Thursday, May 15, 2014

Big Top Brainy: Puzzle-Solving Birds -- and Other Animals of Surprising Intelligence -- Science and Circus Should Compare Notes ... And More ...

Randomly we go, around a ring or two -- Sans footnotes.
Thank you Miss Marple (from Agatha Christie) for boring me to death on yet another try at one of your mystery episodes.  After abandoning the DVD, I discovered on Science, a program about some amazing discoveries in recent times of how a certain breed of brainy bird can figure out a maze of tools that, when retrieved and employed in a set manner, will find them a path to the prize: FOOD.

Simply astonishing.  Other areas of human-like behavior now being studied in certain animals: community; monogamy versus "open" relationships," empathy for a fellow beast --- or bird -- emotions in general.   I have long been drawn to and admired the potential value, on a higher level, of how circus animal trainers have demonstrated for years what amazing feats animals can be taught to master and perform. 

Throw in emotion, and perhaps one day, science might assert that, yes, animals in circuses actually derive pleasure (or, well, a sense of a reward lurking in the backyard) from the applause and cheers of a real live audience.  Maybe they even dig the music? 

Randomly, across the pond to where it all began.  Are the Brits giving traditional circus another chance? Perhaps no trainer has better helped foster an image of humane treatment to charges than Thomas Chipperfield, thanks to his home-filmed training videos.  He’s the only trainer now in UK allowed to host a cage of lions and tigers.  

The languishing American Mall as free rent for big tops?   I never knew this would come about, but, yes, many malls are either closing or close to.  Biggest reason: on-line options, and to that even I, usually 15 years behind the techno curve, can relate.  Plus, I feel plastic and pedestrian walking a Mall.  With Mall mangers desperate for ways to lure back shoppers, surely the sight of a tent in the now-deserted parking lot might be one? ... They might have to turn all that asphalt under and replace it with dirt and grass -- okay, designer mud.  

A Grandma for All Venues:   The love of performing knows not venue boundaries.  Grandma (Barry Lubin) seen and reviewed recently, by Peter Pepke in  Circus Report, appearing with the Syria Shrine Circus in Pittsburgh, produced by the Hannefords, with Billy Martin taking charge for Struppi, she working another unit.  .  But, oh, the thought of Grandma sharing silly sawdust with those ever-trying Shrine Clowns dampens my heart.  But how promising to know that Lubin will take on these various venues.  He is surely a perfect candidate for Cole or Ringling -- assuming he wants full time work, but latter history with Big Apple suggests he does not.  I'd love to find him touring with some West Coast show ...

What does PETA stand for?  Here’s a sly variation from the Pepke pen: “Presenting entertaining trained animals!!!”   Love it!...

So, let’s go wandering though Circus Report, and see if there’s more three dot stuff: Does Kelly Miller relish an on-the-scene reporter, she being Clara Sayre, recounting having chatted with a man and his grandson, who, before the show ended, came out, saying they were tired and would probably leave.  I never like the image of people walking out on any show -- unless I agree with their acute disinterest.  Do you?    We’ve all heard about the Kelly Miller bandwagon being retired.  I wonder why? ... I see they are still presenting last yea'rs performance, per their oddly composed website. But, what a wow: you can now buy KM tickets on line, and it looks to be the breeze that Big Apple’s isn't and never was.... Sell out crowds for Shrine in Harrisburg.  That, assuming it to be true (perhaps show was staged in a club house?) .. And from randomly engaging Chuck Burnes, an end-ring guffaw: "Did you know that Charlie Chaplin once entered a Charlie Chaplin look alike contest in Monte Carlo? Unfortunately, he placed third.”  Thanks for laugh, Chuck!

I was going to talk About Guy Laliberte’s in-depth interview with Montreal’s Globe and Mail. The Cirque King has declared himself firmly back in the saddle, no more space flights on the horizon, and wants to restore an earlier brilliance -- and thriving profit line, not presently enjoyed -- at the same time wanting to.  Do what? Well, you’ll just have to wait, somewhere up the road!

And that's a random wrap ...

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