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Vaudevisuals Bookshelf

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf: “Ghostly Men” by Franz Lidz

A true tale of changing New York by Franz Lidz, whose Unstrung Heroes is a classic of hoarder lore.
Homer and Langley Collyer moved into their handsome brownstone in white, upper-class Harlem in 1909. By 1947, however, when the fire department had to carry Homer’s body out of the house he hadn’t left in twenty years, the neighborhood had degentrified, and their house was a fortress of junk: in an attempt to preserve the past, Homer and Langley held on to everything they touched.
The scandal of Homer’s discovery, the story of his life, and the search for Langley, who was missing at the time, rocked the city; the story was on the front page of every newspaper for weeks. A quintessential New York story of quintessential New York characters, Ghosty Men is a perfect fit for Bloomsbury’s Urban Historicals series.

From Publisher’s Weekly

When 65-year-old Homer Collyer, blind and crippled by rheumatism, was found dead in his dilapidated, junk-filled Harlem brownstone in March 1947, the discovery made all of New York’s newspapers, as did the subsequent hunt for his younger brother, Langley, whose body was finally located under piles of debris. In this slim volume, part of Bloomsbury’s Urban Historicals series, Lidz, a memoirist (Unstrung Heroes) and senior writer at Sports Illustrated, examines the Collyer brothers’ intriguing, baffling lives. The compulsive hermits came from a respected, well-to-do family and were educated at Columbia, Homer as a lawyer and Langley, who was a talented pianist, as an engineer. They became part of New York lore in August 1938, when the World-Telegram wrote about the pair and their once-fashionable house on Fifth Avenue and 128th Street, which was crammed full of pianos, other instruments, bicycles, chandeliers, clocks and thousands of newspapers, “strewn in yellowing drifts across the floor.” In addition to deconstructing the brothers’ descent into their own world of squalor and isolation, Lidz shares recollections of his Uncle Arthur, an eccentric hoarder who was a featured character in Unstrung Heroes. Arthur amassed everything from magazines and bus transfers to socks and shoelaces and lived “nested inside his walls of junk.” “My junk was like a friend,” says Uncle Arthur. “Sort of freedom, it was. I’d saved it in my own way.” These words help make sense of men like Uncle Arthur and the Collyers, whose stories Lidz captures vividly, with humor and compassion.

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“The Collyer Brothers made compelling reading then, as they do now in this short, captivatingly detailed book.” Adam Bernstein- Washington Post

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I found this book to be a wonderful read and a nice compliment to E.L.Doctorow’s ‘Homer and Langley‘s book. The author’s vivid description by his Uncle Floyd of the great Times Square ‘Hubert’s Museum‘ and all the characters that performed there is worth the read alone.

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Performing Arts Photography Sideshow Vaudevisuals Bookshelf Video

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – ‘Hubert’s Freaks’ by Gregory Gibson

HUBERT’S FREAKS: The Rare-Book Dealer, the Times Square Talker, and the Lost Photos of Diane Arbus by Gregory Gibson 

From the late 1950s until her death in 1971, renowned photographer Diane Arbus took pictures of oddball performers at the now-forgotten Hubert’s Museum, a typical freak show in New York City’s seedy Times Square. One frequent subject was Charlie Lucas, first a freak himself, later an inside talker. In 2003, Bob Langmuir, an anxiety-ridden, pill-popping, obsessive antiquarian book dealer from Philadelphia, unearthed a collection of photographs and memorabilia, including Lucas’s journals and what he thought was Arbus’s photos. This trove of genuine American kookiness came to dominate his life. Following Langmuir’s quest—from the slums of Philadelphia to the halls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art—as he gathered, priced and ultimately came to understand this collection, author Gibson (Gone Boy), himself an antiquarian book dealer, effortlessly twists these strands together with an emotional wallop. His toil in Hubert’s vineyard, Gibson writes of Langmuir, amounted to no more or less than the continuing archaeology of the old, weird America. Gibson’s laser focuses on Langmuir’s shifting state of mind as he struggles to master his personal demons and navigate the pitfalls of his own obsession gives this story its heart and opens a window onto a lost part of the American soul.

“Certainly, the freaks appealed to Diane Arbus. She counted performers like Suzy the Elephant Skin Girl among her friends, and she was fascinated with the ritualized goof of an act like that of Congo the Jungle Creep, so bad it was good. At the same time, she was completely serious in her study of this archaic form of American entertainment. In her 1962 application for a Guggenheim Fellowship, she listed sideshows as one of her subjects and mentioned: “Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus” among her working locations.

Revelations published a 1956 photo of the entrance to Hubert’s showing the upstairs penny arcade and Hubert’s ticket booth, bright lights and skeeball, posters advertising Susie the Elephant Skin Girl, Lydia Suarez the contortionist, and Princess Sahloo (aka Woogie.) Behind it all, off to the left, was the stairway leading down to that strange world.”

Listen to the Grind Tape

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Book Publishers Description

From the moment Bob Langmuir, a down-and-out rare book dealer, spies some intriguing photographs in the archive of a midcentury Times Square freak show, he knows he’s on to something. It turns out he’s made the find of a lifetime–never-before-seen prints by the legendary Diane Arbus. Furthermore, he begins to suspect that what he’s found may add a pivotal chapter to what is now known about Arbus as well as about the “old weird America,” in Greil Marcus’s phrase, that Hubert’s inhabited.

Bob’s ensuing adventure–a roller-coaster ride filled with bizarre characters and coincidences–takes him from the fringes of the rare book business to Sotheby’s, and from the exhibits of a run-down Times Square freak show to the curator’s office of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Will the photos be authenticated? How will Arbus’s notoriously protective daughter react? Most importantly, can Bob, who always manages to screw up his most promising deals, finally make just one big score?

This book is about the relationship between Hubert’s and Diane Arbus and her photography of the performers that worked at Hubert’s. A page-turner for those interested in the art world and the sideshow world and where they meet.

Read the LA Times Review here!

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You Can Get the Book Here!

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Circus Clown Comedy Juggling Magic Magic Music Performing Arts Photography Pranks Puppetry Quick Change Artists The New Victory Theatre Women

“BelloMania” at The New Victory Theatre – April 2016

BELLOMANIA

For his 3rd year in a row success, Bello Noch presents his new production BelloMania.

Featuring  Michael Karas, Dinny McGuire, Annaliese Nock, Shawn Roth

2016.04.30.BelloShow_013Show Host Dinny McGuire kept the show moving along with charm and finesse.

2016.04.30.BelloShow_022Bello starts the show off with a ‘big head’ balloon stunt.

2016.04.30.BelloShow_042He followed that will a lovely ‘chair production’ routine followed by this skillfully accomplished hand balancing act.

2016.04.30.BelloShow_051His daughterAnnaliese Nock did a beautiful split on the tightwire.

2016.04.30.BelloShow_056Bello proceeded to walk on the tightwire and not only sit but STAND (not pictured here)on the chair on the wire.

2016.04.30.BelloShow_064Michael Karas performed a skillful and creative juggling act with rings. balls and a puppet!

2016.04.30.BelloShow_081Annaliese performed many stunning aerial feats and with this beautiful projection, it looked heavenly.

2016.04.30.BelloShow_089The show had many wonderful moments. Bello talked to the audience about the pride he has for his circus family.

2016.04.30.BelloShow_102The audience had to look up when Bello began to climb ‘the sway pole’. 

2016.04.30.BelloShow_126High above the audience on the sway pole with his hair touching the New Victory Theatre’s ceiling.

2016.04.30.BelloShow_120A real ‘comic daredevil’ for sure. Time Magazine calls him “America’s Best Clown”.

2016.04.30.BelloShow_141Curtain call for the cast of BelloMania at The New Victory Theatre. Great fun!

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OPPORTUNITY NOCKS, INC – Producer

JENNIFER NOCKS – Writer and Director

DAVID MILLER – Set Design

GUIDO NAUS – Musical Director

KAY TORRALVA AND WRIIC’S COSTUME ARTS – Costume Design

STEVE CURTIS – Safety Officer & Technical Director

KARIM MUASHER – Audio Visual

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For more information on Bello Nock and his work go here.

Categories
Aerial Acts Circus Clown Comedy Juggling Performing Arts Photography The New Victory Theatre Variety Arts Women

Vaudevisuals interview with BELLO – “BelloMania”

BelloMania!

“America’s Best Clown” in a brand new show of his own! With a crazy coif that defies gravity as much as his soaring stunts, Bello and his talented troupe tackle the most towering, terrifying and tough-to-do tricks with jokester genius. The former Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® big shot nails trampoline routines, bungee-style bouncing and handstands on a high wire, “all the while making audiences laugh with his brilliantly comic timing and gusto”

The New York Times

BELLO


While interviewing Bello in his dressing room 30 minutes before he was scheduled to go on I heard the sound of a little dog whimper. I found out later that his dog ‘Miso’ is in the show too and was just jealous she wasn’t being included in the video interview.

BELLO2-2

Bello and AnaliseThanks to Paul Guthiel for these wonderful photographs.

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Thanks to BELLO for this wonderful interview!

For more information and/or Tickets go HERE!

 

Categories
Circus Performing Arts Photography Sideshow Variety Arts Video

7th Annual World Sword Swallower Day- Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Times Square. NYC

On February 25th, 2012 there was a gathering of 14 sword swallowers from the local tri-state area at Ripley’s Believe It or Not in Times Square, NYC.

Every year Ripley’s puts together this event at ALL of it’s Museums around the World.

Here is a video of that event that happened at Times Sqaure.

 

In Times Square, NYC there was a special gathering of 14 Sword Swallowers who were attending the 7th Annual World Sword Swallower’s Day at Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
Held every year at all the Ripley’s World Wide on this day they all swallow their swords together at the same time.
Here is a video of that event. The Sword Swallowers present in NY were as follows:
Keith Nelson
Riley Schillaci
Harley Newman
Kryssy Kocktail
Liye Shelden Zou
Natasha Veruscka
Tony Gangi
Jim Stilianos
Kyle Mertz
The Lady Aye
Roderick Russell
Fred Kahl – The Great Fredini
David Darwin

Video shot and edited by Jim Moore
©2012 Jim Moore
https://vaudevisuals.com