United States

Famed Ringling Bros. circus closing after more than 100 years

**Sadness! I never got to see the circus. This is completely the end of an era and a great loss. Also a sadness for the conservation center-hope they can find an alternative means of funding or what will happen to the poor elephants there.  Great shout-outs to all the great members of the circus group and all the joy they brought audiences for years. You were seriously a part of the American culture!

“Famed Ringling Bros. circus closing after more than 100 years”

by Tony Marco and Azadeh Ansari via “CNN”

Performers ride elephants during a live perfomance in 2007.

The Ringling Bros. circus is closing down after more than 100 years in operation, according to a press release from Feld Entertainment, which has owned the circus for the last 50 years.

“I have made the difficult business decision that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® will hold its final performances in May of this year,” CEO Kenneth Feld said.
High operating costs and the decline of ticket sales “made the circus an unsustainable business for the company,” Feld said.
And after “the transition of the elephants off the road, we saw an even more dramatic drop” in ticket sales, Feld said.  Before taking the final bow, the Ringling Bros., will perform 30 shows across the United States between now and May.
For years, the elephants have been in the spotlight and their dance routines featured prominently in the shows. But due to mounting criticism from animal rights groups, the Ringling Bros. phased out the elephant acts entirely.
Off stage, the Ringling Bros. runs an elephant conservation center which sits on 200 acre of rural land in Florida, between Tampa and Orlando. Created in 1995 by Ringling, the facility focuses on the care and study of Asian elephants — an endangered species that it had used in its shows.

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Art I Love ~ Wolf Tears

Angel City Chorale ~ “Africa”

The beginning is a really amazing twist on the traditional song.  I love it when people use nature to replicate nature.  🙂

The art of Burning Man: skeletons, temples and flaming Tetris

“The art of Burning Man: skeletons, temples and flaming Tetris”

by Steven W Thrasher via “The Guardian

Festivalgoers gather at the Totem of Confessions at Burning Man.

Burning Man is not the typical place people would go to view art in the “default world” (the term “Burners” have for the “muggle world” those of you who are not here in Black Rock City inhabit). It’s extremely hard to get here – far less accessible than most public municipal art – and upon arrival, it is more physically inhospitable than the most uptight New York art gallery.

It’s so filthy here that the least dusty place you visit each day is a port-a-potty, and the cleanest part of your body is the inside of your shoe – not exactly the way you feel when visiting the Museum of Modern Art.

But Burning Man is a launching site of the most interesting and fun large-scale public art, architecture and public planning projects on the face of the planet. Many pieces get major exposure here before being placed elsewhere. Long before the Big Rig Jig hovered in Banksy’s Dimsaland, the Raygun Gothic Rocket Shiplanded in San Francisco, or Cube-a-tron arrived in Zurich’s train station, I saw it years ago here on the playa.

Burning Man is also a beautiful locale for viewing the bigger picture, from the curvature of the earth to the stars and the moon. And, for all the tech-enabled festivalgoers (or “burners”) among the 70,000 people in attendance this year, cell service is so poor that it’s very rare to see people holding phones or even taking pictures. The experience of looking at art and nature without a screen – and actually talking to other people about it – makes the festival a great way to experience new works.

Here’s a guide to a few of this year’s most interesting art and architecture projects, large and small – not including the Burning Man himself, immolated on Saturday night. If you can’t imagine schlepping all the way into the desert to see them, it’s OK: some of the ones not burned to the ground may very well be coming to a public plaza near you.

The Man dominates the Playa.

Straightedge and 2πR by Ardent Heavy Industries
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One of the most ambitious project at this year’s burn – and at 2.6 miles long, the physically largest project ever built here – is the cerebral but playful Straightedge by Ardent Heavy Industries. Straightedge illustrates the curvature of the earth, and dispels our visual assumption that any stretch of the planet is as flat as it looks. The collective of artists achieves this by placing poles 50 feet apart for 2.6 miles, each adorned with two LED lights controlled by satellite to blink in unison. At one end of Straightedge, the lights are right next to each other. But one line of lights follows the surface of the actual earth: the other is actually straight. At first, the two lines start to drift apart incrementally by inches. By the end of the 2.6 miles, they lines are about five feet apart, and shattering the idea that the flat looking playa is so level after all.

Ardent Heavy Industries also returned to Burning Man this year with an updated version of 2πR, a delightful interactive piece where users dance on a circular stage and their movements create corresponding bursts of flames around them. It’s a slightly safer cousin of AHI’s infamous piece Dance Dance Immolation, in which participant would dance in a flame-retardant suit; when they put a foot wrong, they would be blasted by fire. (As Ardent member KC Crowell explained, Dance Dance Immolation won the Guinness Record for Hottest Video Game and the project was destroyed in a blaze of glory “by dropping a piano on it” a couple of years ago.) . . . .

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Florida Sunken Treasure Discovery From 1715 Shipwreck Valued at Over $1 Million

“Florida Sunken Treasure Discovery From 1715 Shipwreck Valued at Over $1 Million”

by Kaylee Heck via “Yahoo News!

Florida treasure hunters hit the sunken treasure jackpot.

Brent Brisben — a co-founder of 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels LLC, which has the rights to dive at the wreckage site where the gold was ultimately discovered — told ABC News that the 60 gold artifacts on the bottom of the ocean floor are valued at over $1 million.

The artifacts include 51 gold coins and 40 feet of gold chains with hand-crafted links, he said.

The centerpiece of the discovery is a single coin, given the nickname the “Tricentennial Royal,” which was destined to be delivered straight to Spanish King Phillip V, Brisben said.

This coin constitutes about half of the discovery’s expected value, with a price tag of more than $500,000, Brisben said.

The valuable find comes right before the 300-year anniversary of the 11-ship fleet sinking during a hurricane on July 31, 1715, off the Florida coast. The fleet had left from Havana, Cuba, on July 24, 1715.

Brisben said the discovery was made about a month ago, but he wanted to keep everything under wraps until the anniversary got closer.

“The work that goes on out there is not typical of what you see here today. I don’t want to call it an abrogation, but it’s what the dreams of every one of the people doing this are made of,” Brisben said at a news conference today. . . .

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