Bella to Binder: Fresh off the grass of Circus Bella, holding court last week in the city that works either for the very rich or the very poor (San Francisco), I scampered across the mean streets (most dangerous for pedestrians in Calif, if not the country, if not the world) to the lovely homeless sanctuary known as San Francisco Public Library, Central ... On one of its shelves, I would find a copy of Paul Binder’s new book, Never Quote the Weather to a Sea Lion, which I checked out after renewing my library card. All for the book, nothing like I had expected. Read a little there; decided to bring it home and take the full tour. More on this to follow; I must first try quoting the weather to a sea lion.
Race to FaceBook, those of you who enjoy painterly visions of circus, going way back to when, remember the horse? Remember the acrobat riding the horse? You’ll be regaled by a treasure trove of wonderful art that captures classic circus in its many manifestations, pre-animal rights anxiety. We have Jim Stockley to thank for this wonderful gallery. Jim, whose mother and her brothers managed Chipperfields Circus, brought his Facebook page to my attention recently by e-mail. Thank you, Jim!
Putting “Ringling” and “Art” back together. The Wall Street Journal calling the Ringling Museum “an amazing place with an amazing history,” and they aren’t talking circus. They’re taking ART. A work by Bernardo Strozzi, “An Act of Mercy,” profiled back in the March 23 issue. How refreshing to see the museum that John Ringling built getting major recognition for the reason it was built -- before the big top invasion, and I'm putting that politely. I promised to withhold my sparklers.
Alice Neel. 1932.
America’s Got Circus Talent, Too! On the popular TV show, Christian Stoinev, and his doggy partner, Scooby, to compete on July 17. I’ve seen winning pictures of Christian holding a hand stand, while atop his back, stands Scooby. Can't wait to see the act in motion.
Where was the "circus" inside Circus Maximus? Once more, another reason to wonder. I took on Mark Twain's vastly long Innocents Abroad, and surprised myself by staying with this great writer to the end. When he gets to the ruins of the Roman Coliseum, he, whose other writings are sprinkled with circus accounts, describes every last bloody thing that thrilled the crazed spectators there, but says nothing about any circus acts. Maybe he knows more than we. Has anybody out there (among my 7 visitors) ever seen an ancient ad, herald, etching in stone or painting depicting circus action at Circus Maximus? I'm starting to smell myth.
END RINGERS: Aerial ballet heaven: Not one, Not two, but THREE ballets were witnessed on a Hamid Shrine unit in Hamburg, NY. Wrote Circus Report's Joy Moreau, “What is particularly well planned ... is that each is completely different in theme.” Ah, Barbette, the Great One must be smiling in his grave. Sour Song of India: Country now rules out wild animals from circuses. Domestics, including moneys, are okay. Down in Tinsel Town, city exacting steeper permit fees for circuses wanting to flaunt wild animals, causing Ramos Bros. to cancel a horse and camel display in city limits. ...Cirque du Soleil’s new opus, Kurios, drawing early strong notices. Still, when it comes to San Francisco, I’m gonna read the local reviews first before deciding whether to go. I’ve been burned by this company twice in a row now ... Vargas tenting through the Bay Area cities... Kelly Miller’s first time in America bounce juggler from Ethiopia, Abraham Tarat. said to be nearing his first appearance in the ring, pending prop completion. With all the delays, might this season turn out to be Tarat's Last Time in America? Sorry, I just couldn't resist that ... John Ringling North II has around three acts in the "First Time" category. His mind is in the right place, if not his operation ... I've seen no reviews so far, not even in Circus Report.
OFF THE LOT, OVER THERE ACROSS THE STREET: Did you know that a clear majority of U.S. youths would flunk military standards for service? Blame falls on drugs, felony convictions, high school drop outing, HDD's, and the B\ig One, Obesity. ... Our local track celebrity, California Chrome, thrilled me, too, and I agree with its complaining owner, who argues that it had to race, unfairly, against horses who had not appeared in the first two races. In fact, Chrome outran those horses that DID, like he, run all three courses... Beware of Drones! I’m waiting for a direct hit mailer from Feld Entertainment, summoning me to its next show. Perhaps one day, Amazon will deliver by drone ... BTW: Ramos Bros. is a new name to me. Some come and go incognito. Ah, the circus, a form of entertainment that entertains whether anybody shows up or not ...
All images from Jim Stockley's Facebook Circus & Fairground Art.