FROM THE BALLOONMAN--
May 13, 2013. And I just passed another mile stone in my life. I turned 70!
Also would like to thank the wishes to get well while in the Hospital last week. My legs are giving me a fit! But I was home to celebrate my Birthday. This Blog means a lot to me and I hope I can continue publishing it for another 5 years!
Don't forget let me hear from you via the comments, it's the only reward I get for doing this.
Thanks Again and "May all your days be CIRCUS DAYS!"
Friday, December 23, 2011
She left behind the stable home life her grandmother had provided since she was a baby in favor of the erratic life of a nomad.
She couldn't help it. Quiroga has seven generations of circus blood running through her veins. Not even a "normal" upbringing could filter that out.
"The circus is a very strong family tradition," says Quiroga's husband, Nelson. He is a fourth-generation performer. "It's very hard to stay away. For us, we just have it in our blood. Even now, we know we're staying in one place for a couple of weeks and then we're off again. It's all about the moving, the traveling, meeting different people and experiencing different cultures. Circus life gives you so much."
After that, who knows? They may take a short break before heading out again.
This is the second year Circus Vargas will appear in Las Vegas with its animal-free show. More than 20 acts will be featured under the big top, including aerialists, trapeze artists, clowns and stunt motorcyclists.
"It's a unique spin on a traditional circus," Katya Quiroga says.
A story is weaved throughout the show to keep audience members feeling connected. Children and adults from the audience will be brought into some acts, too. Those who arrive 30 minutes before the show will get to learn circus skills.
Nelson and Katya Quiroga bought Circus Vargas in 2006 under their trapeze act name, Tabares. He manages the show, but she still performs. Courtesy Photo
"We really want people to feel part of it," she adds.
That idea, to keep the audience not only engaged but incorporate it into the show, was inspired by the couple's three daughters. Nelson Quiroga says he knows, from personal experience, that you have to give kids an enriched experience in order for them to enjoy something.
"The circus has changed a lot in the past 50 years. It's still changing," Nelson Quiroga says. "And we have to change with times, as well."
Nelson Quiroga, 44, and his wife bought Circus Vargas in 2006 under their trapeze act name, Tabares. Nelson retired from flying last year and now manages most of the show. Owning his own circus is like the American dream, he says.READ MORE ATlhttp://www.lvrj.com/neon/circus-vargas-returns-with-aerialists-stunt-mototcyclists-and-more-136055578.html?ref=578
The Bex Bros. Circus was a regular feature at the dollhouse shows put on for many years by the Camden Lions Club and it also used to show up at local schools and in shop windows. But 25 years ago, Bex packed most of it away and put it into a storage unit … well, maybe not every piece.
"I've had bits and pieces out, but not the whole thing … even now, this is probably half of it," he said on a recent day at the Camden Snow Bowl, where he has served on the ski patrol for 17 years and is waiting for the ski season to begin.
"I hesitated for a long time, but they talked me into it," said Bex, who for many years has run a seasonal day-trip business aboard the Betselma, a classic wooden scallop dragger that sails out of Camden Harbor.
When Bex, Fuller and museum volunteer John Eastman went to the storage facility, they found boxes and boxes of figurines and set pieces. Bex said the figurines are a combination of Britains Zoo people and animals, plastic toys and wooden carvings. He said he finds them at train shows, Goodwill, the Salvation Army store and yard sales. He often repaints them, and many end up playing other roles than those they were created for.
"I take 'em and make 'em do what I want. The guys who are tightening up the stake lines used to be Civil War soldiers. I broke up a marching band for the musicians, and the waiters in the dining tent used to be women," he said.
Bex has carved many a horse and elephant from wood during the winters, on the boat and as he sat on the Camden dock waiting for customers.
"People would come up and offer to buy them, but I said no, they're not for sale," said Bex.
Bex has a soft spot for elephants — he remembers the Robert Bros. pachyderm by name because "I knew her when she was just a punk" — and he is a proponent of the somewhat controversial Hope Elephant project that plans to bring a retired circus elephant to the Midcoast for physical therapy.
Capt. Les Bex (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
Roll up! Roll up! Family-favourite, Zippos Circus, will appear at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland with a special all human festive circus show.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
By Roger McBain
The veteran Evansville photographer's color, 80-page book, "Hadi Shrine Circus: The Last Shows at Roberts Stadium 2010" almost sounds like an afterthought, the way Gwaltney tells the story.
"I remember going to the circus at the Coliseum (in 1956), the year before it moved to the stadium," he said. "Growing up in Evansville, the circus was a family tradition. My father, Bob Sr., and my grandfather, Earl Lacer, were both Shriners. My grandfather also was on the circus committee in the early '60s."
He didn't know what he'd do with the images. "I just took those pictures because I wanted to document the circus at Roberts Stadium," he said, the last year before it moved to the new Ford Center.
photograph by Bob Gwaltney The three sisters of "The Flying Redpaths" climb to the top of the circus in the dark during the 77th Annual Hadi Shrine Circus in 2010. This is one of the circus photographs in a book by Bob Gwaltney documenting the last time the show was held at the stadium.
The idea for a book came after a photography workshop about online "publish on demand" publications that allow authors, artists and photographers to create and offer for sale everything from poetry books to picture books to wedding albums.
"They talked about how easy and how good these books were," Gwaltney said. And unlike the old "vanity press" publications, the publish-on-demand system meant he wouldn't have to order a minimum number of copies, collect sales tax or run the risk of winding up with "a garage full of books," he said.
Gwaltney chose www.blurb.com to publish "Hadi Shrine Circus, The Last Shows in Roberts Stadium 2010," which is now available online.
The 80-page color book documents the final productions in Roberts, from setup to the closing acts and everything in between.
Since 1957, the stadium had been home to the circus and the 77th Annual Hadi Shrine Circus in 2010 was its last show at the stadium. From the roustabouts and vendors to the human and animal acts to the children waving glow-sticks high up in the stadium, the details are captured by Gwaltney's photographs along with the action and the essence of the three-ring circus that played 54 years in Roberts Stadium.
Gwaltney's camera takes viewers into the shadows to watch crew members getting ready for the next act.
It moves up into the stadium's rafters to freeze members of a family trapeze act high above the floor below.
It tails the elephants into the stadium, the tiger trainer into the cage, the dog and pony acts into the ring.READ MORE AT:http://www.courierpress.com/news/2011/dec/22/books-photos-tip-hat-to-the-big-top/
22 Dec, 2011
A new artistic director plans to put Wollongong's dormant professional circus company back in business and introduce a HECS-approved "clown college" to the region.Nineteen-year-old Circus Monoxide was once a touring company but wound back its professional work in recent years to focus on teaching children and fledgling performers.
Recently installed artistic director Tamara Campbell, a freelance physical theatre specialist who has performed internationally for the past 15 years, plans to relaunch the company's professional arm, beginning with a performance in Sydney in April.
"In the professional world I think a lot of people stopped thinking about Monoxide as a company," Campbell said.
"What I'd really like to see happen is for us to create world-class, innovative circus - to push circus in a new direction."
Chief among Campbell's ambitions is setting up a HECS-approved professional training program in 2013.
The year-long course would be modelled on California's Dell'Arte International, which offers a Masters of Fine Arts in ensemble-based physical theatre and is a magnet for ambitious circus and physical theatre performers from across the globe.
In 2006, one-third of the clowns touring with Cirque du Soleil were graduates.
Campbell, also a graduate, believes large numbers of Australian and international performers would attend a similar school in the Illawarra.
"NSW is not one of the states known for its circus, [like] Victoria with Circus Oz or Queensland's Circa," she said.
"[A professional training program] would bring in people from out of state and even overseas to train. With it we would become the NSW centre for circus arts, maybe even for performing arts."
Circus Monoxide was created almost 20 years ago by theatre-media graduates from Bathurst's Charles Sturt University.
Its former artistic director Jane Davis remains with the company and will continue working on its Half High Circus School.
Campbell is best known in the Illawarra as alter ego Shirlee Sunflower, who MC'd last year's Viva la Gong arts festival.
Uploaded by kantercompany on Jan 27, 2009
The circus is coming to town: magic words to anyone who has ever dreamed of running away to a life of adventure. Now, The Kanter Company runs away with the circus for real, for a one hour special on the Travel Channel. For the first time, Ringling Bros. ® and Barnum & Bailey invite us inside The Greatest Show On Earth® to experience circus life as we've never seen it before. It's been called the great get-away of the imagination, and it's the longest running hit in show business history. Come with us to Houston, Texas, behind the scenes for the secrets of the world's most famous circus artists, trainers, and managers on RINGLING BROS. REVEALED: THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH®
The Golden Circus Festival, more than two decades old, is regarded as the most outstanding not only because of its constant power of renewal but also for its yearly attraction of the most dazzling circus stars.
Rome brings together from Dec. 23rd to Jan. 8, 2012 artists from Italy, Mongolia, North Korea, Ukraina and Cuba, which is participating for the third time.
The Cuban duet is a solid part of the younger generation that has rescued for posterity an act in which Eluvina Chang starred a few decades earlier; it now resurfaces in the form of a duet, says the NCC release.
At the same time, four Cuban youth performing the Russian Bar (which won 1st prize in Circuba and the Popular Award in Grenoble, France, both in 2011) are the main attraction of the Christmas show of Circo Teatro Price in Madrid. The media described their act as an amazing combination of skill with humor and the contagious Cuban music, and praised Cuba's circus traditions.hr/as/emw/ Modificado el ( miércoles, 21 de diciembre de 2011 )
This will be the premiere of the circus’ new show, the Barnum Bash, which features Dimitri the Strongman, the dynamic duo fusion hand balancers, a comedian and DJ.
The most popular, and controversial part of the circus — the performing elephants — will “enjoy a holiday feast on the great lawn” during the waterfront performance.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
The 90-foot-tall thrill ride is set to debut May 17 with opening of the West Mifflin, Pa., theme park for the summer season.
Riders will sit in 40 outward facing coaster-style seats as a counterclockwise-spinning circular gondola swings back and forth in a pendulum motion. At the ride's peak, the pendulum arm will reach 146 feet in the air at a 120-degree angle.
With their feet dangling, riders secured by over-the-shoulder restraints will experience upside-down inversions and moments of weightlessness as the rotating gondola whips toward the ground at nearly 70 mph.
Black Widow replaces Pitt Fall in the Lost Kennywood section of the park. Crews began dismantling the 1997 drop tower in early December.
I visited the Pennsylvania park during my road trip across America's Coaster Belt this summer and fell in love with Lost Kennywood, which features modern versions of classic amusement rides such as shoot-the-chutes and the wave swing as well as the park's 1918 Whip.read more at:http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/themeparks/la-trb-kennywood-black-widow-12201119,0,5837320.story
Fir Real? Christmas Trees in Crisis
From The Wall Street Journal 12/16/2011
The Christmas tree industry is in turmoil, with sales of live trees trending down for 20 years, while artificial tree sales have risen. Valerie Bauerlein has details on The News Hub. Photo: Getty Images
"I miss the lights, the noise, the smells of the midway," he said.
But for now, on several acres on Texas 21, his 40 carnival rides are secured to the beds of tractor trailers. This doesn't mean he stops working. On the contrary, the three-month lull until carnival season gears up again is a strategic time. He's already attended the Rocky Mountain Association for Fairs in Billings, Mont.; safety training in Orlando, Fla.; and the North and South Dakota Association of Fairs convention in Rapid City, S.D.
"We go for training and see new rides and equipment and meet with clients. These shows are about maintaining relationships and sitting down with customers to talk about things we can do better," said Hanschen, who is in his 36th year in the carnival business.
The Mighty Thomas Carnival is a family affair. Hanschen, 60, is co-owner and full-time operator. Son Mike, 26, who has a business degree from Southwestern University, is a truck driver and handles a lot of the administrative work, such as payroll. Daughter Katherine and son-in-law Brandon Petree run the food operation of the carnival.
Hanschen is thinking about next year and how he can improve the business. "There is artistry in the operation of a carnival. You take a beautifully lit ride with thousands of lights, and you have to position it just right. There is nothing better than sitting in my office and looking out to the midway and seeing families smiling," he said.
The thrill rides that cost between $200,000 to $700,000 are only part of it. It is hard work to load, transport and unload machinery that can weigh several hundred tons. At any event, his caravan of big trucks hauling rides and travel trailers that provide housing for workers arrives a day or two in advance.
"It takes us a day to set up," said Hanschen.
The carnival is self-contained. One big truck carries the generators that provide power to operate the carnival. His annual budget for fuel — trucks and generators — is more than $400,000. read more at:http://www.statesman.com/life/austin-at-work-john-hanschen-runs-the-mighty-2036749.html
But the Arizona company that owns the amusement will be back to run next year's midway of rides and games, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo COO Leroy Shafer confirmed.
The rodeo official lauds the reputation of the coaster's owner, Ray Cammack Shows, but a federal investigative report into the death of Brian Greenhouse faults the company, saying it misrepresented the portable ride's safety record and failed to document or release previously reported malfunctions.
In an 843-page investigative report, the commission made troubling discoveries about the ride, its safety record and oversight:
In the last two years, there were at least eight reports of restraints moving out of place. A list of previous lap bar complaints provided to federal investigators by Ray Cammack Shows reports only three incidents.
There were four previous reports of restraint malfunctions at the 2011 rodeo, including one the same day Greenhouse fell.
When patrons tried to report lap bar problems, some of the ride attendants didn't seem to understand English.
The ride was dismantled before the federal agency started its probe two days after the fall.
The initial report to Texas amusement regulators reported the fatal fall as an injury - not a death.
A federal probe found previous complaints about the Hi Miler's restraints.Photo: Mayra Beltran / Houston Chronicle The roller coaster's safety became the subject of a Houston-based wrongful death lawsuit after Greenhouse plunged 30 feet to his death on March 20. Greenhouse, an AT&T supervisor and father of a young son, died from multiple impact trauma, including internal head injuries.
His survivors have sued the carnival company and the rodeo, claiming that Greenhouse fell because the seat locking mechanism became unlatched during the ride. The lawsuit also contends that the death was caused by preventable operational and mechanical errors.
"I think it's very telling that while (Ray Cammack Shows) is coming back, they're not bringing the ride back. If their contention is that there's nothing wrong with the ride, then why aren't they bringing it back?" said Tony Taft, one of the lawyers representing Greenhouse's survivors. "To be on notice of a history of problems with this roller coaster and to bring that same outfit back to Houston, it kind of shows little regard for the safety and welfare of the citizens."
Ray Cammack Shows defended the Hi Miler but said returning with the ride would amount to a distraction at this year's rodeo.read more at:http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Rodeo-ride-where-man-fell-to-death-won-t-return-2409972.php#photo-1945527
Once the regular show was over, they watched a new art form, an amalgamation of circus and drama, performed by 26 students of Delhi’s National School of Drama.
Not many among the audience realised that it was the first time such a show was being staged anywhere in the country.
“Such experiments are happening in other parts of the world. Sadly, in India, we had never explored the possibility of combining theatre and circus,” says Abhilash Pillai, assistant professor of NSD, the brain behind the inititative. The three-day performance came at the end of a 40-day camp that saw NSD artistes working closely with the circus artistes for 40 days.
Abhilash had been toying with the idea of combining circus and drama for a few years and had approached many a circus owner in the country but nobody had time for such experiments except the owners of the Grand Circus in Kozhikode, which has a long tradition of circus.
“The demand came from the students themselves. Bored of doing the same kind of projects every year, the students wanted a new platform where they can experiment and learn something new,” says Abhilash Pillai.
“The students lived with the circus artistes in a bid to learn not only their techniques but also understand their way of life. While we focused on teaching them certain technical aspects and acting, the students learnt several circus skills,” says Abhilash.
“I was never so close to a circus camp. I now understand how difficult it is to be a circus artiste,” says NSD student Bandana Rawat.
“The adventures that the circus artistes do are something we have to respect. Considering their poor living conditions, something must be done to promote the art form rather than stifling it with stringent laws,” she says.
Says Amita Sharma, another student, “Though it was a bit frightening and risky, it was great fun learning something new.
In fact, Amita had suffered bruises on her body. “The daily routine of gymnastics and acrobatics has tired me physically but not mentally. Working with these people was really awesome.” The NSD team plans to organise a show in New Delhi soon.
It was mid-afternoon on a straight stretch of track when the Con. T. Kennedy Carnival train ran head-on into a passenger train that shouldn't have been there. The metal cars of the passenger train withstood the impact, injuring only a few. But the wooden cars of the circus train telescoped into the engine, caught fire, and burned to ashes most of the animals and one or two dozen circus people.
The tombstone doesn't say exactly how many circus employees died (news reports claimed 24 died, later accounts put the number at 15), or even if they're buried underneath it. Maybe the mixed-up ashes of the train, the animals, and the people were shoveled here and the tombstone set on top as a kind of general memorial.
Mass Grave of Circus Train Wreck Victims
Monday, December 19, 2011
Herb Head, Jr., went to the big lot in the sky 12-15-11. Herb played the American Steam Calliope in the Milwaukee Circus Parades for 35 years as well as the Organ in Al Ringling Theatre in Baraboo and at the Henry Ford Museum.
Herb also built an amazing circus 1" to 1 ft. scale that he and his family and friends would set up outdoors in his back yard one day each summer, since the 1930's. This circus grew to 12 flatcars, 50 wagons, 5 stock cars and 7 coaches.They would unload the flatcars, erect the tents, move the equipment ,etc., and tear down at the end of the day.
Uploaded by MiWuLaTV on Nov 28, 2011
The official video about Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg, the largest model railway in the world, and one of the most successful tourist attractions in Germany. On the 1.300 m² large layout, far more than a thousand trains, aircrafts, cars and ships move about. A wonder of the world in miniature.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Human cannonball Shawn Marren in his cannon outside the Westchester County Center in White Plains before a performan of the Royal Hanneford Circus. / Xavier Mascareñas / The Journal News
By Karen Crokefrom: www.lohud.com
Dec. 16, 2011
Hurtling through space at 70 mph sheathed in a skin-tight blue suit emblazoned with lighting bolts is child’s play for Shawn Marren.
The 26-year-old circus performer, and father of toddler twin boys, makes a living being shot out of a cannon.“It’s so exciting,” he says.Marren wasn’t born a daredevil. He was a college trumpet major before, literally running off to join the Royal Hanneford Circus — much to the dismay of his mother.“My mother came to see my first shot and she was distressed,” he says. “All she said was, ‘How did I raise a cannonball?’
”At show time, Marren is all business, checking, double-checking and triple-checking harnesses, nuts, bolts, cables and his calculations. “You don’t want to hit the ceiling,” he says, matter-of-factly.What’s not to like?“It’s the best thing ever. When I’m in the air, to hear kids go ‘whoooo,’ that’s cool. To see all the faces? I’m giving them something they’ve never seen before.”
Catch him in 2012: The Royal Hanneford Circus returns to the Westchester County Center Feb. 18-20.
They are supposed to be hibernating, after all.
But when one of Olympic Game Farm’s grizzlies — many of which are retired film or circus performers — gave a video-recording visitor a quick, cute, human-like wave a year ago in June, it became an overnight sensation last week on YouTube.
The seven-second clip of Twinkles, a 20-year-old female grizzly that was born and raised on the farm, went viral on the Internet, with more than 2.8 million views by Saturday night.
U.S. morning television talk shows, British TV and Internet news sites picked it up around the world.
It can be seen on YouTube.com at http://tinyurl.com/pdntwinkles or by going to YouTube and typing “waving bear” in the search field.
“It’s kind of crazy,” said Robert Beebe, president of the game farm at 423 Ward Road, on Friday.
It was Tuesday morning that Beebe and Jamie Pate, game farm tour manager, learned about the video when a French newspaper called them.
“They asked us if we knew about it, and we didn’t,” Pate said.
The television show “Inside Edition” called next.
“The first day, it looked like there were 350,000 hits on YouTube,” Pate said.
“The next morning, there were about 750,000, and then Thursday, there were more than a million.”
It aired on ABC TV’s “Good Morning America” and early Tuesday was posted at Yahoo.com and America Online and its news website, The Huffington Post.READ MORE AT:http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20111218/NEWS/312189990/video-star-the-name-is-twinkles-and-she-doesn-8217-t-always-wave
According to the Big Apple Circus, the acts seen at the venue come together that cover traditional circuses and more comtemporary shows. From jugglers to clowns, there were performances given by people. Of course there were animals to see as well as spirited horses, playful dogs, and a porcupine are all part of the show. The performance also included trapeze flyers that dare the sky to amazing the fans.
Performing in the New York City area for two and a half months, the Big Apple Circus has many fans in the New York City area. Sharing the joy of the circus experience with the youngsters, the parents come from around the region to enjoy a moment under the big top. With Glenn Close leading the show it was an added benefit.
Circus on Ice, skating popular at water fest
Thousands of visitors are trooping in daily to Al Majaz Park to watch the world famous ‘Circus on Ice’, hosted for the first time in the region.
A unique presentation invented in Russia, the show offers all the fun of regular circus with the added excitement of impossible performances taking place on ice.Performed by a team of 35 artists, Circus on Ice, which is being featured at the Sharjah Water Festival 2011 has received world-wide acclaim. the circus is performed daily from 8.30pm to 10pm.Mohammed Ali Al Noman, Director-General of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), said that Sharjah has been keen to add new shows and features to the water festival every year.
“And the chief attraction and crowd-puller this year clearly is the ‘Circus on Ice’ that runs up to December 23,” he said.Yana Schevchenko, Director of the Circus on Ice, said that the show has some very complicated combinations of acrobatic jumps over the skipping rope, jugglers with Indian clubs, illusionists, equilibrists on unicycles, aerial gymnasts and choreographic compositions.Skating on ice with special light-and-sound effects mixed with colours and smoke, two performers skating on ice as they change more than 10 dresses within minutes accompanied by foot-tapping music and the performance using fire rings have amazed kids and families alike.
Al Noman said that the Sharjah Water Festival opens daily at 4pm at Al Majaz Park and runs until midnight. More than 20 shows are on offer, including an Irish Dance Show, Yo Yo People, The Colourful Boxes show, Pets Magic and Skating on Ice.