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Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Oddchester: Old-school circus leaves them laughing
By Steve Lang
From: postbulletin.com
Sep 18, 2012
Rochester, MN--Every year for the past dozen, since we moved from Michigan to Minnesota, we’ve made the involuntary summer stop in Wisconsin Dells.
I say “involuntary” because, when faced with any barrage of billboards advertising tourist traps and kitschy attractions, I can’t keep myself from stopping.
It’s an addiction, probably hardwired in my brain. For heroin addicts, the brain’s pleasure center experiences a surge of ecstasy — a warm flushing of the skin, euphoric but clouded mental functions — at the first sign of heroin.
For me, it’s the first sign advertising "Alligator Alley!" or "The Lost Voyage Haunted Boat Tour!"
By billboard three — an ad for Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum! — I’m yelling, “Oh my god, Lindy, I’m experiencing a warm flushing of my skin and my mental functions are euphoric but clouded!”
So we stop in the Dells.
We tour our standards, such as the Original Wisconsin Ducks (the amphibious World War II vehicles) and the Wisconsin Deer Park (where our kids — and I should be embarrassed to admit this — hold wafers in their teeth and let deer eat them).
But this year we decide to visit something we’ve never visited, something old-school, something historical, something we have free tickets to see.
We decide to visit Circus World, a 50-acre complex that features circus acts set on the spot where the Ringling Bros. Circus was founded in 1884.
Circuses, it seems, have become very generational.
My kids — ages 13, 10, and 5 — have never been to an old-school circus.
And, if my parents are any indication, their generation is not terribly familiar with the new breed of circus-type acts such as Cirque du Soleil, which focuses on acrobatics.
When my family and I were in Michigan recently, we celebrated my stepmom’s birthday. My little sister, trying to outgift the rest of us by being creative, bought my parents tickets to some touring Cirque du Soleil knockoff.
My stepmom looked at the tickets for a long time. She said “You bought your father and I tickets to the circus? Are we taking the grandkids?”
“No,” Lori explained. “It’s like Cirque du Soleil.”
“Your father and I are going to the circus by ourselves?”
The event was slated for an intimate theater, and my dad wondered aloud how they’d possibly get elephants onto such a small stage. He was concerned about the structural soundness.
read the rest of the story at:
http://www.postbulletin.com/news/stories/display.php?id=1508649


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