2014 Convention



Saturday, January 22, 2011


The Al Amin Shrine Circus is in town and its biggest star takes a bath before showtime

Protestors Object to Use of Elephants in Circus
SAVANNAH, Ga. - A small group of protestors gathered outside the Savannah Civic Center Thursday to raise awareness about the use of elephant performers in the show.

Circus Vargas is the best family show in town
January 21st, 2011
Circus Vargas opened their tents to the Las Vegas Valley last night at the Galleria Mall on Sunset Blvd kicking off a five day run here in Henderson. The show is hands-down the best family entertainment currently available in town and everyone should take the time to visit this amazing world inside a world. The new Circus Vargas tent debuted in 2010 and seats, at maximum capacity, around 1500 people. Last night there was hardly an open seat as people poured in from every age group and social class.
The show opens with an interactive treat for the young at heart as they are taught some of the basic skills of the circus. The atmosphere is electrifying and flows perfectly throughout the entire show with multiple stops to allow for more interaction from the audience.
The program consists of flying trapeze acts, clowns, the globe of death, more clowns, the Zinduna Brothers acrobatics, clowns again, an aerial bungee-ballet, and much more. There is no other show in town that will amke you laugh as hard, and awe in wonderment, all at the same time.
Continue reading on Circus Vargas is the best family show in town - Henderson Family Recreation

Monaco royals attend annual circus festival

Princess Stephanie, Prince Albert, and Pauline Ducruet open the circus festivalCredit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
January 21st, 2011.
Carrying on the tradition so loved by the late Prince Rainier, the reigning Prince of Monaco and his family opened the annual Monte Carlo International Circus Festival. The event is in its 35th year and will be held between January 20 and January 30. In all, 18 circus companies from 10 countries will take part in the festival. A jury chaired by HSH Princess Stephanie will give awards in what is the “Oscars” of the circus. For the first time, a free concert outdoors on the Palace Square will be available Saturday afternoon in addition to the traditional festivities. Since she was young Princess Stephanie has always loved the circus, something she shared with her father. This is the second year in a row that Prince Albert and Princess Stephanie were joined by Stephanie’s stunning daughter Pauline Ducruet. The festival is extremely popular in Monaco. It receives no subsidy and pays for itself through the ticket sales of more than 45,000 tickets.

Continue reading on Monaco royals attend annual circus festival - National Royal News


The Great American Mud Show Most Tent Circuses Have Reached The End Of The Road,
But A Few, Like The Allan C. Hill Circus Of Sarasota, Still Follow The Old Traditions, Moving From Town To Town With A Timeless Promise Of Joy.
December 30, 1990BY MATT SCHUDE
From The Miami Sun SentinelPage 1 of 7
THE DIESEL ENGINES ROAR AWAKE IN the dark of 4 a.m., and another day begins for the show that never ends. The early call, the caravan of trucks down a highway -- it happens every day from early spring to late fall, this quest to bring an empty place to life.
Men fan out across a vacant lot, their long morning shadows keeping step. They anchor the spikes, and before noon the magic is building all over again.
It still lives on, this old-fashioned rite that pulls at your heart: Out in the field, the circus is raising the big top in another American town.
Elephants in harness haul the poles into place, and the tent swells into its full shape. Flags flutter with the morning breeze, and the ground swarms with hard-edged men swinging hammers, tugging ropes and uncoiling miles of electrical cords. As elephants and camels lazily munch grass, people on their way to work do double takes from their cars.
There is still something about a circus that turns a special page within us. Something in this world of animals and acrobats, of clowns and big-top bustle, fills us with the wonder of a child. Maybe it really is the greatest show on earth.
There was a time in the simpler past when scores of circuses crossed the country, stopping for a day and then moving on to the next little town. When the circus train came in, children declared their own holiday and raced to water the elephants or be the first to glimpse the lions and tigers.
The gaudy red wagons would clatter through town to the beat of a brass band, and the elephants would always close the parade, marching trunk-to-tail, with the baby running along behind. It was pure P.T. Barnum, of course, all bluster and bluff and ringmaster patter. But something about the circus was wholesome and pure, something in it made children laugh and dream with wide-open eyes.
It`s almost surprising that kids today know anything at all about the circus, in this age of Nintendo, Bart Simpson and general urban malaise. Yet kids still come to marvel at leopards leaping through fire, at elephants standing on their heads, at the daring grace of the woman on the trapeze.
A dozen hardy shows remain on the road, keeping a culture alive. The circus has tradition, an elaborate formality, its own legends and language.
``You can`t just call it a job,`` says Mike Ridenour. ``It`s more of a lifestyle.``
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Friday, January 21, 2011


don't forget to click on pages to enlarge and read!


Cirque does the impossible
By Lynette Chilcoat Loveland Reporter-Herald
Watching Alegria Cirque du Soleil has the same bizarre quality as antering into a surreal dream. The baroque-style circus will be presented at Budweiser Events Center for eight performances running Wednesday, Jan. 26, through Sunday, Jan. 30.
Similar to opera with flamboyant costumes, original live music and an elaborate set, the 21/2-hour spectacle combines skill, strength and speed with elegance and delightful poise. Performers regale the audience with a series of acts set to a lively score fraught with emotional undertones. The orchestration features a variety of music such as jazz, pop, tango and klezmer, a type of harmony derived from the Ashkenazic Jews of Eastern Europe with expressive melodies reminiscent of the human voice, complete with laughing and weeping.
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Monaco: Parisian pompiers, cunning camels and comic clowns are among 200 circus artists in MonacoCircus street parade SaturdayIt’s a big weekend for the Principality. As the 120 Monte-Carlo Rally cars leave town after their final show-down in the hills on Friday night, the International Circus Festival takes to the streets for a Big Parade on Saturday. The menagerie is in place and the traditional band and compère are in fine voice as ten days of competition and circus shows unfold until 30th of January.
Started by Prince Rainier III in 1974, the Festival celebrates 35 years in style with nine large troupes bringing the number of artists on stage to nearly 200, at least 50 more than usual. A highlight is the parade on Saturday which starts at 2.30pm from the “Big Tent” in Fontvieille. It wends its way through the streets to Place d’Armes on the other side of the Rock and then up to the Palace for an open air show featuring the elephants buffet, camels and horses, a high-wire act by the Weishet troupe and “many other surprises”.
As usual, a mini zoo has sprung up round the tent and the pungent smell of horse manure and elephant dung fills the genteel air of this rather salubrious district. Always controversial, the presence of animals in this circus is what sets it apart, particularly for children. The organisers, with Princess Stéphanie as a very hands-on president, argue that zoos and circuses play an important role in animal conservation and that they keep a very close eye on the welfare of the acts they invite. This year there are five animal acts featuring elephants, horses, camels and tigers.
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PAC Hopes to Bring a Circus to Westhampton Beach
Clare Bisceglia, executive director of PAC, says the event will ‘bring the community together."
By Erica Jackson January 20, 2011
Clare Bisceglia, executive director of the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center was on hand at the Westhampton Beach Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday night to pitch a plan to bring an 1800-style circus to the hamlet.
“We think this will bring the community together,” said Bisceglia. “It will be delightful.”
Bisceglia said PAC is working with the Zope’ Italian Circus to bring its show to Westhampton Beach on July 29,30 and 31.
“There is so much charm and wonder to it,” said Bisceglia. “There are no electrical devises to be had. They have tightropes, doves and ponies.”
According to Bisceglia, the circus, which has been providing performances since 1842, is renowned worldwide and has received rave reviews by The New York Times. She said they use no more than one ring and encourage audience participation.
The old-fashioned circus tent, said Bisceglia, could easily be set up on the village’s 5.89-acre great lawn for the three-day circus event. The Village would need only to approve a permit application for use of the grounds by PAC.
In discussing logistics of the event, Bisceglia says the circus tent can hold up to 450 spectators — the same as PAC’s theatre — so the event will not draw any additional traffic to the area.
“We will not be bringing any more people than we do at the theatre,” said Bisceglia.
Show times, she said will be set around children and families with the Friday night circus début to start at 7 p.m. and shows will run on Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Proceeds from the Saturday evening performance, said Bisceglia would benefit PAC. It will also feature valet parking.
In addition the fundraiser will coincide with another PAC event happening on July 30.
According to Bisceglia, PAC has booked Joan Rivers to give a special performance at the theatre.
“Bisceglia says she expects that the circus will bring rave reviews from the community while also benefiting local businesses.
“This circus is just darling and very user-friendly,” she said.


Circus Vargas will perform nine shows at the Galleria at Sunset mall in Henderson between Jan. 20 and 24, after a successful run at the Rio Hotel and Resort last November. Watch acrobats practice their old and new routines in the European-style one-ring circus.

Cambridge woman crowned state county fair queen
The 2011 Miss Illinois County Fair Queen, Jackie Driscoll, center, waves to the crowd after being crowned by the 2010 Miss Illinois County Fair Queen, Haley Freeman, right, during the 2011 Miss Illinois County Fair Queen Pageant at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield, Ill., Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011. In the rear are first runner up, Marcela Gillen, Miss Warren County Fair, left, and second runner up, Emily Travis, Miss Williamson County Fair, center.

By LISA DEPIES GateHouse News Service Posted Jan 19, 2011
When?Henry County Fair?Queen Jackie Driscoll of Cambridge selected her evening gown for the 2011 Miss Illinois County Fair Pageant, she decided to accessorize with a pair of “lucky” earrings.
The earrings belong to Ashley Maxwell, who served as Henry?County?Fair Queen in 2004, the year Driscoll was named the county’s junior miss.
“(Maxwell) wore them when she won the county pageant and then wore them when she made the Top 12 at the state pageant,” said Driscoll, 20.
The earrings, which Driscoll describes as “big and blingy” iridescent stones, were lent to her for the 2010 Miss Henry County?Fair Pageant.
Driscoll won the county pageant wearing the earrings and decided to try their luck at the state event.
Saturday the earrings again proved lucky, as Driscoll was crowned the 2011 Miss Illinois County?Fair Queen.
“I do think they’re lucky,” said Driscoll. “They also matched perfectly to my dress.”
Driscoll is a 2008 graduate of Stark County High?School. She is a history major in her junior year at Monmouth College.
She is the daughter of Jamie and Gene Lang of Cambridge and Mike and Laurie Driscoll of Modesto.
Driscoll and 65 other county fair queens traveled to the Crowne Plaza in Springfield for a weekend of competition.
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This show has gone to the cats, dogs
Michel Nolan, Staff Writer,
The Sun, San Bernardino,CA 01/19/2011
Gregory Popovich knows he always can count on his animals. No matter if they're riding scooters, pushing strollers or jumping rope.
The Russian-born comedian/circus performer has trained his menagerie of 26 cats and dogs to perform an amazing array of tricks.
His four-legged performers will strut their stuff at 8 p.m. Friday when the Popovich Comedy Pet Theater takes the stage at San Bernardino's Sturges Center for the Fine Arts.
Be prepared to laugh, Popovich says.
This is real stand-up.
The dozen dogs and 14 cats aren't pedigreed talent.
All of Popovich's furry friends are rescued strays from homeless animal shelters.
"The main message from my show is these are all rescue animals - they look good, they look healthy, they look happy and they make me laugh every time," says Popovich, whose family-friendly show has run for 15 years in Las Vegas.
"We don't try to push them into difficult situations. We have dog school, where the dogs act as students and sit at desks."
It takes from 3 to 6 months to train them for the stage, says Popovich, who grew up in a circus family.
"My mom worked with dogs, then I worked with them, so communicating with animals is easy and natural for me," he said.
A cast of 10 European-style clowns and acrobats from the Moscow Circus will join the show. "The humans may make mistakes but my pets know what to do - they never make mistakes," said
Popovich, whose appearances have included "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Late Show with David Letterman," "America's Got Talent" and "Good Morning America," among others.
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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Now Here's the Ringling Bros produced tape--

ringling bros January 19, 2011
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Thrillusionist Attempts aStraitjacket Escape From Hot Air Balloon! Amazing Escape is Part of the Kick-Off Event that Celebrates the North American Debut of ZING ZANG ZOOM, Gold Edition! January 15, 2011 - Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® presents a never-seen-before high-flying feat of bravery and escape-artist expertise! Thrillusionist David DaVinci, host of the all-new ZING ZANG ZOOM, Gold Edition, who set a world-record in 2007 with an underwater free-diving card trick, now takes his skills to the air. DaVinci, a true modern Houdini, will attempt to free himself from a straitjacket while perilously suspended from his ankles, upside expertise down, from a hot-air balloon, more than three stories in the air! This amazing stunt takes place at Forsyth Park, in Savannah GA, on January 19, at 7.20 am, 2011. Inclement weather date is January 20, 7.20 am, 2011.

"I love the challenge of trying to escape a straitjacket. My personal best is over 220 escapes in just under eight hours. But that was different, I was right-side up, and didn't have to worry about any other variables," said David DaVinci. "I've never attempted an escape from a hot air balloon, there's going to be a lot of uncertainties here, especially the wind, I know this will test my skills and abilities," DaVinci added.
Al Amin Shrine Circus returns to Corpus Christi this week

Six-ton Bo is believed to be the largest male performing elephant in the world.
Damen Clow/Special to the Caller-Times
January 19, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI — For a few seconds one May afternoon in Pennsylvania 12 years ago, David Smith Jr. had a world record. Then his 56-year-old father fell out of the sky and crushed it.
Now the younger of the two human cannonballs (and there are several others in the family) is resurrecting his father's role in the Al Amin Shrine Circus, which returns to Corpus Christi this weekend for five shows at the American Bank Center.
"My dad was a crazy mix of physics and engineering," Smith, whose flight of 181 feet, 1 inch is second only to his father's 185 foot, 10-inch flight, told the Bangor (Maine) Daily News last August. "He's kind of an Einsteiny kind of guy; he even had the hairdo."
This year marks the debut of trainer Vicenta Pages' white tigers, which kick off the two-hour shows.
Proving that you can take the nurse out of the circus, but you can't take the circus out of the nurse, Audrey Michelle Alvarado returns as the show's mistress of ceremonies.

Ringmaster Audrey Michelle Alvarado is a former nurse and one of very few female masters of ceremonies in the industry.
Born into a circus family with whom she first performed at age 6, the El Paso native left the life from age 14 to 22 to finish her education and pursue a career in nursing before marrying a former circus acrobat and returning to the big top to become one of the world's few female ringmasters.
"I have the best job in the entire world," said the ringmistress, a former aerialist and animal worker and mother of three. "I help to bring joy into the lives of everyone who comes to the circus."
Performers from 15 countries make up the show, which includes BMX stunts and high-speed motorcycle maneuvers, aerialist showgirls, high-wire and trapeze acts, clown antics and more.

Trainer Vicenta Pages leads the debut of the Al Amin Shrine Circus' white tiger act this weekend at the American Bank Center.
Six-ton crowd favorite Bo, the largest performing male elephant in the world, plays the harmonica, trumpet and drums, and can toss a perfect spiral to his handlers when throwing the football backstage.
Audience members are welcome into the rings before the shows, during intermission and after to meet stars, ride ponies and elephants and take photographs.
"There are so many different aspects to the circus and how it affects people," said executive producer Bill Cunningham, whose troupe visits 120 locations in 43 weeks each year, performing more than 450 shows. "There's something magical and mysterious about it. It's a unifying experience, an escape, and fun for multigenerational audiences."
The Al Amin Shrine Circus is a fundraising event for the Al Amin Shriners, best known for their community service, civic involvement in local parades and for their support of the Shriners Hospital for children.

Circus is presented by families, for families

January 20, 2011

By Linda Sickler from

Circus acts can be family treasures, handed down like heirlooms.
Ramon Esqueda, the official elephant trainer and presenter for the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus, is a multi-generational circus performer, with four generations on his father's side and five generations on his mother's side.
The circus will present "Zing Zang Zoom, Gold Edition" tonight through Sunday at the Savannah Civic Center.
Esqueda was born into two prominent Mexican circus families, and his parents, Ramon Esqueda Sr. and Esperanza Atayde, were noted performers. He has performed in numerous circuses, including his family's own Circo Atayde, the oldest and largest circus in Mexico.
Today, Esqueda's children are following in the family trade. But there is something they must do first - get an education.
Esqueda always wanted to join the circus, but his parents insisted that he earn a degree first. He graduated from college with a bachelor's degree in communications.
"I went to the university, but during every holiday, I was at the circus," Esqueda said. "Right when I graduated, I was asked if I'd like to learn an act in the circus, so I started doing an aerial act.
"When I was asked if I wanted to learn something by myself, I said I wanted to learn about the animals," he said. "When I was a kid, I had a dog and tried to train him to do tricks."
After developing a dog act, Esqueda worked with horses and llamas before switching to elephants. "Since the beginning, the elephants caught my attention because they are so special," he said. "They all have different personalities, like humans.
"You have to understand each one individually and see what they are capable of doing," Esqueda said. "Their favorite reward is when I talk sweet to them and caress them. They get all excited."
Elephants are intelligent. "You really have to spend a lot of time with them," Esqueda said. "You become the leader of the herd because you provide water and food.
"That's how the relationship starts with them," he said. "Observe what they do, how they play, see all the characteristics each elephant has."
With nearly 40 years experience in animal husbandry, Esqueda loves all animals.
"We have two dogs that travel with us that are house pets," Esqueda said. "One is a little Chihuahua and the other is a bichon frise."
Esqueda is proud that his own children want to do circus work. "My son is working in Europe," he said. "My older daughter is married and lives in Romania.
"They all went into the circus and really like it," Esqueda said. "All of them work with elephants once in a while, and the elephants have become part of the family."
One of Esqueda's daughters is a student at Sarasota Community College. "She worked with me last year, but I told her, 'You've got to finish college and get that degree,'" he said.
His youngest daughter, Rosemary, 12, assists her father in the pre-show. She attends the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey school, which travels with the circus.
For a time, Esqueda's wife, Lenuta, helped in the act. "She has retired from the ring, but is in charge of the show's nursery," he said.
The All Access Pre-show, which is open to all ticketholders, gives audiences the opportunity to meet and greet circus performers and register for a chance to win a masterpiece.
"One hour before the show, we have a pre-show where all the kids and families can interact with the performers," Esqueda said. "One of my elephants will make a painting for some lucky family to take home."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

PHOTOS: Under the Big Top
Joanne’s Doodle Doggies performed many tricks Saturday as audiences cheered.Rikki Cason/staff
January 17, 2011 The Journal-Register
MEDINA — The Billy Martin’s Cole All-Star Circus entertained 100s of children and their families Saturday, despite the snowy weather. The event benefited the Jade branch of TWIG Association

Kaylee Lacey, 6, had her face painted before the show.Rikki Cason/staff


Old Spool Truck

Undercarriages & Wheels

Back of old spool truck

CWM Switcher

Old Circus Tractors

Wagon Tongues


McLaren Circus Spectacular Show!
David and his poodles will entrertain you at McLaren Circus.
Tue, 18 January 2011
GEORGE NEWS - The traditional circus is on its way to George this January!
From poodles to pythons, clowns to ponies, magic to illusion, contortion to balancing acts and more!Welcome to Mclaren Circus. The shining spangled heart of South Africa’s family entertainment.
Get set for an hour and half of absorbing action, suspense, surprise and hilarity! Staged in the same wholesome family spirit that your parents and grandparents enjoyed and in which your children and children’s children will merrily revel in years ahead!McLaren Circus is South Africa’s favorite traveling circus and is currently undertaking an extensive tour of Eastern Cape.During the year this traditional circus with heart visits all the provinces in the country in a bid to keep the spirit of circus alive in South Africa.
For affordable, fun entertainment for the whole family you cannot miss this all-new exclusive show which has enjoyed extended runs and good reviews. This year they are bigger and better just for you with their all new program.

This amazing live show in a new Big Top circus tent is recommended for all ages. Tickets cost R40 (side benches), R60 (raised chairs) or R80 (ringside) per person. Show times are at 15:00 or 19:00 and the shows are 90 minutes in duration. The Ticket Office will be open daily from 10:00. Tickets are available only from the circus site. For bookings and more info contact the circus mobile on 082 747 5726.
The opening show is at the Showgrounds in George on Friday, 28 January at 15:00. The last show will be Sunday, 6 February at 15:00.No shows Mondays to Thursdays.

Annual circus benefits charity
By LOIS KINDLE The Tampa Tribune
Published: January 19, 2011
GIBSONTON - Animal trainers, clowns, fire-eaters and their brethren from all over the state converged under the big top Jan. 8 and more than 3,000 people came to see them.
It was time for the annual Gibsonton Showmen's Charity Circus.
"This is the third time I've brought my children," said Tracy Watson of Apollo Beach, watching her daughters, Sheena, 8, and Shannon, 3, who were sitting ringside to get a closer view. "They enjoy everything about it, especially the animals. It's nice family time for us."
It wasn't only children and their parents packing the stands, though.
"I love coming to the circus," said Sun City Center resident Lois Paris, 73. "I love the sights, the sounds, the smells … It reminds me of the three-ring circus I visited in Detroit when I was a child."
That's what so enduring about a circus under the big top, said Lee Stevens, circus show chairman for the past 15 years and an animal trainer for 36.
"It's a place where kids can fantasize about doing something daring, something different than what they experience every day," Stevens. "It's for old people, too. The circus helps them relive their childhoods."
The three Jan. 8 performances included a variety of acts, with 18 volunteer performers who work in other for-profit circuses. Retired circus folks also help out during the event.
"Everyone comes at their own expense," said Chris Christ, the show's publicity chairman. "Many are from the area, but others travel from Myakka, Sarasota and Brooksville."
Proceeds from the shows go to area nonprofits, which are chosen each year by the International Independent Showmen's Association charity committee.
"Every year we give to different groups but they all have to be local and benefit local residents, like Mary and Martha House, LifePath Hospice and Joshua House," said Stevens, a board member of the 20-member committee. "We will be meeting soon to determine this year's recipients."
As the years go by, Christ said, there are less and less under-tent circuses that show one day and then move to another town.
"There are only eight remaining across the country," he said.
"I've been performing since I was 3," said Catalina Liebel, whose father owns the Liebling Bros. Circus in Haines City. "I began as a contortionist and then added aerial work, when I was 7."
Now 15, Liebel said she's been home-schooled like most circus kids.
"I really love what I do. It's quite a rush," she said.
Nothing can replace the feeling of an old-time circus, Christ said. There's an intimacy between performers and audience found nowhere else.
"It's an old-fashioned, American institution."
If you missed all the fun and excitement at the big top this year, don't despair. The show will be back in 2012 for its 30th anniversary celebration.
A Day At The Circus At Vanderbilt Children's Hospital
Jan 18, 2011
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - It was a day at the circus for kids at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.
A clown show from Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus stopped by on Tuesday afternoon to show off all the tricks of the trade.
Vanderbilt patients of all ages who can't make it to the live shows enjoyed an up and close and personal look at the performance. Some even got on stage to take part in the fun.
The special event was something many of the kids looked forward to.
The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus kicks off this weekend at Bridgestone Arena.


Life in a circus: The story behind the scenes
Vikram Joy Wed Jan 19 2011,
From a couple who fell in love while working with the circus company, got married and now travel together to perform, to a dwarf who went to see a circus a decade ago and decided never to return home, the New Apollo Circus, currently on in Manimajra for almost two months now, offers many fascinating, behind-the-scenes stories.
“We met at the circus and liked each other. We told our parents; they came and performed the rituals. Since then we have travelled together with this circus company,” says 23-year-old Raj, who is originally from Darjeeling. While Raj performs stunts in the “Maut Ka Kuan”, his wife Anju does her routines on bicycles and jeeps. Married for four years now, the couple have a 18-month-old daughter and are enjoying their stint with this circus.
But Ravi Kumar Baghel, the 20-year-old dwarf from Agra, surely isn’t. “I miss the tigers,” he says. Baghel has been essaying the role of a joker for over a decade now. It was nearly 10 years ago when he came to see the circus with relatives and got so fascinated that he did not feel like going back. Ravi feels circus has lost its crowd due to lack of animals like tigers and holds the government responsible for this. He is also not happy with the ban that prevents the purchase of new elephants

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

UPDATE: Aerialist performs on wheel
Circus Sarasota ringmaster star, Joseph Bauer, Jr., jumps rope atop the "Wheel of Destiny" on the roof of One Watergate on Tuesday in Sarasota. The stunt was done as a promotion for Circus Sarasota's upcoming season., which begins on Feb. 3.
from the Sarasota Herald Tribune
By Billy Cox
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
"It was very, very windy up there today," Bauer told fans in the Park following his 12-minute act, which included skipping rope and running along the wheel while blindfolded. "That was a big issue, not to slip."
Although Circus Sarasota, which sponsored the promotional event, has yet to hear back from Guinness Book of World records, Bauer says his high altitude feat -- accomplished from a 19-story building atop a 50-foot spinning wheel -- is unprecedented in the history of the circus. When asked if there were record-setting categories of this nature, the Sarasota resident immediately replied, "Now there is.""It was very, very windy up there today," Bauer told fans in the Park following his 12-minute act, which included skipping rope and running along the wheel while blindfolded. "That was a big issue, not to slip."
Although Circus Sarasota, which sponsored the promotional event, has yet to hear back from Guinness Book of World records, Bauer says his high altitude feat -- accomplished from a 19-story building atop a 50-foot spinning wheel -- is unprecedented in the history of the circus. When asked if there were record-setting categories of this nature, the Sarasota resident immediately replied, "Now there is."
For the second year in a row, Sarasotans today can witness a daredevil aerial act conducted above the roof of One Watergate Condominium.
But instead of a high-wire skywalk, the dizzying public performance at 11 a.m. will showcase Joseph Dominick Bauer's ability to navigate his 50-foot-tall Wheel of Destiny with hazards that include double blindfolds and a jump rope. Erected upon a tripod base, the contraption features a wheel on top that can be spun by running on the inside or the outside; Bauer has hit top speeds of 35 mph.
Combined with the approximate 190-foot height of the Watergate, Bauer's tricks will take him about 240 feet off the ground, which could earn him a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.


Russian Cirque Performers in Vegas

In 1993, 13 Russian circus performers were hired by Cirque du Soleil and moved across the globe to perform in the finale of Cirque's first Vegas show, Mystere. Just two years later, the Russian trapeze act was removed from Mystere, but most of the performers have stayed in the U.S. Meet three of the Russian artists and hear their stories of growing up in the circus, the culture shock of Vegas compared to Moscow, and how they made lives for themselves in America after Cirque.

From: The Las Vegas Sun



Crews set up the base for the 'Wheel of Destiny'

Circus Stunt to Revolve at 250 ft in Downtown Sarasota
The weather forecast for Tuesday calls for a mostly cloudy day with winds out of the southwest at 10-15 miles per hour.By William Mansell January 17, 2011
On Tuesday morning at 11am, Joseph Bauer will perform on a whirling, revolving device called the 'Wheel of Destiny' at 250 feet up in the air.
The contraption will be located at the top of the 19-story One Watergate Condominium in downtown Sarasota.
“After more than eight decades of circus in Sarasota, I can definitely say that nothing like this has ever been seen in our community,” said Pedro Reis, co-founder and CEO of Circus Sarasota. “Nothing like it will ever be seen again.”
Bauer, a Sarasota native, will be performing the stunt at heights the device has never been used before.
All day Monday, Circus Sarasota crews battled high winds to set up for the event on Tuesday. The weather forecast for Tuesday calls for a mostly cloudy day with winds out of the southwest at 10-15 miles per hour.
Circus Sarasota says attendees of the performance should plan on getting downtown around 10am as crews get the wheel ready. The best viewing areas for the event are Bay Front Park, the Ringling Bridge and along N. Tamiami Trl.
Bauer is currently performing with Circus Sarasota in February, a Circus Sarasota press release said. This year, performances will be presented from Thursday, February 3rd through Monday, February 21st. The Circus Sarasota Big Top will be located at the intersection of Tuttle and 12th Street, across from Ed Smith Stadium. Tickets are available now, on-line at or by calling (941) 355-9805.

Tampa's cake boss shows The Stew a circus-worthy marvel
Chef Michael Baugh shows off his creation for Ringling Bros. and Tampa General Hospital
By JEFF HOUCK The Tampa Tribune January 17, 2011
Let Them Eat Cake website--A talk with TLC's 'Cake Boss'
A couple years ago, I watched Michael Baugh build a horse.
Sitting cross-legged on a stool in front of a table, he traced the profile of a galloping horse with a delicate line of modeling chocolate at Let Them Eat Cake, his bakery in South Tampa. He made it all look so casual and easy, as if he were working a crossword puzzle.
With the steadiest of hands, he filled in the outline with more chocolate, building it up during the next half-hour into a three-dimensional form. Then he did it again with the horse facing the other way, eventually combining both halves into one solid horse that topped a cake for a client who was celebrating the Kentucky Derby.
He probably had done that particular trick a million times. But I'll never forget seeing it.
So I was interested in watching Baugh work on a cake for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus two weeks ago. The circus was performing downtown at the Forum and the cake was to be unveiled at a party celebrating its 20th year working with Tampa General Hospital.
The Tuesday afternoon before the big reveal, the masterpiece was little more than a star-shaped sheet cake and buttercream pedestal.
It's one thing to watch one of the myriad cake shows on television. It's another to see it happen in person as the pieces fall into place.
Baugh and his six assistant chefs designed the 300-pound cake – it is the greatest show on earth, after all -- after watching a Ringling Bros. dress rehearsal in late December. The performance gave them clues they could incorporate into the cake.
So there was a giant electrical cord around the base to mimic the giant versions the circus clowns "plug in" to start the show. And there were electrical bolts to signify the "fully charged" theme of this year's show. A horseshoe-shaped 20-pound chocolate sculpture looked just like the one through which circus acts entered the performance area.
Then there was the 30-pound chocolate Indian elephant that the group sculpted and painted. And a circus performer perched on the beast's left leg.
In total, it would take about 150 man-hours to turn 180 large eggs, 50 pounds of sugar, 20 pounds of ganache, 35 pounds of fondant icing and 50 pounds of chocolate into edible art.
Unlike the cake shows on TV where, Poof!, the cake magically appears and icing and sculpting seem to happen instantly, Baugh waits for his cakes to cool before icing them.
Also, his cakes are intended to be delicious as well as functional. The circus creation was a Jour Et Nuit Cake, better known as a Day and Night Cake. With alternating white and chocolate layers, it featured French chocolate mousse, chocolate ganache and a white chocolate raspberry torte made with a raspberry buttercream. Strawberries lined the base to add a fresh, luscious touch.
It's the attention to detail that makes his cakes special. Like the way he asks brides to bring their dress patterns to the store so he can match them in icing. Or the intricate shades he brushes onto a Star Wars cake to make it look green and moldy, just like Yoda's skin. Or the 1,400-degree blowtorch he hovers just above the icing of the circus cake to give it a glossy sheen.
"I love my job," Baugh told me. "We get to have fun with your food."

Russian immigrants discover life after the circus
Of many elite athletes, circus performers who migrated to Las Vegas for a better life get chance with Cirque du SoleilKim Palchikoff, Special to the Sun
Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011
They are trailblazers who helped launch a new dimension of entertainment on the Strip, even if today they are living mostly in obscurity.
There’s Vadim Bolotsky, his career derailed by injuries, who ended up pursuing construction jobs before retiring to Pahrump where today he tends to his chickens.
And Vladimir Mialovski, who went on to open a martial arts studio in Las Vegas.
And Nikolai Melnikov, who is performing in a second-tier Strip show.
They are three of the dozen Russian master trapeze artists — one-time stars in their homeland — who contributed to one of the turning points in the evolution of Las Vegas entertainment: the Christmas Eve 1993 debut of Cirque du Soleil’s flagship show “Mystere.” Their overhead derring-do would be the flying grand finale of the show.
These elite athletes and circus performers from the former Soviet Union banded together when their country fell apart, the ruble was devalued and employment prospects grew dim — at a time when Cirque du Soleil sought Russian talent. So they practiced for more than a year in Moscow for a new career, then quietly immigrated to America and made a new home for themselves in Las Vegas.
Over time all but one stopped performing — their contracts not renewed or their bodies too banged up and fatigued to continue. But they stayed in Las Vegas, part of a small, distinguished community that over the years, by some estimates, has grown to nearly 2,000 Russian entertainers and their families.
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'The Greatest Show on Earth' rolls into town
'The Greatest Show on Earth' rolls into townRingling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus is coming to town. There is a 25 percent discount if you use the discount code "CHEAP" to get your tickets at the box office or online. The Ringling Brothers/Feld Entertainment folks also are giving $1 from every ticket purchased for a Sunday show to support Nashville public schools through ONENASHVILLE.

January 17, 2011 The Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey's FUNundrum Circus is coming to town, and if you want the best deal on tickets, Sunday is the time to go.
Not only is there a 25 percent discount if you use the discount code "CHEAP" to get your tickets at the box office or online, but the Ringling Brothers/Feld Entertainment folks also are giving $1 from every ticket purchased for a Sunday show to support Nashville public schools through ONENASHVILLE.
Regular ticket prices to this 130-performer circus are $14-$25 for most seats, so you can see that this Sunday discount is quite a deal. Your best bet is to buy your tickets at the Bridgestone Arena box office, where you don't have to pay the additional online and Ticketmaster fees.
The circus will be at Bridgestone all weekend, with shows at 7 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
I love the circus and look forward to seeing the Ringling Brothers Asian elephants, the flying Caceres family and the trampoline troubadours. And I'll surely be looking for Andrea Raffo, a third-generation circus performer, who they tell me will be lifted 35 feet in the air by only her long, luxurious locks.
You'll want to arrive early, because there's an hour-long pre-show show where children can try on costumes, interact with the clowns, see some juggling, get a circus "tattoo" and get photos with some of the performers and animals. You'll even get to see a pachyderm paint a preshow portrait.
Every time the circus comes to town, my readers want to know how they can see the animals as they walk from their train to the arena.The best guess is that the free parade will be along Broadway and at about Fifth Avenue about noon on Thursday, but that could change depending on the arrival time and other factors. I'll blog about it Thursday morning with the latest info I can dig up. Details: read more at:
Theater Review: Terrific Mini-Alt Circus 'Traces' in Town
Jumping through hoops at Traces (Michael Meseke 2010)
Bob Fiallo Traces—playing now at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre in Hollywood—is being billed as a circus. It is and it isn’t. There are no clowns or goth fire eaters, but no matter what you call it, Traces is brilliant and fun in its simplicity. The French Canadian Company Les 7 doigts de la main (7 Fingers) brings a mix of theatrics, projections, parkour, acrobatics and sports to the stage in their first show in LA.
Inevitably, the company will garner comparisons to the other French Canadian behemoth Cirque du Soleil, but think of Traces as a smaller, hipper alternative, minus the flamboyant costumes and cheesy music. And it’s not as goth as Cirque Berzerk at Club Nokia. These seven performers mostly wear kick-back khakis to perform, sticking to the urban theme of the whole production.
Six men and one woman perform high-energy acrobatics in between short snippets and stories from their lives. There really isn’t a narrative in this show, but the stunts are amazing, you really don’t mind. In between tumbling routines, stunts with a seesaw and pole climbing, are slower routines, presumably for the small cast to catch their breath. In one particularly humorous transition, fellow cast members thrust an acoustic guitar into Florian Zumkehr’s hands right after he finishes a grueling performance of strength and balance with chairs. Trying to calm himself, he sings the audience a ballad that’s not too shabby. In fact, music is used well throughout the night. Several troupe members play the piano onstage, and the soundtrack is awesome, moving from rock—we think we heard some Radiohead—to rap to the blues. There's even a skateboarding/dance routine to the classic song, "Paper Moon."
Just like Spiderman climbing these poles— without the webs. (Michael Meseke 2010)

The theater's stage seems a little small for their gravity-defying feats, but they make it work for the best. The spartan set, which is supposed to be a bunker, is reminiscent of the musical, RENT. And here’s a hint when you buy tickets—stick to the center of the house as possible. There’s action in the wings and the sight lines from the aisle seats are a little obscured.
TracesThe Ricardo Montalban Theatre1615 Vine St., HollywoodThrough Feb. 20Tickets: $25 - $69

from: Theater Review: Terrific Mini-Alt Circus 'Traces' in Town