2014 Convention



Van Beuren Aesop's Fables Cartoon - Circus Capers (1930)

Published on Jul 11, 2013 One of at least two 1930 Aesop's Fables cartoons that featured a male-and-female couple of mice. The duo's resemblance to Walt Disney's Mickey and Minnie Mouse was too close for comfort, which prompted Disney to take legal action against the Van Beuren Studio.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The circus won’t die
On World Circus Day, meet one of the last living founders of legendary circuses and the people around him

M.V. Shankaran with his pet elephant at his home in Kerala.
 Photographs by Hemant Mishra/Mint
by Rahul Chandran 
April 19, 2014
What would Rs.6,000 buy you these days? A meal for two at a posh restaurant? A nice tan courtesy a return ticket from Bangalore to Goa? You could, of course, opt for a down-payment on a two-wheeler.
It got M.V. Shankaran and his business partner K. Sahadevan one elephant, two lions and a tent, among other things, when they bought the Vijaya Circus in 1951. The 50-60 performers who chose to stay with the new owners were a bonus.

Trapeze artists preparing for a show at Gemini Circus
To say that 90-year-old Shankaran has had a colourful life would be an understatement. He trained on the horizontal bar and the trapeze at an academy when he was 13, joined the British war effort when he was 17 (he wanted to fight for his country, he says), joined Kolkata’s Boselion Circus as a trapeze artiste in 1948, and saved enough money to buy a failing circus in 1951, when he was 27.
At 5ft, 8 inches, Shankaran could easily pass off for someone two decades younger. Standing erect, if a trifle frail, he is happy to show off his two pet elephants, feeding them bananas. They are female Asian elephants whose names he can no longer recall.

Later, sitting on the porch of the 32-room Palmgrove Heritage Retreat in Kannur in Kerala—he is its chief executive officer—he talks about how his circus empire began, and the famous people who visited his circus. He no longer runs Gemini, the circus he founded almost 63 years ago, or Jumbo Circus, which he founded in 1977. His eldest son Ajay Shankar, 53, runs the circuses, while the younger son, Ashok, runs a business in New Delhi. Daughter Renu, 47, lives in Australia.

Cycling act at Gemini Circus

Ajay runs four circuses in all —Jumbo was broken up into two separate circuses when it got too unwieldy. He runs a hotel in Chennai and the Palmgrove resort in Kerala, among other things.
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Gemini Circus all set to bid adieu to Kudla on April 28
Jaideep Shenoy,TNN 
Apr 19, 2014
MANGALORE: The big top is all set to bid adieu to this coastal city of Kudla on April 28 and move on to the next city along the West Coast, namely Udupi after that date. Having started with daily three shows at Karavali Utsav ground at Lalbagh here on March 28 to moderate response, performance by artists of Gemini Circus is since pulling in the crowds, especially for its 4pm and 7pm shows respectively, says Srihari Nair, media coordinator. 

Having pitched tent in this city two years ago, Srihari says the going in the initial days in the latest visit to the city was tough thanks to heat generated by Lok Sabha elections in this part of the state. With polling concluding on April 17, the fortunes of the circus is now smitten by IPL season 7, he says, adding that amidst all this, it is satisfying that Gemini Circus that was patronised by the likes of former PM Jawaharlal Nehru is still attracting people. 

Presence of African artistes led by Anthoni Maxmilian Nchimbi and their acts of formation of human pyramids, limbo dance and fire eating acts, pole acrobatics have all captivated the minds of audience, he said. The latest acts include Russian stick balance, eye spring net, vertical swinging acrobat, Russian rope balance and comic chair acrobat. Other highlights include American ring of death, pocket cycle item and globe motor cycle, he said. 

The various acts by animals include Lakshmi - the elephant that doubles up as a doctor, and Rani who plays the patient, and Lakshmi who also shows off her cricketing skills later, delicate balancing arts by Macaw, a rare parrot found in the Brazilian forests, the Cockatoos found in Australia too are designed to keep the children interested, he said, adding the acts by four dwarfs and two regular comedians too will add humour to the proceedings.
Workshops promote clowning around
Veteran of the big top now loves to train others

Barry Lubin as himself and as his popular clown persona, Grandma. 
Photo courtesy of Trapeze Arts, Oakland.
by Kate Lyness / Pleasanton Weekly
April 19, 2014
Many children, at one point, dream of running away with the circus but they usually lose interest by the time they finish elementary school.

Barry Lubin, who was recently inducted into the International Clown Hall of Fame, actually grew up to live the dream, pursuing a career in circus arts, and experiencing a life of travel, excitement and spontaneity. He is better known as the clown named "Grandma," a 25-year veteran of the New York City-based Big Apple Circus.

Lubin said he originally joined the circus to "see the world on someone else's dime." He feels fortunate to have performed as a clown on six different continents, where he has "met some of the most amazing people and has had exposure to, and learned about, many different cultures.

Workshops promote clowning around
Barry Lubin applies makeup before appearing as his popular clown persona, Grandma. 
Photo courtesy of Trapeze Arts, Oakland.

He is scheduled to hold a workshop for children and adults on April 21 at The Trapeze Arts and Circus School in Oakland; and on April 24 he will teach a physical comedy and clowning class at the San Francisco Clown Conservatory, which offers a year-long program in clowning and theatrical arts.

At both workshops, Lubin plans to focus on character work, improvisation, slapstick, writing physical comedy and other aspects of clowning.
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Naughty Circus-Cabaret La Soiree to Close Off-Broadway

NEWS By Imogen Lloyd Webber
 April 18, 2014 
La Soiree is leaving town. The internationally acclaimed live circus-cabaret, which is playing at off-Broadway's Union Square Theatre, will shutter May 11. It will have played 10 previews and 200 regular performances at time of closing.

Created by Brett Haylock, La Soiree combines cabaret, new burlesque, circus sideshow and contemporary variety in one seductive setting. The evening features a rotating cast of over 20 artists, including Stephen "Bath Boy" Williams, The English Gents, Mario, the Queen of the Circus and Ursula Martinez.
La Soiree first appeared in New York in 2006 under the title Absinthe: Les Artistes de La Clique. Subsequent versions of Absinthe shows were inspired by the original production but did not have any of the same creative or production team. Since its inaugural production in London at the South Bank, La Soiree has played Australia, Sweden, Denmark and Germany. It is set to play an engagement May 15 to 25 at the Polo Circo International Festival in Buenos Aires, Argentina and there are future plans for the show to play other South American countries including Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico.

St. Louis Circus Kids Enjoy Union Station Trapeze — And So Can You

Ari Maayan (left), caught by trainer Jason English
                                                                    Jessica Hentoff
April 18, 2014
Ari Maayan flies through the air with the greatest of ease, a daring young man on the flying trapeze — in the parking lot of St. Louis’ Union Station.
Ari Maayan
Credit Nancy Fowler
Maayan, 14, is the chief unicyclist with Circus Harmony, an organization with the goal of teaching kids circus skills and life lessons. He’s been with Circus for three years but on Wednesday, he enjoyed his first trapeze swing, complete with a back flip into the net below.

“It was really cool, it’s really like flying,” Maayan said.

Safety First

Maayan and a dozen other Circus Harmony kids took the trapezes for a test-drive in preparation for its public opening on Saturday — World Circus Day — which includes a show at noon.

But you don’t have to be a professional or a student to try it. A quick swing costs $20. An hour-and-a-half lesson is $60, with discounts for five or more. There’s no minimum age but an average 5-year-old should fit in the harness. The upper weight limit is around 210 pounds but it’s more about a customer’s level of fitness.
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11-year-old Lilly Bowman takes a swing

Published on Apr 17, 2014
11-year-old Lilly Bowman takes a swing at Union Station's Trapeze School

Billy Smart's Circus (UK) Promo 2013

Published on Sep 14, 2013
filmed by Cicqukokus and Hidra
Britain’s most famous circus comes to Liverpool

By Beth Falkingham
8 April 2014
Billy Smart founded his circus in 1946 and toured Britain throughout the 1950’s and 60’s building a reputation of quality entertainment. The Circus become a household name throughout the second half of the last century making regular appearances on television, including a ‘special’ in 1977 in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness Prince Philip in Windsor Great Park for the Queens Silver Jubilee.

After taking a break from touring, the circus baton has been passed down to Billy Smart’s granddaughter Yasmine Smart who is the current Ring Mistress of the show, which has adapted to suit a more modern audience whilst still keeping in touch with the roots built by her grandfather.
The circus show is an hour and a half of thrill, laughter and excitement as the acts from throughout the world show us their skills on the trapeze, trampoline, Argentinian bolas, juggling and of course no circus would be complete without a clown, Jonny Bongo, who keeps the excitement rolling throughout the many set changes.

Craig Littleland from The Flying Aces, an Australian trapeze and trampoline act was previously an accountant, however left his old life in the ‘real world’ aged 26 to join the circus and has been performing the trapeze for the last six years, however the trampoline act at Billy Smart’s is new to him.
He says “Both our acts are quite high energy, I’d like to think, with good music. In the flying trapeze act it’s a little bit different to regular traditional flying trapeze”
He went on to say “You should definitely come as see it.”
Alina Eskina, who grew up as part of the world famous Moscow state circus has a completely original act where she flied high above the ring in her cube act.
She explained: “All my family are from the circus, so I’m originally a circus baby. So [I’ve learnt my skills] all my life in the circus but this act I’ve been doing for fifteen years.”
The matinee performances are very child friendly with special pram parking, a stuffed toy raffle and audience participation the show is a great trip out for the whole family.
Yasmine, Craig, Alina and the rest of the troop will be at Sefton Park from 18th – 21st of April and will then move to New Brighton’s Kings Parade from 23rd -27th.

You can find out more about the circus and book tickets at

A tale of three world's fairs
How Seattle bested New York and inspired Spokane when it came to hosting a world's fair.

By Knute Berger
APRIL 18, 2014

World's fair anniversaries abound this spring. In May, Spokane celebrates the 40th of the opening of its eco-oriented 1974 expo. On April 22 New York celebrates the 50th anniversary of its 1964-5 extravaganza in Flushing Meadows. Besides being events worthy of remembrance on their own merits, both have interesting connections to Seattle.

The 1962 Seattle fair created a new model for international expositions in post-World War II America. Seattle's model beat New York's, and paved the way for Spokane's. In other words, these fairs signaled both the limits of and the path to success for a new era of expos launched by Century 21.

World's fairs had been going strong since the Great Exhibition in London in 1851, but World War II brought them to a screeching halt. The hiatus lasted until 1958 when expos were revived with an "atomic"-themed fair in Brussels, Belgium. The two prior fairs had been held in New York and San Francisco in 1939-40. After the war, Americans looked at the possibility of a domestic fair revival.

The prospects seemed dubious. The last American fairs had been financial failures and brand new innovations like Anaheim's  new Disneyland threatened to replace fairs with permanent theme parks. Plus television, a technology showcased at the late 1930s fairs in Paris and New York, offered the potential of allowing people to enjoy international spectacle without getting off the couch.

Seattle didn't know enough to be scared off by the conventional wisdom and began pursing a fair for purely parochial reasons: Local leaders wanted to put the unknown city "on the map." The fair coincided perfectly with the U.S. government's desire to send, and fund, a post-Sputnik science message. The marriage of local self-interest — building a civic center — and federal science funding fueled Seattle's bid.
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Friday, April 18, 2014

Circus rolls into town

A tiger leaps through a flaming ring during Thursday’s afternoon performance of the Yelduz Shrine Circus at the Aberdeen Civic Arena.
by Annie King
Apr 18, 2014
Aromas of cotton candy and fresh face paint filled the Civic Arena Thursday, when the Yelduz Shrine Circus rolled into town once again. Elephants, tigers and bears were in tow, as the arena filled for the first showing at 4 p.m.
Ringmaster Devin Chandler of the Dallas area is no stranger to the business, as he has been on stage doing show business since age 7, he said in an interview before the first show. After attending college for radio and television, Chandler began working for a circus up in Canada and has been working as a ringmaster professionally for the past 18 years, he said. 
“My favorite part is when it all comes together after a long week of traveling and setting up, and then you see the smiles on everyone’s faces,” he said. “Especially when I see generations, sometimes three, maybe four generations, all having a good time together.” 


Ringmaster Devin Chandler talks about his job and what it's like to travel the country.

Aside from the musical illusion act he does with his wife, Sarah, Chandler said his favorite act is the wheel of destiny, which is a giant pendulum contraption that will “hopefully put your heart in your throat,” he said. 
Chandler has been traveling with his wife for over 11 years, and Sarah has done everything in the circus from concessions to sound, as well as an act called “The Chandlers,” which is a singing illusion act, he said. 
“She is more than half of the act; she’s actually the star of the act,” he said. “We go on the road. We work hard together and have a good time. 
For the last 14 years, fourth-grade teacher Becky Drege of LaMoure, N.D., has been bringing her fourth-graders to the circus as part of a field trip. She and the other fourth-grade teacher, Paulette Carlson of LaMoure, had made the trip to Aberdeen to make the 4 p.m. showing. She said the class will have dinner at McDonald’s after the circus and then head back home. 

“The students really look forward to coming to the circus and we love bringing them,” Drege said. “We really look forward to coming ourselves.”

Drege said local businesses buy tickets for the children making it possible to come and the class size usually ranges about 22-28 students. 


Dane Labahn, 10, and Alex Goodrie, 10, who were both in the fourth-grade class at LaMoure Public School, were decked out with their face painted like skulls and a brightly colored light-up feather mohawk.
Both boys said one of their favorite acts at the circus was watching the motorcycles drive dangerously in a round cage. When asked if he would think about trying it out for himself, Labahn said, “Probably not.”
Kaylynn Overacker, 10, of Groton and Candace Tullis of Groton both said they enjoyed the clowns the most, without hesitation. With faces painted like tigers, the girls said they were not afraid of the clowns.
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The circus has come to town!

Taylor Albin as Taylor the Tailor (third from left in back row) in ‘Built to Amaze!’ It runs through Sunday at the Patriot Center. 
(Photo courtesy Ringling Bros.) 
by Keith Loria
April 17, 2014 
Ringling Bros., Barnum  & Bailey Patriot Center Through Sunday $15-30 800-745-3000 Growing up in Mineral Wells, Texas, Taylor Albin shunned the Friday night lights of the high school football games and dreamt of having different lights shining down on him — those from the “greatest show on earth.” 
“I went to the circus every single year with my family and fell in love with it. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a clown; it just looked like so much fun,” Albin says. “Whenever they came out, they made people laugh and that’s definitely something I wanted to do and saw myself doing.” 
One of his favorite pastimes was watching the Ringling Bros. video “How to be a Clown”; he aspired to be one of the greats like Tom and Tammy Parish, Chris and Gina Allison, Michael Frum, Jeff Schott and Todd Zimmerman. 
Of course, wanting to be a clown and actually doing it for a living are two different things. Like most people, Albin had absolutely no idea how to go about it. It was in 2009, while in college, that he read that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey was holding open auditions in New York, so he flew to the Big Apple and auditioned. 
“It was a year later when they called and told me I was just what they were looking for,” he says. “I was still in college, but a year later I was with them and doing what I consider to be the best job in the world. My dream had come true.” Albin says that being gay has never been an issue with anyone at the circus and that the atmosphere among his fellow clowns and other performers has been very supportive. - See more at:

Cat Circus Coming to San Francisco

By Jessica Nemire
Apr. 17 2014 
The Rock Cats
Samantha Martin has taken being a "cat lady" to a whole other level. Inspired by her lifelong love of animals, as well as her dream of being an animal trainer for movies and TV, feline behavioral expert Martin founded the Acro-Cats, which is, yes, a cat circus!
All of the performers are orphaned, stray, and rescue cats which Martin has clicker-trained to be able to purr-form amazing acro-cat-ics. Throughout the hour-long show, cats jump through hoops, walk on tightropes, balance on balls, skateboard, and even perform in a rock band (the Rock Cats), which features a chicken named Cluck Norris on the cymbal and tambourine and a gong-playing groundhog.

Martin and the Acro-Cats have traveled around the U.S. in their Cat Car, cat-stounding audiences in many different states with their antics. Also, fun fact, Martin trained the rats that appear in Megadeath's "Go To Hell" video.

The Acro-Cats have also been featured in several Animal Planet programs, been on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and mentioned in an issue of National Geographic.

And now, they're coming to San Francisco.

Beginning in late May, the Acro-Cats will have several shows at the Southside Theatre at Fort Mason Center. The dates for the shows are May 22-25, May 29-31, and June 1. General admission tickets are $24, and some of the proceeds from the ticket sales are donated to animal shelters and cat rescue programs.

In addition to taking in and training over a dozen stray or orphaned kitties, Martin has also found purr-manent homes for over 130 displaced cats.

So if you're feline like you want to see some cats perform some crazy stunts, and play in a rock band with a chicken and a groundhog, then check out the show.

Also, watch this video to get a taste of what you might see if you go to an Acro-Cats performance.

The circus is coming to town

Cirque Nouveau
The festival for contemporary circus will be held in Hadera next week.
As the saying goes, life happens when you’re busy making other plans. Next week, Hadera-based circus troupe ON was meant to be rehearsing in France before going on tour to South America. When their engagement was canceled, founder and director Orit Nevo decided to seize the opportunity to do something she had dreamt of for years – organize a festival in Israel for contemporary circus.

For many, the word “circus” calls to mind big tops, lion tamers, elephant parades, clown cars and trapeze artists. Classic circus shows were once comprised of quick, dazzling acts that left the audience stunned and awed.

Over the years, the circus form has been whittled down, evolved and refined to produce what is known as Cirque Nouveau, or contemporary circus. In this quirky and communicative genre of live performance, techniques from the yesteryears of circus are employed to convey a narrative. Emotional and political content replace animals, and artists are encouraged to not only to come up with an act but also to bring their entire selves into it.

For Nevo, contemporary circus is a vehicle through which she can explore and reflect upon the world around her. It is much more about being real than being pretty or incredible. A coach and cultivator of fellow artists, Nevo believes in letting each performer discover and describe himself or herself.

Next week, Nevo will host the first contemporary circus festival, the ON-time Festival, featuring two Israeli premieres, a children’s show, a master workshop and more.

“Contemporary circus can change the world,” she says.

Nevo, 45, moved to Hadera six years ago with the goal of establishing a center where likeminded artists could convene and create. She is passionate about the impact live performance can make.

“Circus is a place where everything is possible. It’s a place where things that are hard to talk about are possible. Maybe we talk about them with humor or satire, but circus affords people the space to ask questions, criticize and discuss our society,” she explains.

During the days of the festival, Nevo will reveal two of her own productions – Revolt and Somewhere and Nowhere. The latter is the result of a collaboration with legendary French troupe Archaos.

Somewhere and Nowhere tells the story of five immigrants who meet while being detained at a border crossing.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Two circus elephant guys

Published on Nov 23, 2013
Joey Frisco and Adam Johns hang out with eight elephants before, during and after Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey performances.

Kelly Miller Circus Is Coming On April 24

Journal-News/Mike Plunkett
Kelly Miller Circus
Melvino juggles in front of the student body at Beckemeyer in Hillsboro on Wednesday to promote the Kelly Miller Circus that is coming to Hillsboro on Thursday, April 24.
April 14, 2014 
Hillsboro,Il--Melvino the Clown spent a day last week spreading the word that the Kelly Miller Circus will be in Hillsboro on Thursday, April 24, sponsored by the Hillsboro Sertoma Club.
The circus will perform two shows, at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Hillsboro Sports Complex.  Spectators are welcome to watch the "big top" tent rise at 9 a.m. that morning.  Advance tickets are now available at The Journal-News, First Community Bank, Gianni's Pizza, National Bank, Security National Bank in Coffeen and Witt, and Dollar General in Hillsboro.
Founded in 1938 by Obert Miller and his sons, Kelly and Dores, the traditional tented circus features high wire and trapeze acts, acrobats, tiger acts, elephants, and of course, clowns.

World record winners Icar Games Act v21ICA140415

Published on Apr 15, 2014
CIRCUS GUIDE ENTERTAINMENT AGENCY circus artist database. Here you'll find a treasure trove of incredible circus acts, variety and specialty entertainers from all corners of the planet. A majority of circus performers represented by our circus agency are multi-skilled, which is always a plus in today economic climate, and should you need more than a single circus act, we can offer booking of fully produced circus shows. If you would like to hire a circus act or circus show, please use the reference code in the video title when sending us request email. 

Hank’s History: Remembering the circus

 by Hank Billings
from: springfield
Moving the Shrine Circus from the Mosque to the JQH Arena took my memory back 50 years.
An editor decided I should do a story as a Shrine Circus clown.
The pros helped me dress, but warned me to stay away from the monkeys because they were afraid of clowns.
I thought they might be pulling my leg, but I followed their advice.

I was also surprised when one clown asked me who could help him with his income tax. You have to pay taxes for being funny?

My son, John, then about 3, cried when my wife put him in the clown’s lap.

I asked John if he remembered that. He said he didn’t, but remembered the photo.

A friend, Salina Friend, took her 2-year-old daughter, Isabel, to the circus earlier this month at Missouri State University.

“She saw the clowns up close in the lobby and she was afraid.”

“What did she like?” I asked.

“She liked the poodles who did tricks. One poodle jumped through a flaming hoop. So did one of the performing tigers.”

The friend said something was put down to protect the arena floor, but she didn’t know what it was.

Our friend said a Shriner friend told her they could make more money in four days in the larger arena than in a week in the smaller Mosque.