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Saturday, February 26, 2011
By Barbara Sherman
In the past, kids dreamed of running away from home and joining the circus.
Stan Kramien took it one step further - he started his own circus along with several magic shows at various times during his decades-long career.
Stan, who now calls Summerfield home, got hooked on magic at an early age and enchanted thousands of audiences around the country as he took his shows to venues both big and small.
One of the first magicians to impress him was Blackstone, who did stage shows in Portland, where Stan was born May 9, 1925.
"I thought, 'When I grow up, I will have a big show like that,'" Stan said. "I did come back with a big show and saw the little kids in the audience who were as excited by the show as I had been at their age.
"For 35 years, I did a full evening show that played all over the country in small towns and big cities. We moved every day and worked every night."
As a young child, Stan's parents Clarence and Veda took him to see the circuses that came to town as well as to local vaudeville shows.
Whenever a magician was scheduled to appear at one of the vaudeville houses, Stan would skip school, hop on a streetcar to downtown Portland and get a front-row seat to watch the shows, which cemented his decision to become a magician.
Stan purchased his first tricks during a trip with his parents to the San Francisco Bay area in the late 1930s. Back home, Portland magicians tutored him in the finer points of the art.
By the 1940s, Stan was producing his own shows in Portland with another magician and occasionally his mom Veda, who would pay the piano for accompaniment and sell homemade pies during intermission.
Stan was drafted at the age of 18 during World War II, and his Army superiors, after learning about his background in magic, assigned him to Special Services in New York, where he became a member of Irving Berlin's famous "Opry House Gang" of actors.
Stan also performed in thousands of USO shows in camps and hospitals, giving as many as 25 performances per day.
While touring camps in Texas, Stan had the opportunity to see big, full-evening shows put on by some of the great talents in the field of magic, and he was especially impressed by Birch and Virgil, who seemed "more in control of their destinies than other performers."
Virgil and Birch were known as the "Tall Grass Showmen" because they played primarily in smaller towns that other shows bypassed, and Stan vowed to follow in their footsteps.
At the end of WWII, Stan stayed in New York, working as an actor on soap operas that were broadcast over the radio, as a "paid" contestant on such quiz shows as the "$64 Question," and on a series on the rights of Americans.
During the afternoons, Stan hung out at Lou Tannen's Magic Shop, where he heard performers spin tales, and in the evenings, he put on his act in night clubs.
Radio commentator Walter Winchell saw Stan's act one night and reported the next day, "Kramien is a 'Mad Man of Magic!’” Stan liked the billing and used it.
Back on the West Coast in 1947, Warren Gram, who had purchased the remains of Orson Welles' "Mercury Wonder Show," offered Stan a job in his new magic show, which became one of the largest magic units ever to tour.
For "Warren Gram's $25,000 House of Magic," Gram hired Stan to "help routine the illusions, write patter, act as chief assistant and do part of his own act during the show."
Stan stayed with the show for one season until Gram decided the show was too big to remain profit-making.
Next, Stan toured with a couple of other shows and managed his own "girl show" for one season, performing magic on the ballyhoo platform to draw a crowd, which brought him his first real taste of the "Tall Grass" life.
Starting in the fall of 1948, Stan toured for the next five years during the "death throes" of vaudeville with his own big show.
During the summers, he took the show outside under canvas, playing at large fairs.
Stan married one of his assistants on his show, Leone Johnson, and they settled in Seattle, performing their club act that featured the "Inexhaustible Beer Keg."
The “Greatest Show on Earth” confirmed today that it’s dropping plans to return to the fabled boardwalk for a third consecutive summer season, citing scheduling problems.
City officials said the decision is also due to rising operating costs, although Feld Entertainment, which runs the circus, says it isn't ruling out returning to Coney Island as early as summer 2012.
Some Coney Island merchants say Ringling Bros.’ decision is a big loss for the amusement district -- considering its 2009 and 2010 one-ring tent shows attracted more than 250,000 patrons to what had long been an empty boardwalk lot by W. 22 Street.
“It’s a very sad loss because they brought a lot of color and energy to Coney Island,” said activist Diana Carlin, who runs Lola Staar Boutique on the boardwalk.
City officials, however, said they plan to seek other “entertainment options” for the privately owned lot and build “on the success” of last summer – the amusement district’s busiest season in 46 years following the opening of the new Luna Park.
Although Ringling Bros. has kicked sand over its Coney Island operation this season, it isn’t giving up on Brooklyn.
Besides the possibility of a future Coney Island encore, the Greatest Show on Earth has inked a deal to bring at least 48 shows annually to the planned Barclays Center once the future Brooklyn home of the NBA’s Nets opens in mid-2012.
The shows will be much more extravagant than the boardwalk shows and rival similar Ringling Bros. shows now held at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan
It is with a heavy heart that I share the sad news that JP, nephew of Tai the Elephant, passed away at the tender age of 3 1/2. As the mother of a 3 1/2 year old myself, I can’t even begin to imagine the loss that Rosie, his Mommy, felt.
JP was born to Rosie, Tai’s sister, via artificial insemination because she was not able to conceive naturally. He was an absolute joy to his aunties Tai, Becky, Kitty and Dixie, as well as his human family at the ranch. He has an endless energy and enthusiasm that was a great source of delight to all those at the Have Trunk Will Travel Ranch.
JP succumbed to EEHV – Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus, and it’s killing baby elephants all around the world.
Auntie Tai, JP and Rosie in happier times
EEHV causes fatal haemorrhagic disease, attacking blood vessels, heart and similar organs in elephants and has become a very serious problem. This disease has a sudden acute onset and preferentially targets calves between the ages of one and eight years (with more than half of those between one and three years of age).
This elephant-specific disease has a mortality rate around 85% and has been the cause of death of approximately 25% of the Asian elephants born in North America since 1978. Various strains are found worldwide in both elephants in human care as well as in the wild.
RALEIGH, N.C. -- A year ago, high school senior Andrew Hicks of Goldsboro walked into the gloomy bowels of the RBC Center a little bit sick, a whole lot tense and with just four minutes to prove he deserved his lifelong dream job.
Recently, the Goldsboro native returned in a red rubber nose, greasepaint and full-blown triumph, bursting through a crimson curtain and parading into the arena amidst a cavalcade of elephants, tigers and acrobats.
He had filled those biggest of shoes: the job of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey clown.
Hicks, 19, was signed to a standard one-year clown contract after getting a rare in-person tryout at the RBC Center last February.
He was among just eight picked out of more than 100 who sought one of the rare jobs, and in November began touring the nation with one of Ringling's three circus units. These performances at the RBC Center mark his first appearance in North Carolina.
Hicks lives in the mile-long circus train with a stew of 270 performers and crew from 15 nations, helps set up and tear down the show, and performs up to three times a day, zipping in and out of each show six or seven times, juggling, riding in the clown car and performing quick-hit slapstick routines.
The life, he said, tops even his years of dreams.
"The whole experience is actually way better than I thought it would be," he said. "It felt too big for a while. The realization was very surreal. When we were on the floor rehearsing and training, and I was looking back at the big Ringling Bros. portal - the entrance between backstage and onstage - I was like, 'Wow, I'm here. I'm really doing this.'
"It felt like such a huge accomplishment and such a relief, really," he said.
'A feeling of success'
Read more: http://www.thesunnews.com/2011/02/26/2004652/teen-debuts-with-ringling-bros.html#ixzz1F4DSvbl6
Acrobatics "Fliers" won the prize of the French president, the top prize of the recent 19th Massy International Circus Festival held in France.
This number also grabbed golden prizes at the 12th Latina International Circus Festival and the 9th Grenoble International Circus Festival.
Other circus numbers including "Aerial Trapeze" and "Trapeze Flight on Horizontal Bar" were also highly acclaimed by spectators at the 26th "Golden Circus" International Circus Festival and the 9th Wuhan International Circus Festival.
A golden prize went to the aerial stunt "Three-stage Trapeze Flight" at the 33rd Monte Carlo International Circus Festival and a golden lion prize to "Flying on Double Swing" and "Balancing Etude" in the 12th Wuqiao International Acrobatic Festival.
Other circus numbers including "Multilateral Flight" and "Board and Swing" mesmerized the spectators at world famous circus festivals, a striking demonstration of the DPRK's daily developing Juche-oriented acrobatic art.
February 25, 2011
ATLANTA -- The Department of Natural Resources is investigating Clayton County Commissioner Eldrin Bell's ride on an elephant.
In Georgia, riding an elephant is illegal. The DNR is investigating Universoul Circus, as well as the elephant's owner.
Todd Holbrook, of the DNR, explained that elephants are legally classed as inherently dangerous animals. A condition of having a wild animal permit is not allowing people to ride the animal.
Universoul Circus is based in Atlanta.
CBS Atlanta asked a spokesman if steps should be in place to know if someone can ride an elephant in Georgia?
Hank Ernest, spokesperson for Universoul Circus, said, "I think you're right, and that's why we're going to look at what happened and why it happened."
Ernest said the circus is cooperating with the DNR, and the company started its own internal investigation.
CBS Atlanta asked how Bell was allowed to ride the elephant.
Ernest said, "Eldrin Bell is an esteemed member of our community, and we wanted to show him a good time at the circus, but what we did is something we're taking a look at right now.
Ernest said the commissioner was safe.
"In other states, it is perfectly fine and natural to ride the elephant around the ring," said Ernest.
According to Ernest, Bell was serving as honorary ringmaster, and in other states, that honor usually comes with an entrance on an elephant.
He went on to say Bell was the first person to ride an elephant at Universoul Circus in Georgia, and he will be the last.
Holbrook said it is early in the DNR investigation. Possible penalties include a fine or revoking the Georgia permit regarding elephants, and the possible penalties also depend on the circus and elephant owner's history
By ALYSSA HOLCOMB H-T intern
Sunday, February 20, 2011
The Key Chorale will shine under the Circus Sarasota Big Top as they invite audiences into the new era of "Cirque des Voix."
A first time event, "Voix" and the Chorale will feature 120 adult singers as well as 40 members of the Sarasota Young Voices and the Cirque Orchestra in a program that celebrates the beauty of the body and the voice of the human being.
"We think that what we are doing is showing how the human voice and the grace of trained performers can go together to make a memorable picture and soundscape," said Richard Storm, executive director of the Chorale.
Some of the pieces involved include "Gabriel's Oboe," during which legendary aerialist Dolly Jacobs will rise above the crowd and perform, as well as Welsh composer Karl Jenkins' "Requiem," a borderline hip-hop number that will surround a group of Moroccan acrobats.
"We were looking for pieces of music that the melodic arc of which would be complimentary to the arc of the performance," said Storm. "We picked (the pieces) out because they seemed to be the most unusual and something you wouldn't expect to hear at the circus. It's going to be music with a sense of humor and music that benefits from this setting of the big top.
"The old barriers are gone in terms of classical music. Anything is possible as long as it is done with skill and dedication. There is no limit to what you can do," continued Storm.
From The Sarasota Herald-Tribune
The act includes his wife, Alicia, and two of their three children, 7-year-old Olivia and 5-year-old Madison. The youngest member of the family, 11-month-old Ella, is in the training stage.
“Neither of us pushed or encouraged our daughters to perform,” he said. “They saw us practice and perform and wanted to join in. Both love doing it.”
Roger Farthing, public relations director for the Arab Shrine of Topeka, said this is the 72nd year the organization has brought the circus to town. Those attending will have a chance to win one of four bicycles at each performance.
Adult tickets are $16.50 for reserved seats and $13.50 for general admission seating. For children 12 and younger, the prices are $13 and $10, respectively.
Tickets can be purchased in Topeka at the Expocentre box office, the Arab Shrine Temple, 1305 S. Kansas Ave., and Dillons and Hy-Vee stores; in Lawrence at Hy-Vee and Dillons stores; and in Emporia at Crawford Furniture, Bad Ol' Bern's BBQ and Guion Showcase Furniture.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Cirque Mechanics: Ferst Center hosts family-friendly circus show
The show is determined not to take itself seriously though, and in many respects, it is purposefully unrefined. Set changes are not only not hidden; they are the focal point of the show. Operating stage mechanics like pulleys and cranes become a performance art unto itself. The corps of cowboys performs wall-runs up over-turned benches and takes turns launching one another off of two tilting telegraph poles connected by a pulley. The goofy mining prospector from the prologue surprises audiences with an impressive balancing act on jugs of moonshine.
Some of these tricks will seem familiar to those who have seen a Cirque du Soleil performance, and many of the acts go on for a few variations too long. In the case of the boozy balancing act, we watch the prospector work his way up from the flat of the crate, to the long side of the crate, to the short side of the crate, to many crates stacked on top of each other, to one crate sliding over many different bottles. They are all impressive feats of balance, but the arbitrary build-up will wear audiences down as opposed to psyching them up.
The performer’s technique is also self-consciously rough, deliberately blurring the lines between ballet, acrobatics, vaudeville and in one act, striptease. In many respects, this technical crudeness fits the rough-and-tumble sensibilities of the show’s Wild West setting. But on Friday night, the show’s technical roughness exceeded its metaphor in an ugly way. During the mining-cart trampoline scene near the beginning of the second act, one of the performers missed the foam landing pad and half-staggered, half-fell off stage. He did not emerge again even for the final curtain call. The remaining performers did an admirable job of covering his absence, though a couple of botched musical cues and an abrupt ending suggest that a routine or two had to be trimmed.
The troupe’s weakest link is the character actress who portrays the town’s lively kleptomaniac. Lacking the high flying skills or muscular discipline of her colleagues, she flits across the stage, squeaking and snatching things and cements both of the show’s weakest performances. The first is a tedious act of ‘magic’ where she appears to extract objects from her skirt and bodice, but no actual sleight-of-hand is required since the entire sequence takes place behind a silhouette screen. Her second contribution is an excruciating pantomime where she walks an audience member through an invisible jail cell routine. Both acts are accompanied by obnoxious sound effects that a Saturday morning cartoon would blush to use.
Compared to the surreal, bizarre, and occasionally disturbing dreamscapes of that other, more famous Cirque, one cannot help but wonder what Boomtown might have been if it ditched its dumbed-down comedy routines and simple-minded story-telling to focus squarely on elaborate mechanical apparatus and rope-assisted acrobatics. Families hoping for a fun, unpretentious take on modern circuses’ elaborate acrobatics will find something to like in Boomtown, but most other audiences can afford to give it a pass.
The Asian elephants settled into retirement at their new Los Angeles Zoo home last fall, but not before being unlawfully sold in 2006 to an east Texas man for demonstrations and programs at a private facility in Leggett, Texas, federal officials said. The pair were confiscated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the summer of 2009, after investigators said they found the pachyderms had lost substantial amounts of weight.
In a deal with prosecutors completed Tuesday, circus owner John Pugh and former independent contractor Wilbur Davenport settled the charge of illegally selling the pachyderms by agreeing to three years' probation, community service and fines.
Cole Bros. Circus spokeswoman Renee Storey said the issue was a "technicality." Pugh admitted he "failed to assure" that Davenport had obtained the necessary permit before transferring ownership of the elephants, according to a prepared statement. Storey said the circus continues to use elephants in its performances.
"Animals currently appearing as part of the Cole Bros. Circus are engaged by contract, and Cole Bros. Circus takes extra care to assure that all animal acts have the proper permits, and that the animals are treated in a humane and respectful manner," the statement said. "Mr. Pugh has taken full responsibility for his actions and has cooperated fully with the investigation, and the matter is now closed."
Pugh and Davenport pleaded guilty to violating the Endangered Species Act and were sentenced to 100 hours of community service every year for the three years of their probation.
Pugh's plea deal requires him to pay a $4,000 fine and $1,200 to a community service organization that works for conservation or rehabilitation of Asian elephants. Cole Bros. Circus is under four years of probation and has to pay a fine of $150,000 -- the value of the elephants.
Davenport, who was sentenced to a $5,200 fine, lost custody of the elephants almost two years ago after the federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service served him with a complaint alleging he failed to ensure safety and did not provide adequate veterinary care or food.
Tina and Jewel's odyssey started four years ago when they were sold through a lease-to-purchase agreement between Pugh and Davenport, federal officials said. The elephants, which have been companions for 30 years and were born in the wild, were priced at a total of $150,000.
Davenport performed with the elephants for the circus through the summer and fall of 2006 to pay off the balance owed for Tina and Jewel and then moved the elephants to his home facility in Texas. He intended to use the elephants, estimated to be in their 40s, for private events, personal demonstrations and elephant rides.
The men, however, did not secure the necessary permit to sell the endangered species across state lines, according to a news release issued by the U.S. Department of Justice.
"In limited circumstances, permits are issued when applicants demonstrate the sale or transfer of the endangered species will further scientific research, or enhance the propagation and survival of the species," the release state.
About 35,000 to 40,000 Asian elephants remain in the wild in India, China and much of Southeast Asia, according to Defenders of Wildlife's website. Deforestation is the main threat to their survival.
Tina and Jewel began their rehabilitation at the San Diego Zoo in 2009, where they were free to roam a 2.5-acre exhibit, said zoo spokeswoman Yadira Galindo.
They arrived underweight, with abscesses on their feet and dental issues, Galindo said. According to a zookeeper's online report, Jewel gained 1,000 pounds over the course of her roughly one-year stay.
By November 2010, they had recovered enough to move to a newly built home at the Los Angeles Zoo.
When the females walked into their new Elephants of Asia Barn, "they immediately vocalized with trumpets, squeaks and chirps," according to the zoo's website.
Billy, a male elephant, stood outside the barn, watching with interest, and then called back.
The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ) announced the settlement this afternoon in the case of Nicholas Botti, who standing on a public sidewalk when he was arrested March 7 of last year.
Ironically, Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus is coming to town this week.
"Looking back, it was futile to tell the police we weren’t breaking any laws,” Botti said, “but if my experience means the police don’t infringe on the rights of other people for speaking their minds, then it was a victory for both civil rights and animal rights."
Botti -- who was toting a sign that said "This is Ringling Baby Elephant Training" -- and six other protestors were herded into a “protest zone,” where, the ACLU said, “sparse foot traffic exposed fewer people to their signs and literature.”
So Botti and another activist moved to the intersection of Mulberry Street and Edison Place, diagonally across from the arena, where their signs could be seen more readily. Police soon arrested Botti on charges of obstructing the sidewalk and failing to observe a police order to move.
The ACLU took up the case (SEE: Nicholas Botti v. City of Newark), filing papers only a few weeks ago.
As part of the agreement that resulted, the City of Newark will provide free-speech policy training every six months to all police officers and city employees responsible for special event permits (SEE: Botti/Newark Agreement).
“Any policy can only be as good as its enforcement,” said ACLU-NJ Legal Director Ed Barocas. “Over the years we’ve helped Newark build strong free speech policies, and with new emphasis on teaching those policies, they’ll be even stronger.”
"We’re gratified that Newark not only recognized the importance of enforcing its free speech ordinances, but responded quickly to institute it," said Bennet Zurofsky, the attorney who represented Botti for the ACLU-NJ.
What the ACLU didn't mention was that the city also agreed to cover Botti's $1,600 in legal fees.
Adult tickets are $16.50 for reserved seats or $13.50 for general admission seating. For children 12 and younger, the prices are $13 and $10. Go to www.arabshrinecircus.com for a $2 discount ticket that must be purchased by 4 p.m. Friday.
MUHLENBERG COUNTY, KY - The 2011 Edition of Circus Pages will be bringing all the splendor and glamour of the circus to Muhlenberg County, with international circus stars and exotic animals.
The highlight of the show is considered the elephants, tigers (including a white tiger), dogs, horses and ponies. Circus Pages claims to be the only small show with white lions - Sarabi and Achilles. During the circus, take advantage of a chance to ride a pony or an elephant!
The circus will be held at the Muhlenberg County Ag Center on Tuesday, March 1 at 4:30 PM and 7:30 PM. Tickets are $15 per adult. Each adult may bring two children free of charge. Additional childrens tickets will cost $2 each. Free childrens tickets are available at many local retailers.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
BEAUMONT, Texas, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- The owner of a circus and a buyer have pleaded guilty in Texas in the sale of two Asian elephants, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
The U.S. Justice Department said in a release Cole Brothers Circus owner John Pugh, Wilbur Davenport, who was the buyer, and the circus business entered plea agreements Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Beaumont, Texas, to violations of the Endangered Species Act.
Prosecutors said Davenport approached Pugh in 2005 about the purchase of Tina and Jewel, the elephants owned by the circus, and the men executed a lease and sale agreement for $150,000 without obtaining a permit required because Asian elephants are endangered.
Pugh and Davenport were sentenced to three years of probation and 100 hours of community service for each year of probation. Pugh also was fined $4,000 and ordered to pay $1,200 to an organization or organizations working for the conservation or rehabilitation of Asian elephants. Davenport was fined $5,200. Cole Brothers Circus was sentenced to four years of probation and a $150,000 fine.
The U.S. Agriculture Department seized Jewel from Davenport, who then abandoned Tina to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The two elephants were transported together to the San Diego ZooRead more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/02/23/Circus-owner-guilty-in-sale-of-2-elephants/UPI-92311298510710/#ixzz1EsURTfoD
Feb. 24, 2011
County fairs are known for their quirky events.
The Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival, with its infamous ostrich and camel races, is no exception.A stroll around the vast fairgrounds in Indio will reveal a bounty of odd and unusual performances.There are the “usual” pig races, hypnotists, children's tractor pulls and break dancing demonstrations.
But then there's Zunie, a 19-year-old Capuchin monkey dressed as a cowboy who charges $1 to shake hands.Intermittent crowds of giggling children and camera-snapping parents can be found around Zunie. She is trained to grab each dollar that is dangled in front of her, stick it in her pocket and then gingerly shake hands.“We've been out here every year for like 30 years,” said Zunie's owner, Tony Barbado, of Little Rock, who owns other performance monkeys as well.Across the fairgrounds near the arena is a station where festivalgoers can learn almost all there is to know about milking. But the cows at this fair don't say “moo.” They're female camels, aka cows.“We're the only place in the western hemisphere you can see camel milking,” said Nancy Riegler, owner of Oasis Camel Dairy based in San Diego County.Riegler and her husband, Gil, demonstrate camel milking to modest crowds twice a day.read more at:http://www.mydesert.com/article/20110224/LIFESTYLES0110/102240308/Riverside-County-Fair-National-Date-Festival-offers-multitude-unusual-performers-demonstrations?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CFrontpage
DULUTH — The Arena at Gwinnett Center has hosted some exciting events in the past, but this week for the first time it is home to Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus. More specifically, the Arena is temporarily home to elephants, tigers, horses, goats, a rescue dog named Lika, llamas, ponies and an African Watusi named “Pee Wee.”
The show rolled into Gwinnett for a one-week stint in Atlanta at Philips Arena, rumbling in on a 61-car train and 12 flatbed semis. In just about seven hours, the animal compound was set up and ready to hold the majestic creatures showcased in the Greatest Show on Earth. The elephants, all Asian and all female except for a male named Irving, spend much of the day outside in pens. Sand and hay are provided to the animals as “enrichment” materials; the elephants pick up the material and throw it onto their backs.
READ MORE AT:http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/home/headlines/Caring_for_circus_animals_requires_time_respect_116788528.html
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
ATLANTA -- A metro Atlanta mother said she took her children to the circus and was outraged by a skit that portrayed strippers, pimps and other adult themes.
Kristen Brown told Channel 2’s Eric Philips she took her 5- and 8-year-old children to the Universoul Circus Sunday night and was stunned by the final act.
“There are ladies pretending to strip, men throwing money at her, then a pimp comes on the stage and the woman’s boyfriend sells her to him and the pimp slaps her when she refuses to cooperate,” Brown said. “They’re pretending to smoke marijuana and sniff cocaine.”
A circus spokesman defended the act, saying it has a message. “Our show is about positive messages and sometimes to get to those high you have to go to those lows,” said circus spokesman Hank Ernest.
Ernest told Philips the gospel-themed finale ends with the main female character giving her life to Christ and starting over.
“It’s all about the message of our circus which is things do happen, make a go of it, live well,” Ernest said.
Brown admitted to Philips she was so offended that she took her kids and walked out before the end of the show. “I didn’t think that was child friendly at all,” Brown said.
Parents told Philips that there was a disclaimer at the beginning of Monday night’s performance warning parents that some of the content may be too mature for children under 6 years old.
Circus patrons who talked to Philips after the show had mixed opinions. “I was holding their eyes because it was too graphic,” said Itiya Beckam, who brought her children.
“I didn’t think it was too graphic,” said patron Nicole Shaw. “They brought it back around to church and I thought it was good.”
“It was a little graphic, but I mean it's real life. It happens,” said Brian Deforde, who also attended Monday’s show.
The Universoul Circus is scheduled to perform in Atlanta through Sunday.
LA SPEZIA, Italy, Feb. 22
Flavio Togni, owner of the American Circus, said the mother camel, Tundra, went into labor at about 7 a.m. Tuesday and the birth was attended by all circus staff, ANSA reported Tuesday.
Togni said the father camel, Pasha, was also present for the birth of the baby.Read more: http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2011/02/22/Albino-camel-born-to-Italian-circus/UPI-28531298404240/#ixzz1Endsgoyb
Feb. 22, 2011 9:21
MONTREAL — The Cirque du soleil says it will tour Russia this year and has clinched a partnership for next year with the Kremlin Palace Theatre in Moscow.
"Saltimbanco," the Cirque's signature arena touring show, will travel to four major Russian cities in 2011.
Craig Cohon, vice-chairman of Cirque du soleil says the acclaimed circus troupe has also signed a major deal with the Kremlin Palace Theatre to bring a new show to Moscow.
The show, named "Zarkana," is budgeted at $57 million and will premiere in 2012.
It will only be shown on two stages, at the Kremlin Palace and at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
Cirque du soleil has been in the Russian market since 2008 and the new efforts are part of an expansion.
It will also premiere two other shows this year, including the Michael Jackson-based "The Immortal World Tour," and "Iris."
Circus to perform in ‘Eden’
by Karen Price, South Wales Echo---Feb 23 2011
NOFIT State Circus is leaving its Cardiff big top behind and heading to Cornwall to create a major outdoor aerial acrobatic show to celebrate the Eden Project’s 10th birthday.
The company will take over the top eco visitor attraction in Cornwall for a whole month this summer as it stages Labyrinth.
And the performance will culminate in a finale under Eden’s very own big top – the first time the entire attraction has been used as a stage.
Tom Rack, Nofit State’s creative producer, said: “We’ve performed in some amazing venues but this will be one of our most spectacular, performing against the stunning backdrop.
“It’s going to be a show to thrill, enchant and touch the soul of the young and the young at heart.”
Labyrinth will take place from July 29 to August 29.Read More http://www.walesonline.co.uk/showbiz-and-lifestyle/arts-in-wales/2011/02/23/circus-to-perform-in-eden-91466-28217016/#ixzz1EnaLMHjO
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
He took a deep breath and approached the man dressed in white, shyly grinning in anticipation of their meeting. The clown waved and asked the boy about his blue highlights.
The 7-year-old retreated behind his grandmother's arm, re-emerging only when the clown asked if he wanted to take a photo.
"I think you two are related," the grandmother quipped as the boy placed a red ball on his nose.
But Sunday's benefit circus was not just for the children.
Residents of all ages gathered under the big top at the Kmart parking lot to raise money and awareness for an ongoing effort to save the Venice Circus Arena, a 4,500-seat facility.
Nearly 280 volunteers assisted the Venice Circus Arts Foundation in bringing the show to the area.
The group needs about $10 million to restore and modernize what foundation executive director Orlando Bevington call the "jewel" of the community.
"It needs to be saved," he said of the arena at Ringling Drive South and Airport Avenue East. "We're not trying to reinvent the wheel. We're trying to bring something back."
Mark Gebel, who spent many years performing inside the arena, said the goal is to use the facility year-round for myriad community events, such as sporting events and trade shows.
"We know in our heart that we at least tried," he said.
The sentiment was shared by those who remember the arena from childhood memories.
"This is a great event," said Terri Simon, noting her high school graduation was at the arena. "I believe in the history of things and I think the circus made Southwest Florida."
The foundation plans to have shows again Saturday and Sunday, starting at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., at Kmart, 1687 Tamiami Trail.
Ignacio Ybarra performs under the big top during a circus show in Venice on Sunday. (Herald-Tribune staff photo by Dan Wagner)
Nancy Berman is a clown during a circus show in Venice on Sunday. (Herald-Tribune staff photo by Dan Wagner)
By JOE SEELIG
February 22, 2011
SEBRING - Attendance was just up at the 2011 Highlands County Fair that was the "best fair ever," according to George White, president of the Highlands County Fair Association.
He felt it could be a sign that the economy is improving.
"Our attendance was up," he said. "We had better rides this year. We had very few complaints. I think from one end to the other it was very successful. The entertainment was good, livestock was wonderful; it went real smooth."
Last year's attendance was about 38,000 people. This year's number was 39,351.
The Highlands County Cattlewomen's Association and Cattlemen's Association fed 350 in the newly built Highlands County Fair Convention Center for the buyers' dinner, he said.
"We've contracted the Reithoffer Shows for (the next) five years, so they're going to be our fair provider. That's all the fair; all the rides, all the midway.
White gave a lot of credit for the fair's success to the people behind the scenes, in the office, volunteers, the Highlands County Fair Association board, the Sebring Firemen, etc.
"We don't start preparing the week of the fair," he said. "We start months ahead of time, getting our entertainment, getting our chainsaw guy…
"We've already signed our chainsaw guy for next year, which is our 75th. The date will be Feb. 10 through the 18, for 2012.
White was happy with everything.
"The livestock sale, the animal prices were good," he said. "The buyer's dinner went over really well. A lot of fairs don't do as well as we do on livestock."
He credited the Jr. Livestock Committee, especially Mark Bryan, committee chairman.
"They put in a ton of hours," he said. "I won't say we couldn't do it without them, but I sure wouldn't want to try to."
The hospitality room was also a great success, providing a place for people to sit down and have some refreshments. The Strawberry Shack did well in support of Project Graduation.
Use of the convention center was also a big plus. The Miss Highlands, Jr. Miss Highlands and Little Miss Highlands pageants were all well attended.
The sound in the convention remains a work-in-progress, he said.
"We still have quite a bit more sound board to put up," he said, adding they spent about $33,000 on the speakers and sound system for the building. The problem is not with the system, it is with the acoustics due to the large size of the building.
They are working with their consultant and the work on the acoustics is being tackled in stages.
Everybody going out the gate was happy, said Michael Knott, with the fair's board of directors.
Cirque du Soleil to Open $57 Million Show in Kremlin With Elton John Help
The entertainment company is spending $57 million to develop a new show called “Zarkana” that will debut at Radio City Music Hall, New York, in June before beginning an engagement at the Kremlin Palace from February to April next year, the company said in a statement distributed at a news conference in Moscow today. U.K. singer-songwriter Elton John will organize the music for “Zarkana,” Chief Executive Officer Daniel Lamarre told reporters.
Cirque du Soleil, based in Montreal, has invested more than $45 million in activities in Russia since 2008, when it first performed in the country under a partnership with George Cohon, who opened the first McDonald’s restaurant in Moscow in 1990, before the Soviet Union collapsed, Lamarre said. Cohon was correct when he insisted in 2008, at the height of the global financial crisis, that Russians would be ready to see Cirque du Soleil, Lamarre said.
“For me Cirque du Soleil in Kremlin says it all,” Cohon said today. A Kremlin Palace official confirmed the agreement by telephone, declining to be identified in line with state policy.
The circus brought two large-scale touring shows to Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kazan and sold more than 510,000 tickets in the past two years in Russia. The circus will continue touring in the country with its signature arena show “Saltimbanco,” bringing it to four major Russian cities in fall 2011.
Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte spent nine days as a tourist on the International Space Station in October 2009 under a commercial agreement with Russia’s Federal Space Agency, or Roscosmos. Laliberte, a former fire-eater, said from space that the $35 million price tag was “worth every penny.”
A Circus Mondao spokesman said several outfits were taken in the middle of the night on 20 February.
The thieves stole a plume for a horse, a ring-mistress jacket and a sequined shirt, Lincolnshire police said.
The circus, near Spalding, has borrowed outfits until the new items can be custom made, which could take up to eight weeks.
"It will cost me £300 for a new ring-mistress coat which is made in Glasgow," ring-mistress Petra Jackson said.
A police spokesman said a vehicle was heard by circus staff during the night, but no-one has been arrested.
Other items that were stolen included some cash and a staple gun.
The 87th Annual Southwest Florida & Lee County Fair begins this Friday, Feb. 25, and will run through Sunday, March 6, at the Lee Civic Center.
"Moonlight Madness" nights this year are Friday, Feb. 25, and Friday, March 4. Moonlight Madness goes from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. with unlimited rides for $20.
Many come just to enjoy the animal and other exhibits. The fair draws exhibitors from five counties from 4-H and Future Farmers of America and other participants.
There will be the standard favorites in rides along with new rides.
For entertainment and shows, local talent is always a favorite, including the returning Ronnie Morgan, Brooke Huffmaster and the Del Prados.
Concerning shows for all ages, the popular kid favorites Kandu & Co. Magic Show and Tadpole the Clown will be back this year, along with the Wild About Monkeys animal show and the Shark Encounter. New is the Discovering Science Exhibit and the new Extreme Canines Stunt Dog Show.
Executive producer Chris the "Stunt Dog Guy" Perondi is the organizer of the Extreme Canine Stunt Show. "We've been traveling nationwide and will do about 700 shows this year, at theme parks, events and other county fairs."
His dogs have been featured on Oprah Winfrey Show, The Ellen Show, even the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
"We'll be bringing all different breeds - I rescue them from shelters."
He said it takes about a year to train the dogs, and they love performing. "My slogan is that it is fur-flying family fun. We're looking forward to our first time in Fort Myers."
Another new happening at the fair this year is that organizers are offering children's birthday parties, said Fair General Manager Alta Mosley. For birthday party information, call 543-8364.
What does she like most about the fair? "My satisfaction is seeing other people's enjoyment," she said. "We hope people will come and see the fair grow."
Regular admission is $7 adults, $4 children six to 11, five and under free, with free parking.
Weekdays, the fair opens at 5 p.m., and at noon on Saturdays and Sundays.
The Lee Civic Center is located at 11831 Bayshore Rd. in North Fort Myers.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Tommy Witters of Cortlandt Manor and his son, Danny, 6, watch a trapeze act Sunday at the Royal Hanneford Circus.
On The Road With Gran Circo MexicoThis film takes us on a very unusual road trip, as filmmaker Aaron Schock follows the Ponce clan, a family of ten who run the Gran Circo Mexico, a small traveling circus that constantly tours the scenic Mexican countryside. The focus is on the family members -- five adults and five youngsters -- as they face the financial and emotional hardships of continuing their clan's century-old circus tradition and way of life.We travel with the Ponces, seeing how they live in their trailer, roll into a town and unpack their semi which is filled with the big top tent, aerial rigging, 'globe of death,' a caged tiger and a tethered camel, and other equipment. They set up, perform, pack up and are on the move again.
The work is physically grueling and there is little economic reward in these times of economic recession. The family is struggling, and there are questions about whether they will be able to and should keep their circus business and family tradition alive.
There are also concerns for the welfare of the children, who manage to fit in some play time between their tasks, rehearsals and performances. They seem happy, but they clearly work too hard and are not being given a primary education. They can pitch a tent and do back bends, but they don't know how to read and write. taught to read and write. Their mother, who married into the Ponce family and isn't tied to the circus tradition, wants a better, brighter, different future for them.
Refreshing AuthenticityThe Ponce's story is well told. It is sufficiently detailed but not repetitive. The characters go freely about their daily lives and express their distinct points of view freely without an eye to the ever present camera. They do occasionally address the camera directly to share their thoughts, however Aaron Schock keeps himself out of the picture, so your impressions never seem to be filtered through his. The film has a refreshing authenticity to it. And, rather extraordinarily, it elicits in you a subtle nostalgia for a way of life with which you're newly familiar. Circo has neither the scope nor the spectacular cinematography of the other 2010 circus documentary, Circus, the PBS six-episode chronicling of a year's tour with the NY-based Big Apple Circus, nor does it have the high narrative drama of the 1952 Oscar-winning The Greatest Show On Earth, but it is an equally entertaining and truly lovely portrait of a small, independent, very traditional family circus and a fast fading way of life. If the Gran Circo Mexico does eventally fall by the wayside, at least we will have this captivating and wonderfully empathetic documentary to memorialize it.
SITTING ringside is probably the worst place to be if you're the shy and retiring type.
On Friday, The Netherlands National Circus made its return to Trentham Estate, where it will remain throughout half-term.
It is an animal-free production, meaning that the entertainment is left to a talented cast of jaw-droppingly flexible gymnasts, trapeze artists and a clown with an eye for the ladies.
Helped along by plenty of audience participation, it's no use pretending you can get away with clapping along politely.
If you're really going to enjoy yourself, you've got to fully commit to shouting, singing and cheering as loudly as you can.
Which is where poor "Samantha" stepped in.
Once the clown took a shine to her, singling her out of a virtually sold-out Big Top, she had no escape.
Part of the humour with these things comes from the relief you feel when you're not the one being picked on.
At any rate I was thanking my lucky stars that he didn't zone in on me. He was getting ever closer – and I was considering making a dash for it – when he mercifully stopped next to Samantha (as she gave her name to everyone).
To be fair she did a brilliant job when it came to joining in.
I saw the same circus a couple of years ago and, thanks to the newly-formed double act with his victim, the clown has got even funnier.
Most of the other acts, which featured some familiar and new faces, also bettered the previous performance.
But because some of the juggling and balancing feats were so technically complex, not everything went to plan. There was the occasional wobble, albeit nothing too serious. Still, the acrobatic displays – including an "I can't believe they just did that" group of Limbo dancers – were simply stunning.
With tickets starting from £10 for a child, it's fairly pricey. However, as a half-term treat it can't be beaten.
My five-year-old son Max certainly enjoyed himself.
Although if we go again we'll be avoiding ringside seats. Next time around we might be made to walk the high wire.
The Netherlands National Circus runs until Sunday, February 27. Call the box office on 08444 155228.
Sun, Feb 20, 2011
According to a STOMP report, the show had been shortened because some performers were injured.
However, reader Lee was displeased because the audience was not given prior notice that the show was not going to go on.
In a published letter to STOMP, he said: "It was cut short to 60 minutes with acts and segments omitted.
"No announcements were made and more so no apology."
He added that the audience did not even receive any apology nor a refund, even though they paid the full price for the show.
According to Sistic website, the duration of the act is about 1h 30min.
Prices of tickets range from $48 to $188.
At the Cloverdale Citrus Fair, victory tastes all the sweeter for just how hard it is to attain.
The Cloverdale Lion's Club took first in the fair’s much sought-after citrus exhibit contest for creating a Mel’s Drive-in, complete with a carhop in roller skates, a top-chopped Chevy pickup and, of course, 1,041 oranges, 63 lemons and 89 limes. It probably took 1,000 man-hours to complete, organizers said.
“It’s a thrill to hear you’ve won,” said Lion’s member George “Tex” Dickens, who said design on the project began back in October. “It’s very competitive.”
There are plenty of other attractions at the 119th annual Citrus Fair, which started Friday and continues through Monday with free admission for children 12 and under. Like most fairs, the schedule includes dogs shows, live stocks contests and plenty of rides.
For many locals, however, the biggest draw is each other. As of Saturday, the event had brought in about 7,000 guests, on pace to reach the 15,000 attendees that organizers said they expected by Monday’s conclusion.
That’s just a fraction of the turnout bigger events, such as the Sonoma County Fair, attract, but the Citrus Fair’s size adds to its coziness. Dickens, for one, had a hard time walking five feet without hearing his name called, a consequence of having been to every fair since 1960.
But Doris Michalek can beat that streak. The Geyserville resident has been attending for 54 straight years. She once bought her own children, now she has great-grandchildren who go.
On Sunday, Michalek, daughter-in-law Linda Amann and granddaughter Charity Koch were all dressed up in poodle-skirts ready for the sock hop.
“We going to the dance, we’ve got to find dates,” joked Amann, sporting a pink pair of Peggy Sue glasses, apt for the fair’s “Rockin’ with the 50s” theme.
Despite the other attractions, the fair’s citrus exhibits remain the most unique aspect of the fair and the most curious considering Cloverdale is an area better known for vineyards than orange orchards.
Back in the late 19th century, however, Cloverdale seemed on the verge of a bright future as the Orange Belt of Sonoma County, which the fair was designed to promote.
A couple of killer frosts squelched that dream, although not the Citrus Fair or the drive to make the best citric exhibit possible
The Lion’s Club may have taken top honors this year, but plenty of people were impressed by effort of the Kiwanis Club of Cloverdale, which used 1,650 oranges, 100 limes and a range of food, including black beans, bread sticks and licorice, for an exhibit featuring a Baldwin junior grand piano and a giant Gibson guitar.
“It’s got more oranges, and I think it’s very creative,” said Clay Skelton, a retired builder and photographer who would have given first place to the Kiwanis.
read more at:http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20110220/NEWS/110229974?Title=Sweet-fun-at-Cloverdale-s-Citrus-Fair