Britney Spears brings her Circus tour to Columbus next Thursday, five months after Short North club High Five reopened under the name Circus. At first glance, the two institutions would seem to have little in common beyond a recent fascination with the big top, but upon further examination, the parallels run much deeper.

Britney Spears brings her Circus tour to Columbus next Thursday, five months after Short North club High Five reopened under the name Circus. At first glance, the two institutions would seem to have little in common beyond a recent fascination with the big top, but upon further examination, the parallels run much deeper.

Reinvention

Britney: Spears grew from naive teen queen to "not that innocent" contradiction to "Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman." 2007's Blackout was supposed to be her transition from mentally unstable tabloid queen back to calm, cool, collected role model, but a bungled VMA performance left her in need of another comeback.

Bar: High Five's makeovers included a shift from a dumpy rock dive to a slick but sonically compromised music and dance club with a strange, spaceship-like sound booth. Earl "Skully" Webb, Michael Irwin and Ron "Red" Ringle bought the bar last fall with plans to make Circus the hot spot that High Five never was.

Reinvention?

Britney: The new Spears still dresses scantily, dances sexually and lip-syncs through elaborate stage productions. The only difference is the kiddie-pop sex symbol has been replaced by an adult more famous for her childish behavior backstage.

Bar: It looks nicer than ever inside, but the bar hasn't changed much from an outsider's perspective. The main difference is behind the scenes: Now people with more nightclub experience are in charge. And the spaceship is gone.

Alienation

Britney: A sizable chunk of Spears' fan base is children, and many parents have put up with the sexual overtones in her music. But an S&M-themed section of the Circus show has some parents fuming. Amy Dunn, a mother of four, told MTV Spears' show was "a little R-rated for this venue."

Bar: Management says the makeover is not intended to chase away High Five's punk-rock crowd, but to welcome in a more diverse clientele alongside the old guard. "The punk rockers are definitely welcome here, but we're going to expand the music scene beyond just that," Irwin told Alive.

Circus-like elements

Britney: The whole shebang comes out for this literal take on the circus theme, including ringleader attire, acrobats, magicians and clowns.

Bar: Other than the freak show posters, there's not much circus-y - unless you count the acrobatics of the crowd at Sweatin'.

Snags

Britney: Recent reports suggest the tanking economy could cause the Circus tour to come off the rails.

Bar: A major factor in Circus' conversion - a kitchen manned by Ringle - has yet to launch.

Outlook

Britney: Spears seems to be a moneymaker no matter how much her dignity suffers in the process.

Bar: Changes are coming more slowly than expected, but the bar is in good hands to succeed in the long run.