A good time was had by all at last night’s Congress of Curious People at Coney Island USA. It was an unusual one, affected in innumerable ways by the ongoing pandemic ordeal. For the first time ever it was streamed live, and more people were attending virtually than in person. Some of the participants, like the one and only Jim Rose (who now lives in Paris) and his interlocuter Jellyboy the Clown, as well as spooky ventriloquist Mr. Deadguy (Dave Deneen) all participated long distance. And because no ceremony was held last year, double the number of candidates were inducted into the Sideshow Hall of Fame: this year’s inductees include Schlitzie, Betty Lou Williams, Artoria Gibbons, Captain Fred Walters, Johnny Fox, Mme. Aboumah, Tirza’s Wine Bath, Jim Kay (the Educated Horse), Tod Browning, and the firm of Millard & Bulsterbaum.
The panelists were my humble self, Dick Zigun (CIUSA’s chief bottle washer), star of stage and screen Todd Robbins, Kate Dale (CIUSA board member and in-house set designer), Nati Amos (the famous “Patchwork Girl”), and CIUSA’s renowned banner painter and Coney Island Royalty Marie Roberts.
As always, Norman Blake will have the definitive, official snaps. But I grabbed a few from my own perspective while the gettin’ was good.