Friday, April 18, 2014

another circus post

No matter how basic the surroundings are, there is a moment in every circus where a drab tent is turned into a house of magic.  The lights dim.  The music rises.  And we are transported to a place where children can imagine almost anything.

Hold it right there for one Cotton-pickin' minute, Steve.  Didn't you say the same thing in a post about Mexican circuses just a year ago?  You certainly did.  In bits of magic.  So, are you just recycling old material?  Or are you trying to fill Joe Biden's shoes?

If you want an apology, go over to Felipe's blog.  Because I like circuses, and this is another circus story.  I say "another," because I have trod the circus boards before with you before -- several times:
another opening; another show, llamas -- and tigers -- and bears -- oh my!, daring young men -- no trapeze.

Well, I did it again.  Last night was circus night.  I thought with the crowds in town there would be more people in attendance.  We numbered fifteen.  I guess the beach beats out women in tights.

That is too bad because Circus Atayde is one of Mexico's better circuses.  If you are looking for a New Age foo-faux Cirque du Soleil, I suggest you try Quebec.  But if you want to experience small circuses as they once were in the 1950s, this is your show.

What you will get is live entertainment with thrills and laughs.  And a lot of rough edges.  Where dropped balls and falling from a high wire are just part of the night.

Of course, there are animal acts.  What would a circus be without animal acts?  Starting with a lineup of healthy, theatrically-threatening tigers.  All under the control of a guy with a single whip.

But that is what Roy thought.  Or was it Siegfried?  I doubt the tigers could tell us.  Their nature is to burn brightly in the night, not to do a James Burke impression.

Then there was the lady with the horse act -- a giant beast and a nasty-tempered miniature horse (if that is not being redundant).  The act, of course, was for the big horse to stand there like a straight man while the pony got the Jerry Lewis part weaving back and forth through the big horse's legs.

I suspect there were more than a few of us -- even though there were only a few of us -- who would not have taken some pleasure in seeing the big horse lose its patience and flatten the pony into Friday's birria.

And then there were camels.  There always have to be camels.  First, bactrian from Central Asia -- which were eccentrically mixed in with four zebra.

And then, dromedary from the Middle East -- complete with the Lawrence of Arabia soundtrack.  More appropriately mixed in with two talented horses.

One was as talented on two legs as on four.

Those were the animal acts.  No lions.  No elephants.  But the tigers made up for their absence.

There were also plenty of people acts.  No circus is fit to call itself one without a juggler.  There were three quite good jugglers last night.

A duo that did not do anything original.  But they performed the classics adequately.

The other juggler started on a unicycle juggling bowls from his foot to his head.  And ended up on his back juggling everything from balls to rugs to what looked like carpet rolls.

There were no daring young men on trapezes.  But there was an athletic young man on a tight rope, who rode a unicycle and did back flips.  In this shot, he is pedaling in reverse.

For aerial acrobatics, we were offered a beautiful woman on a hoop -- always one of my favorites.  With daring heel hangs and spins.

The horse lady returned as the sole magic act.  Her schtick was as a quick change artist.  Whether walking through a dressing room on stage or in an up-to-the-neck bag or in a burst of silver confetti, she changed costumes in a split second.

Even though we all know the sleight of hand trick involved, it always amazes me that I am suckered into believing that the scarfy outfits are truly full costumes.  In much the same way that voters are beguiled by politicians.

Speaking of politicians, what would a circus be without clowns?  These two took their antics into the crowd and across several boundaries that would undoubtedly have got them prosecuted in Canada and boycotted in The States for insensitivity.  This jab at Muslims being the most obvious example.

I do not know why, but clowning is universal.  Or it once was.  Even when it is in a language I can barely comprehend, it is funny.  That is, unless you choose to be offended.  And that is just another universal language. 

And no one in the audience chose to be offended.  We just laughed.

For $150 (Mx) I spent an hour and a half laughing, catching my breath in my throat, oohing and ahhing, and thoroughly enjoying being eight again sitting next to my grandfather at the circus.

And what could be a better evening than that?

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