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Photography Rose's Royal Midget Troupe Vaudeville Vaudevisuals Bookshelf Vaudevisuals Press

“Rose’s Royal Midgets and Other Little People of Vaudeville”. A Review by Dominique Jando.

In the first half of the twentieth century, performing troupes of Little People ⏤ then popularly known as Midgets ⏤ were undeniably, in Europe or in the United States, the main drawing cards of any variety or circus production that featured them. After their appearance in M-G-M’s “The Wizard of Oz,” the Munchkins’ everlasting fame has been a testimony to their timeless appeal. “Midgets” were not to be confused with Little People victim of achondroplasia: unlike the latter, they were perfectly proportioned, looking like amazingly gifted children who had just fled Neverland. Endearing to their audiences, they were also genuinely talented performers, and if only for that reason, their place in show business history is indeed worthy of attention.

“Rose’s Royal Midgets and Other Little People of Vaudeville,” published by Vaudevisuals Press, justly gives them the long-overdue attention they deserve as performing artists: the very short bibliography appearing at the end of the book sadly shows how little has been written about them, unless they appeared under the generic denomination of “freaks” in a few books related to carnival and circus sideshows — an even more derogatory term than “Midgets,” especially for the true performers they often were.

Trav S.D., American vaudeville’s foremost historian and keeper of the flame (whose book “No Applause, Just Throw the Money” is a must for anyone curious about vaudeville), tells us in a well-researched essay the history of Ike Rose and his Royal Midgets company, which forms the backbone of the book and benefits from precious documents in the personal collection of Karen McCarty — whose grandmother, Gladys Farkas, was a member of Rose’s company. Besides rare photographs, reproductions of contracts, advertising booklets, and programs give us a wonderful insight into the life of the troupes of that era.

In another well-illustrated essay, Trav introduces us to other famous Little People, from P.T. Barnum’s Tom Thumb (Charles Stratton) to the Doll Family (born Schneider) and many lesser-known individuals and troupes, with biographical notices that finally take them out of the shadows. The book opens with an essay by James Taylor (author of “Shocked and Amazed! On & Off the Midway”) on performing Little People’s reaction to the much too frequent use of the derogatory terminology that usually describes them, whether or not in a professional context. It ends with a gallery of Charles Eisenmann’s photographic portraits of Little People (from the Syracuse University Library’s Ronald G. Becker Collection) dating back to the 1880s.

Edited and published by Jim Moore, photographer to the circus stars, “Rose’s Royal Midgets and Other Little People of Vaudeville” is a wonderful tribute to bona-fide artists who, notwithstanding the special appeal of their physical peculiarity, were by and large talented actors, singers, dancers, comedians, and circus performers who certainly deserved more than a quick footnote in the history of show business.

Dominique Jando ~ Circopedia

Ike Rose and his troupe visiting the White House in 1926.
A review of Rose's Royal Midgets and Other Little People of Vaudeville by Circopedia's founder/director Dominique Jando.
Dudley Foster photographed by Charles Eisenmann.
From the Charles Eisenmann section of Rose’s Royal Midgets and Other Little People of Vaudeville.
Courtesy of the Ronald G. Becker Collection of Charles Eisenmann Photographs

To purchase the book click here!

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Categories
Book Shelf Circus Comedy History Performing Arts Vaudevisuals Bookshelf

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “The Grand Gypsy” A Memoir by Ottavio Canestrelli

 ~ The Grand Gypsy ~

A Memoir by Ottavio Canestrelli with Ottavio Gesmundo

The Grand Gypsy is a memoir of life in the circus, filled with daring feats and tragic mishaps. It is the true story of a man who experienced historical events as he toured with his family through five continents and countless nations. Among these events are his harrowing experience fighting in World War I against the German Army in Italy, and the excavation of the Sphinx in Egypt.

Replete with over 150 rare, historic photographs, The Grand Gypsy is a chronicle of a circus dynasty from the late nineteenth century in Europe to the new millennium in the United States of America. Included are significant images that document an extensive tour through such exotic locations as Burma, Sumatra, New Guinea, Syria, and Mesopotamia during the early twentieth century, and numerous portraits and captured performances in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Hollywood, Las Vegas, and Sarasota, Florida.



“The Grand Gypsy is indeed fascinating and highly enjoyable reading, not only for anyone interested in circus history but also for any curious or adventurous mind.”

Dominique Jando – Editor, Circopedia.org

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“The story of Ottavio Canestrelli is unique and this book, rich with history and filled with humor, is fresh and memorable.” – “readers will definitely be interested in his remarkable story.” 

The Booklife Prize by Publisher’s Weekly

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“The story of his travels, his acts and those of his talented family will enthrall any reader, and this is a most well-written and structured book”  

Circus Report

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“The roster of names dropped along the way, along with an expansive collection of photographs from every period covered in the book, should provide a good deal of pleasure”.

Spectacle Magazine

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“​The pictures in the book are astonishing. With its pictures and rich anecdotes, this is a treasure of a book.”

Judge, 25th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards


BUY IT HERE!


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Categories
American Circus Big Apple Circus Circus Clown Comedy Performing Arts Photography Story Teller

The Rob Torres Tribute Book

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.

Commentary by Paul Binder (co-founder of The Big Apple Circus), Ernest Albrecht (Spectacle Magazine), Dominque Jando (Circopedia) and Martin Ewen (clown and author).

The softcover version of the book is available here.

 

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Categories
Bouffon Clown Clown Conservatory Clowns WIthout Borders Comedy

The Clown Conservatory in San Francisco

If someone ask you ‘what is the best way to becoming a professional clown’ you might have to think about it for awhile. THE CLOWN CONSERVATORY!

Ringling Bros clown Paul Jerome.

“Circus Center’s nearly 20-year-old Clown Conservatory program has been given a spirited, innovative push by Conservatory director Sara Moore’s ‘Human Cartoon Studio.’ Moore’s take on new American clowning pulls straight from the realm of Looney Tunes with an emphasis on wildly physical, non-verbal performance encompassing training for Ring, Stage and Film. Graduates are then ‘human cannonballed’ into the world armed with an elasticity of body, mind and spirit affording them the necessary versatility to compete in ever-shifting markets. In spite of the ridiculous onslaught on horror clown imagery, Moore believes Clowning is on the rise. Students are passionately seeking ways to bring physical comedy to our ever-divided world and ClownCon’s faculty, an amalgam of the very best practitioners and teachers of the many Clown disciplines, are ever eager to teach them. Moore says ‘If laughter is the most buoyant form of love, then that’s surely what the world needs now more than ever.'”
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For more information or to ‘just enroll’ click here!
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Part of San Francisco’s Circus Center
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Categories
American Circus Big Apple Circus Bindlestiff Family Cirkus Cabaret Circus Clown Comedy Juggling Music Photography Women

2nd Annual Celebration of American Circus – Presented at the Big Apple Circus Big Top

In 2014 American Circus Awards were created by Circus Now and The Big Apple Circus to spotlight particular achievements in the circus arts, while drawing attention to the creativity, diversity, and public relevance of circus to American cultural expression. Honorees are nominated by the Celebration Planning Committee and voted on by a select panel composed of various leaders in the circus arts sector.

HONOREES

Community Impact Award – Cirkus Smirkus

This award is given annually to a circus artist or organization that has succecced in harnessing and demonstrating the power of circus arts for community engagement and social good, and in bringing diverse audiences together through quality programming.

Elevating Circus Award – Dominique Jando

This award is given annually to an individual or an organization who has made a lasting contribution to increasing public awareness about the beauty, artistry, creative potential of the circus arts through their body of work, with particular attention paid to interdisciplinary collaboration or expression.

Evolving Circus  Award – Bill Irwin

This award is given annually to an individual whose personal and/or professional contributions have made a significant and permanent impact on the circus field in America, with specific consideration of how the recipient’s work has influenced the perception of the circus arts by the American public and the arts and entertainment industry.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Hovey Burgess

This award is given to an individual artist, troupe, or company whose overall contributions to the field and community are substantial, undeniable and significant.

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Adam Woolley - Circus Now Managing DirectorCircus Now Managing Director Adam Woolley makes Opening Remarks about Circus in America.

Guillaume Dufresnoy - Artistic Director of Big Apple CircusBig Apple Circus Artistic Director Guillaume Dufresnoy makes Opening Remarks about Circus in America.

Thom Wall - Master of CeremoniesThom Wall entertained the crowd as he MC’d the show.

Preston Scott of Smithsonian Folklife FestivalProgram Director for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival Preston Scott presents the Community Impact Award.

Ed LeClair - Executive Director of Circus SmirkusCircus Smirkus Executive Director Ed LeClair talks about the role of the circus in American Culture.

Circus Smirkus founder Rob MerminCircus Smirkus founder Rob Mermin gives the audience a great list of reasons for the circus.

2016.01.05_CircusAwds.115Community Impact Award was given to Circus Smirkus.

Sawyer Oubre and Liam Gundach do a diabolo duetSawyer Oubre and Liam Gundlach perform a ‘diabolo duet’.

Duncan Wall introduces the Elevating Circus Award.Author of “Ordinary Acrobat’ Duncan Wall presents the Elevating Circus Award.

2016.01.05_CircusAwds.163Dominique Jando received the Elevating Circus Award and talks about how important ‘skill’ is in circus discipline.

2016.01.05_CircusAwds.174Brent McBeth, Duncan Wall, Dominique Jando, and Joel Jeske.

 

Anna and Emily Venizelos perform a contortion duet.Anna and Emily Venizelos perform a magnificent contortion duet.

David Shiner presents the Evolving Circus Award.David Shiner presents the Evolving Circus Award.

2016.01.05_CircusAwds.256Bill Irwin accepts the Evolving Circus Award with his “Old Hat’s” partner David Shiner to his right.

2016.01.05_CircusAwds.264Before leaving the ring David Shiner and Bill Irwin compete with some hat tricks.

2016.01.05_CircusAwds.274Bill tries to ‘up one’ on David’s hat trick,

2016.01.05_CircusAwds.290NEA Heritage Fellowship Award winner Dolly Jacobs presents the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Hovey Burgess receives the Lifetime Achievement AwardHovey Burgess was wheeled in (having incurred a fall a few days ago)  to accept the Lifetime Achievement Award.

2016.01.05_CircusAwds.328Hovey Burgess was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award with Dolly Jacobs presenting.

Serge Akinmov performs the aerial straps.

2016.01.05_CircusAwds.391Big Apple Circus’ “The Grand Tour’ performer Serge Akimov performs the aerial straps.

2016.01.05_CircusAwds.056Master of Modern Vaudeville Thom Wall makes closing remarks.

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Celebration Planning Committee

Mary Jane Brock (Chair)

Jonathan Cerullo (Director)

Adam Woolley (Managing Director, Circus Now)

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Upcoming performances by Circus Now at Skirball Center.

Big Apple Circus’ The Grand Tour show at Lincoln Center.

The Celebration of American Circus was directed by Jonathan S. Cerullo

 

Categories
American Circus Big Apple Circus Circus Clown Comedy Juggling Music Performing Arts Photography Women

Celebration of American Circus @ Big Apple Circus – Tues. Jan. 5th, 8pm

Celebration of American Circus

Tickets still Available for Celebration of American Circus here!