Clown for a New Day

Clown for a New Day
Dagwood might make it in today's emasculated circus

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sunday Silly: Ringling Reviews Ringling; Walker, Circus Sarasota and Barbette ... All on the Inside!


Out through the moors of Oakland (as in fog), for rice tea and "berry black," a new try too close to English Lipton ... Covington challenged, here I go, I think:

I read a so-called review of the new RBBB Funundrum, in a Tampa paper by a local reporter. Why suspicious? She didn't mention a single act by name. I'll wait for the New York Times or the White Tops(is it still being published?) ... This new RBBB edition uncorked by that new producing team of the Feld sisters, Alana and Nicole. Go, gals, I guess ... Sure, now somebody make something of that. My mind is really on Coney; Will they or won't they? You know, the Gold Unit going back, and even if it does, I fear being disappointed the second night around (it sounds too Feldian for me). Not maybe a Feld fault, but my own eccentric ideas of what makes a sleek circus sleek and tight and fast moving. Am I quaint for wanting pace, pep and speed? ...

Animals In, Animals Out: Johnny Pugh, per reports, has a cat act on the train (yeah, not a train, but it's fun to say) for this year's opus. I'm hoping he tents up on Coney, too. You see, Johnny is my personal barometer of circus health in general, his show let's say mid-range. As Cole goes, so goes the circus? ... Cliff hangers: Eskil Ronningsbakken, who likes perching upside down at the edge of sharp end points overlooking rivers hundreds of feet down down down, got his hook training under the eye of one Peter Jakob of the Moscow State Circus -- and I'm thinking we're not taking Sarasota version. Says Mr. cliff hanger: "I have three loose items under me, and balancing with my back towards the abyss there is no return at all if you fall." Good luck, guy ...

Oh, About Animals Out; Walker Bros. Circus defaulting to domestics "such as pigs and mules" --- love it! -- having been banned by USDA from the exotics for five years and fined $25,000. Hawthorn Circus Corporation, from whom Walker previously leased elephants and trainers, cited numerous times in 2004 and ordered to relinquish custody of 16 elephants, according to animals rights groups. (source: mbolen@keynews.com) ...

Vague to Victorious: Circus Sarasota, lacking permanent digs the last three years, has finally found solid (at least solid muddy) ground. Agreement signed with Baltimore Orioles for use of county-owned property. Ball games to big top; this is the lot the show has pitched over for a trio of years ... Going for a moment across the great pond. revered Brit ringmaster Norman Barrett, at 73, awarded an MBE (whatever that is, I dug and nothing came up). 25 years with Blackpool Tower Circus, right now performing with Zippos Circus, in Frankfurt, Germany. Says the whistle blower, "As well as being over the moon personally, I am also delighted for the circus industry. Oh, yes an "industry." Somehow, it keeps on rolling along. Let's hear more: "This is a real boost for circus and in my view gives the art form the recognition it truly deserves and, sadly in modern times, so rarely gets."

Now, let's follow that last quote right on through. I might post the entire "comment" left by A* Anonymous in response to my last "Tale of Two Museums.: Maybe this week. You can read it now, or wait for a full-scale midway platform treatment. I agree, but I also marvel at our Tenting Tycoons who keep these things on the road ... I thought about what A* said, and it makes sense. I never discuss circus with my non-circus friends, not out of shyness but it just does not mean anything to them. A lot of other things I discuss. Sad? ...

Okay, how about ending this on a wry note that, but warning, a little irreverent. This by way of Jack Ryan, from whom I hope we get more goodies: Barbette, yes, here he is, at work on a Shrine circus (years ago), and mandating the construction of small platforms for web girls to style and chew gum upon. The Great director arrives at the arena night before opening, and earns the quick attention of the temple Potentate himself: "Hey, Mr. Barbette! They've got me hammering nails. HaHaHa." Our "entrepreneur of enchantment" smiles. "Admirable, my dear man, but hardly surprising. After all, Jesus Christ was a carpenter."

And that's a Sunday wrap. Sun's now out. And here it is, nearly 2 pm and I've put lunch aside just for this? Kelly-Miller, I imagine, warming up Texas mud for early spring start. Johnny Pugh reasoning with lot owners about animals all ok. Ringling working the press. Big Apple ready to hit the road. Well, it could be a whole lot worse! ...

[photos, from top: Alana and Nicole Feld; Eskil Ronningsbakken; rendering of the Ringling Circus Museum expansion]

First posted January 20, 2010

2 comments:

John said...

Norman Barrett's MBE means that he is a Member of the British Empire. Thus he is now on a par with Ringo Starr, but not with Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt of the group Status Quo, each of whom was awarded an OBE (Officer of the British Empire) in the Queen's New Year's Honours List.

Showbiz David said...

Thanks, John.