre outlook. sad. sad. sad. what is going on back there?

Anonymous said...

Hi David,

Erin was let go as part of the museum's "re-structuring". It truly is a shame that they could not find a way to keep her on and continue to provide the help to researchers that is required. I was in the middle of a research project, and know of at least 2 other historians that were using her talents and the library resources in recent days.

She will be missed.

Greg DeSanto

Showbiz David said...

Greg, Thank you very much. This is very upsetting news. So I lost Henry Edgar this year, and now the gracious and cooperative Erin is gone. A museum shame! She allowed me to examine some very valuable John Ringling North documents (by virtue of letting me look through the Ringling-Barnum archives before they finally were opened) -- North's handwritten notes to the production staff following the 1951 opening, revealing how blunt and ready to express his artistic opinions he could be; and a most passionate letter North wrote to Concello taking Art to task for something North thought it was out of line for his manager to do, yet filled with obvious love for Art. While Erin felt it would not be right at the time for me to copy the documents, I was allowed to take notes on them. Does this mean that nobody can go in there and do research? It is inconceivable that they would not have at least one person on staff.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure of how they plan to continue helping researchers. According to press releases and local newspaper articles, the library will remain "open", in fact they are closing the Feld Building/administrative offices till the summer season and moving the three remaining employees into the library space to work.

Perhaps the Wisconsin Historical Society will send library personal to help out? Erin really knew the lay of the land there and could easily put her hand on whatever was needed to help researchers. Not so sure things will be so easy anymore.

Greg DeSanto

Jack Ryan said...

David,

Greg mentions the reseach he was doing and the difficulties he now faces with Erin's departure.

On a personal note, the first part of my recent Spectacle piece, the Ringling press agents of the past section, would have not have been possible without Erin's help and guidance. (I again thank you for your own help, particularly on the Bev Kelley part.)

Erin helped run down a lot of names, dates and other information that I simply could not have found anywhere else. Plus, more than once she set me straight on things I THOUGHT I knew. Without her input, the story would have crumbled before it could have even been finished.

There are some very wealthy circus owners (and fans) out there. Maybe a few of them could get together and subsidize the archivist position at Baraboo.

Nice thought but fat chance it will even happen.

Jack

Anonymous said...

It does not look like the Thimble Theater will see an audience anytime soon.

Greg

Showbiz David said...

oh, what a heart string of mine you played by dropping the magical words Thimble Theatre; You remember! Nothing can quite compare to that fascinating walk through. Another impossible dream deferred. Too bad Baraboo does not have its own Tibbals sugar daddy.

Don said...

David,

Thanks for the kind words. It is always interesting to see items that I send on to you come spinning out again for new life in the blogosphere.

Don Covington

Anonymous said...

What a great resource!