A visit to the eccentric sideshow at Coney Island USA was a great trip. Now the show is OPEN again to the public and the performances are every Fri. through Sun. I had the pleasure of interviewing Jelly Boy the Clown backstage after his show.
Jelly Boy the Clown is currently writing his autobiography. Look out for it next year at your local bookstore.
April is a crazy month for classic comedy anniversaries, including the birthdays of Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd and (this year) the centennial of the first comedy short directed by Buster Keaton (though not the first one he released). And numerous others, as well. Join me Monday, April 19 (7pm) for my zoom crash course on classic comedy, where we’ll be talking about these guys and many others, and what makes them unique, how they influenced each other, and everyone who came since! The talk will be available only to members of my Patreon family — go here to join so you can take part in all the Travalanche zoom talks, and other exclusive benefits, like my upcoming Podcast about Old Time Medicine Shows, coming up in early May. Come find out why the poet tell us “April is the Foolish Month”!
Quentin Crisp was born on Christmas Day 1908 in Sutton, a suburb of London. After leaving school he became an illustrator and a designer of book covers before spending the next 35 years of his life as an artists’ model. In 1981 he moved to New York City and became a resident alien, living in a one-bedroom flat in Chelsea which he famously never cleaned (“After the first four years the dirt doesn’t get any worse”), and describing himself as a “resident waif.” He died in 1999, just one month short of his 91st birthday.
“Suffice to say that this unemployed man with little formal education remains a sparkling wit, intellectual, philosopher and style arbiter who is unlikely ever to be matched. Quentin Crisp puts Oscar Wilde to shame”.
Luca lives in Naples, Italy, and has been performing Quick Change for quite a few years now. He has written a book on the topic which I am listing here for your consideration. Translated from Italian with all the wonderful nuances found in that process.
An assortment of puppeteers perform various scenes from the 358-year-old traditional English puppet show, Punch & Judy (n.b. for adults only)
“Kamikaze” is a term Drama of Works uses for its themed puppet slams, based around one story/event/play. A multitude of puppet artists are given sections of the story to reinterpret and create with wild abandon. Then it is presented in order. No one knows how it will come together until the night of the show.
Puppets Come Home! is a series designed to celebrate Coney Island’s 150-year legacy of puppetry & provide a platform for contemporary cutting-edge puppeteers. Produced in collaboration with Coney Island USA.
Five years ago LaMama theater presented this wonderful ‘Coffeehouse Chronicles’ examining the contemporary puppet theater from the 1970s to 2015.I thought it would bring some joy to those that missed this wonderful event and others to repost in these difficult times.
In March of 2020, I gave a presentation – “First in Half the World – A Spiel on the Peale” – as the opening event for the USofA’s oldest sideshow convention, the Southern Sideshow Hootenanny in New Orleans. And its pitch ran something like this:
“During the War of 1812, during the siege of Ft. McHenry, there was another notable event besides the dawning of the “Star-Spangled Banner”: Under construction – the siege visible from its scaffolding – was the oldest purpose-built museum in the Western Hemisphere. The Peale Museum was the outgrowth of the Peale family’s exhibition franchise that spread across the Mid-Atlantic and typified virtually all the glories – and contradictions & conflicts – of the museum business even today. “America’s sideshow historian,” James Taylor, talks on the Peale’s history and legacy, one that highlights institutions from the Smithsonian to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! to dime museums and carnival midway shows.”
But that’s not all you’ll see here. Really, what spiel consists of only what’s advertised?