Friday, April 09, 2021

Duane Thorpe

Long time Ringling clown Duane "Uncle Soapy" Thorpe photographed at the old Boston Garden, most likely in 1978. Photo credit Steven C. Borack.


Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Bobby Kay 1983


David Heim, Wayne Sidley, Nic Beery, Colleen Linnehan, Caren Hockenbury, and Stephanie Parks, all members of the Ringling Red Unit Clown Alley, visit with Bobby Kay in California shortly before his death in 1983.

Monday, April 05, 2021

Antoschka - Be A Clown

From Circopedia:

Born December 5, 1954 in South Western Siberia, Russia, Ekaterina Mikhailovna Mozhaeva dreamed as a child of becoming a ballet dancer. Unfortunately, a long childhood illness thwarted her aspirations—since ballet, if one wants to succeed in Russia, is a discipline for which training starts at an early age. Still, she wanted to perform, and when she recovered, friends suggested that she try the circus.

So, Ekaterina went on to train at the Circus’s Studio at Kemerovo, a Siberian city in the region of Novosibirsk. There, she learned a variety of circus disciplines, and partnered with another student, Anatoly Evgenevich Lotishev (b. March 10, 1949), to create an acrobatic clown duet under the name of Anton & Antoshka (spelled "Antoschka" in German). They began performing together in 1973 in Novosibirsk.

They soon became very successful; Ekaterina’s character, Antoschka, which comes out as a whimsical, mischievous, marionette-like tomboy, was immediately very popular with their audiences. Then, Anton & Antoshka appeared with the Leningrad Stage Circus, and in 1976, they were contracted by SoyuzGosTsirk, the central Soviet Circus organization; from then on, they were featured in all the major circuses of the Soviet Union, and on tour with the prestigious Moscow Circus companies. Ekaterina added dogs and cats to her act, with which she worked in a playful, engaging way that fit her character perfectly well.

Then, things began to change with the advent of Perestroika, and the fall of the USSR. It was a different atmosphere altogether, and Anatoly (Anton) decided to leave Ekaterina, and to continue his own clown career with his wife, Tatiana. But with Antoschka, Ekaterina had a strong, likeable character on which to build a new career of her own. In 1989, she went on an extensive tour abroad with the Moscow Circus On Ice, in a show built around Antoschka, and titled A Clown’s Dream.

Antoschka In Germany

The following year, after a tour of Germany, Antoschka decided to leave Russia and to settle there, in the town of Korschenbroich, near Dusseldorf. She began working with German and Austrian circuses, and in 1993, she starred in the ice revue Holiday On Ice, in a reprise of A Clown’s Dream built again around Antoschka’s character. She toured with Holiday On Ice until 1995, visiting The Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Poland, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.

After two years with Circus Busch-Roland, Antoschka went on to work with some of Northern Europe’s most important circuses, including Krone and Benneweis, and participated in European tours of the Germany-based Moscow State Circus (Moskau Staatszirkus). In 2005 she started performing her solo stage show, Ansichten eines Clowns, in Central America, and subsequently performed it regularly in Germany, while giving clown workshops and teaching clowning.

Meanwhile, Ekaterina/Antoschka had been involved in various global social projects, which culminated in her creating an international clown organization involved in social and peace issues, The World Parliament Of Clowns, in 2006. That same year, she created a new solo program, Antoschka und ihre WUNDERfreunde ("Antoshka and her WONDERful Friends"). Diva & Clown, and Solo für einen Clown would follow.

Dubbed "Die Königin der Clowns" ("The Queen of Clowns") by the German press, Antoschka has been sharing her time between Antoshka’s Clown-Theatre and her solo shows, further circus tours (including, in 2010, a tour of the Moskau Staatszircus, Planet of Smiles, in which she starred), and her work with the World Clown Parliament, the Jersusalem Peace Academy, and the German Water Foundation.

Friday, April 02, 2021

Lou Jacobs: Hunting Gag 1982

Lou Jacobs making a special appearance from the Red Unit, performing his hunting gag for the Blue Unit's 112th Edition television special.
The program was hosted by Richard Thomas, who traveled with his family on a circus when he was young.
If anybody has more information on that, I would love to hear it!

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Monday, March 29, 2021

Vidbel: Scott O'Donnell and Mike Snider


Photo by Paul Gutheil.

Scott "Dusty" O'Donnell and Mike Snider ready for the washerwoman gag on Vidbel's Olde Tyme Circus in the 1990s.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Davis Vassallo: Bounding Rope

Press release from the Festival: 

Guest Star: Davis Vassallo, Italy - Clown
Representing: RINGLING AND BROS. CIRCUS - BARNUM & BAILEY SPECIAL PRIZE "GIULIO MONTICO" 2013 Davis Vassallo has already appeared at Latina as a "Special Guest" during the 12th edition of the "International Circus Festival -- City of Latina", and returns this year in honour of the "Special Anniversary Edition". Davis comes from a long pedigree of Circus performers: his grandfather and father were both clowns and he decided as a child to follow in the family tradition. With his father's help, Davis learnt to play a number of musical instruments, learnt the importance of long hours of rehearsal, and learnt the art of being funny: he became a clown. His long-awaited début was at the age of 15, and since then Davis has never looked back, performing in Belgium and Germany as well as in Italy. Audiences of all ages have appreciated his dynamic and witty performances, watching his antics with great attention and enthusiasm. His love for his art can be evinced from his own words: "to be a clown is to dream, and dreaming is the most wonderful thing in the world!" His appearance at the Festival at Latina is rather special, because it is also his last performance before his official début in America with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, one of the greatest Circuses in the world; a début that has all the signs of a new and brilliant phase in the career of this young Italian clown, who, we can safely say, is destined to be one of the brightest new lights to sparkle on the international Clown scene.