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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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Photography

Magic at The New York Historical Society

New York Historical Society

Join us for an enchanting summer of mesmerizing displays, evening programs, family activities, and free films that offer a historical perspective on the spectacle of magic and the magicians who became famous performing death-defying feats.

So many ‘Magical’ Events happening this summer at The New York Historical Society

Summer of Magic: Treasures from the David Copperfield Collection
June 15 – September 16
Travel to New York’s magical past and discover a world of treasures from the collection of Emmy Award-winning illusionist David Copperfield. Explore the careers and exploits of the legendary magicians that inspired him, see iconic objects used by Harry Houdini, and be amazed by the Death Saw from one of Copperfield’s most famous illusions!

For information on ALL of the events go here!

Tomorrow on Wed. July 18th is: The Witch of Lime Street. with screenwriter/author David Jaher.

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Clown Comedy Dixon Place Performing Arts UNDER St. Marks Video

Michael Bongar – In a Class by Himself

Michael Bongar was the featured performer at the November 2009 NY Downtown Clown Revue. Coming from a theatre background but being enticed by the circus, Michael tells us about his move from theatre to clown and what things he thinks are important to the discipline of the clown.

Michael Bongar sheds his three-piece suit for this wild excerpt from his one-man show MAGIC MIKE. A wonderful mockery of mediocre magic and the people that perform it.

And here is a wonderful video Michael used to promote his business BongarBiz.

Many of New York’s finest variety performers are hired by Michael Bongar (BongarBiz) for any number of different kinds of shows/events. He really deserves a lot of credit for featuring many acts in many jobs for quite a few years!

My hat goes off to Michael – Thanks for helping keep the variety-arts and clown community alive!

And here is where you can reach Michael to hire ‘Magic Mike’ or any talent! 

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