The Calliope Creaks to Life; Wonders Abound

A bright, pep-packed circus spilling over with the flavors of cotton candy and lemonade, peopled with smiling clowns and doggled with prancing pups, has many charms.

Then there's the circus of the night, a different animal altogether. That's where the calliope might sound slightly off, the wind outside the tent sounds slightly sinister, where ladies in immodest clothes perform burlesque, where fire is eaten as easily as one might savor a simple sandwich, where acts of an astounding and contortionary nature are performed.

Cirque Berzerk, an extravaganza that explores wonders both whimsical and slightly macabre, is for big-people big-top lovers. The skin-showy, audience-tantalizing production is tumbling into Los Angeles State Historic Park -- that's on Spring Street not far from Chinatown -- from June 18-June 26. And Vaud and The Villains will lend their musicale-based prowesses to the after-show hip-di-doing.

And an accordion, off in the distance, wheezes and sighs...

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