Episode #635

Trapeze, Elephants, Piazza

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Saturday, August 27, 2005

Kurt Andersen and author Cathy Day explore the spectacular, seedy, childlike joy of the circus. We’ll visit one of the last of the traveling “mud shows,” trucking elephants and acrobats to a different small town every day. We’ll play with Alexander Calder’s enormous set of circus figures — sculpture that doubles as a toy — and we’ll hear what it’s like to watch your child dangle from a trapeze by the tops of her feet. 

Plus: Adam Guettel, whose musical The Light in the Piazza swept the Tony awards this year, tells Kurt how hard it is to write a musical when the great Richard Rodgers was your grandfather.  

Audio coming soon. 


Cathy Day

Special Guest: Cathy Day

Kurt Andersen talks with Cathy Day, author of The Circus in Winter. Her stories are based on the Indiana town she comes from, where a circus wintered until recent years. Cathy explains how an elephant’s rampage killed her own great-uncle.

Cathy Day is the author ...


Mud Show

The Kelly Miller Circus is one of the last "mud shows," setting up in small towns and breaking down the same night. North Country Public Radio's Gregory Warner visited the circus in Arcade, New York. He found a unique version of family-friendly raunch, and a big grudge against Cirque du ...


Tin Man

Known for his huge, geometrical mobiles — abstractions hanging and spinning in space — sculptor Alexander Calder started as a child by making toys. As an adult, among the radical artists of 1920’s Paris, he crafted a metal menagerie of acrobats, ringmasters, lions and lion tamers. He even made stretcher-bearers ...


Girl on a Wire

Parents used to fear their kids running away to the circus, but today, in some cities, they drive their kids to circus school. Marge Ostroushko has been taking her daughter, Anna, for classes at St. Paul's Circus Juventas since Anna was ten. Now she watches as Anna hangs ...


Design for the Real World: PDA

Design curator Paola Antonelli on the fall of Apple's Newton handheld computer, the rise of the Palm, and what makes a great "personal digital assistant" tick.


Adam Guettel

Most of the classic American musicals — Oklahoma, The King and I, South Pacific, The Sound of Music — were written by one composer, Richard Rodgers. Now Rodgers' grandson, Adam Guettel, is a composer with a huge hit on his hands: The Light in the Piazza, which won ...


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