Category Archives: cool things

Pranksters Install Swings on BART Public Transit System in San Francisco

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Pranksters Install Swings on BART Public Transit System in San Francisco

swings on BART

photo by Audrey Penven

Some brilliant pranksters installed beautiful swings on BART last night. What apparently happened, according to witnesses, was a team of six or so people hopped on to a north-bound train from 24th Street station in San Francisco around 8:30 p.m. last night, installed three matching red swings, and then exited at 16th Street leaving their swings behind for public consumption.

BART Swings

photo by Neiltron

I personally love this prank because of the joy that it inspires in the innocent by-standers. Look at the photos. Even the dudes that are not swinging are smiling (except for one woman – that is just how some people roll, I guess). I declare this to be an epic victory for joy and whimsy over the mundane!

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A Chicago club crawl with a bus-driving bluesman

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A Chicago club crawl with a bus-driving bluesman

Story by Marnie Hunter, video by Channon Hodge and Robert Sevilla, CNNUpdated 20th July 2017
Chicago (CNN) — Toronzo Cannon has more energy before 5 a.m. than some people can muster all day.
“Hey now, you OK? You gonna be cool today?” he asks one co-worker at a Chicago bus garage. “How you doin’?” he asks another. “These guys right here owe me money, so take a picture of all of them,” he jokes.

Cannon, 49, has been a Chicago Transit Authority bus driver for 24 years. He’s also a blues musician whose career is on the upswing, and his near tirelessness is working in his favor.
Cannon drives 10-hour shifts Monday through Thursday, then jets off on weekends to play the Chicago blues across the country and around the world. He spends his vacation time playing back-to-back international dates.
The contrast of strolling by the Eiffel Tower and steering a bus through the streets of Chicago isn’t lost on Cannon. Yet his day job keeps him grounded, provides his family with health insurance and yields vivid material for songs.
The Eiffel Tower was “right down the street for the most part, and now I’m on the West Side of Chicago getting cursed out by some lady that’s short a quarter,” he said.
“I’m a bus driver, so I travel through several tax brackets. You know, I see from the poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich.”
“The Chicago Way,” Cannon’s latest album and his first on renowned blues label Alligator Records, chronicles the human stories that unfold on both jobs.
A few hours after he gets off work, Cannon will go from bus driver to bluesman, swapping his CTA hat for a dapper chapeau as he takes us to some of the blues clubs he came up in.
Toronzo Cannon plays the blues all over the world.

Toronzo Cannon plays the blues all over the world.

‘Everything is moving, everything is loud’

Raw and rhythmic, blues music was developed by African-Americans in the post-Civil War South, with an emphasis on vocals that tell the stories of everyday people, usually of men, women and the ups and downs between them.
Starting during World War I and spurred by oppression and economic hardship, millions of Southern blacks headed for cities in the North as part of the Great Migration. The music traveled with them, and Chicago eventually became the epicenter of urban blues.
The solo acoustic blues of the South gave way to band music featuring electric instruments and drums after World War II, creating a grittier, more aggressive sound.
Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter and Jimmy Reed put Chicago blues on the map in that era, and by the 1960s the music had gained a worldwide audience.
“When blues got to Chicago, it got dirty. It got dirty from the electricity of the city,” Cannon said. “As you get to the big city where everything is fast, everything is moving, everything is loud, that does something to you,” Cannon said.
“Chicago blues is not background music. You know, you need to be heard, you need to be looked at. You’ve got something to say.”

Buddy Guy’s Legends

At 88, “Bar Room Preacher” Jimmy Johnson has witnessed his share of Chicago’s electric city living.
As this night’s headliner at downtown South Loop club Buddy Guy’s Legends, Johnson puts his gospel-tinged voice to the blues’ central theme:
Learn to love me or leave me. Either one you wanna do
Learn to love me or leave me. Either one you wanna do

Because strange things are happening. Something strange might happen to you
Johnson belts out these lyrics at the glossiest club on our two-night blues hop, a spot opened in 1989 by Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy.
Bluesman Jimmy Johnson performs at Buddy Guy's Legends in downtown Chicago.

Bluesman Jimmy Johnson performs at Buddy Guy’s Legends in downtown Chicago.
The spacious club’s walls are dotted with photos, instruments and other mementos of the famous and up-and-coming artists who’ve played its stage.
“Buddy Guy’s is the premier blues club in Chicago,” said Cannon. “You get a bunch of national acts to come through. He’s like the man now, when it comes to the blues.”
Guy, 80, is often spotted at the bar and sometimes steps in to play a few songs when he’s not on the road. He plays a series of formal dates at his club each January.

Rosa’s Lounge

About 10 minutes from downtown on Chicago’s Near Northwest Side, Rosa’s Lounge in Logan Square has a cozier neighborhood feel. Most of the performers are from Chicago, although bands from all over the world come through.
Late blues greats David Honeyboy Edwards, Pinetop Perkins and Homesick James all played Rosa’s.
On a recent Friday evening, Chicago blues guitarist Melvin Taylor’s fiery playing had patrons moving to the music. One particularly energetic dancer launched himself across the floor in a series of riveting, whole-body spasms.
This is a friendly club where colored lights, Christmas ornaments, larger-than-life photos of blues giants and glittery anniversary decorations create the kind of deep, layered history that’s only enhanced by zany self-expression and fans whose ages span at least a half-century.
Guitarist Melvin Taylor is a top draw at Rosa's Lounge in Logan Square.

Guitarist Melvin Taylor is a top draw at Rosa’s Lounge in Logan Square.
And Rosa’s Lounge is a family affair. Musician and owner Tony Mangiullo arrived in Chicago from Milan in 1978 to play the blues, and he opened Rosa’s in 1984.
“The story goes Tony, the owner, loved the blues so much that he came to Chicago and didn’t leave, didn’t want to leave. He’s from Italy. And he built the club and he named it after his mother,” said Cannon.
Mama Rosa was definitely the impetus for the club.
“Mama said it was not enough for Mama to see me play drums. … She said, ‘You want to be here, you have to do a business,'” Mangiullo said.
Mama clearly knows what’s best for generations of blues fans, too.

B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted

A sliver of a club, B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted on the North Side of Chicago in Lincoln Park is long on atmosphere, thanks to its decidedly no-frills aesthetic and tight quarters that leave little distance between patrons and musicians.
It’s one of the first clubs Cannon played. “They put me on on a Thursday, I remember it. And I’ve been playing there for years. It’s a smaller club, more intimate,” he said.
Like many hometown musicians who’ve reached wider audiences, Cannon now plays most of his gigs on the road, but he still plays Chicago clubs about five times a year.
B.L.U.E.S., which opened in 1979, books primarily Chicago musicians, from elder statesmen like Eddie Shaw and Jimmy Johnson to younger artists who are still getting established on the club circuit.
Tonight, clubgoers are perched on the cracked vinyl barstools, soaking up bluesman Jimmy Burns’ soulful tunes.
B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted is an intimate club in Lincoln Park.

B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted is an intimate club in Lincoln Park.
Burns also graciously ceded the stage to Cannon and Mike Wheeler, who popped over from a gig across the street at Kingston Mines to play a few songs with his friend.
The two clubs on Halsted Street have a friendly rivalry. Kingston Mines is larger, with two stages and meal service. B.L.U.E.S. keeps its offering to blues and booze.
Wheeler, 56, and Cannon, 49, are among the local artists building on traditions passed down from longtime bluesmen like Burns, 74.
And by and large, they’re doing it the Chicago way.
“I think the Chicago way means, you know, working hard and kind of using what you got to get what you want,” said Cannon.
“There’s certain things that you do in life to let people know that you’re here, and my way of letting people know that I’m here is my blues.”

If you go

Buddy Guy’s Legends: Cover charges are $10 or $20, depending on the night, and shows that start after 8 p.m. are 21 and over. Seats are first come, first served. The club serves Louisiana-style Cajun and soul food at lunch and in the evening.
700 S. Wabash, Chicago 60605, http://buddyguy.com/
Rosa’s Lounge: Cover charges range from $7 to $20. Reserved seating is available. The club doesn’t usually serve food, although catering is available for special events. Patrons can also bring food or order for delivery.
3420 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago 60647, http://rosaslounge.com/
B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted: Covers range from $5 to $10. 21 and up. On Sunday nights the cover at B.L.U.E.S. gets guests into Kingston Mines and vice versa.
2519 N. Halsted St., Chicago 60618, http://www.chicagobluesbar.com/

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A Chicago club crawl with a bus-driving bluesman

Story by Marnie Hunter, video by Channon Hodge and Robert Sevilla, CNNUpdated 20th July 2017
Chicago (CNN) — Toronzo Cannon has more energy before 5 a.m. than some people can muster all day.
“Hey now, you OK? You gonna be cool today?” he asks one co-worker at a Chicago bus garage. “How you doin’?” he asks another. “These guys right here owe me money, so take a picture of all of them,” he jokes.

Cannon, 49, has been a Chicago Transit Authority bus driver for 24 years. He’s also a blues musician whose career is on the upswing, and his near tirelessness is working in his favor.
Cannon drives 10-hour shifts Monday through Thursday, then jets off on weekends to play the Chicago blues across the country and around the world. He spends his vacation time playing back-to-back international dates.
The contrast of strolling by the Eiffel Tower and steering a bus through the streets of Chicago isn’t lost on Cannon. Yet his day job keeps him grounded, provides his family with health insurance and yields vivid material for songs.
The Eiffel Tower was “right down the street for the most part, and now I’m on the West Side of Chicago getting cursed out by some lady that’s short a quarter,” he said.
“I’m a bus driver, so I travel through several tax brackets. You know, I see from the poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich.”
“The Chicago Way,” Cannon’s latest album and his first on renowned blues label Alligator Records, chronicles the human stories that unfold on both jobs.
A few hours after he gets off work, Cannon will go from bus driver to bluesman, swapping his CTA hat for a dapper chapeau as he takes us to some of the blues clubs he came up in.
Toronzo Cannon plays the blues all over the world.

Toronzo Cannon plays the blues all over the world.

‘Everything is moving, everything is loud’

Raw and rhythmic, blues music was developed by African-Americans in the post-Civil War South, with an emphasis on vocals that tell the stories of everyday people, usually of men, women and the ups and downs between them.
Starting during World War I and spurred by oppression and economic hardship, millions of Southern blacks headed for cities in the North as part of the Great Migration. The music traveled with them, and Chicago eventually became the epicenter of urban blues.
The solo acoustic blues of the South gave way to band music featuring electric instruments and drums after World War II, creating a grittier, more aggressive sound.
Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter and Jimmy Reed put Chicago blues on the map in that era, and by the 1960s the music had gained a worldwide audience.
“When blues got to Chicago, it got dirty. It got dirty from the electricity of the city,” Cannon said. “As you get to the big city where everything is fast, everything is moving, everything is loud, that does something to you,” Cannon said.
“Chicago blues is not background music. You know, you need to be heard, you need to be looked at. You’ve got something to say.”

Buddy Guy’s Legends

At 88, “Bar Room Preacher” Jimmy Johnson has witnessed his share of Chicago’s electric city living.
As this night’s headliner at downtown South Loop club Buddy Guy’s Legends, Johnson puts his gospel-tinged voice to the blues’ central theme:
Learn to love me or leave me. Either one you wanna do
Learn to love me or leave me. Either one you wanna do

Because strange things are happening. Something strange might happen to you
Johnson belts out these lyrics at the glossiest club on our two-night blues hop, a spot opened in 1989 by Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy.
Bluesman Jimmy Johnson performs at Buddy Guy's Legends in downtown Chicago.

Bluesman Jimmy Johnson performs at Buddy Guy’s Legends in downtown Chicago.
The spacious club’s walls are dotted with photos, instruments and other mementos of the famous and up-and-coming artists who’ve played its stage.
“Buddy Guy’s is the premier blues club in Chicago,” said Cannon. “You get a bunch of national acts to come through. He’s like the man now, when it comes to the blues.”
Guy, 80, is often spotted at the bar and sometimes steps in to play a few songs when he’s not on the road. He plays a series of formal dates at his club each January.

Rosa’s Lounge

About 10 minutes from downtown on Chicago’s Near Northwest Side, Rosa’s Lounge in Logan Square has a cozier neighborhood feel. Most of the performers are from Chicago, although bands from all over the world come through.
Late blues greats David Honeyboy Edwards, Pinetop Perkins and Homesick James all played Rosa’s.
On a recent Friday evening, Chicago blues guitarist Melvin Taylor’s fiery playing had patrons moving to the music. One particularly energetic dancer launched himself across the floor in a series of riveting, whole-body spasms.
This is a friendly club where colored lights, Christmas ornaments, larger-than-life photos of blues giants and glittery anniversary decorations create the kind of deep, layered history that’s only enhanced by zany self-expression and fans whose ages span at least a half-century.
Guitarist Melvin Taylor is a top draw at Rosa's Lounge in Logan Square.

Guitarist Melvin Taylor is a top draw at Rosa’s Lounge in Logan Square.
And Rosa’s Lounge is a family affair. Musician and owner Tony Mangiullo arrived in Chicago from Milan in 1978 to play the blues, and he opened Rosa’s in 1984.
“The story goes Tony, the owner, loved the blues so much that he came to Chicago and didn’t leave, didn’t want to leave. He’s from Italy. And he built the club and he named it after his mother,” said Cannon.
Mama Rosa was definitely the impetus for the club.
“Mama said it was not enough for Mama to see me play drums. … She said, ‘You want to be here, you have to do a business,'” Mangiullo said.
Mama clearly knows what’s best for generations of blues fans, too.

B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted

A sliver of a club, B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted on the North Side of Chicago in Lincoln Park is long on atmosphere, thanks to its decidedly no-frills aesthetic and tight quarters that leave little distance between patrons and musicians.
It’s one of the first clubs Cannon played. “They put me on on a Thursday, I remember it. And I’ve been playing there for years. It’s a smaller club, more intimate,” he said.
Like many hometown musicians who’ve reached wider audiences, Cannon now plays most of his gigs on the road, but he still plays Chicago clubs about five times a year.
B.L.U.E.S., which opened in 1979, books primarily Chicago musicians, from elder statesmen like Eddie Shaw and Jimmy Johnson to younger artists who are still getting established on the club circuit.
Tonight, clubgoers are perched on the cracked vinyl barstools, soaking up bluesman Jimmy Burns’ soulful tunes.
B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted is an intimate club in Lincoln Park.

B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted is an intimate club in Lincoln Park.
Burns also graciously ceded the stage to Cannon and Mike Wheeler, who popped over from a gig across the street at Kingston Mines to play a few songs with his friend.
The two clubs on Halsted Street have a friendly rivalry. Kingston Mines is larger, with two stages and meal service. B.L.U.E.S. keeps its offering to blues and booze.
Wheeler, 56, and Cannon, 49, are among the local artists building on traditions passed down from longtime bluesmen like Burns, 74.
And by and large, they’re doing it the Chicago way.
“I think the Chicago way means, you know, working hard and kind of using what you got to get what you want,” said Cannon.
“There’s certain things that you do in life to let people know that you’re here, and my way of letting people know that I’m here is my blues.”

If you go

Buddy Guy’s Legends: Cover charges are $10 or $20, depending on the night, and shows that start after 8 p.m. are 21 and over. Seats are first come, first served. The club serves Louisiana-style Cajun and soul food at lunch and in the evening.
700 S. Wabash, Chicago 60605, http://buddyguy.com/
Rosa’s Lounge: Cover charges range from $7 to $20. Reserved seating is available. The club doesn’t usually serve food, although catering is available for special events. Patrons can also bring food or order for delivery.
3420 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago 60647, http://rosaslounge.com/
B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted: Covers range from $5 to $10. 21 and up. On Sunday nights the cover at B.L.U.E.S. gets guests into Kingston Mines and vice versa.
2519 N. Halsted St., Chicago 60618, http://www.chicagobluesbar.com/

AN UN-ICKY INTRODUCTION TO DUMPSTER DIVING

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DUMPSTER DIVING ZERO WASTE

AN UN-ICKY INTRODUCTION TO DUMPSTER DIVING

An unicky introduction to dumpster diving - Green Indy Blog

I’ll start my introduction to dumpster diving with the typical shocking stats: according to a late 2016 Guardian article, “roughly 50 percent of all produce in the United States is thrown away—some 60 million tons (or $160 billion) worth of produce annually, an amount constituting “one third of all foodstuffs.” (source)

Pretty mind blowing, right?!

Zero waste is all about drastically reducing your own personal waste, but what about the waste that others make? Is there any way to help even more by taking on the burden of someone else’s trash?

In my experience, dumpster diving is a great answer to these questions.

For those who don’t know, dumpster diving is the salvaging of waste from commercial, residential, industrial and construction containers to find items that have been discarded by their owners, but that may prove useful to the picker. (Thanks, Wikipedia!)

Interested to find out more about dumpster diving and how to get into it? Let’s go!

Introduction to dumpster diving - find!
Could be trash – could be treasure!

Personal Experience

For this introduction to dumpster diving, I must say that I’m in no way a pro.

I have rummaged around in a few dumpsters in my day, almost exclusive for non-consumables. Two of my current tables are straight from the dumpster as well as several kitchen items and almost all of the plastic pots I use for flowers/compost/etc.

The best spots for items of furniture/home goods are around large apartment complexes, local second hand stores (they toss a lot of stuff they deem unsalable), or on the side of the road in nicer neighborhoods on a weekend afternoon.

On the consumable side, yes I have fished food out of a dumpster before. I tend to take packaged items as I’m always a little wary of open produce, but I have taken the odd fruit or veggie that can easily be washed off.

And before you ask, no, I do not physically get into the dumpster. I think people seriously underestimate the amount of food waste happening at grocery stores – there’s often so much that you can simply peek in and pick stuff off the top. That said, for something really good, I might hop in. (Really!)

I’ve found that Whole Foods and Kroger tend to have the best selection here in Indy. CVS and Walgreensalso tend to toss lots of packaged stuff away.

Avoid more downtown locations and/or areas of high homelessness as businesses tend to have their dumpsters more secure. Think above 50-somethingth street or below 465 on the south.

I’ve never been caught (I usually go before the store opens), but I also think getting caught would fall into the “awkward” category more than the “going to jail”.

Overall, I think my personal experience basically boils down to: yeah, it’s kind of awkward when someone walks by you rummaging through a dumpster. But… you’re the one who scored free (perfectly good) items that would otherwise be thrown into a landfill.

Introduction to dumpster diving - find!
Table found in the dumpster!

Practical Tips

As shown above, I am by no means a dumpster diving expert, but I am someone who has no compunction about rummaging around other people’s trash. So here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • Get to know local laws. Dumpster diving is not illegal in the US, but may be restricted in your city/town. That being said, if it’s an open dumpster and someone catches you politely rifling through it, likely the worst that’s going to happen is they’ll ask you to leave. Make sure never to mess with dumpsters locked up/surrounded by a fence – that’s just asking for trouble.
  • Go during off hours. This is a pretty no duh idea, but go when there won’t be very many people around, either workers or consumers. I prefer to go early on a Sunday because I’m a morning person and I feel that it’s slightly less creepy to be going through a dumpster in early morning light rather than in total darkness. Be aware, though, you need to go early since garbage trucks often do pickups in the morning.
  • Leave the dumpster/area cleaner than when you arrived. It makes sense – the best way to have a company A) notice you’ve been there and B) lock everything up is by rifling through their trash with reckless abandon. So yes, paw through bags and take what you like, but make sure the area’s neat once you depart.
  • Dress properly. Another no-duh. While you may not be diving headfirst into a dumpster, it’s probably a good idea not to wear your Sunday best. Also, if you plan to dig a little, gloves are always a good option.
  • Don’t take more than you need. While the odds of someone else dumpster diving in your area is probably pretty low, it doesn’t pay to load up. Unless, of course, you’re sharing the wealth. Then, go ahead!

Resources

Falling Fruit: a user-edited resource that shows where “overlooked culinary bounty” may be found in cities all over the world. I particularly love Falling Fruit because it not only highlights easily accessible dumpsters, but it also points out the location of edible plants throughout the city.

Freegan.Info: freegans are people who survive on a strictly foraged diet (AKA no buying in stores!). This site is a compilation of awesome information about dumpster diving and other ways of consuming with less waste created.

r/DumpsterDiving/: while it’s mostly personal wins, the Reddit page may be useful if you have any questions about getting started.

Have you ever given dumpster diving a try? If so, what was your experience? If not, would you consider it after reading this introduction to dumpster diving?

Volkswagen Re-Releasing Classic Hippy Van As New Electric Version

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Volkswagen Re-Releasing Classic Hippy Van As New Electric Version

POSTED ONAPRIL 16, 2016LIFE 384001
vw

Are you looking for a way to get back to the good old days in one way or another?  This classic hippy van is a way to do it without compromising your values over the things that are important to you.  Most people understand that gas guzzlers are a thing of the past, but not everyone is ready to flow into the confined market of electric cars because there is not enough personalization to enjoy it.  Now, Volkswagen is introducing a brand new model of its beloved hippy van and enjoy all of the benefits that come from enjoying a modern vehicle.

The exciting part of this van is that it maintains the authenticity of the hippy van that we all love and cherish while making sure that is has all of our modern needs in terms of fuel/power as well as things like AC and a powerful engine that will take you all over the world with no carbon footprint to speak of.  This is sure to get heart pumping, I can imagine.  It’s a modern piece of history come back to us at last, and we couldn’t be more excited.

#hippie-van#volkswagen#electric#beatnikhiway.com#ana_christy

World Map Reveals What Different Countries Are Best At

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World Map Reveals What Different Countries Are Best At

Did you know that Rwanda has the most women in parliament in the world? Or that no country has as many pizza eaters as Norway? David McCandless from InformationIsBeautiful.net has put together a map that reveals what countries are best at and it will definitely raise a lot of eyebrows.

The data has been collected from the World Bank, United Nations, and other sources. It was then divided into 9 categories (commodity, psychology, ecology, gastronomy, economy, nicety, humanity, technology, and nasty) and assigned to each individual state (excluding the very small ones). It’s also worth mentioning that the values are either “mostly per capita” or “% of the population”. So which No.1 shocked you the most?

More info: informationisbeautiful.net (h/t)

international-number-ones-statistics-world-map-2016-1

North America

South America

Europe

Asia

Africa

The big top comes down: Ringling Bros. circus is closing after 146 years. Hiway America.

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Ringling Brothers

barnumandbaileytop

 Charles and John Ringling, along with their brothers Albert and Otto, founded the Ringling Bros. Circus in 1884, in Baraboo, Wisconsin. By the 1930s, the Ringling brothers were among the most famous American entrepreneurs, and were known throughout the world. By that time, they had bought out their biggest competitor, the Barnum & Bailey Circus, and were operating as the largest circus in the United States.

The big top comes down: Ringling Bros. circus is closing

circus-barnum-french-laroche-ball-tagged-1poster-for-the-barnum-and-bailey-circus1995844

circus-trains-tents-german-tagged_01circus-barnum-french-laroche-ball-tagged

 

circusjposter-for-the-barnum-and-bailey-circus1995844circushcircusfcircusecircusdcircusc

 Circus Ringling Bros.Barnum & Bailey Kings of the Circus

Ringling bros and barnum bailey circus Atlanta 2016 final

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus train and Union Pacific 3985
History was made today when the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus train and Union Pacific Railroad’s “Challenger,” No. 3985, joined together, literally, between Speer, Wyo., and Denver, Colo., to celebrate U.S. railroad heritage. Challenger pulled the mile-long circus train, packed full of international performers, exotic animals, and all the equipment needed to present the all-new Ringling Bros. Circus, Barnum’s FUNundrum!SM, which makes a two-week stop in Denver. Union Pacific’s No. 3985 continues on a six-state tour from Cheyenne, Wyo., to Gorham, Ill.
“We are proud that No. 3985 pulled the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus train into Denver. A record was set when Challenger pulled a 65-car train that is more than 6,000 tons and nearly 6,100 feet long, the most for a steam locomotive in the 21st century,” said Dick Hartman, Union Pacific’s director of public affairs for Colorado and Wyoming.
The combined trains arrived shortly after 10:00 am and were met by over 500 excited fans at the intersection of York Street and East 47th Avenue. A welcome celebration followed that featured Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson and performers from Ringling Bros., officials from Union Pacific, and Denver city auditor, Dennis Gallagher, who presented a proclamation from the Mayor of Denver.
“Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is excited to be part of this railroad heritage celebration; we’ve been riding the rails for the last 140 years, so we are a part of railroad history,” said Johnathan Lee Iverson, Ringmaster for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Barnum’s FUNundrum!SM, is a monumental, once in a lifetime show, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of the legendary P.T. Barnum, and can only be experienced at The Greatest Show On Earth, Barnum’s living legacy! Ringling Bros. will be performing in Denver through October 10, 2010 and then will continue on its two-year tour.
For more information about Ringling Bros., visit http://www.Ringling.com.
For more information about Union Pacific or No. 3985, visit http://www.up.com.
Stock Footage – CIRCUS PEOPLE, 1950

Ringling Bros. Circus Chooses First Female Ringmaster in Its 146-Year History

History of the Circus Sideshow / Freakshow

A visit to Ringling Brothers Circus Museum in Florida

Tamara Lush, Associated Press
Associated PressJanuary 15, 2017

ELLENTON, Fla. (AP) — After 146 years, the curtain is coming down on “The Greatest Show on Earth.” The owner of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus told The Associated Press that the show will close forever in May.

The iconic American spectacle was felled by a variety of factors, company executives say. Declining attendance combined with high operating costs, along with changing public tastes and prolonged battles with animal rights groups all contributed to its demise.

“There isn’t any one thing,” said Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment. “This has been a very difficult decision for me and for the entire family.”

The company broke the news to circus employees Saturday night after shows in Orlando and Miami.

Ringling Bros. has two touring circuses this season and will perform 30 shows between now and May. Major stops include Atlanta, Washington, Philadelphia, Boston and Brooklyn. The final shows will be in Providence, Rhode Island, on May 7 and in Uniondale, New York, at the Nassau County Coliseum on May 21.

The circus, with its exotic animals, flashy costumes and death-defying acrobats, has been a staple of entertainment in the United States since the mid-1800s. Phineas Taylor Barnum made a traveling spectacle of animals and human oddities popular, while the five Ringling brothers performed juggling acts and skits from their home base in Wisconsin. Eventually, they merged and the modern circus was born. The sprawling troupes traveled around America by train, wowing audiences with the sheer scale of entertainment and exotic animals.

By midcentury, the circus was routine, wholesome family entertainment. But as the 20th century went on, kids became less and less enthralled. Movies, television, video games and the internet captured young minds. The circus didn’t have savvy product merchandising tie-ins or Saturday morning cartoons to shore up its image.

“The competitor in many ways is time,” said Feld, adding that transporting the show by rail and other circus quirks — such as providing a traveling school for performers’ children— are throwbacks to another era. “It’s a different model that we can’t see how it works in today’s world to justify and maintain an affordable ticket price. So you’ve got all these things working against it.”

The Feld family bought the Ringling circus in 1967. The show was just under 3 hours then. Today, the show is 2 hours and 7 minutes, with the longest segment — a tiger act — clocking in at 12 minutes.

“Try getting a 3- or 4-year-old today to sit for 12 minutes,” he said.

Feld and his daughter Juliette Feld, who is the company’s chief operating officer, acknowledged another reality that led to the closing, and it was the one thing that initially drew millions to the show: the animals. Ringling has been targeted by activists who say forcing animals to perform is cruel and unnecessary.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a longtime opponent of the circus, wasted no time in claiming victory.

“After 36 years of PETA protests, which have awoken the world to the plight of animals in captivity, PETA heralds the end of what has been the saddest show on earth for wild animals, and asks all other animal circuses to follow suit, as this is a sign of changing times,” Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, wrote in a statement.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, acknowledged the move was “bittersweet” for the Felds but said: “I applaud their decision to move away from an institution grounded on inherently inhumane wild animal acts.”

In May of 2016, after a long and costly legal battle, the company removed the elephants from the shows and sent the animals to live on a conservation farm in Central Florida. The animals had been the symbol of the circus since Barnum brought an Asian elephant named Jumbo to America in 1882. In 2014, Feld Entertainment won $25.2 million in settlements from groups including the Humane Society of the United States, ending a 14-year fight over allegations that circus employees mistreated elephants.

By the time the elephants were removed, public opinion had shifted somewhat. Los Angeles prohibited the use of bull-hooks by elephant trainers and handlers, as did Oakland, California. The city of Asheville, North Carolina nixed wild or exotic animals from performing in the municipally owned, 7,600-seat U.S. Cellular Center.

Attendance has been dropping for 10 years, said Juliette Feld, but when the elephants left, there was a “dramatic drop” in ticket sales. Paradoxically, while many said they didn’t want big animals to perform in circuses, many others refused to attend a circus without them.

“We know now that one of the major reasons people came to Ringling Bros. was getting to see elephants,” she said. “We stand by that decision. We know it was the right decision. This was what audiences wanted to see and it definitely played a major role.”

The Felds say their existing animals — lions, tigers, camels, donkeys, alpacas, kangaroos and llamas — will go to suitable homes. Juliette Feld says the company will continue operating the Center for Elephant Conservation.

Some 500 people perform and work on both touring shows. A handful will be placed in positions with the company’s other, profitable shows — it owns Monster Jam, Disney on Ice and Marvel Live, among other things — but most will be out of a job. Juliette Feld said the company will help employees with job placement and resumes. In some cases where a circus employee lives on the tour rail car (the circus travels by train), the company will also help with housing relocation.

Kenneth Feld became visibly emotional while discussing the decision with a reporter. He said over the next four months, fans will be able to say goodbye at the remaining shows.

In recent years, Ringling Bros. tried to remain relevant, hiring its first African American ringmaster, then its first female ringmaster, and also launching an interactive app. It added elements from its other, popular shows, such as motorbike daredevils and ice skaters. But it seemingly was no match for Pokemon Go and a generation of kids who desire familiar brands and YouTube celebrities.

“We tried all these different things to see what would work, and supported it with a lot of funding as well, and we weren’t successful in finding the solution,” said Kenneth Feld.

#barnum_bailey_circus#circus#ringling_brothers#the-big-top#the-greatest-show-on-earth#wisconsin#beatnikhiway.com#ana_christy#anachristy#entertainment

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