Monday, December 22, 2008

2008 in pics

Every picture tells a story, don't it?

Came across this collection of photos of the year 2008. There are many more here.

These spoke to me and as I arranged them on this page the bigger story unfolded.

The solarpark array, a "solucar" in Sanlucar La Mayor, near Seville, Spain. The solar thermal power plant uses mirrors to concentrate the sun's rays onto the top of a 100 meter (300 foot) tower where it produces steam to drive a turbine, producing electricity.

Refocusing our energy production.

The Large hadron Collider's CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) experiment Tracker Outer Barrel (TOB). The CMS is one of two general-purpose LHC experiments designed to explore the physics of the Terascale, the energy region where physicists believe they will find answers to the central questions at the heart of 21st-century particle physics.
Reminded me of a mandala.

The Guizer Jarl is silhouetted as members of his Viking Squad walk around a long boat with burning torches during the annual Up Helly Aa Festival, in Lerwick, Shetland Islands. Up Helly Aa celebrates the influence of the Scandinavian vikings in the Shetland Islands.
My Norwegian heritage calling.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama waves to the crowd at a rally in the rain at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va.

Hope springs eternal.

Eagles awaiting transfer to a warm U.S. Fish and Wildlife warehouse after being rescued from the cold in Kodiak, Alaska. They were among 50 eagles which dove into the back of an uncovered dump truck full of fish guts and became too wet to fly away.

The perils of excess.

Swiss pilot Yves Rossy, the world's first man to fly with a jet-powered fixed-wing apparatus strapped to his back, flies during his first official demonstration above Bex, Switzerland.
The eternal dream of flying is realized.


A trip to Sarasota Showfolks Circus Swap Meet and look what we found!

"Mr. Red" was revived with a little TLC and does a great Rudolph impersonation. As for Elise and Lynn - um would that be Transequine? Transpecies? Drag reindeer? Just plain silly? Much better quality - whoot - as we test out the new camera. The editing software bogs the computer a bit, once again a learning curve driving me in circles, but patience and a heck with it attitude got us through. Hope you have fun watching it. We had a blast making it. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Stuffed deer heads on walls are bad enough, but it's worse when they are wearing dark glasses and have streamers in their antlers because then you know they were enjoying themselves at a party when they were shot.
- Ellen DeGeneres

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hive mind
The crowd within. Ask me again in 3 weeks. and we'll average it.

The Wisdom of Crowds

The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations, first published in 2004, is a book written by James Surowiecki about the aggregation of information in groups, resulting in decisions that, he argues, are often better than could have been made by any single member of the group.

According to Surowiecki, these key criteria separate wise crowds from irrational ones:
Diversity of opinion
Each person should have private information even if it's just an eccentric interpretation of the known facts.
People's opinions aren't determined by the opinions of those around them.
People are able to specialize and draw on local knowledge.
Some mechanism exists for turning private judgments into a collective decision.
  • Keep your ties loose.
  • Keep yourself exposed to as many diverse sources of information as possible.
  • Make groups that range across hierarchies.
You can view an interesting talk by James at TED here.

I would hope that I resemble "an eccentric interpretation of the known facts" as opposed to the ants going in circles.

“enlightened self-interest” (American democracy) vs "unenlightened selfish greed" (cause of the current financial crisis in US) = a Tragedy of the Commons.

Connectivism meets Connectivism the learning theory

I think I think too much

and still sometimes it doesn't make sense.

Britney Spears new video is targeted by Peta for the use of elephants and lions. Personally I wondered why it took them so long to drop their press release. I suppose they were waiting for maximum effect. Kari Johnson, elephant owner, states,

"My husband, Gary, and I do indeed have a long history with elephants. Our love of and infatuation with elephants started for both of us in our teens, 37 years ago. To say we care about elephant welfare is an understatement," Kari Johnson wrote in a statement to MTV News. "Have Trunk Will Travel has never issued a written endorsement, nor does it condone using electrical devices to discipline and control elephants except in situations where elephant or human safety is at risk. PETA very conveniently used a sentence out of context from a USDA request for public comments regarding policies on elephants in 2000."

Johnson went on to write that the elephants used in Spears' "Circus" video were supervised by a representative from the American Humane Association the entire time they were on set and that the elephants were treated kindly.

"The American Humane Association monitors animal action in film and television. A representative was on the set of the Britney Spears 'Circus' video with our elephants, Tai and Kitty, to ensure their safety and welfare," Johnson wrote. "Britney, the director, producers and the entire crew were respectful of the elephants' needs and comfort and a pleasure to work with."

I've known Kari and Gary for over 20 years. This summer I was present at a shoot with Tai for T Pain. Their elephants are pampered and well cared for. They work 24/7 caring for them. Always have.

Next up, "How to smuggle an elephant."

Seems the guard at the border loves the World Cup and for a price will look the other way. The elephants are headed to Thailand to work in the tourist trekking business. Nowadays even an elephant needs to work in order to eat. They've taken part in the decimation of their own forests and are unemployed. Their tusks and body parts are readily available for purchase as well.

In Sri Lanka tourists can visit the Elephant Orphanage, described as paradise.

Notice the large number of captive elephants being ably cared for by the mahouts.

In India " elephants are dying in ever-greater numbers as industrialization, deforestation, the pressure of human settlement and shrinking food resources cut into their numbers."

However this blog tells the story of a live elephant interaction in India in a humorous way.

From Visionaerialist

Let's come full circle back to the U.S. where Peta is exploiting a half-naked woman in a cage to draw attention to the use of elephants in the circus.

This video in it's combination of pics and music was the straw that broke the camel's back for me.

Oh, dear, can I say that? Oops, I guess I just did.

As the internets shrink the world in size it occurs to me we really are all one and elephants are an amazing magnetic being drawing attention to themselves and forcing us to recognize the fact that with their demise so goes our own. Heck of a run-on sentence that ;)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Artfest on YouTube

Fellow RTC clown, Gypsy Red, came across this video on YouTube.

Short and sweet, and the RTC Puppet Peeps ROCKED!

Thanks for the heads up dude!

We The People

It really is up to each and every one of us.
Tune out,
Log on,
Drop in
and see for yourself the transparency this president is committed to. The incoming administration is actively seeking your input. Speak up or hold your tongue. Change is going to do us good.

Go to and see for yourself.

'Barack' in Kenyan means blessing. Let's hope!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Prop 8, (Amend. 2 in FL) 6 weeks late

Darn, you think if this would have been seen

the elections the tide may have turned?
Campy, political, religious, gay, great combination IMHO.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Britney Spears at Big Apple Circus and more. . .

Would somebody puleeeeze clue these folks in to the proper use of the word?
She's not the first to use Ringleader vs Ringmaster, then again, maybe it is the right word.
Hmm. . .
From Merriam Webster

Date: 1503
A leader of a ring of individuals engaged especially in improper or unlawful activities.

Date: 1859
One in charge of performances in a ring (as of a circus) ; broadly : a supervisor or moderator especially of a performance or presentation.

Love the costumes and great circus animal action. WHoot! Lions and Elephants! Maybe once you dangle by your ankle 30 feet in the air we'll call you a "Circus Girl". For now you're a gadjo. May you have a safe and sane tour. . .

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Artfest 2008 Rehearsal Video

Quickly made stop motion vid from captured clips of a rehearsal vid all having something to do with light interrupted. Let me know if you figure it out. Don't blink.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Back at it

this blog is wonky
having a difficult time uploading for some unknown reason

Here's a link to CAT DANCERS - the film to be shown on HBO Monday, December 15 at 8p.m.
I had the great pleasure of working with Ron And Joy on Royal Hanneford and at The Crossroads in Wisconsin Dells.

I was inspired by their creativity, attention to detail and compassionate care of their animals. They included a rider in their contract that stated if they witnessed any animal mistreatment by others on the show they would be released from their performances and paid in full. I admired their commitment to the highest standards of animal care and training. That and Ron was the first to dye my hair. I haven't seen its natural color since.

Now to find someone with HBO reception. . .

Monday, August 18, 2008


Lookie! Lookie! Lookie!
Visited Peggy Ford at the San Francisco Circus Center and was treated to a 'HOT', off the press, 'SNEAK' peek at the

A collaboration of students from the Clown Conservatory, produced by Chad Benjamin Potter, aka CBP the clown and his BEAULUX Productions. Chad graciously allowed me to take this pic but my camera phone doesn't do it justice. You simply HAVE to buy the calendar to get the full effect, and many others! OoH La La!!!

100% of the net proceeds benefit the
Known to many throughout the circus world, Judy Finelli was an
accomplished female juggler and co-founder of CIRCUS CENTER. In 1989,Judy was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. In spite of the effects of this devastating disease, Judy has remained an inspiration to the students of the Circus Center. The Judy Finelli Fund supports research and advocacy for cures and treatment of MS. It promotes artistic expression through circus arts training and enables those affected by MS to pursue their passions regardless of their limitations. Step right up, buy one, or better, buy two and give someone a
SEXY CLOWN GIFT! Who knows, you just might get lucky. ;)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

San Francisco, Circus City?

Life has a way of going in circles. I found myself once again in San Francisco, birthplace of my circus adventures. This time, however, there was a very polished, artful show in place at the pier. Teatro ZinZanni is a relative of the Pomp, Duck, and Circumstance show seen years ago in NYC. Presented in a beautiful spiegeltent, worth the price of admission itself, European style cabaret, melodrama, variety show, plus gourmet dinner. What more could you ask for? Oh, and the costumes are to die for. Chef Caesar, played by Frank Ferrante, is a remarkably quick-witted improvisationalist with audience members. I loved the challenge of keeping up to him. Ukrainian contortionist Vita Radionova moved beautifully, not once did I wince although she twisted herself unimaginably, yet seemingly effortlessly. Andrew Adams and Erika Gilfether paired passion and aerial dare devildry into a lovely mixture. Duo Manducas brought things down to earth with their hilarious handbalancing antics and comedic takes. And throughout the show, Les Petits Frères (Gregory Marquet, Mickael Bajazet, Domitil Aillot) bumbled about in character, then left us dumbfounded with their acrobatic finesse.
On a scale of Lynn, it's a GO!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

“It don’t Gitmo better!”

Good friend Carolyn speaks out.
NY Times, no less.
Those that know her aren't surprised.
Art meant to make you think.
For more click the title link.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


"Friends have come from afar, how happy we are." - Confucious

Lucky for me I was close to the border Friday morning. The Mexican TV station broadcast the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremonies live from start to finish - without one single commercial. Later I watched the NBC version which chopped up the brilliant vision with crass American commercial breaks. Buy, buy, buy, without a thought of the artful story being told, the value of witnessing its historical importance, the beauty as it was meant to be seen as a whole. Nope, NBC has no artistic credibility, only money, money, money. What was I thinking?

The numbers alone are mind numbing:
  • 15,000 performers
  • 15,000 costumes
  • 22,000 people took part in the gala
  • 43,000 fireworks lit
  • 91,000 in the audience
  • 1/4 mile LED scrim around the top of the stadium
  • 2,008 tai chi masters
  • 2,008 Fou band members
  • 2,008 Musicians
  • 224 Chorus members dressed in 56 traditional Chinese ethnic costumes
  • 201 member Military Band
  • 56 children representing each of the 56 Chinese ethnic groups
  • 29 colossal burning footprints
  • 20 graceful fairies
  • 8 flag bearers
  • 3 taikonauts
  • 8 months training for the harness work on the globe
  • 100 times more difficult than making a movie according to Zhang
  • Security force of 100,000
  • US Olympic team 600
  • Chinese Olympic team 639
  • 90 degrees
  • 62% humidity
  • Less than 180 million U.S. dollars to produce according to Zhang
  • Millions of eyes watching
The vision of director, Zhang Yimou, whose films were once banned in China, is a beautiful, artistically moving testament to the power of chi.

BEIJING, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- "I regret many things, many details of this performance, many things that I could have done better," said Zhang Yimou, director of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games, at a press conference here on Saturday.

After planning and carrying out a spectacular event that reflected the ancient and modern images of China to the world, Zhang remained humble and reflective.

"For example, there are performers who were injured. I blame myself for that. It might well have been avoided if I had given more detailed instructions," he said.

"We had many difficulties. I do not like complaining, but sometimes there are obstacles you can not overcome, that you and your team have to face," he said. "What everyone cares about is the final result. We all know this, so we don't explain."

Sharply contrasting the elegance and mirror-perfect choreography, the entrance of the athletes carrying cameras and cellphones was a bit jolting, but their excitement and exuberance was nearly palpable through the TV screen.

Better we compete through artistic imagery and playing games than weaponry IMHO.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sean Emery proves Circus Hurts

We toured the US with GSOE refining our circus chops. He married my bff Megan and they moved to NYC. Sean has expanded his hilarious comedy variety routine, traveled the world, works hard and plays harder at his home base of Minneapolis, MN. His self deprecating humor, absurd observations and mad skills make me weak with laughter. Like Robin Williams and Jim Carrey crashing headlong into the circus. Check out this vid as he attempts to upgrade his unicycle prowess. As if it could get any better. Warning: You could die laughing, or cry wincing.
There's great juggling bits in the title link page as well. Dude! You so lighten my spirits. Thanks!

Sean's Unicycle Course

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Circo Atayde in LA

Presented in the former Big Apple Circus tent, this Mexican circus is hovering around LA and playing empty lots. It recently acquired the Atayde name. I caught an 8:30, well 9:00pm show by the time it started. The house was barely half full, but the audience was 100% involved. I give this show the award for most creative use of holographic sequin material and fancy costumes on dancing girls. Huge feather headdresses, high heels and fishnet stockings. WHoo Hoo!!! Handsome fit Latin men. Oh, yeah!!! The clowns did the most "butt-touching" dead or alive gag I've ever seen and had the kids in the audience screaming for more. The acts were classic circus. Aerial butterfly, 3-man Chinese pole, flying act, foot juggling, dog act, chair balancing, high wire, phenomenal juggler, wheel act, handbalancing, and pony pictures at intermission. A couple of staged production numbers were thrown in for good measure. As you can tell by the pics, it was nonstop motion. A great time was had by all. Catch it if you can find it for some good old fashioned circus fun.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Shadowy, silently, foot pads scuffling head to tail down the emptied city streets and highway. Surrounded and protected by motorcycle cops and squad cars, roped off by human escorts and accompanied by those that live with them and love them. We're here, we're interrupting the daily routine. Taking some by surprise as they pass by. What the ?!?!? Elephants are passing by. Stop everything. Call a friend, bring the kids. They're not here but once a year. Hold your horses and wonder. How is it that these giant, gentle creatures still exist? Feel the majesty and grace they bring with. In another time and place Buddha's tooth would be carried on their back. They would be honored by and for this. The politics of elephants has gotten very thick. Like magnets humans are drawn to their presence, their history, their psychic depths. Together they accommodate our wonderings. Huge, silently, with great presence they acquiesce. Nice night for meandering down darkened city streets.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus Webisode #1

Two of my favorite circus contemporaries, the multi-talented Keith and Stephanie, have co-created a safe circus space for many artists to perform acts that aren't your normal sanitized circus fare. Creative, encouraging, uplifting and self-supporting, The Bindlestiffs are true circus family. Enjoy the first of many episodes and watch for the cirkus coming your way.

Got it!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Presented in the beautifully restored El Portal Theater in North Hollywood, CA, Montage, provides employment for former Cirque du Soleil artists. Individually the acts were highly skilled and creatively costumed, but the show seemed to struggle with the concepts of continuity and character development. Maybe it's just me, but I am sooooo over the "tortured" aerial artsy acts. I know personally that working in the air is painful, but the audience doesn't need to be tormented to believe it is art. The sullen looks at the audience, the posture at the end of the acts that defies you to applaud, it just seems too contrived and overdone to me. Yes, we all have angst and desire, but whatever happened to playfulness and light hearted flirtiness? Ironic that "aerial" acts bring me "down". Opening with a bit of an upbeat storyline, the curtains opened to reveal the self-supporting aerial uprights set that was used throughout the show. Very simple yet effective and efficient. The ground acts, hand balancing, contortion and juggling were presented towards the front of the stage, and the jovial nature of the high speed juggler was a breath of fresh air. I guess that instead of rehashing Soliel style, I'd love to see this show evolve to reflect the individuality of the artists true selves I could glimpse peeking out. Whoa, I guess that's not asking too much is it? A lifetime as an artist, that's all. :)

Ok, so maybe I just wasn't in the mood for this type of show. I'll admit I'm cirque'd out.
Here's the LA times review.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Just be 'cause'. . .P.L.A.Y.

Oops, got behind and am finally getting around to posting this.
Mega nightclub owner hosts fundraiser.
Patrons donate gifts of toys for kids. Hot air balloon rides. Babes in bikinis atop elephant. More info and pics here.
Recession? What recession?

For all of $1.25 I hopped the Metro to meet Susie in N. Hollywood.
Clean, comfortable and on time it sure beat driving.

A camera inside the trailer reassures us that Susie is riding comfortably.

Next door neighbor welcomes Susie onto her front yard.
We agree not to charge for the tree trimming.

But first add your gift of a toy to the huge pile.

Greeted by loincloth clad dancers perched on rocks.
Animal interaction anyone?

Check out the view from above.

Susie says, "Hop on."

The latest gossip? I'm all ears.
Always helps to have a crack security team clear the way.
Especially when they help load out as well.
Thanks guys!
One of the pride, I hope.

Hey you! Get away from the trailer!
Oh, are you Howie?
Nice to meet you.

Go play.