THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO MY TWIN BROTHER, BILL DYKES (1943-1995). WE WERE NOT ONLY BROTHERS BUT PARTNERS IN BUSINESS AND BEST FRIENDS! AND TO ALL THE "BUTCHERS" THAT HAVE PASSED ON TO THE BIG LOT IN THE SKY!

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Friday, February 26, 2010

FROM THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER---

HEINZ KLUETMEIER / Feldentertainment.com Johnathan Iverson , with the circus for more than 12 years, is its first African American ringmaster.
Two are making history with Ringling's circus
By Monica Peters
For The Inquirer
Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson and cowboy Andre McClain are in town with the circus this weekend making history as they tour with Barnum's FUNundrum, a celebration of P.T. Barnum.Iverson is Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's first African American ringmaster. Performing with Ringling Bros. for more than 12 years, Iverson knows the importance of his presence in the industry.
"I did this for young people who may feel they don't have access to a bigger forum," he cites as one reason for becoming the ringmaster. "I never planned to join the circus. The opportunity came up and I took it."
Iverson, who has a sly sense of humor, also notes that he is one of the attractions. "I really look hot in their costumes and I lead the charge," he jokes.
Andre McClain, an African American cowboy on his third tour with Ringling Bros., will perform as part of the show that comes to the Wachovia Center today through Sunday. McClain also will appear in the preshow that starts an hour before showtime, allowing ticket holders to see animals up close, visit with performers, and get autographs.
McClain, who was raised on a Kansas City, Mo., ranch, comes from an African American cowboy heritage dating to the early 1900s. Although he has a degree in business, he chose life as a cowboy.
"We're educating people, teaching histories," McClain says. "African Americans are the originators of the cowboy lifestyle. Africans and Mexicans are the original cowboys."
FUNundrum marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of entertainer Phineas Taylor Barnum, founder of the circus that became Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey.
This year's show includes a motorcycle troupe that performs inside a 16-foot sphere, high-wire artists suspended 40 feet in the air at a 45-degree angle, and Masters of Musculature who use their bodies in feats of contortion.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents Barnum's FUNundrum, today through Sunday at Wachovia Center, 3601 S. Broad St. Showtimes are 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. today; 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. All Access Pre-Show and Animal Open House begins one hour before showtime. There is no pre-show or open house before the 10:30 a.m. show today. Tickets: $10 to $90, required for viewers age 2 and older. Information: 215-336-3600. Tickets can be purchased through comcastTIX.com, by calling 1-800-298-4200 or at the Wachovia Center box office.

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