circus-themed day at Van Cortlandt Manor a couple of years back, which we had enjoyed for its aerialists, steampunk band, and Circus Arts demos. Sis even got a diabolo. But, never a full circus, mainly because of our boycott of Ringling Brothers' Barnum and Bailey Circus over our ethical concerns regarding their treatment of their animals.
So we went to the Big Apple Circus instead.
It's a one-ring show in a real tent, with no seat further than 50' from the ring.
Better yet, they only use domesticated animals like horses, dogs, and rabbits--some of them from rescue organizations--instead of lions, tigers, bears, and elephants. So, we could attend, in all good conscience. (All of which is ironic, because we live not far from P.T. Barnum's home in CT and even attended the UU congregation of which he was a member!)
Mama and I had known about it, going back to my first days in NYC and further for her but, until about a year and a half ago, hadn't been coming into the city for shows. Now was the time.
And it was wonderful!!!!
As we waited for the show to start, in the lounge, there was a young magician doing card tricks. Bud was quite taken with his repertoire and watched intently. Then Bud showed his own trick, which the magician liked. So he explained one of his own tricks to Bud. Wonderful! (Bud's in his room practicing now.)
Trampoline artists. People juggling each other with their feet. Trapeze artists. Aerialists. A contortionist. A quick-change act. A group diabolo demonstration. A dog-and-pony act, with a camel and llama, too. A clown who played xylophone on himself and juggled a ball on pans to play "Ode to Joy" and got us all singing "Brother John" and "Happy Ba-bo" (he was a gentle French clown, not crass or buffoon-like; I liked him.) But my favorite was Tato, who not only helped with the contortionist act by folding into a tiny box with another woman, but did this amazing juggling routine . . . while standing on a wibbly-wobbly rolla bolla!! She juggled tennis rackets and balls and clubs and rings!! And not even on solid ground. LOVED it!!!
Of course, I remember going to the bigger aforementioned circus as a child, really the only game in town. It was huge and we had seats way up high; it's one of the first times I remember having a sense of vertigo. Of course, it was highly entertaining and quite the spectacle. But I'm not sure I loved it and I think we only went the once. I was never that interested in clowns (or trapeze artists or trained animals.)
Interestingly, when I worked at the high school after getting my MA, I became, quite by accident, the advisor of the Clown Club. The previous advisor had been fired, when they discovered he had lied on his teacher application a few years earlier; no one would take it over and so, since I could juggle, I agreed to step in. I recall that we met a few times to do magic tricks--I even went to a local magic store to get some props--and then we had a gig at a school even for younger children. I even wore a classic black-and-white clown suit, with big ruff and pom pon buttons, my hair in pig tails and my big converse sneakers. I juggled and the teen clowns did their own gigs. I had quite forgotten that until we went today.
I think I enjoyed today as much as, perhaps even more than, the kids did. But I imagine we'll all be pulling out the diabolo and juggling balls tomorrow.