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Saturday, July 31, 2010
Others were actors or veteran clowns from places like Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada, and Hammonton, New Jersey. Not all the aspirants, however, had a background in the performance arts.
“I was a bank teller,” says Daniel Ciufo, from the upstate town of Hoosick Falls. “Here I am, 6 months later.”
Daniel P. Tucker/WNYC Talent Scouts Vinicio Murillo (left) and David Kiser watch the aspiring clowns.
“What we’re looking for is a desire,” says talent scout David Kiser. “We want to see what’s behind the costume and make-up.”
The audition started with Clown College. The applicants piled into the ring and were led to a series of exercises in physical comedy. The scouts were examining facial expression and body movement. But they were also assessing how adaptable the candidates were, whether they worked well in a group and how they responded to criticism. In a field where performances require spontaneous interaction with the audience, being flexible is key.
Daniel P. Tucker/WNYC Aspiring clown Mélissa Smith waits to audition.
“It’s live entertainment, so anything can happen,” says circus producer Nicole Feld. “Can they recover? Can they bounce back from any situation?”
Some aspiring clowns had a strategy for maximizing their performance. Miguel Angel Juan, a clown for the past 6 years, compared clowning to throwing darts. "Most of the time you miss the mark, but when you hit the bulls-eye, you have to savor that moment," Juan says. “The minute someone starts laughing, you want to continue that laughter. You just continue to bring that joy.”
Dorman Kocher has lived in Harrington for 20 of his 66 years, most of them in his tall brown house alongside U.S. 13.
Most of the time, the highway is quiet, seldom getting clogged except when a train comes through and blocks the road for a few minutes.But for 10 days each summer, the road in front of Kocher's house becomes jam-packed -- when the Delaware State Fair opens its tents, which it did last week.For most Delawareans, the state fair means livestock competitions, glad-handing politicians, carnival rides and deep-fried foods. But for the 3,500 souls in Harrington, it means the transformation of their rural town into a metropolis, as roughly 300,000 visitors stream to and from the fairgrounds, day and night. It means quiet evenings shattered by fireworks and country music concerts -- and also being able to watch and listen from their back yards, for free.
Kathy Cagle, owner of Ocean Fresh Seafood on U.S. 13, welcomes the extra business the state fair brings. (The News Journal/GARY EMEIGH)
"When it comes to town, it's hard to get out of my driveway -- that's what it means to me," Kocher chuckles, standing on his front porch overlooking the road. "We usually sit out here and watch the traffic."Harrington is a community in transition, having seen significant commercial growth along the highway corridor. But there also is a small downtown area, hidden from those who just pass by on 13. The downtown district boasts a florist, antique shop, several restaurants, a furniture shop, appliance store, bank and clothing shop -- a far cry from the vacant storefronts that dot the streets of other towns along U.S. 13.But the fair -- though it's not within the town limits -- projects Harrington's presence beyond its borders, giving it a well-known name and identity. Blue banners hung from telephone poles along Clark Street proudly declare: "Harrington: Home of the Delaware State Fair."
Friday, July 30, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Some Scenes To Be Shot In Chattanooga For "Water For Elephants"
Circus visiting town next week
July 28, 2010
BUCYRUS, Ohio -- The Lewis and Clark Circus is 5 to 7:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at the Crawford County Fairgrounds.This old-fashioned tent circus will include camels acrobats, llamas,horses, trapeze artist, pony rides and a giant slide.
Children 14 and younger will be admitted free with an adult ticket.
The Telegraph-Forum has a limited number of free tickets for children. Discount adult tickets are at lewisandclarkcircus.com.
Dick:As I recall, a major part of the midway at Middletown is on a hillside. I remember Amusements of America using a backhoe to make room for the Skydiver so that it would be level. Also the permanent lights at the fair are from the NY World’s Fair in 1964. From the photos it does not look like huge crowds.Ronald C. Finch
For Toni-Lee Sangastiano, circuses and amusement parks are more than just fun, they're work. "People are fascinated with the beautiful and the grotesque, all at the same time," Sangastiano says.
The full-time Champlain College arts professor has been painting scenes of carnival life since she was an art student near iconic Coney Island. "Things just kind of snowballed from there," she remembers.
That independent project turned into nearly 15 years of research and painting. Buyers around the country now commission her for projects. Circus memorabilia is a popular collectible. The entertainment form "brings everyone together," she says.
Some of the artist's banners are now hanging at the entrance to the circus building at the Shelburne Museum. Inspired by vintage designs, they remind visitors of a time when truth in advertising wasn't a concern of circuses. "Gator Girl," for example, likely suffered from severe eczema or another skin disorder.
Curator Kory Rogers says, "There was a little bit of trickery involved, and I think the audience knew that and enjoyed it."
Rogers finds many people now sympathize with the old-time "circus freaks" as they were known, fearing they were exploited or laughed at. But most, he says, were eager for the jobs: "They made very good livings doing this."
For the Shelburne Museum banners, the artist used paint and other materials designed to hold up to the weather. They'll be hanging at the museum until late October. Click here for more information on the Shelburne Museum.
Toni-Lee Sangastiano has even become close friends with several sideshow performers. She wants her images to show women as strong and proud, no matter how they may look. She also wants her paintings to preserve sometimes-crumbling honky-tonk landmarks.
This artist has a colorful way of looking at an already vibrant part of American life.
Jack Thurston - WCAX News
Big top could return next year
STAMFORD -- Two dozen workers spent several hours Monday removing steel stanchions and pulling down the Big Apple Circus' Big Top tent in Mill River Park, packing their gear for a return to Walden, N.Y., where clowns, acrobats, and other performers will begin revamping their acts for the next season, which starts in September.
The show is already seeking another round of dates next year in Stamford. During the inaugural season that ended Sunday, it sold or gave away a total of 26,000 tickets for the 25 shows between July 9 and Sunday, said Lesley Alpert Schuldenfrei, a senior marketing director for the circus.
Ticket sales and attendance were about as strong as the show could expect in an inaugural visit to a city, Schuldenfrei said, and the local support of corporations and the city government make another stay an attractive option.
"It's not signed, sealed, and delivered but we were really excited to be in Stamford and we found great audiences," Schuldenfrei said. "We feel like we've done well, especially coming to a new city during these economic times."
On July 13, local corporations sponsored Community Day, giving away half the tickets through Stamford social service agencies, and the other half to participants in a community service initiative launched by Mayor Michael Pavia which gave tickets to volunteers with local agencies, Schuldenfrei said.
Pavia also served as guest ringmaster for the July 13 event.
"That was a terrific day and the tent was packed," Schuldenfrei said.
Proceeds from shows on July 9 and July 10 were donated to the Downtown Special Services District and the Mill River Collaborative, a group working to build footpaths, lawns, water fountains, and restrooms at the park, DSSD President Sandy Goldstein said.
Goldstein said she was impressed by the quality of talent in the circus, which she initially hadn't expected to be of such high caliber.
"The circus was terrific for Stamford on two levels: It was a terrific economic generator and it was a plus for the city of Stamford in that you could buy tickets at different prices so people could afford it," Goldstein said. "I would love to have them back and my gut reaction is that this will happen again next year."
Since the beginning of the circus' 32nd season last September, the show has toured eight communities, including Stamford, West Nyack, N.Y., and Atlanta.
"In Stamford people were happy to have the circus and when there is a good feeling in the tent it rubs off on the performers," Schuldenfrei said. "We were really glad everybody was supportive and we had an overwhelming response from the community."
Kelly McClintock, manager for Tiernan's Pub & Restaurant at Washington Boulevard and Main Street, said the extra foot traffic from the circus didn't contribute or detract from their usual business.
"There was a lot more pedestrian traffic but we didn't see a bigger lunch crowd," McClintock said.
Sagamore Hills , Ohio-- It is late July so it must be close to time for the circus to come to town.
For the 10th year in a row, the Nordonia Hills Kiwanis Club is sponsoring the appearance of the Kelly Miller Circus in the township park off Valley View Road. The circus will present two shows at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. on July 30 (see Page 4).
"We're happy that it's lasted this long and the community seems to like it," said Bonnie Dusek, who serves as the club's circus coordinator. "They come out more and more every year."
As in previous years, the excitement begins in the morning when the public is invited to the park to watch the raising of the big top and see the animals.
"My biggest thrill is going up there in the morning and watching the reaction of the kids," said Dusek.
Circus General Manager Jim Royal said activity begins at 8 a.m., with the tent raised at 9 a.m. by Lisa, one of the circuses three elephants.
"We're the only circus doing that anymore," said Royal. "Others use electric winches now."
Royal said that as it does every year, the circus will feature some new acts, such as Nikkita, an Australian trapeze artist.
"This is her first appearance outside of Australia," he said. "We call her an extreme aerialist. She does some crazy stuff up there and it keeps people on the edge of their seats."
Other new acts include one with four camels and belly dancers, a dog and pony performance with a "wild west theme" and for the third year, a tiger act, this year with six big cats.
"It's a completely new act this year," said Royal.
An aerial act with a 1950s theme will feature performers on ropes hanging from the top of the tent.
"We have four girls who do a sock hop in the air and even Elvis appears in that," said Royal. "It's an aerial ballet to 50s music."
Also new is a family of jugglers from Argentina.
"The father juggles members of his family with his feet," said Royal. "It's a difficult act to do. You don't see it much anymore."
Dusek said the Kiwanis club relies on the circus as its biggest fundraiser of the year, with the club's share of the proceeds going mostly to local causes involving children. About $3,100 was raised last year, she said.
"That was our highest year so far," said Dusek.
Dusek said the club awards two $500 scholarships each year to graduating Nordonia High School seniors. Other aid recipients in the area have included Baskets of Hope and the Emergency Assistance Center in Northfield Village, which help area residents, including families, in need.
"It all stays in the community unless we hear about something special like a child
There were Guatemala’s Flying Ponces, Marvel of Ages horsewoman the Incredible Lana from Kazakhstan (land of Borat), plus spectacular performing animals who moved the audience to gasps and giggles —- from dromedaries and llamas to horses and zebras.
There was also a dog and pony show (no, really!), featuring, paw-some dogs and ponies, aptly titled, the Big Top Barkers.
Later, daredevil drivers moved the audience to a hush with a free-style, topsy-turvy motor show, while thunderous trio Anthony, Eric and Wendy braved the splitting Globe of Death, and Super Kellan the Human Cannonball spat like a bat outta hell from the World’s Largest Cannon.
For D’Amico, though, the star of the show Val, the four-year-old pachyderm, who pranced alongside his trainer’s three-year-old daughter, Halley Frisco. Pretty in pink, the pair skipped around the ring, drawing cheers from the smitten crowd.
“She alone was worth the price of admission,” he said.
The Cole Brothers Circus will be performing at Floyd Bennett Field, at Aviation Road and Flatbush Avenue, through Aug. 1. For more information visit http://www.gotothecircus.com/ or call (718) 758-7500.
$100,000 stolen in California State Fair robbery
By Sam Stanton
Published: Friday, Jul. 23, 2010
It may have been brazen, but the heist at the California State Fair at closing time Wednesday night was hardly sophisticated.
Two men wearing disguises and carrying handguns walked into a cash-counting room operated by a food vendor and walked out a short time later with about $100,000 stuffed into a plastic bag.
There were no guards or police present and no video surveillance to lead police to the robbers.
And the door was open.
Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/07/23/2909625/100000-stolen-in-california-state.html?storylink=lingospot_related_articles#ixzz0uyE8cGFA
By Dixie Reiddreid@sacbee.com Published: Tuesday, Jul. 27, 2010 from The Sacramento BeeHere are some facts about the California State Fair that you may not know:
The fair, which continues through Sunday, is an instant and temporary city that employs more than 10,000 people for 18 straight days.
Every day, a small city of people – this year, nearly 32,000 – visit the fair.
A couple thousand workers sleep each night on the Cal Expo grounds, as well.
Babies are born and people die at the fair (although none so far this year), so eight to 12 paramedics and two ambulances are always on standby.
Fairgoers also will find a working U.S. Post Office and UPS and FedEx shipping stations. The State Fair police force is 200-strong.
"It's just like any other city," said Deputy Manager Brian May.
He and General Manager Norb Bartosik probably know more than anyone about the State Fair. The other day, they shared some favorite insider tips and state (fair) secrets.
Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/07/27/2916781/insiders-secrets-of-the-california.html#ixzz0uyFFcklX
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Ohio State Fair kicks off 157th edition Wednesday
BY JOHN BENSON • CentralOhio.com • July 26, 2010
That's the theme for the 157th Ohio State Fair, which runs Wednesday through Aug. 8 at the fairgrounds in Columbus.
While an exact definition of "Fairtastic" might be up for debate, Ohio State Fair Entertainment Director Brett Chance believes the declaration deals with the various high-profile music and performance artists coming through central Ohio over the next week and a half.
The list of performers includes Selena Gomez ($25, July 29), George Duke & David Sanborn ($20, July 30), Weezer ($36, July 31), Jeff Dunham ($38, Aug. 1), Jeremy Camp ($12, Aug. 2), Darius Rucker ($28, Aug. 3), Devo ($30, Aug. 4), Heart ($30, Aug. 5), Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds ($20, Aug. 6) and Rascal Flatts ($35 to $75, Aug. 9).
Chance, who has been involved with the fair for the past two decades and has booked the entertainment for a dozen years, talked about the ins and outs of programming an annual event that attracts more than 800,000 people.
Carnival, circus coming to Craig, CO this week
July 27, 2010
From high-rising thrill rides to high-flying trapeze acts, this week offers a variety of family fun.
The Fun Zones Amusements Carnival in Craig and the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus in both Craig and Hayden are features this week. And they are features Christina Oxley said are worth looking forward to.
“We’re really excited,” Oxley said. “People say that there’s nothing to do in Craig, and we hope this weekend is one of those times when people feel like there’s more to do than they have time for.”
Oxley is the executive director of the Craig Chamber of Commerce, which is hosting the carnival, and a member of Craig Lions Club, which is bringing the circus to Craig. The Hayden Chamber of Commerce is bringing the circus to Hayden.
The carnival runs from 6 to 11 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.
An unlimited pass, which includes two rides on the bungee trampoline, is $20 if purchased in advance at the Craig Chamber of Commerce, 360 E. Victory Way.
The unlimited pass at the gate is $22 without the bungee rides or $25 with the bungee rides. Punch cards are also available for limited riding.
The circus is offered at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Monday at Moffat County Fairgrounds and at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Aug. 3 at Dry Creek Park in Hayden.
Tickets for any of the circus performances are $9 for adults and $6 for children ages 2 to 12, if purchased in advance. There is no cost for children younger than age 2. Prices on the day of the show will increase to $12 for adults and $7 for children.
Advance tickets for the Craig show are available at the Craig Chamber. Advance tickets for the Hayden show are on sale at Hayden Mat and Frame, the Bear River Co-op, the Hayden Public Library, the Hiway Bar and from Hayden Chamber board members.
Additionally, Culpepper & Merriweather will offer tours before the shows, welcoming community members to observe the tent setup and to receive a free tour, where attendees can meet performers face-to-face and learn about the care of circus animals. These tours are offered in Craig Monday at 9:30 a.m. and in Hayden Aug. 3 at 10 a.m.
For more information about the carnival or circus, call the Craig Chamber of Commerce at 824-5689.
Kelly Miller Circus makes Willowick, Ohio stop
The Monday afternoon festivities featured all the traditional favorites.
Elephants, trapeze artists and, of course, traditional circus peanuts were all accounted for under the big top.
A few more exotic attractions were turning heads as well. Fridman Torales, a lifelong circus performer from Peru, entertained the crowd with his routine, which included balancing on top of a number of round, plastic cylinders while dressed like Elvis.
For 5-year-old Olivia Krapovich of Willowick, Torales was the highlight of the entire show.
"I liked it because it was cool," she said.
The North Starlets, a group of dancing girls, also entertained the crowd, dancing to a selection of rock and roll tunes from the 1950s.
Willowick youngsters Rae and Ella Sirl, ages 7 and 5, respectively, said these girls were the best part of the show.
While the main attraction was clearly under the big top, pony rides and chances to see animals were possible for anyone who missed the start of the show.
Gina Moses of Willowick took her 1-year-old son Alex to the circus. Alex ignored the "oohs" and "ahhs" coming from under the big top and instead watched a trio of elephants standing around outside before their part in the show.
"That one hasn't stopped dancing since we got here," Gina said, pointing out an elephant that was rocking back and forth — seemingly precisely in step with the music emanating from the big top.
A juggling virtuoso from Guadalajara, Mexico, named Raul Olivares Guerrero, was another highlight of the show.
Bowling pins, volleyballs and pingpong balls were just the warm up for the real challenge.
Guerrero drew the most applause juggling a handful of brimmed hats.
A duo of dopey clowns completed the circus environment. Like the North Starlets, the clowns danced to a number of '50s hits.
Unlike the Starlets, they continually bonked each other on the head.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Nhan Dan – The third International Circus Festival will be held from August 6-11 at the Central Circus Theatre, No 67-69 Tran Nhan Tong Street in Hanoi to welcome the 1,000 year anniversary of Thang Long – Hanoi.
The festival will feature a variety of performances including acrobatics and juggling magic and animal acts by Vietnamese artists and 13 other foreign art troupes from the Republic of Korea, Laos, Cambodia, China, Mongolia, Russia, France, Rumania, German, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Australia.
The event is held jointly by the Department of Performing Arts under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Vietnam Stage Artists’ Association, and the Vietnam Circus Federation.
By Sean Ellis firstname.lastname@example.org
AMERICAN FALLS — “Oh, that’s too good,” said a little girl in amazement as “Miss Karina” (aka, the hoola hoop lady) dazzled kids and parents alike during a traveling circus in American Falls Sunday.
Miss Karina twirled several hoops at once — four, five, six, then too many to count — moving her body a host of different ways while doing it.
Everyone who attended the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus at the Power County Fairgrounds seemed to have a different take on the best routine, but Miss Karina was clearly a crowd-pleaser.
“I liked when the girl did the hoola-hoops because it was really cool how she did it all over her body,” said Maddie Sabela, a young girl from Arizona who was in town to visit her grandmother, Debbie Tiede.
The circus had a little something for people of all ages.
“I kind of liked the hoola-hoops also,” Tiede said. “But I really liked the way that gal changed into those beautiful dresses very quickly.”
She was referring to the “Quick Change Artist” who quickly changed into different-colored outfits after very briefly being hidden by various objects.
“How’d she do that?” several people asked in amazement as she changed into one dress after another, each time in about two seconds.
Visitors were greeted at the circus entrance by David “Stilts” Volponi, a 5-foot-8 man who reached Goliath-like heights with the help of his hidden fake legs. His job was to set the scene by getting people excited about the circus immediately.
That didn’t seem to be a problem for Volponi, who has been with the circus for 23 years and said he enjoys every day, even though performers put on two shows a day for 220 straight days.
“Even though you do the same thing seven days a week, you’re always in a new town with new people, new scenery, and there’s always a new adventure,” he said. “It’s not always glamorous, but when you see that little kid and he looks up and smiles at you, that’s your reward.”
The only animals that performed Sunday were a male African lion and two rare golden tabby Bengal tigers that appeared in the ring at the same time.
“Wow,” one child said in amazement as the trainer got the lion to sit on a platform with the simple command of, “Sit, please.”
The only moment of suspense while the three big cats were in the same ring together came when the lion leaned down and playfully nipped at the ear of one of the tigers while they were both standing on different platforms.
While the show may have been short on animals, that didn’t seem to be an issue for the kids who responded vocally to the entertaining and humorous acts.
“Ohhhh, that’s cool,” said one girl as a trapeze artist hung seemingly effortlessly on a fast-spinning rope. “Whoa,” added another child as the performer then spun upside down.
Kids in the crowd started giggling as “Melvino” the clown tried in vain to walk a rope tied between two stepladders. By the time he had fallen off one of the ladders and then his pants fell down to reveal “Batman” boxers, the children were roaring.
“Is that a real gorilla,” some children wondered aloud when the “Almost Human Gorilla” was marched into the ring. A few moments later, after he had tackled one trainer, spanked another and walked on stilts, the answer was clear.
When he jumped into the crowd, stole a woman’s purse and put on funny glasses and underwear he found in the purse, everyone was laughing hard, even the adults.
“The Arlise Troupe” unicyclists performed several tricky maneuvers, as evidenced by a few falls in the beginning. They executed precision drills while riding different sized unicycles. One of them jumped rope while riding a unicycle and another one got a kid to scream “Whoa!” when they she juggled flaming pins.
“Miss Pauline and her feathered friends” was a charming performance by a young girl who gently coaxed a half dozen birds to follow her commands, including sitting on a rotating mini Ferris wheel.
“Miss Simone” added some suspense with her single trapeze act. Things got a little nerve-wracking as she began swinging high off the ground with no net below her.
Things got really tense as she slipped a strap around her neck, attached it to the trapeze bar and began twirling wildly while the bar swung back and forth hard.
April Dykes put on a show of balance and precision during her “Rola Bola” routine as she balanced on a board set on top of a pipe and then jumped rope and juggled while doing it. She upped the ante as she added a second board without dismounting. And then another. And another.
After the show, it was hard to know who was more entertained, Tiede or her grandkids.
“I just like the whole atmosphere of being at a circus with the kids,” she said. “These things amaze me."