BTS Ringling with Loni Stark: ‘Out of this World’ (Video)

Clowns are the pegs on which the circus is hung.

In this Stark Insider video feature, Loni Stark heads backstage to Out of This World, the latest production by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey.

They wanted to put Loni in make-up.

No problem. Can’t pass that up.

So I grabbed my camera, and followed Loni to the latest production by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. Could Loni pass the mustard as a clown? We were about to find out. My fingers were crossed, I fully expected things to get slightly out of control.

Ringling has tweaked their world famous formula a bit. The elephants are gone. More emphasis is being placed on human performance and acrobats. There’s a story-line and character development. And, for the first time ever, the circus heads to space!

Ringling Bros. - Out of this World with Loni Stark
Clowning around backstage at OUT OF THIS WORLD by Ringling Bros. Can Loni Stark make the cut?

Out of this World is currently in San Jose (at the SAP Center, home to the Sharks, where we shot this segment), and is making its way across the country.

Showman Jonathan Lee Iverson still orchestrates the proceedings. We meet again. It was in 2010, when we first met the tall, gregarious ringmaster. On a pie car of all places. Just outside Oakland. Back when Loni carried a flip cam and I carried an old Canon Vixia camcorder. Now in his seventh tour with Ringling I’m happy to report that Jonathan is as game as ever.

Unique aspects of this production include: a spacewalk with three astronauts balancing zero gravity on a spinning wheel; an 11-person acrobatic team from China; ice skating; and a 47-foot sway pole for plain old clowning around.

There’s a tech angle too.

Thanks to LED emitting wireless transmitters, and a sophisticated system of hubs and computer control systems, up to 72 performers can be tracked across the arena. This means lighting and color and various other elements of the show can be timed and perfectly controlled to serve the needs of the story.

Clowns are the pegs on which the circus is hung.

Montreal native MJ (Marie-Julie Parisien-La Salle) is our ever helpful, friendly tour guide on this day; Victor Rossi our clown extraordinaire.

So off to the circus we go. Loni Stark. Time for your clown audition!

WATCH: BTS ‘Out of this World’ by Ringling Bros.

Clinton Stark
Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear