No photographer came close to capturing the sensations, scandals, and catastrophes of 1930s and ’40s New York like Weegee (Arthur Fellig – 1899–1968). His striking images—captured through his uncanny ability to be on the spot and ready to shoot when things happened—have become part of the visual vocabulary through which we understand the period. This book, however, offers something new: drawing on an NEA archive that was only discovered in 2012, it presents countless never-before-seen Weegee photos. We see new angles on many of his familiar subjects—from the hardened police officer to the loud-mouthed crook; the midnight boozer to the dancing jazz musician; a dramatic conflagration to the celebrations at the end of World War II—but we also get a glimpse of an unknown side of Weegee through surprising photographs of happy people enjoying themselves. The works are complemented by a fascinating account of the rediscovery of the archive, which had been missing for decades.
Rob Torres was one of the funniest and most professional clowns in the world. Having performed in over 80 countries throughout his life, he brought laughter to thousands if not millions of people creating a fan base that was truly world-wide.
Tragically in late June, Rob suddenly passed away of a heart attack while flying to his engagement in Boston, Massachusetts.
Rob and I were working on a book project tentatively titled “A Clown in Our Town” which included photographs of Rob in many of the cities where he performed using iconic geographical locations to showcase his clown character in that particular town. We shot in Paris (Cirque d’Hiver), St. Louis (Circus Flora) and New York (Big Apple Circus) and had plans to shoot in 6 other cities during his upcoming tours.
While planning this tribute book, I realized that Rob had been captured by many other wonderful photographers. I reached out to a number of my colleagues who had also had the pleasure and opportunity of capturing Rob performing. I am fortunate to have Maike Schulz, Michelle Bates and a few others (names will be announced at a later date) share their own vision through photographs of Rob performing in different venues. Their work will contribute to the second part of the book. I have also contacted his family to contribute photographs of Rob in his early years.
To produce this tribute, funds are needed for graphic design work and publishing. I encourage you to share Rob’s vision and help make this book a wonderful TRIBUTE to Rob Torres – anybody who ever met him or saw him perform knows how much he truly deserves it.
Hardcover book featuring approx. 30+ pages of Color/B&W photographs.
Unique and unrepeatable first edition.
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~ Pledge $75 – 2 copies of the book and a Special Thank You in the book.
~ Pledge $50 – one copy of the book and a Thank You in the book.
~ Pledge $10 – a postcard featuring one of the photographs from the book and a Thank You. ~ Pledge $5 – a Social Media shout out from the photographers in the book. ~ Make a pledge without a reward. Any amount is appreciated!
Estimated delivery date: March 31, 2019 ~ So please, give what you can, tell who you can, and let’s start this journey together. ~
All funds that are donated which exceed the printing/designing costs will be forwarded to the Estudio Búsqueda de Panotmima-Teatro/The Rob Torres Memorial and Scholarship Fund.
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Who is Rob Torres? For those of you that aren’t familiar with this brilliant clown I would like to present a wonderful documentary by Sebastiano Greco and Luigi Marmo. (Thank You Sebastiano and Luigi!)
Vaudevisuals recommeneds this beautiful photography book by Helen Levitt.
Born in Brooklyn in 1913, Helen Levitt’s photographs made on the streets of New York have inspired and amazed generations of photographers, collectors and curators. Helen Levitt’s first major museum exhibition was at the Museum of Modern Art in 1943, and a second solo show was held there in 1974. Retrospectives of her work have been held at several museums including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, International Center for Photography and the Centre National la Photographie in Paris.
Helen Levitt’s earliest pictures are a unique and irreplaceable look at street life in New York City from the mid-1930s to the end of the 1940s. There are children at play, lovers flirting, husbands and wives, young mothers with their babies, women gossiping, and lonely old men. A majority of these photographs have never been published. Other pictures included in this book are now world-famous, now part of the standard history of photography. Together they provide a record of New York not seen since Levitt’s pioneering solo show at The Museum of Modern Art in 1943.
Introduction by Geoff Dyer:
Geoff Dyer’s many books include But Beautiful, Out of Sheer Rage, The Missing of the Somme, The Ongoing Moment, the novel Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi, and the essay collection Otherwise Known as the Human Condition (winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism). His latest book is White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World. A recipient of a 2015 Windham Campbell Prize for non-fiction, he is an Honorary Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He currently lives in Los Angeles where he is Writer in Residence at USC.
The night I attended the show featured ‘The Handsome Little Devils‘ duet. The show included juggling, magic, smoke, audience participation and a really fun time! This was the 1st night they were presenting this show at this venue! They will return EVERY first Wed of the month
Here are a few images I captured that night.
Cornelius doing a wonderful ‘hat juggling’ routine.
Audience participation was a key element in this show.
Cornelius doing a ‘$100 dollar bill penetration’ magic illusion.
Cornelius (Mike Huling) juggling an egg, chainsaw and bowling ball!
Mike(Cornelius) and Cole Huling taking a well-deserved bow.
The company “The Handsome Little Devils” has many hands working to make these productions possible.
It must have been early 1980’s, and I was working (performing as a mime) at an upstate NY fair “German Alps Festival” at Hunter Moutain. The festival included many performers and once in awhile we would meet up after the day’s work was done and attend a show or movie together. One day puppeteer Eric Bass recommended that we see this show with puppeteer Robert Anton.
The performance was one of the most hypnotic performances I have ever witnessed! Wearing only black pants and black top he performed with a neutral facial expression while making his little puppets come alive. Since he did not allow recordings of any of his performances the work remains legendary. I will leave the details of his show to others to describe.
I was delighted to see that Broadway 1602 Gallery had mounted an exhibit of his puppets with other articles from his shows and work. I have included video interviews (courtesy of Broadway 1602 Gallery) and photographs from the show here. Thanks to Broadway 1602 for allowing me to capture this beautiful exhibit and post documents and photographs from it.
Robert Anton passed away at age 35 in 1984.
Robert Anton in one of the few photographs taken of him during his show.
(Courtesy Broadway 1602 Gallery)
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– a couple of scenes from the work of Robert Anton, a beloved puppeteer of the nineteen-seventies: “Anton as puppeteer-surgeon sometimes probes his figures with a tiny forceps, pulling out a brain or a heart, or finding inside (in one show) a red stone, a red branch, a red starfish, red feathers, and red fur. In another show, a bag lady who has assembled herself out of a heap of miniature refuse peers into the puppeteer’s own mouth in search of new objects.”
“A visionary theater of whose scale is inversely proportional to the scope of Robert Wilson’s vast panorama is the puppet theater of Robert Anton. Performing rituals of transformation and rebirth and original alchemical allegories with an Artaudian emphasis are miniature finger-puppet actors, whose heads are no larger than one and a half inches. They enact these silent and mysterious rites on a small black velvet stage before an audience of no more than eighteen spectators.”
“His inventions would look to him for reassurance. That was always very moving…His movements of the face were minimal, withholding of himself, a supreme actor…He could express powerful contempt: The pope with an absurd mitra, degraded to cardinal/bishop, gets closed in a jail tower in his finery…then becomes a blind man tapping. Then a horrid puppet with leather gear and a shaved head, a lot like Himmler –pisses on a target on that prison. He’s got one leg, walks with a crutch…diabolical. (Something right out of George Grosz.) Three visual artists were most important to him: Bosch, Redon and Grosz…The puppets he took to the Plaza to show Fellini…He knew Fellini’s movies inside out. The one that meant the most to him was TOBY DAMMIT, also JULIET OF THE SPIRITS…Nino Rota’s music. He unconditionally respected Chaikin and Stella Adler. When she came to his performances, she talked throughout to the puppets. …The play involved a redemption from the world, an overcoming – a metaphysical confrontation.”
Benjamin Taylor, “Robert Anton in Retrospect,” Theater Ex, 1986
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Main room of the Broadway 1602 Gallery featuring the puppets of Robert Anton.
Secondary room featuring works on paper and cases displaying fragile clothing and documents.
Robert Anton’s entire show was carried in these suitcases. The interiors were divided up into precisely made sections of felt backed compartments that housed the puppets and small masks/props for the show.
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Off all the puppet actors I photographed this one reminded me of how ‘real’ the characters in his plays were when he animated them. Robert only allowed 15 people at a time to attend his performances and the images here are what the puppet actors would have looked like had you been one of those audience members as I was. If you want to see more of the exhibit visit the Broadway 1602 Gallery website here.
Already from the tender age of nine, Anton followed an original childhood impulse to create en miniature: He re-built the stage sets of famous Broadway musicals he had seen with his parents in New York and London, reduced to a proscenium of 18” across and 12” high, and yet so breathtaking in detail and elegant precision that Anton was endorsed by journalists in his hometown Forth Worth in the mid 1960s as the “ingenuity of a Michelangelo”.
Anton arrived in New York in 1970, after two years of stage and costume design studies at Carnegie-Mellon University. He continued his studies in New York at the Studio and Forum of Stage Design. In 1973, collaborating with the composer Elizabeth Swados, Anton designed the scenery for the Broadway musical “Elizabeth I” — his drawings for the queen’s costume survived. In the same year, his collaborations with Ellen Stewart’s La MaMa theatre began where he also staged his own plays. Repeat performances took place in his apartment on West 70th Street. Among the enthused audience and supporters were La MaMa Playwright and director Jean-Claude van Itallie, who was inspired by Anton’s ‘actors’ and started introducing puppets to his own plays, writer Susan Sontag and her son David Rieff, famed acting teacher Stella Adler, childhood friend and novelist Benjamin Taylor (Anton features as “the puppeteer” in his autobiographical debut novel “Tales out of School”, 1995), actress Linda Hunt who was soon to become a star in Robert Altman and David Lynch’s movies, theatre revolutionary Peter Brook, Broadway tap dancer, singer and choreographer Tommy Tune, Broadway’s director legend Hal Prince, the doyenne of the fashion world Diana Vreeland, Yoko Ono and John Lennon, to name a few.
Between 1974-75 Anton presented his puppet theatre at Robert Wilson’s Byrd Hoffmann Foundation and directed at the National Theater of the Deaf in Waterford, CT. His tour through Europe began, first performing at the Mickery Theater in Amsterdam. In 1975 Anton represented the United States at the International Theater Festival in Nancy, France, causing an avalanche of enthusiastic reviews in the French press depicting Anton’s miniature theatre as one of the most memorable and outstanding acts of the festival. The Nancy engagement introduced Anton to France’s flamboyant cultural minister Jacques Lang. In 1976, President Francois Mitterand and Jacques Lang designated the Château de Vincennes outside of Paris for Anton to set up his studio and living quarters and to perform for one year. Anton presented his plays and co-founded a visual/mime theatre program for the deaf-mute at the Chateau. In 1977 he created a new production for the Festival D’Automne in Paris.
Upon his return to New York in 1978, Anton moved to a large loft on 96 Spring Street and presented nightly performances of the “Paris Spectacle”. In 1981 Robert Anton was appointed as the American representative at the Theater der Welt Festival in Cologne. In the same year, he performed at the Teatro Argentina in Rome where he met Fellini again.
In the early 1980s, Anton’s experimentation took him to new stage designs, a move connecting him back to his childhood Broadway musical stages while the ‘actors’ fade into the background. Anton created glamorous miniature stage sets as “an homage to the 1940s” (Benjamin Taylor), sets like ‘Radio City Hall’ animated with grand and witty gestures to the tunes of Fred Astaire and Busby Berkeley. From there, Anton further radicalized his concepts. His last work was a play composed purely of light, exploring the psychological impact and metaphysical dimension of color, once more elaborately staged in a miniature proscenium: “A third final spectacle remained unfinished at this death. Totally unpopulated, it would have been an evocative constellation of set, sound, and light.” (Genii Grassi, “Robert Anton in Retrospect”, Theater Ex, 1986).
In an endeavor to bring back to a contemporary audience — and to the many of his generation who were not part of the blessed and illustrious able to see his performances — the experience of Robert Anton’s theatre, we interviewed on film, and continue to do so, witnesses of his plays and his life, friends and peers who were close to Anton’s universe. These dedicated and moving testimonies are an integral part of the exhibition and will constitute the core of a future documentary on The Theatre of Robert Anton.
We would like to express our gratitude to Bette Stoler who brought The Theatre of Robert Anton to us and who shared her memories of her friend and his context with us to help to realize the project. We also would like to thank Anton’s friends and peers who so generously shared their memories with us in the filmed interviews giving such rich testimony to Anton’s history.
“The Theatre of Robert Anton” at BROADWAY 1602 UPTOWN, December 2016 – February 2017
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Documentary film produced in the context of the exhibition “The Theatre of Robert Anton” by BROADWAY 1602
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 herfilmic 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.”
After watching the film at DocNYC I had to find out more about this wonderful, heartfelt documentary that Larry Pisoni’s son Lorenzo made about his experiences growing up in The Pickle Family Circus. In the lobby, I approached Lorenzo and ask if he would be up for a video interview?
Here it is. A wonderful talk about the film, his show Humor Abuse and his life during the making of his ‘first director’ experience.