2014 Convention



Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Parade Astaire and Garland Final Scene 1948

The Circus, Kosher for Passover
On Thursday, lions and tigers performed alongside the Yeshiva Boys Choir for 20,000 Jews at the Barclays Center

(Photoillustration Tablet Magazine; original photo Bjørn Giesenbauer/Flickr)
By Jillian Scheinfeld
March 29, 2013
“Shalom! Ma Nishma? Welcome to the Barclays Center.” That’s how a courteous usher greeted me yesterday at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus—a sign of what was to come over the next four and a half hours. Thanks to the Yeshiva Birchas Shmuel, a special-education school located in Midwood, Brooklyn, 20,000 giddy Jews, almost all Orthodox, got to enjoy the “Greatest Show on Earth!”—kosher style. Clowns, animals, dancers, Uncle Moishy, and the Yeshiva Boys Choir put on a high-energy spectacle, which brought two unlikely themes, Judaism and carnies, under the same roof.
“This is our first time to the Ringling and Yeshiva circus. We haven’t had many opportunities to come before!” said Jaylee Stein, an Orthodox mother from Brooklyn, who brought her young son to the show.

The pairing is the brainchild of Rabbi Raphael Wallerstein, the principal at the Yeshiva Birchas Shmuel, who first contacted Ringling producer Nicole Feld at the beginning of the millennium in hopes of merging the two entities. What was at first met with hesitation from Feld transformed into a circus fused with Passover spirit and halachic accommodations at Madison Square Garden in March 2004. Nine years later, they decided to bring it back, this time in Brooklyn.
Posted by Picasa
“Ringling asked us what must be done, and we went over the entire script together so the show would be nice for the whole community. Today’s entertainment is not clean, so we wanted to have some clean entertainment for our children,” said Rabbi Wallerstein.

The most significant accommodation of all was removing every female performer from the show, with the exception of the lady elephants. Feld held rehearsals to find more men for the show and cooperated with Wallerstein to eliminate certain phrases that may have been controversial. A big part of the classic Ringling Brothers circus includes a rivalry between boys and girls, which was completely altered for Thursday’s show. Otherwise, Ringling was able to present most acts in their entirety, with the addition of the Yeshiva Boys Choir and the crowd’s favorite, Uncle Moishy.
read more:
The hippos of Tofik Akhundov

A large Russian trainer, Tofik Akhundov, a number unique in the world: three hippos, Zlaty Yana and Aida in a number of more than 10 minutes! If a normal exotic number we see a hippo open the big mouth for a nibble here we see what we never thought to see. And then we look at what they are capable of these three wonderful expertly trained pachyderms!
Circus comes to town
“It’s controlled mayhem, like a bunch of ants building a colony, but everyone knows exactly what they’re doing.”

Bill Dundee

Cole Bros. Circus

Workers set up for the Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars at the Pitt County Fairgrounds on Friday morning.
 (Rhett Butler/The Daily Reflector)
By Michael Abramowitz
The Daily Reflector
Saturday, March 30, 2013
The Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars, in Greenville for two days this week, was a spectacle to behold — well before the first act even began Friday under the Big Top.

 (Rhett Butler/The Daily Reflector)
A caravan of 40-50 tractor-trailers, buses and RVs pulled into the Pitt County Fair grounds at about 4 a.m. The drivers knew just where to place the trucks carrying the lions, tigers and elephants while the circus performers were still sleeping after the drive from Dudley, near Mt. Olive. A crew of 30 people were at work just after dawn to raise the tents for the main event that began at 4:30 p.m. A second performance followed at 7:30 p.m.
Posted by Picasa
Teresa Flores cleans off seat cushions under the Big Top on Friday morning.
(Rhett Butler/The Daily Reflector)
“It’s controlled mayhem, like a bunch of ants building a colony, but everyone knows exactly what they’re doing,” Cole Bros. marketing director Bill Dundee said. “We have a ‘24-hour man’ who comes ahead of the caravan and maps out the entire circus grounds to determine exactly where the tent and each exhibit and vehicle will be assembled during our stay in town.”
read more:

Circus brings Billy Smart’s tradition to Portsmouth
by Mischa Allen,
30 March 2013
In an age of computer games and 3D technology, some might think the traditional entertainment provided by a circus has had its day.

But Gary Smart definitely doesn’t agree.

As grandson of the legendary Billy Smart, he jointly runs the famous circus named after his grandfather - and has now brought it to Southsea Common as part of its first full tour for more than 30 years.

Although Billy Smart’s Circus was in the city 10 years ago, it hasn’t been on a proper tour since 1971, when it stopped because of the huge cost of transporting the crew, performers and animals.

Now animals are, of course, not included. But the appeal of the kind of old-fashioned family entertainment provided by the circus is becoming more and more popular.

Sussex-based Gary, 58, says: ‘It’s live entertainment, so it’s not just being sat on your Xbox and seeing an image on a screen. It’s got a modern spin on it and there is plenty for the audiences to see. They can also get up and take part in sections of it now.’

He hopes the circus will attract a new generation, adding: ‘There are kids who haven’t been exposed to this kind of live entertainment before. There is no image trickery – what you see is the skill of that person performing. You only have to watch the kids’ faces so see how impressed they are.’

Until Thursday, April 7, a range of artists and performers will take to the stage inside the 1,200-seat heated Big Top on the Common.
read more:
Catching Up With The World's Youngest Female Cannonball

Elliana Grace Hentoff-Killian is on tour with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show Built to Amaze!
(Feld Entertainment)
by NPR Staff
Mar 28, 2013 (Talk of the Nation) — Elliana Grace Hentoff-Killian grew up in the circus. She mastered her first circus act at 6, when she learned the Spanish web -- an aerial act performed on a rope. Now, at 20, she is currently the world's youngest female human cannonball and is touring with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey.
Elliana Grace Hentoff-Killian grew up in the circus.
She made her circus debut at age 2 and mastered her first circus act at 6, when she learned the Spanish web — an aerial act performed on a rope. Now, at 20, she is currently the youngest female human cannonball in the world.
"I never thought I was going to be doing the cannon. I was always the one sitting there saying, 'You've got to be insane to get shot out of a cannon,' " she tells NPR's Celeste Headlee. "And, of course, that's what I'm doing now."
Posted by Picasa
She is on tour with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show Built to Amaze! The cannon she uses is about 24 feet long.
"I go all the way down to the bottom of the barrel, and then I shoot about 100 feet across all three rings and land in an air bag," she explains.
"I line the air bag up in relation to the cannon. So wherever it ends up shooting down, then the air bag is moved."
She says she travels about 65 mph, experiencing a G-force of seven, about the same as an astronaut re-entering the atmosphere.
On her first time out of the cannon, she was so scared and sore that she didn't want to do it again.
read more:


Balkanski circus marks 50th anniversary of devastating earthquake in Skopje with performances: owner

Posted by Picasa
29 March 2013 FOCUS News Agency
Home / Southeast Europe and Balkans
Skopje. The performances of Balkanski circus in the Universal Hall in Skopje feel at home. Once we arrived in Macedonia, we discovered a new Skopje, Alexander Balkanski, founder and owner of the biggest circus in the Balkan Peninsula, said in an interview with FOCUS News Agency.
 Currently Balkanski circus is in the Macedonian capital and is holding performances to mark the 50th anniversary of a devastating earthquake in Skopje.
 Why Balkanski circus marks the anniversary? The answer is the following – in 1963 at the time of the earthquake the Bulgarian state circus Sofia was in Skopje. On the third day of the performances the strong earthquake occurred and the circus turned into a mobile hospital and shelter for all injured people, he said.
 Balkanski circus is in the Macedonian capital also because a circus has not visited Skopje in the past 50 years.
The idea about a visit of Balkanski circus popped up when former Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov visited Macedonia. The idea was for the circus to come on goodwill on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Skopje. The performances are held in memory of the people who died in the quake, said Alexander Balkanski.
Weigh to go, ladies

Chip Arthurs of Decatur, Alabama with his elephants makes use of a truck scale at J.P. Mascaro & Sons in Nanticoke to weigh his elephants on Friday to assure they are healthy as well as keeping updated on their weight. The elephants will be performing at next week's Irem Shrine Circus at the 109th Field Artillery in Kingston. (PETE G. WILCOX/THE TIMES LEADER)Chip Arthurs of Decatur, Alabama with his elephants makes use of a truck scale at J.P. Mascaro & Sons in Nanticoke to weigh his elephants on Friday to assure they are healthy as well as keeping updated on their weight. The elephants will be performing at next week's Irem Shrine Circus at the 109th Field Artillery in Kingston.
March 30. 2013
NANTICOKE, PA — You might think Viola, Kelley and Nina have a weight problem. After all, they do weigh 10,360, 8,940 and 5,900 pounds, respectively.
But for these three circus elephants, watching their weight is just a lot of hay — some 350 pounds of it per day.
The three elephants, trained and cared for by Chip and Dallas Arthurs of Decatur, Ala., will perform in next week’s 64th Irem Shrine Circus at the 109th Field Artillery Armory on Market Street.
On Friday the three female elephants were brought to J.P. Mascaro & Sons in Nanticoke to be weighed. Chip Arthurs likes to keep track of their weights to assess their health, he said.
Posted by Picasa
J.P. Mascaro & Sons employee Jim McIntire, right, coaxes his granddaughter Abby Konkus, 2, of Forty Fort into giving Viola a carrot as elephant handlers Dallas, left, and Chip Arthurs of Decatur, Alabama look on during Friday's weigh-in at J.P. Mascaro & Sons in Nanticoke.
“Those numbers are about what I expected,” Arthurs said following the weigh-in. “I’ve had them for more than 30 years, and they are all good girls.”
Viola is 42 years old, Kelley is 43 and Nina is 51. The average life expectancy of an elephant is about 70 years.
When you weigh thousands of pounds, you might feel a little uncomfortable stepping on a scale before a crowd. But when Viola, Kelley and Nina took their turns walking onto the Mascaro & Sons in-ground scale, they appeared content, and the gathering of adults and children fed their egos and appetites with carrots.
read more:
Universoul Circus: Hip Hop Under the Big Top
The modern circus samples some of their acts on "GMA Live."



Posted by Picasa
Brookie, the largest horse ever recorded


Posted by Picasa
“The world’s largest horse was a Belgian Draft named Brooklyn Supreme, who weighed 3,200 lb (1,500 kg) and stood at 19.2 hands (1.98 m).”
Kelly Miller Circus
Frisco, Texas
March 29, 2013


We are at the FC Dallas Complex in Frisco, TX today and Saturday. The team's mascot, Tex Hooper came over to play some one-on-one with Delrita. It ended in a draw.

Posted by Picasa


Circus star comes knocking in NYC

By MOLLY GORDY | Associated Press
Mar 26, 2013
NEW YORK (AP) — Asked to describe the length of his hair, Bello Nock whips out a rubber foot, holds it next to the red mane rising from his scalp like a skyscraper and says, "About a foot tall."
The joke is old, but all the material is new in the 42-year-old comic daredevil's first independent production, "Bello Mania," currently playing at The New Victory Theater in New York.
 Nock, who headlined the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus for eight years, is never offstage during the 90-minute performance, which combines slapstick clowning with death-defying aerial stunts.
 "Studies have shown that people's greatest fears are performing in front of an audience, of being laughed at, and of heights — and my life is all three," Nock said in his dressing room at the New Victory. "It's a dream come true, and I'm loving every minute of it."
Posted by Picasa
Nock's wife of 25 years, Jenny, wrote and directs "Bello Mania," while daughter Amariah, 19, is stage manager, daughter Annalise, 18, and son Zebulon Freicke, 22, join him on the high wire. Son Alexander, 23, opted out to pursue a psychology degree at the University of Wisconsin, but father Bello quips that "he's the real star of this show, because it's putting him through college."
 Nock is a seventh-generation circus performer. "Bello Mania" includes a slideshow paying tribute to his mother and father, an Italian acrobat and Swiss tightrope artist who met while touring with Ringling Bros. during the 1950s.
 The couple married and produced four sons, of whom Demetrius Alessandro Claudio Amadeus Bello is the youngest. Like his parents, Nock began circus training at 3 and performing at 11, a tradition he continued with his own children.
 "People ask me if I missed having a normal childhood, but I got to explore the world," said Annalise. "While they were studying ancient Roman history, I was performing in Rome and visiting the Coliseum. It was cool!"
 Bello Nock has also put this own slant on New York City tourism. On prior visits, he's has hung by his toes from a helicopter flying over the Statue of Liberty, walked a high wire over Lincoln Center and rappelled off Madison Square Garden.
 This time, he says he'll stick to performing through March 31 at the New Victory before moving on to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls and a 10-week stint at the Beau Rivage Casino in Biloxi, Miss.


From Casey Gibbs

Posted by Picasa
Smallest Cat Mr Peebles may look like a kitten, but he is actually 2-year-old. The tiny cat got its size
from a genetic defect that stunts growth. At just 6.1-inch (15.5 cm) high and 19.2-inch (49 cm) long, he currently holds certification from The Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s smallest cat

Friday, March 29, 2013

Posted by Picasa
Canadian troupe stages circus of the mind

Courtesy of Peggy Faye Les 7 Doigts de la Main: "PSY"
Emily Cary, Special to The Washington Examiner
March 28, 2013
.There are circuses with elephants, tigers, seals and prancing horses. Then there is Les 7 Doigts de la Main (Seven Fingers of the Hand). The circus and acrobatic troupe from Quebec arrives at George Mason University with "PSY" (pronounced "see"), a show that excels in acrobatics even as it probes the surreal underworld of the human mind.

Shana Carroll explained that the name refers to the seven founders of the company, of which she is one of two Americans. Another founder is French, while four are Canadians. Like her colleagues who also enjoyed careers with big circuses, she performed with Cirque du Soleil. At the founding of Les 7 Doigts de la Main in 2002, all seven became directors of the organization that now has more than 200 members involved in administration, performance and other aspects of production. "PSY" is one of the troupe's eight shows that regularly tour.
"This concept seemed like a natural step to us," she said. "We use circus as a language that can be compared to a musical with song and dance. The circus comes out of the story and the story is sprinkled around the acts. The basis of 'PSY' is psychology, and the circus acts are the symbolic path to emotion. The language of the circus can be surreal, as in paintings and dreams that delve into the subconscious.
Posted by Picasa
"The role of 'PSY' is to stimulate the imagination. The audience relates to the characters. Scenes transform in front of their eyes and they discover meaning behind each act. For instance, the juggling act represents the white holes in one's memory. In the case of the teeter board, when an artist flies into the air, the audience is connected with him and wants him to come back safely.
read more:
Circus swings into Aberdeen today 

Posted by Picasa
Lloyd's Old English Sheepdogs will be one of the animal acts performing at the Shrine Circus this year in Aberdeen. (March 28, 2013)
By Jeff Bahr
March 28, 2013
Aberdeen, South Dakota--Vicenta Pages, a tiger trainer, will always remember Aberdeen as the birthplace of her daughter.
On the second day of last year's Shrine Circus, Pages gave birth at Avera St. Luke's.

It was an eventful trip to Aberdeen for Circus Spectacular, which presents the Yelduz Shrine Circus. Not only did Pages give birth, but Circus Spectacular owner Cindy Migley broke her toe tripping over a suitcase.

"She was in the labor room having her baby and I was in the emergency room having X-rays on my toe," Migley recalls.

The little girl was named Vanessa, but the circus troupe calls her Abby in honor of Aberdeen. "That's kind of a nickname. I think it’s going to stick with her," Migley said.

Pages is not with the circus this year, but the show will include Bengal tigers, trained by Brian Franzen. Franzen also trains the three elephants in this year's circus. Other animals on hand will be Lloyd's Old English sheepdogs and miniature ponies presented by Raul Rodriguez.

This is the second year that Migley has supplied Aberdeen with its circus. Circus Spectacular worked with the Yelduz Shrine for the first time last year.

Migley, who lives in Sarasota, Fla., is a fifth-generation circus person."My grandfather owned his own circus," she said in a phone interview.

Migley works entirely with Shrine Circuses around North America. "I love working for the Shrine. They really have kept circus alive," she said. "They're the biggest sponsor of circus in the United States."

Performers from Russia, Germany and Argentina take part in this year's circus, which opens today at the Aberdeen Civic Arena.

One of the big attractions at this year's circus will be the towering sway poles, presented by Winn Thrills. A brother and sister will climb "to the very highest point of the building," Migley said. In their final trick, the brother and sister "actually switch poles," Migley said.

This year's circus has a lot of aerial acts, she said. Those attractions include Obando's Highwire act. Another act offers the Alvarez family on teeterboard. A 15-year-old will perform on the rolla bolla, which is a balance board.

Another highlight, Migley said, will be Sir Igor performing on The Cube. In addition, the Winns will perform on a revolving wheel.

The lineup also includes the Arestovs, who are jugglers.

For an act called the Spanish Webs, "all the girls in the show get together" and do an aerial production number, Migley said.

As he did last year, singing ringmaster Justin Loomis will be the master of ceremonies.

All kids 12 and younger receive free admission to the circus, because Shrine members solicit contributions from area businesses.
read more:,0,5427842.story

Circus to be peanut-free for 1 show
Those with nut allergies safest at today's 4 p.m. performance

There will be no peanuts to feed the elephants at the Yelduz Shrine Circus during the performance at 4 p.m. today. The first show has been declared a peanut-free show.
(Courtesy Photo / March 28, 2013)
By Jeff Bahr,
March 28, 2013
If any of the three elephants in the Yelduz Shrine Circus like peanuts, they'll be out of luck at 4 p.m. today

 There will not be peanuts in the building for the opening performance of the Yelduz Shrine Circus. No peanuts will be sold. The popcorn will be popped with oil that doesn’t contain nuts. Candy bars containing peanuts will be removed from the building.

 This is the first year that the Yelduz Shrine has officially had a peanut-free circus performance. In past years, individuals have saved a few seats for friends at the first circus performance.
 This year, a special area will be taped off in the balcony for those with peanut allergies this afternoon. Only the first of the seven performances is a peanut-free event.

 That news is good for parents of children who are allergic to nuts.
read more:,0,1707311.story
Ringling Bros Presents BUILT TO AMAZE! -
Meet Ringmaster Andre McClain

Published on Mar 28, 2013
Meet Ringmaster Andre McClain from Built To Amaze! The 143rd Edition of Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® presents the 143rd exhilarating edition of the Greatest Show On Earth. Surprise and wonder build such incredible anticipation it could only be Built To Amaze!?

Elephants, tigers, acrobats and aerialists join together from across the globe, each a spectacular piece of the puzzle, forming one exquisite design of magnificence and precision. From the blueprints to the band, from the crates to the clowns, from the hammer to the high wire comes one breathtaking performance of non-stop thrills so astonishing you have to see it to believe it.

Join us as we measure out the perfect mix of marvel and majesty in an imagination equation where the impossible comes to life. Be a part of the brand-new spectacles from around the world immersed in the circus tradition you have come to know and love. Experience it live and feel the amazement! Children Of All Ages will be inspired for years to come at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Built To Amaze! For show information and tickets go to
Special Events Archive
WAM! Boston Film Festival 2013
Circus Dreams
March 24, 2013

Joy Powers, one of the main subjects of the film will be on-hand for a post-screening Q&A.
Circus Dreams documents a year in the life of Vermont’s Circus Smirkus, one of the best traveling youth circuses in the world. This vibrant documentary immerses viewers into the lives of the 12 to 18 year old performers, capturing their intense work ethic, passion for performance, deep friendships and budding loves. With a heartwarming story and great characters, Circus Dreams is an inspiring testament to the power of youthful dreams. (Dir: Signe Taylor, 2011, 82 minutes)

I Was Misinformed
The Men in Late Night Dreams

Posted by Picasa
Gunther Gebel-Williams, the longtime star of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, with one of his charges in 1969.
March 21, 2013
I have noticed these days that reporters never talk to each other about sleeping with their subjects.
I chalk this up to respectability and the fact that when I had these conversations I was in my 20s and worked for the old New York Post and now I get into movies on a senior discount and write for The New York Times.
Even then it didn’t happen much. There are only a few men I met on stories I can remember going out with and I always followed the journalism rule:
You can have a personal relationship with a subject only after the reporting and writing are finished and the story has run, and, if you do, you can never write about that person again. You have kissed objectivity, among other things, goodbye. Or as a former executive editor of this newspaper put it and I’m going to have to clean it up — " ‘I don’t care if my reporters have intimate congress with an elephant, as long as they do not cover the circus.’ ”
Which is kind of appropriate, because the subject I am telling you about was Gunther Gebel-Williams, the star animal trainer at Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus. I interviewed him for the first time when I was about 25, and even now when the posters for the circus go up in spring I think of him. Oh be still my statin-protected heart.
I first saw Gunther at Madison Square Garden, riding around the ring standing up on a white horse with his pet leopard, Kenny, around his neck. The first thing I noticed was that both the leopard and horse seemed fine with this arrangement, the second that the star of the show obviously dyed his hair, a very bad amateur job, white peroxide blond.
“What a ridiculous guy,” I thought, but simultaneously there was a feeling, which, were I a cartoon character with a bubble coming out of my head, would have been something like, “Arr-arrrf, Woof, Woof!!” If there was animal magnetism, this guy had it, unless it was the horse.
I went behind the arena, near the elephants, to interview him. It smelled like dung and sawdust and popcorn – in short, like circus, to me one of the world’s greatest smells. As the star, Gunther, who came from Germany and spoke English with a heavy accent, was allowed to have the trailer he shared with his wife and two children here. A tiger had recently given birth and Gunther had taken the cubs from the mother and was bottle-feeding them. If a tiger gives birth in captivity, she kills her cubs rather than have them live in a cage, Gunther said. I had no idea if this was true, but it’s the sort of detail features writers are suckers for.
read the rest of the story:


Posted by Picasa
from Facebook


from Facebook

March 28, 2013
"Finale" from the all male performer special Yeshiva show we put on today in Brooklyn! The only female artists were the elephants!

Posted by Picasa
Ellendale, WQ's
March 12, 2013
Might not look like much now, but in 3 months this space will be ready to house rehearsals for our shows!


Posted by Picasa
photo courtesy Monica Welde
Johnny Welde and friend  at Florida State Fair 2013



First photos of our new show Aloha live — with Liz Immel, Cory Rothwell, Alex Iverson ? and Mozilla Firefox.
Posted by Picasa
Great friends and family show, Big thanks to the cast, crew sound,lights servers bartenders and the chefs you guys are awesome
From Facebook