On Monday night I watched the wonderful Bindlestiff Open Stage Quarantine edition and was pleased to see the “Ask Hovey” segment (featuring circus historian/teacher/performer Hovey Burgess) where he talked about ‘Midgets’ and mentioned the Vaudevisuals Press book “Rose’s Royal Midgets and Other Little People of Vaudeville“. Here is the video excerpt from the show.
You’re invited to a double birthday party.
Next Friday, on Parallel Exit’s Artistic Director Mark Lonergan’s birthday, Parallel Exit celebrates 25 years.
On Friday, February 26th, at 7:00 pm, we celebrate a quarter-century of work, with laughter, performances, and interviews with some of your favorite Parallel Exit artists
I have photographed many of this company’s wonderful shows and I can say that they are ‘brilliant’. Both the director and the company bring so much joy and laughter to the audience. You will not be disappointed if you attend this Celebration!
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Karen McCarty and I have known each other for quite sometime. When I heard that her grandmother was a ‘midget’ performer with Rose’s Royal Midgets I couldn’t believe my ears. I am publishing a book on this unique performing company and with this interview I had first hand information about a company that has been gone for years. A company of 25 midgets that performed World-wide for many years.
Trained as a young girl in dance and singing she was quite an asset to the company once she was employed by Ike Rose.
“Healthy Humor is a Not for Profit Performing Arts Organization whose performers create joy, wonder, and laughter for hospitalized children nationwide.”
For more information on Rose’s Royal Midgets!
Coming in November – Check out this site to preorder the book!
Circus and Changing Realities 2020 is a curated set of online panels (since March 2020), where we discuss the changing face of the global circus industry. We delve into best practices, improvements, and adaptations, and we do not shy away from asking challenging questions and touching on sensitive issues that concern the future of our community.
~ Circus Presenters and Producers on Planning for the future ~
To access this next event scheduled for Sept 7th, 2020 click here.
What approaches can we take at the moment? What do we know? How can we continue to build audiences, improve touring and sustainability for small companies, and increase sector diversity?
New York 8am, Montreal 8am, London 1pm, Paris 2pm, Melbourne 10pm
Anke Politz Managing Director and Artistic Director, Chameleon, Berlin
Ruth Wikler, Deputy Director of Programming, Circus Arts/ TOHU, Montreal
Linda Catalano Quiet Riot Unlimited (including Hot Brown Honey), Melbourne, Australia
Chaired by Antonella Casella
Date: Sept. 07, 2020
10:00 pm time zone:(UTC+10) Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Guam
For a list of all online panels (since March 2020) click here!
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Certainly one of the most interesting forms of popular entertainment America has experienced. Now – with the pandemic and final curtain call for Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus…what is next?
Here is a wonderful excerpt from the American Experience special titled “The Circus”.
This four-hour mini-series tells the story of one of the most popular and influential forms of entertainment in American history. Through the intertwined stories of several of the most innovative and influential impresarios of the late nineteenth century, this series reveals the circus was a uniquely American entertainment created by a rapidly expanding and industrializing nation; that it embraced and was made possible by Western imperialism; that its history was shaped by a tension between its unconventional entertainments and prevailing standards of respectability; and that its promise for ordinary people was the possibility for personal reinvention. For many Americans, the circus embodied the improbable and the impossible, the exotic, and the spectacular. Drawing upon a vast and richly visual archive and featuring a host of performers, historians, and aficionados, The Circus follows the rise and fall of the gigantic, traveling tented railroad circus and brings to life an era when Circus Day would shut down a town and its stars were among the most famous people in the country.
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Come One, Come All! every Wednesday, 4 pm EST, to Mr. Amazing’s Circus Corner! A special guest artist every week presented by America’s Ringmaster, Mr. Amazing, from Nyack’s only true circus, Amazing Grace CIRCUS!
Join the Circus Zoom Room this Wed, May 13, with your kids, grandkids, and friends! There’s always something surprising happening at Mr. Amazing’s Circus Corner!
This week the Circus Corner will be visited by Professor BILLY BONES and his PIRATE SCHOOL!
Enjoy the show!
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The people that make this show possible are sometimes not known or seen.
One of them is Marcia Curran – Stage manager for the Bindlestiff Open Stage (and many other shows)
Here she is with Yoyo master Justin Weber before the show.
Also, one of the vital people that makes Dixon Place work is Mike!
Mike Griffiths is one of the people that makes Dixon Place tick like a well-oiled clock. His official title is “Marketing & Audience Development Associate”. You know he works hard at that! Along with Production manager Rob Lariviere who makes all the shows look and sound great!
There are quite a few other people you should know. Check them out here.
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Bindlestiff Open Stage master of ceremonies Keith Nelson starts the show-off.
Keith gets the show going with his ‘Chinese yoyo’ act.
The acrobatic duo Aryn Shelander and Jeffrey Stilt were amazing in their skills.
They were accompanied by two lovely violinists ~ Irene Fong and Melissa Tong
In between the acts, Keith entertains the audience with his favorite past time.
Rich Potter brought his ‘ghoulish’ Zach Flash character to juggle for the audience.
The lucky audience volunteer got to give Zach (Rich Potter) a smooch.
In keeping with tradition, Keith got to try out a new juggling routine with a flying bat.
The lovely Lauren Elizabeth performed a ‘staff’ act.
Great skills mixed with costume and makeup made this act wonderful.
Jeff Moche performed some amazing mentalist magic tricks using audience volunteers.
The card tricks were very mind-blowing and intelligently challenging to the audience.
Keith practices putting out a match with his whip cracking.
Lisa and Julian danced up a storm for the audience.
Magic Brian performed 2 charming audience volunteer mentalist tricks.
Standing back to back he drew almost exactly with the audience volunteer drew.
Yoyo master Justin Weber made his yoyos doing amazing things.
His finale was to jump rope using his yoyo.
The first Monday of every month at Dixon Place – Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Revue!
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KAREN E. GERSCH
If anyone knows about the circus it is Karen E. Gersch. She has performed, created and directed circus and painted, drawn and illustrated it. Her work is beautiful and captures the whimsical nature of the circus soul. Here are a few choice examples of Karen’s work with her descriptive text.
The ‘Nickel’ in this oil painting, “Nickel Storms the Ring” was my teacher and mentor, Nina Krasavina, a star acrobat, aerialist ad the first woman clown ever to grace the ring of the Moscow Circus. After defecting to NYC in the mid-’70s with her husband, Gregory Fedin, they traveled with 3-ring circuses throughout the US and Canada. Nina and Grefory opened their own school, the Circus Arts Center, in an abandoned department store in Hoboken, which they ran for years, training many acts that had longtime professional careers.
“Gordoon”: acrylic on canvas portrait of Jeff Gordon, whose inventive and acrobatic routines made him a beloved and longtime featured performer with the Big Apple Circus, as well as Cirque du Soleil, Ringling Bros., Walt Disney World, and various NYC theatre productions.
“Kenny Raskin/New York Goofs”. Kenny is a physical comedian whose diverse and charming character work enlightens every stage, be it on Broadway, off-off-Broadway or Cirque du Soleil. He is someone I never tire of sketching; captured here during a New York Goofs engagement.
“Little Tich” and his Big Boots Dance was a headlining act of the English music halls in the early 1900s. Tich (Harry Relph) was only 4’6” tall, but left large footprints with his eccentric and energetic dance routines, combining balancing skills with acrobatics. The slender wooden boots he performed in were 28 inches long! Relph is considered the forerunner of all screen comedy.
Darja is a Latvian-born acrobat whose professional partners happen to be small dogs and a potpourri of cats. The setting for her act is a living room, complete with two dressers, a nightstand, and an oval carpet. The drawers glide open and cats climb gracefully out, then jump in an arc to her shoulders, where they run and balance along with her extended limbs, as she turns walkovers, handstands, cartwheels, and splits. A dog poses perfectly on her top hat while she executes back rolls and contortional poses.
Darja performs primarily in Russia and Europe, in circuses, cabarets, and theaters. Her animals travel with her – in carriers to the stage, but live uncaged in her hotel room, where they all share her bed. I know, because I had the room next door to her in Leipzig, Germany, and was serenaded by her Siamese and Egyptian cats, who sang gustily all night!
“Richard Hayes”, also a British Music Hall performer, was a noted juggler and silent, deadpan comedian, often billed as “The Laziest Juggler in the World”. His oversized head, languid manner, and slow-motion moves distinguished his ball juggling routines.
This is a very early pastel sketch of Hilary Chaplain (1990’s) from the CircuSundays Series I used to run. Hilary is one of the most prolifically funny and hardest working physical comediennes, whose recent work has delved deeply into emotional and historical elements. In particular, her current production “The Last Rat of Theresienstadt” which takes place in the “Ghetto town”/concentration camp of Theresienstadt during the Holocaust. Following a successful run in Europe, where she garnered top awards, the show will be presented at The Wild Project on November 13th and 14th.
“Senor and Friend”. Senor Wences began his career as an unsuccessful bullfighter before becoming a gifted ventriloquist. The Spanish performer was one of the highest-paid and most popular Vaudevillian acts in the world and appeared on the Ed Sullivan show throughout the ’50s and ’60s. Wences died at the age of 103 in Manhattan.
“Slava’s Snow Show”. I first saw Slava Polunin in Cirque du Soleil’s production of Alegria, back in the 80’s, and was delighted by his simplistic and organic clowning (finally oversized clown proboscis and makeup used well by the clowns who wore them!) His signature romantic imagery, the surreal environments and emotional physical work he creates were resurrected in his first “Snow Show” that appeared on Broadway. This drawing was one of many rendered from his second run in NYC at Union Square.
“Waldo & Woodhead” (Paul Burke and Mark Keppel) were a couple of wild and zany guys, whose character-driven physical comedy and strong partner juggling made them a well known performing sensation around the globe. This painting, exhibited at several IJA Conventions, was sold three years ago.
For more information or to see other artwork, visit:
www.artbykeg.info on FB: “Art by Karen E. Gersch”
With the exception of “Waldo & Woodhead”, all the drawings and paintings here are unsold and available. Inquiries should be made to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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After a year of assembling photographs, quotes, personal comments, essays, and more photographs we finally have a beautiful book to offer the fans and friends of Rob Torres.
The professional photographers that have contributed their work to the book are: Michelle Bates, John Cornicello, Rob Falk, Mark Gardiner, Maike Schulz, and Wednesday Aja. Of course, I have photographs in the book as well.
A community celebration of the life of Rob Torres.
The softcover version of the book is available here.
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