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Well. That was unexpected.

I've described how the news was broken to us HERE. Please read it, I'm not in the mood to type it out again here :P



And you can read what the media has to say about it HERE. And HERE and HERE and HERE and all over really.

We all knew that something was going to happen, and that it wasn't going to be good. The main theories had to do with downsizing or being sold off to another company. Turns out it was even worse than that.


(Let's see now if I'm asked to take this photo down. Place your bets!)

The day after (today, Sunday) we had two shows. As I type this we've done one, and it was extremely difficult. I don't know how people are running out onto the floor and performing with big smiles on their faces. It's gotta hurt.

It also hurts that now, of all times, there's this giant audience. Clapping and screaming and cheering. At the moment it feels like being surrounded by a bunch of vultures, or rubberneckers trying to catch a glimpse of the dead bodies in the road. And I'm sure this level of "enthusiasm" will continue to follow us as we die out. People are gross.

Anyway, I didn't want to be dark about this, but it's been less than 24 hours and like most people here I did not get much sleep last night. I'm feeling bitter about a lot of things. I'm worried for my future. I'm sad for all of us. I'm angry at how the news was delivered, how things turned out, all of it.

That said, I can't deny that it's been a privelege to work here. I am so glad that I've kept this blog, and documented every week as thoroughly as possible. It will be a great set of memories to look back on. Not many people can say they lived on a train, danced with clowns, walked with elephants. It was wonderful, and unfortunately, those who come after me will not have the opportunity to experience it. So I will treasure it, knowing that I am one of the last to do so. Wherever I go from here, I will carry five years of circus magic with me. And I can't thank Feld enough for that.

At the moment I feel like there's not a whole lot to say. There were warning signs that something like this might happen, but again, I don't think most suspected a plan to totally do away with Ringling Bros. The band had just started negotiations with Feld and were waiting for our next meeting date to discuss a new contract. Heck, we just hired a new female Ringmaster (who I hope will be compensated for the trouble of quitting all of her jobs for this gig). But despite all the warning signs, I think we were all convinced that none of it meant "The End". After 146 years, really?

But yeah, as any musician will tell you, all gigs must come to an end.

So I suppose next week we are to sit down with people from HR and other departments to figure out any kind of severance, incentive to stay through May, etc. I imagine that most troupes will stay through the end...it's probably beneficial to do that. But the band doesn't have an active contract, so I don't know what we should expect.

Each of us has a lot to do. I have to find a place to live, look for jobs, retrieve my car...all kinds of things. Jameson is busy doing the same, but being the incredible thoughtful boyfriend that he is, he is including me in his job searches and in his plans. What a great guy <3

I will continue writing my blog up until the last day, and I'll maintain it after leaving the circus. I'll do my best to show what it's really like around here. Oh, and now that there's no incentive for me to keep quiet about certain things, here goes:

The Truth About Ringling's Circus Animals and The People Who Train Them:

THE ANIMALS ARE NOT ABUSED. RINGLING'S ANIMAL SPECIALISTS ARE PROFESSIONAL, SKILLED, GOOD HUMAN BEINGS.

Oh, sorry! Were you expecting some scandalous revelation?

My opinion on this will not change despite the fact that I've lost my job. In five years here I have never seen any animal abuse, and no amount of PETA propaganda will convince me otherwise. Just sayin'.

Now we have a show to do, and then another on Monday. Then the job hunt begins.
Tomorrow I'm going to share the post I'd originally written to go up today, before I knew we were all getting canned.
Please enjoy as over the next few weeks I document the final days of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

See you down the road.

Comments

( 42 comments — Leave a comment )
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jugglingjuann
Jan. 15th, 2017 10:19 pm (UTC)

Hey Megan, I'm honestly just as upset as you are. When the show comes to Atlanta Im coming to all 3 shows for that day. I was hoping I could one day be able to work for the company I loved so much. I support and stand behind you and the rest of the GSOE 100%.And I know that violence isn't the answer to any question but if one of those vultures they call activists disrespects RBBB in my presence I have to knock all of thier teeth out. In advance though thank you for putting your all into those shows,you're well appreciated

taz_39
Jan. 16th, 2017 01:12 am (UTC)
Thank you.
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donnad
Jan. 15th, 2017 10:23 pm (UTC)
I am heartbroken, even tearful over this, for you and all the other wonderful performers. I am so glad we got to see the show last year, and when tickets become available locally to me (this Tuesday) I plan to do my darndest to get some. One more time before the show ends.

I wish you the best of luck at finding future employment. And I do hope you will continue to blog even after the show is over.
taz_39
Jan. 16th, 2017 01:13 am (UTC)
Hey there. It's ok, we'll live. Just sorry it had to end this way.

I hope you're able to come to a show.

I'll continue to blog, though maybe on a different account. We'll see.

Thanks,
Megan
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suzzlucy
Jan. 15th, 2017 10:36 pm (UTC)

I've followed your journal for a while and have really enjoyed it. As soon as I heard the news  i checked your journal. My heart went out to you and all of your coworkers immediately.
I've enjoyed the circus my whole life, and your journal brought a whole new joy to that seeing the behind the scenes workings. I loved seeing someone who had true passion and joy with their profession!
I hope the next few weeks and months are an easy transition for you. Best wishes to you and the rest of the crew! I will never forget all the wonderful moments the circus bright to my life. Thank you so much.

taz_39
Jan. 16th, 2017 01:14 am (UTC)
I'm so glad that you've enjoyed my blog. I'm happy I got to share this fun trip with everyone.

Thank you very much. Here's hoping things work out!
silvergirl0007
Jan. 15th, 2017 10:39 pm (UTC)
I'm so SO sorry that this is happening. I've loved reading your blog about your experiences and I'm sorry that propaganda has forced this course of action. I hope that you and Jameson are able to work everything out to make the transition as easy as possible.
taz_39
Jan. 16th, 2017 01:15 am (UTC)
It's ok. It was kind of inevitable. I'm sorry this is kind of a dark post, I'll just need time to get over stuff.

It'll help to have Tuesday away from the show so I can look for work.

Thanks so much for your kind words, they mean a lot.
oneandonlytara
Jan. 15th, 2017 10:56 pm (UTC)
I thought of you immediately when I heard the news last night. Thinking of you Megan! <3
taz_39
Jan. 16th, 2017 01:15 am (UTC)
Thank you <3
(Anonymous)
Jan. 16th, 2017 04:18 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry for what your and your peers are going through. Thank your for documenting it beautifully and thoughtfully in your blog. As a fan, I feel like I'm losing a part of my childhood that I thought I could carry with me forever and continue sharing with others. I never imagined it ending. I've been attending RBBB for most of my life. I wish you and Jameson the best, and I will continue looking forward to your blog. I hope to see you in New Hampshire this spring one more time.
taz_39
Jan. 16th, 2017 08:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I'm very happy that you've enjoyed the blog. At this point I'm really glad I've kept it!

Yes, if we could meet up in NH, that'd be great!
(Anonymous)
Jan. 16th, 2017 04:47 am (UTC)
Devastating. I'm sorry Meagan. I began following your blog around the time last year when the elephants left and have been hooked. Being a lifelong circus fan I was naturally drawn to it but you have an interesting perspective from the band , all the insight of the train, and also as a Union Steward. Being out here in Los Angeles --- an area in my childhood that RBBB was so popular it would play for a month--- to now--- hearing how paid off councilman KORETZ ( he was actually busted for pay offs in the la times last minth) and the PETA folk are claiming victory--- it's an awful feeling. Especially since I'm surrounded.

I will follow your blog to the end.

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences.

Alex Smith
The Circus Report

taz_39
Jan. 16th, 2017 09:03 pm (UTC)
Thanks, it's ok. We'll move on. Right now it's tough, but things will get better. I just hope the animals will be ok.

Wow, bummer that you're a circus fan in CA! That's like ground zero for circus hate. Hang in there!

Thank you for reading my blog. I'll do my best to keep up with what's happening in these final months. And now that there's no one to tell me what to and not to post, hopefully you'll see even MORE behind the scenes stuff!
(Anonymous)
Jan. 16th, 2017 02:17 pm (UTC)
Circus
I was very sorry to hear about this. I took my kids to the circus two years ago in Auburn Hills and we had a great time. Afterwards, I was googling circus life and found your blog through Quora. It took awhile but I went back and read from day 1. I've really enjoyed it. You've had a great adventure and I hope you have many more!
taz_39
Jan. 16th, 2017 09:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Circus
Awesome! I'm glad you were able to get your kids to the circus. Auburn Hills is special to us because it's usually our last tour city.

Thank you for reading and for your kind words :)
theidolhands
Jan. 16th, 2017 04:04 pm (UTC)
I thought of you instantly when the news hit my Facebook feed and because I know you and of the life you've shared, I've been able to reassure people of just what you've stated here. I am so sorry and did not realize that people at the company were unaware of it.

It's been a real pleasure to read your blog and I hope you'll still update. I think it's also completely fair to say that people are acting sick and like vultures - I struggle constantly with humanities pratfalls. However, I also agree that you've been leading a magical and unique life.

Cirque du Soleil managed to kill someone, but I didn't see any outrage. Their style doesn't do it for me really, watching humans doing arty acrobatics in a sensual fashion over-and-over; it's not the same as what Barnum does -- the variety, the pomp, the band, and of course those animals. I saw my first lions and tigers that way. I was disappointed that the female version of Ghostbusters, that I happened to watch last night, literally starts with a crack at you guys (about "enslaving elephants") in the first few minutes. What the fuck?

However, if you can get a job with Cirque, of course I'd be happy for you (not sure if they employ live musicians at any of their shows). I miss being able to watch Sesame Street because my family cannot afford cable and rarely ever could. But again, I wish you & everyone luck with that if it's a possibility. Interesting.

Edited at 2017-01-16 04:08 pm (UTC)
taz_39
Jan. 16th, 2017 09:08 pm (UTC)
We were made aware of it before it went to press, so at least there's that. I'll update the blog through May/whenever the circus ends, then maybe for a week or two after. I actually have another, more journal-like account here that I may switch to after that. We'll see.

I like Cirque, many of their performers have also performed with Ringling. So many people in the circus world have their origins in Ringling. This will effect all circuses.

Yeah I'd heard about that crack in Ghostbusters and that's what decided me on never watching it ever.

I will be auditioning for Cirque, but who knows if they'll have an opening. We're all looking for work and will do the best that we can. Thank you for reading my little writings thus far, it's been a pleasure getting to know you on lj!
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somgirl
Jan. 16th, 2017 04:11 pm (UTC)

This is heartbreaking. I'm so sorry to hear this. Both for you personally and your loss but also for how sad it is that such a tradition is ending. It's a sad day all around.

taz_39
Jan. 16th, 2017 09:09 pm (UTC)
Yeah, pretty bummy. It's going to be hard to continue doing shows for a few months. But it gives us time to find something else. Hopefully the animals will be ok.

Thank you <3
(Anonymous)
Jan. 16th, 2017 04:29 pm (UTC)
You and Jameson thinking of each other for job searches warms my heart. Y'all were my fave couple on tour. Always. Love you both bunches and will see you in February when you come to NC. <3
-Maddie Poole
taz_39
Jan. 16th, 2017 09:09 pm (UTC)
Aww thanks Maddie!! We're doing our best. See you soon!
(Anonymous)
Jan. 16th, 2017 04:47 pm (UTC)
Thank You for the Music
I've always loved the circus especially the band. Please pass along my gratitude to your fellow musicians, cast and crew. Sorry it's ending.

Barrett
taz_39
Jan. 16th, 2017 09:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Thank You for the Music
Thank you so much Barrett. Will do.
staffordmotion
Jan. 18th, 2017 04:08 am (UTC)
PETA AND HUMANE SOCIETY
Here is an email I just sent:

Humane Society of the United States <humanesociety@hsus.org>

To
HOWARD STAFFORD

Today at 10:23 AM
Hi HOWARD, you've likely heard the extraordinary news about Ringling Bros. and its decision to shut down the circus in May. Read more on our blog»

Ringling Bros. brings the curtain down

Photos by Meredith Lee/The HSUS

© 2017 The Humane Society of the United States | All rights reserved
1255 23rd Street, NW, Suite 450 | Washington, DC 20037
donorcare@humanesociety.org | 202-452-1100

This message was sent to staffordmotion@yahoo.com.


staffordmotion@yahoo.com

To
Humane Society of the United States

Today at 10:52 PM

I have followed you and supported you for a lifetime and am so shocked that you would actually be happy about this. I personally know a lot about animals and also have a friend who has been with RBBB for five years where is no poor treatment of all their animals. You have allowed yourselves to fall for the lying propaganda from those assholes at PETA who at the top are only interested in making money and lying about animal welfare. Sadly, if this is the leftist, extremist route you are going to take I can no longer support you. Fortunately there are many wonderful groups who really support wildlife and I will continue to support them.

Howard Alexander Stafford

Stafford Farms

941 NW 110TH CT

OCALA, FLORIDA 34482-6838
(Anonymous)
Jan. 18th, 2017 05:12 pm (UTC)
So sad...More trained musicians loosing out.
Megan, so sorry to hear about this. Another case of good musicians (as well as others)loosing out on a great gig. Stick with it the best you can. Don't forget the folks that will attend and be your audience...the real reason you became an entertainer. You can do it. Good luck in your future.
taz_39
Jan. 20th, 2017 10:03 pm (UTC)
Re: So sad...More trained musicians loosing out.
Thank you. We'll be ok. It's just going to be a hard few months.

Of course we want to put on the best show we possibly can! We will do our best :)
hansalan
Jan. 19th, 2017 04:07 am (UTC)
Hi Megan,
I am a fairly new reader and fan of yours. I also work in the entertainment industry and feel deep sympathy for you and your circus family. I rarely comment on anything and prefer just to read and reflect. Admittedly, the last few days have been filled with hurt for the loss of a national treasure.

I have always loved the circus, but I am sad to say that my three kids have never been to a show. This is mainly because our budget is too tight to buy tickets. My wife and I have discussed that we are going to try our best to save enough money for tickets when you are in Cincinatti. Traveling from Wisconsin, this will be a stretch to find funds, but we want our kids to experience a 150+ year tradition and piece of history before it is gone.

Thank you for all the joy you provide and we hope that everyone will be able to keep the spirit up through the end of the tour. Please pass along my and my family's best wishes to all of the cast and crew. We will be saving up and hope to see you in March!
taz_39
Jan. 20th, 2017 10:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you for your kind words. A lot of people are hurting over this :(

I'm very sorry that your kids haven't been able to see a circus yet. I was going to actually offer you my employee discount tickets, but it was just announced yesterday that employees don't get discounts any more (I'm sure the company wants to make their money before the end).

If you can't make it to the Ringling shows, the Shriners circus also has an incredible history, and they also have animals. I would highly recommend them.

Thank you again. I will perform my best and so will everyone else, for folks like you!!
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