Yesterday, I saw two more circus shows with the Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival. They were magnificent along with all the shows. Today is the last day so get your tickets now!
Pedal Punk by Cirque Mechanics was incredibly imaginative and funny. It has a steampunk feel to it. The basic story takes place in a bicycle shop where people come in to get their bikes fixed or find new apparatuses. The bike owner, one of Chicago’s own, Jan Damm, is a bit of a mad scientist of bikes who comes up with some amazing (and terrifying) creations.
The show had a wonderful variety of circus acts. There was an amazing lyra act that took place on a lyra shaped like a penny-farthing bike, which was awesome. I didn’t know I needed that in my life but I do now. I’m happy this exists. There was contortion, pole, bicycle acrobatics, and so much more. There was even an incredible act with a trampoline, where performers bounced onto the trampoline, doing spins and turns in the air and grabbing onto the stage in seemingly impossible ways, like hanging by a single arm. I now regard trampoline acts with the same feeling that most reserve for flying acrobatics. Except I think that trampoline acts is actually cooler and more creative. And there was some amazing mischief with a square wheeled bike. That tickled me pink.
The set is worthy of note too. It contained all the rigging needed for the show. Actors just had to cycle to raise sections of the set or spin it. It was really fantastic that it was all (seemingly) mechanical. There were corresponding lights in the shape of bicycle wheels too that lit in time with the music. This show was just a marvel. It was so well thought out and pure joy to watch.
I can’t wait to see more shows by Cirque Mechanics.
The second show was the second night of the Bindlestiff Family Circus. Like the night before, the show featured eight acts from around the country. The first act “Aerial Animation” by Abigail Baird and Toni Cannon was truly inspired. It was the wonderful combination of aerial sling and hand to hand acrobatics with animation. We watched Abigail face a bear and get into all sorts of adventure. Her actions on the sling coincided perfectly with the animation. It was magnificent and I want to see more circus combined with animation.
There was an awesome slack-lining act by Ester de Monteflores. I don’t know a lot about slack line; it is different from tight wire. But this was awesome. She did the splits upside down on the rope, which is crazy. She also did various handbalancing positions on the rope. She made it seem like it was easy as breathing (which means it is anything but).
We were also treated to an act by the Institute of Jugglology. It started off as a juggling fight as the two performers grabbed balls from the other while juggling. Then they began juggling hoops and clubs at the same time with such ease. I’ve been told that it’s really hard to juggle different kinds of objects at the same time so this was impressive. But then it was soon revealed that the items had colored sand or dust in them so clouds of dust emanated from the jugglers as they performed. Very cool.. I can see why they won a major juggling award last year.
What a treat!
There’s still time to see more shows today! Check out the website: http://chicagocircusfest.com/