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Friday, June 10, 2011

Ringling Bros. bring 'Barnum 200' to Mobile through Sunday

Thursday, June 09, 2011

By Lawrence F. Specker, Press-Register Press-Register

P.T. Barnum, never a man given to an excess of modesty in professional matters, likely would have no problem with being the subject of “the Biggest Birthday Bash in Circus History.”
And that’s just how the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus bills “Barnum 200,” the show it will present today through Sunday at the Mobile Civic Center.
“This is arguably our greatest show in probably 20 years,” said ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson
“I think with this show, it’s sort of a reminder to the American public of the majesty of Ringling Bros., the importance of Ringling Bros., the artistic intelligence of Ringling Bros. and the genius of P.T. Barnum, whose 200th anniversary we’re celebrating,” Iverson said.

California family brings circus, magic show to town

Jim Kent, 21, at left and obscured, holds a flaming hoop as his father, Victor Kent, calls Belle the dog through the hoop during practice at a relative's home in Sylvania. In the rear is daughter Cynthia, 19. THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER

BY ZOE GORMANBLADE STAFF WRITERfrom: The Toledo BladeIf you were driving along Fairwood Drive in Sylvania this week, you might have seen someone swinging on a trapeze or a man balancing a wheelbarrow on his chin. A traveling family circus brought to town flaming hoops and levitating children, but anyone who missed the back-yard performances can catch the act Friday night.
Victor Kent started as a traveling magician, but when his children kept bringing home new props and skills, his show became the Kent Family Magic Circus, which is giving a free show at 7 p.m. Friday at Toledo's Westgate Chapel. The circus consists of Victor and Mami Kent, their seven children, three assistants, a dog, two rabbits, four doves, and a cockatoo that dances to "Mississippi Squirrel Revival" and causes trouble on set.
The family is staying at a cousin's house in Sylvania on Fairwood en route to a tour gig in Tennessee, and have been practicing in Kris and Jay Parker's backyard, which now houses a static trapeze, a lyra (an aerial hoop), a diablo (a yo-yo like juggling prop), and a tightrope that son Victor Kent, Jr., 9, has mastered.

Midori Takahashi practices for her performance. She met the family at a benefit for tsunami and quake victims of Japan and joined the summer tour. THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER

The Kent family recently worked with an elephant group in Michigan, but Mr. Kent said he was happy none of his children came back and said, "Let's add an elephant to the show."He added that the next thing they want is a wheel of death -- two connected, human-sized hamster wheels that roll over each other while somebody runs inside or on top of each.
Mr. Kent has been performing magic since he was 7, but he took a brief hiatus before returning to the job after college.
"I had left magic for a while because a girl I had met earlier on had said to be more serious with my life," Mr. Kent said as he peeled a layer of skin off his pet python, Buttercup. "Stupid."
He met his wife in college where she was studying English as an exchange student from Japan and he was majoring in Japanese. Mami Kent saw that her husband was miserable at his business in Tokyo and suggested he go back to magic.
Mrs. Kent, who juggles a plunger and makes costumes for the show, said she enjoys the circus life.
"It's very interesting," Mrs. Kent said. "It's really good to see all of the children developing character and seeing so many places in America."

Jim Kent, 21, juggles on a tight rope. He said that after he graduates from college, he wants to conduct an orchestra and would like to incorporate circus elements into his performances. THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER

The couple's seven children, who are mostly home-schooled, first became involved as magicians' assistants. James, the oldest, held a magic box with such pride, Mr. Kent said, that he became a regular. He is now known for balancing large household objects -- such as wheelbarrows -- on his chin.
James, 21, and his sister Cynthia, 19, both attend college and do not plan to perform in circuses professionally for the rest of their lives. But both said they want to continue traveling and doing circus acts recreationally. James, who wants to conduct an orchestra, said he would like to incorporate circus elements into his performances.
"I'll always have circus in my life," he said. "And traveling is in my blood."
Cynthia added that whatever her career path, she wants to continue traveling because staying in one place for her is "weird."
Everyone in the family is involved in the show, even Titus, 13, who has a rare disorder that severely limits muscle control. Titus waves his hands and changes a dove into a rabbit.
Mrs. Kent said she stayed home with Titus in Oroville, Calif., when the family traveled before she discovered his magical talent. The family lives in California for four months out of the year, when the high school students go to school to take required tests, and Titus attends a special education junior high.
"People appreciate that [Titus] has a disability, but he can still be part of the show," Mrs. Kent said. "They say afterward that they really like seeing someone like him perform."
The family stunt-poodle, Belle, is trained both to jump through hoops of fire and to awaken the Kents if Titus starts choking in his sleep.
Mr. Kent himself has a spinal condition, so he sticks to magic tricks and smaller stunts such as pounding a nail into his head and eating fire. His illusions include "cutting" one of his daughters into three pieces with a sheet-like blade and "impaling" another child with a round sword.
Both magic and circus acts will feature in Friday night's show, which includes complimentary popcorn and cotton candy.
The Kent Family Circus is sponsored nationally by a calamine lotion company.

95-year-old Riverview woman recalls road show days

Ivene loved working with the elephants from the time she was a teenager, as shown in this old photo.


“This was the heyday of Vaudeville,” Ivene said. “Performances were really appreciated.”

From: The Observer NewsRIVERVIEW —

Ivene Staunko was the first person who ever explained to me the exact difference between a carnival and a circus. You’d think growing up amidst the amusement park life of the Asbury Park, NJ, boardwalk I’d know, but I didn’t fully understand it.
“A carnival has rides and games and food,” she told me. “A carnival is always on the road. A circus has performers and can stay in one place or travel.” Since many traveling circuses do have some carnival rides as well, I had never quite been able to see the difference.
Over her lifetime in the business — which she finally quit at 90 years old — Ivene has been in both circus and carnival life.
And now, at 95, she doesn’t miss a beat when she’s recalling her memories. Her family says she should write a book. Ivene’s bright eyes and swift smile could have captured me for hours had I only been able to stay.
“She’s as spry as ever,” said Kathie Demme, whose son Jeff is married to Ivene’s daughter Kathy. “All she wanted to do for Mother’s Day was see Water for Elephants.” I haven’t yet seen the movie but I did watch the trailer on YouTube and saw that it was about 1930s circus life and had an elephant in it named Rosie.
Rosie was the name of the elephant Ivene worked with when she was still just a teenager.
From the time she was a baby, Ivene traveled on circus trains with her parents, who she said were not performers, but vendors.
Schooled on the road until she was 10, her parents then insisted she attend The Holy Family Academy in Chicago and that she get good grades before she could continue her dream as a performer.
The whole time she was at school, she practiced gymnast exercises given to her by the Four-and-a-Half Arleys, which at that time, was a famous circus act.
“Finally,” she said, “I got to return to circus life and perform.”
She graduated June 10, 1934, and that very day was on the train heading straight to the Chicago Theater to work as an apprentice.
She worked her way into high wire acts and elephant stunts and all kinds of things that require thousands of hours of practice and a flexibility of body and mind I can’t even imagine.
The day I interviewed her, her daughter Kathy Demme (same name as her mother-in-law with a different spelling) was present. Ivene’s other daughter, Judy, who also lives in the Bay Area, could not be present.
Kathy and Kathie told me a lot about Ivene. But Ivene’s stories were what captivated everyone in the room.
The mother of three daughters and two sons, Ivene also has nine grandchildren and 13 “greats.”
Born in Nebraska, as a child, she knew nothing but travel. Both her husbands were men she met through her career.
She met her first husband Joe when she was 25, and later was married to Charles Staunko, with whom she owned and operated the Southland Amusement carnival until she was 90; continuing her work long after Charles died.
She also played indoor theater during the carnival’s off seasons, often returning to the Chicago Theater.
“This was the heyday of Vaudeville,” Ivene said. “Performances were really appreciated.”
She built her own act and booked herself doing stunts atop a single pole high in the air.
She was also a “top mounter” in pyramids and once fell and broke her foot and had to take off work for awhile. It was during that time she met her second husband.
Her eyes twinkled as she told the story.
They were married 25 years, so when she buried him, it was in a silver casket.
Ivene Staunko has had one heck of a life. But the true fact is that it isn’t over yet. She’s as spry as a 70-year old, and looks no older than that.
Circus and carnival life must have kept her young.

Circus in town after mercy mission

Piccadilly to perform Thursday at Robstown site

By Clay Thorp Corpus Christi Caller Times

June 8, 2011

ROBSTOWN — When an act of nature destroys your entire town, it’s not very often the circus comes to save the day.
But when a monster tornado hit Joplin, Mo., the Piccadilly Circus, which will perform Thursday in Robstown, used its three elephants — Ocka, Costi and Magoo — to move cars, tree trunks and other debris.
General manager and third generation circus performer Zach Garden said his Sarasota, Fla.-based circus was scheduled to perform in Joplin days after a devastating tornado careened through the town.
Instead of dazzling community members with their circus acts, they chose to help with acts of kindness.
“We were passing through, so it was either take a day off, or help out,” he said “I decided to stop and help and do whatever we could.”
Garden said the scene of destruction and heartbreak was something he’ll never forget.
“These people had to pay out of their own pockets. There were tow trucks there making money off the deal,” he said.
That’s when Garden had the idea to put his resources to good use.
Elephant trainers used chains and ropes and tied them to numerous cars and splintered houses so elephants could drag them onto the street for removal.
“Their insurance won’t pay them until their properties are clean, so let’s go out there and do it for free,” he said.
After the arena where the group was to perform was turned into a makeshift hospital, Garden said he left two elephants and some circus clowns to cheer up the townspeople with a free show.
“We used them to cheer up the kids,” he said. “We had clowns out there and we gave away over 500 bags of cotton candy.”
Once the performance was finished, almost the entire circus staff took to the streets to help in whatever way they could.
“They helped pick up debris still in costume,” Garden said. “It was over 90 degrees.”
Garden said the swath of destruction was wide and awe-inspiring.
“The smell of the whole place was just unbelievable,” he said. “There was total devastation seven miles long and a mile and half wide.”
Garden relayed the story of one family who came to their rental property to find the tenants still inside the crumbling wreckage that was once their home.
“They were pulling them out of the debris when we got there,” he said. “The kids had broken limbs. They were hiding under a stairwell. That’s what saved them.”
Garden said it’s hard for most Americans to grasp the extent of a destructive force such as the Joplin tornado.
“The pictures just don’t do any justice for what it’s like in real life,” he said.
What: Piccadilly Circus
Where: Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds, U.S. Highway 77 and State Highway 44, Robstown
When: 4:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. Thursday
Cost: $7
You, too, can join the circus

Jun. 8, 2011

Written by Sherry Lucas

Send in the clowns and round up the hams.
UniverSoul Circus, which sets up the big top at Metrocenter for nine shows starting tonight, has cemented a reputation for audience participation.Old school, new school and "Whoa" school appeal go to work, as activities enticing all ages of volunteers are scattered between the world-class acts."We're the most interactive circus in the world. It's high energy, non-stop audience participation," said Zanda Zeke Charles, who just goes by his show name Zeke.

The ringmaster's sidekick, with UniverSoul since its start 18 years ago, watched the show grow from a four-city tour to 30 cities a year with an increasingly multicultural draw.Audience interaction brings the circus to a personal level. "We have the classic Soul Train line, where we have the old school 30 or so men and women come into the center ring and they get their dance on," Zeke said."We have a thing called the Battle of the Couples, where we have the old school couple battling a new school couple (ages 18-25) - they lip sync" to songs from their respective eras.For such fun spots, "we have more people than we actually need. Sometimes we feel bad because we have to turn people away," Zeke said. "They bum-rush the stage and everybody wants to be a part of it."A kids' dance contest and singalongs to TV themes also keep the audience engaged.

State Fair's 2011 Official Commemorative Art is Unveiled by Minnesota State Fair.

2011 Official State Fair Commemorative Art by Steve Thomas

ST. PAUL, MINN. (06/08/2011)

(readMedia)-- The Minnesota State Fair's 2011 Official Commemorative Art was unveiled this morning by artist Steve Thomas of Lino Lakes, Minn. Thomas presented his original acrylic piece to the public for the first time surrounded by State Fair fans and art enthusiasts at the J.V. Bailey House on the State Fairgrounds. The original piece will be on display in the Fine Arts Center during the fair's 12-day run.
Thomas' piece, created exclusively for the State Fair, showcases some of the Great Minnesota Get-Together's most prominent and identifiable attractions. "The art captures iconic elements of the fair and is based largely on photos I took," Thomas said. "I guess you could say it's a snapshot of my fair experience."
Just prior to the 2010 State Fair, fair officials announced their first-ever commemorative art call for submissions. Any Minnesota artist could apply. From the nearly 80 applicants, five finalists including Thomas were chosen to create near-complete artistic interpretations of the Great Minnesota Get-Together. From that group, Thomas was selected as the official artist by a panel of judges including members of the visual arts community and State Fair staff.
Thomas is a self-taught illustrator who has been creating art since he could pick up a crayon. A graphic artist and Web producer, he has worked in the newspaper industry for 13 years and is a two-time recipient of the Society for News Design's Best in Newspaper Design Award. He also runs his own small business, Steve Thomas Art & Illustration. His style ranges from graphic to painterly, as he works in both digital and traditional mediums, sometimes combining the two. Much of Thomas' artistic inspiration comes from pulp and poster art from the early to mid-20th century. He has a degree in Visual Communication from Ohio University. For more about Steve Thomas' work, visit
The 2011 Official Commemorative Art is the eighth in a series of annual artwork created exclusively for the State Fair. In previous years, Minnesota State Fair artists have included: Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher (2004), Mary GrandPre (2005), Nancy Carlson (2006), Michael Birawer (2007), Edie Abnet (2008), Leo Stans (2009) and Deborah Voyda Rogers (2010).
Commemorative art posters, postcards, pins and a limited number of signed giclee prints featuring Thomas' artwork are available for purchase at Posters may also be purchased at the State Fair Box Office on the fairgrounds. Pricing is as follows: posters (18"x24") $10, pins $5, postcards $1 and large giclee prints (20"x25") $100. Proceeds from commemorative art merchandise support the Minnesota State Fair Foundation 501(c)(3) mission to preserve and improve State Fair buildings, grounds and educational experiences.
The 2011 Minnesota State Fair runs Aug. 25 - Sept. 5. Visit for more information.

Circus comes to County Fairgrounds in Watsonville-

Sentinel staff report

Posted: 06/09/2011

WATSONVILLE -- The circus will open today at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds for a five-day run.
The American Crown Circus features acrobats, jugglers, clowns and a magician.
This year's show, focusing more on performances by people, is a departure from the 2010 acts, which featured a motorcycle daredevil and stressed thrills, said circus co-owner Leo Osorio.
"It's just a lot more entertaining," Osorio promised of this year's event.
Osorio and his brothers are the grandsons of Jesus Osorio, who founded Circo Osorio in 1927 in Mexico. The brothers followed their father and grandfather into the business. Though the brothers no longer perform their high-wire act, they produce the circus.
Today's show will be at 7:30 p.m. Shows on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday will be at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m., with an additional 3:30 p.m. performance on Sunday.
Tickets are $16 for 12 and older. Two children are admitted free with each adult ticket. Additional children's tickets are $5.
Movie Review:

One Lucky Elephant (2010)

The Trick an Animal Cannot Learn: How to Be Wild Again

Flora and David Balding in “One Lucky Elephant,” a documentary about a relationship.

Published: June 7, 2011 .

There’s no denying the “aww” appeal of a man and an elephant walking down a street, hand in trunk. That is one truth in “One Lucky Elephant,” a sweet, heart- and trunk-tugging, modestly sized documentary — except for its 10,000-pound title subject — about a circus man and the wild animal he foolishly bought, helped to train, loved like a (captive) daughter and finally, tearfully, tried to do right by, mostly by letting her go.When David Balding met Flora, the African elephant at the center of this drama and the former star of his St. Louis circus, she was a baby. Born in Zimbabwe in 1982, she was orphaned at 2, perhaps during what is called a culling, the polite word for the organized killing of animals for population control. As it sometimes is on the harder questions, the documentary tends to be frustratingly vague on Flora’s origins, though the Web site for Mr. Balding’s circus,, states that she was orphaned by ivory poachers. Whatever the case, he bought Flora when she was still shorter than he and before long had her trained to stand on her head and lie down for the one-ring circus he helped establish in 1987.
By the time Flora was a teenager, Mr. Balding, realizing that she would probably outlive him — African elephants can live up to 70 years — decided that he needed to find her a new home, no easy task. In 2000 Flora performed for the last time, an event documented by the director Lisa Leeman. (The filmmakers learned about the retirement through Miriam Cutler, the documentary’s co-producer. Ms. Cutler is the resident composer for Circus Flora and wrote the bouncy, whimsical score, suggestive of the cafe-jazz sound of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra.) After immortalizing that final performance, the filmmakers kept shooting, tagging after Mr. Balding for the next decade during his long, difficult goodbye to more at:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

3-ring circus extravaganza hits Du Quoin this weekend.

Mona Sandefur.

Ainad Shriners Divan Denver Tolbert is putting up posters throughout the area for the 45th annual Shriners Circus set for Saturday and Sunday, June 11 and 12, on the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Du Quoin. Tickets are available at all Moto Mart, Huck’s and Schnuck’s locations, Tolbert said.

By Mona Sandefur Benton Evening News

Jun 08, 2011

Du Quoin, Ill. — Lions and tigers and clowns — oh, my!
Children of all ages are invited to attend the 45th annual Ainad Shriners Circus Saturday, June 11, and Sunda, June 12, at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Du Quoin.
Shriners Divan Denver Tolbert said tickets for the circus are available in all Moto Mart, Huck’s and Schnuck’s locations.
“The George Carden Circus International will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday,” Tolbert said. “There are two shows on Sunday, one at 2 p.m. and another at 7 p.m.”
Tolbert said the circus travels more than 40,000 miles annually throughout the United States and Canada.
“George Carden owns and produces the circus shows,” he said. “A fifth-generation owner, George has been in the circus business all of his life and knows show business inside and out.
“His father Larry Carden owned a circus, and George learned the business first-hand,” Tolbert said. “George is an astute concession manager, has worked a cat act, presented camels and elephants, oversees the bleacher operation, has expertise in the promotion and advertising of the circus and can shift the gears of an 18-wheeler as smoothly as a professional trucker.”
Tolbert said the circus season lasts two weeks.
“George houses his operation in Missouri when he is not on the road and keeps many of the circus animals on his 20-acre farm when they are not entertaining audiences,” he said. “His pride and joy is his elephants. He owns 10 of them.”
Tolbert said Carden started circus operation in 1981 before buying his father’s operation and combining the two businesses.
“His sons work with the elephants in the three-ring circus,” he said.
Performances begin with the national anthem before the opening act of “music, beautiful girls and magic,” Tolbert said.
“Ringmistress Miss Audrey Michelle will get the crowd ready for Ms. Vicenta Pages and her all white tiger troupe. The tigers are untamed, untethered and utterly unpredictable.”
He said agile artisans “perform astonishing acrobatic antics at amazing altitudes” prior to the introduction of Johny the clown.
Tolbert said entertainers from Russia, Argentina, Romania, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Canada and Chili join Americans in the fairy tale fantasy, followed by balancing acts, captivating canines and world champion bicycle rider Karoly Zeman.
“He will amaze the audience with his amazing stunts,” he said. “The rider is the only performer to present a double somersault on the BMX bicycle.”
Following intermission, more daredevils take the stage and dangle from above.
“There will be hula-hoopers Ms. Ashley and Ms. Aurea, juggling experts Johny and Milly and the talented Omars from Argentina,” he said. “Aerial acrobats Henando and Marius will perform stunts on their motorcycles while on the trapeze.”
Little Rock Zoo welcomes two retired elephants to Little Rock Zoo

Written byJessica Duff

Jun 8, 2011

Little Rock, Ark. (KTHV) -- The Little Rock Zoo welcomed two new guests Wednesday morning to join Ellen the elephant after the passing of Mary the elephant in May.
Ringling Brothers Circus donated the pair of Asian elephants to the zoo, 60-year-old Jewell and 50-year-old Zina. The same circus originally donated Mary to the zoo in 2001.
Jewell has been retired from Ringling Bros. since 2006 and Zina since 2003.
Zoo Curator Joseph Darcangelo says the zoo is excited about the new arrivals.
"We're very excited. We actually loaded them off the truck. We walked them into their new exhibit. We showed them their new barn area. As soon as we brought them in, obviously they were very thirsty, we gave them some water. We actually gave them a bath. We gave them a little bit of a thorough look through [to] see how they were doing, making sure their travel went well," Darcangelo says.
Zoo guests had a chance to see the two interact with their new environment for a few hours Wednesday morning. However, both elephants will not be on full public display until they fully acclimate to their new surroundings.
Jewell has been with Ringling Bros. since 1954, and Zina joined Ringling Bros. after having come from England in 1972. Both elephants were part of the Ringling Bros. Blue Unit until Zina's retirement in 2003 and Jewell's in 2006.
Carnival coming to Nags Head


Carnival is a time to celebrate. And that's just what people will be doing in Nags Head beginning Tuesday, June 14. The occasion is the 50th anniversary of the Town of Nags Head, which was incorporated in 1961.
"This is a big one," said John Ratzenberger, chairman of Nags Head's 50th Anniversary Celebration Committee. "A 50th anniversary is a once-in-a-lifetime event - and that's just what this will be."
Following opening ceremonies at the Windmill Point site, there will be a ribbon cutting and the 2011 Carnival will be declared open. It will run nightly through Saturday, June 18 from 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. and feature such well-known rides as The Zipper, Starship 4000, High Roller, Super-Slide, Ring of Fire and The Roundup, according to carnival producer Jody Cadwell.
There also will be skill games and "kiddie rides," including a children's train, children's boat ride and the Apple Worm. Two food trailers will sell traditional favorites such as popcorn, cotton candy, caramel apples and funnel cakes. And local vendors will sell a variety of treats.
Cadwell said Deggeller Attractions, based in Stuart, Fla., is supplying the rides. "They're one of the biggest carnival operators in the industry," added Cadwell. "They go to state fairs in Virginia, Maryland and Arkansas."
He said that he can't remember the last time a traveling carnival came to the Outer Banks. Deggeller Attractions bought the ferris wheel from Dowdy's Amusement Park which closed in 2005. "It will be very well-lit and very colorful," Cadwell said. "And lots of fun."
"We're excited about the possibilities this event will open up for the town," Ratzenberger said. "If this is successful, we'll have more events like this in the future."
Modern traveling carnivals date back to the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, which featured the world's first Ferris Wheel which was named after its builder, George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. The Chicago fair also included the first "midway" and Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show. The popular new form of entertainment caught on in a big way, and by 1902 there were 17 traveling carnival shows touring the country. This number grew to 46 in 1905 and an estimated 300 carnival companies by 1937.
The term "carnival" is thought to be derived from the Late Latin term "carne vale," meaning "farewell to meat." It refers to the traditional celebration just before the Catholic season of Lent, with its fasting from such foods as meat and sweets. This tradition continues today with Rio de Janeiro's huge Carnival, holder of the 2010 Guinness World Record for biggest party on earth. Its smaller cousin, Mardi Gras, is celebrated annually in New Orleans.
And now, of course, Nags Head will do its best to be added to the list of notable celebrations.

Carnival Owner Told to Make Room

Town officials told the owner of the Fiesta Shows carnival to push back the Ferris wheel, which was looming over the sidewalk, and to make more room on the East Main Street site.

Town officials on Wednesday determined the Ferris wheel on the carnival site was overhanging the public sidewalk, and ordered it pushed back or not run.Credit Mary MacDonald from:

By Mary MacDonald

The owner of the Fiesta Shows carnival, set to begin Wednesday night on East Main Street, placed too many rides on the site, and was ordered by public safety officials Wednesday morning to remove 10 of them, according to Town Administrator Louis Celozzi.
In addition, Celozzi said, the Ferris wheel was ordered pushed back further on to the site because its cars were hanging over the sidewalk.
"They are either going to physically move it, or not run it," Celozzi said Wednesday afternoon.
Employees of the Seabrook, N.H.-based carnival started installing rides on the site, at 154 E. Main St., Monday. By Wednesday morning, when the owner's representative met with Police Chief Thomas O'Loughlin and Fire Chief John Touhey, the number of rides on the site exceeded the number allowed on its permit, Celozzi said.
"They put X number on their request," Celozzi said. "And they put X plus 10 on the site."
Eugene Deane, manager for the Milford location for Fiesta Shows, on Wednesday afternoon said the site complies with public safety requirements. The company was not told to remove 10 rides, however, he said. Instead, the carnival was told to move some of the rides and food trailers, to make sure fire trucks and ambulances have enough access.
"We didn't have to remove anything," Deane said. "We worked with the town to make sure everyone was satisfied."
Celozzi said his office has received numerous complaints from residents about the approval of the carnival for the site, which is on traffic-clogged East Main Street and which backs up to a residential neighborhood.
Police placed "no parking" signs on East Main Street, and will enforce a parking ban on the side streets surrounding the carnival site. Additional traffic patrols will be on site, including motorcycle police, throughout the carnival run, Celozzi said, which the carnival owner will pay for.
Many residents are concerned about traffic, Celozzi said.
"I've received many complaints about the idea of a carnival at that site," Celozzi said.
The festival will partially benefit "My One Wish," a foundation for children fighting cancer. It was scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday and will run through Sunday night, according to the company.

'One Lucky Elephant' details search for new home for former circus elephant

Courtesy of Raffe Photographer

David Balding and Flora, the title character in the documentary "One Lucky Elephant."

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

By Stephen Whitty/The Star-Ledger from:

Elephants never forget.
But people do.
People forget that these animals weren’t bred to walk in circles, or stand on their hind legs, or work in circuses, or pace in zoos. People forget that these creatures were meant to be in the wild.
But elephants remember.
And that’s one of the reasons — along with often brutal treatment at the hands of bad handlers — that the animals sometimes go rogue, breaking through barriers and causing pain.
Flora, though, was “One Lucky Elephant,” as the title of a tender new documentary tells us. Although she had worked in a small circus since she was a baby, her owner, a St. Nick-look-alike named David Balding, truly loved her.
Loved her enough to realize, as she grew into her terrible teens, that she needed to be somewhere else.
“One Lucky Elephant” — made over a period of 10 years — details his long, difficult search to find her a better home.
Another circus is out of the question. Most zoos are too depressing. An African game preserve seems promising — but that would mean saying goodbye forever. One U.S. sanctuary looks like a possibility — but they only take Asian elephants.
Time is passing.
Time that gives Balding the chance to second-guess his choices over the years. (Was he wrong to have her alone in a circus where she’d have no chance to socialize with other elephants? Wrong to bond so closely to her that she became dependent on him?)
Time, too, that gives an audience chance to ponder other things. Like the “bullhooks,” short, sharp clubs that even at Balding’s circus, are never out of a trainer’s hands. Or the quotes from a behavioral expert, who diagnoses captured elephants with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Pachyderms with PTSD? It sounds like a bad joke. Except as anyone who’s ever adopted an abandoned pet knows, animals are abused every day — and can show the after effects for years.
There’s a better future ahead for Flora — as the film’s title gives away. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t wrenching moments here for anyone who loves animals, or hates cruelty. (Which makes slightly older children a great and natural audience for this film.)
“One Lucky Elephant” intentionally takes a very narrow focus — there are no representatives from PETA here, or the World Wildlife Fund (or, for that matter, from some guild of zookeepers or ringmasters). Any questions about our relationship to wild animals are left up to you to ask, and facts about broader issues are hard to find.
It’s really just the story of two friends — one with a black top hat, and the other with a long gray trunk. And the importance of remembering what’s right and wrong in this world — and never forgetting that what’s right for us may be absolutely wrong for the one we love.
Ratings note: The film contains nothing to offend.

Deep fried Kool-Aid

(NBC San Diego)

CNN FILED UNDER Top Stories Today

SAN DIEGO -- Last year it was deep fried butter. The year before that, chocolate covered bacon. This year the food buzz at the San Diego Fair is likely to be deep fried Kool-Aid.
Annually, fried food creations show up at county fairs in southern California. Each year, Charlie Boghosian invents wilder and wilder creations. According to LA Weekly, his two biggest sellers at the San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles county fairs are deep fried avacados and deep fried frogs' legs.
This year, he's done Kool-Aid. He took some mini-muffins that he made with cherry Kool-Aid, and deep fried them. Once they come out of the fryer, they get a dusting of powdered sugar. He's charging $5.95 for four of the minis.
The other thing he's got going this year is a "totally fried brownie." Take a brownie, batter it and deep fry it. Once again, powdered sugar goes on top of it after the frying.
I don't know about you, buy my arteries are screaming at me just reading the descriptions and looking at the pictures.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

click on to enlarge

Circus Pitches Tent in Downtown Stamford

The Big Apple Circus raised "The Big Top" in downtown Stamford Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Anthony Buzzeo

It took a crew of 35 people about two hours to pitch the tent./Photo Credit: Anthony Buzzeo
The Big Apple Circus took a big step torward getting ready for this summer’s shows when the tent was pitched Tuesday. Located in Mill River Park, the 63-foot tall tent cannot be missed by people passing by on Washington Boulevard. It took less than two hours for a crew of 35 to put the tent up, said Philip Thurston, the circus’ public relations manager. The crew first puts the cupola and its four supporting masts together on the ground, then lifts up the 16-foot side poles to erect the tent one side at a time. Despite Tuesday’s efforts, the tent is not complete, Thurston said. The side walls are not in place and must await installation of the ring floor, stands and lighting and sound equipment.

This year’s show, “Dance On!”, kicks off Friday, June 10, and will be followed by 36 performances through Monday, July 4. Tickets start at $15 and can be purchased by calling (888) 541-3750 or at the circus’ website. The box office opens Friday and will remain open through the closing date. Quick facts about the tent. It: ¦ stands 63-feet high; ¦ has a circumference of 440 feet; ¦ is air-conditioned; ¦ accommodates over 1,700 people; ¦ was made by Canobbio Spa. in Castelnuovo Scrivia, Italy.


“Circus Flora” a Bright, One-of-a-Kind Experience

by Harry Hamm

from CBS St Louis

June 7, 2011

Artistic Director and Producer Ivor David Balding is a bit of a circus and show business legend in his own right.
A prominent producer of 21 shows on Broadway, Balding has also worked with Joseph Papp, the legendary Eve La Gallienne, CBS Sports and been a successful artistic director for many entertainment and circus endeavors. Since co-founding Circus Flora in 1985, the gallant one-ring circus with a heart has become a summertime staple in St. Louis, enjoyed and celebrated by thousands.

The 25th Anniversary Jubilee edition, named “Vagabond Adventures,” is splendid big top entertainment, full of the color, comedy and animal acts you expect in a circus, plus the very special talents of the tumbling & gymnastic displays of a group of youngsters called The St. Louis Arches. But beyond that, Circus Flora has added some daring performers who will dazzle you with their fearless feats.

The Flying Wallendas are the premiere family of high-wire acts.

Una Mimnagh, a specialist in aerial arts, is world-famous for her skills and unique abilities high above the circus floor.

The Flying Pages are one of the most exciting trapeze acts in the world.
But what I think is most special about Circus Flora is its very personalized approach. You’ll not only be close to all the action, but the performers themselves will greet you as you leave. It may well be a kind of enchanting experience your family has never had.
It really is a thrill to shake the hand of a guy you just saw do a triple somersault on the flying trapeze.

Former circus performer works his magic on Las Vegas

Jerry Henkel/View
Armando Farfan Jr. works May 27 on a sculpture, which will be used as part of an art display at a Broadway Cares benefit for AIDS in New York City. Farfan started as a flying trapeze artist and now works as a rigger for a Cirque du Soleil show.


Posted: Jun. 7, 2011

The life of Armando Farfan Jr., a sixth-generation circus performer, has been a lot of things: fun, overwhelming, exciting, uplifting. But boring? Never.
Farfan, a southwest Las Vegas resident, began performing with his parents as a flying trapeze artist at 6 years old in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
"That didn't leave much time for kid things like sports because there was always this fear of injury," he said. "But I think from a young age I learned a tremendous work ethic. If you were sick, if you were having a bad day, the show still had to go on. You just pushed through, and that's what we all did."
At 7, Farfan caught the eye of renowned photographer Jill Krementz, who made him the subject of the fourth book in her Very Young series, titled "A Very Young Circus Flyer."
"That was such an honor," he said. "It still is , a lthough I don't think I fully understood it at the time."
Through the years, Farfan has worked as a circus and aerial consultant on shows such as Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera" sequel "Love Never Dies."
Farfan collaborated with Jerry Mitchell in 2000 on "EFX" at the MGM Grand.
" I've been blessed to do a great bit in my life," he said. "I've had a lot of creative freedom, and that has a lot of value to me."
Farfan currently works as a rigger for one of the Cirque du Soleil shows (which he prefers not to name) and said his schedule allows him the time to work on his sculptures and art.
Farfan said he also has designed aerial arts for venues around the world, including projects for MGM, Mandalay Bay, Treasure Island, Bellagio and Studio 54.
Farfan said he has love for the aerial arts but sustains an equal passion for art in general.

Armando Farfan Jr. has created pieces for Celine Dion and Bette Midler's shows.

Jerry Henkel/View
"I've been a sculptor and artist for a long time, and I love it," he said. "I've been lucky enough to create pieces for shows like the Celine Dion show 'A New Day' and Bette Midler's 'The Showgirl Must Go On.' "
Farfan said he's currently working on wings for the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.
" I like pieces with a whimsical theme," he said. "So I will do some of that, but it isn't all that I do."
Farfan said his artwork is born from mediums such as welding, brazing and working with various types of metals.
Friend and apprentice Richard Meeker said Farfan has taught him a great deal.
"I really enjoy working with Armando," he said.
Farfan said he takes up the trapeze again on occasion, mainly for charity.
"There are instances where I will do it, and they're usually for a good cause," he said. "I've had a wonderful life that continues to challenge me and make me smile. No complaints here. I've got it good."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Circus Historical Society 2011 Convention
June 8-11, 2011 Fort Mitchell, Kentucky

The Convention takes place at the Drawbridge Inn, Fort Mitchell, Kentucky from June 8 to June 11. In addition to a special tour of exhibit on the Strobridge posters at the Cincinnati Art Museum, a number of presentations featuring circus posters will be made



After Ringling snub, Coney gets another circus operator

OK, so Ringling Bros. is gone, but another circus is coming to Coney Island.

June 7, 2011 / Brooklyn news / Not Just Nets / Coney Island
by Alex Rush, The Brooklyn Paper
Who needs Ringling Brothers? A new circus is coming to Coney!
Vidbel Circus, a one-ring extravaganza featuring trapeze artists, jugglers and equestrians, will run from July 4 through Labor Day in a lot near the Boardwalk on Stillwell Avenue.
Shows will be held five days a week, making Vidbel a fitting replacement for the so-called “Greatest Show on Earth,” which folded up its tent after just two summers in the People’s Playground.
The one-year deal for Vidbel was first reported by the blog, Amusing the Zillion.
“I grew up in New York so it’s great to be performing in Coney Island,” said trapeze artist Susan Vidbel-Ashton, a third-generation circus performer whose grandfather Alfred Vidbel founded Vidbel Circus in 1984.
Like Ringling Bros., Vidbel will have a variety of kitschy acts, including magicians, clowns and jugglers. Highlights include a bareback equestrian who somersaults from one horse to the next, and an archery expert who shoots an apple off his wife’s head.
Show times and prices have not been determined, but tickets will likely be around $10 — the cost of a Ringling Bros. ducat — according to Ashton-Vidbel. The tent will hold 600 people, far smaller than the 2,300-seat big top that Ringling Bros. brought to Coney.
Central Amusement International, the Italian-based outfit that also runs Scream Zone and Luna Park, operates Vidbel’s Coney Island site. The company is leasing seven acres from the city to fulfill Mayor Bloomberg’s long-term revitalization plan, and its deal with Vidbel is another step in transforming the once-neglected area into a year-round tourist destination.
“It’s great to have a circus coming in and fill up an empty lot,” said Charles Denson, who runs the Coney Island History Project at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park.
The Vidbel Circus’s debut will be a high point in the emotional roller coaster that is Coney Island: Ringling Bros. first ditched its site on W. 21st Street near Surf Avenue in March, but Borough President Markowitz’s Summer Concert Series will take over the space.
On the negative side, the beloved Siren Music Festival abandoned Coney for West Brooklyn, but that devastating move has been somewhat mitigated by new attractions like Scream Zone.
For info, visit
Learn about the science behind the circus


Monday, June 6, 2011

Queens, NY--Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, young and old, and learn what it takes to join the circus. With or without a degree from Clown College, the New York Hall of Science is giving its visitors the rare opportunity to witness the bizarre, behind-the-scenes world of the circus, with its "Circus! Science Under The Big Top" exhibit.
“The exhibit explores the science behind the circus,” said Mary Record, the director of communications for the New York Hall of Science. “The balance and skill that is needed and all the physics behind the circus are displayed in a fun, hands-on way.” It is the first time the exhibit, which is produced by the Ontario Science Center, will visit New York. It is free with general museum admission and is open from June 11 through September 4.
Museum visitors can get a workout by walking the high wire, soaring through the air as an acrobat and staying steady on the balance bar. Edifying activities are also available, such as lessons in parlari, the private language of circus folk and animal training seminars, during which visitors will learn the subtle communicational differences exhibited by lions, gorillas and elephants. Included is a lesson on the legendary circus animals – Gargantua the Great and Jumbo the Elephant.
However, it’s not all fun and games. Visitors will also learn to distinguish between the dung of different animals by comparing fake droppings, and those brave enough will find out what is really in a corn dog.
After the training is complete, the show begins. The patrons become the performers, as guests are given an expedited education in the science of being a clown in Clown Alley, and then setout to make their friends, family and unsuspecting strangers laugh. In the costume area, visitors will be allowed to dress up as clowns, strongmen, lions, tigers and bears and entertain the audience. Music lovers can get behind the keyboard and play their favorite circus tunes.
“When we look for new exhibits, we look for things that are fun and that would appeal to our audience,” said Record. “I think everyone when they were a kid wanted to run away and join the Circus, so it appeals to kids and adults alike.”
Regardless of age, this summer at the New York Hall of Science, even the most brilliant scientists will be given the opportunity to behave like clowns.

Butterflies are parents, too, at least at Cirque

For the Ukrainian couple who perform the butterfly love duet in "Ovo," Cirque life is the only work life they know.

Svetlana Kashevarova, Dmitry Orel, and their children, Andrey, 15, and Anna, 4, Wednesday afternoon at Cirque du Soleil's encampment in Bloomington

Article by: ROHAN PRESTON , Minneapolis Star Tribune

June 6, 2011

The motto for Dmitry Orel and Svetlana Kashevarova might as well be "the family that Cirques together stays together."
The two aerial acrobats, who perform the butterfly love duet in Cirque du Soleil's "Ovo" at the Mall of America through June 19, mark their lives through the circus. They have spent much of their 16 years of marriage in the air -- both performing onstage and traveling to circuses in Europe, Asia and, since last year, the United States.
The Ukrainian natives bring their two children -- Andrey, 15, and Anna, 4 -- along for the ride, instilling in them the same values and preparing them, if they should choose, for a life under big tents. Cool teen Andrey, who trains with his father, hopes to join the circus in two years. Anna is teething.
The kids keep up with their studies in English and their native Ukrainian via onsite and online tutoring, the parents explained last week in an interview in the tent city behind Cirque's grand chapiteau in Bloomington.
If it were up to Kashevarova, who grew up in the circus, she would never settle down in any one spot. The apartment they keep in Kiev is a touchstone that they return to during longer layoffs from the circus. But the two-week break they have from "Ovo" -- the show goes to Chicago in 50 trailers after it closes at the Mall of America -- is not enough time to make the long trip home, so they explore wherever they are.
This is the most exciting life she knows, Kashevarova said through an interpreter. Things are constantly changing. They get to have new experiences and encounters everywhere they go, including Switzerland, which they described as a fairy tale with cute houses and kind people. Why would she want to do anything else?read more at:

Looking Back: The Sells Brothers Circus has come to town

Monday, June 06, 2011

By Dave LeMieux The Muskegon Chronicle
This week 128 years ago…
Excitement reached a fever pitch when the long-awaited Sells Brothers Circus arrived in Muskegon.
The Chronicle said on June 6, 1883
The Sells Brothers Circus is here and sightseers are having their appetites appeased.
It arrived this morning bright and early and at once began the work of unloading and removing to the grounds wagons, animals and paraphernalia usually belonging to a circus.
This operation was watched with interest by many people whose minds are frequently carried away by thoughts of youthful days when they themselves carried water for the elephants or obtained admission by sneaking under the tent at some opportune moment when the lazy showman had dropped in the arms of the goddess of sleep.
Hundreds of people from the surrounding towns arrived on the morning trains and passed their time munching peanuts, chewing gumdrops and parading up and down the streets unmindful of the consequences.
The maidens from the country meandering up the street, locked arms with some rural swain, predominated and caused many a look of jealousy to spring from the orbits of Muskegon dudes.
The sidewalks were crowded with a surging mass of people who were going — no one knew where.

Chronicle file photo
A circus parade makes its way along West Western Avenue in downtown Muskegon on June 6, 1901.
At eleven o’clock a band of music heralded the approach of the procession. Hundreds of heads peeped out of upper windows, many foolish people clambered on the tops of buildings, unmindful of the prospect of breaking their necks or limbs, and other lined the sidewalks.
The procession was fine, embracing chariots, animal wagons, courtiers on horseback, elephants, clowns, camels, three brass bands, a martial band and a steam piano.
At the tail of the parade were the two large advertising wagons that Barnum has had in the city for a week past and considerable amusement was occasioned by the Sells Bros. having men with large banners walking alongside the wagons to destroy the effect of the more at:

Monday, June 6, 2011


John Davenport has been called the youngest human cannonball


Jon Davenport, 15, AKA Johnny Rocket, stands by the special cannon that blasts him into a safety net during his act in the Big Top Circus. The fifth generation in a family of circus performers, he also serves as a juggler, clown and ring master.


The Morning Sun, Jun 05, 2011

PITTSBURG, KS — It’s not that uncommon for teens to have part-time jobs, but it is pretty unusual for the job to involve being shot out of a cannon.
John Davenport, 15, AKA Johnny Rocket, does that on a regular basis at the Big Top Circus.
“I’m also a juggler, a clown and ring master,” he added Saturday morning as he took a break from helping set up the Big Top Circus. “My family has been in the circus for five generations, so this is in my blood.”
The circus, housed in a brand new European style blue and yellow tent, had two shows Saturday, and will have performances at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. today.
“We’ve got acrobats, pony rides and a petting zoo where kids can pet the animals and get their pictures taken,” Davenport said.
But one of the main attractions is him. Davenport is billed as the youngest human cannonball in the business. It’s not a popular career choice — there are probably around five human cannonballs working in the United States and not more than 20 or so in the world.
“I started doing it two years ago, when I was 13,” Davenport said.
Actually, history records that the very first human cannonball, who flew a distance of about 30 feet in 1877 at the Royal Aquarium in London, was only 14.
A pretty girl, trained in ballet and gymnastics, she was introduced to the crowd as Zazel, though her actual name was Rossa Matilda Richter. She went on to have a successful career and toured with the P.T. Barnum Circus before retiring in the fall of 1891 after missing the safety net in a shot and suffering a back injury.
The apparatus that launched her flight was invented by William Leonard Hunt, a former acrobat who arranged entertainment events at the Royal Aquarium. Human cannonballs aren’t shot from a regular cannon using gunpowder, but are launched from a modified cannon that uses a spring or a jet of compressed air.
“The first time you do it, yeah, it can be scary, but you get used to it,” Davenport said.He said that the circus is on the road giving shows 10 1/2 months of the year across the United States.
“It’s fun seeing the whole country,” Davenport said. “One of my favorite places is to go is Minnesota. We’re stop in November and go to Texas, then start back up the first week in January.”
Does the youngest human cannonball ever dream of running away from the circus and becoming a doctor, accountant or lawyer?
Nope, no way.
“I hope this is my career right here,” Davenport said.
Circus stars scale dizzy heights
Big Top Circus comes to Pittsburg

Raika Dresdner performs with numerous Hula Hoops Saturday evening during the first of two shows the Big Top Circus put on in Pittsburg. The Big Top Circus will have two shows today, at 2 and 4 p.m.

PITTSBURG — The Big Top Circus landed in town Saturday, and throngs of Pittsburg area residents turned out to watch the young performers.
They rode in from Dallas and aren’t sure where they’re going next, but they performed their acts with passion nonetheless. And the family-run show is put on entirely by the youngsters. There was Johnny Davenport, the juggler, clown and human cannonball.
And Jordan Dresdner, the ringmaster who with his brothers, Robinson and Fenix, performs an Argentinean gaucho act. Zaira Davenport, Johnny’s sister, sells concessions when she’s not in the ring as a contortionist. The Dresdner sister, Raika, somehow manages to get 109 hula hoops spinning at once.

Contortionist Zaira Davenport entertains the audience with her act during the Big Top Circus performance Saturday evening in Pittsburg.
“It’s actually pretty easy,” said Jordan, who started performing when he was 10-years-old. “The most challenging part of the circus is practicing. We practice at least two times a day.”
The one-ring, European-style circus is in the Davenport and Dresdner blood.
“We’ve been doing this for generations,” Johnny said. “My grandfathers’ grandfathers were in the circus.”
For 10 and a half months, from January to November, they travel from city to town, sending ahead drivers to distribute ticket coupons other advertising. When they arrive, setting up takes about five hours, Johnny said. After the last show they tear it all down in about three hours. It’s never-ending work, but it’s worth it when they enter the ring and hear the applause.
“We hope they think that it’s pretty cool,” Jordan said. “It’s not something everybody can do.”
Pittsburg business owner Mike Seely has been enthralled by circuses for years. He has a stack of circus posts several feet thick, and in 1975 almost joined a passing circus.
“The guy offered me the job of general manager, but I wouldn’t budge on the last $50 of my salary,” Seely said. “I wish I’d made a different decision.”
Seely said he’s been going to see the Big Toppers for years.
“I knew their grandfathers when they came through,” Seely said, adding that the draw for him must be similar to what the performers must feel. “It gets in your blood. I always said I’m going to join one when I retire.”
Tabetha Reding brought her children to the circus to see cartoon characters Sponge Bob Square Pants and his friend, Patrick.
“They’ve never been to a circus before,” Reding said. “As long as it makes the kids happy, I’m happy.”
The Big Top Circus will perform two shows today, at 2 and 4 p.m.

Circus stars scale dizzy heights

The Business Times

Fri, Jun 03, 2011

from:, By Lester Hio
CANADIAN circus act Cirque Eloize makes its debut in Singapore with its explosive urban dance and circus act Cirque Eloize iD.
Instead of the stuffy confines of a circus tent, be prepared to be amazed in the comfort of Marina Bay Sands' Grand Theater, as the two-hour show wows you with incredible displays of acrobatic stunts and tricks that you wouldn't think were humanly possible.
This is, however, no ordinary circus act. Director Jeannot Painchaud believes in a multidisciplinary approach to his acts, and iD is a modern hybrid of circus and urban dance set against a stunning visual backdrop of computer graphics and electronic soundtrack.
The set is hardly static-lighting and visual effects imbue the act with a dizzying 3-D intensity, where the backdrop of a city in the midst of urban decay just pops right out.
The heavily electronica-laced soundtrack, the original composition of indie artist Jean-Phi Goncalves, infuses the entire act with an incredibly realistic street cred that will speak to the street-roaming young. Think heavy pulsating beats, mingled with elements of hip-hop, rock and trance, and you get a sense of the slightly otherworldly feelings the music inspires.

A dance duet between the roller blader and the gymnast on aerial silks

iD explores the issues of identity and individuality in a culture where omnipresent images cause the individual to lose all reference points. This message manifests itself very well in the show - the shifting backdrop, the fluctuating soundtrack, and the fluid, amorphous acts of the performers.
Cirque Eloize iD begins with an impressive showing of acrobatic skill from Dmytro Bogodist and Alona Burlachenko, who performed a dance duet that mixed contemporary dance with acrobatic feats that set the tone for the rest of the show.
As the show progresses, the music gets harder and the acts get more excitingly frantic. An urban dance-off set to a heavy electronic soundtrack sets the stage for the main conflict of the show, which is heavily reminiscent of West Side Story, but with a more urban, ghetto twist.
A flurry of activity on stage, with a group breakdance-off, surrounds the impressive showing of Fletcher Sanchez on the Chinese pole, where he shimmies up with an astoundingly fluid grace before seemingly defying gravity by extending his entire body near-perpendicular to the pole.
It all builds up to a wonderful climax where he slides down the pole face-first, which will leave you gasping in fear as he stops just in time to narrowly avoid making an acquaintance with the floor with his face.
And that's just the beginning.

Sunday, June 5, 2011



30 second quickies, from Mike Naughton


double click on each to watch movie, thanks!




Circus Flora shines in debut of its 25th season

Wednesday June 1, 2011--Performers Sidney "Iking" Bateman and Jessica Hentoff with Circus Flora juggle in the ring at the start of the 2011 show, Vagabond Adventures, during a dress rehearsal in St. Louis on Wednesday. David Carson

Wednesday June 1, 2011--Aurelia Wallenda a performer with Circus Flora goes through her routine as part of the 2011 show, Vagabond Adventures, during a dress rehearsal on Wednesday. David Carson

David Carson Wednesday June 1, 2011--David Donnert, a member of the The Riding Donnerts, goes through his routine as part of the 2011 show, Vagabond Adventures, during a dress rehearsal on Wednesday. David Carson

The Olate Dogs perform during a dress rehearsal for Circus Flora's 2011 show, Vagabond Adventures, in St. Louis on Wednesday. David Carson
Una Mimnagh, top, and Giovanni Zoppe perform during a dress rehearsal for Circus Flora's 2011 show, Vagabond Adventures, in St. Louis on Wednesday. David Carson

Members of the The Flying Wallendas perform during a dress rehearsal for Circus Flora's 2011 show, Vagabond Adventures, in St. Louis on Wednesday. David Carson

Members of the St. Louis Arches perform during a dress rehearsal for Circus Flora's 2011 show, Vagabond Adventures, in St. Louis on Wednesday. David Carson
Circus is back on at fairgrounds

2-day event set for June 18-19

By TONY EVANS Express Staff Writer
After losing a nonprofit sponsor and canceling performance dates, the Carson and Barnes Circus will come to Blaine County after all.
The Carey Rodeo Association will host the European-style big-top circus at the Blaine County Fairgrounds in Carey for four two-hour shows on June 18 and 19.
"It's a difficult thing booking a circus. Finding a place to park for two days is not easy," said Sasha Fry, a spokeswoman for the Carson and Barnes Circus and a former trapeze artist from Oklahoma. Fry's grandmother was a wire-walker. Her grandfather was a horseback trick rider.The family-owned Carson and Barnes Circus is celebrating its 75th anniversary tour this summer with additional dates in Pocatello and Rupert.
"Dropping two days from our tour was not an option," Fry said. "The circus travels with animals and they have to have some place to go."
Those animals include three elephants and an assortment of camels, pygmy hippos and horses and ponies. About 75 people travel with the circus, including performers.
Tickets for the circus will cost $20 for adults and $10 for kids. Elephant and camel rides will cost $6.
The circus will take place under a big-top tent and feature performances by trapeze artists, contortionists, clowns and others.
"This is kid-friendly family entertainment," Fry said.
Gymnasts join the circus

Youngsters from the North Devon Display Gymnastics Club are joined by clowns Patchy and Pepito as they practice beside the Big Top.FROM:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

YOUNG North Devon gymnasts joined the circus for a day when they were given the opportunity to perform in the big top of Paulo’s Circus Americano in Victoria Park, Bideford, on Sunday...To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in... The youngsters put on a 15-minute show and were well received.
Charles Moore, chairman of the North Devon Display Gymnastics Club, said it all began when some of them went to the circus and were taken by the skills and techniques of the trapeze artist and how some of this might fit into gymnastics.
After discussion with the circus they were invited to perform and their coaches and display team were delighted to do so.
“This is gymnastics, the oldest form of sport, teaming up with the circus, which is the oldest form of entertainment,” he said.
The North Devon Display Gymnastics Club has a membership of 300 young people aged from one to 18 years and fully qualified coaches, said Mr Moore. They did displays and competitions, but were there for everyone to enjoy the sport and the training, not just for elite performers.
The club has a main base at Kingsley School in Bideford and also has venues in Torrington, Barnstaple and Holsworthy.
Paulo’s Circus has now moved on to Bude, where it will be entertaining until June 5, and the young gymnasts will also be performing there at 2pm this Saturday.

Peeking into the past--

Ringling Bros. Circus in Pittston, PA in 1949

With Judy Minsavagefrom

June 5, 2011

A column in the June 5, 1949, issue of the Sunday Dispatch stated that Pittston was the site of an event that was the last of its kind. What was it?

1949 – 62 Years Ago
Bone Stadium was the site of the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus with Pittston City and school district benefiting. A 10 per cent amusement tax was collected on $26,000 of admissions, netting the city and district $1,312.73 each. Estimates were that the circus probably grossed another $25,000 in concession sales and sideshows.

The city received $37.50 for vendor’s license, $55 for concession permits and $5 for sideshow permits.
Dolly Parton's new show sets sail in Myrtle Beach