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Big Apple Circus

We know what you animal-rights types are going to say: How dare we glorify the circus! You’ll probably say something about the animals being beaten and mistreated, poorly housed and malnourished. Well, you’re probably right about some of that—the circus certainly is not a good place for elephants and lions and tigers (oh my), although we’re sure they get their share of payback from time to time. Seriously, try to say you don’t get a bit of a chuckle every time you hear about a “trained” tiger attacking its handler. That’s Darwinism in its simplest form. A wise man once said, “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, and you sure as hell don’t put your head inside the mouth of a freakin’ lion, dummy.”

Anyway, let us dispel some of the hokum that is sure to coincide with the Big Apple Circus’s arrival in Saratoga this week. First, they’re dedicated to caring for the aminals; in fact, their Web site claims the circus “never has, nor ever will, condone any form of animal abuse whatsoever.” So there’s that. Plus, this is a “classical” circus, rooted in the old English tradition of interspersing equestrian acts with jugglers, acrobats, and the similarly talented folk—like the Mongolian Angels aerial act (pictured). It’s all very colorful and lively and wholesome; not some sideshow freak-fest like we’ve come to associate with the likes of other circuses. So it’s good fun for the whole family, even Tiny the Elephant.

The Big Apple Circus will stake its tent at Saratoga Gaming and Raceway (342 Jefferson St., Saratoga Springs) beginning Wednesday (June 29). The show will run until Monday, July 4. Ticket prices range from $15 to $35. For show times and more information, call 584-2110.

Michael Hurley

‘Whether weaving a yarn about a mysterious hog or comparing the human heart to a mechanic’s toolbox, Mr. Hurley created elaborate vistas in a musical version of outsider art,” sayeth The New York Times.

Well, duh: What would you expect from a Pennsylvania-born folkie who spent the 1960s singing, writing, drinking wine and smoking aspirin in Greenwich Village, and the subsequent decades drifting around the country working odd jobs and writing odder songs?

Hurley is the best kind of living legend, in the sense that he has pursued an ad venturous, searching and singular existence outside of every kind of mainstream you might imagine. And his songs have resonated with musicians from the Holy Model Rounders to Cat Power and Yo La Tengo. He’s also the kind of guy who doesn’t come around often, so this performance at Club Helsinki on Sunday qualifies as a “can’t miss.”

Michael Hurley will perform Sunday (June 26) at 8:30 PM at Club Helsinki (284 Main St., Great Barrington, Mass.). Tickets are $12. For more info, call the club at (413) 528-3394.

Ron Jeremy

Strange thing is, we’d have thought that a guy with a nearly 10-inch penis wouldn’t even have to bother trying to be funny.

Apparently, we’d have thought wrong.

Ron Jeremy (aka the Hedgehog), America’s most popular male pornographic-film star, is also a stand-up comedian; and on Friday, you can catch him at Northern Lights making with the jokes. We can only guess at the thematic content of Jeremy’s A material. In his almost 30 years in the skin-flick biz, Jeremy has appeared in more than 1,700 movies and has had, by his own reckoning, more than 3,000 partners. (We don’t know if Jeremy counted himself in that tally. See, he’s, um, rather more flexible than most men . . . if you catch our simultaneously fascinated and entirely skeeved-out drift.) So, chances are, he’s not going to be working the “didja ever notice” routine. You know, because most of us can’t blow ourselves.

Aside from those obvious job qualifications, though, Jeremy’s dominance of the industry is a bit mysterious: As his nickname indicates, he’s not what you’d call classically handsome—unless maybe you’re a Hobbit. But his everyday, chubby, hairy shlub vibe, his self-deprecating sense of humor and his healthy-seeming perspective (and maybe, just maybe, his undergraduate degree in theater), have kept Jeremy employed and remarkably stable in a field known for burnout and tragedy.

In consideration of our advertisers and our more delicate readers, we’ll stop short of calling him a role model, but Jeremy’s workplace motto is one we think should be more widespread (get it? Somebody gimme a rimshot . . . no, a rimshot): “Work hard, show up on time, be hygienic.” Amen.

Ron Jeremy will perform at Northern Lights (1208 Route 146, Clifton Park) tomorrow (Friday, June 24). Tickets for the 7:30 PM show are $18 in advance, $20 at the door. For more information, call 371-0012.

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