Billy and the Sexy Lady Bug

She walked in my direction, scanning the crowd with her large eyes as she neared. Orange tubes circled her plump middle with purple wings on her back. Suddenly, she saw me sitting there and her giant lashes expanded with her eyes growing even larger as a huge smile washed over her face.

“Ooooh! You are like me,” she seemed to say without speaking. We locked eyes as she moved closer in her beautiful knee-high black boots, shaped like large bell bottoms.

The Sexy Lady Bug then offered me her hand, the back of which, hovered inches from my equally beaming face. I gently kissed it as I felt the spotlights from above illuminating our wordless introduction.

She giggled and without warning took a seat on my lap. She ran her fingers across the top of my smooth head and offered me her other hand once more, which I kissed a second time.

Another giggle as our brief interlude continued under the bright blue spotlights…

Until I heard a shout from behind me which startled us both and caused her to jump up off of my lap and flee in the opposite direction. Her would-be insect suitor ran up to me, stopping in the same place my Sexy Lady Bug had first noticed me. 

He scolded me in an unintelligible language, but his meaning was clear.

“Stay away from her. She’s mine!”

And as quickly as my meeting with the Sexy Lady Bug had begun, it was over in a minute. The bright blue light faded away as I found myself sitting in the darkness once again…

Cirque du Soliel’s Grand Chapiteau under the Chicago Sky

As busy as things are around here these days, there is one thing that comes through Chicago every two years that I never miss. I have been attending the performances of Cirque du Soliel for more than fifteen years. I’ve only missed one traveling show, the very first one back in the early ’90s. Since then, I’ve spent many evenings in awe, under their blue and yellow big top, usually several times during each visit.

The current show, Ovo, is one of the best touring Cirque shows I’ve seen. As my usual Cirque companion and friend Alison and I walked up to the temporary city in Chicago’s West Loop that Cirque erects on each visit, we both commented that neither of us had spent any time previewing the show online. Cirque du Soliel is best experienced without any prior knowledge. It’s one of those things that should be experienced first with all of your senses, rather than on your small computer monitor. It’s a bit like trying to experience the Grand Canyon from a photograph. Beautiful, but missing so much of the grandeur of being in the actual environment that is so much larger than you could imagine.

When you enter the Grand Chapiteau (Big Top) tent for the first time, you leave behind the urban city neighborhood you were standing in seconds ago and it’s nothing short of teleportation to this new world, the likes of which you’ve never seen.

I’m not going to spoil the details of Ovo for you here, except to say that as Alison and I walked away, leaving this amazing world and heading back into the warm Chicago night, we both enthusiastically agreed that we had, once again, experienced things we had never seen before. Just when you think that there are no new ways to design costumes, compose lush haunting music- this time Brazilian themed, create new acts of human brilliance and invent beautiful sets that continuously transform throughout the performance, all in a portable tent mind you, Cirque du Soliel shows you they are far from out of fresh new ideas.

Our seats for this performance were in the second row, slightly off center and that closeness added yet another dimension to our experience. Skilled artists literally flying over our heads. Seeing the intricate details of the costumes. But most of all, being within reaching distance of the expressive eyes of the faces and toned bodies, beads of sweat appearing on their foreheads after concluding one unimaginable act after another. Hearing their voices directly reaching my ears rather than through the well tuned sound system. It was the most intimate experience I’ve ever had with these most talented and inspiring performers.

Cirque du Soliel’s Grand Chapiteau under the Chicago Sky

And top it off, my direct interaction with a few of the characters, this time being a true part of the show as I found myself in the spotlight. Billy and the Sexy Lady Bug. It was just for a minute, but I was part of Cirque du Soliel in a way I had never been before.


Performances of Ovo in Chicago continue through August 21st. Do yourself a favor and take a trip into an amazing world before Cirque du Soliel says, “Au Revoir,” to Chicago, not to return again for another two years.

Really. You should go. You deserve an experience like this.

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