Saturday, October 1, 2011
Children at Novelty Stand Photographer's Note Two children at novelty stand on the midway. Black top parking lot on the lakefront south of Soldier Field. July 30, 1949.
Jimmy Armstrong sounding the first bugle near the lakeshore. Lakefront lot. July 23, 1951.
PHOTOS FROM THE MILNER LIBRARY ISU DIGITAL COLLECTIONS
Dolls on doll rack in concessions stand in backyard. The concessions are called garbage by circus people. July 26, 1948.
The front yard and midway. July 15, 1949.
Novelty Stand Interior view of the novelty stand in the backyard. July 26, 1948
Title Performer at Novelty Stand Photographer's Note Rose Wong at novelty stand. July 22, 1951.
Back in the days before instant gratification ruled our lives, people across America felt a sense of anticipation build over weeks as the extravagant road show neared their city. The event was trumpeted by the most direct and effective form of communication (and advertising) at the time: big color posters promising the thrills of a lifetime that were plastered on any available wall.
A collection of those posters at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art takes us back to the era when circuses were the premier form of populist entertainment, bringing exotic sights and experiences from around the world to people who might have never ventured past their own city limits.
The 80 on view are culled from the permanent collections of the Ringling Museum and the Cincinnati Art Museum and were created between the mid 19th and 20th centuries by the Strobridge Lithographing Co.
A master of the art of herding cats, Popovich’s act doesn’t consist of silly pet tricks; it is a top-notch variety show that includes the juggling, physical comedy, European-style clowning, balancing, and jump-roping talents of Popovich and his four-person ensemble, as well as feats of skill by his highly trained animals. Popovich’s menagerie includes plenty of cats and dogs, as well as doves, white mice, and ferrets. All of the Popovich animal stars are adopted from shelters.
Born to Russian circus performers, Popovich started juggling when he was six. By the time he was 17, he’d earned himself a spot in the Great Moscow Circus Group. Mind you, the Moscow Circus isn’t dancing elephants and clowns with big shoes and water-squirting plastic daisies but rather a serious art form that, in Russia, is regarded as on par with the ballet or opera. In addition to performing, Popovich — who has several gold medals and holds multiple world records in the art of juggling — spent five years earning the special degree of circus creator and producer.
Based out of Las Vegas, Popovich and his troupe have toured the world, won numerous international circus competitions, and been guests on television shows such as the Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Smith, 22, left home in Anaheim, Calif., when he was 18 years old after he answered an ad in the local newspaper for carnival workers. He applied for a job operating rides, Smith said, but the boss told him he was too small to move the equipment and instead gave him a job working at a game booth.
Four years, 48 states and at least 15 bosses later, Smith is working at the Balloon Prize Factory on the midway at the Arkansas/Oklahoma State Fair.
Smith said he generally works about 100 hours a week during the carnival season, which lasts from February to November. There are some opportunities for carnival workers in the “off season,” but Smith said the money isn’t worth his time.
“I make about $2,000 a week during the season,” Smith said.
But it wasn’t always that way. Starting out, Smith said it’s hard to make much money, until you reach a certain level and start operating the most profitable games — the trade-up (or build-up) and tub games.
Tub games are variations of throwing a ping-pong ball into a tiny fish bowl or bottle up, where the customer tries to toss a plastic ring around the neck of a bottle.
Smith works trade-up games, which he said are what they sound like, a game where the value of the prize increases the more you play and win.
When he’s working, Smith said, “There is no niceness in my heart. I want your money,” and he’ll talk every person he can into playing as long as possible.
Although he’s been all over the continental United States, Smith said he rarely sees much if any of the cities he visits; instead he works, rests, saves his money and then moves on to the next city.
September 30, 2011
Friday, September 30, 2011
WORCESTER, Massachusetts (AP) - Frank and Louie the cat was born with two faces, two mouths, two noses, three eyes - and lots of doubts about his future.
Now, 12 years after Marty Stevens rescued him from being euthanized because of his condition, the exotic blue-eyed rag doll cat is not only thriving, but has also made it into the 2012 edition of Guinness World Records as the longest-surviving member of a group known as Janus cats, named for a Roman god with two faces.
"Every day is kind of a blessing; being 12 and normal life expectancy when they have this condition is one to four days," Stevens said, stroking Frank and Louie's soft fur as he sat on her lap purring. "So, he's ahead of the game; every day I just thank God I still have him."
Janus cats almost never survive, and most have congenital defects, including a cleft palate that makes it difficult for them to nurse and often causes them to slowly starve or get milk in their lungs and die of pneumonia. The condition is the result of a genetic defect that triggers excessive production of a certain kind of protein.
But Frank and Louie did not suffer from most of the common Janus problems. Stevens used feeding tubes to nourish him for three months, hoping that would also save him from the danger of choking on food going down two mouths.
It turned out she didn't have to worry about him choking, because Frank and Louie used just one of his mouths to eat.
"The condition itself is very rare, and I think that the fact that this cat became an adult, a healthy adult, is remarkable," said Dr. Armelle deLaforcade, an associate professor at Cummings and head of the emergency services section.
Colleagues at the veterinary hospital told Stevens that trying to raise Frank and Louie might not be good for him - or her.
read more at
The arduous lifestyle of a traveling circus often contradicts the romantic notion of "running away with a circus." This film documents the daily routines of the small, family-owned Franzen Bros. Circus which performs in a new town each day. While focusing on those aspects of the circus which are not generally accessible to the circus audience, Cotton Candy and Elephant Stuff captures the magic and the banality of circus life.
Isa, a 42-year-old Asain Elephant, will be giving rides before the show. Darren Carey, Isa’s handler for the last 15 years, said the 8,500 lbs. animal is able to carry several people at one time.Also before the event, ticket holders will have the opportunity to enjoy the circus’ petting zoo.
The petting zoo has several animals, including alpacas, camels, and a zebu—- A relative of the water buffalo native to India.
Patrons also have the chance to see a pygmy hippo named Kelly. Standing at only three feet tall, Kelly is one-fourth the size of her larger cousins.
Along with the circus, Carson and Barnes also runs the Endanger Ark Foundation-- A preserve founded in 1993 to help care for elephants. Their facility in Hugo, Okla. houses the large animals year-round.
With 27 Asian Elephants, Carson and Barnes have the second largest herd in all of North America.
The performers will only be doing two shows before they pack up, one at 4:30 P.M. and one at 7:30 P.M. Tickets are available at the gate. Adult tickets cost $18 and children can get in for $10.
Event organizers are asking that circus goers do not park on Hillside for the show.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
There were also some unusual elements, such as a rhythmic number featuring three brothers.
Holding ropes, each weighted at an end, a brother would begin swing the ropes, striking them against the plywood at their feet to while accentuating the beat provided by his brothers on their drums.
One brave audience member stood with a small object between his lips as the oldest brother aimed his ropes for several swings before he knocked it to the ground.
A young girl began spinning hula hoops around her body, adding more and more until she brought 118 in a circle at one time, even if for only a moment.
A crossbowman fired three crossbows simultaneously and hit three separate targets, shot a balloon from between his assistant’s lips and performed a trick shot that had seven crossbows on stands hit the same target.
And a boy who was formerly the world’s youngest human cannonball at 12, announcers said, climbed atop a cannon and shot into a net some 40 feet away.
Although some of the younger performers did make some missteps, they kept their heads up and their wits about them, not giving up until they succeeded.
Acrobat and juggler “Johnny” dropped several batons and rings during his routine, but gracefully returned them to his hands.
A man attempting to balance atop five cylinders fell once, but quickly stepped up and completed his task.
Lucky Eddie, the circus musical director and commentator of this morning’s event informed the crowd the elephants were at a veterinarian for examination before tonight’s two shows. USDA regulations required the examination, Eddie said, adding that this was the third examination this week.
Eddie and spectators hoped that the elephants would have made it back in time, but they did not. They especially hoped the elephants would be back in time since Kelly Miller’s Circus is the only circus in the United States that continues the tradition of the elephants hoisting the big top.
Today, the tent was raised by a construction bobcat on the Channahon Park District grounds.
The children still got a kick out of the bobcat though.
Caleb Raichart, age 3, said the bobcat reminded him of one of the trucks from the cartoon Thomas and Friends. He liked the big wheels.
The elephants were not the only things missing from the event Wednesday morning. It was rumored that there may be protesters present to voice their opinion on animal cruelty, but none showed up.
read more: http://shorewood-il.patch.com/articles/the-circus-comes-to-town-daa1262b
PETA protests kangaroo show at circus in Lubbock
The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals filed a complaint Tuesday to local officials about the “Rocky Show Circus,” which will be in Lubbock today with the Piccadilly Circus.
The group calls for Lubbock officials to shut down the show, saying it involves forcing a kangaroo to fight a human in a boxing match, though the show’s promoters claim it’s not a real boxing match.
“They assured us it is just going to be a skit to bring entertainment to the crowd,” said George Torres, director of Lubbock Animal Services.
However, the agency will have officers at both shows today to make sure the animal exhibitor doesn’t violate any laws.
Torres said the city has notified the show’s promoters of the city’s ordinance that prohibits a person from causing an animal to fight another animal or person.
If officers witness any violations, they will take action, Torres said.To comment on this story: email@example.com • firstname.lastname@example.org • 766-8706
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
The Georgettes perform during the Carden Circus Spectacular on Tuesday at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Conroe.
“This is a show that is all about family, fun and creating memories,” stated Circus Spectacular emcee Michelle Audrey.
Tickets are $14 for children and $18 for adults. More information may be found at www.2011circus.com.
Juliet, a young contortionist who performs with the Walker Brothers Circus, shows off her acrobatic skills and flexibility.
Ringleader Jason Walker is a sixth-generation circus performer and is the master of ceremonies for the Walker Brothers Circus, which tours extensively across the United States.
Cirque du Soleil originated in Europe with a fusion between Western and Eastern culture. Over time, the show has become a global phenomenon.
Jenny Bello, 21, Florida State student, remembers her time at a Cirque du Soleil performance.
"It was spectacular," said Bello. "Nothing like any other circus."
Dralion promises to bring the best in entertainment to the Big Bend area showcasing Chinese acrobatic arts more than 3,000 years old. The name "Dralion" is representative of two creatures important to the Eastern and Western world, the dragon and lion, respectively.
The overall theme of the Dralion performance is human harmony with nature. The performers will be wearing different colors to represent the different elements of nature: Blue for air, green for water, red for fire and ochre for earth. Tickets are on sale now.
Show times are Sept. 28 and 29 at 7:30 p.m., Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Oct. 2 at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Adult tickets range from $35 - $75, and children tickets range from $28 to $61. Military and student tickets are discounted to range from $31.50 to $63.
Sound Off caller not happy circus came to town
It’s been six years since Hurricane Katrina wiped out the drugstore and movie theater on the property on U.S. 90 east of Veterans Avenue and across from the new Shaggy’s in Biloxi.
The writer questioned a circus being permitted next to a residential Area.
Jerry Creel, Biloxi’s community development director, said the zoning on that vacant parcel allows a circus and most of the property along Beach Boulevard is zoned for major commercial.
“One of the requests we get all the time is to bring family entertainment to Biloxi,” he said. “It’s only going to be there two to three days.”
Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars will perform two shows each day on Wednesday and Thursday.
The Sound Off writer also objected to limbs from his Live oak tree being cut to make way for the circus trucks.
Creel said if limbs are hanging over onto another property, city ordinance allows them to be trimmed.
The city doesn’t get complaints from neighbors when the circus is held at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum, Creel said.
This year, the Coliseum is hosting “Disney Live!” on Friday. Matt McDonnell, assistant executive director, said he asked Cole Brothers to change the dates so the circus wouldn’t conflict with another family show. “They were unable to do so,” he said.
McDonnell said the Cole Brothers circus returns the grounds to the original condition when they leave and said he hopes the circus will come back to the Coliseum in the future.Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2011/09/27/3465729/sound-off-caller-not-happy-circus.html#ixzz1ZF2vcBcf
When I was a little girl, I fondly remember my parents taking me to the see the spectacle that was the circus; the ringmaster dressed in his shiny red jacket with a black top hat and lapels. There were clowns with their whacky antics, tigers, elephants, acrobats, tightrope walkers and trapeze artists, like the Flying Wallenda’s.
While my pal’s have enjoyed the spectacle of the Ringling Brother’s & Barnum and Bailey Circus, their generation is much more familiar with the music, artistry and daring acts of the likes of Cirque De Soleil. I was really excited to take Amanda to the Universoul Circus; the perfect blend of old and new.
One of the things I loved the most was that the circus was actually under the big top; a great big tent in the middle of the park. Even though the surroundings were a throw back to yesteryear, the upbeat tempo of the show was anything but. Instead of a boring and staid ring master, the master of ceremonies was the lively and entertaining Tony Tone, who kept the show rolling through costume and set changes with his humor, singing and fabulous dance moves.
We sat in awe (and mock terror) as we watched the tightrope walkers make their way; dancing, bike riding, walking two-men high and then three-men high across the rope. Our hearts were in our mouths as one of the fellas leap frogged over another two, landing perfectly on that wee, little tiny rope. Wow! And we thought the balance beam looked hard.
This circus has everything, but with soul and style. To the smooth sounds of Luther Vandross, there was Jean Claude who performed stunts of amazing strength, artistry and elegance. In a giant sphere, there were 4 motorcyclists riding round and round (and upside down, rockin’ to the rhythm of the funky sound) and Chinese acrobats on bicycles hand-standing, arabesque-ing, leaping from bike to bike, all whilst the girls were cycling around and around in a fast circle. The circus just wouldn’t be complete without leaping and dancing tigers and beautiful and majestic elephants.
While the entire show was great fun, my absolute very favorite part was the Zhukau Acrobats; a kind of Michael Flatly, Lord of the Dance, meets strong man tumbling sensations. Swinging from pendulums, these fellas performed heart-pounding, death defying acts; twists, flips, triple backs and triple fronts with a half twist. Fortunately, Amanda knew exactly what they were up to.
What a completely unexpected treat; an afternoon full of funk, soul, daring acts, and entertainment with my favorite gal, all thanks to the Universoul Circus! If you get a chance, you can check them out at http://www.universoulcircus.com/