Duncan Wall grew up in St. Louis, and despite the normalcy that implies, he ran away to join the circus. Well, technically he ran away to join the cirque -- the type of modern circus that involves fewer lion tamers and more acrobats hanging from silken sashes and jugglers waxing philosophic. Wall's own experiences in France's Ecole National des Arts du Cirque -- a rigorous training program for circus hopefuls -- inform his first book, The Ordinary Acrobat. Part-memoir and part-history of the art form, The Ordinary Acrobat explores what makes a man want to become a contortionist or high-wire performer, and why both acts are art forms as much as they are callings. Duncan Wall returns to St. Louis at 7 p.m. tonight at Mad Art Gallery (2727 South Twelfth Street; 314-367-6731 or www.left-bank.com). Wall and his fellow performers demonstrate their circus skills, present audio and visual programs and sign copies of The Ordinary Acrobat. Admission is $5, and if you buy a copy of the book there, the admission fee is applied to the price.
Tue., March 19, 2013