Saturday, February 08, 2014

Touring Planet Circus, German Magazine Glorifies the Ageless Delight ... In a EuroAsian Ring, the Act is Still King

Okay, let the rain fall out there.  Nice for once feeling a little couped up, wondering where we were when last we "hooked up" HaHa, me and YOU, all those strange people out in thee in the dark who never dare to drop a line or two here ... Feld Entertainment? Still peeking in now and then? ...

.... Touring Planet Circus, the magazine from Germany, is what last I promised.   Lavish spread of photos making circus art Over There look Big and Grand, Glorious and Wanted and Patronized.  Major Meets, circus acts competing for the Gold, a cultural shock. And a joy to behold.   What have we over here?   I think Circus Center in San Francisco holds a festival now and then, touting it of course as cutting edge.  If you're not cutting edge in America, you're hopelessly Old Hat.  Over There, they're still producing terrific talent, with a little help from the Merry Middle Kingdom, making me wonder why so many great ring artists hail from repressive countries?  Something about creativity, stay with me for half-a-moment on this.  Smart phones OFF! Here we go, are you there?  HELLO?   

ANYBODY STILL THERE???  Twas turning the issue over in my mushy mind whilst walking one sunny winter morning in Dried-Up Calif.  One creates, I propose, as an expression born of a liberating joy of the spirit, away from a sense of imprisonment --- be it a Depression, a Loss, a dominating political system pushing down the spirit.  One creates as an escape out of all that.  And in Russia Then and China Still,  there is plenty of oppression to produce individuals needing creativity as the Grand Escape.  

How did I do?

Planet Circus tells me of so many wonderfully affirming events over there.  The Festivals, so many, that draw major attention.   Monte Carlo to Paris to Moscow, to, even, China.  Now in China, animal acts are belatedly joining the parade, just when they are being shunned in Bonny England, voted off the lot in some U.S. Cities.  The World is Upside Down --  wasn't that a line from DeMille's movie The Greatest Show on Earth?

Boldly I quote Dirk Kuik of Planet Circus comparing an act as seen in two different venues: under the thick makeup and lights of Cirque du Soliel, and then, out of that tyranny into the flesh of a conventional circus ring:

"William Lin was clear evidence that the presentations of Cirque du Soliel do not always help to enhance the effect of the acts.  Some years ago this great diablo artist from Taiwan won a gold medal at the Cirque de Domain in Paris for his tricks and his immense personality.  Now in an average costume and mask from the arena show 'Quadam' all this was nearly completely lost. What a pity!"

And what a hypocritical pity that CDS recycles its tent shows into arena spin-offs, no doubt desperate to extract every last penny from a public willing to be taken.

Festivals covered or announced in the current issue taking place in Budapest, Latina,Moscow, Dax, China, any probably other places I missed.

What is my drift:  Touring the pages of Planet Circus, I see circus acts.  Had I checked out the recent avant garde gathering in Chicago, I might have seen re-birthing on the Fabrics, Waiting for Godot on the static Trapeze, How to Reclaim your Prenatal Purity Inside a Thousand Hula Hoops ...  Mid Air Gender Bending Exchanges on Sway Poles, and so on. Not that I'm against such daring diversions from the norm.  I still, however, find a great circus act to convey the primal power of the big top.   And that power radiates the pages of this wonderful magazine.

[All photos and ads, uploaded here, with apologies, on my cheap scanner, from Planet Circus]


Alan Cabal said...

Cirque du Soleil went from cutting edge avant-garde to cookie-cutter mediocrity in just twenty years.

It was all about the chemistry between Dragone and the troupe.

Showbiz David said...

What it seems to me now with each new mediocrity, is that they are rearranging the furniture and redoing the window displays, albeit with marked down merchandise.

As I said here a while back, next time Cirque comes to town, I'm reading the S.F reviews first, and they better be great or I'm not going.