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A lady at work had to leave town this weekend unexpectedly so she sold us her Cique Du Soleil tickets cheap. I hadn't been since the very first one that came to Atlanta, partly due to the expense, but mostly due to the fact that the biggest thrill of the show is not having seen anything like it before. I figured the novelty would wear off if I caught it every year, so I waited. Nearly a decade later, the effect of walking into a new world of wonder was almost full strength. But I was so impressed with the performances I wish I'd caught every tour. If I'd seen the Cirque as a child it would have inspired me to run away and join the circus. As an adult, however, I know myself better than to think I could have made it into the Cirque. More likely, I'd be in the Bindlestiff Family Circus, breathing fire and cracking bullwhips while standing a few feet from an intoxicated crowd. But that's a different story...
This year's tour includes the usual super cool set, hidden by a nifty white curtain as the show begins (I don't want to give away too much in case you're going yourself.) The usual charming, witty comic relief far superior to the slapstick antics of your mediocre Barnum clowns. And the usual incredible performances by acrobats, contortionists, jugglers and such. But what impressed me the most, aside from a few absolutely stunning acrobatic feats, was the sophisticated mixing of cultures. There's a traditional African dancer, a series of Chinese dragons, Japanese kabuki makeup, Balinese costumes - a mix that doesn't SOUND like it should work, but somehow is all woven together to form a beautiful scene. It's all glazed with modern dance moves and slightly techno music so you get the feeling of being in a series of ancient emporer's halls during festivals, but while wearing a walkman with the latest Enya CD. Unfortunately my words can't do it justice, nor can a few clips I've seen on TV. I guess you just had to be there. And being there will cost you - tickets are around $50 and up, but had I known how cool it is I'd have paid full price. Definitely worth the cover.

Applications are now being taken for bands wanting to play the 99X Local's Only stage at 2001 Music Midtown: Good way to get some exposure, but I've heard the gig doesn't pay worth a damn but then again you're not in it for the money, are you? Are you??

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