Local Rockstars: The Ringmaster about his Circus Wunderbar

Local Rockstars: The Ringmaster about his Circus Wunderbar

Dec 4, 2012 |  by  |  Music, Sponsored
About the author
Ridz, advertises, produces indie/electronic music, performs throughout the Netherlands but ultimately always ends up at an Amsterdam based ensemble... then he blogs about all these things.

Whether you went out last weekend to check out an uber-geeky beat magician or a depressingly awesome indie rock band, we all know there’s always some serious musical talents rocking around the Dam. You might not recognize them all yet, but don’t worry, you will soon. In this series of interviews we talk to remarkable artists about their music and their inspirations.

Laaaaadies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages… The day after Christmas is almost upon us, which means winter Circus Wunderbar is coming to town! In preparation for his Circus Wunderbar on December 27th, we spoke with the most underground ringmaster of Amsterdam.

Who is this Ringmaster I’ve been hearing a lot about lately?
Well, I think most people know me as the proprietor of Circus Wunderbar. I was born in the suburbs of Minsk, which meant I’d probably have died of poverty. But I always wanted to see more of the world. So when I was twelve years old and a traveling circus was in town, I ran away from home and joined it. Strangely enough in that bizarre group of outcasts, misfits and freaks I felt at home for the first time. Since that day the wonderful world of the circus has been my home, my mistress and later my child. I never regret running away.

The first order of business is finding out in which trailer I ended up the night before. Often the Siamese twin sisters’ or the bearded lady’s.

What does a day in the life of the Ringmaster look like?
A typical day starts at six in the morning when I hear the strange ‘cock-a-doodle-doo’ of the rooster-boy. The first order of business is finding out in which trailer I ended up the night before. Often the Siamese twin sisters’ or the bearded lady’s. I then start my day styling my moustache and getting the dents out of my top hat. You always have to look your best when you’re ringmaster. What the rest of the day has in store is never the same and never gets boring, which is one of the reasons the circus has such a great appeal to me. On Monday I could be interviewing the smallest human cannonball in the world, while the next day I write SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for the cage-of-death.

How did you get involved with ringmastering?
Some people are just born and determined to be a ringmaster. In other cases it’s forced upon them by circumstance. With me it’s both, as I told you. I started my career as a stable boy, I then worked my way up with a unique rope/strip-dancing act, which I developed myself. Ultimately becoming the main act and the star of the circus. What people don’t know is that when the show ends, the real circus begins. This is when the community unwinds, relaxes, has some drinks and the true undirected creativity flows freely. In this orgy of acts and music, new ideas and relationships are born. One of these nights I had a vision of my own circus, in which I would try and recreate a more undiluted circus experience for the people. One where the border between the audience and the acts is gone. A circus where everybody is welcome to join and anybody can be part of the show! Circus Wunderbar is the materialization of this vision.

As ringmaster of the Wunderbar Circus, what are your duties and responsibilities?
Well the circus has always been a place where music and entertainment come together in apparent harmony. Protecting this illusion of “harmony” is my responsibility. My duties on paper are stage-managing the performances, introducing the various acts, and guiding the audience through the entertainment experience. In reality my main duty is making sure the artists are not too wasted during their performance.

Do you have any specific artists you look up to?
Aerial acts.

What is your favourite place to perform as a ringmaster?
When I was young I was convinced a ringmaster’s place was inside the ring, basking in the spotlight and directing the attention of the audience towards the acts. But times change and the acts of today have become so enthralling that the audience’s attention needs no directing anymore. So my favorite place today is standing in the towering shadows of the acts that are the backbone of Wunderbar.

How do you deal with a crowd that lacks energy?
I have read about this problem on the ‘Inside the Circus’ blog many times, but I must honestly say that I haven’t had to deal with this problem ever. Due to my experience and almost superhuman competence, at all shows the audience has always been ecstatic by the musical and theatrical performances. But if all were to fail, we always have the mighty drumroll to fall back on.

Have you ever been injured while performing and if so, what happened?
Yes, you always have to find the edge and nudge towards it until your toes are over it, dipping them in the murky waters of the unknown. This is how you excel in what you are and do. The flipside of this is that sometimes you bite off more than you can chew. One time in my rope dancing/strip days I broke 3 ribs. During my act I had spotted the most beautiful girl in the audience. Towards the end of my performance I was standing there, as always, in nothing but my underwear. I wanted to give her something more. This turned out to be a ‘mistake’. As my big toe got caught in the rubber band, I knew I would fall in the murky water headfirst.

What kind of advice could you give someone who wants to become a professional ringmaster, but doesn’t know where to begin?
Grow a moustache, join the circus and work your way up through the ranks like me. Or what you often see now-a-days: start small with a flea-circus and work your way up through the animal kingdom: mice, beavers, donkeys, horses, lions, monkeys and then humans.

Finally, can we expect any special stunts at your next Wunderbar get-together on the 27th of December?
Hell yeah! We think that after the two days of mind-numbing terror, cardio-vascular strain and carbon monoxide poisoning from respectively the family and in-laws, the abundance of high-fat food and the millions of candles, people are in need of a little awesomeness without etiquette. Expect a wonderful spectacle, a show full of great music and breathtaking acts that will guide you into a world of limitless ecstasy. Big thrills, warm chills and everything else is contributing to this magical night. To those of you in doubt of joining us I’d like to ask: why try so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out! The day after Christmas we hope to see you get your freak on at Circus Wunderbar.

Photo By: Tomer Foltyn & Adi Adinayev |www.TomerFoltyn.com - www.AdiAphoto.com

Wunderbar – Circus of House @ Klinch, Melkweg

When: Thursday December 27th, 23:00-06:00
Where: Melkweg, Amsterdam
Tickets: Presale: €17,50 – ex membership
Website: www.circuswunderbar.nl/ / Facebook Event
Line-up: Johannes Heil live (DE), Uner (ES), Clockwork (IT), Thugfucker (US), Olivier Weiter (NL), Nuno dos Santos (NL), William Kouam Djoko live (NL), Charles Davos live & Fetes Fatales.

Feature image by Tomer Foltyn & Adi Adinayev


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