Thursday, June 20, 2024

Ringling 1993: Big Bike

Ringmaster Eric Michael Gillett, Boss Clown Dave DeDera as the old lady, and cyclists Darren Cooper, Max Richardson, Ray LeClair, David Frank, and Zac Whinnem performing the big bike routine on the Ringling Red Unit in 1993.

This was during David Larible's tenure as headliner on the Red Unit, so this was the Alley's one big ring spot for the tour.
As a kid I remember being disappointed that there wasn't more of the Alley clowns in the show, although between Come In gags, track gags, and walkarounds, they were doing more that the clowns got to do in the final decade or so of the show's run before the "closing" in 2017.

This act was on the Blue and Red Units in 2000-2001 and 2011-2012 respectively, but done by Eastern European acrobats. 
It is my understanding that the clowns in this act suffered many injuries from the apparatus, which is not surprising. That thing is a beast! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

In Remembrance: Leon "Buttons" McBryde

Leon McBryde passed away today. Many people know him best as Buttons, a clown who got his start in the business by graduating from the Ringling Clown College in 1969.
After spending a year on the Blue Unit, he toured ahead of the Greatest Show on Earth as a Goodwill Ambassador. 

His true legacy to clowns will be his work in clown education as a founder of the program Advanced Studies, of which he is a founding member, and also as a top clown nose maker. Leon and his wife Linda created the company Proknows, which sold all kind of clown supplies, most notably a fantastic array of clown noses that the majority of clowns in America have worn.

Throughout his career Leon performed as Santa, which became his main source of performing in his later years. 
He is an inductee of both the International Clown Hall of Fame and the International Santa Claus Hall of Fame, and was a loved and respected practitioner in both fields.

Above is a video of Leon and Michael "Coco" Polakovs taken at Advanced Studies in the 1990s.
What I have written is just a brief glimpse into Leon's long, full life. Please feel free to add more information, stories, or thoughts in the comments below. 

Friday, June 07, 2024

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Jan Damm: Circus Flora

Here is Jan Damm, who just finished touring with the new Ringling show, performing in the 2023 Circus Flora production, 'Undercover'.

From the New England Center for Circus Arts website: 
"Jan Damm began performing juggling shows for kids in central Maine when he was 12 years old. Since then he has toured nationally and around the world as a professional clown and circus artist. Highlights include headlining the production show on Celebrity Cruises ‘Silhouette’, Montreal’s ‘Festival Completement Cirque’ with ‘Midnight Circus’, playing Broadway with ‘Cirque Mechanics’, ‘Big Apple Circus’ 40th Anniversary Tour, and performance intervention work in Haiti and Lebanon with ‘Clowns Without Borders’. He’s also appeared on David Letterman, and with Circus Bella, Circus Zoppe, Flynn Creek Circus, and Circus Flora among others. Jan has a passion for coaching and creation, and has worked as an instructor throughout the country, including coaching featured acts on Smirkus Big Top Tour. He lives with his wife and circus partner Ariele, and their children Timo and Ilsa."

Friday, May 10, 2024

Clown College Makeup Class


Photo courtesy of Steve Marshall

Here are some of the students of the Ringling Clown College class of 1983 painting their faces in makeup class. 
Note the photos of previous graduates on the wall that the new students could study for inspiration in coming up with their unique clown face.
This photo was taken by Steve Marshall, who was a graduate of the class of 1983, and toured with the show's Red and Gold Units. He currently performs as a magician in Japan.

Wednesday, May 08, 2024

Mr Lorenz

Mr Lorenz aka Lorenzo Carnevale performing at the 45th International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo in 2023.

Friday, May 03, 2024

Give Back Sunday: Benefitting the ICHOF

Mark your calendars for this Give Back Sunday event on June 23rd, benefiting the International Clown Hall of Fame. This is an all day event dedicated to fundraising for the cause.

The International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center is a not-for profit 501 (c) 3 organization located in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Since they opened their doors to the public they have had thousands of guests visit in person and view the most amazing collection of clown artifacts in the world.
Learn more about them at:  International Clown Hall of Fame
10% of our 06/23 brewery sales plus direct donations taken at the bar will be donated. The International Clown Hall of Fame will be selling some awesome memorabilia you won't want to miss out on. 
We hope you can come out and show your support for the local community!