2014 Convention



Saturday, November 6, 2010


Iraqi city hosts first foreign circus in decades
November 05, 2010
BASRA, Nov 5 — The Iraqi audience roared with laughter as the clowns, one fat and one thin, pretended to walk along a tightrope stretched on the ground.

They burst into delighted applause and whistles when a female animal trainer from Ukraine performed a short belly dance before presenting an eclectic mix of chimpanzees, dogs, snakes and a porcupine.

The first foreign circus to unfurl its tent flaps in southern Iraq in possibly decades has taken the oil city of Basra by storm, bringing laughter to a public grown weary of bloodshed and tears.

The travelling Monte Carlo circus and its retinue of foreign acrobats, jugglers and clowns is a sign of improved security in Basra, once ruled by gangs and militias when sectarian violence flared after the 2003 US-led invasion.

“This is new and we’ve been waiting for something like this for a long time. We enjoyed it so much and I hope they come back often,” said Muhanad Abdul-Wahab, a 50-year-old government engineer, who brought his daughter and son to the show.

Chunkin marks 25 years
Young participants don't rely on parents; youth division piques engineering interest

The Chunksters team makes a launch with its catapult on Day 1 at Punkin Chunkin 2010 in Bridgeville. Chunkin continues today and Sunday. Gates open at 7:30 a.m., with competition beginning at 8:30 a.m. Tickets are $9; those under age 10 are free. Parking is $2. (Amanda Rippen White photo)
November 6, 2010
from the Salisbury, MD DAILY TIMES
BRIDGEVILLE -- Watching pumpkins fly thousands of feet across the fields of Sussex County can be exciting, but for competitors of the 25th annual World Championship Punkin Chunkin, the competition is about so much more.

"Just look at what these people can do," said Milford resident Randy Reynolds, who is supporting his 7-year-old son in this year's competition. "If you're out here, you're not seeing huge sponsorships. The majority of these people are doing it on their own dime, in their backyards, with trial and error."
What began as a three-team event in Lewes in 1986 has grown to include 112 teams, more than 2,500 competitors and an estimated 100,000 attendees for the three-day competition.
Punkin Chunkin draws spectators and competitors from around the country and has even caught the attention of the Science Channel, which airs a special about the competition on Thanksgiving.
Preparation for next year's event will begin immediately after the last pumpkin is launched.
Reynolds said his son became interested in the event after seeing the special on television. He began fiddling around in his father's woodshop and eventually joined a youth division team that will compete this weekend.
"The kids have to do everything from cocking it to loading it to shooting it," Reynolds said. "Adults are there to make sure they don't do anything that's unsafe but, at the same time, everything is on them."
Wilmington-based Sanford School has fielded a team for the past 10 years. Each June, a group of students begins work on the school's trebuchet, which has been altered slightly each year since its creation in 2005.
Physics and mathematics teacher Jon Roberts said it's a great introduction to engineering for his students.
"We are there as guides, but they pretty much run it themselves," he said. "It's their baby."
Fellow teacher and head coach Andre Dagenais said participation in Punkin Chunkin has sparked an interest in engineering for many of his former students. The student who created the design for the current trebuchet is in his junior year at Rowan College in New Jersey.





Bonnie Barnett accepts her father's award upon his induction into the International Clown Hall of Fame (ICHOF) - courtesy of

64th Annual Beni Kedem Shrine Circus comes to Brushfork, WV
Posted: Nov 04, 2010

Bluefield (WVVA) - The 64th annual Beni Kedem Shrine Circus has swung into town and will be displaying its gravity defying feats.

The circus is at the Brushfork Armory this evening. Giant cats, elephants and even flying motorcycles will be some of the spectacles to see. One of the organizers John Thomas says this show will not disappoint.

"Well we have animal acts, clowns and the high trapeze act it's a lot of fun for the kids they can enjoy a nice two hour show."

One show was already held this afternoon and there's another show tonight at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are 15 dollars for adults and 10 dollars for children.

• Friday November 5th-
- Raleigh County Convention center
- 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.

• Saturday November 6th-
-Huntington Fieldhouse
- 3:00 and 7:30 p.m.

• Sunday November 7th-
- Charleston Civic Center
- 1:00 and 5:00 p.m.

Friday, November 5, 2010


A big thank you to all who helped get the word out that extremists were working to ban the elephant guide tool - thus the circus - in Fulton County (Atlanta) Georgia!
Thank you to the circus fans who personally attended the meeting in Atlanta...and to the dozens who wrote letters, sent emails and faxes, and made phone calls.

American circus goers (and there are millions of us) won the right to "choose" to attend (or not) a circus featuring our favorite stars - the elephants! How sad that we live
in a society that has created profitable businesses around allegations of abuse, seldom backed up with empirical evidence.

We will be campaign against destructive legislation again, likely in Atlanta, and elsewhere, as long as there are those who would take away our rights to enjoy a circus with performing animals. We must be vigilant and steadfast. We advocate for the circus, for the welfare (not "rights") of animals and for elephants, by putting the facts forward to contrast with the fiction. Common sense and logic usually prevail.

WE THE PEOPLE must not allow an elite few to legislate our rights away. In San Francisco this week, the elite few legislated HAPPY MEALS out of existence. The people no
longer have the right to choose! What's next? Will we ban high school football? (injury is inevitable) Swimming has to go... (too dangerous) Ixnay Birthday Cake (all that sugar)

YOU deserve the thanks for answering the call to action! YOUR participation is swift and effective. YOU have made a difference again!

Gary C. Payne
Eastern Vice President
Chairman - Nat'l Animal Welfare Committee
Circus Fans Association of America 860-833-7925




Vendors working the Charreada (Mexican Rodeo) at the Tlaxcala State Fair.
The girl has a box with potato chips with salsa and lime juice.
The floss butcher has toys attached to the floss bags.
Theres a guy selling chinese yoyos (will they make a comeback?).
Theres some rides on the midway and a stand the bottle up game using a fishing rod with a ring on it...prize is a cell phone or $500 pesos (fifty bucks).
check my blog at:

Glen Little, Better Known as Frosty the Clown, Dies at 84

Glen Little, in full makeup. He was in a select group who earned the circus's "master clown" designation.

Published: November 4, 2010, NEW YORK TIMES
Glen Little, better known as Frosty the Clown, who performed at the White House and was a teacher and mentor to a generation of clowns with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, died on Oct. 26 in Kimberly, Idaho, near his home in Burley. He was 84.
His wife, Patricia, confirmed his death.

Mr. Little was the last of four Ringling Brothers clowns to earn the circus’s “master clown” designation, and the last surviving member of that select group.

Peggy Williams, one of Mr. Little’s protégés, described him as “kind of a drill sergeant, but in a comedic way.”

“He insisted that you always look your best, even on a Saturday after three shows, that you never looked disheveled in front of the audience or ruin a kid’s fantasy of a clown,” Ms. Williams said.

Mr. Little was the circus’s executive director of clowns in 1986 when an About New York column in The New York Times described him meticulously inspecting his charges before a performance while wearing “full clown regalia.”

Mr. Little as himself.

After scolding lackadaisical and inappropriately attired clowns, Mr. Little, perched on a tiger cage, said, “Sometimes it’s tough to get them to take me seriously.”

Glen Gordon Little was born on Dec. 5, 1925, to Elsie and Glen Little in Genoa, Neb. He was given the nickname Frosty because he loved playing in the snow as a child.

After high school he joined the Navy in 1944. An injury in 1945 led to the removal of part of his right lung and an honorable discharge.

Mr. Little married Shirley Moss in 1950; they divorced in 1970.

He began his capering career with the Joe King Circus in Colorado in 1956 and opened his own clown business in 1962.

Mr. Little’s persona combined two styles of clown: the whiteface, more dignified and usually the boss or straight man in a gag; and the auguste, prone to wearing garish, oversize clothing and more often the butt of physical jokes.

In 1968 he spied an opportunity for the big time: Ringling Brothers’ new Clown College in Venice, Fla. He graduated with the inaugural class in 1968 and landed a coveted job with the circus at the age of 44.

In 1970 he was promoted to boss clown, a job he held for the next decade.

He met his second wife, Patricia, in 1971 while the circus was in California, and they married three weeks later in Chicago.

Mr. Little became executive director of clowns in 198o and held the job until he retired in 1991, the year he was inducted into the International Clown Hall of Fame. He taught at Clown College during most of his career.

In 1983 Irvin and Kenneth Feld, the owners of Ringling Brothers, designated Mr. Little a master clown. Only Otto Griebling, Bobby Kay and Lou Jacobs had received the honor before him. Mr. Little also performed repeatedly at the White House, where he met Presidents Richard M. Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Little is survived by a brother, Dixon Little, of Northport, Fla.; a daughter from his first marriage, Tawnya Wiseman, of Greeley, Colo.; and a daughter from his second, Roxanne Webster, of San Diego.

Performers get personal in empowering circus
Chris Jones
Theater critic, CHICAGO TRIBUNE
November 5, 2010

Imagine if all the circus stars in the world staged a revolution and kicked out their bosses. Bye-bye, Euro directors with the fancy concepts, the weird original music, the love of undignified costumes. Au revoir, expansionist producers with the brand-tested Elvis and Beatles shows designed to diminish the importance of the individual artist. Zai jian to the gold lame and red velour and the precise disciplines that haven't changed since 1953. Auf Wiedersehen to the very idea of sharing three rings with smelly animals.

You'd end up with something like "Traces," the gorgeously pure, loose and personal circus show that bowed Wednesday night at the Broadway Playhouse and let everyone know that a little group of artists were in charge of their own expression.

Everything about "Traces," the creation of a Montreal-based collective known as 7 Fingers, is designed to put the individual performer in the best possible light. The international artists — there are six guys and one young woman — play themselves, weaving their biographies into the work.

There are no embarrassing costumes — just a variety of comfortable street clothes. The music expresses cool, straightforward emotions. Rigging is kept to necessities. The material is rooted in traditional circus disciplines and classic acrobatics, but street-influenced elements like skateboards and hip-hop moves leaven the mix and free the performers. The audience is acknowledged and empowered as a partner in the work. All kinds of rich emotions — comedy, sensuality, sadness and play — are explored. And while the performers have their specialties, they all contribute generously to the whole.

Most radical of all for anyone expecting either traditional circus or cirque nouveau, there is no separation whatsoever between the actual acts and the linking material. This is as close as I've ever seen this art form come to direct, honest, fulsome, two-way, human communication. "Traces," which was directed and choreographed by Shana Carroll and Gypsy Snider, is very, very impressive.

Of course, none of this conceptual packaging would have much impact if the skills on display — this is, after all, a circus show — were not extraordinary. But they are. Right from the opening routine, wherein the performers fling each other all over the bare stage — including a dazzling moment when a guy called Mason Ames throws off Valerie Benoit-Charbonneau as if this formidable young acrobat were a bag of potato chips — the audience immediately understands that it is in the presence of seven massively talented performers working at the top of their games. By the time the incredible Xia Zhengqi gets around to diving great heights through tiny hoops, "Traces" has done far more than draw an outline. It has filled in the emotional core.

Most of these artists are veterans of the Cirque du Soleil. Of course, you're unlikely to have noticed them individually: Cirque focuses the eye on the collective whole. But you'll not only see the likes of Mathieu Cloutier, Bradley Henderson, Philippe Norman-Jenny and Florian Zumkehr at "Traces," you'll feel like you actually get to know them. The atmosphere is family friendly, sure, but also suffused with urban, date-night cool.

If you need a comparative, think "Stomp," where circus skills replace percussion. But that doesn't fully capture the individualized intimacy that "Traces" brings to this typically hyped and expansive art form.

The rhythm of this piece may be jarring for some, and you won't remember "Traces" for the spoken text, although the personal revelations are charming. But you will remember the sense of risk and danger inherent to the form. There are neither nets nor wires, and the relatively low ceiling of the Broadway Playhouse only makes the aerial acrobatics even more terrifying.

"I'll never find someone quite like you again," goes a song at the start of the show, evoking many different aspects of "Traces," a show that dares to take circus artists out of all the different boxes into which they get stuffed, and trusts them to perform their own stories.

Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair starts today

Posted: November 3, 2010 -
By The Times-Union
Despite rumors to the contrary, the Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair has not moved from its traditional fairgrounds next to EverBank Field.

Gayle Hart, the fair's marketing director, said she's been flooded with calls since a story ran in the Times-Union last month saying the fair was considering a move to a Westside location.

"We've been getting like 30 calls a day, people asking where the fair is going to be," Hart said.

She said the fair might move one day, but it isn't going to happen soon.

"It's a possibility," she said. "A lot of things could happen. But we'll be in the same place this year and the same place next year."

This year's fair starts today, right where it's always been. It will still have rides and racing pigs and livestock shows and fried stuff on a stick.

Daily admission is still $8, and there are still deals on admission and rides every day. And the concerts are still free (unless you want to sit in the VIP section, which costs an extra $10

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Circus school comes to town for auditions
Times Colonist
November 4, 2010
So you think you want to run away to join a circus? Here is your chance.

The National Circus School will be in Victoria tomorrow as part of its cross-Canada pre-selection tour, looking for young people between the ages of nine and 17 with some experience in gymnastics or theatre.

During the tour the school's staff will hold workshops designed to assess the aspiring artist's calibre and potential. It will also give starry-eyed hopefuls an idea of what skills and talents circuses look for these days.

The Montreal-based school has trained nearly 400 artists in its 30-year history. Graduates of the school usually go on to work with Canadian companies, including the famed Cirque du Soleil.

The open auditions will be held tomorrow from

5 to 8 p.m. at the Falcon Gymnastics Centre, 208-721 Vanalman Ave. Pre-registration is mandatory. For more information and online registration, visit

© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist
Read more:
Circus, circus

November 3, 2010
By Staff reports
The Charleston,W.VA. Gazette Advertiser

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The circus comes to the area this weekend -- two, actually, one small-ish, one big-ish. The small one is on Sunday as the Beni Kedem Shrine Circus comes to the Civic Center for shows at 1 and 5 p.m., with clowns, miniature car merriment and more. All seats are general admission, and tickets cost $15 adults and $10 children 12 and under. Tickets are only on sale at the box office the day of the show

At Huntington's Big Sandy Superstore Arena, the big circus unfolds as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents "Illuscination" today through Sunday. Described as "a fantasy-filled world," it's hosted by David DaVinci, who set a world-record in 2007 with a free diving card trick.

Other acts includes Viktoriya and Widny, the Empresses of the Air, who execute "a never-before-seen extreme hair hang," which should be fun, and the KungFu Kings who combine mixed martial arts and sheer strength to twist solid metal poles around their bodies and dive through hoops of razor-sharp sabers -- blindfolded, no less.

Shows are 7 p.m. today and Friday; 2 and 6 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $30 (VIP Floor Seats), $20 or $14 at or 800-745-3000. There's an all-access pre-show an hour before the start time, free to ticket holders, where you can meet Ringling Bros. performers and animals and learn circus skills.

Military families can get free circus tickets Thursday evening
By Staff Report
Evansville Courier & Press
November 3, 2010

EVANSVILLE — Military personnel and their families can get free tickets Thursday evening to this year's Hadi Shrine Circus at Roberts Stadium.

The offer is available to those on active duty or who have returned from overseas service within the last six months.

Tickets can be picked up from 5 to 7 p.m. in the parking lot in front of Had Temple at Walnut Street and Riverside Drive.

Those eligible for free tickets include spouses, children and other family members living in the same household as the service member. Shriner representatives will be checking for family military IDs.

Other family members and friends who want to attend the circus may purchase tickets for $12 from a Shriner or by phone at (812) 425-4376 or (800) 66-CLOWN.

Tickets will be good for any of the circus’ nine performances between Nov. 25-28.

The circus, which moves to the new Downtown arena next year, has been a tradition in Evansville since 1933. Billed as the greatest Shrine circus in America, acts are individually booked, so this is not a traveling circus.

— Rich Davis



Watch the full episode. See more Circus.

cloud swing

Watch the full episode. See more Circus.


From Casey Gibbs--
Her eyes are beautiful. Most babies measuring 5 ft would be considered big, but newborn giraffe, Margaret, at Chester Zoo, UK, is seen as unusually small for her species. She is one of the smallest giraffes ever born at Chester Zoo but pint-sized Margaret will soon be an animal to look up to.

Little Margaret, who is the first female Rothschild giraffe born at the zoo, is being hand-reared by her dedicated keepers. The first calf for six-year-old mum Fay, Margaret, who was born two weeks early, tipped the scales at just 34 kilos (75 lbs) and is a mere 5 ft tall.

Tim Rowland's, team leader of the Giraffes section, said: 'Margaret is one of the smallest giraffe calves we have ever seen. Fay isn't the largest of giraffes and Margaret was also early which might go some way to explaining her size. 'Margaret was having difficulty suckling so our keeping team are now hand-rearing her’.

I'm sure you'll agree that she is precious.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010



Dick, the State Fair of Tlaxcala, Mexico is going full steam. They had a huge crowd today... it's a Holiday in Mexico. "The Day of the Dead".

More to come tomorrow!

New PBS doc 'Circus' goes behind the Big Apple curtain to reveal world of wonders
David Hinckley
Wednesday, November 3rd 2010, 4:00 AM

PBS' 'Circus' documentary takes an unforgettable trip from the big top to the back lot with diverse characters who make up the legendary Big Apple Circus.

Most of us probably wouldn't want to live in the circus, but this new six-hour documentary from PBS sure makes it an interesting place to visit.

The filmmakers spent a year with the Big Apple Circus, which regularly sets up here for a long run (it's at Lincoln Center now), but also does enough traveling to average 350 shows a year.

Big Apple sells itself as a European-style circus, meaning it has a single ring in which all the action takes place. This sets it apart from, say, the bigger, gaudier three-ring Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus.

This three-night doc, "Circus," suggests, however, that the backstage experience might be similar whether there was one ring or 21.

That backstage experience, the heart of this production, starts by confirming something most people might write off as mythology: that the circus is a place you run away to join.

For more than a few people here, that's exactly what it is.

Most romantically that includes one worker who says, cryptically, "I came here with some baggage."

We get a deeper look at Glenn Henry, a man probably in his 40s whose baggage includes performing on New York street corners to make enough money to buy dinner that night. For years, he says, he wanted to run away and join the circus. Now he has.

It helped that he was already working as a clown. Still, the difference between being a regular clown and being a circus clown turns out to be like the difference between applying a Band-Aid and performing surgery.

The circus even has a term for rookies: "First of May" clowns.

Henry's story is a good one, elevated by his sheer enthusiasm.

Much of "Circus" doesn't make the traveling life sound very glamorous. The crew lives in trailers with no individual bathrooms. Sanitation can be marginal, privacy and comforts hard to come by.

Yet the performers seem to have a real intensity. Unlike people in other fields, even entertainment, there's little sense that a performance is something you walk through to collect your check.

A number of entertainment enterprises, like sports teams, talk about being a family, and at times, that may be true. A circus crew feels like it's a family whether the members want it to be or not, because of the physical proximity and the interdependence of performers and crew.

When Elizabeth comes in on crutches, and she was going to be the fourth flier in the trapeze act, that reshuffles the whole deck.

When Heidi's circus husband suddenly has to leave, she must decide whether to quit a job she likes so she can follow him.

These aren't the easiest of times for the Big Apple Circus, and paradoxically, that adds more flavor to this production.

Whether the people here are fifth-generation circus or they ran away to join it, their lives make for a good tale.

Read more:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Glen "Frosty" Little taught others art of clowning

Glen Little, an early graduate of the Ringling Bros. Clown College, was known as "Frosty" the clown.
By Jay Handelman
Published: Tuesday, November 2, 2010

In his off hours, Glen Little could easily go unnoticed, but when he spread white makeup all over his face and donned his trademark pointy red hat, thousands of circus lovers instantly knew him as Frosty.

One of the first graduates of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College who later mentored hundreds of younger clowns during a 23-year career, "Frosty" Little died Oct. 26 in Burley, Idaho. He was 84.

"We used to say that the Clown College was a salvation for American circus clowning, but I say Frosty was the salvation of circus clowning," said Chuck Sidlow, who studied under and worked with Little for several years.

Born in 1925 in Nebraska, Little developed a lifelong love for circus after seeing a performance as a child, Sidlow said. Friends said he got the nickname "Frosty" from a grandfather because he loved to play in the snow.

In 1968, he became part of the first class of Clown College, which was based for many years in Venice. He graduated at age 44, and quickly joined the newly created second touring unit. Within two years, he became the "boss clown," and for 11 years until his retirement in 1991, he served as "Executive Clown Director," overseeing clowns in both the red and blue units and helping to develop new clown gags. He also returned each summer to work with new Clown College students. He and his wife, Pat, lived in Venice during his Ringling circus years.

"He made young kids feel welcome and made sure the old-timers were treated with respect and honor," said Sidlow, who now works for Circus Sarasota. "He recognized their contribution to the circus and the art of clowning, and he carried the torch."
read more at:


Circus tent on fire Monday, 1 November, 2010
23:18 PM

Crews were called to the Discovery Centre at Great Notley Country Park near Braintree at 6.29pm.
Two fire engines from Braintree attended the incident and crews used one hose reel jet to fight the flames.
The blaze was extinguished by 6.48pm and an investigation into the incident will be carried out.
It is not thought that anyone was in the tent at the time of the blaze.
Jonathan Storm: Dazzling Kennett Square duo in 'Circus'
A PBS documentary illuminates the artistry of the juggling LaSalle twins and other performers.

By Jonathan Storm
Inquirer Television Critic
It all started at Hersheypark 15 years ago. Little Jake LaSalle saw some jugglers there.

"A couple of days later," he said in an interview, "I went to an apple orchard with my mother, and I taught myself to juggle with apples, and I remember racing home and teaching my brother. I mean it only took me five or 10 minutes to learn."

Surgery might be a little harder, but if Jake, who is now in medical school, ever gets as good at that as he is at juggling, you'd be smart to call him before you let anyone else do the cutting.

Jake and Marty LaSalle, identical twins from Kennett Square, are one of the acts in the new PBS documentary Circus, which premieres Wednesday on WHYY TV12 from 9 to 11 p.m. The six-hour show will air two hours a night for the following two Wednesdays.

It's a surprisingly uplifting bit of television, going behind the scenes in a world that's frequently thought to be filled with misfits and underachievers, people who lack the skills to make it in "real life."

"My mother always told me if you want to act like a clown, join the circus," says one of the members of the ring crew (what civilians might call a roustabout). "But I never thought that I'd actually do it."
Read more:

Clowns Offended Washington Politics Compared To A Circus
November 1, 2010

You can call Washington a mess. You can call it a farce. But please don't call it a circus.

Clowns, jugglers, carnies and other performers making their living under the big top are frustrated by the state of American politics, but they say it's unfair to compare their business to what's going on inside the Beltway.

"If you look at the history of the American circus, you'll find that it's one of the most efficient and well-run industries in America," says Keith Nelson, also known as Kinko the Clown of the Bindlestiff Family Circus, a New York City-based group that has traveled the world.

"Before you call anyone in Washington a clown, consider how hard a clown works, and that clowns make people happy. And at the very least, do no harm."

Read the full AOL News article.



Buster Brown was a brand of children's shoes.
I'm, not sure if they still make them or not.
They were many Buster Brown Shoe Stores around
back in the Day.
These pictures were taken in Hugo, OK. in 1948.
I wonder if anyone knows what the ocassion was?
Here's Gene Autry with Buster!
Photos from LIFE magazine.


These photos all appeared in LIFE magazine in March of 1949.
I thought it would be interesting to see how many could be identified!
Please leave a comment if you think you know one or all of them!

Monday, November 1, 2010



The Great Throwdini

Sunday Morning's Bill Geist meets "The Great Throwdini," an award winning impalement artist who holds 16 world records, and witnesses his attempt at becoming the fourth knife thrower ever to successfully complete the "veiled wheel of death."
Read more:
Funny or Scary? The Two Faces of Clowns
Clowns Are to Make Us Laugh, but as Mo Rocca Finds out, These Painted Faces Can Strike Fear in the Heart

Vance "Pinto" Colvig, the first person to portray Bozo the Clown. (AP/International Clown Hall of Fame)
(CBS) The circus clown is a familiar figure for all of us. We're supposed to laugh, but for more than a few, a clown is more scary than funny. Our Mo Rocca has given the subject some serious study:
All the world loves a clown, right? They smile, they play tricks, they just wanna make ya laugh!
Then why do so many of us find them so scary?
To Amy Bracco, they're "Terrifying."
Michael Miller was chased by a clown. How did he escape? "We just ran, you know?" (Well, he was wearing clown shoes. You can't run that fast in clown shoes.)
Turns out much of the world loathes a clown …
The evil clown has long lurked outside the big top in the scary-funny, the scary-bad, and the just plain scary.
Writer Mark Dery believes that coulrophobia, or fear of clowns, is a reaction to the clown's mask, the eerie whiteface.
"He's selling you a perception of himself that is so strident and so resoundingly false, it all but begs you to believe there's something awful behind the carnival music," he said.
"The clown is a very cadaverous figure," said Dery. "He has deathly pallor, he has the rictus, the frozen grin of the corpse, which is why the Joker in 'Batman' is such an uncanny figure."
Is the clown even smiling, Dery wonders … or baring his teeth?


Circus - Movie Review of Circus - 2010
Life Beneath The Big Top

Big Apple Circus performer Sarah Schwartz in 'Circus'
PBS, 5 Star Rating By Jennifer Merin, Guide
This comprehensive, colorful and thoroughly entertaining epic documentary about the Big Apple Circus is enchanting, thrilling and so up close and personal that you can almost smell the grease paint, sweat and Tiger Balm.
On The Road With The Big Apple Circus
Circus, a six hours, six episodes epic documentary, follows the famous, highly acclaimed Big Apple Circus and its personnel on its 2008 touring season, from rehearsing and setting the show in Upstate New York to completely revising it before its first performance in Virginia, then through the most important and longest (three month) annual run at the plaza at NY's Lincoln Center, to difficulties in Queens and triumphs in other cities.
We see how the tent rigged in calm weather and with high wind conditions, in downpours and snowstorms, by a winsome team of quirky, dedicated techies. The performers, one more fabulously skilled than the next, strive for perfection while dancing on the tightrope, high flying from one trapeze to another, executing impossible tricks on galloping horses or doing triple twists over a narrow handheld balance beam. The tricks are extremely dangerous, even life-threatening. Clowning is a big part of Big Apple Circus' appeal, and three clowns working solo or together invite kids from the audience to enter the ring for their interactive clowning antics.

Behind the scenes, we meet circus kids of various ages, and learn about their aspirations to follow their parents into the ring -- or move on to other careers. Everyone has a compelling story, and the intimate profiles the filmmakers present of performers and crew reveal the joys, challenges, romance and loneliness of circus life.

Change Is In The Air
In the final episode, Big Apple Circus co-Founder Paul Binder hands over the position of artistic director to his successor, Guillaume Dufresnoy, the next generation to carry the Big Apple Circus' traditions into the future. The tour ends with a very emotional finale. Everyone heads off for a much needed break, or to look for their next job.
The series is magical and moving, beautifully shot, and the music is perfect. It's a perfectly satisfying experience, whether seen in six successive sittings or all at once. PBS had a superb interactive Circus Website, where you can follow up on your favorite performer and learn more background about the Big Apple Circus' past and future.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey ZING, ZANG, ZOOM
Where: Consol Energy Center

Mr. Gravity, center, and his band of "Heavies" perform in Zing Zang Zoom.

Pittsburgh, PA, Oct. 31, 2010
Tweedy, a Ringling Bros. circus clown, had to pause for a moment to remember where he was calling from.
Originally from Scotland, he is in the second year of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey ZING, ZANG, ZOOM tour. Tweedy, aka Alan Digweed, has traveled to every major American city and many smaller ones on the 59-car Ringling Bros. circus train.

After a few seconds, he remembered where he was: Bridgeport, Conn.

Starting Wednesday, Tweedy and the rest of the circus -- 97 performers, nine Asian elephants, 15 horses, 13 tigers and five zebras -- will be at Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Center, whether they know it or not. It's billed as "The Greatest Show on Earth."

"There's no show that's been going on as long as this one," Mr. Digweed said. "It's a great privilege."

Tweedy the clown wears a black bowler hat and has bright red bangs, but even among the cavalcade of clowns on the circus floor, it won't be difficult to pick him out. As Mr. Gravity, he's one of the central characters in ZING ZANG ZOOM.

"I'm the mischievous one in the show that causes trouble throughout," Mr. Digweed said.

During the two-hour show, magical Zingmaster Alex, his assistant Levitytia and other performers defy gravity in high-flying fashion, while Mr. Gravity and his team of Heavies try to bring everyone down. Mr. Digweed said his favorite part of the show is when he is turned into a tiger.

"I'm still trying to figure it out myself," he said.
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Sunday, October 31, 2010


Sarasota, FL 6:00 PM
Showman Jerry Lee Klinefelter died Sunday afternoon after a long illness. No other details at this time, please pass this along.

To all circus fans.

Go to
Click on grassrootscircusfans
Click on the state of Georgia.

We are at a code RED in Fulton County (Atlanta) Georgia....
Follow the instructions including the updated speaking points.

Saturday: Snail mail letters must be in the mailbox today.
Sunday: Emails
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday early morning: Emails and phone calls
Monday night: Email only
Tuesday: Email only
Wednesday: Phone calls

Those who have sent communications already - it is suggested you email one more time, briefly restate your points and include a summar, y brief and professional...."I hope that I can count on your support in voting NO to this resolution, which would, in effect ban the circus in Fulton County.

We know that our participation has been significant. I hope to have some statistical feedback regarding the volume shortly....



Ghosts of Greeley: City has its fair share of haunted history

The Union Pacific Train Depot in downtown Greeley has long been known as one of the most haunted buildings in the city. The ghosts of the “Ten Circus Men” who died in a fire and were brought back to the depot, are thought to be the ones doing the haunting.
Photo illustration by JIM RYDBOM

Sunday, October 31, 2010
It's dark at the depot. Nighttime along the railroad tracks, a few streetlights casting yellow-tinted shadows, no traffic, no one walking the sidewalk. Dead silence in downtown Greeley.

And inside the depot, a light goes on. Then off again.

Could it be Horace?

Or could it be what are currently called the “Ghost Clowns?”

On this Halloween, there are stories of hauntings and ghostly, unexplained things happening in Weld County.

Few buildings in Greeley would have the history of emotions as the Union Pacific Train Depot, 902 7th Ave. People have gone to this old stone building, hugging someone to say goodbye or embracing a loved one in a greeting. During the wars, soldiers shipped out and came home through the depot. Families were pulled apart, then brought together again.

Located in downtown Greeley, the 80-year-old building is a beautiful example of old architecture, of what can be accomplished in remodeling; a shining example of a modern business hanging onto a beautiful past.

And, it's haunted.

“No, it's not a scary thing,” according to Sarah MacQuiddy, president of the Greeley Chamber of Commerce, which has its offices in the depot. Strange things are happening, but nothing is threatening.

For example:

» The metal desk bell that customers can ring for help will suddenly start ringing by itself, even though the employees are just a few feet away and can see that no one is there.

» Faint music — an unknown tune — can sometimes be heard playing in the main room, repeating itself over and over.

» At a recent pet fair at the depot, one dog suddenly reacted to “something,” by dancing around and raising its paws. The owner said, “That's funny — she doesn't do that unless she's meeting somebody new...”

» Employees can sometimes hear voices in the building when no one else is there, and they've found that pictures on the wall have been moved.

» Footsteps can be heard on the basement stairs, lights flicker on and off again, doors open and close, all by themselves.

The original name for the ghost, “Horace,” of course comes from the city's namesake, Horace Greeley, who came to Greeley for only one day in 1870; but he came on the railroad.

The original depot was built in 1883 and replaced in 1930 with the present building.

The “Ghost Clowns” name comes from a disaster in 1884.

In August of that year, a sleeping car in a circus train coming from Fort Collins to Greeley suddenly caught fire. Ten men died in the fire, and the Orton Circus Train just unhitched the car and continued on to Denver for their next show.