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Book Shelf History Recommended Reading List Variety Arts Vaudeville

Abide by the Little People ~ A Book Review by Frank Jogler Jr.

 

 Nowadays it is with frequency that we encounter much in the way about “multiculturalism, diversity and inclusion.” Yet, paradoxically perhaps, it is in the realm of the theatrical firmament that what is offered for exhibition before our collective eyes is circumscribed, in scope delimited. 

In yesteryear – but, in fact, actually not too long ago – theatergoers avid for both excellence and novelty had an array of choices for their entertainment pleasure that we today, simply do not have, alas. 

For those studying the actual timeline of vaudeville, variety, and ancillary cultural attractions presented in various public venues, we may comprehend, from our distance, the nostalgic, pining away for now once regnant theatrical forms once upon a time loved by the masses, fairground exhibitions of ‘human oddities’, and other novelty acts and performers, all of which audiences and spectators valued immeasurably and with enduring sincere thankfulness: this period in our cultural life was a beholder’s paradise, and now superannuated by sensibilities our forebears might not find to be, in fact, of  a truly progressive arc.

 Comes now, a further, evocative and contextual addition to our imaginative resources by which to re- examine this cultural time of the past, and theatrical glory, of a unique sub-set of talented people: the new book, Roses Royal Midgets and Other Little People of Vaudeville, published by Vaudevisuals Press with essays by Trav S.D.

 In the books’, well-written pages, we encounter theatrical heroes and heroines, small in stature by the measuring-stick of biological normies yet obvious cultural giants, whose very existence and talents were recognized as true testament of the transcendency of our in-common human condition.

If P.T. Barnum’s featured attraction, the diminutive General Tom Thumb ever needed similar dimensioned phalanxes to lead, then these small Vaudevillian troops of midgets might well have become his troops and legatees.

The new book allows readers to luxuriate in fascinating mini-histories and profiles of the little people and of producers who showcased their marvelous ways and artistry of all sorts. For the pages are replete with extracts from published souvenir programs, lavish poster lithographic studies, photo ethnographic documentation of this Lilliputian subculture; Bravo to all: Trav S.D. essays, Jim Moore, publisher, and James Taylor Foreword author and freak-lorist. 

On stage in their specialty-numbers, and their dancing, song, skits, comedy routines, instrumental playing and acrobatics, etc., they regaled spectators with phenomental virtuosity, similar to that in normal Vaudeville time in variety circuits across the land.

It’s illumitive to behold this unique slice of humanity and, as well, since these people are, in photos adorable, one wishes one could pluck them from out of the pages, and cradle them in the crook of one’s elbows!

As the French author La Fountain, compiler of fables, wrote, centuries past, when you throw the goose out the front door of the house, it waddles back in from the back of your house; so filmmaker Spike Lee in ‘Bamboozle’ felt that Minstreals had come back this time repurposed as gangsta-rap. 

Apropos of this, perhaps other past theatrical forms – including those we are reminded of in this book under review here – may. too, be resurrected, but, unlike Mr. Lee’s example, with more salubrious, and of transcendent purpose.

Just as a character on TV, Archie Bunker, said “Those were the days,” and, most probably, those were quite better days culturally, and the currently vogueish shibeleths of the “cultural studies” mavens cannot gainsay the actual cultural excellence displayed by our brassy show-biz inheritance including midgets and all; minstrels and all; freaks and all…

Available here in both softcover and Limited Edition Hardcover/Color

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American Circus Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show Book Shelf Cinema Circus History Performing Arts Sideshow Variety Arts Vaudeville Vaudevisuals Bookshelf Vaudevisuals Press Video Women

“Ask Hovey” ~ A talk about midgets featuring Rose’s Royal Midgets book.

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.

And if you want to read more about the book visit the great review from Circopedia‘s founder/director Dominique Jando here.

You can get Rose’s Royal book here!

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Clown Comedy Dance Magic Music Photography Street Performing Tap Dance Variety Arts Video Women

Central Park Variety Show ~ November 20th, 2020

Central Park Variety Show producer/performer Ambrose Martos introduces the evening’s festivities.

MC for the evening was Muffy Styler.

Muffy Styler sang some great tunes with Aldo Perez on guitar.

Brian Klimowski performed a ‘chinese yoyo’ routine and a magic yoyo string restoration. Wonderful!

Tyler West performed two very wild physical comedy sketches.

Ambrose Martos followed with another wild ‘flasher’ routine!

Muffy sang another song and closed out the show.

Curtain call group shot ~ Lea McGowan with Dingo, Muffy Styler, Brian Klimowski, Ambrose Martos, Tyler West and Aldo Perez.

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Jazz Music Pangea Performing Arts Street Performing Variety Arts Women

Eccentric Mr. Matt Roper & Miss Muffy Styler @Pangea 10/23 ~ 7pm

Seating is strictly limited. Pangea has about 20 seats outdoors, so table reservations are necessary.

We would strongly suggest calling (212) 995-0900 to book.

A suggested donation of $15 would be warmly welcomed to support the artists and Pangea.

Everyone is welcome. Pangea is following Covid19 guidelines!

Remember to wrap up warmly for these cooler fall evenings… . 


Pangea has been supporting and providing a platform for artists of all persuasions since the 1980s. Pangea is an out-and-out East Village staple and in these urgent times they, and NYC, need your support more than ever! Plus, the staff are the best and the hospitality is legendary.

Since the Pandemic, many favorite restaurants that are very supportive of the performing arts have been having financial troubles.

No restaurant patrons = Financial Trouble!

So in light of this situation, I am asking anyone to contribute to the GoFundMe campaign for PANGEA!

go HERE for More information

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Categories
American Circus Book Shelf History Interview Performing Arts Photography Rose's Royal Midget Troupe Variety Arts Vaudeville Vaudevisuals Interview Video Women

Vaudevisuals interview with Karen McCarty – “Gladys Farkas”

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!


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Book Shelf Comedy History Juggling Performing Arts Variety Arts Vaudevisuals Bookshelf Video Writer

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – ‘Juggling – What It Is and How To Do It’

Confused about what to do today?

Try Juggling –

Wondering what you will do tomorrow?

Try Juggling –

Thom Wall is here to tell you what it is and HOW to do it!

JUGGLING – WHAT IT IS AND HOW TO DO IT! by Thom Wall

“I realized that there was no resource that taught contemporary juggling techniques,” Wall says.

“The books that were already available focused on “this old style of juggling performance or juggling training, where you just throw the throw, it does this and then it just works,” he says. “Whereas juggling pedagogy in the past 30 years has completely changed.”

http://jugglingbook.com

~Have a go at it. You might just find that you enjoy juggling~

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Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show Comedy Juggling Magic Music Physical Theater Variety Arts

Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show – Quarantine Edition – June 29th, 2020

Host Keith Nelson introduces the performers for the show.

Beautiful juggling by Luther Bangert in the wilds of nature.

Keith does some real fun ‘sign juggling’.

Montana Miller recites quite a few chemical names while doing a handstand.

Keith announces the best ‘chatterer’ during the Bindlestiff show.

Angelo Iodice shows off his award sash for ‘best chatterer’.

Denny Daniel introduces a whole assortment of antique items from his museum collection.

Great opportunity to help the performers by making a donation.

Mark Hayward attempts (and completes) this new trick of knocking the chip off his ear with the yoyo using a mirror.

Jenny Vidbel performs with her beautiful trained horses.

Keith attempts to catch the knife in the apple on the board. Nope!

During his weekly “Ask Hovey” segment Hovey Burgess talks about elephants in the circus.

Mentalist, magician Eric Walton performs a trick with an audience volunteer.

Butch and Buttercup perform a high aerial balance act under the roof of The Muse.

Performers take their virtual curtain call.

Next Monday night at 7:30pm. A new show with new performances! Tune in!

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Categories
Art Exhibit History Magic Performing Arts Photography Street Performing Variety Arts

Revisiting Jeff Sheridan Conjurer/inventor/magician

A few years ago I went to Frankfurt to visit magician Jeff Sheridan. He was working on some art collages and new magic illusions which were very amazing. Recently I spoke to him on the phone and he mentioned the Youtube video that he made in 2005. I have attached it below. Also, I created this slide show from photographs I have taken of Jeff Sheridan performing in Central Park and images taken from book covers and magazines where he was featured.

It was projected during Jeff’s performance at Monday Night Magic in 2005 which was hosted by Todd Robbins.
During the past several decades, Jeff has made Frankfurt his home and during this time he has performed at the legendary variety club Tiger Palast as well as many private engagements (Mercedes, Deutsch bank, etc). He has created many pieces of art/collages during his time in Frankfurt as well as invent many new magic illusions for Milton Bradley Magic Works, Japanese company Tenyo, and Viking Magic.

He authored the 1977 book, Street Magic, An Illustrated History of Wandering Magicians and Their Conjuring Arts. The book was co-authored by Edward Claflin.

Jeff Sheridan also authored in 1982 ‘Nothings Impossible, Stunts to Entertain and Amaze’ published by Lothrop Lee and Shepard. The book was illustrated with photographs by me.

His film “Jeff Sheridan – Hand to Mind” has been seen by over 24 thousand viewers on You Tube.

Posted here for your convenience!


Other posts about Jeff Sheridan can be found HERE!

~And HERE~

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Categories
Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show Comedy Dance Dixon Place Juggling Magic Music Performing Arts Puppetry Variety Arts

Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show – Quarantine Edition – June 8th, 2020

Host Keith Nelson introduces the weeks news and show.

Keith Nelson performs his signature act ‘the spinning top’ to open the show.

The Kinesis Project is a collection of wonderful dancers who performed together.

Jonathan Burns gets into and out of a toilet seat and tennis racket with much comedy indeed!

Logan Kerr performed a beautiful tight wire act in the countryside.

Magician Nelson Lugo performed a wonderful rope routine.

Bindlestiff co-director and Open Stage host Keith Nelson performs another amazing trick.

Serenity performed a lovely aerial act in her back yard.

Brad Shur created and performed with some wonderful cardboard puppets.

Corn Mo entertained the viewers with his accordion and original songs.

‘Ask Hovey’ – This week Hovey Burgess discussed the circus bear and it’s history.

Aaron Bonk cracks whips like no one else. Juggling them and cracking!

Elena Sanders performed amazing contortions.

The cast takes their internet ‘curtain call’.

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Aerial Acts Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show Clown Comedy Dance Dixon Place Juggling Magic Music Performing Arts Variety Arts

Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show – Quarantine Edition – June 1st, 2020

Host Keith Nelson opens the show with an introduction of the acts.

The Bindlestiff Open Stage introduced a ‘new’ camera angle.

Steve Langley performed a wonderful ‘bubble’ production act.

Steve created a ‘bubble’ merry-go-round with his equipment.

Pinkie Special performed a wild ‘hula-hoop’ act.

Bruke had his hands full with a delightfully agile hat juggling act.



Professor DR Schreober took us back in time with some fun period magic.

Larry Vee did the rolla-bolla, hula-hoop, spinning a ball and juggling another.



Stephanie Monseu encouraged the viewers to take the survey.

Chase Culp performed with musical cow bells and played them well.

Hovey Burgess talked about the ‘shot from canon’ act that was in the circus for so many years.

Marcus Monroe juggled illuminated and regular clubs and told some ‘one-liners.

Kyla performed a beautiful aerial act.

The Coronel Sisters from Peru had the most amazing balancing skills on the balls.


Tune in Next Monday for another Bindlestiff Open Stage show!

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