Saturday, October 25, 2008


If you go to the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus an hour early, you're allowed to go down onto the floor to check out some of the acts and costumes up close. Last year Liza wanted nothing to do with it, but this year she practically ran down to the floor when we got to the arena.
It wasn't quite so crowded this year - we got there earlier - and she's a lot better in crowds this year than she was last year. She sucked it up, if only to be able to see the "sparkly ladies" up close. She loved being able to see someone on the lyra right in front of her.
In fact, she was so transfixed that she didn't notice when one of the stiltwalkers came over and was watching over her shoulder. The crowd loved it, but Liza had to be poked before she realized he was there. I was prepared for her to lose it and spend the rest of the circus screaming in a corner, but she just sort of burrowed into the top of Jason's head, and the stilt walker went off to pick on some other kid.

One reason I wanted Liza to go down to the pre-show was so she could see the costumes up close, and this year we even managed to get her to try one on (with me) and pose with one of the performers.

What we were thinking: Me: God, this thing weighs like 10 pounds. Liza: Who the hell is that guy and why is he smiling like a maniac?

My favorite moment with Liza was during intermission when she and I were heading out of the seating area in search of a bathroom. I asked her how she was liking the circus, and she said it was good, but it was too short. "But we're just at intermission, sweetie, when the performers can take a break and we can go to the bathroom. There's more circus coming once we get back to our seats." The look of wonder and dawning realization and excitement on her face when she learned there was more! circus! more circus! was priceless.

I have to say that the tour that came through town this year (Over the Top) wasn't nearly as good as the one from last year (Bellobration). It's much smaller - one ring instead of three - but that's not it. For one thing, the whole theme of the show this year was the ringmaster and one of the clowns fighting over who got to wear the ringmaster hat and be in charge, and it just wasn't funny after the first, oh, two minutes. There were some acts that weren't hitting quite right during the performance we saw (the dogs missed more frisbees than they caught, the tiny horses spent half of their show just sort of milling around), and the segment about the Queen of the Clouds just flat-out sucked.

But ... the "motorcycles in a metal sphere" act was sooooo much better than any other one I've seen (seven guys? how is that even possible?), and there was this cool Chinese acrobatic act that had them swinging around on poles and jumping from pole to pole (reminded me of the old Pitfall! game), which was really cool and not like anything I'd seen before. Plus the elephants were awesome ... they were doing tricks I've never seen elephants do before (one elephant climbing over another prone elephant before sitting upright on the prone one, walking in a sort of 15-foot-tall conga line on their back legs). And holy crap, those guys on the bouncy innertube things - can we get one of those to use in our backyard? No?

So I know if I had a choice to go see Bellobration vs Over the Top, I'd take Bello any day. But if it was Over the Top vs nothing, I guess the good outweighed the bad.

We didn't get the DVD, though.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Any thoughts on running away to join the circus?