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December 17, 2011 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
Love him or hate him — or love him and hate him — it is hard to deny the colossus that is Jerry Lewis, International Clown. Even if you only know him from his echoes — Professor Frink on "The Simpsons," Adam Sandler movies, the Beastie Boys — you are living in a world that he has partly made. Among American film comedians, he's one of a small number who rate the term "auteur"; at the same time, he's kids' stuff, a thing we know from childhood and treasure like other childhood things.
December 2, 2011
The company behind the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $270,000 as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act. The agreement noted that more than a dozen inspections had resulted in reports of noncompliance with regulations, from improper fencing to temporarily losing control over an animal to allowing a zebra to escape. The USDA had also launched four investigations into the circus over the last two years, according to a spokesman, that might have led to findings of more serious violations before the settlement ended all inquiry.
November 4, 2011 | By Paul Walsh and Pamela Miller, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Tom Keith, who created an astounding array of captivating, hilarious, bawdy sounds and voices as longtime master of radio sound effects for Garrison Keillor's nationally syndicated "A Prairie Home Companion," has died. He was 64. Keith, who also co-hosted a weekday morning program on Minnesota Public Radio, died Sunday after having a heart attack at his home in Woodbury, Minn., a St. Paul suburb. Keith last performed Oct. 22 at St. Paul's Fitzgerald Theater with the cast of "A Prairie Home Companion" and guest John Lithgow, playing "a zombie and a beery Elizabethan bartender, [doing]
October 20, 2011
A series of circus vignettes depicts the experiences, memories and vision of a traveling circus performer at this installment of Circus Vargas. The animal-free extravaganza features death-defying motorcycle feats, aerial artistry, hilarious clown antics and more. Westfield Topanga, 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park. 7:30 p.m. Thu., 4:30, 7:30 p.m. Fri., 2, 5, 8 p.m. Sat., 12:30, 3:30, 6:30 p.m. Sun., 6:30 p.m. Mon. $15-$50.
September 14, 2011 | T.J. Simers
Manny Ramirez was the best thing to hit Los Angeles. And nothing that has happened recently changes that. He was a performer, an overnight sensation in Los Angeles after arriving late in 2008, providing almost unmatched escape for those who find their release in sports. It was so much fun, the anticipation and eventually the expectation that he was going to deliver something memorable. He had big hit after big hit, and the Dodgers were suddenly a hair away from playing in the World Series.
September 4, 2011 | By Mary Parker Hobbs
It was going to be one of those topsy-turvy Isobel Iversy days. It was Labor Day and Isobel and Jennifer were trying on hats to wear to the town parade. Isobel loved the old straw hat Grandpa gave her. When she put it on, her freckles faded, her eyes glowed, and she felt beautiful. "Hats change people," she told her friend Jennifer. "There's magic inside hats. It pours into people when they put hats on. Poof! People change. They're different. " Jennifer grinned. "Prove it!"
August 28, 2011 | By Leslie A. M. Smith
As soon as my cousin Jennifer arrived for her visit, I asked, "What do you want to do?" You see, I had no idea what we would do. Usually we picked fruit from our orchard. But the apples were still hard and green. She responded, "What are your mom and dad doing?" "Nothing," I said. "Parents are boring. " "What did you say?" asked my mom. "Nothing!" Jennifer and I said together. "We're just bored. " "I saw a tree with ripe fruit near the clearing. Why don't you go check it out?"
July 21, 2011 | By Jenn Harris, Special to the Los Angeles Times
In an entertainment culture obsessed with the supernatural, where selling to Twihards, Potterheads and comic enthusiasts demands action further and further divorced from actual human ability, perhaps nothing shocks like the circus. When these performers fly through the air, wield their magic wands and harness the power of terrible beasts, it's no fantasy — these things are really happening, right there on the sawdust of the arena. And because they're real, the skill involved is awe-inspiring.
May 31, 2011 | By Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times
Before his rants about corruption made him persona non grata with the Communist Party, before he started agitating for the rights of children and evicted tenants, before he denounced the Beijing Olympics, there were the cats. In his prolific blog posts, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei wrote paeans to the dozens of stray cats who inhabited his studio and served as his creative muses. "The cats and the dogs in my home enjoy a high status; they seem more like the lords of the manor than I. The poses they strike in the courtyard often inspire more joy in me than the home itself," he wrote in 2006.
April 4, 2011 | By Kim Hjelmgaard
It used to be enough when all else failed to simply run away and join the circus. And in today's difficult hiring environment, it turns out the circus may still be a reliable source of job openings. "There's lots of employment opportunities in this field. It's an unusual field, admittedly, but we offer a very unusual training," said Marc Lalonde, the executive director of the National Circus School in Montreal, one of North America's top schools for the "circus arts. " Lalonde said the National Circus School has a high success rate in finding work for its graduates because there are more jobs available than the industry can find suitable applicants for. "In some years," he said, "nearly 100% of our students find work within the first few months of graduating.
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