Saturday, September 24, 2005

It's Only A Circus Till Someone Gets Bored

This story is a little late because it deals with events from a week ago but I guess I've been busy.

So last weekend we went to the circus up in Everett, you know, the Ringling Bros. thing. I'd never been to the circus before, even growing up, so I was leaning towards excited about going. I couldn't wait for the freak shows, the tents, the Carnies...all the things that make the circus experience so alluring, so different. So off we went.

Boy oh boy have I been mislead over the years about the circus! Either that or I've watched too much Carnivale. Probably both. Granted, that show is about the (duh) Carnival, but in my mind they are somewhat synonymous. Did you know there's no such thing as the Big Top anymore? I had no idea. I was expecting big tents, grandstands, dirt floors and elephant stank. Instead I got a sports arena, stadium chairs and PETA. Oh, and elephant stank.

Gone are the days of the sense of remoteness, debauchery and reckless entertainment. In its place is a sanitized marketing machine akin to Disney on Ice, just without the ice. Forced entertainment with no sense of history. The Ringleader is now referred to as the Host and he sings through most of the show. When did the circus turn into a musical? The clowns are still clowns, but they don't jump off high-dives into pails of water. They don't cram into tiny cars. They don't run into the stands and scare the bejesus out of kids, terrorizing their dreams forever. Now they just teach you all how to get "Circus Fit". Jazzercise anyone? Dumb.

Have you ever heard of Sky Surfers? I hadn't, but apparently that's what Acrobats on the trapeze are called now. Nobody informed me of the change. They used to be the star of the show, and apparently still are, but you sure wouldn't know it. Flying Trapeze Artists, now that has some glamour and daring to it. Sky Surfer? Come on. They did one trick each, ONE, and that was it. And the last two didn't even count because they missed.

The only part of the show that hasn't changed was the beginning with the two fools shooting themselves out of a canon. That was friggin' sweet! To bad there was a giant butt blocking my view of it. Seriously people, if you arrive late, tough, don't go trying to find your seats in the dark.

But I must say that it was good to see the long tradition of hustling patrons has not gone anywhere. In fact, I think that's the only thing they're good at now. Our standard tickets were like $35 each. Decent seats, but not quite in the middle. Seats in the middle of the venue were $75. Seats in the front row were $125 and came with the special bonus of being able to embarrass yourself in front of the rest of the audience when the clowns did their exercising. I sure didn't think my money was well spent, I can't imagine being one of the people that spent $75. And the front row folks, well they're just idiots. Of course they also had toys with extreme child appeal being pushed everywhere you turned. How much for a little spinning light thing you can buy for less than 3 bucks at Target? $18!!!! Luckily I got out of there without having to buy any of that crap. But then there was the food as well. I spent $9 on a sno-cone (yes you read that right) and $6 on popcorn in a box so small even a movie theater would have been ashamed to sell it. Insanity.

Admittedly, Ava did have a somewhat fun time, but it soooo wasn't worth it. Maybe it'd be better when she's older, but I don't think you'll ever get me back there.

On a final note, normally I think PETA protesters are a bunch of extreme whacko's, but after seeing how much the animals seemed to be enjoying themselves, this is one case where I think I'm going to have to say I agree with them. Circus animals do not have a good life.

Vive la Old School Circus!

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