Tag Archives: Luther Vandross

An Afternoon with the Universoul Circus; the Greatest Show on Earth!


When I was a little girl, I fondly remember my parents taking me to the see the spectacle that was the circus; the ringmaster dressed in his shiny red jacket with a black top hat and lapels. There were clowns with their whacky antics, tigers, elephants, acrobats, tightrope walkers and trapeze artists, like the Flying Wallenda’s.


While my pal’s have enjoyed the spectacle of the Ringling Brother’s & Barnum and Bailey Circus, their generation is much more familiar with the music, artistry and daring acts of the likes of Cirque De Soleil.  I was really excited to take Amanda to the Universoul Circus; the perfect blend of old and new.


One of the things I loved the most was that the circus was actually under the big top; a great big tent in the middle of the park. Even though the surroundings were a throw back to yesteryear, the upbeat tempo of the show was anything but. Instead of a boring and staid ring master, the master of ceremonies was the lively and entertaining Tony Tone, who kept the show rolling through costume and set changes with his humor, singing and fabulous dance moves.


We sat in awe (and mock terror) as we watched the tightrope walkers make their way; dancing, bike riding, walking two-men high and then three-men high across the rope. Our hearts were in our mouths as one of the fellas leap frogged over another two, landing perfectly on that wee, little tiny rope. Wow! And we thought the balance beam looked hard.   


This circus has everything, but with soul and style. To the smooth sounds of Luther Vandross, there was Jean Claude who performed stunts of amazing strength, artistry and elegance. In a giant sphere, there were 4 motorcyclists riding round and round (and upside down, rockin’ to the rhythm of the funky sound) and Chinese acrobats on bicycles hand-standing, arabesque-ing, leaping from bike to bike, all whilst the girls were cycling around and around in a fast circle. The circus just wouldn’t be complete without leaping and dancing tigers and beautiful and majestic elephants.   


While the entire show was great fun, my absolute very favorite part was the Zhukau Acrobats; a kind of Michael Flatly, Lord of the Dance, meets strong man tumbling sensations. Swinging from pendulums, these fellas performed heart-pounding, death defying acts; twists, flips, triple backs and triple fronts with a half twist. Fortunately, Amanda knew exactly what they were up to.


What a completely unexpected treat; an afternoon full of funk, soul, daring acts, and entertainment with my favorite gal, all thanks to the Universoul Circus! If you get a chance, you can check them out at  http://www.universoulcircus.com/


More acrobats, more animals, more daring acts, more mother/daughter outings…….


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“Idol” Chatter……


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more “Idol” chatter! Okay, we haven’t been on the American Idol bandwagon since the reign of Kelly Clarkson, Season I, but we have been watching since the days of Taylor Hicks (with the HUGE, unbelievable, Chris Daughtry upset. Ala Jennifer Hudson; one never knows where the under-dog goes….). My very favorite part is at the beginning of the season, when every nut job in America comes through the judges chambers. Who needs the Marx Brothers or the Three Stooges when you’ve got that kind of fodder?   

With the exodus of Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell, I was more than a little bit concerned about the potential judges. After Harry Connick Jr’s extraordinarily successful guest spot last season, I thought he would make a thoughtful and fabulous judge (and, he is one of my all time favorite top ten ultimate boyfriends). However, I must admit, despite the fact that I have never been a J-Lo fan, this year’s judges…..ROCK! I adore Steven Tyler, even though he’s kind of working a flakey Paula Abdul thing. He’s so stinkin’ cute, I think it totally works.

We’re down to the final 7. This was a busy week: Songs of the New Millennium;

Scotty “turn the lights down low” Mc Creery is absolutely darling! Seriously, he’s a great throw back country singer who’ll have a deservedly big, big, big career , but I can’t figure out how week after week this kid keeps coming up with country tunes that fit the theme of the week. He must have one lucky horse shoe as he was able to un-Earth Elton “Pin-ball Wizard” John’s one and only country song during Elton John week. This week he brought us a charming, if not hokey version of “Swinging”.

James Durbin has it going on! I have believed since the beginning that he is our 2011 American Idol. In the words of Randy Jackson, not only does he have “mad skills”, he is absolutely charming and adorable. Even though I didn’t quite get this week’s “Uprising” I totally recognize an amazingly talented guy when I see one. As a bonus, he is so likeable and genuine (like when he lost his mind when Hulk Hogan appeared on the show), that unless you are an ogre, your heart just has to melt.

Hayley Reinhart is a survivor. How many times has she been in the bottom three and lived to tell the tale (should Pia and Paul have been so lucky!?!)? I really do like her soulful voice, but her awkward dance moves make me think of Elaine on Seinfeld.

Jacob Lusk? In the immortal words of Aunt Bunny (circa, Eddie Murphy’s Delirious), “Lord, help me Jesus!” This kid is incredible, but, like Scotty, he’s kind of a one trick pony. I love Luther and he does him WELL, but Jacob is not your American Idol.

As much as I hope James wins, Casey is totally my guy. I like ‘em quirky and full of good humor. While with James, Randy was all, “This is the best performance of the night” he should have waited until he heard Casey before he rushed to judgment. Casey sang Maroon 5’s “Harder to Breathe” and it was soulful, jazzy, rockin’ and interesting. I think he’s a true artist. To quote Steven Tyler to Casey, “All men are created equally, but some are more equal than others….” Need he say more?

Stefano “How you doin’?” Langone needs to go home. I love that he channels Joey Tribbiani, and I think he would make a swell Frankie Vali in “Jersey Boys” on Broadway, but to quote Morris Day (of Morris Day and the Time), “You ain’t got to go home, but you’ve got to get the hell out of here!”

In the grand finale was Lauren Alaina. She may have been amazing when she sang with Steven Tyler in the pre-season, but as a show stopper, she has fallen short. Her rendition of Sarah Evan’s “Beautiful” was certainly very nice, but it reminded me of an uninspired Glee episode.

As for your bottom three: Jacob, Stephano and Hayley, any one of them could have gone home, but, alas this was Stephano’s night. He was actually charming and gracious as he made his exit. And why not? He made the Top Ten Tour and he’ll probably get a recording contract (Bucky did).

More American Idol, more great singers, more family time…..

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