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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Animal ethicists call for new terminology

It's OK to love your differentiated being but don't dare call it a “pet.”

Photograph by: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
By Adrian Humphreys, National Post May 10, 2011Animal ethicists are calling for a new vocabulary about animals, shunning words such as “pets,” “wildlife,” and “vermin” as derogatory and even suggesting “animal” is a “term of abuse.”
Common language on fauna betrays an “anthropocentric bias” and impedes an understanding of our interaction with the non-human species sharing the planet, argue the editors of the first academic journal dedicated to animal ethics in their debut issue.
Instead of “pet,” the Journal of Animal Ethics suggests “companion animal.” Rather than “wildlife,” they are to be called “free-living.” “Differentiated beings” or “non-human animals” is preferred to simply “animals.”
Words such as “vermin,” “beasts” and “critters” are stricken completely, along with similes such as “sly as a fox,” “drunk as a skunk,” “eat like a pig,” “slippery as an eel,” “breeding like rabbits” and “stubborn as a mule.”
“We will not be able to think clearly unless we discipline ourselves to use more impartial nouns and adjectives in our exploration of animals and our moral relations with them,” the editors write.
The argument has led to a public outcry that political correctness has run amuck, but the journal’s co-editor insisted terminology has the power to change how people think and act.
read more at:
It just keeps getting sillier and sillier!
What next?

May 26-30, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

Chico, CA

Russell Bros. Circus
It's kind of like an old cliche.
Kid sees the circus and loves it. Kid runs away to join the circus. Kid grows up and becomes the ringmaster!But for Edward Russell, it's been the story of his life. "When I was a kid I always wanted to do this," said the 73 year old owner of Russell Brothers Circus. "One summer I went and did it, and I never went back. I ran a side show and introduced all the odd, unusual and bizarre acts."Viewers see a magician, a disappearing dove named Hugo Birdini, a man completes a handstand on several stacked and wobbly chairs, a trick called "Temple Benares" that involves a disappearing man and numerous swords, and a amusing clown named Bingo who can balance a circling saucer on a thin stick.Of course that isn't the entire show. Kids cheer on each new trick to come.

Loaded lineup at the Silver Dollar Fair starting Thursday

Marco Frias sets up the Yo-Yo Swings at the Silver Dollar Fair on Tuesday.

(Jason Halley/Staff Photo)



CHICO, CA — The build-up for the annual Silver Dollar Fair is almost complete, with youth dropping off their animals, carnival rides erected and vendors rolling out their wares. The fair starts Thursday and wraps up Memorial Day.
"If you look at our schedule of events, you could spend two days here and not see everything," said Scott Stoller, fair manager.
The Oreo-eating piglet racers of Ham Bone Express were such a big hit last year that they were asked to return.
Other features include the burly Village Blacksmith, Russell Brothers Circus, the juggler/comedian Greg Frisbee Show, a hypnotist, clowns, balloons and puppets.
Bright lights — It won't just be your imagination, this year the carnival will be brighter than you remembered.
Stoller said major improvements have been made to the giant Ferris wheel, including the ability to have changing light patterns. The newly programmed LED bulbs use less energy, and give out more zing. Also, the area has a new 40-by-20 foot lighted entryway.
"This is the same carnival (rides) as at the state fair," Stoller said. "Your kids can go crazy here."
In addition to what fair lovers have come to expect, Stoller highlighted several of the features that are new this year.
The Yard/grandstand shows — People who enjoy the live entertainment at the fair will have extended opportunities this year in "The Yard." READ MORE:

Circus career flying

Baroque characters from Cirque du Soleil's Saltimbanco. Source: The Daily Telegraph
Sally Bennett

From: Herald Sun

May 27, 2011
LIFE on the road with the world's most acclaimed circus can be a bit of a juggle. But after two years touring with Cirque du Soleil, Melbourne acrobat Keiran Bourke has found his feet.
Weekly moves from one city to the next, disconnected from family and friends, is now the norm for the 22-year-old, who has found love on tour and is relishing the nomadic lifestyle.
"I've lost count of how many countries I've been to," Bourke says.
"It's great fun being able to travel the world and get paid for it. There's not much more I could ask for."
His girlfriend is Saltimbanco teammate Arena, a Mongolian-born, Brazilian-raised acrobat and contortionist.
For now, working and travelling together on the same show is a blessing, affording them much down-time together.
"If you end up in different shows, it's more difficult. Then you've got to do the long-distance thing," Bourke says.
"One of the guys has a girlfriend on another show and each tour break they go and see each other."
Bourke, who trained at Albury-Wodonga's Flying Fruit Fly Circus, has a contract with Cirque until the end of the year, but hopes this is just the beginning of his high-flying career.
It is the first time he has performed for Cirque in Australia and he is thrilled to be on home soil.
"I didn't think we were going to come to Australia and I got pretty excited when they told us," Bourke says. "Everyone will be able to see what I've been doing for so many years. It's nerve-wracking, but it's good to be here."
Bourke's parents, two brothers and old friends from the Fruit Fly Circus will be among the crowd during Saltimbanco's Melbourne season at Rod Laver Arena.
Bourke says he spends about an hour on stage and is one of the performers who do the famous Chinese Poles.
"Everyone's really close. We all look after each other," he says of his teammates. "We've got to have a lot of trust in each other. In some things we've actually got each other's lives in our hands."
SALTIMBANCO, Cirque du Soleil, performing at Rod Laver Arena until June 11. Tickets: or ph: 132 849

Friday, May 27, 2011

Five injured when strong winds topple circus tent

Friday, May 27, 2011

By Paula Reed Ward,

Pittsburgh Post-GazetteFive

people were injured, including one seriously, when a circus tent collapsed during a severe storm in Westmoreland County Thursday afternoon.
The Lewis and Clark Circus was set up for two fundraising shows for the Seward Volunteer Fire Company when a strong wind gust ripped down the red-and-yellow big top, said fire Chief Travis Lovejoy.
Three people were taken to area hospitals by ambulance, while two others went by private vehicles. Mr. Lovejoy said one of the people injured had a head injury and was in intensive care late Thursday night.
Westmoreland County and areas east of Pittsburgh were hit hardest by severe storms that swept through the region late in the afternoon.
One of the hardest-hit communities was Derry, Westmoreland County, said forecaster John Darnley, of the National Weather Service.
Northern West Virginia received a lot of hail, ranging in size from 1/4- to 3/4-inch, and some homes were damaged in Westover, W.Va., according to the Weather Service.
The severe weather has moved past the area, and the only precipitation left should be scattered showers this evening, Mr. Darnley said.
The holiday weekend is expected to be sunny and warm, with highs on Sunday of 88 degrees and Monday, 91.
Anyone who purchased tickets for the Lewis and Clark Circus and missed the two shows that were cancelled today can contact the fire station for a refund at 814-446-5428.Read more:

Joseph Dominick Bauer

Tough circus life a dream come true for some

Kelly Miller Circus entertained crowds at Bellbrook Middle School last week.

Katherine Ullmer/Staff WriterThe Kelly Miller Circus camels raced around the ring and then followed a command to stand still. Staff photos by Katherine Ullmer

.By Katherine Ullmer, Staff Writer

Thursday, May 26, 2011

SUGARCREEK TWP., Greene County, Ohio — Circus life is tough but “Lucky” Eddie Straeffer, musical director for the Kelly Miller Circus that came to town May 18 at Bellbrook Middle School, loves it.
He is not alone. Others?working with the one-ring?traveling circus from Hugo, Okla., proclaimed the same.
“I love it,” said Gustavo Perez, of Puebla, Mexico, who directed arriving circus vehicles and trailers?to designated spots on the parking lot in front of the school. His wife travels with him. “We’re a circus family,” he said. He’s been with the Kelly Miller Circus 20 years.
Originally scheduled to be on the nearby grassy field, the large, 40-foot high, 130-foot-by-120-foot?wide waterproof vinyl tent, which holds about 1,200 spectators, had to be raised on the asphalt parking lot because of recent heavy rains. Workers tethered the tent with chains, ropes and cables to their surrounding trailers and vehicles.
“It’s a good life. It’s an honest life, though it’s not easy,” said Sara Greene, 38, of New Hampshire, a self-taught aerialist, who also dances and rides elephants in the show. She’s been touring 15 years with several different groups. As a creative person, circus life “is a good fit,” she said. She brings along her 4-year-old daughter, who sometimes helps with the dog and pony practice. They live in a 26-foot trailer she drives to each show.

Touring is her first love. “When I left high school, I traveled for 10 years,” she said. To earn money she did odd jobs, farmed, and served an apprenticeship in theater work. “This is one of the few old-style shows,” she said. “It’s a tough tour, but it would be a shame to lose a show like this. We suffer, but we stick it out.”
Straeffer of Fort Pierce, Fla., serves as ticket manager and has been with Kelly Miller Circus five years. He said his longtime friend, John Ringling North II, phoned him and said he had just bought a circus and wanted to know if he would be a part of it as in days of old. “I ran away and joined his father’s circus 50 years ago,” Straeffer said. He stayed with it about a year, he said. A sculptor, Straeffer was superintendent of a historical museum when he retired, he said.
LeBrone Harris of Tampa, Fla., who sells tickets for the show, said it was always his childhood dream to join the circus. “When I was about 5 years old, I saw my first circus,” he said. “I fell in love with the idea.”
Practical as he was, though, “I earned a doctorate in accounting,” he?said. For 31 years, he taught at Florida State University and the University of South Florida in Tampa. After retiring, “I joined the circus and fulfilled my dream,” he said. “I like moving and meeting people. I enjoy the people in the show. It’s all family. We have our own school and two chefs (the fire eaters) who are wonderful cooks. We’re a self-contained city.”
“You’re not going to get rich,” he said. “People are in the circus just because they love the circus and love that life.”
The Kelly Miller Circus?travels seven days a week for eight months of the year, from February to October, moving and doing two performances?a day. The day before coming to the Bellbrook/Sugarcreek Twp. area, it had been in Sabina, Ohio, Harris said. That made for a quick trip here Wednesday morning, he said.
They had to skip a show in Tell, Ind., about three weeks before because of high water, he said.
Armando Loyal, a native Oklahoman and the elephants’ presenter, is part of a ninth generation circus family. He helped raise the Big Top’s main poles using one of the circus’s three elephants as children from Stephen Bell Elementary School, bused over for the occasion, gathered inside the tent to watch May 18.
Many shouted, “Hi, elephant!” and returned to see the afternoon or evening show, which had a Western theme and featured five tigers who sat up and leapt on command, a high-speed juggler, a lassoist who twirled ever larger rings, a father who tossed his acrobatic children into the air with his feet, two slap-stick trumpet-playing clowns, aerialists, two giant camels who raced around the ring together, lumbering elephants who performed tricks, fire eaters, dancers, performing dogs, hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts, cotton candy and balloons. You could have your picture taken with a live tiger, ride an elephant, pony or camel, or have your face painted during the 20-minute intermission.
According to Dick Cost, chairman of the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Education Foundation that sponsored the fundraiser, the circus surpassed their expectations with attendance and performance. They sold 1,600 tickets and earned about $4,000 for the foundation, he said.

Juicy food, fun, rides

Crowds line up for Orange Festival's opening day

Richard Olvera and his family walk along the midway at the National Orange Show Festival on Thursday. (Gabriel Luis Acosta/Staff Photographer)

By Michel Nolan Staff Writer
From the ContraCoastalTimes
SAN BERNARDINO - Lexi Ramirez, 5, of Colton couldn't wait until she'd had a slice of pizza on Thursday afternoon, opening day at the Orange Show Festival.
"It's really good," she said between bites.
Her younger brother, Ryan, 2, nodded in agreement.
Later, the pair were looking forward to ice cream, said their grandmother, Dot Garcia, also of Colton.
For nearly a century, the National Orange Show has been bringing juicy fun to San Bernardino.
Crowds of people lined up on opening day, streaming through the entrance, where game booths, food vendors, midway and carnival rides spread out around the venue's centerpiece lagoon.
San Bernardino native Patsy Lara waited in line with her daughter and granddaughters.
"I've been coming here every year since 1960," Lara said.
Leriha Lara, 10, said she couldn't wait for the carne asada tacos and a ride on the Crazy Coaster.
Freshly squeezed fun includes free, live entertainment (with paid admission), attractions, art exhibits, animal shows, state-of-the-art carnival rides, and community stage performances. Presented by GCF Events and Ray Cammack Shows, the festival runs through Memorial Day on Monday and is jam-packed with new shows and traditional favorites.
Donald Ruiz, a die-hard Orange Show fan, said he hasn't missed the festival since the days of the Swing Auditorium and the wooden roller coaster in the `50s and `60s.
The National Orange Show, which began in 1911, officially celebrates 100 years. Literally, however, because it was dark for four years during World War II, this is the 96th edition of the festival.
Headline entertainment in the Orange Pavilion includes Smash Mouth tonight; El Coyote y Su Banda Tierra Santa & Banda Costado on Saturday; Irene Davi and Mariachi on Sunday; and Eddie Money on Monday.
Juicy attractions and family fun shows range from the Jest in Time Circus and Folklorica Dance Company to a petting zoo, pony rides, AgVentureLand and animal races.
Community Stage shows include "Stowaway" (musical trip around the world) today; "FAN Helen" (Van Halen tribute band) on Saturday; "Wayward Sons (tribute to 70s arena rock) on Sunday; and "Tres Equiz" (tribute to ZZ Top) on Monday.
Latino entertainment is the focus of Saturday and Sunday, "Fiesta Weekend," at the festival. Cultural flair includes headline entertainment, live radio broadcasts and a marketplace of free games, prizes and freebies, while booths in the Citrus Pavilion offer a Mercado both days.
Monday's attractions will feature the inaugural car show from 1 to 6 p.m.
Circus Flora celebrates its 25th anniversary

The Flying Pages -- Justin Chodkowski (from left), April Brown and Eric Craft practice for their summer performance with Circus Flora at the Three Creek Farm in Weldon Springs. Circus Flora is in it's 25th season, and has a new show entitled Vagabond Adventures that begins June 2 and runs through June 26 under the big top tent in Grand Center in St. Louis.

(Dawn Majors /

Friday, May 27, 2011

by Calvin Wilson


Circus Flora, which is marking its 25th anniversary, presents a new show next week: "Vagabond Adventures."
The show will be staged under the Big Top in Grand Center but is a sequel to "The Floating Palace," the circus's recent collaboration with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at Powell Symphony Hall.
Recently, Go! spoke with Ivor David Balding, artistic director and producer of Circus Flora, about its landmark season.
• Did you have any idea that Circus Flora would have such staying power? I guess I did. When you start a performing-arts organization of any kind — but certainly a circus, which is very family-oriented — you want it to continue.
• There aren't that many circuses any more, are there? That's true. There's something about a one-ring circus, that intimacy, that's enormously appealing. The Big Apple Circus does very well in New York, and Circus Sarasota does very well in Sarasota, Fla.
• Does "Vagabond Adventures" pick up where the riverboat scenario, "The Floating Palace," left off? It's a takeoff, inspired by a true story. In our show, stowaways catch wind of a scheme that threatens the Floating Palace.

Kelly Miller Circus animals not abused

Friday, May 27, 2011,

By The News of Cumberland County

To the Editor:

I read with interest the article from PETA concerning the treatment of animals traveling with the Kelly Miller Circus. According to the author, Kelly Miller leases the animals from Carson & Barnes Circus and she claims that the animals are regularly abused. She claims also that the organization has a video showing such abuse.I contacted the Kelly Miller Circus and spoke to the general manager. He suggested that I go to the website of the Carson & Barnes Circus and read about the charges which were investigated. Several years ago, an animal protection organization claimed that the circus was abusing their elephants. The Finger Lakes Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals investigated and “were impressed by the care given to elephants and horses.” Later, during the circus, the SPCA sent members from their Humane Law Enforcement Division to find if the circus used abusive devices. The investigators, not only found this charge not to be true, but they found “no visible injuries and that the animals were very social and responsive to the trainer’s commands.”Our club, the Bridgeton Breakfast Rotary Club, has hosted the Kelly Miller Circus for the past 7 years. I have spent many hours at the circus and have never seen any abuse of animals. I have been present during their down time when most of the employees were resting before the first show. I have been backstage during the show. Not once have I seen anything close to what the author from PETA describes. As I have mentioned in the past, the circus invites the public to come early in the morning of the shows to see the circus tent being raised. It is indeed fascinating to see how it is accomplished with the help of the elephants. Following, a circus representative talks about the animals and their care. I received a telephone call once from a “PETA” representative and invited that person to come early to see what happens when the circus arrives. No one has ever shown up. I invite you, especially if you have concerns about the treatment of animals, to spend the early morning with the circus. I will personally introduce you to those in charge who will be glad to answer your questions and concerns. As one manager said to me, “We are one big family. Why would you abuse members of your family?”

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Circus returns to Marin, CA this weekend

Save $4 per adult ticket when buying in advance

May 25, 2011

The Rotary Club of Novato Sunrise brings the American Crown Circus back to town this Memorial Day weekend, Friday, May 27, through Mon., May 30.

The annual circus event will be held in its usual spot at the St. Vincent’s School located in north San Rafael.
“Enjoy the circus and you will be supporting local club-supported projects including literacy in schools, middle and high school essay contests, third graders receiving their own dictionary, Fishing in the City, North Bay Children’s Center, St Vincent’s School for Boys, local Boy Scouts of America units and the club’s Smoke Alarm Project which partners with the Novato Fire Protection District to ensure that each mobile home in Novato has a working smoke detector,” said David Stompe, club spokesman. “The club also acts globally by sponsoring clean-water projects in South America and Uganda.”
Tickets may be purchase before Memorial Day weekend at local establishments showing the Circus Posters and a sign stating, “Tickets On Sale Here.” Participating establishments in San Rafael include Quesada Market at 50 Tiburon St. In Novato, tickets may be obtained at Redwood Credit Union on Grant Avenue, Bank of Marin at both the Grant Avenue and Ignacio locations, the UPS Store on 7th Street, Bank of the West on Grant Avenue, Matt and Jeff’s Car Wash at Vintage Oaks Shopping Center and Quesada Markets on Rowland Boulevard.
Show times are 7 p.m. Friday, May 27; 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, May 28-29; and at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Mon., May 30.

Fearless, lucky: Circus stutman returns to this year's fair

Chela Flores poses for a photo in the center of the "Globe of Death" while her husband Ricardo Flores rides around her on a motorcycle Wednesday outside the Cajundome. Ricardo has been performing since he was a young boy when he performed with his father Victor. The husband and wife duo from Florida can be seen through the weekend performing at the Cajun Heartland State Fair in Lafayette. / Denny Culbert/
May. 26, 2011
Some people dream of running away with the circus; Ricardo "Fearless" Flores never had to dream.
Flores is a ninth generation circus performer who has honed his "motorcycle madness" in a stunt show called the "Globe of Death" for the past 23 years.
It's a dangerous demonstration of speed and talent, but as a child, it's all he wanted to do."As a kid, all I ever did was watch my father," Flores said. "I always wanted to do it.
When he decided I was ready to start learning, I couldn't wait. My dad just taught me like a father would teach you how to ride a bicycle.
"In the globe, his wife Chela, 13-year-old daughter Cyndel and eight-year-old son Volorian join Ricardo.
The show starts with a solo show from Ricardo where he rides in every direction - upside down, three-fourths the way up, anywhere he wants to go. The show revs up when Chela stands center ring."I start riding, she lifts her hand up, I give her high fives," he said. "I cut around, go over the top and right beside her"»I'm usually riding, passing six-to-eight inches from her."The show peaks even more when multiple motorcyclists enter - they criss-cross, they ride along the center ridge of the globe, horizontally on "the equator" and in a butterfly pattern. At times, he said, they ride head-on towards each other.
The spectacle usually leaves crowds breathless."Sometimes, there's no response at all," he said. "You think, 'Maybe, they're not happy with it,' but, really, they're blown away. They're in awe. I've never had anybody come up to me and say, 'Eh, that was alright.'"What audiences might be waiting for is that devastating moment when something goes wrong — that crash, that head-on collision, that moment when the motorcyclists' timing is completely off."The show, it's a routine," he said. "It's something we've practiced over and over. It changes very little. The entire time we're riding, we're looking at each other. That's how we know if something's wrong."Ricardo has seen his share of accidents, but in his 23 years, he's "never broken any bones."READ MORE AT:
Canadian Shriner’s Circus not welcome by all members of Cambridge council

CAMBRIDGE — Three Cambridge councillors don’t welcome the Shriner’s Circus coming to town next month.
“I’m opposed to such events that have animals, particularly circus animals like elephants. It’s cruel,” said Coun. Donna Reid.
The event is aimed at children, so we’re telling children it’s OK to be cruel to animals, Reid said. It would be better for people to spend their money watching something like Cirque du Soleil, where only humans perform, she said.
Councillors Rick Cowsill and Pam Wolf have joined with Reid in voting against the city waiving its animal control rules to allow circus animals under a big tent in the Cambridge Centre parking lot June 17-19.
The issue goes to city council for a final vote Monday night.
“I think the time for this type of entertainment is past,” Wolf said. “If you want to see elephants, you have a very good venue down the road at the lion safari, where animals can be seen in their natural habitat.”
But Coun. Ben Tucci said Shriners raise money to help children who need medical treatment. .
“I think Shriners will ensure the animals are fed, watered and shaded,” Tucci said.
The motion includes asking the Cambridge Humane Society to oversee welfare of the circus animals.
Tucci and Coun. Frank Monteiro voted against adding that to the original motion, after hearing the city can’t require the humane society to inspect the circus.
The humane society checks out the Shriner’s circus every year when it visits town, said animal protection officer Tracey Laraway.
She knows the operators by name.
“They know why I’m there,” Laraway said. “I’ve got carte blanche to go where I want. There’s never been a reason to change anything. They know what they’re doing.”
The visit isn’t an investigation, she said. It’s the same kind of routine visit she makes to pet stores, veterinarian offices or the Portuguese bull fights in North Dumfries Township, she said.
“I never like seeing the elephants chained up, and now they aren’t. They now have an electric fence. I know all about it. One of them pushed me into it two years ago. I know it works first hand.”




Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Jurors reject circus family's shiva lawsuit claims

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus CEO Kenneth Feld speaks to reporters outside District Court in Washington, Tuesday, May 24, 2011. After a bitter assault trial between members of the American family behind the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus ended with jurors deciding that neither side proved its case. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
WASHINGTON (AP) — A bitter assault case between members of the family behind the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus ended Tuesday with jurors deciding that neither side proved its case.
The jury rejected Karen Feld's $110 million claim that her brother, circus CEO Kenneth Feld, had his security guards assault her at a memorial service for their late aunt. They also rejected Kenneth Feld's counterclaim that his sister trespassed at the 2007 shiva by shouting anti-Semitic obscenities that disrupted the service.
Karen Feld, a 63-year-old Washington resident, said she has a history of brain injuries that cause seizures. She testified she couldn't control what she was saying when she went into one of her episodes at the penthouse apartment where her aunt's memorial service was held and where she lived with her brother as a youth. She said her brother's guards harmed her by dragging her out of the service and she eventually needed to have a tumor removed because of their assault and battery.
But the jurors did not agree after a two-week trial in which three security guards contradicted her version of events.
Kenneth Feld, a 62-year-old resident of Tampa, Fla., smiled broadly and hugged his lawyers in response to the verdict. He said afterward he was happy with the outcome, but he felt it was a shame their feud had to go so far.
"It never should have come to this," Kenneth Feld told reporters on the courthouse steps, his first comments to the media in the case. "There's no way I ever wanted this to be in the courtroom."read more at:
Umbrellas ready?

Orange Show opens Thursday

John Weeks, Staff Writer

Posted: 05/24/2011
All the local TV weather forecasters, along with the National Weather Service, are predicting sunny skies over the Inland Empire this holiday weekend. I am predicting rain.
The forecasters have science on their side. They have satellite imagery and Doppler radar and all sorts of other fancy instruments and gizmos. They are correct roughly half the time, which is about the same as guessing.
I have a hundred years of history and precedent on my side, and I claim a better than two-thirds chance of being right.
Who are you going to believe?
The National Orange Show opens Thursday and continues through the long Memorial Day weekend in San Bernardino.
Expect rain.
The Orange Show has been producing meteorological marvels and miracles and mysteries for a century now. I've been living here for about half that time, and I've seen it happen again and again. A warm, clear-sky week suddenly will darken as the weekend approaches. Temperatures will plunge. Wind and rain will appear out of nowhere, just in time for the National Orange Show.
Even if it happens to be sunny and bright when you wake up in the morning, better take an umbrella when you go out. You don't want to get caught unprepared when unexpected storm clouds gather and burst at about 2p.m. That's when the Orange Show officially opens.
It's such a reliable phenomenon, it's almost not a phenomenon any more. The pattern was set when it rained heavily on the very first National Orange Show, held March 6-11, 1911, under two large circus tents on the northwest corner of Fourth and E streets in downtown San Bernardino.
Read more:

Some performers at last month's L.A. Spring Fair claim they haven't been paid by promoter

Rachel Luna, Staff Writer

Posted: 05/24/2011
IRWINDALE - Circus acts, animal trainers, vendors and others who performed at the Los Angeles Spring Fair said the promoter who hired them disappeared before cutting checks. Promoter David Jackson, 40, of Victorville promised the first-ever LA Spring Fair would bring eight days of "non-stop entertainment" to the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale. Instead the event has brought anger and frustration to the entertainers who put on the show.
And some, like "Swamp Master" alligator trainer David Quattrocci, say they are considering legal action.
"We all kind of saw it halfway through and we were hoping that wasn't going to be the case," said Quattrocci, who claims he is owed $8,500 for putting on an educational alligator show.
The promoter denied having trouble paying any of his performers.
Jackson said all 58 vendors and entertainers at the fair except two - Swamp Master and Kids Celebration - were paid shortly after the fair ended in April. Jackson said a contract dispute delayed those payments.
But others, including the Kent Family Circus, Kyra Sundance and her Stunt Dog Team, Rainforest Exhibit and Educational Show and Movie Stunt Adventure all indicated Friday they have yet to be paid by Jackson.
The six entertainment groups claim they are owed more than $50,000, according to the performers.
If there was a problem, it may be related to low attendance at the event, which ran from April 8-17. Jackson said
read more at:
A life in the circus


Luis Jaramillo, dressed as the clown "Luigi," balances on a tightrope during the American Crown Circus and Circo Osorio at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds on Tuesday.

May 24, 2011Roberto Osorio was only 11 when he, his two older brothers and an older sister joined the Carson and Barnes Circus as a family high-wire act in 1983.His father, Herminio Osorio, a former trapeze artist and third-generation circus performer in Mexico, wanted them to become lawyers, doctors and engineers. A better life and education for his children was the reason he left Circo Osorio in Mexico and immigrated to the United States.
Two of his daughters went on to college, but the rest of his children wanted to follow in his footsteps. Herminio, who had taught them the high wire in their backyard in San Antonio, Texas, had no choice but to help them out.
“The circus — once it gets into your blood, it’s pretty hard to get out of it,” said Roberto Osorio, ringmaster of American Crown Circus & Circo Osorio USA.
After stints with Carson & Barnes Circus and Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus, the Osorio brothers — dubbed Lords of the High Wire — joined Circus Circus for 10 years in Reno and Las Vegas.
On Tuesday afternoon, circus hands made final preparations for the evening shows at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds. The sound and smell of popcorn mingled with the odor of cleanser as workers wiped down the circular wooden bleachers.
A donkey behind a curtain brayed when one of the workers passed by, calling out for someone to play with him. Osorio, 38, who is also circus magician and runs day-to-day operations, recounted a few key moments from his family’s circus history, a narrative that dates back to the 1870s.
Big Top Bob

Photo: Steve Stout

Bob Greene of Ottawa, who near the end of his career was one of only four professional circus calliope players in the nation, spent 57 years on the road working for 25 different traveling troupes. "Nothing compares to the musical sounds a calliope can produce," claims the 78-year-old retiree. "It just demands attention, perfect for pulling an audience's attention toward circus acts and parades."


OTTAWA, IL--When he was a teenager, Bob Greene did not run away to join the circus.
His father drove him.
"It was 1950 and just four days after I graduated from Ottawa High School, my dad took me over to Iowa where I joined up with the Jay Gould Circus as the calliope player. My folks were happy I had a job so soon after graduation. That was the start of a 57-year career for me working in various circus troupes," said Greene, reflecting on a life under the big top.
The retired 78-year-old, who moved back to his hometown three years ago, said he played the unique organ-like instrument in 25 traveling circuses during his long career. He estimates he has performed in all 48 states in the continental United States.
"I can't read music, never could, and I didn't learn much taking a few piano lessons when I was a kid. Playing just came naturally to me while fooling around with my grandmother's piano when I was a kid," Greene said. He fell in love with the calliope the first time he played one.
"It's a remarkable instrument," said Greene.

Photo: Photo provided
Ottawa native Bob Greene, 78, performed on his beloved calliope in more than two dozen different traveling troupes during a circus music career that spanned nearly six decades. Greene bought the calliope for $600 in the 1950s and sold it three years ago for $8,000 upon retirement.
He explained playing the calliope (he pronounces the word in three syllables, rhyming with "hope" instead of the traditional way with four syllables rhyming with "tree") takes a particular musical talent.
"A piano has 88 keys while a calliope has 43 "whistle" keys with no foot pedals," Greene said. "So there's no way to tone it down. A calliope is loud, shrill and commands attention whenever it's played — perfect for pulling an audience toward circus acts and parades. Mine ran on compressed air — in the old days on riverboats, many calliopes were steam-powered."
Parades are one of the things Greene misses most about being on the road for more than half a century. "I would be there sitting in a huge colorful truck with my calliope blasting out music behind the elephants in parades in town after town. The crowds would push into the streets and everyone would wave and laugh. And every day a new town. It was wonderful."
Like most workers in a traveling troupe, Greene had many responsibilities in various circuses during his career. "I watered and fed the elephants and other animals, worked concession and, for a time, I was even a snake handler in one of the sideshows."
Greene bought his own calliope upon his return to the circus after he was drafted into the Army in 1953. "I bought it for $600, played the thing for more than 50 years without any major repairs and sold it to a circus memorabilia collector a few years ago for $8,000," he said. "Calliopes aren't being made anymore and working ones have become real collector items."
Within his apartment at a local retirement center, Greene surrounds himself with elephant, clown and other circus figurines, reminders of his life on the road.
He's never regretted not having a "normal job." He's never had a drivers license and spent most of his life living on wheels.
"My life has been quite the adventure and I have never been sorry about the road I took. I've been to just about every state in the Union when a lot of people never leave their backyard," Greene said.
Looking back, he is most proud of the joy his circuses and calliope brought to countless boys and girls everywhere he traveled.
"Nobody is ever sad at the circus." he said.
"Most of the circuses I worked for had a season of about 36 weeks with a journey to a new town almost every day. Off season, we'd winter in Florida. I'm proud to say, of all those thousands of shows, I never missed a performance," said Greene.
"Remember," Greene said with a smile, "The show must go on. And when we're packed up and gone — all that's left are popcorn sacks and wagon tracks."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 22 from: Bob ClineThe CHS Convention always features a great auction of circus items. This year will include some of the rarest, hard to find items from the Pfening archives including an 1893 Buffalo Bill program and an 1864 booklet from the Great National Circus. Anyone can attend. Sign up now on the CHS website at


Karen Feld’s troubled life highlighted in circus family feud trial;

lawyer says seizures an issue in clash with brother

Kenneth Feld —in suit and tie on the right — poses with his late father Irvin Feld, owner of Ringing Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, with some of their employees in 1982. (Craig Herndon/ TWP - TWP)

By The Reliable Source

For years, Karen Feld cut a glamorous if eccentric path through Washington — a gossip writer from a showbiz family, known for toting tiny poodles long before Paris Hilton took up the habit. But the portrait painted Monday by rival lawyers in a federal suit over a fracas at a family gathering was much more dark.

Karen Feld in Washington this year. (Bob Burgess/AP)
Feld’s attorney described her as a woman crippled by brain injuries and broken by years of family abuse — offering her stormy outburst in court last week as an example. But a lawyer for her brother, Kenneth Feld — whom she is suing for $110 million for having her thrown her out of their aunt’s memorial service — portrayed her as a tantrum-prone troublemaker.
“She’s an out-of-control runaway train,” declared defense lawyer Matthew Kirtland, “and she needs to be stopped.”
It’s the latest chapter in the sad Feld family saga. The children of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus mogul Irvin Feld lost their mother to suicide and were mostly raised by their aunt, Shirley.

Circus models come to town

By CHRIS SHOLLY Staff Writer


HERSHEY - James B. Rittle of Gretna Springs remembers going to see the Ringling Brothers circus in Reading with his father.
Now, the ringmaster of the Central Pennsylvania chapter of the Circus Model Builders Inc. - known as the Leonard Aylesworth #2 - he spends his time building model circuses.
It isn't the entertainment that draws him to the miniature circus, though.
"Just the mechanics of it, how it's done and why they do it from years ago. The kids today don't see the big top go up unless a small show would come to town. It all comes to together and fits together to make the thing work, to make entertainment," he said.
Rittle's display is part of the annual convention of the Circus Model Builders Inc. being held this year at the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum, 161 Museum Drive, Hershey. On Monday, numerous model builders from around the East Coast set up their circuses on the second floor of the museum. The displays will be available for viewing through Thursday afternoon.
Rittle has created a Ringling Brothers-style miniature circus from about 1930. He said he always wanted to build a model circus in miniature but never found the time for it until he retired.
"Well, family came along and that took priority. The circus was always on the backburner," he said.
In 1989, Rittle had a heart attack, and decided if he was going to build a circus, it was now or never.
It would have taken many years to create a circus model from scratch, he said, so he purchased a model from a York County man and added his own touches to that one."The bleachers are made out of tongue depressors and Popsicle sticks," said Rittle's wife, Linda.
Rittle said he has more than a thousand miniature people in the stands under the big top.
"The arms are not attached. They're molded plastic," he said, adding that he and his wife glued the tiny arms and painted each one individually.
Dave Liggett of Lewistown coordinated this year's meeting in Hershey, timed to coincide with the real Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus, which will open Wednesday and run through Monday at the Giant Center in Hershey.
The last convention this chapter has hosted was held in the Hershey Sports Arena in 1961, Liggett said.
"It was a national gathering. Now, we're worldwide," Liggett said.
read more at:

Monday, May 23, 2011


Ramos Circus exclusive report

Armine AMiryan reporting

Baraboo goes Hollywood

Circus World Ringmaster David SaLoutos plays circus music on the MIghty Barton Theatre organ before the showing of "Water for Elephants" Friday at the Al. Ringling Theatre.

Ed Zagorski / News Republic

After reading the best seller "Water for Elephants," Erin Wilson didn't waste any time getting to the Al. Ringling Theatre on Friday to see the movie version premiere in Baraboo.
"It is pretty amazing to know that a part of your city is featured in a movie," said Wilson, 20. "I think it is really cool that they used a lot of the Circus World Museum wagons and other props to create this movie."
"The craftsmanship of these wagons is so beautiful that it will be great to see them on the big screen," said Wilson's friend, Mara Doughty. "It's just great to bring this type of atmosphere back to Baraboo."
The circus atmosphere was definitely in full swing Friday as droves of folks packed the Circus World grounds to see some of the wagons and other items used in the film. The party then moved to downtown Baraboo, where people listened to a circus band while looking over antique cars from the era in which "Water for Elephants" is set.
"It doesn't get any better than this," said Betsy McCaulley, who was waiting to get inside the theater. "This is all pretty moving to take in."
McCaulley, who is originally from Baraboo and is currently moving back to her hometown, said seeing the decorative wagons outside the theater brought back childhood memories.
"I grew up here, so I remember walking the Circus World Museum grounds and seeing these wagons," she said. "It's great that the Circus World Museum was able to share the wagons with those in Hollywood making this movie. It shows the strong connection Baraboo has with the circus world."
McCaulley's husband, Clayton, said the movie also puts a spotlight on the history involved with the different artifacts and props Circus World added to the movie.
"It shows how important these wagons are to the city and to the history of the circus itself," he said.
That's what Steve Freese spoke about before the lights in the theater went down and the movie began.
Freese, Circus World's executive director, told the 600-plus in attendance that 15 wagons were loaded onto flatbed trucks and taken to California.
He said a lot of the items appearing in "Water for Elephants" were brought from Circus World.
Freese said he supplied numerous photographs and archival film footage to film producers to help them provide moviegoers with solid period realism of a circus in the 1930s.
"The details were taken from photographs we had," he said. "The film takes place in 1931, so we had to have the wagons look a little rough, because not only was the circus in trouble at the time, but it was also the time of the Great Depression."
Freese said he and Harold "Heavy" Burdick, also of Circus World, made the trek to California to protect the precious pieces of circus history - and to see how they would be used.
"There were 52 days of filming - both day and night - and at the height of it, there were 800 extras on set who were paid $30 an hour," Freese said. "You could see what that would've done for the local economy if the governor didn't do away with the tax credit program for those in the movie business."
Freese was referring to Gov. Jim Doyle's decision in 2009 to eliminate a state-funded tax credit program for movies shot in Wisconsin.
"Rather than having our rolling hills in many of the movie scenes, the mountains of Southern California were erased during the movie's production process and then digitally replaced with a backdrop that looks like Wisconsin instead," Freese said to the groan of the audience.
Freese admitted the time he spent in California was a "wonderful" experience.
"We were able to help them with the details of the time this movie is set in and also assist them with creating a film that circus lovers are sure to enjoy," he said. "It was special opportunity for Circus World Museum."

Big top greats remembered in Miami Co.

Circus Hall of Fame is the only one of its kind

A sign points the way to the International Circus Hall of Fame in Peru.
Alex Deiro, MIAMI CO., Ind. (WLFI) -

In Miami County, Indiana there is a monument to the extravaganza that was the traveling circus.
For this week's edition of Indiana Interests NewsChannel 18 traveled to Peru, Indian-over point for some of the greatest circuses in the world, now it stands as a testament to those greats.a, to the International Circus Hall of Fame. The grounds were once the winter stop
"From 1872, up until our Depression the circus was the biggest form of entertainment," said Tom Dunwoody, Executive Director of the Circus Hall of Fame.
He said he remembers the days when the circus was bigger than Christmas, and everything stopped the day the big top rolled into town.
"Circus day was a holiday. When the circus came to town all the schools closed, all the businesses closed, and everybody went to the circus," said Dunwoody.
The International Circus Hall of Fame honors those greats of the big top by remembering them and preserving circus lore for generations to come. Located on the former winter quarters of several famous circuses the Hall of Fame offers visitors a look at the costumes, culture, and living quarters of circus performers. Dunwoody said only the most dedicated circus people though can find a permanent home at the hall of fame.
"You have to first of all have to have been in the circus, but you also have to have made a contribution. For an example Mr. P.T. Barnum is here, and Mr. Bailey because they had one of the largest circuses ever," said Dunwoody.
He's describing the famous Barnum and Bailey's circus. But the hall of fame doesn't just hold artifacts and plaques of long-gone circus greats. For two summer weeks every year the grounds of the International Circus Hall of Fame are transformed into a living, breathing three-ring circus. "The last two weeks in July is our performing season. We have our own big top which we set up and a circus performance everyday. The circus is live entertainment, there's no rewind, there's no re-do. Whatever you see is what you get, so it's still very vibrant," said Dunwoody.
If you have a fun or interesting place around Tippecanoe County that you would like us to visit send an email entitled 'Indiana Interests' to

On with the showKhartum Shrine Circus rolls into Selkirk to kick off the Victoria Day long weekend

By Brook Jones

May 23, 2011

Teagen Purvis laughed as she saw a Shrine Circus clown named Todo greeting children and adults at the entrance way to the Selkirk Recreation Complex on Friday.
The eight-year-old from Selkirk, who attended the annual circus with her younger sister Zoey and parents Darcy and Tracy, says the clown was funny and she liked the trick that Todo did with a "pet mouse".
"Funny clowns and funny tricks," said Teagen with plenty of laughter just after posing for a photo with Todo and the Selkirk Fire Department mascot, Sparky.
The Circus Spectacular presented by Khartum Shrine rolled into the Tri-S area on May 20 and delighted circus goers with two shows.
And with the announcement from ringmaster Tim Tegge "boys and girls are you ready – away we go" - the first show kicked off at 5:00 p.m. and the second show got underway at 8:00 p.m. at the rec complex in Selkirk.
This year's Khartum Shrine Circus Spectacular produced by Cindy Migley featured 19 displays which included the Canadian National Anthem, Brauns performing Dobermans, the Amazing Tina as the Phantom of the Air, Amarillo Al and his Comedy Lemon-Zine, Whip Cracking performed by the Amazing Caleb, and the Cyberdome Ryders - just to name a few of the dramatic acts.


From Jim Elliott

Ora Jo Logan, Eileen Logan, Capt. Freddy Logan & Freida Logan


From: Jim Elliott

Posted by Picasa

Capital Buzz: Feld Entertainment gets a new PR firm

By Thomas Heath, Published: May 22

from: The Washington Post

Tysons Corner-based Feld Entertainment — think Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus — has signed well-known New York City public relations firm Rubenstein Communications to help promote Feld’s worldwide brands.
“Rubenstein has a long and distinguished history of working with leading brands,” said Feld spokesman Stephen Payne. “We reviewed proposals from a number of very qualified firms and at the conclusion, it was clear Rubenstein was the best fit for our business.”
Feld Entertainment Chairman Kenneth Feld has expanded his entertainment portfolio in recent years with the purchase of Feld Motor Sports, which includes Monster Jam, Nuclear Cowboyz and Supercross.
Feld, whose shows also include Disney on Ice and Disney Live, is also expanding the company’s presence in Mexico and South America, adding to the 5,000-plus shows it puts on in 70 countries every year.
Rubenstein, whose clients range from the New York Yankees to the Metropolitan Opera, replaces Hill & Knowlton, whose contract with Feld expired a year ago.
“We are thrilled,” said Amy Jacobs, Rubenstein Communications senior vice president. “There was great chemistry between two family businesses.”
NORTH WEALD: Circus seeks glamorous star to join its magic act

By joshua farrington

FIVE shows a week, 40 weeks a year, travelling in a fleet of 35 juggernauts to entertain thousands of cheering fans – but one thing is missing.
The famous American Circus is looking for a glamorous star to complete its cast and take on the role of a magician's assistant.
Over the past week, the travelling circus has been camped at North Weald Airfield, delighting families from across the area.
For ringmaster Matthew Wingate, life as part of a circus may be unconventional, but it is the only life he knows. He said: "I love life in the circus, but I was born into it and don't know any other way.
"People should jump at the chance to be part of it though – it's quite a rare opportunity."
One of the circus' star acts, the Trio Chicago magic group, is looking for a new assistant as they travel across the length and breadth of the country.
Mr Wingate, 24, said: "It's a fantastic job.
"It would be best suited for a woman with a performing or cabaret background, but anyone who is fit and fairly athletic is welcome to apply."
However, he warns that life on the road performing from February through to October is not all bright lights and adoring crowds.
"There is a huge amount of fun being in the ring and performing, but outside of that there is still a huge amount of work to do," he said.
"We are quite comfortable though, we don't live in rickety caravans any more, they're more like travelling flats with all mod cons. It's a very nice way to see the country."
The circus attracts many fans just to see the trucks themselves, as the brightly decorated lorries move like a mobile village in a circuit around the UK.
This is the first time the circus has stopped in North Weald, and Mr Wingate says they have been well received. He said: "I always like it when the circus comes down south, and this is the first time we've been here.
"We've been very comfortable though."
If running away with the circus sounds like a dream you would like to make come true, contact the circus at info@americancircus

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Chicago music director Larry Rothbard sets the tone for the Melha Shrine Circus, blending the old with newer audience tastes.
Uploaded by LaneInConn on May 12, 2011

Cirque Amar à Dieppe

Shrine Circus to hold two shows Monday

at ice center

May. 22, 2011 Written by Herald Times Reporter
MANITOWOC — The Shrine Circus, presented by the Tripoli Shriners of Wisconsin, will hold shows at 4:30 and 7 p.m. Monday at the Manitowoc County Ice Center, 4931 Expo Drive.
Tickets are $16 for adults and $12 for children 12 and younger. Tickets will be available at the ice center the day of the show.
Related events will start one hour before each of the shows and will include elephant and pony rides, face painting and the chance to meet the circus performers.
"The Shrine Circus is pulling out all the stops this year in Wisconsin," George Carden, the event's producer, said in a news release. "Not only do we have the best acts performing, but we've added new performances never seen in North America before."
For more information, visit the Shrine Circus website at www.2011
Circus siblings Karen Feld and Kenneth Feld’s explosive family feud blows up again in federal court

Karen Feld and her dog Campari in Washington last month. (Bob Burgess/AP)

By The Reliable Source


One of Washington’s most enduring family feuds ignited again — and again — in federal court last week.
Karen Feld — daughter of late circus mogul Irvin Feld — shrieked at her brother’s lawyer and stormed from the courtroom where she is suing him for having her thrown out of their aunt’s 2007 memorial service. Later, Kenneth Feld burst into tears on the witness stand. Things got so hot the judge posted a security guard in the room.

Kenneth Feld in 2007. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

The siblings have been at odds for decades, since their father’s will cut her out of the family business in the ’80s, leaving Kenneth at the helm of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. A reunion at their Aunt Shirley’s shiva went badly: She claims she was injured when her brother had guards remove her; he’s countersuing for trespass, saying she disrupted the event with a foul-mouthed tirade.
According to the Associated Press, Karen Feld took offense Tuesday after the defense attorney mistakenly called her “Mrs. Feld.”
“You know my name by now!” she shouted at lawyer Matthew Kirtland as she fled the room. Kirtland later complained to Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle that the former gossip columnist hurled nasty names at him and the defendants during a recess. The judge, meanwhile, rebuked Karen after she testified that she discovered her late father in bed with her ex-fiance — not relevant to the case, Huvelle said.
She wasn’t there to see her brother break down on the stand the next day — she had stormed out again after another errant “Mrs. Feld” reference. “This definitely has been the most dramatic trial I’ve seen in the courthouse,” the AP’s Nedra Pickler told us. “It’s unusual for a family feud like this to get all the way to trial.”

Closing arguments are expected on Monday.