Pittsburgh’s Zany Umbrella Circus will perform at this year’s circus-themed First Night Scranton (http://www.scrantonfirstnight.com). It should be plenty cold in NEPA by Dec. 31, even as this November has so far been kind.

To help you get in the mood … this video is pretty chill.




Zany Umbrella seems to be more socially oriented than other modern troupes. According to its mission statement, it "uses art as a vehicle to further social change, promote dialogue, teach cooperation skills and encourage children of all backgrounds to use their imaginations and create artwork of their own." Aw. I bet they get a lot of grant money for that. I’m not knocking it. Kids need to see this stuff now more than ever. Their poor little minds are cluttered with Disney channel nonstop commercial entertainment grooming them to be good brand-loyal consumers.

ZUC’s 2009 repertoire includes programs titled "The Enchanted Toay Box," "Vagabond," about Irish musician/craftsmen traveling in wagons and on bicycles, and a solo show "My Grandfather’s Circus," harkening back to dust bowl days and a circus brought to life out of ordinary objects in "an unlikely situation."