Connect with us


Cirque du Soleil: TOTEM under the Big Top at Atlantic Station



Cirque du Soleil big top is back at Atlantic Station in the heart of Midtown Atlanta with TOTEM.  The past two Cirque du Soleil shows to make stops in Atlanta where Michael Jackson: The Immortal Tour and Dralion were held at Phillips Arena, TOTEM is a return to the big top format with a mobile city. This marks my tenth Cirque du Soleil show.

Unlike other Cirque du Soleil that come to town, TOTEMis not evoking much of a buzz or publicity around Atlanta. However, I still wanted to get the scoop and got to peek inside.

C. David Trivino, Esq getting set to see TOTEM under the big top

Unlike other shows, I did not really get the cohesive story, but the acts do push the envelope of gravity, physics, and nature where the performers transfix themselves in all type of maneuvers.

TOTEM premiered in Montreal in 2010 and promoted as “a fantastic journey into the evolution of mankind”. The creators note “we carry in our bodies the potential of all species, all the way to our desire to fly, like the Thunderbird at the top of the TOTEM pole.

Written and directed by Robert Lepage TOTEM is his second creation.  Lepage notes that “the word TOTEM suggest that human beings carry in their bodies the full potential of all living species, even the Thunderbird’s desire to fly to the top of the TOTEM. TOTEM explores the birth and evolution of the world, the relentless curiosity of human beings and their constant desire to excel.”

The night I experienced TOTEM there was a buzz in the air as you approached yellow and blue big top tent.  With smells of popcorn and sweet delights the crowd was a buzz around the souvenir booths.

Once in my seat, the pre-show had the ever-present clowns with their own mischief and wicked humor making fun of the audience, simply silly shenanigans.

The set of TOTEM is a larger stage with a mobile bridge that moves up and down called the “scorpion bridge” that is curved, not linear to reflect the natural world. At 10,000 lbs and with eight hydraulic lifts is pretty impressive. Amazing how this structure changed from life support, speed boat, and space craft.

At the start a multi-dimension skeleton turtle shell creates a platform and this carapace moves up to expose the amphibians and fish beneath where frogs and all type of leap creatures move about.

In this circus there is not ring master but a “Tracker” that is an environmentalist conscious leader with a hat when removed glows from within.

Let me review some of the acts to give you a preview taste of TOTEM.

My favorite was a piece entitled Roller Skates where an Eskimo couple in white come together on a small circular stage.  They jive and shift and go around and around, while this sensual woman evokes a sense of wonder and desire. It was fun, whimsical and daredevil.

In Manipulation, a Darwinist scientist glides into a larger than life beaker and juggles and moves these lighted balls while he is enclosed in glass is fantastic.

The Russian Bar number is made of a mixture of space and human creatures that use simple poles to maneuver up and down on a gyrating adventure.

Not to give it all away, I leave the rest up to the imaginations but there are jugglers, monkeys, a flying Crystal Man than transverse from the center of the earth to the outer limits of space.

The bodies of the performers are physically impressive and in one bit a clown (twitter @pipocrotti) comes out to expose his skinny frame only to walk away with a very statuesque woman.

You can’t have a contortion show without the usual set of unicycles with a set of juggling bowls and a balancing tea-pot with impressive precision.  Also through in the mix a Flamenco dancer and a bull-fight right in the ring!

The live band helps to carry the wave of emotions that fill the audience and they oohh and awww.

With one intermission, TOTEM is a two and a half hour journey into the imagination. This meets the Cirque du Soleil  mission “to invoke the imagination, provoke the senses and evoke the emotions of people around the world.”

Check out and see what all the fuss is about and let TOTEM show case man’s evolution in our fair city.

Living in a green world, TOTEM celebrates the beauty of nature and the immense power of that comes together when man celebrates this synergy of creativity.  It is sure to be the must show as we enter the holiday season.

TOTEM under the big top at Atlantic Station in Midtown Atlanta will run through December 23.

For tickets and show times visit:   or swing by the onsite box office and follow on twitter @cirque @cirqueclub #totem

Follow Dr. Wilson Trivino on Twitter @T4Vista


Rain and Fire in Sedona



Ange Alex

A rainy day in Sedona? What are we going to do. Everything we have planned is outdoors. I am pretty sure that is why people come to Sedona, for the beautiful OUTDOOR activities, like hiking, biking, Jeep tours, viewing the red rocks and photography. 

What to do, what to do.

Oh, I know. I had the privilege of meeting some great artists that work in fire and glass! The perfect indoor activity when your outdoor plans are washed away!

The Melting Point in Sedona, conveniently located across the street for the Whole Foods (two birds with one stone, yeah!), is a group of artist focusing on creating and teaching others how to create as well.

When we entered the facilities, it was like entering a fine arts gallery. So many beautiful works of glass art. Jordan Ford is the general manager and one of the Artists. He came out of the workshop and told us the rules, then brought us into the fold. 

We were about to become glass blowers! 

Jordan had a love for the natural world from a very early age. He went on to study geology in college but that is when he discovered glass. He currently has Bachelor’s Degrees in both Earth Science/Geology and Visual Arts/Glassblowing.

Jordan says , “It’s the process of blowing glass that drives me. I find the physical act of making glass so overwhelmingly fascinating. I approach most of my work with a consideration for the more classical techniques – it’s the framework that I use as a jumping point for experimentation.”

Not only is Jordan incredibly talented, he is really personable and extremely funny. He made everyone in the room feel at ease and we all often irrupted in bouts of laughter.

Another artist that was helping us is Austin Littenberg. Austin became interested in the art of glass blowing at age 16 after watching a documentary. He spent over 12 years developing his craft and learning the technical precision needed to work at this level.

Austin views the many ways Art presents itself and is in tune with it all, and it shows.

Clearly these two artist love what they do, and I for one am grateful for their expertise and their willingness to show the world their art.

They worked with us to create a beautiful cactus, complete with three flowers, one for each kid, and a Sedona rock like base. We loved the patience they showed and the skill to make us feel at ease. We never felt like  we were about to do something we just couldn’t. It felt like we had been doing this before. That is the measure of a true instructor. 

Our work of art was complete and we left there feeling accomplished and quite honestly, amazing! 

Both Austin and Jordan have remarkable skills but also wonderful comedic timing. They were a absolutely pleasure to meet and I look forward to keeping up with their art in the future.

If you find yourself in Sedona and want to meet some really wonderful people, stop by The Melting Point and say hello! While you’re there, blow some glass!

How could I forget one of them most important things; They have a studio dog! Austin brings his sweet baby girl to work with him and she is an angel! We loved her! Make sure you give her some love when you visit!

Continue Reading

Artists to Watch

Cry With Us! Puddles Pity Party in Orlando



Ange Alex

I owe him a poem:

Here’s a story of a sad clown who one night in February was traveling through O-town. 

He brought a suitcase and a lot of gum, he brought music and videos and tons of fun.

He sang high but mostly he sang low, and he put of one hell of a good show.

He gave a bearded guy a cupcake and danced with a lady, a wolf he would make

There is no doubt he is a boss sir, he even got love from Kevin Costner.

Fans filled the plaza for a night of delight as the 7 foot clown gave us some real insight.

He sang Bowie and Queen and even some Who, also Cash, Lorde and “Let it go” too

Videos played of pets and babies crying, also beautiful artwork and people smiling.

Last night Orlando was anything but mad as we showed much love for a clown that is sad.

Ok, I’d cry too after that poem. Here’s some more info:

If you haven’t been to see a Puddles Pity Party show, you are missing out. 

The show had me smiling and laughing so hard my stomach hurt, but I was also moved so many times by the range of Puddles voice. True entertainment never gets old and I have a feeling he is going to last forever.

I loved the interaction he had with the crowd. He pulled numerous people up to help him on stage and all of them were good sports, one man even singing the entire song, “All by myself” karaoke style! The show was so well thought out and planned but with room for some hilarious improv. Especially at the end when he pulled the 3 fans from the audience dressed like clowns. At the end of them performing together, Puddles suddenly remembers that he is scared of clowns! Genius! 

Hands down one of the best performances I’ve seen in years.


Continue Reading


“20/20:Visionary”: Looking Back, Looking Forward



Photograph by Charlie McCullers, courtesy of Atlanta Ballet.

Last weekend (March 18-20) the Atlanta Ballet gifted the city with “20/20: Visionary,” three pieces, including a world premiere, presented at the Cobb Energy Center.

The world premiere, “Playground,” by British choreographer Douglas Lee, belied its name by being a shadowy piece danced between upright, rolling chalkboard set pieces. Prepared for a lighthearted, joyful expression of childhood, I was surprised that the work instead exposed the darker side of childhood memories. There were some light moments, such as the towering billboard inscribed with multiple lines reading, “Jackie must remember the steps” – clearly a humorous aside about Jackie Nash, one of the most capable company members and perhaps the quickest study in rehearsal. There were some easily-seen choreographic devices–a lot of theme and variation, even more pushing around of set pieces–but there were a few exceptional moments as well, including intricate, slow-motion manipulation of a dancer’s body by another dancer.

Pen-Yu Chen & Tara Lee in “Boiling Point.” Photo by C McCullers, courtesy of Atlanta Ballet.

The opening work, “Boiling Point,” by Darrell Grand Moultrie, was playfully performed at breakneck speed. Dancers are often told to “make it look easy,” and the company took that concept to heart. Highlighted against the men in black costumes, the women wore bits of metallic fabric, providing splashes of intense color and exposing powerful bodies with long muscles. The piece began with the stage space open almost to its fullest, and the dancers running across like a rushing river. They rolled, twisted, turned, and slid like water itself. The choreography juxtaposed synchronicity with counterpoint, traditional with innovation. There was a gargouillade, rarely seen even in classical ballets. The lines of the bodies were critical to the piece, and often layers deep. The flow was almost nonstop, with only an occasional flick of a wrist or toss of a head to provide momentary stasis. The standout was Christian Clark, who sometimes nearly managed to integrate himself into the group but then something distinctive and powerful in his dancing drew the eye to him again.

“Red Clay” from “Home in 7.” Photo by C McCullers, courtesy of Atlanta Ballet.

“Home in 7,” a work by Amy Siewert, closed the concert. A portrait of Atlanta, the ballet was a rich tapestry woven from music, spoken word, and movement. Performed in 7 segments to a libretto written and performed by Marc Bamuthi Joseph and an intriguing, haunting string score composed and performed by Daniel Bernard Roumain, the dance, too, was a poem, shimmering like summer moonlight on the Chattahoochee. John Welker opened the ballet with tiny explosions of movement “Secrets.” Perhaps the most enchanting segment was “Home of the Braves:” 5 men using baseball imagery, holding their formation as they slid precisely between pitches and catches. “Red Clay” evoked August nights, intolerance, and redemption—Atlanta history, a story familiar to many. I first saw this ballet in 2011, and it has grown in depth as the dancers have matured technically and emotionally. Atlanta loves its ballet company, and never more than when it showcases its home city.

John McFall is ending his tenure with the company at the end of this season. For newcomers to Atlanta Ballet offerings, this will have been a dynamic performance. For long-time supporters, it will have been an opportunity to reflect on his legacy. There are a couple more opportunities to see the company under his watch, and then he will pass the torch to Gennadi Nedvigin, the company’s fourth artistic director. Stay tuned!

Continue Reading