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Freaks and Fire: The Underground Reinvention of Circus [Paperback]

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Item description for Freaks and Fire: The Underground Reinvention of Circus by Phil Hollenbeck J. Dee Hill...

Beyond the historical confines of Ringling Bros. and the ber-kitsch of Cirque du Soleil, tightly knit alternative circus troupes like Yard Dogs Road Show, Flam Chen, Circus Contraption, and other over-the-top groups bring thrill-starved audiences sometimes disturbing, sometimes exhilarating riffs on the classic circus. From the sick shockfests of the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow to the anarchic burlesque of the Bindlestiff Family Circus to the obscure but elegant puppetry of the Cloudseeding Circus of the Performative Object, Freaks and Fire celebrates the world of the underground circus. The voices of the performers themselves describe the grit and glamour of their art --- from chaos-inducing performances to paying the rent. J. Dee Hill's provocative text and Phil Hollenbeck's lurid images explore the role of these self-styled freaks in society, along the way giving a snapshot of society itself, of the large audience these neo-vaudevillians seek to dazzle and challenge.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   200
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.6" Width: 7.6" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   1.1 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 10, 2005
Publisher   Soft Skull Press
ISBN  1932360522  
ISBN13  9781932360523  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Performing Arts > Theater > Circus
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Anthropology > Cultural
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Popular Culture
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Freaks and Fire: The Underground Reinvention of Circus?

Freaks and Fire: The Underground Reinvention of Circus  Aug 23, 2007
Gorgeous cover and the hand-designed letterpress titlepages are fantastic, but I thought there would be more color photography. There are several spreads on nice big color images but most photography in the book is black and white. Definitely an interesting read though, and looks great on a coffee table. I bought this for a friend who's a Burning Man enthusiast and he was pleased with it. Props to Phil, Jeff, and Casey!
view of "alternative" circuses  Apr 30, 2005
J. Dee Hill is a former bureau chief of Adweek writing about "radical" or "alternative" circus. This is not your familiar Ringling Brothers Circus, meant mainly to drawn families and entertain and awe children. This radical circus cannot even be compared to a typical, traditional circus. Think the most outrageous performance art you even saw--and then some. The side show has taken center stage. Although some of the costumes and performances resemble the Mardi Gras carnival festivities of Rio de Janiero. Zamora the Torture King, Brothers Grim Sideshows, and Bindlestiff Family Circus are the names of some of the troupes. Hill takes these and a few others one by one with accompanying photos by Hollenbeck to demonstrate the exotic make-up and dress and the startling acts. The book doesn't play up the sensationalistic, sometimes macabre, occasionally repulsive aspects of such circuses--this is evident enough without any emphasis by the author. The book has a sociological and cultural vein too, with performers telling their interesting stories of what drew them to this field of contemporary entertainment and how they got into it.
Insightful and intriguing  Mar 26, 2005
This book offers a lot--it is an insightful and intriguing look inside the world of alternative circus shows, and is both entertaining and riveting. The accompanying photographs really capture the essence of the performances, as well, and complement this thought-provoking tome quite nicely. I would heartily recommend this book to anyone.

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