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Stilt walkers! PHOTO: Keith A. Owens

Wait…you still haven’t seen the circus…?

OK, maybe we can write that oversight off to procrastination. We’ll call it that for now.

But just so you know, and just in case you have never seen the Universoul Circus before and are reading this wondering what, exactly is the big deal? Let’s just say you won’t know until you go. Because those like me who have gone practically every year for at least the past 15 years or so already know that it’s useless trying to employ mere words to describe what to me is essentially an urban circus. Or maybe I should just come flat out and say it; this is our  circus, and leave it at that. It’s open to everybody, and for everybody, but there’s no doubting who is the target audience. Those with ears to hear, listen up.

Because I have loved the circus ever since I was a little kid growing up in Denver, Colorado where I was born and raised. And every time the Barnum and Bailey Circus (or was it Ringling Brothers? Both? Been so long…), my parents would be sure to take me. And each time I was thrilled watching all the amazing acts. The elephants, the camels, the men shooting out of cannons, the trapeze artists, the acrobats, the clowns. For a little kid, a circus is Wonderland. And the fact that none of the acts in that three-ring circus looked even remotely like me didn’t even matter to me at the time because, hey, I was a black kid in Denver. I was rather accustomed to not seeing a lot of folks who looked like me.

But ever since the first time I saw the Universoul Circus all those years ago when I was still living on the east side of Detroit near the river and my wife and I could walk there, I have often wondered what it would have been like to be one of those small kids I always see jumping up and down in the audience every year, laughing and smiling and pointing. I have often wondered what it would have been like to be a kid at  a circus where  so many of the performers looked like me.

And they are from all around the world, man…



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