The Circus Age

Culture and Society under the American Big Top

Author: Janet M. Davis

Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press

ISBN: 0807861499

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 360

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A century ago, daily life ground to a halt when the circus rolled into town. Across America, banks closed, schools canceled classes, farmers left their fields, and factories shut down so that everyone could go to the show. In this entertaining and provocative book, Janet Davis links the flowering of the early-twentieth-century American railroad circus to such broader historical developments as the rise of big business, the breakdown of separate spheres for men and women, and the genesis of the United States' overseas empire. In the process, she casts the circus as a powerful force in consolidating the nation's identity as a modern industrial society and world power. Davis explores the multiple "shows" that took place under the big top, from scripted performances to exhibitions of laborers assembling and tearing down tents to impromptu spectacles of audiences brawling, acrobats falling, and animals rampaging. Turning Victorian notions of gender, race, and nationhood topsy-turvy, the circus brought its vision of a rapidly changing world to spectators--rural as well as urban--across the nation. Even today, Davis contends, the influence of the circus continues to resonate in popular representations of gender, race, and the wider world.
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Women of the American Circus, 1880–1940

Author: Katherine H. Adams,Michael L. Keene

Publisher: McFarland

ISBN: 1476600791

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 223

View: 1582

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During the years 1880 to 1940, the glory days of the American circus, a third to a half of the cast members were women—a large group of very visible American workers whose story needs telling. This book, using sources such as diaries, autobiographies, newspaper accounts, films, posters, and route books, first considers the popular media’s presentation of these performers as unnatural and scandalous—as well as romantic and thrilling. Next are the stories told by circus women, which contradict and complicate other versions of their lives. Across America in those years an array of acts featured women, such as tableaux, freak shows, girlie shows, tiger acts, and aerial performances, all involving special skills and all detailed here. The book offers a unique and fascinating view of not just the circus but of what it meant to be an American woman at work.
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From Barnum & Bailey to Feld

The Creative Evolution of the Greatest Show on Earth

Author: Ernest Albrecht

Publisher: McFarland

ISBN: 1476617775

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 308

View: 2102

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Since its inception in 1872, the Greatest Show on Earth has continually transformed itself to meet changing tastes and cultural shifts. Over the course of its long existence, it has been at various times a biblical spectacle and historical pageant, a ceremonial introduction to the peoples and cultures of the world, and a fairy tale masque. It has also featured sights ranging from gladiatorial combat and aerial daredevils to oddities of nature and foolhardy wonders. This work chronicles the colorful artistry of the Greatest Show on Earth from its beginning to 2010, revealing how each of 12 changes in management brought about changes in style and content. More than 50 photographs bring the flamboyant performers and amazing spectacles to life in this informative appreciation of the circus and its evolution.
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The Many Worlds of Circus

Author: Robert Sugarman

Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing

ISBN: 1443811777

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 220

View: 4242

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Acrobats and manipulators of objects, trained animals, and clowns – have been performing throughout history. In the eighteenth century, the invention of the circus ring provided a focus for the activities, and the modern circus was born. Once the circus was the most spectacular entertainment many Americans saw. When the supply of cheap labor disappeared and other forms of entertainment became available, the giant circuses shrank, and in the last quarter of the twentieth century new one ring circuses returned. The Circus and Circus Culture area of the Popular Culture Association has been examining circus history, circus life, the relationship of circus to society, and the impact of circus on the visual and literary arts since 1997. This book is a collection of papers from its annual conferences. "This fascinating collection showcases the transnational richness and cultural depth of the circus in an array of historical and contemporary settings. Strongly recommended for circus enthusiasts and students of popular culture, history, and theater." —Janet M.Davis, Associate Professor, Chair of the Department of American Studies, College of Liberal Arts at UT Austin, author of The Circus Age: Culture and Society under the American Big Top
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Who Put the B in the Ballyhoo?

Author: Carlyn Beccia

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

ISBN: 054756211X

Category: Juvenile Fiction

Page: 32

View: 434

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Before the days of TV, DVDs, and video games, there was the circus. When it came to town, businesses and schools would shut down. Folks would gather round, for there, right in front of their eyes, was drama, action, and intrigue. There was the grace ofthe bareback rider, the daring of the acrobat, the strangeness of the snake lady, and the delight of the dancing pigs. Vintage-style circus posters capture the weird and the wonderful while fascinating sidebars reveal historical truths behind America’s circuses. What was it like when the circus came to town? This book, illustrated in rich oils, gives us a ringside seat.
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Staging Modern American Life

Popular Culture in the Experimental Theatre of Millay, Cummings, and Dos Passos

Author: T. Fahy

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 023033959X

Category: Social Science

Page: 183

View: 1638

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Thomas Fahy examines the integration of and challenges to popular culture found in the theatrical works of Millay, Cummings, and Dos Passos, which have largely been marginalized in discussions of theatre history and literary studies, despite offering a hybrid theatre that integrates popular with formal, and mainstream with experimental
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Electric Dreamland

Amusement Parks, Movies, and American Modernity

Author: Lauren Rabinovitz

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231527217

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 256

View: 417

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Amusement parks were the playgrounds of the working class in the early twentieth century, combining numerous, mechanically-based spectacles into one unique, modern cultural phenomenon. Lauren Rabinovitz describes the urban modernity engendered by these parks and their media, encouraging ordinary individuals to sense, interpret, and embody a burgeoning national identity. As industrialization, urbanization, and immigration upended society, amusement parks tempered the shocks of racial, ethnic, and cultural conflict while shrinking the distinctions between gender and class. Following the rise of American parks from 1896 to 1918, Rabinovitz seizes on a simultaneous increase in cinema and spectacle audiences and connects both to the success of leisure activities in stabilizing society. Critics of the time often condemned parks and movies for inciting moral decline, yet in fact they fostered women's independence, racial uplift, and assimilation. The rhythmic, mechanical movements of spectacle also conditioned audiences to process multiple stimuli. Featuring illustrations from private collections and accounts from unaccessed archives, Electric Dreamland joins film and historical analyses in a rare portrait of mass entertainment and the modern eye.
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Geography and Memory

Explorations in Identity, Place and Becoming

Author: Owain Jones,Joanne Garde-Hansen

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 1137284072

Category: Science

Page: 272

View: 4036

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This collection shifts the focus from collective memory to individual memory, by incorporating new performative approaches to identity, place and becoming. Drawing upon cultural geography, the book provides an accessible framework to approach key aspects of memory, remembering, archives, commemoration and forgetting in modern societies.
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From Liberation to Conquest

The Visual and Popular Cultures of the Spanish-American War of 1898

Author: Bonnie M. Miller

Publisher: Univ of Massachusetts Press

ISBN: 1558499245

Category: History

Page: 324

View: 2605

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The American people overwhelmingly supported the nation's entry into the Spanish-American War of 1898, which led to U.S. imperial expansion into the Caribbean and Pacific. In this book, Bonnie M. Miller explores the basis of that support, showing how the nation's leading media makers--editorialists, cartoonists, filmmakers, photographers, and stage performers--captured the public's interest in the Cuban crisis with heart-rending depictions of Cuban civilians, particularly women, brutalized by bloodthirsty Spanish pirates. Although media campaigns initially advocated for the United States to step in to rescue Cuba from the horrors of colonial oppression, the war ended just months later with the U.S. acquisition of Spain's remaining empire, including Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. President William McKinley heeded the call for war, with the American people behind him, and then proceeded to use the conflict to further his foreign policy agenda of expanding U.S. interests in the Caribbean and Far East. Miller examines the shifting media portrayals of U.S. actions for the duration of the conflict, from liberation to conquest. She shows how the media capitalized on the public's thirst for drama, action, and spectacle and adapted to emerging imperial possibilities. Growing resistance to American imperialism by the war's end unraveled the consensus in support of U.S policy abroad and produced a rich debate that found expression in American visual and popular culture.
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Circus Queen & Tinker Bell

The Memoir of Tiny Kline

Author: Tiny Kline,Janet M. Davis

Publisher: University of Illinois Press

ISBN: 0252075102

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 359

View: 2625

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A glimpse of day-to-day life under the big top, from one of the circus's most remarkable performers
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