68 posts tagged with Circus.
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Raw Art, post-circus physical acts of beauty, grace and skill

Forget about circus. Forget about glittering costumes, caged animals and clowns with their old hat jokes. Circus can be alternative…
This is the vision of Ukrainian director Taras Pozdnyakov with his Kiev-based circus project Raw Art, "post-circus," a response to the large-scale blockbusters, such as Cirque du Soleil and Franco Dragone. Acts focus on individual and small group performances, such as the award-winning structure-free gymnastic performance by the brothers Iroshnikov, and solo performances by Sergey Timofeev and Alexander Koblikov. There is a trio of jugglers, choreographed jumprope routines, ring work and much more on YouTube and Vimeo.
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 10, 2015 - 9 comments

I didn't think it was physically possible, but this both sucks and blows

French magician and juggler Antoine Terrieux created a series of remarkably self-sustaining sculptures using different arrangements of hair dryers, and has also incorporated them in funny ways in his stage performance. He also plays with a diabolo in ways that seem to defy gravity. [via]
posted by a lungful of dragon on Jun 19, 2015 - 19 comments

How an acrobat fell to her death during a live performance.

Life and Death at Cirque du Soleil
posted by zarq on May 29, 2015 - 17 comments

American Gothic, without the Pitchfork

Brian Carpenter is a master of dark Americana. Hailing from Boston, his style is fluid, mostly referencing early 20th Century American jazz and other folk/roots music. His first band that caught attention, Beat Circus worked in a self-described "American Gothic" style, releasing three albums with three different themes. But this is not his sole musical endeavor. [more inside]
posted by aloiv2 on May 3, 2015 - 1 comment

"The audience can be played like a musical instrument."

I wanted to know why Emmett Kelly was such a big name. I mean there was no shortage of tramp clowns. Why was he a star? I was going to make it my business to find out. When the famous Joey[3] joined on in Altoona, I watched every thing he did. There wasn’t much to watch. He had no props. He did no bits. He did not participate in the producing clown’s gags. He simply wandered around eating leaves from a head of cabbage. Mostly, he just sat in the audience, in full costume, looking sad, like Chaplin’s little tramp, eating cabbage. I was mystified, and disappointed. Why would a sharp guy like George A. hire such a lame act to do practically nothing? I didn’t get it. What’s so funny about eating raw cabbage? …
by Lee Kolozsy at Sideshow World [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 6, 2015 - 22 comments

Put your pants back on

A very silly trapeze. (SLYT)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering on Feb 19, 2015 - 8 comments

It's Family Circus, but about birding.

Birding Family Circus
posted by hydrophonic on Oct 5, 2014 - 54 comments

An Angel, A Flower, A Bird

Cross-dressing trapeze and tightrope artist Barbette seems to have sprung out of a Jean Cocteau fantasy, but surely was a real person. Exact birthdate and parentage subject to dispute, but somewhere around the dawn of the 20th Century in Texas. Subsequent to highschool, he replaced a deceased woman in the Alfaretta Sisters aerialist circus act. Barbette toured the vaudeville circuit and debuted in Europe in 1923. Barbette's curtain-call wig-ripping-off move was ripped off for Victor/Victoria. [more inside]
posted by larrybob on Aug 13, 2014 - 3 comments

The theatre appeared in the crime section more than the arts section ...

Bloodletters and Bad Actors Mefi's Own Max Sparber looks at the early days of Omaha theater, back when it was a frontier town, its amusements were questionable, and vice was rampant, with occasional forays into more recent performing arts misbehavior. [via mefi projects]
posted by The Whelk on Jun 11, 2014 - 4 comments

Ambassadors from Mars

The strange, tragic story of the Brothers Muse. The sideshow called them Eko and Iko, cannibal savages from Borneo, sheep-headed men, ambassadors from Mars, highlighting their signature white dreadlocks in every poster. In reality, they were George and Willie Muse, taken from their parents in 1899 in rural Roanoke, Virginia by bounty hunters working for sideshow producers fascinated by their albinism. [more inside]
posted by Gucky on May 29, 2014 - 7 comments

Why did Anthony Gatto back away from his art?

I feel like I should let you know what you’re in for. This is a long story about a juggler. It gets into some areas that matter in all sports, such as performance and audience and ambition, but there’s absolutely a lot of juggling in the next 6,700 words. ... The usual strategies of sportswriting depend on the writer and reader sharing a set of passions and references that make it easy to speed along on rivers of stats and myth, but you almost certainly don’t know as much about juggling as you do about football or baseball. Dropped: Why did Anthony Gatto, the greatest juggler alive — and perhaps of all time — back away from his art to open a construction business?
posted by metaBugs on Mar 19, 2014 - 30 comments

Fly through the air with the greatest of ease

Paragliding Circus [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 16, 2014 - 4 comments

Knitting Peace on Earth; Good Wool Towards Men

Cirkus Cirkör, a contemporary Swedish circus company, brings you "Knitting Peace", an ensemble performance that combines acrobatics, dance, music, and yes, knitting, to explore the theme of working through complex and tangled realities to bring about peace.
posted by orange swan on Dec 27, 2013 - 4 comments


Jim Steranko is on Twitter. It is awesome
posted by Artw on Jul 5, 2013 - 28 comments

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Illustrious Katie Sandwina

Strongwoman ("Almost nightly she bent iron bars, broke chains, supported enormous weights, including a 1,200-pound cannon on her shoulders..."), suffragette ("...she became vice-president of the suffrage group that formed within the Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1912"), wife ("But by his own account he recalled only entering the ring, a blue sky and being carried away from the ring by Kate like a prize"), mother ("... Sandwina had to crawl under barbed wire to get herself to a hospital. When she arrived, the hospital was full and she gave birth on the floor"), businesswoman ("After her retirement, Kate, Max and Ted opened a bar and grill in Queens, where the entire family performed on Saturday nights. Though advanced in age, Kate was still able to bend iron bars, lift heavy barbells and support her husband with an ease that showed she still possessed great strength"), and devastatingly charming interview subject ("And, besides, a man who is embracing a woman wants to hold a supple and warm body in his hands - not a lobster!"). Also: one of the subjects of the cutest marital photo of all time.
posted by julthumbscrew on Jun 7, 2013 - 13 comments

Feld vs Pottker

On a gloomy Veterans Day in 1998, Janice Pottker answered an unexpected knock on the door of her home in Potomac, Md., a woodsy, upscale suburb of Washington. Standing there was a man she’d never seen before, a private detective who introduced himself as Tim Tieff. He told Pottker, a freelance writer married to a senior government official, that he had a discreet message from Charles F. Smith, a former top executive with Feld Entertainment, owner of the Ringling Brothers-Barnum & Bailey Circuses, Disney Shows on Ice, and other subsidiaries that make it the largest live entertainment company in the world. Smith wanted to see her, he said. [more inside]
posted by marienbad on Jun 2, 2013 - 15 comments

Come un Lampo di Vita

Cirque du Soleil Reinvents the Circus: La Cirque Réinventé. Nouvelle Expérience. Saltimbanco. A Baroque Odyssey. Alegría. Quidam. La Nouba. Dralion. Journey of Man. Varekai. Midnight Sun. . Corteo. Delerium. Koozå. All Together Now. Amaluna. Worlds Away. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 19, 2013 - 23 comments

A short film featuring sticks, control and practice

posted by bigbigdog on Mar 27, 2013 - 9 comments

And in his way, Mr. K will challenge the world!

posted by jonp72 on Aug 25, 2012 - 11 comments

Contortionists Unite!

Contortionists Unite! is a public network for professional contortionists, where they can exchange photos, videos, and advice. Want to hire a contortionist, aerialist, or circus performer? Be prepared to offer what they're worth.
posted by hermitosis on Aug 6, 2012 - 28 comments

Lulu Farini, cannonball in drag

The world's first human cannonball was a performer who went by the name of Lulu the Flying Artist. Flying up to 40 feet in the air, she gained a good deal of acclaim, even inspiring the Lu Lu Waltz. And yet, Mlle. Lulu was not what she seemed - He was a young man named Sam, who had previously performed as El Niño Farini. [more inside]
posted by Gordafarin on Jun 24, 2011 - 8 comments

happy ending

Wait for it. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Mar 17, 2011 - 52 comments

"Don't remember. Don't care. Drug tests don't lie." - Billy

If Billy, Dolly, Jeffy and PJ lived like Charlie Sheen: Sheen Family Circus. [more inside]
posted by Mister Fabulous on Mar 1, 2011 - 94 comments

First they came for the Cat and I said nothing.

Le Cirque Romanès is believed to be Europe's only Gypsy Circus.
Deemed good enough to represent France at the World Expo in Shanghai, it may be forced to close by Nicolas Sarkozy's government. This traditional Circus in a tent, where the artists still live in caravans stars as an added bonus a Cat on a trapeze.
More about Le Cirque Romanès. (Recently)
posted by adamvasco on Sep 26, 2010 - 28 comments

Near the Egress

Near the Egress. "Over 800 modern dryplate tintypes were made from b&w film to produce this experimental stop-motion video of a circus. Antonio Martinez created this video to serve as a desired childhood memory of the circus, but through the mind of an adult." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jun 18, 2010 - 10 comments

Little All Right, the Japanese Marvel

When Gladys and Harold Degree pulled the siding off their Colchester, VT home, they made a surprising discovery--five large, full-color posters from an 1883 visit by the Forepaugh Circus. Conservators at the Northeast Document Conservation Center made another surprising discovery underneath--posters for Forepaugh's rivals, the John B. Doris Circus. The newly conserved posters are on display at the Shelburne Museum through October 24th. (via)
posted by Horace Rumpole on May 23, 2010 - 26 comments

DrosophApocalypse Now

Circus of the Spineless #50 - the 50th in a series of collections of scientists' favorite disgusting, glorious, and gloriously disgusting invertebrates. Previously
posted by Burhanistan on May 7, 2010 - 7 comments


What's disgusting, looks like a peanut and tastes (vaguely) like a banana? A Circus Peanut! They are so reviled, they merit a page on bad-candy.com. Strangely, though, Circus Peanut sales are up, at least according to "USA Today" (most interesting link of this post). How can this be? I've never met anyone who likes them (except for one person -- see [more inside]). Margaret Husfelt of Houston, Texas is equally confused. SOMEBODY must like them. The little suckers have a Facebook fan page, and they are, perhaps, palatable in a Jello recipe (here's an alternate recipe) or dipped in chocolate. Heck, Jolene Sugarbaker likes them in her salad. And if you're really brave, you might want to try a Circus Peanut Margarita. But don't be surprised if you get ostracized. Some people will never understand. Where's the love? [more inside]
posted by grumblebee on Apr 1, 2010 - 138 comments

Fly Circus

Fly-based art.
posted by kenko on Feb 15, 2010 - 14 comments

As someone said, "awesomeness compressed into one video."

Hoops, bellydance, circus, burlesque, fire, LEDs, staff, rainbows - what else could you fit in one performance? (SLYVF)
posted by divabat on Jan 12, 2010 - 12 comments

He'll never be the head of a major corporation

Snapshots of Mike the Headless Chicken (NSFW, NSFV, previously)
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Dec 11, 2009 - 55 comments

One small step.

Zoos and circuses in India will no longer be allowed to keep elephants. Elephants in captivity and PTSD. [previously]
posted by MaryDellamorte on Nov 17, 2009 - 20 comments

"Life! Hope! Escape! Whoops! Obstinacy!"

Charlie Chaplin [previously, except the primary link from blogspot is down] has a grandson, James Thiérrée. Growing up in his parents circus Le Cirque Imaginaire (later, Invisible), the acrobat evolved into performer/director/choreographer of soon to be four full-length works. (Full disclosure: the first three are all from La Veillée des Abysses--Bright Abyss--and the latter is a preview for his upcoming solo act Raoul.) He's also made forays in movies you've probably seen. More? Check out this Au revoir Parapluie (Farewell Umbrella) medley, and how about some trapeze? [more inside]
posted by JaiMahodara on Aug 5, 2009 - 6 comments

You know . . . for adults!

Hooping. The hoops adults use to dance and perform tricks are larger and heavier than the children's toy called the Hula Hoop. As hooping becomes more popular, people across the States and across the world are pushing the boundaries of dance and sport with a simple, easily made tool. Hooping for pleasure, exercise, and meditation is becoming a phenomenon. There's even a documentary. [more inside]
posted by fiercecupcake on Jun 16, 2009 - 24 comments

The Human Marvels: Presenting Peculiar People

J. Tithonus Pednaud herein presents for your edification and enlightenment a curious collection of human marvels. You may call them oddities, freaks or monstrosities—whatever you will—but I call them incredible, persevering, resourceful and marvelous human beings. I chronicle their inspirational stories of triumph over nature, fate and the judgment of man. [Previously seen here. See also.]
posted by parudox on Jan 3, 2009 - 9 comments

Circus Slang for Gauchos.

Every trade has a history, a culture and secrets, all most vividly expressed in the special terms used by its workers. The circus is, of course, no different as this handy dictionary of circus slang shows. It contains entries for both American and European circuses, and has a handy list of vaudeville slang words as well. These unique words used on the carnival lot around the world demonstrate a language that defines a world of wonders, and now you can use them to impress your friends and insult your enemies!
posted by Effigy2000 on Sep 25, 2008 - 14 comments

Contortionist Olga Pikhienko

Handbalancing by Russian contortionist Olga Pikhienko. [more inside]
posted by grapefruitmoon on Jul 28, 2008 - 17 comments

This ain't Ringling Bros.

The Bindlestiffs - Looks like a show about a crazy traveling circus. I'm not sure cotton candy and elephants are part of their act, but they have a clown!
posted by captaindistracto on Jul 15, 2008 - 11 comments

The Greatest Sideshow Video Ever Made.

The Greatest Sideshow Video Ever Made. "The Greatest Sideshow Video Ever Made was shot at the Moore theater in Seattle in 1992. The oddball cousin of Seattle's grunge music scene, the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow mixed vintage sideshow acts with novel stunts never before seen. Previously available only on VHS tape or DVD, this mind-blowing collection of feats of human daring is now available online in six parts for your viewing pleasure: 1 2 3 4 5 6 As an added bonus, watch as Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam participates." [via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by stet on Jul 13, 2008 - 21 comments

Dude, I'm flippin' out!

I first saw Russian Barre at Cirque du Soleil's Alegria show. I find it an exciting display of acrobatics but the ending of this video is absolutely amazing to me.
posted by CuJoe on Jul 11, 2008 - 25 comments


Tod Browning's 1932 cinematic masterpiece Freaks tells the story of a close-knit group of circus sideshow workers who are wronged and take revenge. The film's use of real-life freaks so disturbed audiences that some ran screaming from theaters, distributors refused to handle the film, and it was banned in Britain for over 30 years. [more inside]
posted by flug on Jul 8, 2008 - 22 comments

The Is The Life: the most important period of hip hop you never knew existed (NSFW audio throughout)

The year is 1989, the world of hip hop in mainstream America is dominated by the street hard, in your face West Coast Gangsta Rap genre headed by NWA. And an army of increasingly forgettable imitators as well as genuine ingenuity coming from the opposite coast The pop music market is dominated by the sugary sweet vaguely hip-hopish pop of The New Kids On The Block. And on the corner Crendshaw and Exposition in South Central Los Angeles a group of kids at a health food store called The Good Life Health Food And Resource Center take a weekly Open Mike and turn it into an ongoing hip hop workshop where lyrical prowess, performance, and positivity instead of battling and trash talking was encouraged. In fact, swearing was strictly disallowed at The Good Life. [more inside]
posted by mediocre on May 17, 2008 - 36 comments

driving six white horses

One man. Six horses. Together, they do crazy stuff.
posted by oneirodynia on May 3, 2008 - 25 comments

The Greatest Show on Earth

Under the Big Top: Shhhhhh! The Show's about to start*... quick, take your seat, sit down, and don't make a move. It's been going on for centuries, and now--lucky you will be able to be a part of it, if you haven't already as a child (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Honestly, who hasn't thought of running away from home and joining the Circus (but I'd suggest you wait a couple of years, until you're a little older, and a little wiser, to make these decisions). It is tempting though, when they roll into town with their fancy wagons, and their loud music. Although, the circus may not be as prevalent as it once was, there are new acts being created to entice crowds around the world. [previously]
posted by hadjiboy on Mar 31, 2008 - 14 comments

Cirque du Swan Lake

Swan Lake like you've never seen it before.
posted by BuddhaInABucket on Mar 11, 2008 - 44 comments

Dog Plus Pony

Calculated to amaze. [more inside]
posted by brownpau on Feb 8, 2008 - 88 comments

And in the center ring, Britney Spears gets devoured by lions! Whee!

With the success of American Gladiators and no writers in sight, tv networks are reaching into the past for ideas. You knew it would happen sooner or later. Yep... they're digging deep: Circus of the Stars is coming back. Could Battle of the Network Stars be far behind? [more inside]
posted by miss lynnster on Jan 19, 2008 - 60 comments

Freaks in the Big Top the Artwork of Mark Bryan

New Work from artist Mark Bryan's Sideshow [more inside]
posted by hortense on Oct 2, 2007 - 2 comments

Step Right Up

Circus History, with photos, logos, show routes, and more. See also Circus World, Circus Web, and Princeton's Circus Poster Archive.
posted by Miko on Aug 28, 2007 - 14 comments

Little Miss Leitzel

The diminutive but intensely powerful Lillian Leitzel was known for her fiery temper, her flirtatious banter, and her ability to spin her entire body in the air while supporting herself by only one hand upwards of 200 times in a row, much like a human pinwheel. She was one of the Ringling Bros. brightest (and most petulant) stars, famously firing and re-hiring her maid several times a day. She married 3 times - (the second marriage ended after she cut off her husband's finger) but her last marriage was to the purported love her life, trapeze artist Alfredo Codona, a master of the triple back summersault off the flying trapeze who also enjoyed success as a Hollywood stunt double . Their passionate (if mercurial) relationship was cut short when, during a performance, Lillian's ring broke, and she fell 45 feet onto a concrete floor. Two days later she was dead. Alfredo, devastated, became reckless and was injured in a fall of his own, cutting short his career. His subsequent marriage to another performer failed, and while meeting with a lawyer to finalize their divorce, he shot her and then himself. Alfredo and Lillian are reunited in death, buried under a marker of their lives and love.
posted by serazin on May 9, 2007 - 22 comments

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