Saturday, September 27, 2008


I'm back in China and have just checked into my room here in Shanghai!

Andrew Scharff, Mark Lohr, Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone, Steve Copeland, Ryan Combs and his wife Romy and Kenny Mikey and Riley Roam are here at the festival with me.

I've just got time to grab a quick nap before dinner.

If you'd like to see the festival's website (featuring pictures of Mark Lohr as me) please click here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Photos courtesy of Mary Wise

Some of Mary Wise's photos from Michael "Coco" Polakovs' lunchtime talk.

DOUGIE ASHTON: Ringling, 1970s

Photo courtesy of Lee Jarratt

A great residual effect of the reunion is that more folks are starting to post their personal photo archives online. Lee Jarratt has some amazing shots in his collection. This is one of my favorite.


Video courtesy of Bob Kelmer

Rocco Paris' striptease at the Alumni Show.

Monday, September 22, 2008


After consulting with several attendees of last week's Clown College reunion, I have launched an online petition to ask Kenneth and Nicole Feld to consider bestowing the title of Master Clown upon Michael "Coco" Polakovs. 

To sign the petition please click here or click the title of this post.


Photo courtesy of Andrew Scharff

From the Associated Press

Circus clown receives award
Associated Press

CATLETTSBURG— Michael Polakovs spent 40 years clowning around.

Decades spent as Coco the Clown garnered Polakovs a lifetime achievement award Saturday. He was honored at a 40-year reunion of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, during events at the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wis.

Polakovs described himself as humbled by the award, which was voted on by alumni of the clown college.

Greg De Santo, a fellow clown college alumnus and an organizer of the reunion, said Polakovs performed for years with Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey Circus. He was instrumental in the formation of the college, De Santo said.

"Coco has been a great inspiration for so many generations of clowns," De Santo told The Daily Independent in Ashland. "He did it for so long and did it so very well."

And many of Polakovs' routines are still being used today by clowns, said De Santo, a clown for 23 years.

Polakovs, who will be 86 in February, is retired. His health is fragile and he gets around with the aid of a motorized wheelchair.

Michael Polakovs was born in Latvia, backstage at a circus where his father, a prominent clown in Europe, was performing. He grew up in England and joined his first circus at 14.

Polakovs was brought to America by the Mills Brothers Circus and joined Ringling Brothers in 1961.

Polakovs received the lifetime achievement award from the daughter of Lou Jacobs, another famous Ringling Brothers clown who went on to become a professor at the clown college.


Photos courtesy of Barry Phillips and myself

Down the ramp in the original Ringling Bros. Elephant Barn there were coffee, donuts and more archival Clown College photos than had ever been assembled in one place ever before.

Sam Drummond and Cowboy Mike Keever also had their artwork for sale.

Against one wall (as can be seen in the background) were several original Clown College props 
as well as road props from Greg DeSanto's personal collection.

Also on display were graduation photos of each of the 30 classes as well as an incredible collection of 
70s era photographs on special loan from the International Clown Hall of Fame.

A special display honoring Clown College propmasters George Shellenberger and Ivan Saxby.

Greg and Kren DeSanto at the opening kick off, keepin' it real and keepin' it simple.

Ms. Sarah Chapman, wife of Clown College class of 1968 instructor Danny Chapman, spoke of Danny 
and that first Clown College class in a lyrical, captivating style that held the audience spellbound... 
none more so than my friend, Andrew Scharff.


One of the very best things things about the Clown College reunion last week was reconnecting with my friend Andres Aguilar.

AdiĆ³s, mi amigo.

¡Buen viaje hogar!


¡Hasta luego!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

PIC: Circus Roncalli, circa 1981

"rlbubbleguy" writes...

While he is well known around the world for doing many kinds of performance, it was during his tour with Circus Roncalli when PIC created what many feel is his signature act.

His use of soap bubbles to advance a character with an unfolding story was a first I think. Really a sensation at the time.

Pic's website can be viewed by clicking here.

JIMMY ARMSTRONG: Autographed Photo, undated

CHARLIE BELL: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, undated

CLOWN COLLEGE REUNION: The Video That We Didn't Get to See...

Here is the video that we wanted to run before Dolly presented Coco with the Lou Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award.