From The Center Ring Connecting & Protecting the Circus Industry!

Rodney Huey, RAH PR Strategies OABA Circus Media Consultant


special holiday greeting to all those hard-working circus folks who made the 2018 circus season a memorable one. Many have returned to their homes for some quality family time, while others will spend the holiday season on the road entertaining us all! Big Apple Circus is entering its third month at Lincoln Center in a show that Deb Miller, art critic for DC Metro Theater Arts, proclaimed as “fully captivating, sometimes funny, often breathtaking, and always entertaining.” She described Jenny Vidbel’s four-legged acts as “guaranteed to melt the hearts of children and adults alike.” Keep up the good work BAC!

UniverSoul Circus, who dispatched a team of artists to Scotland earlier this Fall to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, is winding up its Philadelphia (PA) engage- ment December 2, then returning to its home base of Atlanta (GA) to plan next year’s show. Cirque Musica’s Wonderland is tackling a demanding itinerary this month with two units. The Canadian unit will play 13 cities throughout Ontario, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia; while the state- side troupe will present 24 “one-night-only” performances in 17 states in 23 days. Likewise, Circus Dreams’ Holidaze plays one-to-five-day engagements in 17 cities in 28 days. Check CM’s and CD’s websites for venues and dates. As usual during the Holiday Season, Florida is a hotbed of circus activity. The Showfolks Annual Circus appears at Robarts Arena December 7–8; Venardos Circus plays St. Augustine (FL) December 19–27; while Sarasota’s Sailor [Youth] Circus will present Big Top Holidays under the Ulla Searing Big Top at Benderson Park December 27–30. Bill S. Swindler Presents The Great Mr. Swindler’s Traveling Peculiarium and Drink-Ory Garden, a playful tongue-in-cheek medicine show with plenty of lively circus activity, returns to Englewood for a second year presenting 16 performances January 10–20, then moves on to Sarasota’s Robarts Arena January 30–February 10 before turning south to Punta Gorda. The Showpeople’s Winter Quarters (SWQ) Holiday Fund Raiser will be held Chili’s Restaurant at Lakewood Ranch December 20, and the Circus and Traveling Shows Retirement Project, Inc., founder of the SWQ retirement village, will be holding its annual board meeting in Sarasota January 3–7. Cirque du Soleil’s Crystal opens the month in Norfolk

(VA), then it’s on to Miami (FL) December 13–16 and Tampa (FL) December 19–23 before closing out the month in Cincinnati (OH). Volta remains in San Francisco (CA) throughout December at the AT&T Park, while Corteo returns to Canada for the

30  OABA ShowTime Magazine | DECEMBER 2018

holiday season with playdates in Quebec, Toronto and Montreal. Circus Bella, a San Francisco (CA) community-based cir- cus, recently added two circus veteran performers from San Francisco’s (CA) Circus Center to its cast of Kaleidoscope: A Winter Spectacular. Circus Center Artistic Director Steve Smith has been cast as Ringleader (aka Ringmaster) and Clown Conservatory Director Sara Moore will simply be Clown. They will join comic Calvin Ku; aerialist Veronica Blair; contortionist Dwoira Galilea; diablo juggler Willem McGowan; and the Gentile Family risley artists. Directed by Circus Bella founder Abigail Munn, Kaleidoscope plays under canvas at Mersea Meadows on Treasure Island November 30–January 6. The 2018 Circopedia Award for Excellence in the Circus Arts goes to acrobats Johnny Gasser, Yury Kreer and Kirill Ivanov for their Russian barre performance at the 17th

International Youth Festival of Circus Arts at Circus Nikulin in Moscow in September.

Looking for something “circusy” for the kids to do after Christmas? You may want to check out Holiday Kids Camp in Atlanta (GA) December 26–29, a four-day program designed to provide kids “the opportunity to explore many facets of the circus and stage.” Presented by the Circus School of Atlanta, Holiday Kids Camp is a subsidiary of the Imperial OPA Circus founded in 2009 by Timothy Mack. The Public Broadcasting System’s (PBS) four-hour documen-

tary — The Circus: American Experience — received mixed reviews from television critics and circus fans alike. The critics noted the show’s historical accuracy and meticulous attention to detail, while circus fans felt the show lacked the high-energy enthusiasm that one can expect from live circus performances. But the foremost criticism was that the show ended the story of the American circus in 1956 with the folding of the Big Top tent in Pittsburgh. Gary Payne, past president of the Circus Fans Association of America, perhaps summed it up best on FACEBOOK: “Circus ended in 1956? Huh! Really? [I was] Born in ’55 I have seen 1,000 shows to 2018?” Good question, Gary. Nonetheless, PBS posted a couple of short circus-related videos, including a vignette entitled The Acrobat featuring Sidney “Iking” Bateman, Circus Harmony’s most prominent graduate who now performs with Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia. There are also illustrated graphic novellas (what anyone over 60 would call “comic books”) on legendary aerialist Lillian Leitzel and circus owner James A. Bailey. Check it out at Speaking of inspirational circus documentaries, Still Judy is a work-in-progress being produced by filmmaker Lisa Denker.

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