I have fond memories of going to the circus as a kid. The clowns were silly. I was blown away by the animals. I didn’t realize they were drugged. When you are in elementary school a lethargic tiger is just a tiger. I had nothing to compare it to. My father wasn’t John Hanna. People walked on wires and women dangled from poles by their hair. To this day I have no idea how that trick works. I end up with a pile of hair on the floor every time I bring out the blow dryer. I would fall to my death. The circus was cool before PETA got involved. Ignorance is bliss. Besides, what does exposing your ta-ta’s have to do with animal rights?
I brought my kids to a circus over the weekend. Well, the word circus was in the title. There is a festival in town. It’s an artsy festival and one of the acts advertised was something called “Circus Orange.” Local media said “It is something you will not want to miss.” The pictures on the Circus Orange website looked spectacular. Acrobatics, people eating fire, etc. Plus, it was free! Hell to the yes. I went with a few good friends and their children; six in all, under the age of 9.
The show opens with two men riding a gigantic tricycle. The driver looks like a homeless clown who lost a fight with a herd of cats. A gallon of nail polish couldn’t stop the run in his panty hose. He was talking gibberish or speaking in tongues. Either way, I have no idea what the hell he was saying. A DJ who resembled the main character from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” stood behind him. This fella was spinning some psychedelic music while flaunting a creepy smile and sticking out his tongue.
They drove the tricycle thorough the crowd, joined by women wearing red and men dressed as white rams on stilts with flashlights for eyes. My friend’s daughter asked, “Where are the elephants?” My daughter buried her head in my chest, peaking up from time to time.
The music was loud. The other children looked horrified. “This is not friendly,” said one of them. They watched with their eyes bulging, jaws dropped as the giant tricycle passed by. The actors weren’t singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and throwing tootsie rolls into the crowd. The trike was throwing flames into the air. This sucker was not made by the Little Tykes company. “Daddy, this is freaky,” said a young girl standing nearby with her family. I could tell her father was thinking exactly the same thing: What the hell was I thinking? We might as well have made these kids watch “Nightmare on Elm Street.” I told my friends, “They are never going to sleep tonight.” Yet, we didn’t leave. Perhaps, it was optimism. It had to get better. Maybe we are just bad parents. We did laugh. The night was going so horribly wrong that it was kind of funny. If I had a dollar for each time I heard a stranger leaving say “What the f**k?” I would be a rich lady. The tricycle rode through the crowd for about an hour. Then, there was finally something the kids enjoyed. They hoisted one of the tricycle wheels into the air with a crane. There was a woman inside running and gracefully flipping around while fireworks exploded around her. She apparently has nothing to live for.
The kids were in awe.
I know some people enjoyed Circus Orange. If they were trying to put on a show that people won’t forget they nailed it. It was definitely memorable. “That part was cool,” said my 7-year-old. “But I need to watch a Disney movie on the way home.”