An episodic memoir from the founder of the Big Apple Circus, a New York City mainstay of family entertainment for almost 40 years.
Brooklyn-born Binder has lived a colorful and creative life, from stints working for Merv Griffin and Julia Child, to his time as a juggler traveling through Europe, to his life’s greatest work: founding the Big Apple Circus. The book jumps around to hit various key moments in his life, including the moment he first saw the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the beginning of his jaunt to England to form a juggling act with a friend, and meeting his wife, a beautiful Danish equestrienne and circus performer. The cast of characters includes world-renowned clowns, jugglers, acrobats and other international performers, as well as the technicians and trainers who put the nuts and bolts of such an epic show together. Binder has a knack for language, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering how many years he has spent as a ringmaster and entertainer, juggling words, as well as objects, for his audiences. Some of the insider tales and snippets are a little more mundane than magical; not everyone is going to find a random rainy day or an encounter with a waitress in a small Southern town as interesting and amusing as Binder clearly does. For every dud, however, there are twice as many gems, such as the exciting post–Tiananmen Square drama that led the circus’ Chinese acrobats, who were afraid of being forced to return to their troubled homeland, to run away, bringing the attentions of government agencies and embassies to the Big Apple Circus. With a loving foreword by Glenn Close and celebrity cameos from Robert DeNiro, Robin Williams, Paul Newman and many more, these stories make it easy to see why Binder is a beloved, respected figure in the world of the circus.
A thoroughly amusing collection that takes readers beyond the big top.