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Ask The Experts Circus Coney Island USA Midgets Performing Arts Rose's Royal Midgets Sideshow Variety Arts Women

Coney Island USA ~ Ask the Experts: Trav S.D. ~ “More than Munchkins: A History of Performing Little People”

Ask The Experts: Trav S.D. – Live on Zoom

For centuries Little People have been a mainstay of popular entertainment. In this illustrated talk, author and performer Trav S.D. traces the historical ups and downs of very short-statured entertainers from medieval times through the era of P.T. Barnum and dime museums, to side shows and circuses, to vaudeville, to movies and television. Along the way, we trace the evolution of the Little Person’s image in popular culture, from one of cruel derision in the age of the court jester…to one of glamour, as personified by sex symbol and Emmy-winning actor Peter Dinklage…to a virtual return to carny days on reality tv.

Bio: Writer/performer Trav S.D.’s books include No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Made Vaudeville Famous (2005), Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies (2013) and Rose’s Royal Midgets and Other Little People of Vaudeville (2020). He has spoken at such venues as the Modern of Modern Art, Columbia University, NYU, Brooklyn College, the New York Public Library, and of course the Coney Island Museum, His blog Travalanche contains the world’s largest repository of vaudeville biographies, and much more. Read him daily at travsd.wordpress.com

FOR TICKETS TO ASK THE EXPERT

Wednesday, June 9, 2021 – 7:00pm

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Sideshow Southern Sideshow Hootenanny Tattoo Vaudevisuals Interview Video

Vaudevisuals interview ~ Geoff with a G

Connecting up with friends from out of town is always fun. A week ago Geoff was in town from Austin and we met up in Prospect Park. Here is the interview I conducted with this young energetic magician/sideshow performer and internet ‘twitch’ show host.

Talking to Geoff with a G in Prospect Park about his shows and life.

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Coney Island USA Livestream Music Party Sideshow Story Teller Variety Arts Vaudeville Women

First Ever Rock & Roll Circus Benefit ~ Thursday 4/29

What an amazing LINEUP!

Tickets are on sale now for our 2021 Spring Virtual Gala on Thursday, April 29th at 7pm, ET! A Night of High-Voltage Entertainment Produced in Cooperation with @jessemalin, @theboweryelectric and @rollinglivestudios!
The gala will feature a line-up of East Village and Coney Island personalities performing songs, spoken word, burlesque, and sideshow feats.
Tickets are $20. Donations made during the broadcast go directly to Coney Island USA, your Non-Profit Arts Organization at the beach!
Get all of the details at our event page! Invite your friends and thanks for your support!

For More information and tickets!

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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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Coney Island USA Rose's Royal Midget Troupe Sideshow Vaudeville Vaudevisuals Press Women Writer

Coney Island USA’s “Ask The Expert” – Jim R Moore and Trav S.D. ~ 11/18/20

Appearing on the Online “Ask The Expert” hour will be Vaudevisuals Press publisher Jim R Moore and author Trav S.D.

TICKETS HERE

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Canada Sideshow Women

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf ~ ‘Canadian Carnival Freaks…’

Canadian Carnival Freaks and the Extraordinary Body by Jane Nichols book cover

Canadian Carnival Freaks and the Extraordinary Body, 1900-1970s

by Jane Nicholas

“This book represents the first in-depth scholarly examination of the freak show in Canada, an institution with deep roots in our popular consciousness. Jane Nicholas has produced a significant addition to our understanding of the history of Canadian entertainment, attitudes towards children, and the social construction of able-bodiedness.”

Keith Walden, Department of History, Trent University

“In Canadian Carnival Freaks and the Extraordinary Body, 1900−1970s, Jane Nicholas seamlessly weaves together multiple histories: the history of the body, of children and childhood, of the working class family, of the cultural and social history of the carnival and the ‘freak show,’ among a number of others. Meticulously researched and sensitively argued, Nicholas adds immeasurably to our understanding of the central role that marginalized Canadians, particularly those with embodied differences, played in shaping broader ideas of normalcy, social acceptability, productive work, and cultural consumption.”

Mona Gleason, Department of Educational Studies, University of British Columbia

“Working backwards from the last CNE ‘freak show’ in 1973, Nicholas demonstrates the workings of state and business that made the shows fundamental to a burgeoning modern popular culture − hence consumer culture. She positions the freak show as integral to a ‘modern exhibitionary complex’ focused on the body as spectacle, an innovative approach to the power relations inherent in race, gender, and class, as well as the lesser discussed, but nonetheless critical, categories of age and ability. In this provocative and exciting book, above all a welcome addition to the growing historiography on disability, the author adds much to understandings of the ‘normal’ body as historically contingent, socially defined, and culturally performed.”

Cynthia Comacchio, Department of History, Wilfrid Laurier University

“Original, careful research combined with insightful analysis makes this book an important contribution to our understanding of popular culture and human variation.”

Robert Bogdan, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Syracuse University

CNE Midway 1920 City of Toronto

AN EXCERPT

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Book Shelf Sideshow Vaudevisuals Bookshelf Women

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “Weird & Wonderful – The Dime Museum in America”

By Andrea Stulman Dennett

Dioramas and panoramas, freaks and magicians, waxworks and menageries, obscure relics, and stuffed animals–a dazzling assortment of curiosities attracted the gaze of the nineteenth-century spectator at the dime museum. This distinctly American phenomenon was unprecedented in both the diversity of its amusements and in its democratic appeal, with audiences traversing the boundaries of ethnicity, gender, and class. Andrea Stulman Dennett’s ‘Weird and Wonderful: The Dime Museum in America’ recaptures this ephemeral and scarcely documented institution of American culture from the margins of history.

Weird and Wonderful chronicles the evolution of the dime museum from its eighteenth-century inception as a “cabinet of curiosities” to its death at the hands of new amusement technologies in the early twentieth century. From big theaters that accommodated audiences of three thousand to meager converted storefronts exhibiting petrified wood and living anomalies, this study vividly reanimates the array of museums, exhibits, and performances that make up this entertainment institution. Tracing the scattered legacy of the dime museum from vaudeville theater to Ripley’s museum to the talk show spectacles of today, Dennett makes a significant contribution to the history of American popular entertainment.


REVIEWS

“The book should prove interesting to readers of American social history, and particularly enjoyable for museum and entertainment professionals.”

“This book was a great read and provided the information I was hoping to learn about nineteenth-century dime museums. All the information on the subject seems to be scattered about and often lacking. This book ties it together in a succinct yet informative text.”

“Weird and Wonderful is a well researched and very readable account of the (mostly) 19th-century phenomenon commonly known as dime museums. While they were themselves short-lived, the influence of dime museums extends far and wide throughout our culture – from Discovery Channel programming and blockbuster museum exhibits to freak show revivals and viral videos.”

To purchase this book go here!

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Coney Island Coney Island USA Exhibit History Interview Performing Arts Photography Sideshow Video Women

Gibsonton, Florida & Other Sideshow & Carnival Videos

Some wonderful videos here for those that enjoy ‘sideshows’ & ‘carnivals’.

An excerpt from History Channel’s Weird US series focusing on the American’s sideshow. Featuring a wonderful interview with Ward Hall. From 2007.

A walkthrough of the Gibsonton, Florida sideshow town museum. Originally broadcast on Travel Channel.

A Carnival Museum! | The International Independent Showman’s Museum | Riverview, FL – Shot by ‘ViewfromTheCheapSeats‘.


From the wilds of Coney Island, some history here in a few videos to whet your appetite for sideshow!

Coney Island Sideshow and Amusement Park – New York City History 1940

Shot in 2009 but this amazing Sideshow Venue – Coney Island USA – is still very wonderful – (once the Covid-19 issue is over the ‘Sideshow by the Seashore‘ will resume!

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Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show Comedy Dance Dixon Place Juggling Magic Performing Arts Sideshow Women

Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show – Quarantine Edition – June 15th, 2020

Standing in front of the historic Wonder Wheel at Coney Island Keith introduces the show’s performers.

Dominque Rabideau performed a lovely skilled hat juggling act.

From the wilds of the UK Jon Udry performed a wonderful ‘juggling/striptease’ routine and then a charming teacup and teabag juggling routine.

Ermiyas Muluken performed a feat of balance and then juggled clubs while being 4 levels up on a rolla-bolla.

The performers in this show would usually be on stage getting a nice salary for their act but due to the ‘shut down’ they are here for your entertainment. Please consider donating at the options listed above!

Drew Nugent played a song on the piano and performed with the cute little teacup and mouthpiece. (A unique instrument for sure!)

Magic Brian and Tyler Fyre perform the ‘human blockhead‘ routine together online!

Brian and Tyler play some ‘technical wizardry’ in their act!

They proceeded to take the ‘blockhead’ once step further using an electric drill!

Keith attempts the ‘exquisite failure’ routine with the apple and knife. Watch next week because he ‘failed’ this time again. (this time he had his shoes on!)

Stephanie Monseu talks to the audience about ‘giving a hand’ in making the show better!

Kelsey Strauch performs her delightfully funny ‘long arms’ dance routine.

David Darwin requested a volunteer (virtually) and had her projected on his wooden wall pretending to be ‘walking dead’ and threw his knives at the wooden wall. Wild!

In this segment of “Ask Hovey”, Hovey Burgess tells the history of the ‘Wild West Show‘ and how it began with the plainsman “Buffalo Bill Cody“.

Salih Mahammed performed a very skilled juggling act with some props.

Stephanie Morphett-Tepp (Flying Brain) performs a traditional hair hanging act.

The performers take the ‘virtual’ curtain call.

Watch the show next Monday at 7:30pm – Different Acts Every Week!

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Performing Arts Sideshow Vaudevisuals Bookshelf Women

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “The Phantom Twin” a Children’s Graphic Novel by Lisa Brown

A formerly conjoined twin in a carnival sideshow feel the pang of cut ties!


A young woman is haunted by the ghost of her conjoined twin, in Lisa Brown’s The Phantom Twin, a sweetly spooky graphic novel set in a turn-of-the-century sideshow.

Isabel and Jane are the Extraordinary Peabody Sisters, conjoined twins in a traveling carnival freak show―until an ambitious surgeon tries to separate them and fails, causing Jane’s death.

Isabel has lost an arm and a leg but gained a ghostly companion: Her dead twin is now her phantom limb. Haunted, altered, and alone for the first time, can Isabel build a new life that’s truly her own?


Interview with the author Lisa Brown

Q: The Phantom Twin is about sisterhood, loss, and identity. How do you think young adults will relate to Isabel’s story?

A: I think that all those elements resonate in just about every human’s life; family, death, and loneliness. I know that they resonate with me. As for young adults, they’re in the middle of an enormous identity shift from childhood to adulthood. It’s an evolution that sometimes feels like a loss, other times an achievement. It’s really a bit of both.

Q: The setting of The Phantom Twin is very unique. Why did you choose it?

A: I’ve always been enamored of carnivals. They perch on the edge of wholesome and seedy: innocent fun on the outside and perhaps more sinister behind the curtain. The lives of the sideshow performers themselves were also a muddle of contradictions: beauty and talent, exploitation and bigotry, and, for some, success and happiness. In the end, it’s complicated, and I am drawn to what is complicated.


About the Author

Lisa Brown is a New York Times bestselling illustrator, author, and cartoonist. Her work includes a slew of illustrated books including Goldfish Ghost by Lemony Snicket; The Airport Book; Picture the Dead with Adele Griffin; and Mummy Cat by Marcus Ewert. For adults, Long Story Short is a collection of comic strips about classic novels. She lives in San Francisco and teaches in the illustration department of the California College of Art.


“Reviews”

“In the tradition of Ransom Riggs’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love, Lisa Brown’s The Phantom Twin explores the behind-the-scenes lives of performers in an old-timey circus sideshow, tapping into our fascination―and on some level identification―with these obvious ‘outsiders.'” New York Times

“Skating the line of unsettling and adorable, Brown’s trademark tidy artwork and straightforward, emotional text will make readers wrestle with what it means to be a ‘freak.’ Step right up.” ―Daniel Kraus, New York Times–bestselling coauthor of The Shape of Water

“Lovely. A fascinating and heartfelt tale of two sisters, beautifully told, beautifully drawn.” ―Ransom Riggs, #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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