Update, 8.7.22, 8:10 AM PST: When I look back at this, I think that JRN II gave us the best of all possible worlds, perfectly suited to the new blogging atmosphere, for he did not resent it. He was laid back, he had a dry sense of humor, he took in every performance, and the company loved him. And so did we! We loved John's wife, Shirley, too. There were more circus bloggers, then, best of all, clown Steve Copeland, who with his partner Ryan Combs, filled the rings with their creativity. Some things hit pay dirt. Steve's daily posts kept us all tuned in, what might happen next? Johnny seemed unbothered by the freedom of his company to blog on as they wished. A rare ten years -- with echoes of Ringling royalty guiding the one-ring parade. I truly believe, as John told us, that when the animals had to go, so did he. Thank you, John. You were a class act, and your father and uncles would have been proud.
The Poema Family, a recent Kelly Miller highlight
Yeah, been a long time since I dropped The Name up there. And know what, I think they're lonely for a little attention from yours unruly.
Truth is, and I got evidence, they want me they hate me they want me. They like this blog when it flatters, can't stand it when it shatters. Love my dropping their famous name, throw hissy fits when I don't. Likely miss those first dates we took in the fresh beginning when the impression lent was of a Ringling about to, well, bring a little "Ringling magic" to the operation. Remember people accusing me of spending too much time on this House of Ringling angle?
John Ringling North II claimed never to have promised any such "magic." JR (James Royal) admits to maybe having dropped the “m” word (magic, kids). A reporter right or wrong quoted it.
Haunted, they still are, by the respectable 2-1/3 star review I gave 'em back in 2010. In fact, their pain has evidently become a crusade. Now, one of them — Shirley North II, no less — wishing I would just "support circuses" -- characterizing my anonymous patronage that day in 2010 as a "covert visit." Gosh, am I that mysterious a character? Her conspiracy theory, I will surmise, is based on my failing to make backyard. To sign in and take the pledge. Fact is, I, a late blooming purist, no longer venture into compromising territory.
But they should be flattered that I did not go that day under the circus critics witness protection program. Went in wearing my regular clothes, regular face.
Next time I visit Kelly-Miller, if there is a next time, Dear Shirley (we must stop meeting like this), maybe I should step out of a pumpkin carriage, in a cape with flourish, long as you promise a red carpet fanfare, spotlights, and VIP announcement, complete with waving ride round the ring in the Copeland and Combs jalopy.
The high-voltage Shirley North e-mail was waiting for the right moment to respond. Then it came, in the words of another, more discretely controlled Kelly-Miller provocateur reaching my way (are these e-mails part of a grand strategy to regain my shameless hyping of the House of Ringling?).
JR (sounds kind of cool, Jim?) sent me word the other day, "you will be pleased to learn that after weeks of dry lots, we have had a few muddy ones (I believe it would be appropriate to place ‘LOL’ here).”
HA! Let’s all laugh out loud. They know how to get themselves back onto this blog, and they are doing it right here. Have they no shame? But there's a bigger reason restarting my overdrive than mud.
What galls Shirley North the most is how I misrepresent her husband’s producing agenda for Kelly Miller. "I thought to be nice to you," she wrote, playing the guilt card, "but that didn't work!" So what next? A challenge from Kelly Miller's First Lady to downsize my precocious expectations. Declared she, "I fail to understand why you think John wanted to out shine his illustrious family?" In fact, I didn’t exactly. But please, as did Ernest Albrecht in Spectacle, take a look at North’s name splashed immodestly on the sides of his trucks.
In fact, wrote Ms. North, John looked to Kelly Miller circus ownership as a "retirement project," and he simply enjoys bringing afordable entertainment to families in smaller towns.
I guess then, that we should discount as spin from the north, what North the Sequel told Lane Talburt during an interview last year, recorded on film: “I want to own the best circus in America.” Might this excuse my tendency to hold JRN II to higher than average standards? To rue hula hoop acts and peanut pitches? Oh, there I went, trying, really trying to be nice.
Continued Ms. North, "After one covert visit to view the show in Brewster NY on an impossible lot [excuse making?], you now just review the show by following the clown's blog." By the way, expecting mud, I was elated to find grass and weed and dry dirt. In total, a perfectly charming day in Brewster, USA!
Very interesting. In the land of Kelly-Miller North, anything I say, or perhaps worse yet, don’t say or say about some other show (are we onto something, Dr. Watson?), seems to be seized upon as some form of a veiled "review," as witness the above lament. Or a coded Kelly-Miller crack. Gaze upon the teeth below. Were I to attend with my name posted atop my noggin, think I'd get out alive? I'd best go armed with dental floss for elephants.
Which makes me wonder how they reacted to -- or sought post traumatic counseling for-- the review by Mr. Albrecht last year, possibly less flatting than mine, which was posted, in full, by Steve Copeland on his post. And for that incredible indiscretion (might Stevie have been sending a message to management?), was he sent to his room, bad bad boy! No play in your clown car for one week!
"You want to see it grow into an impossible monster," continues Shirley North in her showdown missive, "where the show would have to play in buildings because lots are difficult to find.” Oh, paleeeeeze. Big Apple Circus puts on a world class show under a relatively small tent.
I’ve never done therapy, but I wonder if all of us – me and them – will end up on a trauma treatment trampoline with two overactive clowns serving as budget head shrinks?
Okay, enough. Now comes the Big Payoff. The Reason for all this verbiage. Kelly-Miller people: THIS is what really provoked me, this time. Back to JR: "You were so disappointed in our website," he e-mailed me recently, turning my attention to the new website, which I had not seen. I took a look. I was awed. I was taken. Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Hugo anymore. [oh, shucks, can't I ever say something nice without side-swiping something else?] One small step in cyberspace, one giant leap for Kelly-Miller.
The website design is unique. Classy. Suave. Subtle. The streaming stills are stunning. Costumes bear a distinctive mark. Remember, I gave North the Sequel credit from the beginning (are you smiling, Ms. Shirley?) for subtle costume design. Best of all, JR, your PC home is not a warmed over version of its passive predecessor, but a refreshing new concept shunning corny circus visuals. Which makes me wonder, House of Ringling, when a brand new show as arrestingly novel as this brand new website of yours? When, Shirley, When? (Notice how, in desperation, I am now appealing to the boss's wife?)
Now, as as for my overstating the modest goal of John Ringling North II (according to Ms. North), then here’s a marketing angle, freely given, for a more apt and accurate pronouncement on the sides of the Kelly- Miller trucks:
THE JOHN RINGLING NORTH II RETIREMENT PROJECT, LTD.
And that’s a Ringling Wrap.
[photos from the new Kelly Miller website]