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“Rose’s Royal Midgets And Other Little People of Vaudeville” Video

Rose’s Royal Midgets and Other Little People of Vaudeville ~ A new book from Vaudevisuals Press ~

Available now at: http://vaudevisualspress.shop

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Traveling Sideshow: Shocked and Amazed – The Film

Wonder through the carnival grounds to the sideshow and feast your eyes on the amazing curious people that perform for your entertainment.

 

~ Jeff Krulik on Traveling Sideshow-Shocked and Amazed ~

I trace it all back to buying a paperback of Very Special People on a 7th-grade
field trip. On the bus back to school, my classmates and I sat mesmerized by the
human oddities within. Or maybe it was an animal freak show under a tent at the
neighborhood carnival one year, with the five-legged cows and pickled pig
fetuses on display. My Dad even collected stamps that were known as freaks, or
oddities, that were just mechanical mistakes, and I of course followed suit at my
junior stamp club. So maybe there’s something in my DNA that drew me to the
Shocked and Amazed book series as a customer at Atomic Books in Baltimore,
where I soon after made the acquaintance of one James Taylor since I felt
confident we’d speak the same lingo.
At this time in the mid-90s I was also winging it as a freelance producer after a
multi-year stint on staff at Discovery Channel; I had wanted to get my hands dirty
making TV documentaries instead of watching other people have all the fun (or
misery), so I dove headfirst into the world of independent production, successful
or otherwise. Cut to 1999 when James’ American Dime Museum opened up right
next door to Atomic Books, and I showed up with my new camera to record what
was unfolding. About this time, a benevolent friend (and the man who came up
with Shark Week for Discovery Channel) became head of programming for
Travel Channel, and I pitched the idea of taking “Shocked and Amazed” from the
printed word to the TV screen. It worked. And a TV gig was born, modeled after
my lifelong interest and partnering with James’ brand. It should have just been
called “Shocked and Amazed!” but because Travel Channel was commissioning
it the full name became “Traveling Sideshow: Shocked and Amazed!”
Fine. We could live with that title compromise because here was a chance to go
as far and as wide as we could on the subject of freaks and circus sideshows,
hoping it could turn into a multi-part series. We shot glorious amounts of footage
from road trips to the Sideshow Gathering in Wilkes Barre, to Manhattan and
Brooklyn and Gibsonton, Florida. I kept thinking what we don’t use here will be
for parts 2, 3, etc.
Any production features many peaks and valleys and this one was no exception.
Many of the high points are right on the screen, and additionally, I had enough
foresight to save copies of all the footage. Most TV works-for-hire require all
source material turned over, and I obliged. But not before making copies of
everything, hence my ability to preserve Ward Hall’s roast at Inkin the
Valley/Sideshow Gathering in 2002, as well as his tangential connection to the
Rolling Stones, both of which I have posted on YouTube.
But there were some disappointments too, including our very first ambitious
crew shoot, a four-hour drive to Bloomsburg PA Fair to see the California Hell

Drivers, ruined by torrential rain. Or even more heartbreaking, my production
assistant unable to rendezvous with Presto the Magician to reunite him with his
Hubert’s Freak Museum colleague Hovey Burgess. Oh what could have been.
And of course, the whole thing was shelved right after production because Travel
Channel went in another direction (word had it that some hi-level suit took
offense at the “Jim Rose Twisted Tour” series already being aired). Nothing
personal but that’s showbiz. Our program eventually aired a few years later on a
digital channel so obscure I can’t even recall by name, but I since took to sharing
it online via YouTube, Vimeo, etc. which is how it continues to find new audiences
today.
There are a few people that need special mention, and I couldn’t have done this
without them. My “with it and for it” coproducer Adam Eisenberg who turned over
the bedroom in his house for an edit suite. And to the dear departed Kathleen
Kotcher
, James’ publishing partner who was such an asset to the production, as
well as the preservation of sideshow history.
My thanks and good wishes and I hope you enjoy Shocked and Amazed!

 

 


Traveling Sideshow – Shocked and Amazed!

by James Taylor – May 2020

I can’t tell you when nor where I met Jeff Krulik, filmmaker to the real world, you know, the folks who seek the “other” showbiz, the other forms of education that come from discovering the strange, the bizarre, the weird, the odd and the unusual. All us oddballs. I’d known of Jeff for years c/o his cult classic, “Heavy Metal Parking Lot,” but no, I can’t say when nor where he and I first connected, but I can tell you what we talked about: We talked about sideshow. And “weirdness as entertainment,” to re-coin filmmaker Fred Olen Ray’s line.

And the topic of discussion between Krulik & me centered on the idea of a show that would air not as a single doc (which you’re about to watch) but as regular programming, airing weekly, a show that presented novelty & variety acts in all their glory, connecting all the talent across the broad spectrum of the “new” sideshow that was being ushered in at the beginning of this century. That was the idea, anyway, Jeff having crossed paths with my “Shocked and Amazed! On & Off the Midway,” still the world’s only journal devoted to the history of novelty & variety exhibition; ok: sideshow. And Krulik was ready to rock & roll.

Sadly, we – Krulik, Kathleen Kotcher (my late partner and this documentary’s co-producer), and I – watched the project go from a proposed series to, well, this hour-long doc. Which wasn’t aired for nearly two years after production wrapped. But that doesn’t diminish the product one iota. Not one jot. You see, still, “Traveling Sideshow – Shocked and Amazed!” is one of a damn tiny number of essential documentaries on this end of the showbiz, picking up on the business at that seminal moment when the business, about to explode into the mainstream, was starting to boil up, attracting more & more talent into this strangest – but oldest, historically – form of distraction. Of amusement. Of entertainment. And while we were (and remain) disappointed that our dream of a series didn’t pan out, there’s this visual record of not only what was but what is, since the business we all love – in its current iteration – was birthed, as much as, in front of Krulik’s cameras. And we should all thank him for that.


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History Photography United Solo Festival Vaudevisuals Interview

Vaudevisuals interview with Noah Diamond & Amanda Sisk

400 Years in Manhattan Brings New York City History to the Stage

400 Years in Manhattan will be seen in the United Solo Theatre Festival at Theatre Row on September 30 at 7:00 pm, and October 4 at 9:00 pm.

The October 4 performance is sold out.

Tickets are available for the Sept 30th show HERE!

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Juggling Performing Arts Variety Arts Vaudevisuals Bookshelf Writer

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “Juggling – From Antiquity to the Middle Ages”

“Juggling – From Antiquity to the Middle Ages” – the forgotten history of throwing and catching

by Thom Wall

This is a very comprehensive book on juggling. Written with humor and great research. Here is a quote from the book!

The book sites a historical time line along with my illustrations and photographs. This is one/half of the chart published in the book. Don’t want to give away too much!

Great read for jugglers and fans of juggling alike!

Thom Wall sets the standard for future work by circademics… I predict that [this] book will become the textbook on juggling history. – Richard Kennison, CircusTalk

Juggling: From Antiquity to the Middle Ages is an incredible resource to anyone interested in the history of juggling. Thom Wall has filled in many gaps to the documented history of the art.This is the juggling history book that I’ve been waiting for. – David Cain, Curator, Museum of Juggling History

Here is an interview I did with Thom recently.

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You can find the book here!

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Photography Vaudevisuals Bookshelf Women Writer

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf: ‘Farewell to the Muse’.

FAREWELL TO THE MUSE: Love, War and the Women of Surrealism

by Whitney Chadwick

Farewell to the Muse documents what it meant to be young, ambitious, and female in the context of an avant-garde movement defined by celebrated men whose backgrounds were often quite different from those of their younger lovers and companions. Focusing on the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, Whitney Chadwick charts five female friendships among the Surrealists to show how Surrealism, female friendship, and the experiences of war, loss, and trauma shaped individual women’s transitions from someone else’s muse to mature artists in their own right. Her vivid account includes the fascinating story of Claude Cahun and Suzanne Malherbe in occupied Jersey, as well as the experiences of Lee Miller and Valentine Penrose at the front line.

Chadwick draws on personal correspondence between women, including the extraordinary letters between Leonora Carrington and Leonor Fini during the months following the arrest and imprisonment of Carrington’s lover Max Ernst and the letter Frida Kahlo shared with her friend and lover Jacqueline Lamba years after it was written in the late 1930s.

This history brings a new perspective to the political context of Surrealism as well as fresh insights on the vital importance of female friendship to its progress.

50 illustrations, 20 in color.

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REVIEW – Booklist

“Set within a vividly realized historical context, steeped in psychological perceptions, and richly illustrated, Chadwick’s unique look at the women of surrealism deepens our understanding of the movement and the lives of women artists in a time of chaos and catastrophic war. She channels the intensity of these courageous and radical women in stories of astonishing resiliency, camaraderie, complicated love, and creative synergy.

A beautiful book with very pertinent content for these days!

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You Can get the Book Here!

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Book Shelf Mask Mime Photography Vaudevisuals Bookshelf

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – ‘Apostles of Silence’ by Mira Felner

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And now the Acknowledgements!

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“I find ‘Apostles of Silence‘ indispensable when I am trying to describe (which surprisingly is pretty often) the different schools of movement (mime) that influence my own work and that of many of the great directors and actors of our time. Clearly written and a brilliant tool for comparison of these distinct approaches.”

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Go here to purchase this ‘out of print’ book.

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Photography Vaudevisuals Bookshelf Women

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “Girls Will be Boys” by Laura Horak

“Girls Will be Boys” by Laura Horak

Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, and Katharine Hepburn all made lasting impressions with the cinematic cross-dressing they performed onscreen. What few modern viewers realize, however, is that these seemingly daring performances of the 1930s actually came at the tail end of a long wave of gender-bending films that included more than 400 movies featuring women dressed as men.

Laura Horak spent a decade scouring film archives worldwide, looking at American films made between 1908 and 1934, and what she discovered could revolutionize our understanding of gender roles in the early twentieth century. Questioning the assumption that cross-dressing women were automatically viewed as transgressive, she finds that these figures were popularly regarded as wholesome and regularly appeared onscreen in the 1910s, thus lending greater respectability to the fledgling film industry. Horak also explores how and why this perception of cross-dressed women began to change in the 1920s and early 1930s, examining how cinema played a pivotal part in the representation of lesbian identity.

Girls Will Be Boys excavates a rich history of gender-bending film roles, enabling readers to appreciate the wide array of masculinities that these actresses performed—from sentimental boyhood to rugged virility to gentlemanly refinement. Taking us on a guided tour through a treasure-trove of vintage images,Girls Will Be Boys helps us view the histories of gender, sexuality, and film through fresh eyes.

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“Horak has produced a meticulously researched, astutely argued, and highly readable text … her use of archival materials is impeccable and her filmic and historical analyses clearly display a nuanced understanding of her topic.”   Publishers Weekly
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 “Girls Will Be Boys is an excellent work of film scholarship, meticulously researched and expertly presented, while still being an approachable and enjoyable read for the diligent non-academic reader. This is a wonderful book for those cinephiles who take an interest in how gender and sexuality have been presented throughout film history, and for social historians who recognize the important role cinema has played over the last century in shaping popular perspectives on gender and sexuality. Laura Horak has written an informative and necessary book.”

Fourth & Sycamore

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LAURA HORAK is an assistant professor of film studies at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. She is also the coeditor of an award-winning book, Silent Cinema and the Politics of Space.  
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