Carnivalesque goes backstage at the big top

Artist Penney Bidwell knows the carnival life isn't always a circus. She ought to -- Bidwell comes from carny stock, and their memories and lore left her with a different view. And it's not as though we haven't all lived through a creepy-clown shiver or two in our collective lifetime, anyway. So when the outwardly upbeat group show Carnivalesque, which Bidwell helped organize, opens Saturday at Niza Knoll Gallery on Santa Fe Drive, there will be a darker element mixed in with the magical fun and games. Here's a sneak peek at some of the show's highs and brooding lows. Niza Knoll's "Carousel Bird and Rider" adds a shot of whimsy. Matt Doubek's "Admit One." Claudia Roulier's circus bear. See Carnivalesque through October 29; as Halloween approaches in October, the gallery will also host a circus-themed artist reception on October 21 and a carny masquerade ball to close the show.

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