2014 Convention



Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Circus is Coming to Town
Friday, November 9, 2012
You don't want to miss the circus this year! Friday, November 16th and Saturday, November 17th, the 2012 edition of Loomis Bros. Circus will be performing at the Sumter County Youth Center in Bushnell. Sponsored by the Sumter County Youth Center, performances will be at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 and 6 p.m. on Saturday. Circus producer and singing ringmaster Justin Loomis promises a spectacular show for 2012.
The show is being billed as America's best circus. Some of the featured acts this year are the Poema family from Argentina, watch as they will amazingly juggle with their feet. Thrill to the Russian swing excitement of the chaotic troop as they fly through the air with the greatest of ease!
Also featured is Miss Kathy Hannaford and her beautiful draft horse, with a one of a kind act that excludes acrobatic endeavors and aerial elegance. Delighting children of all ages with his comedy antics is Melveno the Circus Clown. And of course the show wouldn't be complete without the world famous Loomis Bros. Circus performing elephants and tigers featuring Okha the only elephant in North America that can walk on a ball.
All this a much more will be seen during the shows. Proceeds from ticket sales benefit the Sumter County Youth Center. For more information please call 352.568.8722.
The Circus was a Hit! Today is the Last Day

Justin Loomis
By Tom Lemons
November 15, 2012
Brooksville – It felt like a step back in time this afternoon at the Hernando County Fairgrounds as the Loomis Bros. Circus took the stage. There were no fancy light shows, blue faced men pounding drums, or overpriced super choreographed acrobatic symphonies; just a traditional hard working family of circus performers, who have devoted their lives to bringing wholesome clean fun to the community.
As the first measures of Julius Fucik’s Entry of The Gladiators began to ring out, it felt as though we were thrust back to the 19th century; if I squinted my eyes just right I could picture men in Top Hats and women twirling frilled umbrellas as the show began.
The announcer, or Ringmaster Justin Loomis, stepped out into the ring with in the classic rhinestone incrusted 18th century riding habit, and in a deep over exaggerated voice welcomed the audience to the show.
The Tiger’s majestic beauty captivated onlookers as they performed their tasks effortlessly and precisely. When the elephants took center stage, oohs and ah’s filled the air as people were mesmerized by their incredible size. One of the 12,000 lb giants actually stood on what appeared to be a sphere the size of a beach ball; at first there was total silence and then the crowd erupted in cheers. There were no whips or prods to force their movement just a simple word and point by the trainer and trick was flawlessly executed.
Of course I can’t overlook or minimize the unbelievable feats achieved by the human performers. There was an Argentinean family of acrobats whose youngest member was a mere 5 years old.  They performed high flying acts and “human juggling” that would make you cover your eyes.
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A sneak peek inside Disney's new Fantasyland
Saturday, November 17, 2012

Valley Fair mall unveils high-tech Santa display

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Westfield Valley Fair's new Santa displayChildren check out Westfield Valley Fair's new holiday installation Thursday evening Nov. 15, 2012, featuring a digital touch-screen Christmas scene designed to appeal to Silicon ValleyŐs Ňsophisticated tech palate." (Karl Mondon/Staff)
By Heather Somerville
from: San Jose Mercury
The long line of impatient children and stressed parents trying to keep their cool during a two-hour wait for a photo -- these are the makings of the nightmarish scene that can unfold during a visit to see Santa at the mall.
But that was before all things tablet joined the inventory at Santa's workshop.
On Thursday, Westfield Valley Fair in Santa Clara unveiled a tech-filled and interactive Santa display, a costly and amusement-filled installation that is part of a national retail trend to cater to the growing tech palate of youngsters and, retailers hope, convince parents to buy a new tablet or smartphone to put under the tree.
"They're trying to crush the old notion that they can't market to kids," said Marshal Cohen, a consumer behavior and retail expert with The NPD Group. "They're pulling out all the stops."
And along the way, retailers like Amazon -- which is sponsoring the tech displays at Westfield shopping centers with its Kindle tablet -- are transforming long-held holiday traditions. Gone are the carefully carved wooden toys that Santa's workshops of yesteryear might have produced. And Rudolph has been replaced by a Mini Cooper convertible -- the vehicle used for Santa's entrance into Valley Fair on Thursday evening.
"We are seeing the new traditions being born right before our eyes," Cohen said.
When the nostalgia passes, though, parents and kids are left with a Santa experience that may be more amusing
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Friday, November 16, 2012

Balancing Act- A modern day circus family surviving and thriving in the 21st century [PHOTOS]
Chelsea Sektnan
November 15, 2012

Photos by Chelsea Sektnan
The Weisse family is one of the last modern-day circus families. They travel almost year-round in a 44-foot RV, traveling 3,000 miles and often performing two shows a day. Parents Jon and Laura were high school sweethearts. After Jon graduated from Clown College the couple married in the center ring dressed in their performing clothes; Jon as a Clown and Laura as a showgirl. After giving birth to their first son they decided that they would leave the circus soon. After three children, they are still living the circus life, raising their children close by their sides.
Circus Vargas will be performing at the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance until November 19. Their final two stops of the year will be in Arcadia and San Pedro. Visit for more information.

Jon Weisse teaches his son Max how to balance a peacock feather shortly before going on stage. The children who travel with the show go to school every day except Sunday and are only allowed to participate in certain acts.

Circus Vargas travels about 3,000 miles every year. Setting up the tent takes about two days, and everybody, even performers, pitch in to get it ready for show time. “It’s a city without a zip code,” said Jon, who is in charge of arranging the things outside of the tent. Circus Vargas was featured in the movie, “Water for Elephants.” Jon acted in a couple scenes as a clown.

Jon and Laura have raised their children Jonny, 18, Nicole, 15 and Max, 12, on the road. “I always admired families who dedicated their lives to the circus,” said Jon. “It’s a lost generation and I’m happy to be one of them.” Jon said that he feels lucky because he gets to spend all day with his family and the circus life is especially safe for the children because everybody keeps an eye on them.
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Cirque du Soleil Kooza review

Published on Nov 10, 2012
Tampa Bay Times Pop Music critic Sean Daly shares his take on a new circus show happening near Tropicana Field.
Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus give back to central Florida

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By: Dawnn Behrens
November 15, 2012
Barnum & Bailey gives back to central Florida. Today Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is sponsoring an Orlando food drive to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. For one day only Ringling Bros. is offering central Florida Circus fans the opportunity to support the community by donating non-perishable, food items in exchange for ticket vouchers to "Built To Amaze!", the all-new 143rd Edition of The Greatest Show On Earth®. A donation of 10 food items will entitles each consumer to one ticket voucher, with a limit of four vouchers (40 food items donated) per household. ( See official rules below)

Since 2009 Ringling Bros. has raised more than 10,000 pounds of food for the Second Harvest Food bank. This year they have made it more convenient than ever for participants to donate by creating a drive thru donation service. “This format works very well for us to collect a significant amount of donations in just two hours,” said Sasha Hausman, development manager for SHFBCF.
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Robert Kennicott Commentary: Making Friends With the Elephants and Thrilling to the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show
By Robert Kennicott / For The Chronicle
November 15, 2012
One good thing about living where I did was that the circus unloaded right outside our back gate. One bit of extra noise on the track and I was dressed and out, leaving the family safely asleep in their beds. The elephant car is where I stationed myself with my shirt and pockets filled with windfall apples. I walked up and down the line making the elephants find and get apples out of my clothes. They were very clever at this and we made quite a game of it, much to the delight of the mahout (a person who rides and tends to an elephant).
I never had brains enough to be afraid of a strange elephant and never did they give me reason to. When the show was over and they were loading again at night, I was there again with pockets and shirt filled with apples and greeted like a lost friend!
In one circus there was a huge she-elephant who had fallen in love with a Shetland pony. To keep the elephant content while they were being transported, they had built a heavy crib of 2X4’s in one corner of the elephant car directly in front of the she-elephant. When I was handing out apples, she gave hers to the pony. Then I gave one to her and the pony simultaneously and proceeded on up the line handing out apples to the other elephants. I had one left which I safely hid in the back of my shirt.
When I returned to the she-elephant, she reached out her trunk to me. I held out my two empty hands and sadly shook my head. Quick as a flash, her trunk went inside my shirt, around the back, grabbing the apple and sticking it in her mouth. Her eyes sparkled! I threw my arms around her trunk and laughed like crazy. Even the mahout chuckled.
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How the Circus Transformed America

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by Randy Shaw
Nov. 15‚ 2012
In early October I visited an extraordinary exhibition at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City, “Circus and the City: New York: 1793-2010.” Its title aside, the exhibition is less about New York circus history and more about the rise of popular culture, advertising, and popular entertainment in the United States. The exhibition runs through February 3, 2013, and is very highly recommend. For those unable to attend, and those whose visit whetted their appetite for more, there is Matthew Wittmann’s accompanying book, Circus and the City: New York: 1793-2010. Published by the Bard Graduate Center and Yale University Press, Wittmann’s work is less a book than a treasure. It includes photos of all the exhibits and much, much more, leaving readers spellbound examining P.T. Barnum’s legendary posters, Weegee’s photographs of circus attendees, and a vast collection of circus memorabilia. This book brings to life the days when the circus was at the heart of an emerging American popular culture, rather than a mere sideshow, and restores the circus to its rightful place as the progenitor of the nation’s entire entertainment industry.
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Comedian Shuckey Duckey is the ringmaster for the UniverSoul Circus
Comedian Shucky Ducky is the ringmaster of the Universoul Circus.
By Linda Sickler
November 15, 2012
His career as a comedian has benefitted Cecil Armstrong’s career as a ringmaster with the UniverSoul Circus, which is coming to Savannah Nov. 21-25.
“I’ve been with them since 2002,” Armstrong says. “It’s a lot of fun. I get the chance to entertain parents, grandparents and children all under one tent.”
Armstrong performs under the name Shuckey Duckey. He is best known for his catchphrase, “Shuckey duckey, quack quack!”
“Shuckey duckey is an expression that means excited,” Armstrong says. “Instead of cursing, I say, ‘Shuckey duckey!’
“I like the word ‘shucks,’ and I like the word ‘ducky,’” he says. “If you put them both together, it means excitement.”
The term made national news in May 2011 when Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain opened a speech with “Aw, shuckey duckey!” to announce his candidacy. That led to a parody on “Saturday Night Live,” when Bobby Moynihan as “Slappy Pappy” used the catchphrase “Slappy Pappy, wink wink.”
Originally, Armstrong was a bus driver in Dallas.
“A lot of people on the bus said I was funny like Eddie Murphy,” Armstrong says. “I gave it a try and have been doing it ever since.”
The circus has the tigers, elephants, llamas, zebras, clowns and contortionists.
“These guys can do amazing positions with their bodies,” Armstrong says.
“It’s amazing what they can do. We have something for everybody that is so fun and interactive.
“The performers come from Africa, Russia, France, Brazil,” he says. “They’re from all walks of life and all around the world.”
The UniverSoul Circus begins touring in January and keeps going through November. “We visit so many cities,” Anderson says.
“Because of Hurricane Sandy, we’ve extended our tour to give people some relief and entertainment,” he says. “We’re going up into December for that.”
The UniverSoul Circus was founded in 1994 in Atlanta by Cedric Walker, who loved the circus so much he wanted to run away with it. The former promoter for the Jackson Five, he developed the world’s first rap tour and produced some highly successful gospel plays before launching the circus.
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Ha Noi hosts circus festival
VietNamNet Bridge – Ha Noi's Central Circus will play host to a number of high jinks over the next week as the International Circus Festival 2012 kicks off today, Nov 15.

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Balancing act: The Cycle Circus from Vietnamese circus artists received great applause
from audiences at the recent Circus Gala 2012 in HCM City.

Co-organised by the culture ministry's Arts Performing Department and Viet Nam Stage Artists' Association, Viet Nam's fourth turn hosting the event is expected to be the biggest ever, featuring 185 circus artists from around the world.
 Five circus troupes from Viet Nam will compete with their counterparts from Cambodia, Cuba, France, Greece, Hungary, Laos, Mongolia, Russia, Ukraine, and the US.
 The Viet Nam Circus Federation, and circus troupes from Ha Noi, HCM City, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and the Viet Nam Circus Arts and Vaudeville Secondary School will showcase 15 performances, while their 10 international rivals will perform 18 in total, said Vu Ngoan Hop, head of the Viet Nam Circus Federation National Circus at a press conference on Tuesday.
 Hop revealed the organising board expects to see novel, experimental and highly creative performances.
 He said: "We hope that each festival offers Vietnamese circus artists the chance to learn from international artists. Also, we hope to introduce our typical and traditional circus arts to a wider audience."
 "Furthermore, we expect international artists and audience will take a fair and respectful view of our circus, giving Vietnamese artists the confidence to perform.
 "We have made certain achievements at international circus festivals. Nevertheless, we are short of finance and proper promotion strategies, which hamper us in making the art more popular than rival attractions."
 "Most of our circus artists are young and talented so we feel quite confident ahead of this event," said a representative from the HCM City Circus Troupe, whose 24 artists will perform four shows.
 Performances at the festival will include Russia's Juggler, Ukraine's Hulahoops, Cuba's Hand to hand, the US's Balance, Greek Rope skill, and Viet Nam's Motorcyle Acrobatics, Magic, and Dog Show.
 Due to conclude on November 21, the organising board will present gold and silver medals, plus grand prizes to outstanding individuals and troupes.
 The country previously hosted the 1997, 2004 and 2010 festivals.

Military families take in fall carnival

Children and parents alike enjoy the nice breeze during the swing ride at the Military Family Appreciation Carnival.
By Shannon Leonard, MWR Marketing Director
November 14, 2012
Jacksonville, FL---Thousands of children and parents enjoyed the annual MWR Military Family Appreciation Carnival and the beautiful, sunny weather Nov. 10 at the Allegheny Softball Fields across from the Navy Exchange/Commissary complex. Young and old alike enjoyed the spinning rides, a giant slide, a bull ride, a Ferris wheel, bungee jumping, swings and an airplane ride.
Other activities included a water race and camel race where the children and their parents could try their luck by rolling balls up a ramp into holes and shooting squirt guns. The Fleet and Family Support Center also provided free face painting for the children.
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Photo byShannon Leonard-
Angie Osborn holds her daughter, Elly as they play the water race game at the Military Family Appreciation Carnival on Nov. 10 at the Allegheny Softball Field.
 “It’s a great way to celebrate the Month of the Military Family. Many times we recognize our active duty Sailors, but sometimes the families and the sacrifices they endure often go unnoticed. They are here at home and holding the fort down while their loved ones are deployed fighting for our freedom. So this is our way to say ‘thank you’ to the families and let them spend some time together,” said Youth Activities Center Director Aaron Long.

ABC World News Now: Disney Goes High Fashion for the Holidays

Chinese circus brings thrills to Binghamton U.
Performance on Monday at Anderson Center

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Written by,Chris Kocher
Nov 14, 2012 
The tradition of the Chinese circus stretches back for thousands of years, to something the ancients called the “show of a hundred tricks.” The feats of derring-do have entertained and inspired audiences around the world (including the founders of Cirque du Soleil).
Monday night at Binghamton University’s Anderson Center, audience members will get a taste of where it all began when the 45 performers of the National Circus of the People’s Republic of China share their latest show, dubbed Cirque Chinois.
The unique acts in their program — giant teeterboards, grand flying trapeze, group contortion, straw-hat juggling, girls balancing with bowls, hoop-diving and more — set them apart from other troupes and earned more than 20 gold and silver medals at prestigious international circus festivals.
Founded in 1953, the National Circus of the People’s Republic of China (also sometimes called the Great Chinese State Circus) has entertained crowds in 80 countries, including western Europe, the United States and Canada. (A 1988 tour included a giant panda who traveled to North America and home in the first-class cabin of the planes, a feat that required removing all passenger seats from the planes.)
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Cavalia dazzles in return visit to San Diego
Show features 50 horses and 36 acrobats and riders

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A scene from Cavalia, playing through Dec. 30 in San Diego.
CREDIT: Cavalia
Written by
Pam Kragen
Nov. 14, 2012
It’s been eight years since the theatrical equestrian touring show Cavalia visited San Diego, and the visually stunning tent show has come a long way (literally and geographically) in the intervening years.
San Diego was one of the first cities Cavalia visited when it premiered in 2004, and since then it has visited more than 50 others worldwide. Developed by Normand Latourelle, who was among the early developers of Montreal’s Cirque du Soleil in the mid-’80s, it combined the music, theatricality and acrobatics of a Cirque show with the pageantry and showmanship of a dressage and trick-riding horse show.
The basic concept of the show — subtitled “A Magic Encounter Between Man and Horse” — hasn’t changed over the years. The plot traces the relationship of man and horse over time, from first discovery and trust-building, to the horse’s role in transportation (from bareback to elegant saddles and tack), athletics and sport (Roman “chariot-style” riding and vaulting), work (pony express), pleasure riding and entertainment (dressage and circus). And many of the show elements are the same — live Flamenco-inspired music, lavish Cossack- and medieval-style costumes, untethered horses galloping free around the arena and gorgeous large-screen environmental graphics of landscapes, trees, the ancient Lascaux cave paintings and architecture, such as the Roman Coliseum.
What has changed is the scope and refinement of the show.
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Cirque’s big day, and mine

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November 14, 2012
THERE’S LITTLE activity at Aria by the time I get there at 11:30 a.m. Mine is the only car waiting in the valet line. I have the escalator to myself. There’s no sign of life or lunch near the upstairs eateries. And the red carpet area across from the showroom is empty. You’d never know a new Cirque du Soleil show is debuting tonight, ordinarily an event as ubiquitous as a casino implosion or a Manny Pacquiao fight. It’s going to be a long day for me, as I participate in the press activities for the opening of Zarkana, formerly a touring show that will now find a permanent residency in the same theater that once hosted Viva Elvis. I liked that show, but many did not; and many more simply chose to not see it. The initial hype for Zarkana promises more human fireworks and general Cirqueyness than its predecessor.
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Dreamworks’ How To Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular Comes To Sacramento

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By PR Newswire
November 12, 2012
NEW YORK – Soon, Sacramentans will experience the magic of fire-breathing dragons that soar through arena skies in DREAMWORKS’ HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR. Back in May, DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc., Global Creatures and S2BN Entertainment  announced HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR would be embarking on a worldwide tour following its critically-acclaimed debut in Australia and New Zealand.  The tour is produced by RZO Dragon Productions to deliver 23 dragons, some with wingspans of up to 46 feet, Viking warriors and world-class circus artists and acrobats, to perform against a state-of-the-art, wall-to-floor immersive projection measuring more than 20,000 square feet.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR was created by DreamWorks Animation, producers of the Academy Award®-nominated film, How to Train Your Dragon, which grossed approximately $500 million at the worldwide box office and opened as the #1 film in over 30 countries and Global Creatures, the masterminds behind the international phenomenon Walking with Dinosaurs, the #1 grossing world tour of 2010. HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR’s worldwide tour is exclusively promoted by S2BN Entertainment and delivers some of the most ambitious theatrical technology to ever tour the arena.

The North American tour launched with a one-week engagement in Wilkes-Barre, PA, on June 27th. The tour schedule can be found at  Ticket prices range from a low of $24.50 to a high of $89.50, with an average ticket price of $58.00. A limited number of premium seats and special VIP ticket experiences and family packages are also available.
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Q&A: Is Las Vegas a good place to take kids?

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Carol Sottili, The Washington Post
Nov. 14, 2012
Is going to Las Vegas with kids a good idea? They are 7 and 10. I can find some good deals, but let's say we stay at Circus Circus: It seems like there are few things to do there. What about other hotels? I suppose I'd rent a car and go to the Hoover Dam; that's one day. Is three nights a good amount of time?
Las Vegas tried marketing itself as a family destination a number of years ago, and it fell flat. The city simply isn't geared toward children. Adventuredome at Circus Circus is the biggest draw for kids. There's also an aquarium and mermaid show at the Silverton Hotel. Two nights is about as long as I can spend in Las Vegas, but I'm not a gambler. I think three nights works for those who like to hit the tables.
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Bloomingdale's Unveils Holiday Windows with Cirque du Soleil Performance

People gathered to watch the live Cirque de Soleil performance outside Bloomingdale's on East 59th Street and Lexington Avenue.
By Mary Johnson, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

November 14, 2012
UPPER EAST SIDE — The contortionists, clowns and hula-hoop masters of Cirque du Soleil delighted crowds of onlookers on Lexington Avenue Tuesday night as part of the official unveiling of holiday windows at Bloomingdale's flagship location.

The holiday windows are all inspired by the upcoming film "Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away," which opens Dec. 21.
A Cirque de Soleil clown kicked off the show.
The brightly colored window displays unveiled Tuesday night include interactive elements that snap photos of passersby and project their image on characters in the store's windows. The displays show high-flying acrobats like those in Cirque du Soleil, along with more traditional holiday themes like ornaments and presents.


Cirque de Soleil performers in front of Bloomingdale's as part of the holiday window unveiling on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012.
In honor of the popular troupe, performers from the odd and awe-inspiring international circus took to a stage set up in front of the department store for a series of flips, tricks and gags.
During the performance, a white-faced clown meandered in front of the stage before the show began, hamming it up for photographers and tickling one young onlooker with a feather.

The department store's holiday windows are located on Lexington Avenue between East 60th and 59th streets.
Four contortionists bent their bodies into unthinkable positions, and a woman dressed in skintight white lace twirled half-a-dozen hula hoops around various parts of her body.
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Apart from the windows, Bloomingdale's on East 59th Street and Lexington Avenue was aglow with holiday lights on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012.
Catherine Sarno, who lives in Midtown, brought her 4-year-old daughter, Zoe, to the performance. It was Zoe's first encounter with Cirque du Soleil, and she said her favorite part of the show was the end, when confetti rained down on the performers.
 "I've seen [Cirque de Soleil], but I've never brought her to it," Sarno said, as her daughter stared at the stage. "It was a great performance."
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

IAAPA Hall of Fame Inductee - PT Barnum

Published on Nov 13, 2012
The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) inducted two legendary contributors to the attractions industry into the IAAPA Hall of Fame, Bob Masterson and PT Barnum. The awards were presented Tuesday, Nov. 13, during the Kickoff Event for IAAPA Attractions Expo 2012, the world's largest annual conference and trade show for the global attractions industry, in Orlando, Florida.

Bulls vacate the United Center to make way for circus

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Bulls travel for days with the circus in town.
By: Cheryl Raye-Stout
November 14, 2012
Every November Chicago plays host to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and every November the circus takes over the United Center for a few weeks.
What does that have to do with sports? While the circus is here, the Bulls and the Blackhawks pack up their bags and play on the road while the elephants and clowns take over. The media has coined this long road trip the “circus trip” — not very creative, but it does conjure up some images of this stretch on the road. The Bulls begin their five-game trip in two weeks Wednesday night in Phoenix but the Blackhawks aren't concerned: The players and owners are still clowning around with their labor dispute. (Sorry, couldn’t help it!)
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(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
The clowns and the circus take over the United Center the next few weeks.

Three years ago at the Bulls practice facility, reporters asked players for their thoughts on the circus trip. The response we got from Joakim Noah was priceless: “Why do they always call it the circus trip?” Noah asked, clearly irked. "What's so circus about it anyway?" He thought it was a “dig” at the team. When I explained where the term came from he just said, “Oh.” You know, the media and the players are not always on the same page. We see and do things day in, day out, year after year — but the players change.
This year, I couldn’t resist asking some players for their thoughts on this year's circus trip. Jimmy Butler (he missed the trip last year because of the lock-out), Nate Robinson and Marquis Teague all gave me a look like I was crazy (similar to Noah’s) — they had no idea what I was talking about. When Butler was told what it was he said, “Oh, snap. I don’t even know that.”
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Behind the scenes at Cirque du Soleil

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By: Chris Chmura, FOX 13 Consumer Reporter
Nov 13, 2012
ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - All eyes are focused either on the three women whose bodies are intertwined or the men riding a bicycle across a high wire. Later, the audience is glued watching the couple doing acrobatics aboard a unicycle.
 Cirque's guests follow the glare of the spotlight, but the real show goes on in the shadows, backstage.
 As Cirque du Soleil's traveling troupe set up to perform a show named Kooza at Tropicana Field, it granted a rare peek behind the curtain – a surprisingly candid glimpse at what really goes on when Cirque comes to town.
 "One, two, three," shouted a foreman, sparking a sudden footrace that would bring to life the traveling circus's center stage.
 Several dozen men and women collected under the limp tent. They swiftly sprang simultaneously outward. With their arms wrapped around towering poles, the workers heaved the tent's support system upward into place.
The Big Top shot 60 feet into the pristine blue sky within seconds. Then they panted.
 The white canvas is an icon and Cirque du Soleil's public face. A few feet away, however, more private operation was also digging in.
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Protesters join show as Cole Bros. Circus comes to town

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A mother and daughter who bought tickets for Monday's afternoon performance by the Cole Bros. Circus, view posters on the side of a circus truck.

Written by  Jim Waymer
Nov 13, 2012
When the circus comes to town, controversy sometimes follows.
Members of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida planned to protest outside the Cole Bros. Circus Monday night at Wickham Park, to bring attention to the treatment of elephants used in the circus.
Cole Bros., which will be at Wickham Park through Wednesday, agreed earlier this year to pay a $15,000 civil penalty to settle a complaint of animal cruelty regarding two elephants it once used in the circus.
The charges stemmed from allegations by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. In 2009, PETA filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Agriculture that two elephants, Tina and Jewel, were hundreds of pounds underweight and not receiving proper care.
Cole Bros. agreed to pay the civil penalty but admitted no wrongdoing. The circus no longer owns any elephants, but does use elephants owned by another circus in its shows. “We believe that the animals in the complaint were not neglected or abused,” said Renee Storey, Cole Bro.’s vice president of administration. “They’re not abused, they’re very much loved.”
The company did not fight the charges because of the cost of litigation, Storey said.
She said both elephants are about 50 years old and that Jewel had lost weight because of an impacted molar, which has since been surgically repaired. Tina’s weight loss was healthy, Storey added, because the elephant had been overweight. The two elephants are now at Los Angeles Zoo.
In February 2011, Cole Bros., its owner and a former circus employee entered plea agreements in federal court in Texas to resolve Endangered Species Act violations relating to the sale of the two elephants. Cole Bros. and its owner were charged with illegally selling the elephants to the former employee. Because Asian elephants are an endangered species, it is unlawful to sell or buy them without a permit. Federal authorities fined Cole Bros. $150,000.
The circus had decided to discontinue owning elephants long before PETA’s allegations of ill treatment, Storey said. The circus currently uses six elephants supplied by Carson & Barnes Circus.
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Behind the scenes at Cirque du Soleil
NC judge rules against New Year's Eve possum drop
The Associated Press
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A possum drop that attracts thousands of people to a tiny town in western North Carolina each New Year's Eve may have had its last hurrah after a judge ruled Tuesday that a state agency didn't have the authority to issue a permit for the event.
"Citizens are prohibited from capturing and using wild animals for pets or amusement," Judge Fred Morrison wrote in his ruling. "Hunters must afford wild animals the same right Patrick Henry yearned for: `Give me liberty, or give me death!"
The ruling would end a 19-year tradition of suspending a possum in see-through box covered with holiday tinsel and lowering it to the ground at midnight. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had sued the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, which issues the permit for the event, saying it's illegal and cruel.
The commission has 30 days to appeal Morrison's decision to Superior Court. A spokesman said the agency will decide whether to appeal after reviewing the 18-page ruling.
Clay Logan, who owns Logan Corner store, manages the event, which attracts 2,000 to 3,000 people annually to the tiny hamlet. The commission "had no authority to issue any permit to Logan for the unlawful public display of a native wild animal" at the drop, Morrison wrote.
Logan said the possum drop will continue in some form, although he won't break the law. This challenge by PETA marks at least the third time that someone has challenged the drop, he said.
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Review: Cirque Italia show a bit of a slow stretch
By Stephanie Bolling, Times Staff Writer
November 13, 2012

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[Cirque Italia]
Act XVII features nine performers in 12 acts that include trapeze artists, contortionists and hand balancers.

Normally, anything with the name "cirque" conjures up images of a fast-paced, high-flying spectacle full of elaborate costumes and dozens of performers. Most of that does not apply to Cirque Italia, an Italian entertainment company and rookie in the traveling big top playing field.
Cirque Italia's Act XVII, currently set up adjacent to the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, is a stripped-down version of the bigger cirque shows, but without the pizzazz. (It's hard not to make comparisons to Cirque du Soleil's bedazzled Kooza, which has set up its tent outside of Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg through Dec. 16.)
Act XVII features an international cast of aerial artists, hand balancers, contortionists, jugglers and clowns atop a circular stage that lifts to reveal a pool of water. It's a rather small setup, with open seating for the 1,200 seats circling the stage. Choosing a seat was easy Friday evening; the performance was sparsely attended.
Divided into 12 acts, the show spans two and a half hours and features nine highly skilled performers. The main acts appear on stage individually, commanding the audience's attention without the overstimulation that can occur in other circus shows. At times, this bare approach creates an awkward lag. Aerialist Gabriela Zerbini swung high on her sparkling purple trapeze Friday, but the audience was caught twiddling its thumbs during the time it took her to get there.
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Lambeau Field
This is what ESPN failed to show you Monday night,
Apparently, they thought their commercials were more important than showing this scene for about 5 seconds.

Those who attended the game said it was extremely emotional to see the entire bowl of the stadium turn red, white and blue. It took 90 workers two weeks to get all of the colored card boards mounted under each seat.  Each piece of card board had eye slits in them so the fans could hold up the colored sheet and still see through the eye slits.  Every seat had to have the proper card, with no mistakes, to make this happen.  

Ken "The Magic Man"

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade celebrates its 86th year
by jmaloni
Mon, Nov 12th 2012
Event marches into the holiday season on NBC from 9 a.m. to noon (all time zones) Thursday, Nov. 22
 NBC to repeat "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" same day from 2 until 5 p.m.

 America's favorite holiday tradition, the 86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, returns to dazzle and enchant millions nationwide on Thursday, Nov. 22, from 9 a.m. to noon on NBC (all time zones). The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will take to the streets of New York City with a cornucopia of whimsical treats for the whole family. With more than 3.5 million spectators watching the revelry live - and more than 50 million viewers tuned in to the magic nationwide - the 86th edition of the world-famous spectacle promises to be the nation's largest Thanksgiving Day celebration.
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Get free circus tickets by supporting food bank
Elephants, of course, are the big stars of the show.
 (Ringling Bros./Barnum and Bailey / November 13, 2012)
by Matthew J. Palm, Orlando Sentinel Arts Writer
November 13, 2012
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is again collecting food to help stock Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida (SHFBCF)'s pantry shelves. During this difficult economy and as the holidays approach, the agency's need for food donations continues to increase.
For one day only, Thursday, November 15 between 7-9 a.m., Ringling Bros. is again offering Central Florida consumers the opportunity to support their community and donate non-perishable, unexpired food items in exchange for ticket vouchers to Built To "Amaze!," the all-new 143rd edition of "The Greatest Show On Earth."
A donation of 10 food items entitles each consumer to one ticket voucher, with a limit of four vouchers (40 food items donated) per household. Vouchers can be redeemed at the Amway Center box office for the Thursday, Jan. 10, 7:30 p.m. opening-night performance. Ticket vouchers are available to those who donate on a first-come, first-serve basis while supplies last. Free ticket vouchers apply to opening night, promenade level only.
Ringling Bros. and SHFBCF are making it easy to donate with drive-through service. No need to find a parking space or carry heavy grocery bags – consumers can even stay in their PJ's. Drive to the Blue Lot at the Amway Center (located off Hughey Ave, parallel to I-4, just past Hughey and Church), stay in your car, and volunteers will exchange ticket vouchers for donations, right through car windows.
Consumers will need to return to the Amway Center box office between Nov. 16 (when tickets go on sale to the general public) and Jan. 12 to redeem their vouchers for tickets. The Amway Center box office is located on Church Street. Short-term (15 minutes) parking is available in front of the box office on Church Street, except during events. Operating hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and three hours prior to any event.
Ringling Bros. has raised more than 10,000 pounds of food for SHFBCF since 2009, and hundreds of Central Floridians have participated.
"This format works very well for us to collect a significant amount of donations in just two hours," said Sasha Hausman, development manager for SHFBCF. "We are again encouraging members of our community to participate, and grateful to Feld Entertainment for their partnership."
SHFBCF secures and distributes food and grocery products to approximately 500 agencies that feed the hungry throughout Central Florida. SHFBCF accepts nonperishable food donations including boxed cereal, stuffing, canned meat, fruit, cranberry sauce, gravy and vegetables. The agency's most needed items include nonfat dry milk, peanut butter, baby food, and canned tuna, meat, vegetables and fruit.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey will present "Built To Amaze!" at the Amway Center Jan. 10-13. Tickets for Thursday and Friday performances are: $85 (Circus Celebrity), $65 (Front Row), $35 (VIP), $27, $22 and $15. Tickets for Saturday and Sunday performances are: $100 (Circus Celebrity), $70 (Front Row), $40 (VIP), $27, $22 and $15. Ticketmaster service charges and facility fees not included. All seats are reserved, and tickets go on sale November 16 at 10:00 a.m. Tickets are available at or, at any Ticketmaster outlet, by calling 1-800-745-3000, or at the Amway Center box office (phone: 407-440-7900). For group ticket sales and information, call 866-248-8740.
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