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Performing Arts Photography Variety Arts Video Women

Vince Bruce – Trick Roper – A Tribute

Tribute Video for Vince Bruce.

Vince Bruce ©2019 by Dutch photographer Kees Tabak

At eight years old Vince Bruce met early Wild West cowboy star and music hall performer, Tex McLeod who lived down the street from him in England. Inspired then to be a rope twirling cowboy like his hero, Vince practiced rope tricks under the tutelage of his inventor father. By the age of twelve, he had a regular Friday night spot at a local holiday resort.

As a teenager in the traveling circuses of Europe and later in cabaret clubs and theatre festivals around the world, Vince developed his natural style as an entertainer with unparalleled ability as a western arts virtuoso.

Vince first came to the States in 1983 as the half-time act for the Harlem Globetrotters and that same year won every award at the first convention of the International Trick & Fancy Ropers Association.

In 1991 he starred in the Broadway hit “The Will Rogers’ Follies” where he created the role of “The Roper,” portraying Will Rogers on the silver screen of Hollywood. The show ran two and a half years and received seven Tony’s.

While in New York, Vince met his wife Annie Dubats, a singer prominent in Manhattan’s downtown art and music scene. When working together, Annie graces Vince’s act by singing a few of her own songs and some country classics while on horseback.

Vince’s show is unique. I mean, how many British Cowboys do you know? He looks like the quintessential cowboy — tall and slim with a lined, character face. He’s a blast of energy when he comes on stage swinging a lasso in a big circle that spins wildly over the heads of a surprised audience, while the little bits of “business” that he puts into his roping routines make whatever he’s doing irresistibly entertaining.

(Courtesy of Margo Feiden Gallery)

Here is Vince Bruce performing his act on the English TV Paul Daniels Show

Vince Bruce, born April 4, 1955, died September 24, 2011.

Here is a lovely obit from the UK paper The Telegraph

For more information visit his website here!

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A Tribute by A.J. Silver

There are very few people in history who have earned the title “ The Greatest”.
Vince Bruce the greatest western performer to ever live is one of them.
   Vince is also known as the Wizard of Whips and Ropes performed in the most prestigious entertainment venues around the world including Broadway,  Carnegie Hall and a regular performer at The Tiger Palast in Frankfurt, Germany.
  His western act including trick roping and whips but what set him apart was his unmatched skill level and artistry.
He was a true artist!
    Most roping acts were based on technical skills.
Rope spinners would perform their tricks with music playing in the background and often it was somewhat boring.
 Vince took the western act and showed the world how exciting it could be combining his skills with comedy and showmanship.
His act was perfectly timed to the music and the audiences knew they were watching a virtuoso.
Vince also included unicycle skills and performed the famous Bobby May trick in his act.
 The Bobby May trick involved throwing a lit match behind his back and catching it in his mouth followed by throwing a cigarette behind his back and catching it in his mouth and lighting it with the match, he would then cut the lit cigarette out of his mouth with his whip. This trick earned the respect from jugglers and circus legends and  It made him more than a western act, he was a variety superstar.
  Vince’s act had such a high skill level that unless you understood roping you could never fathom that he was performing so many risky feats that a mistake could happen any second. To perform an act at this level requires exceptional confidence and focus and countess hours of daily practice.
  When talking to variety artists who do not understand roping I call Vince the Francis Brunn of ropers. 
Just like there will never be a juggler who can be compared to Francis,  there will never be another roper who can be compared to Vince.
They are both legends who took their art form to another level with original technical skill and artistry.
They truly are kings of their disciplines and have inspired countless performers. 
I imagine every western performer alive today considers Vince Bruce their idol.
  Vince traveled the world performing in the most prestigious stage productions and circuses and then he created a unique rodeo act with his performing partner and wife Annie Dubats.
  Annie met Vince while he was starring in the Big Apple Circus in NYC.
Annie had a career as a singer and grew up working with horses.
They complimented each other and Annie made it possible for Vince to create the act he always dreamed of, spinning a big loop around two horses while standing on them and racing around the arena at a full gallop. 
  Annie and Vince also created an original horse catching/roping act that had all but disappeared from the rodeo.
Annie would sing on horseback, not an easy feat while Vince would perform Mexican style roping while seated and standing on his horse. Annie would then gallop past Vince’s horse and the timing had to be perfect as Vince would roll his loop out and catch Annie and her horse.
 This act would not have been possible without Annie. There is so much preparation that goes into training and maintaining an act like this.
  In the past, Vince could hop on a plane with his luggage but now there were two horses that had to be transported and cared for.
Annie made it possible for Vince to maintain his skill level by sharing the responsibility of exercising, training and caring for their two horses Cochise and Comanche.
Annie and Vince made a perfect team and to see them perform together with their horses was witnessing a lifelong dream come true.

We lost Vince to cancer in 2011.
   He had a great sense of humor and a big heart.
Vince had a huge amount of love for the world and he was generous with it.
He always gave encouragement to fellow ropers and would always offer help. It was hard not to love him back.
 I started my career as a rodeo trick rider and always thought trick roping was boring until the day I saw Vince perform.
My mind was blown! I couldn’t believe what I just saw. I was actually angry that I could not imagine how beautiful and exciting a western act could be. 
 I owe a great deal to Vince. It was because of him that I decided to create a roping act.
I always enjoy my talks with Annie who I consider almost like a sister.
Annie is one of the few people I know who understands the whole gamut of Show Business – Broadway, Circus, Stage productions, Rodeo, Wild West Shows. Horse Spectacles ………
 Annie saw the world with Vince and has such a vast knowledge of not only Show business but what went into creating and maintaining Vince’s act.
 There are very few days that go by that I don’t wonder how Vince was able to accomplish the high skill level and artistry of his act and  It truly boggles my mind.
He was Superhuman, peerless and he will always be unmatched – The Greatest.


Spinning a big loop around two horses while standing on them and racing around the arena at a full gallop. Colorado Springs Rodeo

Special THANKS goes out to Joan Henry Houghton (Mutts Gone Nuts), A.J. Silver, Margareta Dillinger (Tiger Palast) and Annie Dubats (Vince Bruce’s wife).

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Categories
Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show Circus Comedy Juggling Magic Performing Arts Photography Sideshow Variety Arts

Bindlestiff Open Stage ~ Mirror Tent at Big Apple Circus ~ 1/7/2019

Guest Photographer/Blogger Maike Schulz

On this special The Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Revue was hosted at the Mirror Tent at Lincoln Center on January 7th. It was an amazing lineup of great acts. I am posting the work of photographer Maike Schulz who has specialized in shooting circus worldwide for many years. Her work is stunning!

Bindlestiff Co-founder Keith Nelson hosted this wonderful evening of variety arts.

Opening the show with his ‘Chinese YoYo’ act was Keith Nelson.

One of my favorite acts is A.J.Silver who performs a great lasso and whip cracking act.

TruDe was next to shake up the audience with her hysterical comedy dancing and cavorting.

Yoyo master Justin Weber does the most amazing moves with his Yoyo and Diablo.

Magic Mike made a ‘rare’ appearance performing his ‘classic’ type magic tricks(schtick).

Butch and Buttercup (Angela Butch and Yoni Kallai) performed an amazing acrobatic duo.

Keith performs many ‘sideshow’ stunts and this Kendama Blockhead is one of them.

After intermission the suave and handsome Wilfredo took the stage to entertain.

The comedy/juggling brother duo Collin and Shane Miclon added more humor and skill to the night’s festivities.

Zero Boy added his own brand of ‘audio gymnastics’ to the evening.

The final act for the night was the traditional vaudeville 8 plate spin by Keith Nelson.

You can see more of Maike’s wonderful photography at her website or in the upcoming Limited Edition Rob Torres Tribute book which you can check out here.

The Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Revue happens every first MONDAY of the month at Dixon Place!

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Categories
Aerial Acts American Circus Baruch Performing Arts Center Clown Comedy Vaudevisuals Interview Video Women

Vaudevisuals interview with Mark Gindick and Mark Lonergan – ‘Circo de la Luna’

It’s not every day that a new circus comes to town. Especially an exotic, sensual and comedic one. That is Circo de la Luna!

Here is Mark Lonergan (director) and Mark Gindick (clown) talking about the upcoming show.

Produced by Amanda Topaz and starring Sonia Olla.

Featuring the following performers:

Ismael Fernandez

Sarah Sophie Flicker

Mark Gindick

Olga Karmansky

AJ Silver

Amanda Topaz

Anna Venizelos

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 2.18.25 PM

CLICK HERE FOR TICKET INFORMATION

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Categories
Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show Bouffon Comedy Juggling Magic Music Performing Arts Photography Physical Theater Variety Arts Women

Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Revue – March 7th, 2016 @ Dixon Place

Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Revue – March 7th, 2016 @ Dixon Place

What a great night at the theater! The Bindlestiff Open Stage was such a blast. Such a variety of performers…

Here are photographs from the Open Stage Revue.

2Keith Nelson Opens the showMC and Opening Act Keith Nelson performs the ‘Chinese Yoyo’.

Greg Dubin performs a magic trick with cards.Greg Dubin performs a great magic trick with cards and 2 audience members.

2016.03.07_BindOpn.057-2Audience member Ross Berenson signs the card with a magic marker. 

2016.03.07_BindOpn.086-2After putting the two signed cards into the deck and placing it in the paper bag he spears the bag and pierced the two cards.

2016.03.07_BindOpn.114-2A.J. Silver enlisted the help from an audience member to perform his whip cracking act.

2016.03.07_BindOpn.120-2With whip in hand, he poses the hysterical audience member holding the rose.

2016.03.07_BindOpn.135-2On his lovely little horse, he and the assistant ride off into the sunset.

Mariko Iwasa the clown.Mariko Iwasa (currently performing with Ringling Bros. Circus) performed a funny piece with ordinary props.

2016.03.07_BindOpn.194-2Full of energy and charm Mariko finished her piece.

2016.03.07_BindOpn.223-2Zero Boy performed with a table full of hats that he donned with different characters.

2016.03.07_BindOpn.236-2Zero Boy tells the story with his vocal wizardry and mimetic talents.

Dropsy Twins juggling clubs.The Dropsy Twins (David Sanders & Jeff Mitchell)  juggle clubs and balls and act pretty silly.

2016.03.07_BindOpn.285-2After completing their act the Dropsy Twins drop to the floor.

2016.03.07_BindOpn.314-2Diana Lin performs a beautiful aerial silk act.

Diana Lin performs a aerial silk act.

2016.03.07_BindOpn.333-2Poise and finesse were two admirable qualities of Diana Lin.

Matt Roper performs "Wilfredo".Wilfredo (Matt Roper) was so outlandishly hysterical in his costume and character the audience loved him.

Matt Roper Performs WilfredoWilfredo toast the audience with his whiskey.

2016.03.07_BindOpn.444-2Matt Roper won the audience over with his Wilfredo character.

2016.03.07_BindOpn.479-2Tyler Shaquire performed with such speed it was difficult to photograph his amazing aerial talent.

2016.03.07_BindOpn.483-2Precision and muscularity were his calling card.

2016.03.07_BindOpn.518-2Timothy Pratt (Pip) performed some wonderful magic for the audience.

2016.03.07_BindOpn.525-2Charming and talented Pip enjoyed the Bindlestiff Open Stage audience.

2016.03.07_BindOpn.543-2Albert Kircher performed a comedy routine based on his life experiences.

2016.03.07_BindOpn.550-2Part existentialism and part nihilism. But very funny.

2016.03.07_BindOpn.582-2Kelsey Strauch performed a funny ‘extended arms’ hoop piece.

2016.03.07_BindOpn.590-2With her acrobatic skills and great sense of humor Kelsey reached into surreal territory.

2016.03.07_BindOpn.593-2A split like you have never seen before performed by Kelsey Strauch.

2016.03.07_BindOpn.638-2MC and Bindlestiff main man finished off a great night with spinning eight bowls and catching all the silverware. Yikes!

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Every FIRST MONDAY of the month you can witness this fun night of Variety at Dixon Place.

Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Revue.

Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie Street, New York, NY
Door $10 (suggested donation)
Showtime: 7:30 pm

Great fun!!!

 

Categories
Comedy Dance Juggle This Juggling Performing Arts Photography Variety Arts

“Juggle This” Show Spectacular @ Miller Theater – June 7th, 2014

Juggle This is here for the 12th Season. A Festival  weekend of juggling fanatics who enjoy sharing, watching and taking workshops.

The weekend culminates with this SHOW SPECTACULAR that I documented at the Miller Theater at Columbia University campus.

The host for the evenings festivities was comedy juggler and Ringling Bros Clown College graduate MICHAEL DAVIS.

Michael Davis performing at Juggle This Show Spectacular.Michael Davis is a professional with experience on Broadway, The White House. TV and is delightfully funny.

The show had an international lineup. The next act was Erik Aberg from Stockholm, Sweden.

Erik Aberg from Stockholm, Swedan performing at Juggle ThisErik Aberg lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. His work in juggling is focused on historical research, researching new techniques and new props.

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Jacob D'Eustachio performing at Juggle This.Jacob D’Eustachio is a graduate of the prestigious Ecole de Cirque de Quebec as was the first person to apprentice with Kris Kremo.

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2014.06.07__Juggle_468Matthew Greenfield and Susan Voyticky perform a beautiful duet that shares gymnastics, dance.

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Isaac Rockafellow performing at Juggle This.Isaac Rockafellow arrived in NY last july all the way from Idaho. He has many interest and will be going to study the Ukranian Circus after the fall of the Soviet Union on a Fulbright grant. 

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Imri Rom performing at Juggle ThisImri Rom is a 7 year old diablo phenomena who began his juggling passion at the age of 4.

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Kelsey Strauch performing at Juggle This.Kelsey Strauch is a juggler, acrobat, movement artist, yogi and teacher.

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2014.06.07__Juggle_202-2All thru the show Michael Davis would perform excerpts from his own hysterical one-man act. Here he dons a clown nose!

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Justin Weber performing at Juggle This.Justin Weber picked up his first YoYo during the fad in the 90’s. He quickly got serious, competing in state, regional, national and world level contests. He is amazing!

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Mitch Lustig perforning at Juggle ThisMitch Lustig is a multi-faceted showman specializing in the Cyr-wheel, fire arts and juggling.

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A.J. Silver performing at Juggle This.A. J. Silver performing his amazing rope act. He started his career as a rodeo trick rider.

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2014.06.07__Juggle_632The Curtain Call for 2014 “Juggle This’ Show Spectacular!

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The Juggle This event is produced by Bindlestiff Family Variety Arts, Inc. with assistance from The Carmine Street Irregulars.

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