Cirque du Soleil’s “Kooza” Under the Big Top

Colorful members of the “Kooza” cast at the Santa Monica pier.

Colorful members of the “Kooza” cast at the Santa Monica pier.

How do you describe something beyond description? That’s Cirque du Soleil’s show Kooza. It is strange and wonderful, boasting of mixing the two grand circus traditions of acrobatic performance with the art of clowning. But it is so much more. It is a journey with characters in crazy costumes who take you places you’ve only seen in your wildest dreams, and maybe a few nightmares.
The live touring show is a memorable experience marking the 25th anniversary of Cirque du Soleil. For the special occasion, Kooza has returned to the Big Top blue and yellow circus tent set up at the base of the Santa Monica pier (which has just celebrated its 100th anniversary!). Kooza will be running there until November 29.
The name Kooza is inspired by the Sanskrit word “koza,” which means “box” or “treasure,” and was chosen because the theme of the production presents the idea of a “circus in a box.” It begins as a young boy (‘The Innocent’) is given a mysterious box. Then the ‘Trickster’ springs out of it like a jack-in-the-box, and presents the surprises that unfold with characters such as ‘The King,’ ‘The Pickpocket,’ ‘The Obnoxious Tourist’ and his bad dog.
The show has many highlights from the performers, whom display unique physical feats which will leave you saying “that was impossible.” Yet you see it with your own eyes! There’s an unicyclist who races around the stage while he juggles his beautiful assistant around him. Plus, there are trapeze artists, tightrope walkers, acrobats and contortionists in their entire twisted splendor. All is presented as a colorful concoction that emphasizes slapstick humor, along with amazing athletic agility, and a lot of mystery, especially when the skeletons start dancing.
Many months ago, the Cirque du Soleil creators gave a sneak peek of the show and spoke about the production. “Kooza is about human connection and the world of duality; good and bad,” says the show’s writer and director David Shiner. “The tone is fun, light and open. The show doesn’t take itself too seriously but it’s very much about ideas, too. As it evolves, we are exploring concepts such as fear, identity, recognition and power.”
An exotic visual circus world full of surprises, thrills, chills and audience involvement, the Quebec-based Cirque du Soleil started from a group of 20 street performers 25 years ago. Nowadays, Cirque is creating magic around the world and under the big top in Santa Monica for a few more weeks.

Costumes Helping Childhelp

Folks flocking to the Hollywood Studio Collection movie wardrobe sale last week at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel saw costumes worn in a variety of movies, from Star Trek to Scooby Doo. And buyers not only got a great costume for Halloween but they were also helping children’s advocacy charities. President of the Hollywood Studio Collection, James Ronald Whitney presented thousands of wardrobe pieces from TV and movies, along with props that were sold to fans and collectors. Whitney offered a portion of the sales to Childhelp, saying, “I have championed their efforts since they sponsored my first film Just Melvin at the Sundance Film Festival.” Childhelp is a tremendous foundation that aids victims of child abuse and neglect, and the costume sale event was a fun way to help.

Bag Ladies Shop for Lupus LA

Another fun shopping expedition for a cause took place on Rodeo Drive last week with Beverly Hills Mayor Nancy Krasne proclaiming “Hollywood Bag Ladies Day” for the great group of gals who support Lupus LA. The event started with breakfast at Versace and progressed up the street with shoppers getting refreshments and treats from various retailers, including Fendi, Prada and Bottega Veneta. All were donating part of their sales.
Support will continue on November 18 with the 7th annual Lupus LA Hollywood Bag Ladies Luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. It is always an afternoon of friendship, fashion and fun as handbags donated by the top boutiques are auctioned off. For her longtime support, Dancing with the Stars’ Melissa Joan Hart will be honored at the event, which will also feature a Versace fashion show. Who could ask for anything more?

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