Thursday, May 21, 2009

A world of fun, under the Blog Top

Performance: The UniverSoul Circus (The Whole World in One Ring)
: Capital Plaza Mall - 6200 Annapolis Rd., Landover Hills, MD 20784.

Metro: Unfortunately, it's not metro accessible, but it's a short drive and there is the T18 bus from the Rhode Island Ave. Metro that would take you right there.
: Hip-Hop Circus

Dates: through 5/31 Cost: $17-26 ($16 with the DB Discount below)
: 4/5 Starving Artists!

A few weeks ago, I got an unexpected e-mail. It was from the UniverSoul Circus, inviting me to their blogger outreach night. Having never heard of the USC, and being a millennial, I Googled them. It turns out that UniverSoul is the nations only African-American owned and operated circus. So, of course, I took them up on the offer to visit them under their big top in Landover Hills, MD, where they will be through the end of the month.Lady Awesome and I went this past Saturday night, and we had quite an experience.

There is something wonderful about the circus; the sights, the smells, the animals. It is both magical and enchanting. Everyone is instantly transported back to a mystical and efemeral place called “youth”. UniverSoul is no exception. As soon as you enter the tent you know you are somewhere special. That said, it is not like any other Circus I have ever been to. They do a great job of incorporating hip-hop culture with traditional circus acts in a way that only rarely seems forced. Clearly, this is a circus with a different artistic eye, and a different target audience than Ringling Brothers or Cirque. But the acts, with very few exceptions, were of comparable quality (at least to Ringling) The tumblers, trapeze, and foot jugglers were all excellent, as was the horse act. And one thing that I really respected was the international make up of the acts. There were acts from Guinea (the horse act), China (the Foot jugglers and the Trapeze), South America (the Wheel of Death), Trinidad and Tobago (the Caribbean Limbo act), and South Africa (the magicians). It really seemed like a world-wide production and in talking to some of the performers, I got the sense that they really appreciated the intercultural dialogue that occurred behind the scenes. Of all the acts, only the magic act left anything to be desired (and isn’t there always one weak act). All told it was a special night, and the most reasonably priced circus that I’ve come across (especially considering the quality of the show).

Speaking of cost, the reps from the Circus have arranged for a special DistrictBeat discount for students. I’m going to send this around to all of my networks but you should totally go on Wednesday, 5/27 and take advantage of this discounted price. Just follow this link to get the special, discounted tickets. If you are going to go (and you should) you should try and take advantage of this special offer. Plus, if you do, it’ll give me leverage to ask for these kinds of deals in the future. I find it hard to believe that you can think of something better to do with a Wednesday night then go to a circus.

I had just a few critiques of the show, but they were mostly minor. The first, and most notable, was the sound system. It was loud, but that was to be expected, but the major problem was that it was IMPOSSIBLE to understand the spoken words. There were a number of times when the clowns or the Emcees were talking and I had no idea what they were saying. This was too bad. My second complaint, as a district dweller, was the lack of metro access. It is a short drive from the city, and buss accessable, but it is not metro-able, which is too bad. My third, and final note was that there were a few times where they went on an Obama Kick. While I’m as excited as anyone else to have Obama as Pres, it felt a little forced and out of place. I thought that was as odd choice.

But in spite of these minor things, we had a blast. Lady Awesome and I thoroughly enjoyed the show. I should say also that it was an honor to be a part of their blogger outreach and to get to go back stage and meet the performers. I was so impressed with their maturity and thoughtfulness, especially considering how young some of them it. It really helped me to appreciate what a uniquely diverse organization UniverSoul is. The staff also could not have been nicer or more welcoming. Below are a collection of my favorite photos of the night. I hope you enjoy.

Before I show you the photos, I’ll make one last plea. Please take advantage of the special DistrictBeat offer above. It was really nice of them to make that student price available and I want to show them (and everyone else) that DC young adults take advantage of these deals when they are presented.

Now, here are the pictures:

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