"The opening, when your heart beats like a drum ... The closing, when the customers don't come" - Irving Berlin
"DECLINING ATTENDANCE," the reason cited for the collapse by Melha Shrine Circus Chairman Allen Zippen, who made a valiant effort. He had removed the elephants a few years back, and patrons were outraged.So he reinstated them, but not all those patrons reinstated themselves. Melha will no longer be a "fixture" at the Eastern State Coliseum. Now turning their attention to "other forms of fundraising."
HOW BETTER to lift our battered spirits than a footnote documentary from billionaire former circus lord, the strange Mr. Kenneth Feld,now working with ASTX TV to produce "The Final Farewell" (is he trying to rub it in?). This one about the final edition of the circus--the one that nearly got lost on the moon. I still believe it never found its way back ... Enough said.
REMEMBER FATSOS and bean poles? I was called the latter. As for " body mass" as doctors now call it, afraid, I suppose to use the F word around blubbery patients, and face lawsuits and questions from what passes for news reporters these tabloid times --- as for body mass, yes, I am getting to the point ... This issue reared its ugly head in, of all places, the Circus Report, when veteran reviewer Herb Ueckert, in writing up a review of Cirque Ma' Ceo, took the Friesan riders to task for excess poundage: "At least one unnamed pundit noted that perhaps the horses were more attractive than the riders who might lose some weight and acquire new costumes."
WELL, ALL HELL broke in the stable. Keep in mind, kids, that a circus performer in this country can spend a lifetime away from critical scrutiny and never know the hurtful (and constructive) challenge of a truthful review. Desiree Hermann, one of the riders, fired back, in a letter to CR, mortified over the review, shaming CR "for printing such a mean-spirited comment." Granting that she and sisters are not "built like a Barbie doll," and asking for a "formal apology," predicting that letters like hers will follow from other offended readers.
THE BIGGERSTAFFS, tactfully responded,noting how much audiences enjoyed the show, but making clear something we need to respect: "We do not censure articles that are opinions of our writers." Yes to that ... I can't wait for the next issue. Oh ... sigh ... and just when sparks are starting to fly out of Circus Report, and you really have to leave us, Bill and Jan?
Gotta go and feed my mass-less body.