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December 24th, 2010

Big Apple Circus

I am a child around circuses, except, perhaps about being very particular about what I like.

I like:

Clowns who aren't all about humiliation or being hurt.

Being close enough to the acts to see the muscles ripple and the concentration on the faces.

Wire acts and unusual animals and things that are as much about imagination as strength or skill.

The Big Apple Circus makes me very, very happy.

This is a time of year I need a certain amount of distraction, or I melt into a pool of sad meltiness.  Ellen is very good about finding distractions.  We've traveled, we've gone out to dinner, we've watched Miyazaki movies.  And all are good.  The Big Apple Circus is EXCELLENT.  It's good-natured.  It's skillful.  It's multi-cultural and diverse and very, very entertaining.

Highlights were:  The Chinese acrobatic troupe who did things with unicycles  and lariats that don't look like they should be actually possible; a wave of snow-white miniature horses breaking into and around the ring, stopping to allow the little kids sitting ringside to pet their noses, because that's what kids really, really want to do; the goat (yes, goat) who (goats are definately "who," not "that") wandered here and there during the dog act because, really, who can expect a self-respecting goat to hang out obediently on his stand while a stupid dog is getting all the attention?; The Kenyan Boys, who occupied a pole (and each other's shoulders and waists and arms) in wonderful and inventive ways; the Ethiopian juggler, who juggled with a plexiglass construct shaped like a bookstand in a way I could never have imagined and was utterly charmed by.  Also his smile.

The Mongolian contortionists were wonderful, too, except that contortionists kind of squick me out.  I keep thinking of what damage they might be doing to their ligaments and joints and what it's going to be like when they're 50. 

The Russian woman on the--what?--flying rope?  Extra-long trapeze? was very special, too.  I'm so glad she had a harness, though, or I wouldn't have been able to bear to watch her.

And the clowns were excellent.  We went with a friend who had studied at clown school with Barry Lubin, who plays Grandma, a carpetbag-toting, red-garbed, pearl-necklaced facilitator of good times.  So we got to talk to Grandma/Barry at the intermission, which was really interesting.  He was both in and out of character--engaging with us as individuals and ON, in that particular entertainery, sparkly way.  On-stage, he had excellent chemistry with the dancer/geek/clown Mark Gindick (who has, according to the Big Apple site, played Grandma as well).  And the juggler/clown Rob Torres was simply magnificent--appealing, charming, approachable, human as a guy with a suitcase and an appalling suit who just wanted to be loved and kept all the applause he got in a box.

Like Dylan Thomas's hero, I can't imagine a noisier, nicer Christmas Eve.

And I wish all my LJ friends, who patiently read my effusions about theatre and travel and dinners, kindly ignoring my impressionistic spelling and chronology, the very Merriest of Holiday Seasons.  I love knowing you're out there and interacting with you in comments and replies and (often) in your own blogs.  Thank you for extending my very small family, and bless you for your support and your interest.  It means a great deal to me.

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