Thursday, January 22, 2009

it's a one-ring circus in there

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus returned to Knoxville tonight, less than eleven months after their last visit. The show was almost the same as the one I saw in March. They upped the number of elephants from two to three, which is good news for a pachyderm fan like me. As one of the animals did what comes naturally and the roustabouts cleaned up after it, the band was playing a cheesy cover version of "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap."

The smaller version of the circus is called the Boom A Ring tour. The white tiger act and the dachshund act were unchanged. As the six big cats went through their paces, I wondered if the tigers took turns doing the last stunt atop a disco ball or if it's always the same one, night after night. I also wondered what kind of exercise the tigers get besides their performances. The crew set up the cage for the tigers during intermission, which is when I snapped this picture of a tiger waiting for showtime.

As the tiger cage was being dismantled, a magician did some tricks with doves and then with a lovely assistant. I don't recall ever seeing a magic act at the circus before. It made a good fit. I thought they could eventually do bigger Vegas-style illusions with animals, like Siegfried & Roy. Maybe not the best example.

I was given the opportunity to greet the crowd at the end of the All Access Pre-Show. Then as everyone was being sent to their seats, one family plopped their baby down in the middle of the ring for a photo.

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