Monday, June 23, 2008

Missed Flora

Due to the need for urgent surgery, I managed to miss out on seeing Circus Flora this year. I'm disappointed, but know that as sick as I was the last few weeks, I'd have missed more than I'd have enjoyed.

There's always next year. I'm bummed, but I'll live.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Celebrity Circus - NBC

Well, what a joke this show is. Within the first three weeks it's devolved into a contest to see who can be the snarkiest performer. The judges are pretty brutal, which they should be. Circus arts is not an easy thing, even for skilled and experienced performers.

These are celebrities trying to pretend they are circus stars, and it looks just about as ridiculous as you'd expect. Not a one of them has the fluid, relaxed look of circus performers; to say they look like wooden dolls is an understatement.

But honestly, the show would be great to watch if they'd all just shut their mouths and stop smarting off to the judges, and acting like big-headed wrestling stars when they talk about their competition.

As my daughter would say, "It's redonculous."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Contact Juggling

We are all impressed by different tricks. For me, it's anything done with the hands, especially closeup magic and more recently, contact juggling. I gave my husband a training contact ball and video for Christmas in hopes that he would want to learn it. It is absolutely amazing to watch.

I'm embedding a video of a street (park) performer doing some of the most amazing tricks with a contact juggling ball that I've ever seen. He is really, really good.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Time for Flora!!

I can't believe Circus Flora has been open for a week and I have yet to see a show. I didn't even get to watch the tent raising or interview the performers. The timing was just off this year, as I was getting ready for another major event and also dealing with some health issues of my own while dealing with some of my older parents' issues as well.

But, my hubby and I will get down to see Flora before it leaves. I hope I'll get to go twice, but I'll just have to see how things go. Tater, of course, will have to come with us, I can't go see Flora without her!

The show's theme this year is Sherwood Forest. I am looking forward to seeing it!

Out with C&M, in with KM

I've been following the adventures of Ben Trumble, sometime Patch and circus worker, who I discovered last year was keeping a great online diary about mudshows. Last year he was traveling with Carson and Barnes, one of the classier of the mud shows, and I very much enjoyed his "inside information" as he went along.

This year, he joined Culpepper Merriweather, a bit of a rag-tag operation that somehow manages to tour every year. My husband toured with them several years ago and left that circus under less-than-ideal circumstances. I've seen CM's shows, and all I can really say without being too insulting about it is that the show is seedy. Their tents, trucks, and some of their workers just show so much wear and dis-repair that it is difficult to let the magic take over. It is sad to see a circus traveling that way, not only because the audience deserves better, but because the performers and workers to, too.

But Ben must be brave, he went out with C&M, and made a good try of it. He was driving the truck that hauled the seat wagon, as well as pitching in elsewhere as needed. A third of the way through the season, he left C&M and went home. He has not shared a lot of details publicly, but reading between the lines gives one the assumption that things were not all roses and butterflies on C&M, and there were creative differences that made it impossible for Ben to remain with the show.

A few weeks later, and Ben has found his way to another circus, one of my personal favorites. He is now traveling with Kelly Miller, a show owned by John Ringling North. KM is one of my personal favorite mudshows; their equipment looks pristine, their tent is immaculate, and they have some of the prettiest Asian elephants I've seen. I'm looking forward to hearing more from Ben in the future. You can read Ben's travels at A Mudshow Season.

Quick, The Elephants Escaped!!

Last week in the news was a short blurb about elephants escaping from a traveling circus in Kansas. My hubby and I looked at the pictures of the two elephants and said, "Hey, we know those elephants!"

Turns out it was Congo and Kamba, owned by Doug Terranova and on tour with the Culpepper and Merriweather Great Combine Circus. There was no film footage, as this was a tiny little town. It barely got a mention in the paper, and the only pictures were from a homeowner who went outside to find them in her yard.

According to the report, one elephant was coaxed back onto the truck, the other had to be tranquilized before she would cooperate. And I know which is which...Kamba is a sweetheart and would follow anyone with a bag of apples to share. Congo is a mean old girl and does nothing she doesn't want to do.

Hubby and I had a great laugh over the incident. I'm sure for the residents of the tiny little town, finding elephants in the back yard grazing on your begonias would be quite shocking. It reminds me of some of the stories I heard when doing research for Without A Net, and how the circus patch often had to pay out to a homeowner or farmer when a bull got loose and trashed a field or flower garden.

The truth is, they are relatively harmless. As long as there is something to eat, they can be easily distracted and taken back to where they belong.