2014 Convention



Friday, December 31, 2010


Circus Smirkus readies for First Night Burlington, Vermont
- December 30, 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


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:

'Alegria' delivers mostly-impressive show at Intrust Bank Arena
Kelly Glasscock/Kelly Glasscock
Performers in Cirque du Soleil's "Alegria" show at Intrust Bank Arena juggle fire Wednesday night in the first of six shows unitl January 2, 2011.
By Denise NeilThe Wichita Eagle
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:
Jenny Vidbel performs 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.
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.

Rob Torres Makes Mirth Seem Easy

By Tom Penketh
DECEMBER 29, 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:

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lancaster, NY
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

Posted by Picasa
Sarasota Circus Festival.12-29-94.Part #2.Photos by Bill Prickett

#1 The Brigadier's Car

#2 Ward Hall and Frank Cain

#3 Bill and Bryan Weller

#4 Frank Cain and Jackie LeClaire

#5 Jelly Bean (J.B. Dick) and Musical bottles

#6 George Coronas Truck

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cirque Show Expected To Sell Out At SMPAC
Submitted By Rebecca Ohm Dec. 28, 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
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
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:



Sarasota Circus Festival-12-29-94-Part One....Photos by Bill Prickett

#2 Jim Davis, Bobby Gibbs, Turtle Benson

#3 Suzanne & Jim Davis (Big Top Circus-Ohio)

#4 Desiree & Tanya Herrmann

#5 Joyce, Jason, and Peter Rosa

#6 Tina Whitfield, Lillian Maguire, John Whitfield, Jason and Errol Maguire
(to be continued tomorrow)

Circus train comes to Milton, PA museum
Members of the Loss family, of Elizabeth City, N.C., recently donated a circus train set to the Milton Model Train Museum. Pictured, showing off some of the train cars are, from left, Brian, Kathi and Adam Loss, along with train museum volunteer Mary Crist. Photo by Kevin Mertz/Standard Journal.
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 12/29/2010
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

Fred Foy
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.
Nancy Foy said her father worked as an actor before landing the job as the announcer and narrator on "The Lone Ranger" radio show in 1948.
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.

For Kenneth Feld, the 141st edition of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus embraces a new generation

Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertain­ment, poses with his three daughters, from left, Juliette, Alana and Nicole Feld, and Asia, a 42-year-old female Asian elephant.
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--
produced by Carden International Circus
Perani Event Center January 13-17, 2011 Flint, MI
Lansing Center January 20-23, 2011 Lansing, MI
Dow Event Center February 3-6, 2011 Saginaw, MI

50 exotic animals die in Russian circus fire
PTI, Dec 28, 2010,

MOSCOW: More than 50 animals, including parrots, monkeys and chinchillas, have died in a circus fire in Russia's second largest city of St Petersburg.
The fire broke out yesterday when the exotic animals had been on display in an out-building close to the circus, a circus spokeswoman was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.
Twenty-three parrots, 10 rabbits, six chinchillas, four canary birds, four monkeys, two iguanas, two ferrets, a snake and a skunk died in the fire, the report said.
However, there were no human casualties. It took the fire-fighters about two hours to put out the blaze.
Read more: 50 exotic animals die in Russian circus fire - The Times of India
Tent is everything as Zoppe circus stops in ChandlerFor Zoppé Italian Circus, 'The tent is our life'
Michael Schennum / The Arizona Republic Acrobat Indiana Pintado, 15, practices outside the The Zoppe Family Circus tent at the Chandler Center for the Arts on Wednesday.
by Weldon B. Johnson - Dec. 27, 2010 The Arizona Republic

"Everybody helps put the tent up; everybody helps take it down," Giovanni Zoppé said. "The tent is our life. The most important part of a circus to a circus performer is the tent. Without our tent, we don't work."
Zoppé is a sixth-generation circus performer. Once the show starts, he becomes Nino the Clown.
He is also the show's producer and booking agent, overseeing the business of the traveling circus. Since Zoppé revived the show about three years ago, the Zoppé Italian Family Circus performs about 15 times per year (it's hoping to add about five more engagements). For that to happen, Zoppé has to account for details ranging from straw and kiln-dried wood shavings for the animals to electrical and water hookups for the performers' RVs to making sure they know the quickest routes to local hospitals in case of emergency.
But for three days before the show, his most important job is overseeing the raising of the tent. Despite a fall while performing 20 years ago that left him in a coma for four days, Zoppé, 44, still helps set tent poles and climbs on top to secure the rigging.
"A lot of circuses have a separate crew to put up the tent," Zoppé said. "Then, the circus people come in and walk into the ring. We don't do that. That's not true circus."
The Zoppé family members are true circus people.
Read more:
Hold your breath... the circus is here!

Members of The Grand China National Acrobatics Circus acknowledge cheers from the crowd at the Big Dome on Christmas Day.
FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo (The Philippine Star)
December 28, 2010
The first time I watched a circus in nineteen-forgotten, I held my breath for so long while the trapeze artists were swinging above our heads that I almost turned blue from asphyxiation. I heaved a sigh of relief only when the two artists safely connected with each other in mid-air, thanking heavens that neither of them missed a beat, otherwise…
Last Christmas Day, we trooped to the Araneta Coliseum to watch Splendide: The Grand China National Acrobatics Circus and I still gasped in childlike awe at the acts that took my breath away and, although I kept my fingers crossed praying that the artists would land where they should, how they should (read: flat on their feet and not on their faces), I enjoyed the show without turning blue.
Like Spider-Men swinging on two poles, not missing a beatI could use all the clichés to describe the acrobats — poetry in motion, grace under pressure, style under stress, death-defying and, that’s it, breath-taking. The Chinese acrobats were all that and more.

12 female bikers cap their act in peacock formation
The show opened with what may be aptly called Feathers Dance with the performers dressed in bright pink, swaying this way and that way in perfect synchrony, forming a kaleidoscopic wonder to cap the act. What a fitting intro! Applause!Note: Splendide: The Grand China National Acrobatics Circus runs at the Araneta Coliseum until Jan. 2, 2011. read the rest of the story at:

A Memphis Circus Family from the late 1800s

Posted by Vance Lauderdale on Mon, Dec 27, 2010 at 9:00 PM This unusual photograph turned up on eBay recently, purporting to show a group of circus performers from the late 1800s. What made this photo especially interesting was that it was taken by a Memphis photographer named Day, who had a studio on Main Street.
Nothing more is known — not yet, anyway — about this interesting family (if they indeed are a family — where is their mother??). What was their act? Trapeze artists? Jugglers? Strong man, with assistants? It's hard to say from their outfits.
I really like the smaller boy's crazy-striped costume, and if you look closely, you'll see that the dapper man (the father?) is wearing a shirt with a rather curious design on the front, which is similar to (but not exactly the same as) the shirt worn by the older boy.

If anyone has any information about these performers, I'm sure you'll let me know.