When I was a kid, I loved going to the circus. When I wasn't fantastizing about growing up to become a nun, I was hanging out on my backyard swingset daydreaming about running away to join the circus. My dad took me to see Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus and the Shriner Circus every single year -- I knew which of the Ringling Brothers tours was the best, and at one point I had a serious crush on the teenage son of a lion tamer. I'd never given much thought to the jobs the circus animal trainers had; in my circus fantasies, I was a trapeze girl, flying through the air with no paralyzing fear of heights.
Circus Rosaire, a documentary by director Robyn Bliley, gives us a backstage pass into the lives of the Rosaires, a family of "circus people." The Rosaires have been court jesters and circus performers for nine generations, but they live a much less glamorous life now than they did in the good old days when circus people were treated like royalty. Back in the good old days for circus folk -- before there was a Hollywood creating stars and starlets for the world to obsess over - they'd come into towns and be feted like celebrities These days, they're much more likely to be working a small-town carnival than performing at the White House, on The Tonight Show, or in a palace.