Oakland to DC: Strike up the Bella Band!

Oakland to DC:  Strike up the Bella Band!
One of the best scored circuses in America. Scroll down to see the full story.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Creepy Clowns Grip the Nation! ... Letizel and Codona Movie in Works at Warner ... Cirque’s Paramour Gets Scripting Overhaul, Biz Remains Stagnant ... Vinyl is Back ... Farewell, Jack Ryan and Pat Cashin ... and More on the Inside!


Do Creepy Clown lives matter?  That’s what I heard this morning on a radio talk show having fun with the issue.
 

This latest media storm is becoming fodder for late night  TV comedians.   It’s also no laughing matter for our struggling big tops, unless some really smart circus can spoof its own jesters into a new kind of merry mayhem.  Ringling, you’ve tried outer space. What say, a trip to the asylum for retired clowns on parole?   Bring on the Scariest Show on Earth!

Creepy clown sightings are spreading like a visiting virus    Another gift of social media, the demented darlings are rattling news wires, stalking schoolyards, scaring kids half to death.  But what a nice diversion from that political circus going on all around us.  Maybe Lady Hillary or Lord Donald will show up at the next debate in gory greasepaint, or is that what they are already wearing?  (shhh! Think Hillary's laugh, kids ...)

Pity the well-intended circus clown: If this creepy movement isn’t reason enough for all circuses to ban traditional jester makeup in favor of the harmless red nose, (okay, to be extra safe, a pink one)  I don’t know what is.  More and more adults are outing their own fear of funny faces.   No longer something to hide from.  Simon Cowell on America’s Got Talent, for one.   Just another nail in the coffin of our sadly beleaguered big tops.

P.T. Barnum once said that "clowns are the pegs on which the circus is hung."  Well, these days, they may be hanging it — literally



Onto great promising news  Have we, at last, a high-drama quality film for adults about a genuinely tragic American circus story?  New flick about aerial thrillers Lillian Leitzel and Alfred Codona in the works at Warner Bros, and how I hope the Weinsteins have their hands in this one.  Heavy weights already signed on include producer Andrew Lazaar, who handled Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, and Aussie actress Margot Robbie, right (The Wolf of Wall Street, Suicide Squad), to play Leitzel.  I’m thinking this could be The One I’ve been waiting for through too many mediocre big top flicks  Think of the background alone --- Ringling in the ‘20s!.  The rivalry between Leitzel and her scheming nemesis, conniving Vera Bruce ... Of the tragic ends that would befall both icons.  

To be based upon Dean N. Jensen’s 2013 book Queen of the Air, and I can’t wait.  Yes, I might have said that before another film, Water for Elephants, came out, but I’d not yet read the wretchedly brutal book from which the latter was faithfully adapted. 


Can Queen of the Air achieve what all other circus flicks have failed to do: Mine cinematic gold from genuine big top history? Film Makers and documentarians  have long shunned compelling subject matter staring them in the face: I’m thinking the towering figure of reckless circus king John Ringling, who lived a colorful and ultimately tragic life, and I’ve thought of Leitzel and Codona, and of course of the catastrophic Hartford fire, not to mention its genesis in a fractious war among Ringling heirs for control of the circus.

What do we usually get from Hollywood?  Of late, Water. I mean, tell me, please, was there ever a circus as thoroughly sadistic as that one?   As improbably untrue to any semblance of tent show history, then, before or now?


Another Cirque du Fizzle?  The company’s ill-reviewed New York stage show, Paramour, closed down quietly for a few days in late Auguest to reivse script in reponse to public feedback, some fans wanting “more acrobatics earlier in the show during the exposition,” others hungering for more meat on the bones of an empty-headed plot.  Post revamping, the altered Paramour is enduring ticket sales still ranging from pretty good to ominously stagnant, hovering too often in the 65% range.  I still think they have a chance.

Will the eggheads on the lot ever learn?  When I came across a New York Times review of two new stage shows, headlined “Identify Crisis: Theatre Productions That Refuse to be Theater,” I thought of how well it applies to circuses refusing to be circuses.

END RINGERS: Sadly, the passing of  Pat Cashin, clown and blogger, and only 48-years-old.  When I started up this blog, he was an early supporter.  That support faded away over the years, down to zero. I never exactly knew why, but likely something I said ... Also departing us, on August 25, another early supporter of my blog and the person who coined "May all your days be circus days," Ringling PR man Jack Ryan, at 77 ... Yet another circus school is rising, this one over Philly, site of the first circus to play America .... Warning to freak show imitators:  If you try dining on blades, be sure to order them Dull.  An Indian man suffering acute stomach pains, discovered by doctors to be harboring 40 various blades and knives in his guts.  About the unnamed patient, you’re thinking. extreme side show trickster?  No, think 42-year-old policeman – and maybe, on the side, a petty thief with a built in fencing flow  ... Retro trendy vinyl record lovers not going away.  It’s no passing fade.  Some new CDs coming out on old wax, too.  Down the street, just opened a vinyl-only shop.  Exciting!  Many of my old LPs from the fifties are still cracking-free good, I’ll have you know ... Sinatra never sounded better ... Oh, you gotta love the kids who don’t dismiss everything that came before them ...

Chase a creepy clown into a panic.  Pray for a great circus flick from the great Warner Bros.  And buy a vinyl record on me! 

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