2008 CIRCUS REVUES
My 2008 season started by first going
to the PA and NY Fair
Conventions in Jan.
In PA. for two days at the State Fair Convention was these circus producers that was booking dates for 2008. Shows included: Oscar Garcia and the Star Family Circus, Shane Hanson with the Hanson's Spectacular, Doc Swan a circus fan with his one man variety show, Ricardo Flores and The Fearless Flores Circus and Thrill Show, Noella Torres with the Torres 1 Ring Family Circus.
The next two days everyone hit the 350 mile trail north to Rochester, NY for the NY Fair Convention. Joining the PA shows was the Royal Hanneford Circus, Ivan and Noe Espana booking their Espana Extreme Show along with Cirquesa and Defiant productions. Jose Torres was already set-up and was joined by Noella. Also Walter Murcias was booking his new Pirates of the Colombian Caribbean Show and the Victoria's Circus.
Oscar Garcia was at his trade show booth at the New York Association of Fairs Convention in Rochester, New York. This is one of the many ways entertainers book shows for the summer seasons. Oscar is in charge of his show that travels thru out the east with The Star Family Circus which I have seen many times over the years.
During the breaks at the New York Convention we caught up with Ricardo Flores and Walter Murcias jack potting at the Fearless Flores booth.
#1 COLE ALL STAR CIRCUS
My first circus of the year was on Monday Jan. 21 at Elkhart, PA which was held at the High School. This was one fantastic show presented by Billy Martin and his Cole All Star Circus that plays most of New York State and northern PA during the winter season. This is a building show that plays mostly in schools. This show has class with exceptional lighting and sound compared to other indoor shows that I have seen over the years. The show sets up in less than 2 hours and tears down in less than 30 minutes. All acts are high quality. If anyone misses this show when they come to your area you will miss a truly great small town show show. The acts that really sets this show out from others is the great Slinky Act of Peter, ending the first half was a strap act of Leo Garcia. The second half started with Angela on the trapeze which is one of the best in the US that I have seen and to top the show off was Brett Marshall. Other acts was unicycles foot juggling and comedy trampoline performed by Kim Sue and Vlastek (Bertini) and Vincent, the hula hoops was performed by Letty Garcia.
The show was set up at one end of the gym with seating on bleachers on both sides of the auditorium. Concessions was at the opposite end of the performance area. Which was one of the cleaness and neatess set up that I have seen. Souviners was a big hit, along with popcorn, cotton candy, pepsi and water.
Before the show started Billy had a coloring book pitch with special prize in many of the books which was giant balloons. This was a big hit as the cost was only a dollar. You can see some of the many winners lined up to get a balloon from Billy the ringmaster of this show (back to).
The souviner stand was very busy during the intermission with many inflatables and lighted swords sold.
The featured act was Brett Marshall a BMX rider who displayed skills of balance on his bike. After his display of riding he brought out this unique cycle and did a forward roll in this small area and rode off each time.
MAINE STATE FAIR CONVENTION
Scene at the Maine Fair Assocition Annual Meeting the last week-end in Janurary the CFA Tent #30's display.
#2 GARDEN BROTHERS CIRCUS
On Tuesday 4 of Maine CFAers (Harry Gordon District #1 CFA director, Crash Moreau, Ernie Tarbox and Norm Waycott) drove upto 4 hours to see the Entertainment Giant Garden Brothers Circus playing at the Paul T. Songus Arena in Lowell, Mass. It was my 3rd year in a row to attend this date. Also scene at the performace was Father Hogan and Ed Motta along with another CFA member from the area of southern Mass.
Getting there early we talked to Zeman Karoly and than the Miller Elephant Handlers who had 3 bulls on the lot. A long talk with Ramon Esquades (I hope I spelt his name right) about the elephants as one of our CFAers worked with a few of the Miller Elephants and the other two members was always around Lisa and Boo when Turtle Benson was working with the Roberts Circus. Next we met up with John Kennedy Kain "EggY' as he drove in to the lot. We jack potted for a long long time about the business. Than it was on to the show at 4 PM the first of 2 shows before they were headed to Springfield, Mass for the next day. This year they played only one day at this location.
This has to be the best performance in 3 years as all acts were excellant. Some of the acts was the Bejing Long Ho Tumblers, the Lopez High Wire Act which is a spectacular 3 person act. Ian Garden presented his 8 White GBC Liberty Horse Act, scene thru out the show was comedy clown extroidnair EGGY other wise known as Egg-roll. An all girl routine of the China's Shem Yang Acrobats filled 3 rings of plate and hat spinning. A spectacular break-a-way bike act was performed by Hungarian Zeman Karoly who ended his performance with a back flip on a BMX bike. Than he came back with a double back-flip. Fantastic! The Magical Karimas performed a different Quick Change routine, as over the years I have seen them perform on other shows. The male Chinese performers came out once again with the swinging poles. This was to me a wek act compared to others that I saw last year as they only had 3 poles. I do say that they had a couple of great jumps from one pole to the other, but that was it.
From the Cole All Star Circus comes the Abuhada's Cartoon Poodles and the brightly colored french poodles. These poodle was in the ring at intermission having your pictures taken with them while you sat in there pink car. Two rings of hoola-hoops were presented while center ring was the roller skating on a pedestal of the Brandon Duo. This act was a picture perfect copy of the Rolling Diamonds who for years presented this act as one of a kind. The only different was their pedestal is only about 3 feet high compared to Shane's 6 foot high. The Brandon even brought out their son to take a turn. An excelant presentation by the 3 Miller Elephants under the direction of Ramon with no hooking with the angus. Than came Eggy with his Eggy Goes To Hollywood camera gag using 4 males from the audience while the Dominguez Thrill Riders were setting up the Globe of Death. The Dominguez Riders starts of where many others leave off as they perform with 3, 4, and than 5 riders in the globe. The final is 2 riders in the Globe with part of the top of the globe opening. To me this makes the Globe act more spectacular compared to the one and two rider globes that are working the country. Last year I caught some of their family with another globe which had up to 7 riders in the globe all at once.
Finally the ending spectacular of the entire cast. Ringmaster of the show was President and Producer Ian Garden and Junior Ringmaster Ian's son Chase. Music was furnished by a live 2 piece band and canned music.
#3 WALKER BROTHER CIRCUS (Indoor)
CFAer Ernie Tarbox is talking with Miss Rebecca the Trapeze and Silk performer who was on the LE Barnes Circus.
CFA Tent #30's Secretary was volunteered to help in the Knife Throwing Gag at this performance.
Miss Rebecca performs on the trapeze in this low ceiling building on the grounds of the Rochester Fair.
#4 ROYAL HANNEFORD CIRCUS (3 ring)
Allepo Shrine Circus
After the National Anthem and introductions the first act of the circus was the 5 Big Cats of trainer Brian Franzen.
Ending the Circus Program of the Allepo Shrine was the Finalle of the Stars of The Royal Hanneford Circus under the direction of Kay Parker.
#5 BIG APPLE CIRCUS
City Hall Complex
After attending the Allepo Shrine Circus I drove the 20 miles into Boston to catch the Big Apple Circus at the Boston City Hall Complex and their 30th Anniversary Show.
As I came in the tent I was spotted by the assistant concession manager Ned Sullivan and later outside in the smoking and doniker area The Human Comet spotted me as I saw him perform last fall in Deerfield, NH on the Tino Wallender Show. I was surprised JP was now working on the show in the maintence dept. I was also told that on Monday John-John Walker was starting as the assistant tent boss.
A crowd of at least 85% was present for this mid-week 6:30 show. This show featured the impersonator Grand-Ma who you can tell as she goes so fast compared to Barry. Most will not even notice the difference, even the ones that comes to this show each year.
Out of the whole show the stand-outs was the slack wire artist Cong Tiam who I have seen now on 2 different shows. He is the only one that I have seen ride a unicycle upside down on the wire. Also the return of the Kovgor teetorboard troup from Russia. This act is the best act of skills that I have seen in over 20 years going back to the original Moscow Circus that toured the US. Not Tuffies show. Also the Huesea Brothers Rissle Act is one of the best that I have seen in the US that is performed by adults not kids as most of the same type acts have in the US. They have incredible abilities.
The Big Apple Circus is one of the last circuses to have a real live band with original music. Hope you get to see this great show!
#6 CIRQUE DU SOLEIL KOOZA
This show is a first class operation, just look how clean their ticket trailer is. When they say the Circus is hurting I can say their are shows that are not as I went to a 4PM week-day show and it was just about sold out with seats going from $50 to over $100 for one person. I paid $68 and that was with a 25% discount..
What can you say about this outstanding production. Sell out crowds and local people going 2 and 3 times during the coarse of the run that last over a month in most locations. This was the best production in years I felt. This show had more clowning than in previous years. Live music with a band shell that rolls in and out on the stage.
New this year was pictures being taken as you entered the midway area then you procede inside the concession tent you can look up you picture and decide if you want it or not. A different approach that seems to be working.
After seeing the teetor board act the day before on the BA. The Planche Sautoir Teetorboard Act was not that impressive but they are still a far cry better than most you see in America. The wheel of death is one of the best 2 person wheels that I have seen in years. Neither walkers is as good as Crazy Wilson. Another stand out is the 4 person double high wire act. When the show first starts with a variety of acts the rolling globes really stood out as being impressive with new routines on the globes.
I have to say that the old time circus fans are really missing a quality circus productions as this is class. The old timers keep on saying you need animals to have a circus or they will not go. But the ones that have gone keep on coming back as they have been impressed even without animals. I will not miss a chance to see any one of their productions.
CFA TENT LUNCHEON
Their was over 15 in attendance for a breakfast luncheon of Circus Fans from Maine, New Hampshire prior to the trip to the Allepo Shrine Circus down the road in Wilmington, Mass. The fans talked about the shows that they have already scene this year, who was coming to the area and what was happening in the business. A raffel was held with most of the winnings going to the Maine Fans. At present I have no picture of the meeting but hopefully I will have one to put up soon.
#7 KORA TEMPLE SHRINE CIRCUS (1 ring)
I attended the 2PM performance of the Kora Temple Shrine Circus produced for the first time this year by James Hamid, Sr. The ringmaster for this1 ring formatted show was John Wilson.
The show started off with Luis Pusso who was only walking the inside of his Wheel of Destiny. Later I heard he took a bad fall from the wheel earlier in the week and was still hurting. Next was King Gustav with his extremely different act using performing farm yard GOATS. This is a one of a king act. And my hats of to the King, aka Carlos Svenson. Shane and Alecia takes center stage next with their Rolling Diamond Skating Act on the 6 foot high table top. Than came Greg and Karen Desanto with their clown version of the Hula Hoop Routine. Next up was the Klose's Krazy K-9's and than it was Miss Vikoria's Chiffon act. Once again Greg and Karen ientertained us with a Wild West routine and to end the first half prior to intermission was Cuzin' Grumpy's Pork Chop Revue.
After intermission it was the Kora Temple Klowns and a 4 girl spanish web routine, than the light contest with everyone with lights lighting up the auditorium to see which side had the most lights. Carlos Svenson was next with Jasper and the Coloniel Act, Greg and Karon with the William Tell Archery routine, Hans Reno with the risslie act, Miss Viktoria and her hula-hoops and ending the show was the Urias Motorcycle Globe of Death. After this breath taking act all performers entered the ring in the Grand Finale.
Missing this year was the Grand Entery Spectacal in the beginning of the show and the elephants. The ring set up was colorful in blue and the lighting on each corner of the floor along with a lighted ring curb made this show a true circus experience compared to previous years.
Only thing which I felt brought the show down was the use of yellow caution tape keeping spectators away from the props and ring. A different type of barrier was needed to make this a class show.
Just after intermission John Wilson the Ringmaster had the contest of which side had the most lights. The picture is of the left side. As you can see their was lots of lights sold for this show which was about 85% full.
Prior to the show members of the New England Area CFA had a group picture taken with Circus Producer James Hammid, Sr in the back-yard.
#8 ANNA TEMPLE SHRINE CIRCUS (1 ring)
Royal Hanneford Circus
I drove 80 miles from Augusta to Bangor to see the 7PM performance of the Anna Temple Shrine Circus this year produced for the first time by the Royal Hanneford Circus under the direction of Stuppi Hanneford.
This has to be the best production I have seen at the circus of the Anna Temple in many years. Ringmaster for this year was no stranger to this Northern Maine Arena as it was Charlie Van Buskirk who did an out standing job on this show. As he said later, this was one of the top shows that has played here in many years and he should know.
The show started off with the regular introduction of the Potentate and the playing of the National Anthem this year with the singing live at each performances compared to previous years. First act of the night was Lucian's Pound Puppies, than Miss Irene in a beautiful white costume on the cloud swing, hula-hoop artistry of 16 year old Miss Khiara was next, who made a great picture in Mondays Bangor Daily News. Up next was brothers Guiliane and Favio with their risley act. From jolly old England came the fantastic Mr. Peddalsworth on his break-a-way bike. The Anastasini Family took over the ring with their fantastc Diablos. Their youngest son took the act by surprise as he really knows how to work the crowd. From Russia came the trapeze act of the Perfilyea Duo. Then it was intermission with Sir Lancelot and Ned giving elephant rides for the first time at the Anna Temple Shrine Circus with Stuppi Hanneford helping to load and unload the youngsters.
The Mongolian Archers started the 2nd half with their skills of Bow and Arrow shooting including the William Tells skill of shooting an arrow thru an apple off the headed of a person. The aerial triangle was next by Irina Perfilyea than came the great BMX rider Brett Marschall ending his performance with a double roll-over on the world's only roll-over cycle. Sir Lancelot with the biggest performer of the show was next, the featured performer was Ned the Elephant who went thru his routine without a hitch. To climax the show was the BLAST OFF!! of the Anastasini's Rocket Ship Fantasy Flight.
Than came the Grande Finale of all performers and the raising of the American Flag.
Somewheres in the 2nd half I missed the Anna Clown act but they did 1 routine in the show.
This was the 1st year the Shrine let the circus have elephant rides which looked to me as being a great success. What amazed me was how clean the floor area was with red carpeting on the entire floor area, overhead lighting that did not shine into your eyes and the sound system that you could hear all over the building. This year sound and lighting was done by Travis Martin. Also their was plenty of walking distance between the bleachers and the performing area. And of coarse there was no yellow caution tape but a real professional fence railing up.
What I really mist was the grande parade as the show opens, to me this makes these Maine Shows.
Overall my hat of to Stuppi and the Anna Shriners who put on a great show.
Sir Lancelot and Ned waiting for the door to open for their performance on the Anna Temple Shrine Circus in Bangor, Maine.
Ned performing in style.
Prior to the opening of the auditorium doors for the evening show. The crowd was lined up down over the hill. All of the quest already had their tickets for the show.