a move out of the elusive hip-key

I’m not really sure why I first decided I wanted to climb the silks. I think I saw people playing on them at PEX fest, and it looked fun. But there were always people watching and I was intimidated. I did some research, found the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, and put their intro workshop schedule on my calendar. I bought a cheap groupon for an intro circus session and let it expire. It took me about a year to actually sign up for a class. I didn’t take the intro workshop, just went straight for the full session. My body was so sore after the first class I felt like I couldn’t move for days. I was awful at everything. My first class had one other student, a really nice girl with years and years of gymnastics training. I was pretty discouraged. I thought I was at least a little bit stronger! But I kept signing up for classes, and getting stronger. Chris took a workshop with me, and though he was sore for days afterwards too, he kept coming back. Now we’re signed up for level 3, and both getting stronger and stronger, pushing each other to eat well, exercise and train to be able to do even more. We compare bruises and skin rash and talk on the drive home about the new skills we want to learn. We sign up for extra practice sessions, and I’m pretty sure if we owned our house I’d have convinced Chris that we needed to rig a set-up at home somehow. Circus makes us strong. Not only that, though, we’ve met some really great people. Our fellow classmates are from all sorts of walks of life. From PhD candidates to school teachers to pole dancers- anyone and everyone. We coordinate practice sessions and try to make dates to meet up for dinner or circus themed events. Though we’re all advancing at different paces, and may not be in class together from session to session, we clap for each other when we nail tough tricks and laugh when we tangle ourselves in stupid ways.

Yesterday night Chris and I took our first flying trapeze lesson. Fly School Circus is set up across from the Kimmel center for the month, as part of the PIFA festival. I organized a few friends from the circus school to get together and try it out.

Chris is caught mid-air

I’ve already signed us up for another session. I love this. I thought I’d be scared, but I just wanted to keep flying. Chris, of course, was awesome. That man is built for the circus. Though I’m jealous of his gymnastics-as-a-kid muscle memory, I love that I have a partner that will sign up for two rounds of flying trapeze without blinking an eye. I asked if they had a permanent location close to Philly, and got a side whisper of “we’re working on it… put the positive energy out there!” I’ll be in trouble if they do get one. I’m going to spend all my money and spare time learning how to fly.

Big Apple Circus, in Bridgewater

We went to the circus! Mom picked up three groupon circus tickets so I drove to NJ for a really fun circus date. We were joined by her friend Nancy, and the three of us had a fantastic time. The last time Mom and I went to the circus it was a very strange affair- we sat in the bleachers of some high school gymnasium and although neither of us could really remember the show, we have vague recollections of a sad trained monkey and some rather lack-luster performances. Honestly I think the whole thing was so disappointing and creepy that we’ve both blocked it out of our memories. What a delightful difference the Big Apple Circus was! As soon as we saw the big top tent and all the performers’ trailers, we knew we’d be in for at least a bigger show.

Our seats were great. We were at the top row, but happened to be seated right at the top of the stairs, so we had plenty of room to stretch out and no one blocking our views. When we were walking into our seats, Mom spotted the blinky flashy toys that kids were playing with and wanted to buy three of them. I talked her out of it, but once we sat down and she saw how fun they looked in the dark tent, she went back out and came back with one for each of us. I’m glad she did, they were ridiculously fun.

The show was great. A good trapeze act, an AMAZING contortionist and a really cool double aerial straps routine were my favorite acts. Its funny, I think that I am even more impressed with those kinds of acts now that I’m an adult then when I was a kid. Perhaps it is because now I know how much strength it takes. The performers make it look so easy! But I know from my aerial classes that it definitely is not. I have no idea how that contortionist bent her body that way… so amazing. If the Big Apple Circus is in town, check out groupon and get yourself tickets. You’ll have a great time!

Green Fairy Cabaret

Green Fairy Cabaret (from the circus school FB page)

Not quite sure where to start. This weekend has been non-stop since Thursday. We swung by the Kimmel center for the Green Fairy Cabaret, a production put on by the Philadelphia Circus School. It was a lot of fun (a cool video here) and a great intimate setting (the Hamilton Garden, top floor of the Kimmel Center). The one-man-sideshow fellow (David Smith) was a really great performer, and looked incredibly familiar, but I’m not sure where I’d know him from. (Sword swallowing convention maybe? One of the fire spin jams? Who knows.) I’d recommend you go to their show, but the last one is at 10:00 tonight, and all showings have been sold out since Thursday. Not too shabby for a relatively new group! I’m excited to take some classes, but I need to work on my upper body strength first… otherwise I won’t be able to do too much on the silks. Can’t wait.

So how do you follow-up an intimate night at the circus? Dinner and drinks with friends at a German bar followed by more friends at the Mountain Goats, of course! Fun news- my friend is joining a roller derby team, and I’m going to help her with her costuming! Can’t wait for her to pass the final skills test so I can get started on crazy stripey awesomeness.

Act For Charity Arts Festival

The rest of the weekend was filled with Act For Charity events.  It’s a fundraiser for Project HOME that my friends John and Theresa are putting on for the month of April, at the Shubin Theatre. A really fun crowd, great performances, and a great cause, what’s not to like? (There are still events scheduled, swing by if you can!) Today we hung around and watched locally made movies together. I screened my film, The Pig & The Tree, which I haven’t watched in ages, and haven’t sat through in public since the student film fest. It was actually much more fun that I thought it would be… everyone really seemed to like it. And its nice and short, so I wasn’t squirming in my seat for too long.

Now, to curl up in my PJs, catch some Game of Thrones and The Killing, sounds like a good way to end a busy weekend to me.

Zebra

I was walking down the block away from my house. I went back to check on the door, because I realized I might not have locked it. A girl (a housemate in the dream, may have been my friend Emily) was coming out of the house, she said she locked the door. But I saw that she only locked two of the locks. She explained why, it was some uber logical reason, but it still made me nervous, so I made sure all three locks were locked.
Then I got on a zebra, to ride him to work. He was kinda stocky, it was like what I imagine riding a donkey would be like. Fuzzy and wide in the shoulders, very sturdy. We headed on my usual bike route. Gradually the usual morning traffic and people turned into what I imagine the backlot of an old circus would have been. Same streets and everything, but the crowd was definitely circusy.  Around Passyunk and Morris the zebra stopped paying attention to me and just started wandering. ‘Zebra! I have to get to work! Stop trying to hang out with the elephants!’ There were elephants, lions and dancing bears. There was also a very tall giraffe, and I thought for a moment that riding him would be easier than the stubborn zebra. Mostly circus people around the animals, trainers and such. Everyone getting prepared for the day. The Zebra just wanted to hang out, and lost all interest in listening to my tugging at the bridle and nudging his shoulders. I never knew zebras could be so stubborn! The trainers just sort of laughed at my futility, but in a friendly way.
It was an awesome dream. I wish I could hang out with more stubborn zebras.