The Parking Lot and Other Thrills | The Reader's Guide Feature | Chicago Reader

The Parking Lot and Other Thrills 

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There's nothing in the 132nd edition of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus more thrilling than standing in the parking lot outside Allstate Arena while the massive underbellies of one jetliner after another graze your head on their way to O'Hare. It almost justifies the $11 parking charge. Nothing justifies the muddy sound system inside, which turns most of what the ringmaster has to say into a blur, or the $6 boxes of popcorn and $8 slushy cups. Reptiles--too dense and nasty to learn a single trick--should be sent back to the zoo, routine gymnastics should be left to the Olympics, and the tigers shouldn't look like they're on Prozac. That said, there's still plenty to like in the Greatest Show on Earth, including the Galloping Gladiators, sweeping into center ring astride two steeds; two families of flyers, the Tabares and the Neves, triple-somersaulting off the high trapeze; the acrobatics of the Kenya Wizards; and star clown David Larible, who never met a gesture he couldn't milk for a laugh. Plus the Wheel of Death, the Hoops of Fire, the Human Cannonball, and, of course, the performing elephants and dancing horses, especially the gray, who took a bow and won the heart of the five-year-old on our panel of expert critics. The circus continues through this Sunday at Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim in Rosemont, then moves to Chicago's United Center for performances November 19 through December 1. Allstate show times are 7:30 on Friday, November 15; 11:30, 3:30, and 7:30 on Saturday, November 16; and 1 and 5 on Sunday, November 17. At the United Center, 1901 W. Madison, shows are Tuesday at 7; Wednesday through Friday at 10:30 and 7; Saturday at 11:30, 3:30, and 7; and Sunday at 1 and 5. Get there an hour early for the up-close-and-personal preshow. Tickets are $10.50 to $50 both places; order them at 312-559-1212. For more information call 847-635-6601 (Allstate) or 312-455-4500 (United).

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