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Wednesday, June 24, 2009 

Sunday, June 21st. Newcastle, WY. 180 miles. Dirt lot.

Friday. June 19th. Sheridan, WY. 85 miles. Grass. Warm

Two day stand here in Sheridan hosted by Parks Dept. Jordan show playing Sheridan in a week. They have lots of free tickets in the shops. Nice to sleep in after 700 miles of jumps in five days – but on Sunday we jump another 180 miles wuith early shows and start a week that takes us 700 more miles into Iowa. Two day stand gives us time for small projects. New floor in the Concessions wagon.

Thursday. Hardin, MT. 120 miles. Grass. Warm.

We’re set up on the grounds of a wonderful museum next to the Crow Agency, just a few miles north from the Custer Battlefield. Fitting somehow just a week shy of the anniversary of the Custer defeat at the hands of the Lakota and the Cheyenne.

Wednesday. Big Timber, MT. Rocky field. Cool. Thunderstorms and showers.

Several years ago the local sponsor signed to bring in the circus and didn’t sell a lot of tickets. They thought they’d like to try again. Well, with the rodeo coming up it turns out that circus still wasn’t high on the “to do” list. On the otherhand when Al G. Barnes played Big Timber in 1925 his tent blew down, so a day with sparse crowds doesn’t seem all that bad.

Tuesday. Whitehall, Montana. 175 miles. Grass. Overcast. Cool.

Another long drive down the interstate this time through Butte and on to Whitehall. First circus to play here in 22 years. Tomorrow's 115 mile jump may be the shortest this week. Drive, drtive drive... but it'll put us into eastern South Dakota by the end of next week. Then Iowa.

Have been meaning to comment on Ian Garden's new "animal free" show playing in eight cities in Canada. Garden's suggestion that he's changing with the times, look at the success of Cirque...and oh by-the-way in ten years there won't be ANY shows with animals sounds pretty silly. Maybe because we heard much the same thing from a couple other shows a decade ago. The fact is that the public still loves animal acts, activists have not been overwhelmingly successful in their efforts to "ban" circus, and Cirque numbers, while impressive, are a bit flat and not as daunting as they once were. The audience for traditional circus isn't necessarily the audience for Cirque. And the affluent Cirque audience isn't necessarily rushing out to attend other cirque-like shows.

Ten or fifteen years ago we had a problem when it came to animals. The circus as an ill-defined institution hadn't moved as quickly as zoos in changing the protocols we used for training, animal care, etc. But that's rarely the case today. We are better, and where there's still room for improvement there's no reason to believe that improvements won't be made. (I'm sure my anonymous friends will tell me that there were never any problems and even suggesting that once upon a time we were imperfect is fodder for the enemy. There's always room for improvement and live births and better longevities are proof that we aren't living in the 1930s.) There's no justification for an animal free circus except when "animal free" serves some other artistic purpose. Anyway, it's hard not to like Ian Garden, and I think everyone wishes his new show well -- but the notion that he's somehow seen the future and it doesn't include animals is the wrong argument to make. Time to consult a new deck of Tarot cards.

Meh, Cirque. NOT a circus, just a theatrical spectacle. Really. And the reason Cirque is showing flat or even falling numbers? Too many different shows now touring the country and in some places are permanently placed. I counted just shy of a dozen Cirque shows the last time I counted. More of something is not always better. Cirque did much better when it was one or two intense, theatrical shows that toured the country.

But never call it Circus. It is not.

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About me

  • I'm B.E.Trumble
  • From Everywhere, United States
  • Ben Trumble works in circus, carnival, and media relations
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