Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Showbiz David’s Year End Circus Kudos (if others can do it, why can't I?) ...

 Legends, at Ringling-Barnum
First off, please take note:  These kudos are based upon my having seen, in some form, the following shows during 2014:

Big Apple Circus, Luminosity, Queens
Circus Bella, San Francisco
Ringling-Barnum, Legends, Oakland
Kelly Miller (from a DVD of the entire performance)
Big Apple Circus, Metamorphosis,  live streaming tape delay, in a movie house, Emeryville, CA
Cirque du Soliel, Kurios, San Francisco.

So, to be clear, among the shows I did not see, there are these:
Carson and Barnes
Cole Bros.

Thus, I am issuing Kudos rather than Awards.

Drum Rolls! Fanfare! Enter the Honored!

Outstanding Circus Performance of the Season
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey - Legends 

Greatest Advance in Showmanship for a Single Producer
John Ringling North II.  Two of this years best acts are first-time-in Americas.  North is proving his potential to rise higher.

Best Staged and Scored  Act
Dosov Tetterboard troupe, Big Apple Circus - Luminocity.  Bloody brilliant.

Best Contortion Act
Amina and Azai, from Mongolia, Kelly Miller Circus
Transcending the tortuously slow muscularity of arguably far more complicated contortion routines out there, yet these two gals invest their crisply animated  repertoire with intricate leg movements, impressively unified and coordinated. It is the only contortion act I've seen in a long while that I would welcome seeing again. (Yes, and yes - slow slow slow leaves me bored bored bored.)

Single Most Mesmerizing Display
Ty Tojo, Big Apple Circus - Luminocity

Best Original Score
David Bandman and Jeffrey Holmes, Big Apple Circus - Lumnocity

Best Live Music, tie
Big Apple Circus, Luminoicty, Rob Slovki, director
Circus Bella, Rob Reich, composer, accordionist, and band leader.  Reich's work bubbles with giddy melodic bounce and enthusiasm, making Bella a continuous joy to the ear.

Outstanding New Discovery
Showmanly Abrham Gebre, ball bouncing juggler, Kelly Miller Circus.  He somersaults into the tent, makes charismatic eye contact, and pulses the show with natural star power.

Best Ringmaster (Role) of the Season
John Kennedy Kane appearing to play John Kennedy Kane,, Big Apple Circus, Luminocity

Best  Reliably Good Ringmaster
John Moss III, Kelly Miller Circus
Moss repeats a recurring traditional role with class and power, unhampered by the scripting that can
compromise or corrupt the natural talents of others, like John Kennedy Kane or Jonathan Lee Iverson.

Outstanding Novelty Act
Lamount, the Human Volcano, Kelly Miller Circus. 
A work of deft ingenuity and staging based on fire eating, Lamount expands standard fire-eating tricks into a riveting spectacle of panache, funky humor, and dazzling fireworks in the dark.

Outstanding use of hula hoops in atypical fashion
Natasha Kaluz, Circus Bella,
for fashioning a most engaging juggling routine using hula hoops as props

Outstanding Wild Animal Display
Alexander Lacey, Ringling-Barnum - Legends

Outstanding Mixed Animal Display
Vicki Zsilak and Hans and Maria Close, featuring dogs, pigs and two jumping kangaroos.
Ringling-Barnum - Legends

Most Promising Young Wild Animal Trainer on the Rise
Ryan Holder, Kelly Miller Circus.  One of his charges moves about upright on his hind legs for an impressively extended period, his expressive front paw movements seeming to "feel" the music of Michael Jackson's Thriller.  Memorable.

Outstanding Razzle Dazzle
Smirnov Duo, Quick Change (attire), Big Apple Circus, Metamorphosis.

Outstanding Production Number
The opener at Ringling-Barnum - Legends
A supernatural sensation; I've never felt so far out -- into another world. Absolutely stunning.

Outstanding Creativity in Circus Production
Cirque du Soleil - Kurios.

Outstanding Presentation of Traditional Chinese Acrobatics
The hoop divers,  Ringling-Barnum - Legends

Outstanding Combination of Ground Acrobats and Aerial
Trampoline and Vaulting, Cirque du Soleil, Kurios.  These two terrific turns electrify the crowd.

Funniest Clowning  
(not easy, there were so few well-earned laughs out there):
Ringling Clowns spoofing a bike riding act, Ringling-Barnum - Legends.

Most  Exciting Ringmaster Announcement
John Moss at Kelly Miller:  "Children of all ages!  John Ringling North the second welcomes you to the two thousand fourteenth edition of the Kelly Miller Circus!"

Yes, I'm a hopeless Ringlingphile.  But then, so are you, right?


Douglas McPherson said...

Be interesting to see how your list compares with the first American Circus Awards at the BAC on Jan 4.Something makes me wonder if organiser Circus Now will have any animal categories, or will their mission to raise awareness of the circus sweep the likes of Lacey's Lions under the sawdust?

Showbiz David said...

Judging by the advance, it seems they should have called it The First New York Circus Awards, although I commend them for making a first start at something. I am wondering how many U.S. circuses have been viewed and factored in. This will be most interesting to see!

Big Apple Circus favors domestics but not wild animals, so your wonderment does intrigue.

Show Biz Books said...

Wish you could have seen K-M live and in person last season. You did identify some of the 2014's editions strongest acts.

I'm looking forward to seeing K-M in 2015. There is a lot to be said for a tented circus that puts it up and takes it down every single day.

Show Biz Books & Ephemera

Showbiz David said...

Yes, Paul, there is a distinctive magic under a tent, no matter its quality. I envy you for getting to regularly see, I assume, Cole, Big Apple, Kelly Miller, among others -- three shows I rarely see.

Show Biz Books said...

In 2014, I had the good fortune to score a "Hugo Trifecta." Caught C&B, K-M and Culpepper. Mud shows all - each with its own personality.

Alas, I never have the opportunity to travel east and catch BAC or Cole.

Show Biz Books & Ephemera

Showbiz David said...

Ooops! I think I confused you with another Paul.