Thursday, October 04, 2007

Circus! Circus!

This week, we celebrated Luke's birthday, in our usual fashion--by going to the Big Apple Circus. This is THE BEST circus on earth, hands down! I've been to lots of other circuses (Ringling Brothers, Cirque du Soleil, and many others), and those are nice circuses, but the Big Apple takes the prize. There's nothing like the small venue, the close seating, and the excitement of this great circus. We are so close, in fact, that when the large animals come out, I always have a gut-level fear that we could get trampled if one of the horses goes wild. (One year, they had not-too-tamed camels, and I was a nervous wreck!) You're so close, that when the trapeze artists above you clap on their white chalky powder, the residue settles onto your shoulders. That's close!

Not to mention, all the proceeds from this non-profit circus go to helping terminally ill children.

Because the shows have limited seating, if you're sitting up front, as we always do, you have about a 50% chance of getting pulled on-stage for some of the antics. (But more about that later!)

The evening started with supper at Chicago's UNO Pizzeria. They have a new item on the kids' menu called "Make Your Own Pizza." They bring out aprons, an uncooked crust, and bowls of toppings, and the boys get to make up their own pizzas before they're cooked. For $3.99, this is really quite a bargain!

During dinner, we also opened the remainder of Luke's birthday presents. The theme this year was Playmobil pirates. He now has the big pirate ship, some British redcoats to battle, and a shark to keep things interesting.

After dinner, we headed across the parking lot to the circus. It was a beautiful October sky as we approached the big top. Unlike last year, the sky was cool and clear. I was so excited as I approached the tent. Honestly, going to the circus makes me feel like a ten year-old kid again. It's wonderful!

As the first act opened, two new clowns came out to work the crowd. One of their acts, which involved copious amounts of "goosing," had Luke and I literally in tears.

The acts this year were great! There were two men who performed tumbling tricks, a very becoming hula-hoop artiste (hubba, hubba!), the requisite performing circus dogs and tamed horses.

Of course, no Big Apple Circus would be complete without Grandma the Clown. Barry Lubin is brilliant as Grandma, a master clown!

Many years, Grandma has pulled me on-stage--against my will--for the amusement of the larger audience. (I have a dorky white face, so I get picked a lot!) This year, it was Eddie she chose. Eddie got to practice hula-hooping Grandma's pearl necklace, which embarrassed him terribly! But, he did great, and it was such a treat to see him with Grandma!

One act that was really awesome was a strength act where the performers were painted entirely in gold make-up to look like Buddhist or Thai statues. They performed amazing acts of balance and core-strength, and the performance was really quite beautiful and artistic, if you enjoy watching two nearly-naked men and a woman gallivant around.

Yes, it was another great year for the Big Apple Circus. If you haven't seen this show, GO SEE IT. Whether your kids are 2 or 102, they will really enjoy this show! I couldn't recommend it more!

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