Sunday, May 03, 2009

Critiquing The Crtitic...

Never one to be a heat merchant (intentionally)
I feel compelled to have an opinion on the happenings of another blog
Alot of my readers will be familiar with it
Some may not
Here is an excerpt from a recent piece

Thursday, April 30, 2009
New York: You’ve Got Circus! ... Steve and Ryan, You've Got My Au Revoir ...
Live in New York and still not circused out? Wait a few days, maybe only a few hours, and another troupe will come spangling into view. Beware of pachyderm poo. Look both ways when crossing Broadway; Thespians now share the street with jugglers. More circuses are on the way whether you like it or not. They are coming because, suddenly, the Big Apple is the Big Prize for big tops.

Guy Laliberte, King of Montreal, just won’t go away, even if (or maybe because) you have yet to show him the love he takes for granted in other cities. Reports in The New York Times are that Cirque du Soleil’s Wintuk at Madison Square Garden theatre over the holidays drew 20 percent less biz than the previous year. And whatever Ringling-Barnum managed to bring off at the Garden, Kenneth Feld is another you’re-not-done-with-me-yet producer. He’ll be back come June. Back at Coney Island under a tent. This is part of a big Bloomberg vision – something about the sawdust ring reviving a broken down seasize boardwalk that once drew millions, including me. Feld Entertainment "hopes" for a three- to five-year run. A circus saving a carnival? Anybody want to bet me a bag of Peterson peanuts?

Back to Mr. Guy. Our globally obsessed mogul just can’t get enough shows up to quench his thirst for ubiquity. Some insiders are wondering if he is not running the risk of overextending his hand. Doesn't matter. This man is burning up inside to make Metropolis a Second Home. Seems that his Dubai visions have stalled. Laliberte tried grabbing a hunk of real estate at Pier 40. Escrow was no go. “Dead,” he told the Times in a remarkable fit of candor. “So instead, you come in by the back door, or even a window.” So, homeless in Manhattan, Mr. Guy is settling for rentals (with that I can identify), to wit, his Grand Interim Plan:

February, 2010: CDS opens a vaudeville show at the Beacon Theatre, to be directed by David Shiner, with a book and score by pros, and slated to run more than a few weeks, assuming the public doesn’t run away.

2011: CDS tumblers and ticklers cavort at Radio City Music Hall over a four-month frame. Another ambitious “annual” outing. Half of each year will see the troupe touring Paris or London, if not Hugo.

Up there interviewing in the Laliberte latitudes, NYT reporter Glen Collins did learn from Cirque’s Genius-in-Chief that sinking biz in Vegas is “a scary crisis.”

Heck, with our two biggest big tops battling it out for Big Apple Bragging Rights, and what with all the lesser lights (Birdhouse Factory, Casual Cal, etc.) vying for a shred of the I'll-Take-Manhattan market, not to mention the well established Big Apple Circus (remember them?), maybe poor old Kelly-Miller can find a vacant clump of mud on a street corner and break some daily bread.

Speaking of which, going end ring here, (yeah, this one’s ending sooner than you might have expected, but you’ve still got popcorn and tea, I trust) ... Other morning on a walk, I was struck by an epiphany. I’d just got my daily Steve Copeland fix and it just struck me, I’ve been there done that a thousand times, and I get the dude’s drift, and so why do I keep returning to the blog? What kicked my hollow habit was Copeland’s rants. He’s a clown who just can’t resist critiquing audience reactions, mainly those that come at he and partner Ryan Combs. But when he ranted on about a convention of cellphone addicts coming between the crowds and the show, that did it for me. I had to leave the tent, and haven't been back since ... One more wonderment and then I’ll hang up this touchy issue for a while: Why would a circus allow one of its performer-bloggers to define (if not sully) any positive advance imagery they are endeavoring to cast? And why do they even allow customers to twitter and twat while the show goes on? I have my own Big Idea: Why not a blog from John Ringling North II? Why not a circus owner telling it like it is from his point of view? Now, would that get me up even earlier!

Where was I before getting twittered into a snit? Oh yes, Mr. Lalaiberte was, while chain smoking, granting the Times a glimpse of his burning ambition to take the Big Apple once and for all. I told Don Convington, who links me to a lot of these news breaks, how I envy him being in the middle of it all. Answering back, said Don, “we are living in interesting times."

[photo above: Artist's rendering of the Ringling Coney Island set up]

Seems average
Not really any direct attack on anyone (except Steve....he doesn't count)
You will notice if you look back on his blog however a theme of snide comments
About the Kelly Miller Show
Starting...Oh....About a day after he found out we would be doing some
Dates in conjunction with Jim Judkins
I am certain he has his reason to dislike the show
And that is the critics perogative
It is odd to have so much to say about a show one has yet to see
(This guy was a professional?)
That said what struck me as odd was the censoring of 11 year old Johnny Moss IV
He reads all the circus blogs everyday
And has now come to the epiphany
Here is his comment
Ruled unseemly my master of the ShowBiz domain

"David you're a moron. Why do you keep bashing the Kelly Miller Circus?

P.S. You're gay"

Johnny Moss IV

I thought coming from an 11 year old, who read his blog daily for a couple years
This spoke truth to the heart and needed to be heard somewhere

Now much as he has "walked out of Steve and Ryans tent"
I have walked out of his
I appreciated the kind comments about my act he had in the past
But it has become obvious he has some sort of bone to pick with the show as a whole

My advice....
See the show before you review it "moron"
To steal a quote from an eleven year old show guy


Ryan Easley said...

Priceless. This blog is getting some meat now! LOL

Susabelle said...

This guy is a real jerk. I've never actually read his blog, just snippets that other people post, but wow. Just, wow.

He does have one thing right: Cirque is trying to take over the world, but he misses one thing: Cirque is not, nor will ever be, Circus. Be that as it may...why does this guy write about circus in the first place? He obviously hates circus, so why does he keep writing about circus? Makes no sense to me, unless he just feeds off the negative comments he gets from Circus performers and lovers in his blog.

Tejano said...

Where is the guy's blog?

Casey McCoy Cainan said...

I did not post the link because I would hate to increase his traffic. If you search Showbiz Dave Hammerstrom it will probably come up.

B.E.Trumble said...

Casey, I'm not sure that SBD is out to get KM in particular. There seems to be a theme on the blog this season taking swipes at mudshows in general for some kind of failure to meet a standard. I think DH deserves credit for his original biography of John Ringling North, but I'm not entirely sure what qualifies him as a critic -- particularly as he seems to dislike more shows than he enjoys. I would certainly encourage him to fly east and actually see KM before running the show do too much. But I suspect he'd only consider that if JRN II promised a sit down. Best wishes to Mr. North. I think of him fondly.

Ben Trumble said...

Sunday May 3rd, 2009. Escalon, CA. 40 miles. Grass. Overcast.

Beautiful lot. Strong sponsor. Good day. We’re in California for another week. Somehow it seems impossible to write about circus, and the Golden State and not about Vargas. Not Circus Vargas as it exists today, or even the strong show of the 1990s – Vargas as it was in the 1970s and the 1980s when Clifford Vargas, the real circus genius built a show so wonderful, so strong, so synonymous with circus that even the Feld owned Ringling shows were merely the competition. And he did it on the west coast, and he did it under a tent. Sitting on a green lot in the Central Valley it’s tempting to say that the world has changed, and shows have changed, and California has changed and today, twenty years after his passing that even Vargas would no what to make of this crazy business. Tempting but probably not true. So we’ll hoist one and drink to Cliff tonight, a man who for a few years recreated the Golden Age in the Golden State.

Tejano said...

That being the case...I concur and will ignore his blog. Why read useless stuff.

Anonymous said...

As a Gay reader of your blog, was it necessary to post the "P.S. You are Gay?" line? And, while doing it, give props to the prejudice of a young guy? I agree with your disdain for the comments from Show Biz Whoever. Still, that "P.S." is offensive and has nothing to do with the topic. Just sayin'.

Casey McCoy Cainan said...

I am feeling you on this one. I thought long and hard about censoring that part of the comment. Here is why I did not. I don't believe that it was meant in the terms that you or I would take it to mean. I do think that may be fitting in this case scenario, but I think Johnny's meaning was more along the lines of an eleven year old which is "Thats gay" Just as we have a group of youngsters here who tell each other things the others do are gay. I am guessing sexual preference did not factor into the comment at all. I apologize if you were offended. I didn't want to censor part of the comment because I felt that would be as bad as Showbiz not giving it a passing glimpse. As far as the "prejudice of a young guy" I think you are off on that, I could be wrong, but I don't think so. Again, I apologize if you were offended.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Casey. You are a good guy and the answer was appreciated.

Your quote: "I think Johnny's meaning was more along the lines of an eleven year old which is "Thats gay" Just as we have a group of youngsters here who tell each other things the others do are gay."

If that's what eleven year olds are saying these days, calling each other Gay, so be it. Sort of traces back to my original point about prejudice.

Why did I choose to be anonymous? Not out of fear. No. Out of knowing the flames I would get for expressing my opinion on this subject.

Still, whether or not Show Biz Whoever is Gay or not has nothing to do with any of this. I personally have no idea and, frankly, don't WANT to know!

Best wishes.

Susabelle said...

Hey, Anonymous, I hear ya. I work with young people every day, and there are a few insults they hurl at each other commonly. "That is so gay" or "you are so gay" is one of them. When I was in school, back in the 70's, we called everyone a "retard" or a "faggot." It had less to do with sexual orientation than it did with just being able to hurl an insult. We couldn't curse, but we could hurl insults! Little Johnny's age is just right for the hurling of those kinds of insults, and I'm sure, as he grows and matures, he'll find more mature insults to hurl. But it was definitely a good point to make, people need to be mindful of their words, and how they can hurt sometimes.

Casey McCoy Cainan said...

Addendum to Susabelle,
I don't think Cirque wants to take over the "world". They took over the tented entertainment industry several years ago, not by trying to be a "circus" but by doing something different. I applaud them. I too dream of Cirque with animals. I also think that constructive criticism is very important to circuses today. We as a whole have gone way to long believing the shows were as great as the last circus fan told us they were. I also feel Showbiz should see it before he bashes it. If he wanted to critique it then, and felt the show was sub-par so be it. I also think Showbiz has been pretty fair in his reviews in the past of other shows (HE HAS SEEN). Maybe Cirque got to the point they are at, because they didn't ask the circus fans what they wanted to see, but instead figured out what the public wanted.

Michael Newton-Brown said...

OK guys and girls. I can't sit this one out. SBD's blog can be very unfeeling. I read the reviews of my shows once, and throw them away. It's the word of mouth that puts the butts in the seats, and that is what I count.

Yes Susabelle "just so gay" is a current expression, like "that is so ghetto". It's a statement.
I don't think it is derogatory. As a GLBT person myself, I would tell John Jr. that his gaydar is working very well. That might give him something to ponder as well.

Casey, a black man can use that N word with another black man and it's OK, but don't let a white guy use it. Similarly, we gay folks have used any number of slurs on each other, and it's OK, depending. But don't let someone outside of our circle say them.

We gay folk are finally beginning to get some equality, just like the women, and black communities had to fight to get. I wish we would get more of a sense of humor about ourselves, but we are not far enough along in the equality struggle to do that. The Jews can laugh at themselves, and their culture, but how many centuries did that take?

From a former gay clown, who still has a wicked sense of humor.

And where the Hell are the rest of the pics of your traveling rig you promised. Me wanting to see pics of trucks.

Just how gay is that?
I'm putting my soap box away now.

Casey McCoy Cainan said...

Mr. Newton-Brown,
Thank you. That was just the comment I was hoping to get, from somewhere.

I will post the pictures today

Susabelle said...

I do not believe, and will likely never believe, that Cirque is Circus (note the capital C). They are a spectacle. A theatrical performance. They are truly astounding, magical, and entertaining.

But they are not Circus.

As for taking over the world, well, how many shows are there now? I count ten active shows touring the world at this moment. That's quite a showing, in my book.

It still doesn't make them Circus.

Casey McCoy Cainan said...

You are rite Susabelle,
It does not make them a Circus. It makes them very very very very successful. Everyone always wants to argue that they are NOT a circus. I have never heard the argument go the other way "Cirque is so a Circus". But for some reason everyone wants to be the one to say they are not a circus. I am certain a large amount of their success comes from the fact no "towner" has ever been duped into seeing Cirque, thinking they were going to see three families in a high school gymnasium. If they used the generic name "CIRCUS" like the rest of us, the public would think they were going back to see the last show they saw using the same generic name "CIRCUS". Soliel has "name recognition" something no other show has on a nationwide level (exception possibly for Ringling, and notice, they quit going with the generic "CIRCUS" title years ago)

Blog Archive