Federal Jobs and the Circus- Sam Hartung

A few weeks ago I was invited to a drum circle in Ludlow, Kentucky. I went expecting to have a good time but was blown away by the amazing aerial feats, and energetic circus atmosphere. Owner and operator of Circus Mojo, Paul Miller, stood up near the end of the night and announced that they were looking for interns between the ages of 18 and 22 to work as part of a federal program. Meeting all the qualifications for the program, I helped Paul pack away the stages at the end of the night, introduced myself and pronounced my interest.

The next week I took the Anderson Ferry across the river and walked into the door at Circus Mojo ready to work, only to find out that Paul was taking everyone to see Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey that night! I had been to the circus before as a kid several times; one of the times time I think Paul was even performing. He was a Ringling clown in 1996 and 1997.
The show we saw this year was an especially good one. They had some new things I had never seen before, like ladies hanging from inside glass spheres doing acrobatics. The very next night, the clowns we just saw came to an event at the Ludlow Theatre and had a parade. Afterward, we all danced to bluegrass and tribal drumming. So much fun!

In the less than a month that I have worked here, I have met so many people, such as Bobby Maverick the magician, international performers from Mexico, South America, and Africa, and local street performers such as Forealism Tribe. I have performed at such places as the Special Arts Festival, STARS (for those who have recently lost loved ones), and Newport on the Levee. All kinds of opportunities have opened wide before me. It is scary and exciting.
I am learning so many new things, in addition to circus skills, such as plumbing, operating spotlights and soundboards, and professionalism. The circus is not all fun and games, it is really hard work. It takes discipline and stamina. But it is intensely rewarding, and everyone is pushing me to push myself beyond my limits. I am so thankful to Paul and everyone at Circus Mojo for really helping me out, and to everyone whose taxes are paying me to be here. It is a tremendous privilege, and not only I, but especially the entire Circus Mojo culture is just beginning to blossom. Really inspirational, innovative, and exciting things are happening here. Come on down and have some fun, take a class or enjoy a show. Support the local community!
I look forward to working with the Circus Mojo team on into the future, during my paid internship and beyond. I hope to expand my own creative endeavors, such as performing live music and theater through the connections I make. Eventually I would like to not only perform, but direct and produce both theatrical performances and motion pictures. The skills I am learning and the people I am meeting now are applicable to this end. I am so glad that I have been given the opportunity to do this with my life. At this time I feel it is very helpful to my development and I can only do my best to be helpful to the development of Circus Mojo and the community.
Being paid to do something creative and valuable to myself and to so many others is an ideal situation, one that I am very blessed to find myself in. I believe in the vision and the practical application, both of the paid internship program, as well as Circus Mojo. Right now our taxes are paying to train people like me in the practices of arts with beneficial effects on society. Paul has proven through CircEsteem and now Circus Mojo that circus skills keep troubled youth from violence and drug use by giving them something productive to work on. His programs have helped prison inmates develop themselves during their time behind bars, as well as children in hospitals to stay positive during their illnesses and operations. They have shown that anyone of any age or ability can learn a creative skill that someone with seemingly more ability in other life areas cannot perform. This gives them confidence.
To be a part of this government by-the-people, for-the-people initiative is a privilege. I hope to see this program expand across the country, so that real people like you and me, can live our lives, and make our livings, in new and exciting ways which are beneficial to everyone.

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