Thursday, December 18, 2014

Circus Scramble: Telling Cirque’s Survey What I Think ... When 3-Rings Ruled ... Grandma, Was That Really YOU? ... Ringling Promises New Old Fashioned Danger ... And More! ...

Following the arrows in reverse ...

Update:  12/21/14:  Cirque du Soleil now said to be looking for major investment partners, including possibility of selling a "majority stake," as reported in The Financial Times of  London.

Finally, I opened a survey sent to me by Cirque du Soleil, since I had invested $95.00 to get a decent seat at Kurios - not without sight line obstructions.  The questions are extensive, all of them being answered by the usual 1 to 10 rating system.  At the end, comes a blank window, asking me to post a comment.  And here was mine:

“Here is my biggest surprise.  Guy Laliberte talked about returning to the company's roots. This is hardly that, but an ever more elaborate special effects production, giving short shrift to circus acts of a world class order."

Among tons of questions -- choreography, direction, characters, lights, --- the only mention of circus action comes in a two word descriptor "acrobatic performances".  They did want to know if I thought there were enough of those, and I think I answered a five or six.

Can Kurios curb an ominous downward trend in critical reception and ticket sales for the company?   Sorry to say, at this point, I don’t feel so emotionally connected to the troupe as I once did -- whatever else they may wish to give me, the circus part should be just as outstanding, too, thank you.

What next down the stack?  From a promo leaflet put out by the American Circus Corporation back in around, I’d guess, circa 1920s, and how stunning a contrast to the above:

“The uncensored circus has received much editorial attention during the current year ... all sorts and conditions of humanity boost the circus spirit, and any organization which will energetically awaken the circus microbes which seem to be inherent in human nature — will sure reap results — but to do so and to give satisfaction a REAL THREE RING CIRCUS IS NEEDED, an ordinary vaudeville or variety circus can no longer be passed off as circus.”

Cultural whiplash:  Where am I now, and how far have I traveled away from that old three ring circus?   I am, it feels, centuries away:  Down Mexico way, more than rumors warn that the big shots who run the country are bent on running animals acts off the lot, and those who pay money to see them are showing up, not too impressed, asking “where are the animals?”  Without which, me no wanna buy a ticket to your dull show.

And here in Oakland, to further deconstruct what is left of the one ring standing, the city council has officially voted bull hooks off the lot, come 2017, giving Feld plenty of time to do his deal making behind the scenes – unless the man can break his fixation on elephants.  If the bans hold, he won’t be welcome in Oakland OR L.A., and who knows what other cities.  More out there are lining up to take similar stands. They have, like it or not, CFA, that damming You Tube of Feld’s elephants backstage getting cursed out and slapped around.  Not pretty when it came out five years ago.  Not any prettier now.

END RINGERS: I’m cooking up an end-of-the-year random list of Goods and Bads, Naughtys & Nices. Did you know, juggling records as of 2006 included 13 rings, 12 balls, 9 clubs — and a partridge in a pear tree?  ... The recent passing of Struppi Hanneford, fabulous in the air, wonderful lady on the ground,  marked a big loss for the great Old Guard of ring artists who once wowed our senses ... Is that really YOU,  Grandma, showing up on the Hanneford show, or is it one of your licensed stand ins?  A Circus Report review drops the name Bary Lubin, the Original as you in the know know, but in other quarters closer to BAC land, Lubin is thought to be living in Sweden. Speaking of clowns,  those who hide out behind funny faces bent on scarring to death the public are now stalking the streets of France, attacking innocents, per Chuck Burnes, in CR ...  Now, even circus clowns are becoming an endangered species.  No animals ... fewer daredevils to speak of -- we are nearly down to the last remaining acceptable default act, to quote from the CDS survey, "acrobatic performances" ... Ah yes, and just in the nick of posting this one, it just hit my brain that Ringling's new opus soon to be uncorked down Florida way is to be called.  Circus Xtreme.  Love it ... And look here -- they are still sending in the clowns!

First posted 12.18.14

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