2014 Convention



Saturday, October 27, 2012

New attractions hit the Sate Fair of LA

A circus comes to Gaza _ minus lions and ladies
 By DIAA HADID, Associated Press
October 26, 2012 
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The circus came to Gaza on Friday, accompanied by blaring music, juggling clowns and fire blowers — but getting it there required its own high-wire act.
No women performers were included for fear of offending conservative Palestinians and the Gaza Strip's militant Hamas rulers, and the circus' lone lion and tiger were left behind because of the high cost of transporting them legally into Gaza.
The Egyptian National Circus put on its first show of a month-long visit to the impoverished coastal territory on Friday, a sign of warmer relations between Hamas and post-revolution Egypt, which is governed by the Islamic group's ideological parent, the Muslim Brotherhood.
Although it's not state-sponsored, the Egyptian circus could only come because the country's government loosened restrictions on the flow of passengers in and out of Gaza. More foreigners now enter Gaza, including the ruler of the resource-rich Gulf state Qatar earlier this week.
Once in Gaza, the Egyptians' faced an unusual situation — most Palestinians here don't know what a circus is.
"I think it's going to be really surprising for most people," said Riwa Awwad, 19, ahead of the opening night.
"Gazans are famous for not liking anything and I think they'll do the impossible to entertain us," said Awwad, who came with her extended family to the fairground on Friday.
In an ironic twist, the cheery circus with its flashing lights was held on the grounds of a notorious security prison that was destroyed during an Israeli offensive four years ago.
read more at--
Note to the circus: Leave the bullhooks behind
Elephants on Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's Moonlight Animal Walk to Staples Center.
 (Los Angeles Times / July 18, 2011)
By Carla Hall
October 26, 2012
If the Los Angeles Board of Animal Services Commissioners has its way, the circus may not be coming to town -- at least, not with elephants and maybe not with any exotic animals. The commissioners recommended this week that the L.A. City Council consider an array of options designed to discourage if not outright ban the use of elephants or all exotic animals performing in traveling shows and exhibitions.
The commissioners laid out a number of variations on this idea. The city could forbid a circus or show from having exotic and wild animals performing. This would not only do away with elephant acts, it would have outlawed graffiti artist Banksy’s controversial 2006 performance-art stunt featuring a live elephant standing for hours in a warehouse space decorated to look like a living room.
The city could go further and prohibit a show from even bringing the animals inside the city limits.  
Or the city could just ban use of the bullhook, or ankus, which is a long stick with a sharp spike at one end.  At its most benign, it’s used as a guide to lead elephants, and at its worst, it is used to push, prod and strike elephants to get them to do what the trainer wants.
In the world of zoos, bullhooks are increasingly old-school, a tool to frighten an animal into submission and a remnant of a time when keepers used it to intimidate the animals when they had unrestricted contact with them.
read more:,0,7240822.story

Conversation: Leon Botstein on How Circus Music Helped Shape American Pop Culture
Posted by Jeffrey Brown
October 26, 2012

Posted by Picasa
Barnum & Bailey Circus, 1899; U.S. Library of Congress.
"Circus and the City: New York, 1793-2010" is an exhibition now showing at the Bard Graduate Center Gallery. It is, as it sounds, a big look at the development and pageantry of the circus over time through many different angles. One of those is through music.
Leon Botstein, conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra and president of Bard College, wrote about that part of the story in a catalog essay, "Circus Music in America." In it, Botstein discusses the composers behind the music of the circus, from Igor Stravinsky to Charles Ives, and the surprising influence their compositions had on modern American popular culture, from radio dramas to motion pictures to TV shows.
"In small-town America, particularly, audiences got their first taste of classical music from these circus bands," Botstein said. "The unintended consequence of the circus was it created an audience for music and it also created a way by which music told a story."
I talked to Botstein by phone earlier this week:
listen here--
read more here--

‘Legendarium’ is big fun
Bertrand Guay/Big Apple Circus
Spokes-women extraordinaire, the all-female Dalian Acrobatic Troupe from China has a wheely good time riding in the Big Apple Circus.

October 26, 2012
With a title like “Legendarium,” you’d think the Big Apple Circus’ new show would bring on horses rigged out to look like unicorns, or at least tumbling jesters re-enacting Grimm tales.
But no, “Legendarium” sticks close to the company’s New York home. We won’t complain: Maybe it’s the lack of a far-fetched high concept, or the absence of Barry Lubin’s Grandma — an Apple institution — but “Legendarium” is the troupe’s best production in years.
A jolly new ringmaster, John Kennedy Kane, starts things off by announcing the show is going “back to the origins of the big top,” more specifically, 19th-century New York.
Broadway vet John Lee Beatty’s set harks back to classic Gotham, and Mirena Rada’s costumes are brightly stylish twists on yesteryear fashion. With his top hat, jaunty paunch and furry mutton-chops, Kane looks as if he’s just stepped out of a Tammany Hall tavern. 
Posted by Picasa
Bertrand Guay/Big Apple Circus
Hoop, hoop, hooray! Jenny Vidbel gives a pup something to jump for.

For the rest, the Big Apple wisely sticks with the classics. The new comic relief, a husband-and-wife team called Acrobuffos, wear masks inspired by centuries-old commedia dell’arte. And Jenny Vidbel’s animal acts remain proudly old-school.
My junior consultants — 8-year-old Lila and 10-year-old Ava — enjoyed the “Central Park Dogs” best. This group of motley mutts gets up to all kinds of shenanigans, and could teach that Sandy fella from “Annie” a thing or two. Word to the wise: If you’re sitting close to the action, keep your hands on your snacks.
Galloping horses and mischievous canines aside, “Legendarium” is chiefly about human feats of grace, balance, strength — and the ability to turn bones to rubber.
read more--

Special circus show is a nod to Chinese culture

Published: 10/27/2012
The pageantry and flair of the circus collided with the culture of China in a special Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show for about 40 area children, many of whom were born in China.
The circus synergy made sense: This is, after all, the Year of the Dragon.
Guests at Friday’s special presentation at the Huntington Center included members of the Toledo chapter of Families with Children from China. The event also featured a performance by dancers from the Chinese Association of Greater Toledo.

From left, Bella Strauss, 7, Lily Nofziger, 7, and Becca Strauss, 4, all of Wauseon, enjoy a special performance by the circus on Friday. The Chinese Association of Greater Toledo and the circus partnered to celebrate the ‘Year of the Dragon’ by inviting local children from Chinese backgrounds and their parents to the show. THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY
Families were treated to the razzle-dazzle of circus acts, plus clowning, juggling, and nods to Chinese culture.
“I think it’s wonderful for them to have a link back to China,” said Laura Brewster, of Grand Rapids, Ohio, who brought her four children — two biological and two adopted — to the event.

Posted by Picasa
Sun, left, and Qin, right, of the Kung Fu Kings, perform during Friday’s show. THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY
Ringling Bros. is in Toledo through Sunday to perform “Dragons,” a show with 130 performers plus animals. Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson, resplendent in a glittering suit and top hat, said the dragon-themed show is “catching fire,” and the circus wanted to host Friday’s free event for families with ties to China.
“We’re the missionaries of mirth,” Mr. Iverson said.
Children watched, and then joined in, as performers demonstrated kung fu skills. Entertainers spun Chinese yo-yos, and dancerstaught the children a hip-shaking, hand-clapping routine in an arena decorated with dragons.
Luanne Billstein, founder of the local FCC chapter, said the group supports and connects families who have adopted children from China. It also welcomes families who have adopted children from elsewhere, including other Asian countries.
read more--

State fair ends today

Staff photo by Melanie Herbold
Christian Wagler tries his hand at one of the games at the Western Carolina State Fair on Friday.
•By Melanie Herbold
• Posted: Friday, October 26, 2012
UPDATED: Saturday, October 27, 2012
.Many people have turned out for the Western Carolina State Fair from Oct. 17 through the 27 due to the fact that not only does the fair draw in many people but it has more rides than it has had in past years. Today is the last day that the fair will be open until next year, so be sure to go while you still can.
Along with the classics the merry-go-round and the swings, there are also a few new rides to go along with the ones we all know and love. Freak Out, Tango and Tornado are a few new ones this year. Although Gravitron isn't a new ride, it now goes by Starship 300.
While not all fairgoers ride the rides that are offered each year, some do still have their favorites.
“Himalaya has been my favorite ever since I was a little kid,” Crystal McGahee said.
Many parents bring their kids to the fair and don't always get a chance to ride the rides themselves.
“We come mostly to let the kids ride and chat, but I would like to try Tango later on,” Julian Johnson said.
The rides, however, are not the only draw to the fair.

 Staff photo by Melanie Herbold
Tango is a new ride at the fair that many said looked scary, but still a ride they want to try.
“The food is the best part. I like the foot-long corndog and the chicken strips. They are my favorite food at the fair,” Johnson said.
As there are new rides this year, some look forward to trying them.
Read more: State fair ends today | Aiken Standard
Follow us: @aikenstandard on Twitter | aikenstandard on Facebook

Friday, October 26, 2012


Posted by Picasa

Cirque du Soleil goes indoors with latest show
‘Dralion’ comes to Long Beach as an arena show, but the usual attractions remain.
Posted by Picasa
Amanda Oroxco performs with her partner Lorant Markocsany, from Hungary. Their "Dralion" act is called Pas de Deux.

Oct. 26, 2012
How many kids have ever come home from the circus and told their parents, "I know what I want to do when I grow up"?
That's precisely what happened to Amanda Orozco.
As a girl of 12 in her native Orlando, Fla., Orozco saw Cirque du Soleil's "La Nouba". She was mesmerized. "At that moment, I knew I wanted to work with them," Orozco said.
 You can see Orozco live out her fantasy when Cirque's "Dralion" opens at the Long Beach Arena on Nov. 1 – only the second time a traveling Cirque show has been presented indoors locally instead of in the Quebec circus' traditional big-top.
 Orozco, 23, is making her Cirque du Soleil debut in this national touring production of "Dralion." She specializes in a routine called aerial silks, in which a graceful ballet is performed while the performer is suspended mid-air on a silken fabric.
 "I know, it's kind of a whimsical fairy tale story, too cliché to actually be true," Orozco said. "My mom took me to see 'La Nouba' for my 12th birthday. I was completely enamored by all of it. I said, 'This is what I want to do with my life!'"
 Orozco's mother was encouraging. "But she didn't think I was going to run away and join the circus."
 Orozco began by taking lessons in competitive dance while she was in high school. "It took over my life," she recalled. "I got hired by a company in Orlando when I was only 17. They used some circus apparatus for corporate events, including aerial silks. I soon learned that my interests were in that direction."
 Determined to hone her specialty, Orozco discovered the National Circus School in Montreal.
 "I auditioned, not expecting to get in. I went more or less to learn about the circus. It seemed like such an unlikely way to make my living at that point. I thought (circus acts were) something that Russian and Chinese families passed on from generation to generation, not something a teenager from Orlando could do."
 Montreal was a big shock to Orozco, who had never lived outside of Florida before.
 "It was a huge move to go to Montreal at 18: a new culture, new language skills to learn. But I adapted fairly quickly."
read more--

Kelly Miller Circus makes final stop in Ardmore today
For one day only, the Kelly Miller Circus will raise the big top and perform two shows in Ardmore.
Oct. 25, 2012
For one day only, the Kelly Miller Circus will raise the big top and perform two show in Ardmore.
The circus is located at the northeast corner of North Commerce Street and Veterans Bulevard — across from Skate Land — showtimes will be at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.
 Tickets are available at Dave’s Dip Stick, The Bookseller, HFV Wilson Center, C Street Exchange,  at the north, south and Lone Grove locations of American National Bank and Citizens Bank & Trust Company, located inside Wallmart
 This year’s performance is sponsored by the Arbuckle Sunrise Rotary Club.
Ardmore is traditionally the circus company’s last stop before packing it up for the winter, making today’s shows the last until April for the company.
A year later: Safety changes at the State Fair of LA
By Doug Warner
Oct 25, 2012
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Fairgoers will be met with added safety measures at this year's State Fair of Louisiana. A near fatal accident last year on a kiddie ride has led to a new carnival company and higher safety standards.

"It's definitely emotional", says Chris Giordano, General Manager of the State Fair of LA.
He adds, "I'm a Christian, I love people, and the feeling .. It's hurts." An emotional Giordano is talking about the tragic accident that left then 4 year old Sheldon "S.J." Lewis critically injured and limited to a wheelchair. After a year of medical care, now 5 year old S.J. is finally breathing on his own.

"What it's done is help us refocus on all things involving safety," says Giordano.

An investigation by the Louisiana State Fire Marshal's office reveal operator error by a Lowery carnival worker led to SJ's accident. The Lewis family has filed a lawsuit, naming Lowery, the State Fair and the carnival worker as defendants.
Last year's accident at the fair spread quickly across the entire amusement industry.
read more--

Safety inspectors look for problems on fair amusement rides
By: Haley Hernandez | WCBD
October 25, 2012
Charleston, SC---

Safety inspections at Coastal Carolina State Fair (Added: October 25, 2012)
Safety inspections taking place weeks before and during the Coastal Carolina State Fair (more)

Cricket Pizza served up at the LA State Fair
KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Workers Prep for Greater Gulf State Fair
By: Lauren Vargas | WKRG
Published: October 24, 2012

Greater Gulf State Fair
The fair opens October 26 and runs through November 4.
Shriners providing free circus tickets for active-duty military members, families

Posted by Picasa
MOLLY BARTELS / Courier & Press archives
(File Photo) Juergen Nerger, right, guides his lion, Caeser, through a ring of fire during a performance he does with his wife, Judit, lower left, at the 76th annual Hadi Shrine Circus at Roberts Stadium in 2009.

October 24, 2012
EVANSVILLE — All local family members of every military branch, including those on active duty, currently deployed or recently returned from overseas duty within the last six months, will receive free tickets to the Hadi Shrine Circus.
Hadi Shriners, a group known for charitable giving, will provide the tickets in recognition to the families of the service men and women and their sacrifice for their country. Partnering with Townsquare Media, the Shriners will provide members of immediate family tickets to any of the eight shows at the 79th circus at Ford Center
Nov. 22-25.
Local radio statioins WKDG, WGBF, WJLT and WDKS will host a remote to hand tickets out on Nov. 1 from 5-7 p.m. at the Hadi Temple parking lot at 6 Walnut St. in Evansville. Tickets are limited to those living in the same household as the family member serving in the military. Family military IDs will be screened.
Those non-military family members can purchase $16 tickets from any Shriner or by calling 812-425-4376 or toll free at 1-800-662-5696.

Vaudeville-themed circus set to entertain at the Weinberg
The circus is coming to town in Frederick

Photo from The Handsome Little Devils The Squirm Burpee circus is a combination of slapstick humor, acrobatics and some daring stunts
by Cara Hedgepeth Staff writer
from:  The Frederick Gazette
What started as a hobby in college has turned into a way of life for Colorado juggler Mike Huling.
Huling says he and his brother Dan juggled as students at Colorado State University and would often perform on the streets and sidewalks of Fort Collins, Colo. In 2000, the brothers founded The Handsome Little Devils, a theater company based out of Denver.
Posted by Picasa
Photo from The Handsome Little Devils Members of The Handsome Little Devils juggle discs during the Squirm Burpee circus. A more risky juggling act involves juggling chainsaws.
Now the company’s artistic director, Mike Huling, works with his wife and artistic director, Cole Schneider Huling, touring the country with the company’s shows, including the Squirm Burpee circus, coming to the Weinberg Center for the Arts on Friday.
Growing up as a musical theater performer, Schneider Huling met the Huling brothers during a trip home to Colorado while she was a student at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
“[Mike] and his brother were doing a show,” Schneider Huling says. “We talked about the possibility of doing a theater show, and from there we started brainstorming and creating some new ideas.”

John Kennedy Kane My Life in the Basement Promo

Published on Aug 7, 2012 by John Kennedy kane
4th Int’l Circus Festival to be held in HN

VGP – The 4th International Circus Festival will be opened in Ha Noi on November 17.
Written by gov
October 14, 2012
Present at the event are dozens of Vietnamese and international circus delegations from Russia, Luxembourg, Germany, Sweden, Italia, Spain, Finland, China, Montenegro, Laos, Cambodia, Australia, the US and Cuba.

The festival aims to promote the cooperation in art and culture between Viet Nam and other nations in the world.

It also creates a chance for Viet Nam to advertise its culture to the world as well as learn management experience and cultural initiatives of other countries.
By Thuy Dung

Posted by Picasa
Chinese actresses perform acrobatics at the 13th China Wuqiao International Circus Festival, in Shijiazhuang, capital of north China's Hebei Province, Oct. 25, 2011. (Xinhua/Yang Shiyao)

Big Apple Circus Features WNY'er
By WKBW News
October 24, 2012

read more--

from--Martins Ferry, Ohio Times Leader
October 4, 2011

Posted by Picasa

THE FAMOUS whiteface clown Charlie Bell (Charles D. Chase), a former resident of Barnesville, was born in 1886. Charlie ran away and joined a medicine show and performed as a acrobat at the age of 7. He adopted the owner's last name "Bell" and was know thereafter as Charlie Bell. He performed as an acrobat and circus clown for 63 years, prior to his death in 1964 in Sarasota, Fla. He spent 35 years with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey before he retired in 1956. In 1969, Charlie was inducted into the International Circus Hall of Fame. It has became a family affair with his daughter Charlotte Bell Kora (deceased) and current performers granddaughter, Tosca Kora Fornasari and great-granddaughter, Nicolette Fornasari. Picture is shown with granddaughter Mary Ann O'Grady Rinehart of Toledo, Ohio. Submitted by Christina Renshaw DeBeni.
Safety a priority at State Fair of Louisiana
Written by
Michele Marcotte
Oct 24, 2012

Posted by Picasa Greg Miranda, of Corpus Christi, Texas, helps set up a ferris wheel on the grounds of the State Fair of Louisiana in Shreveport on Friday, Oct. 19, 2012. Val Horvath Davidson/The Times

 Circus comes to town at Blue Cross Arena

Posted by Picasa
Cami Miller of Phoenix, Ariz., assembles the tiger enclosure Wednesday in preparation for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus at the Blue Cross Arena at the Rochester Community War Memorial. / Jamie Germano//Staff Photographer
Written by  Staff reports
Oct 24, 2012
Rochester, NY--Kids of all ages will be heading downtown this weekend to see the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus at the Blue Cross Arena at the Rochester Community War Memorial.
The circus will be in town through Sunday, with shows at 7 p.m. Thursday; 7 p.m. Friday; 11:30 a.m., 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets start at $12 for children younger than 12 and $25 for adults and can be purchased at or the Blue Cross Arena box office.
County fair attendance was up slightly

Posted by Picasa
Ashley Cropper of Lodi shows her steer in the livestock arena last month at the San Joaquin County Fair in Stockton. Good weather contributed to solid attendance figures at the fair.  CLIFFORD OTO/The Record
By The Record
October 25, 2012
STOCKTON - Last month's San Joaquin County Fair drew more than 132,000 fairgoers, a small increase from the 2011 event.
This year's fair lasted eight days, three more than last year's fair in June, when attendance was about 128,000. The past two fairs have shown an attendance increase of more than 50,000 from the 2010 edition.
"We're happy with the number," said Janet Covello, the chief executive officer of the fair. "We know we had a change in dates, so we didn't expect to see double numbers."
Admission to the fair has been free for two years. Last month's 152nd San Joaquin County Fair was the first held in September since the early 1920s. Many of the exhibits this year were related to the arrival of autumn.
read more--

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Animal walk commences circus week in downtown Toledo

Posted by Picasa

Katie Buckley of Perrysburg photographs her sons Tyler, 3, and Kyle, 10 months, while waiting Tuesday evening for the start of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus animal walk from the Amtrak station in Toledo to the Huntington Center downtown. The circus will be performing for four nights beginning Thursday. Ms. Buckley said Tyler saw the elephants last year and fell in love with them.

Man Sells Memorabilia to Help Ailing Daughter

Published on Oct 24, 2012 by AssociatedPress
Ken Kallin is selling his $4.5 million collection of autographed memorabilia to help his ailing daughter. It's being billed as one of the largest private collections of autographed celebrity photos and hard-cover books in the world. (Oct. 24)

CIRCUS Q&A: Armando Loyal-Elephant Trainer  
Armando Loyal is the head elephant trainer with Kelly Miller Circus. He has been in the circus business since the age of 5 and is a ninth generation circus performer.

By Todd G. Higdon
Oct. 23, 2012
Since the age of 5, Armando Loyal has been in the circus, with Kelly Miller Circus and a sister circus. His first performance was as a bareback rider.
On Monday, the circus came to Granby for two shows – 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. – at the Granby ball fields. Before the circus, the Neosho Daily News asked Loyal some questions about how he got started in the circus, along with what are his duties in the circus today.
NDN: How did you get interested in the circus?
Loyal: I am a ninth generation circus performer. My grandfather started with Kelly Miller in 1956. Kelly Miller has a sister circus, which I grew up on both back and forth. My family moved to Oklahoma where Kelly Miller is from and I was born there, raised there, grew up there.
NDN: What is your official title here at the Kelly Miller Circus?
Loyal: I am the head elephant trainer.
NDN: How many years have you been doing that?
Loyal: I have been around the elephants my whole life. My mom trained elephants before me, but I actually became in charge about 13 years ago, of these three that I have with me now.
NDN: How hard is it to train elephants?
Loyal: Patience, a lot of patience and they are very, very intelligent. So you really have to get a bond with them and then you just come long as fast as they want to come along. You teach them to follow you at first and then 'hey raise your trunk up' and you give them a treat. They feel the comfort zone with you and then you just get them to do it by command, and go on from there.
NDN: Prior to the circus and even during intermission, people had the opportunity to ride an elephant. How fun is it to ride an elephant?
Loyal: For me it is an everyday thing, but you see the faces of kids that come out and boy, it just makes you feel good to see them up there, having a good time. Even the older people get up there and just seem like kids, laughing and giggling, taking pictures. There was a lady that was 94 years old the other day. We had to help her get up the steps and get her on, but she said that was one thing that she wanted to do in life before she gets gone. She wanted to ride an elephant. And she sure did.
read more--

Best bets: Ringling Bros. circus returns with ‘Dragons’


A tumbler performs a risky leap in "Dragons," the latest show from Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus coming to the Allstate Arena in Rosemont and the United Center in Chicago.

Circus flight
In this lunar Year of the Dragon, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus presents a spectacular that brings together mythological lore with authentic circus feats in “Dragons,” which starts Thursday first at Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Road, Rosemont, before moving to the United Center, 1901 W. Madison St., Chicago. $13-$25; $45 VIP tickets; $50-$60 front-row seats; $90 Circus Celebrity packages also available. (800) 745-3000 or Various times from Thursday, Nov. 1, through Sunday, Nov. 11, in Rosemont; Wednesday, Nov. 14, through Sunday, Nov. 25, in Chicago
read more--

Kangaroo Found 'Hanging Out' at Australian Airport

Description:"CBS This Morning" reports a kangaroo was caught jumping around the Melbourne airport parking garage in Australia! WAVY had the video of the moment the kangaroo was tranquilized. She was released in a safe area and is doing just fine. ITN couldn't help but poke fun at the pouched mammal, teasing she was trying to make her grand escape and hop the country. Media outlets report it was a Tweet that alerted authorities to the problem. (1:19)
Rare Scarlet Macaws Released in Costa Rica
Source: Reuters

Description:Scarlet Macaws color Costa Rica's lush rainforests, but deforestation and poaching threaten the rare species - with some experts predicting the birds could disappear altogether in ten years. 

Posted by Picasa
Goings On About Town

Above and Beyond
from-- The New Yorker, October 29, 2012
Posted by Picasa
“Circus and the City,” at the Bard Graduate Center Gallery.

The Big Apple Circus, Manhattan’s homegrown one-ring wonder, has returned for its thirty-fifth year, with a dozen acts from here and abroad, including Elayne Kramer, a sixth-generation Argentinean contortionist; the animal trainer Jenny Vidbel, who has worked with ponies, dogs, llamas, pigs, an African porcupine, and the world’s largest rodent, the capybara; and the Acrobuffos, the Harlem-based couple Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone, who hold degrees from three clown colleges (as well as from Princeton), and who deliver a modern take on commedia dell’arte. This year’s show, “Legendarium: A Journey Into Circus Past,” is hosted by John Kennedy Kane, who is making his Big Apple début as a ringmaster. (Damrosch Park, Lincoln Center. 888-541-3750. Through Jan. 13.) For those who wish to journey even farther into the past, the Bard Graduate Center’s exhibition “Circus and the City” surveys two hundred and seventeen years of circus history in New York, starting with the first equestrian circus, on Greenwich Street, in 1793. The show includes musical instruments, photographs, posters, and memorabilia, and features a section on Jumbo, the six-ton elephant whose name entered the American lexicon after his 1882 arrival in the city. (Bard Graduate Center Gallery, 18 W. 86th St. Through Feb. 3. For more information, visit
Read more
UniverSoul CircUS gives back 2012

Published on Oct 23, 2012 by UniverSoul Circus
Tonya Bell lost her possessions in a house fire. She reached out to the UniverSoul Circus so that she could provide her children just a few hours of relief and entertainment. The Circus responded with the Big Top treatment!
Haley volunteer pushing for rename of hospital

Posted by Picasa

In 1945, James A. Haley was imprisoned for his role in a fire that killed 168.
The Tampa Tribune
October 22, 2012
TAMPA --Bob Sawallesh figures he has spent thousands of hours over the years helping patients at the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital.
He has driven them to appointments, interviewed homeless veterans to help them get assistance and worked with the wounded and their families.
But in all that time, the retired Army lieutenant colonel from Valrico never saw a picture of the hospital's namesake prominently displayed.
Curious, Sawallesh began to look into Haley. Always interested in research, he spent hours in front of the computer, in dusty library stacks and going through boxes of documents.
What he found spurred him to ask that the hospital's name be changed.

James A. Haley

In 1945, Haley was sent to prison for what prosecutors say was his role in one of the worst fires in the nation's history – a blaze at a Ringling Bros. circus show in Hartford, Conn., that killed 168 and injured nearly 500 others.
"How can you name a hospital that treats severely burned combat veterans after a man who spent time in jail for a fire that killed so many?" Sawallesh asked.
* * * * *
Johnny Meah was 7 and living in Bristol, Conn., when his mother bought a pair of tickets to the circus from a department store. He remembers being excited on the bus ride that he would see the clowns and animals and acrobats under the massive Big Top tent.
It was July 6, 1944.
"I never forgot that day," said Meah, now 75 and living in Safety Harbor.
Just before 2 p.m., Meah and his mother, Anne Meah, settled into their reserved seats – folding chairs on large wooden planks. The crowd numbered about 9,000.
About 20 minutes into the show, as the famous Wallenda family was about to ascend the high wire, "There seemed to be some commotion near the main entrance on the opposite side of the tent," Meah said. "It was evident there was some kind of fire, but people were not terribly concerned. They thought it was some kind of clown gag."
"That perception," Meah said, "did not last long."
As the fire quickly spread, some circus-goers rushed for the track between the seats and the performance area, Meah said. Others jumped to the ground behind the reserved seats, only to find there was nowhere to run.
Many of those who made it to the track found exits blocked by animal cages.
"A lot of casualties occurred there," he said.
Meah remembers looking down at the track, "filled with screaming, scrambling people." A man sitting next to him kicked down a railing and Meah and his mother jumped about 4 feet to the ground.
Pushed along by the frantic crowd, the pair made it out a back door. They ran through a small wooded area to a city maintenance yard, where the survivors fell down a sand pit to safety.
"I turned around and the whole big top was gone," Meah said. "It was just a sheet of flame."
At the top of a small rise, Meah said, his mother found a phone booth. She called her husband, a cartoonist at The Bristol Press.
"That is how, I am told, the whole circus fire story got out to the AP wires," Meah said.
read more--

Batman Bat signal will flash over Loveland on Friday (video)
Batman Live will bring favorite characters to the Budweiser Events Center
By Jessica Benes Reporter-Herald Staff, Loveland, CO

read the article---

We all are part of the cirque of life
John Weeks, Staff Writer
Once I dreamed of attending every Cirque du Soleil production that there is, but I've given up hope.
I'll never have that much time. I'll never have that much money.
There are so many Cirque du Soleil shows already under way, and more are arriving all the time.
I'll never catch up, unless I manage to live forever. With a good income.
Fortunately, there's one Cirque du Soleil show now playing close to home, and at reasonable prices. The family-friendly "Dralion" opens at 7:30 tonight and continues with six additional performances through Oct. 28 at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. Tickets start at $28 (more information: 888-929-7849,,
"Dralion" uses music, dance and acrobatics to tell a story of the interconnectedness of man and nature, fusing the folklore traditions of the East, symbolized by the Dragon, and the West, symbolized by the Lion.
"Dralion" is one of 20 Cirque du Soleil productions currently being staged in cities around the nation and world.
There's "La Nouba," which tells the story of a clash between "circus" people and "city" people. And "Kooza," which tells of a melancholy loner who encounters a series of fantasy characters.
There's "Iris," "Totem" and "Mystere." There's "Ka," "Alegria," "Quidam" and "Corteo." There's "Q," "Zumanity," "Ovo" and "Varekai."
read more--
Big Apple Circus: A review by Lily Kaplan, age 5

''I was laughing so hard ... at the clown with the big tush ... and I LOVED the puppies who did tricks'
October 23, 2012

Posted by Picasa
Jefferson Siegel
Lily Kaplan, 5, daughter of Daily News TV Editor Don Kaplan, takes notes at the Big Apple Circus.
Usually, clowns have big feet, but this one has the biggest tushy that I’ve ever seen, so it’s no wonder she’s part of the Big Apple Circus.
At the show, she fell on it — and actually bounced back up! I was laughing so hard, my pencil fell onto the floor.
Her name is “Madame,” but she’s really someone named Christina Gelsone. My daddy told me she met her real-life husband — the other clown in the show — “Monsieur” (Seth Bloom) when they worked at a circus in Afganistan.
She married him in China wearing a dress made out of white balloons. Now they call themselves the Acrobuffos.
Read more:

Circus review: Big Apple’s ‘Legendarium’
The little big-top show is back with dogs, acrobats, clowns and fun facts of history
by: Jo Dziemianowicz
October 23, 2012

Big Apple Circus

Chinese bikers are riding high - and in tandem.
Keep your eye on Charlie, a pint-sized poodle with spindly Olive Oyl legs. When this spry pup slyly pilfers snacks on cue in the Big Apple Circus, he wins your heart and steals the show.
The new edition of the 35-year-old circus known for a single ring and audience-friendly intimacy is filled with polished acts and fun facts.
The show arrives without Grandma the clown, who wisely left on a high. As it happens, this production is directed by West Hyler, whose credits include “Jersey Boys,” is all about respecting one’s elders and honoring the past.
Called “Legendarium,” it’s framed as “a journey through time,” declares jolly ringmaster John Kennedy Kane. Over its two hours (including intermission), it celebrates New York City and big-top milestones.
In other words, running away to the circus just got more informative. Mind you, youngsters might not give a hoot that the center ring measures 42 feet in diameter so that a horse can reach a full gallop. Or that 19th-century swinger Jules Leotard invented the art of trapeze and the form-fitting garment named after him. But it’s amusing cocktail party chatter for grownups, no?
Big Apple Circus

Elayne Kramer has a leg up on many contortionists.
Elayne Kramer has a leg up on many contortionists.Kids of any age will get into performers who magically merge muscle and grace. Like Argentinian contortionist Elayne Kramer, who boggles the mind as she bends herself into improbable shapes while balanced on her hands. She also channels Katniss Everdeen (from “The Hunger Games”) by firing a bow and arrow with her toes. Alas, on Sunday, both shots missed the balloon target. The first arrow pierced a curtain. It was right out of “Hamlet,” but, unlike Polonius, no one was hurt.
Chinese acrobat Zhang Fan offers more wows. He defied gravity as he balanced on a slack wire, while a live version of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” played in the background. The show’s eclectic music also sampled Stephen Foster and Britney Spears.
Posted by Picasa
Big Apple Circus

Charlie the poodle knows how to pick up tricks - and snacks - from Jenny Vidbel in 'Legendarium.'
Seven Chinese women dressed in Crayola-colored jockey outfits added a high-energy blast as they rode bikes like rodeo broncos. The highlight was innovative French circus artist Daniel Cyr. He took spinning inside an oversized hula hoop that bears his name beyond mere acrobatics to a gorgeous dance. Cyr is the undisputed lord of the ring in every sense.
Not every moment gleams. Husband and wife clowns Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsome — aka Monsieur and Madame — fell flat on their rumps as they raided the audience in search of romance. She was also preoccupied with her giant fake fanny. We get it, Madame; your backside has more than kept up with Kim Kardashian’s caboose.
Give me more of the charming Charlie and his handler, Jenny Vidbel, any day. The lovable pooch worked has as hard and got twice as many laughs.
Read more:

Big Underwear rolls into Warren; free show Sunday    
Posted by Picasa
It may run on diesel, but what really powers Brady Bradshaw and Irmi Spiegel’s giant 40-foot tour bus is Big Underwear.
By Ted Hayes
October 23, 2012
The two are jugglers, fire dancers, acrobats, comedians, hustlers, life partners and disciples of working less and playing more, and they just steered their enormous ex-Seattle Transit Authority bus into Warren after a drive of 2,000 miles from Texas. Mr. Bradshaw lived in Warren for years before moving to Oregon about five ago, and he’s in town to catch up with family and old friends. While they’re here they will play a free show in Warren this coming Sunday, Oct. 28 (see bottom).
That they’re stopping to relax is a change for the two, who bought the bus from an old circus friend in 2008 and promptly set about converting it into a traveling home. They outfitted it with a many as a dozen bunks, a retractable awning, a 1920s gas stove converted to propane, a fridge, sink and toilet, and Mr. Bradshaw’s endless collection of trinkets, shells, circus posters and detritus from the road. The bus now has close to 600,000 miles on it and while it’s big, “it’s such a smooth ride,” Mr. Bradshaw marvels.
Over the past couple of years, the two have driven a seemingly endless loop from his home base in Oregon to Central America and back, stopping in countless towns in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama to park the bus, have a look, pull out their props, clean up trash they find and play free variety shows, usually in the town square. The Big Underwear Social Tour, as their journey is called, has at times had as many as 14 performers, all traveling together on the bus. There were jugglers, accordion players, trapeze artists, magicians and more. When there were guests, they were likely to pitch a tent or two on the bus’s rooftop platform and travel up there, too, if space was too tight inside.
“It was interesting. it got a little crazy at times,” said Mr. Bradshaw, who also goes by the stage name Bobarino Gravittini. “It became kind of a reality show, because we never should have had that many people in there. It was more intense than anyone ever expected.”
read more--