Thursday, April 26, 2007

When the circus comes to town

Last weekend we took the girls for their semi-annual clown phobia shock therapy at The Carson and Barnes Circus -- apparently one of the oldest circuses to call Oklahoma home.

For some odd reason, Hugo, Oklahoma has been and still is the winter HQ for several difference circuses.
From the Hugo Chamber Website: "Hugo also proudly lays claim to being the home and winter quarters of three of America's largest Circuses: Carson & Barnes; Kelly-Miller Brothers; Circus Chimera and Culpepper-Meriweather."
I can count on one hand the number of times I remember going to the circus as a kid so I'm not taking my girls to relive and revive a plethora of cherished childhood memories. Nope, I'm taking them for the same reason I like old diners and small town museums, revival movie houses, American Graffiti cruise nights, drive-in theaters, soda fountains in pharmacies, and picnics at the park -- nostalgia.

Even nostalgia that I wasn't around to experience.

Heck, I was alive when the Beatles broke up and Elvis died, yet didn't appreciate them until many years after their heyday. Had I been more aware, I would have done all that I could to see either of them perform live.

Which brings my family and I back to the circus every time we get word one is setting up in a nearby town. The girls seem to have dug it and for a few bucks more, they got a light-up, spinny, noise-making souvie, some finely blown cotton candy, a coloring book, elephant ride, and the cutest picture of the both of them holding a monster python.

Someday, due to lack of interest by audiences, too much interest by PETA, skyrocketing costs of equipment maintenance, transportation fees, labor costs, and diminishing returns at the ticket office, the circus as we know it will have gone the way of disco roller rinks, the cassette tape, shag carpeting, and the Camaro (yes, I know the Camaro will return in 2008/09 - wish that were the case for roller boogie, boy do I miss those days).

Do yourself a favor. Save up a few bucks and take yourself and a kid to the circus. Someday, like Elvis, "The circus will have left the building" and will exist only in cyberspace and in the long term memory of those, like me, who took the time to enjoy this dinosaur of live entertainment.

Besides, the more tyksters that have clown phobia therapy, the better off we'll all be in the long run.


_gentle said...

The last time I went to the circus my oldest, who is now a teen, was just a sweet, tootheless eight year old begging to ride the elephant (which she did and of course stupid me I forgot my camera)I haven't been since. Especially so since moving to Podunk, Ohio. I have considered going to Cirque De Soleil, but who can afford it? I'm not sure what is more creepy though, contortionist or traditional clowns that have this eerie way of making a crowd do exactly what they want. Weird clown mind control, how crazy is that?

Anonymous said...

From USDA affidavit of Byran M., former Carson & Barnes employee:

"When she (the elephant Del Rita) refused to hand over her trunk Joe (Frisco) took his bullhook and, using it like a baseball bat, proceeded to hit her between the eyes four times. She still refused. At this point Joe and Ben started beating Del Rita with their bullhooks. Ben was on her left side hooking the top of her ear, jabbing her left rear leg and using baseball swings with his bullhook on her side and rear legs. Joe was hitting her across her forehead and hooking her trunk with his bullhook. When this failed ... Joe pulled the hand held black hotshot (an electric prod) ... out of his back pocket. He was shocking her left hind leg, her front leg, her face and her tongue. Joe then had Darren hand him the three foot long red hotshot. He shocked her at least fifty times. During the entire beating Del Rita was defecating and urinating. She was trying to get away ... but was chained up and could not go anywhere. She kept moving from side to side. The other elephants in the barn started trumpeting loudly and defecating, urinating excessively and moving from side to side during the beatings. Tim (Frisco) said, 'The only way to handle male elephants is to take them into the barn and beat the f--k out of them, shock till they drop.' "

Watch it for yourself at: then tell me, is this nostalgia or just sick?