|Circus, in this day and age, can be any one of many things: artsy skin-tight costumed acrobats of cirque du soleil to traditional elephants and lion tamers to prop based gadgetry to a bunch of hippies putting on a show at their converted rock quarry. But the thing they all have in common, in my mind, is fun. So when a circus comes through town, no matter what the type, I try not to miss it.
Well, Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey was passing through town on it's biannual tour of the country, so I just couldn't pass it up. While the animal laden 3-ring variety of circus isn't my favorite, it's still something I'm not wont to skip. And for good reason. While the animal bits were a bit hard to watch (except the tiny dogs atop tiny ponies) and the verve of the hosts and clowns were a bit lack-luster, the skills displayed by the highlighted acts were top notch and the overall feel of the show was fun fun fun!
What made the show even more fun was remembering back to the last time* I went, when we* got to go behind the scenes because I knew a guy. And while the comparison of the last experience to this one shows either that the greatest show on earth is getting a little less great or I'm getting a little more circus snobby (probably due to my constant exposure), having that previous frame of reference was just plain neat.
Yes, I love a circus. If I had my way, I'd be like a deadhead, but for following circuses. Imagine: touring the world seeing the best troupes and acts there were, getting to know the names, the sets, and the details. Yes, if I ever win the lottery, that's what I'll do: I'll become a circus-head.
(It should be noted that part of my disappointment with this itteration of RB + B&B was the lack of juggling. No circus should be without a juggler. So RB, if you're reading this, give me a call.)
|Friday September 19 2014||File under: circus, juggling|
|Of all the program elements of a given stop on the Chautauqua tour (parades, workshops, community shows, etc.), my favorite by far is the "a rip-roaring, balls o' fire, all the bells and whistles, vaudeville variety show", esp. when it is in a small town at a tiny theater packed with an enthusiastic audience. The 2013 tour had only one such stop (as it was more focused more on the institutional/community shows which were more outdoors, etc.).
Our show in Concrete was just plain fun. The theater was awesome, the audience was enthusiastic, and the Big Juggle totally hit (except for the complete yard sale* by Zack and Clay up front.) It's a bit of a bummer that Della and I couldn't do our rope act due to her torn calf muscle, but there will be other shows in other small towns.
Yes, big shows in small towns is what attracts me to Chautauqua tours. I look forward to many more in the future!
|Wednesday August 14 2013||File under: circus|
|As expected*, there hasn't been much blogging time since heading out on tour with the New Old Time Chautauqua. And, as with the past years, only when trying to post about it do I realize how woefully bad I've been at taking photos. But I shall not let that stop me from posting about what a great time we've been having.
Almost as a warm-up to tour (party/community/
After Bobland*, we headed Chumleighland on South Camano Island where the first half of the tour was to be based. Chumleighland, milieu if the old time vaudevillian Rev. Chumleigh, is a pretty awesome place. When not hosting itinerant circus folk, he does an outdoor cinema with old time movies and hosts performance workshops. Oh, and there's a great tiny train.
Overall, tour has been going great. The shows have been good and well received*. Della and I have been performing our rope piece and I've been heading up the Big Juggle (prev. coverage here or rehearsal video here). I've been trying stilts in the parade which has gone...okay.
Anyway, we're ducking off tour for a quick few days to do the Happy Little Farm party (prev. coverage here) and to give Della a bit easier time in recovering from an injury sustained in the most dangerous act ever, the Chair Dance*. To keep up on the happenings of tour, check out the tour blog which does an infinitely better job of covering tour than BdW*.
|Friday August 2 2013||File under: circus|
|It's that time again, time for the summer tour of the New Old Time Chautauqua. This year's tour is exciting for a number of reasons. For one, it is my 5th tour which feels slightly like a milestone. And to celebrate said milestone (at least for me), Della and I actually auditioned an act! It's my hope that we make it to stage a time or two at least. But more importantly, it is exciting because the tour is right here in my backyard*. With stops in Bellingham, the Quarry, Mount Vernon, Camano Island, Olympia, Arlington, and more, this feels like a melding of two worlds close to me: circuslandia and my real world.
Since I know at least a few readers out there are Western Washington based, I wanted to pass along a few of the details before we head out. More information can be found at Chautauqua's website.
I think it's going to be a great tour with lots of great acts, great music, and great fun. It'd be great to see you out. If you have any questions, I'm thinking I might have limited internet from the road, so give a shout if you have questions. Otherwise, I hope to see ya'll on the other side with great photos!
|Sunday July 21 2013||File under: circus|
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|"Look at that sexy book! What's that? Not only is the book sexy but it will teach me the sexiest dance of all time? What a deal! I've gotta have one!"
Yep, that's right folks, Della (with some writing help from yours truly and some awesome illustrations from Stef) has put out a book to accompany her world famous chair dance act, and I gotta say that it is pretty awesome. With both helpful hints and hilarious hijinx, this book is part tutorial and part knock-you-outta-your-seat comedy. Originally conceived as a merch offering for shows, it turned out so great that we're hoping sales go far beyond that. With it being as awesome as it is, there's no doubt it will be a world phenomenon in no time.
If you want your own copy, you're in luck! Shoot me an e-mail and we'll make it happen, all for the low low price of $10 (+shipping and handling). Or you can come to one of her shows (like, for example, Moisture Fest this Saturday at 7:30 or 10:30).
Anyway, we're pretty dang proud of this little masterpiece. We're sure that if you check it out, you'll understand why.
|Friday April 5 2013||File under: circus, books|
|Remember those recent posts where I mentioned some of the performing I've been doing? Well, I found some video evidence. First we have me and Della's rope performed at the Lookout Arts Circus Campout* this past August. Awesome costumes by Della.|
Next week have a clip from this month's Vaudevillingham. It was a piece we wrote for Frank's birthday party. We performed it in the early V-ham show and people liked it so much, they had us close the late show. Good times.
|Monday January 21 2013||File under: circus, juggling|
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|Monday January 14 2013||File under: juggling, circus|
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|Speaking of traditions, it's time* for the Bellingham Circus Guild's annual fundraiser calendar! This year Della took a break from design and layout and I partnered with the ever talented Kayla to make it happen. I did the template, grids, covers, and layout-for-printing logistics, and she did the picture gathering, grouping, and laying out. I think the result turned out super great and I'm stoked to have my portable, perfectly-sized, life-planning calendar to fill in with my busy busy schedule*.
The cover should be enough to make you want your own copy, but in case it's not, here's a few pages: June, September, and October. What's that? Now you've gotta have your own copy, you say? Well, don't delay. Go find a Cirque Guild member and plop down your big monies. Or contact me, and I'll see what I can do. And remember, you're supporting a pretty dang neat organizations whose state mission is "to assist and support the circus arts community of Whatcom County, to promote circus arts to the community at large, and to radically proliferate delight at every opportunity." How can you not want to support that?
Oh, and if you want to check out the previous calendars (which are also pretty dang neat), you can do so here: 2012, 2011, 2010. Yeehaw*!
|Thursday December 27 2012||File under: circus, misc|
|We all know I claim I'm not a performer, right? Well, I stand by that (despite the fact that I've been on stage over a dozen times this summer.) It takes a lot to get me out on stage, esp. for a solo act. Just such an occasion occured this past weekend. A friend had his 90th birthday party. Way back in the day, he performed a bit of vaudeville himself. Ever since I started juggling, he's been patiently watching my latest tricks and dishing out stories of the good old days of vaudeville. Anyway, for entertainment at his party, Della, Justin Credible, and I put together a little show. It was a lot of fun and people seemed to enjoy it. Here are a few pics.
|Tuesday October 2 2012||File under: juggling, circus|
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|On the last two Chautauqua tours, we've had a lot of jugglers. From that stemmed the idea of getting a huge blowout piece with as many jugglers on stage as possible to finish the show. Well, it was a hit and has been in just about every show since, whether on tour at a small community show or big public show, or at the various benefits we have throughout the year.
The pattern is simple. As many jugglers as we have, we pair off in twos. It is 5 throws on a 4 count with your partner, finishing with a self double and tada. Center stage is a two high (or a couple two highs) that leads things. There's also a fun hectic buzzing/getting to position part. Basically, it is super fun.
This weekend Chautauqua did a show/workshop/parade combo at the Stillaguamish River Festival and, sure enough, the big juggle finished the show. This time around, we only had 16 or so jugglers on stage, as opposed to the 22+ during tour, but it was still a great spectacle. It is great hearing the "oh my"s from the crowd as we raise our clubs and start.
The group juggle, which I seem to be the default for heading up, is a ton of fun and totally embodies the Chautauqua fun-loving spirit. Maybe it's this 45 seconds of stage time that is helping me get over my not-a-performer hang-ups so that I can fully participate in all the glory that is the circus!
|Tuesday August 14 2012||File under: juggling, circus|
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