Archive for the AMUSEMENTS Category
BROOKLYN, Contemporary Variety with tags BROOKLYN, Freddy's Bar, Granny's Bluemers on February 17, 2017 by travsd
Burlesk, Contemporary Variety, PLUGS with tags Bunny Buxom, burlesque, Slipper Room, Up the Rabbit Hole on February 16, 2017 by travsd
Art Stars, Indie Theatre, PLUGS with tags Austin Pendleton, David Mamet, Not My President, Penny Arcade, Tammy Faye Starlite, The Anarchist, theatre, WOW Cafe on February 16, 2017 by travsd
Clown, Comedy, Dance, Vaudeville etc. with tags clown, I Love Lucy, Joanne, Pepito, Perez, Spanish, vaudeville on February 16, 2017 by travsd
Today is the birthday of Jose Escobar “Pepito” Perez (1896-1975). Originally from Barcelona, Pepito got his start as a clown in Spain in 1914. He came to the U.S. in 1922 and performed on the Keith and Orpheum circuits.
In 1928 he met dancer and contortionist Margaret Janet Zetteler (or Zettler, 1908-2004) at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, when both were booked to perform before screenings of Charlie Chaplin’s The Circus. They teamed up, both onstage and off, and Zetteler’s name became Joanne Perez.
As vaudeville dried up they began performing at night clubs in the late 1930s an 1940s. Over the years, Pepito got various small roles on film and television, including several shots on I Love Lucy. They opened the Pepito and Joanne Academy of Dance, which Joanne continued to run for decades after Pepito passed away. Pepito also ran a charter fishing business.
For more on vaudeville history, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
Circus, Contemporary Variety with tags Big Apple Circus, Bindlestiff, Circus, Friars Club, Smithsonian on February 15, 2017 by travsd
So much circus and variety news lately, this may have to become a regular feature!
- As we reported in our earlier bulletin, but may have gotten lost in the list of items, the theme of this year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival is Circus Arts. Our good friends at the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus have been invited to participate. But they need your help! The unplanned trip to bring their show down to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. is by definition un-budgeted for. You should help support them in any case (with the ancient art of circus in precarious danger everywhere you turn), but now’s a particularly good time to send some coin to the Bindlestiffs. Do so here.
- The Daily News reported today that a judge approved Compass Works LLC’s buy-out of the bankrupt Big Apple Circus’s tent and equipment, with the upshot that the show will go on (in some form) once again! Read the good news here.
- The bad news is that now the Friar’s Club’s finances seem to be in a mess. Yesterday, the New York Posts’ Page Six column reported that the FBI actually raided the place and seized all their financial records. Not too funny! Read about it here. Thanks for the tip, Bob Greenberg!
BUNKUM, Dime Museum and Side Show, Little People, STEAMPUNK/ VICTORIANA, Valentine's Day with tags Barnum, Charles Stratton, dwarves, Fairy Wedding, Grace Chucrh, Lavinia Warren, Little People, marriage, midgets, Tom Thumb, wedding on February 14, 2017 by travsd
“There’s someone for everybody” goes the old matchmaker’s expression, and perhaps no words rang truer on February 9, 1863, the day that professional little person Tom Thumb (Charles Stratton) married Lavinia Warren at Grace Church, New York. (I believe that’s Lavinia’s sister Minnie Warren as Maid of Honor; and Commodore Nutt as Best Man). This little stunt, the “Fairy Wedding” by the press, lightened people’s hearts during the depths of the Civil War. We present it to you in the same spirit today.
It wasn’t just a publicity stunt, however; the two were a real couple. But even so, their boss P.T. Barnum was probably not too unhappy when the big event resulted in coverage like this:
“I love you completely, my own, my all. But above all, I love this front page coverage in Harpers!”