Saturday, January 1, 2011
Tanya Herrmann & Bill Prickett
Jelly Bean (J.B. Dick) & Musical Bottles
Cirque du Soleil has positively ruined the circus for me. It has raised my expectations to unrealistic heights. I want a seamless, faultless and effortless circus experience. I yearn to see death-defying acts, be swept away in a mystical storyline and hear those quasi-French accents.
And so, from this spoilt vantage point, Le Grand Cirque, now on tour in Australia, is like a little cousin with delusions of grandeur. Sure, the quasi-French accent makes an appearance thanks to lead clown Salvador Salangsang, with Charlotte Davies' costume design reputedly inspired by dragons, spirits and magical horses. But let's be honest - with regular tours by Cirque du Soleil, truly exemplary performances by Circus Oz and a talented group of local performers, there is no shortage of quality circus acts to satisfy audiences. Le Grand Cirque does have some good things going for it. A solo act by Australian Julian Aldag on the vertical rope is beautiful. His skill and strength is allowed full expression on a quiet stage, unhampered by the masses of sequined dancers and acrobats that clutter many of the show's other acts.
Two acrobats are exciting as they run circles through a massive spinning hamster wheel, which is referred to (hopefully) facetiously as the ''Wheel of Death''. On the opening night in Melbourne, one performer brushed the top of the Regent's proscenium arch and nearly lost his balance. Regardless of whether his wobbles were a ploy to shock a captive audience, I was thankful to not be in the front row.
Patrons willing to brave the close proximity to the Wheel of Death must also risk Salangsang's clowning antics, which rely heavily on audience participation. His ''balloon boy'' routine is clever and amusing, allowing us to almost forgive his humiliation of more than one good-natured guinea pig.
With its soundtrack featuring techno Tchaikovsky and an array of tacky outfits on display (one-legged sparkly unitards are never an easy look to pull off), Le Grand Cirque packs plenty of razzle-dazzle. It is generally entertaining and fun, sometimes funny and often impressive - everything you might expect from a cirque.
Friday, December 31, 2010
Vermont's largest New Year's Eve party is First Night Burlington.
Thursday, the youth performing group Circus Smirkus was busy rehearsing for its two shows Friday at Memorial Auditorium. Circus Smirkus has been a part of the substance-free celebration for more than 10 years and says it's one of their favorite gigs of the year. It lets the young people reconnect with their friends and sharpen their skills months after wrapping up their popular summer tour.
"All sorts of acrobatics, classic human pyramids, the energy and spirit that makes Ringling and Cirque du Soleil and Big Apple wonder-- how do you get that spirit? Well you get that spirit by dealing with youth. And we've got youth here who are going to share their passion and joy and love with the community here," said Troy Wunderle, the artistic director for Circus Smirkus.
"I love that the entire place gets packed. All the chairs are full, you can look up into every single corner and see people smiling and enjoying the show. And that's really why we perform is because of all the people who are enjoying it and forgetting about their problems for just a minute," said Greylin Nielsen, a Circus Smirkus performer.
First Night Burlington says it can't remember a warmer weather forecast for New Year's Eve than what's expected this year.
Jack Thurston - WCAX News
FROM THE FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM--
Circus life is a full-time year-round job at the family-owned Carson & Barnes Circus. (March 3, 2010) Photos and audio by Rodger Mallison
Read more: http://video.star-telegram.videos.vmixcore.com/vmix_hosted_apps/p/media?id=11207039#ixzz19dmNBEJ6
Wed, Dec. 29, 2010
Go to Cirque Du Soleil's "Alegria" this weekend if you're needing motivation to work out, missing the magic of the circus or trying to remember why you hate clowns.
The show, which opened Wednesday and runs for five more performances through Sunday at Intrust Bank Arena, is a can't-look-away blend of gravity-defying acrobatics, classic circus-minus-the-animals antics, and clowns. Lots of creepy, somewhat annoying clowns.
For the uninitiated, Cirque Du Soleil — which roughly translates to Circus of the Sun — is a group of performers who put on lavish, costumed, circus-like stage shows that focus on visuals, music and acrobatics. "Alegria," featuring a troupe of Montreal-based performers, is one of the franchise's oldest shows and has been seen by more than 10 million people since it debuted in 1994.
If you've ever seen a Cirque Du Soleil show in Las Vegas, the arena show might not impress you quite as much. Though it's staged at the arena's half-court, allowing for a crowd of only about 2,000 (and there were many empty seats on Wednesday), it's not as intimate as the glossier small-theater productions. Though the acrobatics are just as awesome.
The show is at its best when the amazingly toned acrobats are doing their thing — swinging and spinning from two-story bungee chords, performing multiple flips and twists on in-stage trampolines and flying dramatically from trapeze swings dangling above the audience.
It's at its worst when a pair of circus clowns perform their creepy slapstick during costume changes, a trick that sucks the energy out of the show and drags on a bit too long. (Did anyone else on Wednesday notice the clowns' unmistakable Gremlin dialect?)
The show also should appeal to fans of new-age music, as the entire affair is accompanied by a full, costumed band and a female lead singer — donning a tutu and bumble bee antennae — who fills the arena with a raspy, beautiful soundtrack of mysterious music sung in a mix of Spanish, Italian and English.
"Alegria" is Spanish for "jubilation," and the acrobats in Wednesday night's shows certainly were jubilant.
Among the highlights of the show: A male and female pair of trapeze artists who swung to the rafters and performed gasp-inducing flips, spins and stunts; a muscular male contortionist who could bend and twist his body in any direction while balancing, upside down, on one arm; and a troupe of gymnasts dressed in feathery, bird-like costumes who flipped and flew in a perfectly choreographed, high-flying routine.
The filler act in between acrobats was a duo of clowns who goofed around the stage endlessly, squeaking and squealing and inserting fart jokes into an otherwise classy show. They were at times painful to watch, but half of the crowd seemed to find them hilarious to the point of belly laughs. (There were several children in the audience.)
During one impressive clown moment, one of the duo survived a simulated blizzard that sent paper snow flying backward so forcefully that it reached the arena's brewpub in the very back.
Though the show had no narrative plot, per se, it was a circus-like spectacle with floor-to ceiling amazingness that was never boring.
Except during the clowns.Read more: http://www.kansas.com/2010/12/29/1652191/alegria-delivers-mostly-impressive.html#ixzz19e3SpMrb
Members of the X Bud Roses Troupe perform an act during a representation of the Big Apple Circus in New York, October 30, 2010. ?Dance On!,? the 33rd edition of the Big Apple Circus is playing in its familiar single ring under its tent from October 21 until January 9, 2010.
Big Apple Circus clown Rob Torres knows the value of simple play.
Wearing an ill-fitting powder-blue suit, shocking red tie and white buck shoes, Torres walks alone to the center ring. The audience applauds. He cracks open a small wooden box he holds in his hands, gesturing that their applause is being collected inside. The audience grasps immediately. He opens the box a little, they applaud. He closes it, they stop.
The game goes back and forth. It is simple, but it works for all ages.
The bit is part of an approach that Torres describes on his website as "finding the absurdity in everyday tasks." But as every performer knows, developing a unique yet simple action that engages an audience isn't easy.
Torres believes that performing works best when the artist is "working with an audience as opposed to doing something for them." He learned that from singer Livingston Taylor, who believes that "any live performance between artist and audience is a conversation."
The New York native has been having such conversations since 1991. He's performed in 44 countries—"I'm pretty much a gypsy," he says—everything from busking in New York to circus festivals in Russia, Switzerland, Hungary, and Canada, including tours of his one-man show "Room to Play" and even corporate work for clients like AT&T, DuPont, NASCAR, Volkswagen, and Bristol Meyers Squibb.
Now, the self-described "International Man of Mirth" is part of the Big Apple Circus in "Dance On!", the new show performing at Damrosch Park in New York City's Lincoln Center through January 9, 2011. READ MORE AT:http://www.backstage.com/bso/content_display/news-and-features/e3iaab5654aa0d93ba96229dfbd7cdeaaad
Thursday, December 30, 2010
CLOWNING AROUND — Vlastek Valla as the clowning “Roger” performs stunts and pratfalls on a trampoline as the Billy Martin’s Cole All Star Circus visits Lancaster High School
Photo by John Rusac
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
With less than two weeks to show time, the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center only had 120 tickets of 786 for Cirque Le Masque. The show is expected to sell out before show time on Sunday, January 9, at 6 pm. In other words, get your tickets now!
The gravity-defying performers of Cirque Le Masque provide a sophisticated, European-style circus with brilliantly costumed jugglers, acrobats, comics and aerialists performing gasp-inducing acts of balance, grace, strength and detailed teamwork.
Audiences have been thrilled by the theatrical wizardry of this extraordinary international troupe worldwide. Cirque Le Masque brings an entirely new dimension to circus arts with their show, “Carnivale,” which is filled with energy, color and an original story line.
Set to spellbinding special effects, lighting, choreography and music, the show begins with a young tourist, Moira, wandering through the crowd with her suitcase. She proceeds to pack as the sound of the jet liner sweeps her away to her fantasy in Rio. The rhythms of the carnivale excite, invigorate and enliven her. Through the magical and captivating aerialist, acrobats, comics and character performers, Moira sheds the weight of the world layer by layer.
Don’t miss the perfect theatrical experience for all ages. Tickets are $40 for adults, $35 for seniors, $15 for students and $10 for children. Tickets may be purchased by calling the SMPAC Box Office at 414-766-5049 or online at www.southmilwaukeepac.org.
The South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center is located inside the South Milwaukee High School at 901 15th Avenue, South Milwaukee, WI between College and Rawson Avenues. It is easily accessible from I-94 and 794. Free parking is located in the northwest parking lot. Patrons should enter door #9. For tickets or directions, call 414-766-5049. For more information about the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center, visit their website at www.southmilwaukeepac.org.
This performance is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.FROM: http://www.southmilwaukeenow.com/userstoriessubmitted/112562744.html
By Kevin Mertz
Published: Tuesday, December 28, 2010
MILTON — The latest donation to the Milton Model Train Museum comes all the way from the “Tar Heel State.”
The Loss family, of Elizabeth City, N.C., visited the museum on Monday to present a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus train set to the museum volunteers.
Brian Loss said he’s originally from Mifflinburg.
“I’ve collected model trains all my life,” Loss said. “I had a huge layout in Mifflinburg.”
Nyack’s Amazing Grace CIRCUS!
A 2010 Worthy Cause List — Part 3 of 3
December 29, 2010 by Dave at Leave a Comment
Here’s the third installment of NyackNewsAndViews readers’ choices for 2010 Worthy Causes. As the year wraps up, here are some recommendations where you can give to help your community — and your 2010 taxes, too.
■“Since 2002, Nyack’s Amazing Grace CIRCUS! has helped over 10,000 children and teens ‘take center ring’ in their lives and community. Through our circus arts programs for K-5 we teach students how they learn to learn. AGC! is also active in the Nyack Middle School with a gang prevention program. Teen members of AGC!’s Youth Troupe put in over 200 hours of community service each per year. Several members have gone on to work with CIRQUE du Soleil, Ringling Bros and Big Apple Circus. AGC! runs a successful Circus School in Nyack as well as the only circus arts camp in Rockland and Bergen Counties.” — Carlo Pellegrini, co-founder of Nyack’s Amazing Grace CIRCUS!
Tired of the mall? Go to the circus
MANILA, Philippines - Gone are the days when Filipinos' holiday celebrations are limited to malls and theme parks.
Two groups -- one from the United States and the other from China -- are currently offering a different kind of entertainment until January 2011.
Some 30 performers have come together at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City for the Great American Circus, which features magic and wire stunts, comedic and daredevil acts, as well as those that will test their strength and balance.
They will be here in Manila until January 4, 2011. Tickets are priced from P350 to P1,750.
The Grand China National Acrobatic Troupe is also in the country for a series of performances at the Araneta Coliseum until January 2 next year.
They are the same people who performed at the Beijing Olympics, executing flips and other gymnastic feats in front of more than 90,000 fans and 4 billion more who were watching the Olympics live on television.
Ticket prices start at P175 per person.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
BOSTON (AP) — Fred Foy, an announcer best known for his booming, passionate lead-ins to "The Lone Ranger" radio and television series, died Wednesday of natural causes at his Woburn, Mass., home, his daughter said. He was 89.
The show's live lead-in introduced its masked cowboy hero and his trusted horse with the line: "A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty 'Hi-Yo Silver!' ... The Lone Ranger!"
Foy's dramatic introduction and narration, performed in a powerful baritone, were so good it "made many people forget there were others before him," said radio historian Jim Harmon, who called him "perhaps the greatest announcer-narrator in the history of radio drama.
"He pronounced words like no one else ever had — 'SIL-ver,' 'hiss-TOR-ee.' But hearing him, you realized everyone else had been wrong," Harmon wrote in his book, "Radio Mystery and Adventure and Its Appearances in Film, Television and Other Media."
Foy never tired of giving a spirited rendition of "The Lone Ranger" introduction to anyone, anywhere, who would ask, his daughter said.
"Dad would do the intro at the drop of a hat," she said. "He loved it. He loved for us to let people know so he would be asked to do it."
Foy was born in Detroit in 1921, graduated from that city's Eastern High School in 1938 and landed a job on the announcing staff of radio station WXYZ in Detroit in 1942. He was drafted into the Army that year and served in an Armed Forces Radio unit in Cairo during World War II.
Foy returned to WXYZ in 1945, then three years later won the job on "The Lone Ranger," even stepping into the lead role for one radio broadcast when actor Brace Beemer had laryngitis.
Foy's son, Fritz Foy, said the introduction's signature opening line, "Hi-Yo, Silver!" was done by an actor on the radio show, though his father belted it out for the TV series.
Foy also performed on radio series including "The Green Hornet" and "Sgt. Preston of the Yukon."
In 1960, Foy began working for the ABC network. He spent five years as an announcer on the "The Dick Cavett Show" and narrated documentaries. He left ABC in the mid-1980s and later retired to Woburn, Nancy Foy said.
Foy is survived by his wife of 63 years, Frances Foy, their three children and three grandchildren.
By Mark Albright, Times Staff Writer December 28, 2010
When the ringmaster announces that "Nicole and Alana Feld are proud to present the 141st edition of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus," the audience may miss the meaning.
It's a changing of the guard of sorts.
Circus impresario Kenneth Feld has put two of his daughters, ages 32 and 30, in charge of producing his touring shows, while his youngest, Juliette, 27, learns the ropes as director of strategic planning.
It's freed chairman and chief executive Feld, 62, to focus on the bigger parts of his sprawling empire that claims to be the world's largest producer of live entertainment.
Besides three touring units of Ringling Bros., Feld commands 18 other tours, including Disney on Ice, Disney Live, Monster Jam, AMA motocross, drag racing and bull riding. Last year, 30 million people bought tickets to Feld's events, enough to rival sports leagues like the NBA or NHL.
Feld, who calls a Harbour Island condo in Tampa home six months a year, talked recently with the St. Petersburg Times, while his daughters rehearsed two new circus productions at the circus' winter home at the Florida State Fairgrounds.
Feld talked about how he keeps a century-old tradition relevant, how his daughters got in and the logic behind the Human Fuse and the Nuclear Cowboyz.
read the rest of the story--http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/retail/for-kenneth-feld-the-141st-edition-of-ringling-bros-and-barnum-amp-bailey/1142162