Welcome to the other side of the canvas wall, where few have been fortunate enough to gain access to. This is one woman’s perspective of the American Circus culture, which has been a part of my life since I was a child. There were a lot of things that interested me about the carnival that magically appeared every May outside the windows of my Catholic grade school. It was amazing to me that people lived in these mobile trailers, which allowed them to go any place they wanted to, bringing along with them this unique form of entertainment.
While early exposure to live circus performance is hard to remember, I do know that I was not very fond of the clowns, mostly due to the fact they made some loud noises which were not friendly to sensitive ears. However, there was always a fascination that filled me when I watched people do amazing things. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact moment I wanted to be one of these people, but there was definitely a yearning to know what it was like. Not so much because I felt the need to be the center of attention, but more so due to the fact that what they did seemed magical, and the audience loved them for it.
My imagintion certainly became even more interesting when I discovered strange things on the midway of a carnival my parents brought me to. At the time, I had no idea what sideshow was, or that there was such a thing as a gaffe. The vivid illustrations certainly caught one’s attention and got the imagination stirring. Natural curiosity wanted to know exactly what was on the inside of these strange metal trailers. Some of them were more rewarding than others, but in the end, satisfaction was found.
The years passed and eventually I found my way to Coney Island, where I saw my first real sideshow, and marked the beginning of a new obsession. There was a constant craving for knowledge of history and any information I could find about this magical place. Part of me could take that step back in time, and know what it was like to see thousands of incandescent bulbs burning through the darkness. An electric Eden that many saw instead of the welcoming torch held high by the Statue of Liberty. Imagination was easily sparked, and truly I felt a connection to the Island.
All of this has helped shape me into the person I am today, along with countless adventures and experiences that some people only dream about. There were moments when I wondered how I had become so fortunate as to walk in the footsteps of those I once admired. In many ways, I feel as though I have carried on the traditions of American Circus, which I feel is important to preserve as much as possible, particularly now that we have become a digital-obsessed society. Everything needs to be instant gratification, and then quickly move on to the next thrill, as though there is an addiction.
The contents of this blog are purely meant to document the events that have occurred over the course of my life to serve as education for anyone interested enough to read this. From my time spent traveling with an authentic 10-in-1 sideshow and late night exploits on the Island to living in the city that gave birth to American Circus and joining the ranks of sword swallowers world wide. Some opinions may not be suitable for all audiences, but I have always stayed true to myself and believe in the ability of free speech.
With that said, please enjoy this assorted collection and appreciate the rare opportunity presented here.