Archive for the SOCIAL EVENTS Category

MEM’RIES OF THE 2017 CONEY ISLAND USA SPRING GALA

Posted in Amusement Parks, Coney Island, Dime Museum and Side Show, SOCIAL EVENTS with tags , , on March 27, 2017 by travsd

I believe The Wizard of Oz put it best: “A heart is judged not by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.” The phrase never made a lot of sense to me until Saturday night at the annual Coney Island USA Spring Gala. A lot of people were showing a lot of love for the old sideshow. It was a lot like the atmosphere at a wedding, when you encounter people from every phase of your life. I saw lots of old pals and collaborators I’ve known for 15, 20 years along with plenty of new ones. The tentacles of the octopus that is CIUSA are just out there everywhere…all of these different subcultures (sideshow, circus, burlesque, fashion, history, vintage, indie theatre, performance art, visual art, CULINARY art, rock and roll, and I know I’m leaving some out) all coming together, not just being under one roof, but really coming together, as though to have this place in common is to have everything in common.

And then all of the SUB-disciplines: “”Ah, I see all the sideshow and variety show PHOTOGRAPHERS are here!” Because there is a freak paparazzi. I only took a handful of snaps (I was having too much fun) and they don’t even begin to convey the craziness to be had. Fortunately, others captured it all for posterity. Perhaps because world affairs are so grim, there was plenty of happy madness afoot. There’s something extremely special about the transformation of the already surreal Coney Island USA complex into a landscape even more dreamlike and liminal.

For a supplemental visual record I highly recommend checking out Jim Moore’s post at Vaudevisuals.com, which is especially strong on the all-star  variety show on the mainstage, which included host Adam Real-Man, Mat Fraser of American Horror Story: Freak Show, Circus Amok’s Jennifer Miller, the amazing Velvet Crayon, the Great Fredini, etc etc etc. While Jim was taking those pix, I was over in the VIP room, where the performances were more burlesque oriented (and watched the sideshow on a video monitor). I saw Gal Friday and Julie Atlas Muz and Shelly Watson and Jo Boobs Weldon and several Miss Coney Islands take the stage. I got to chat with most of these folks as well as Juliet Jeske, who did face painting, Gary Dreifus who did walkaround magic. Dame Cuchifrita provided high end consumptibles, and I’m inevitably leaving many people out.

At any rate, I urge you take the whole ride right down to the bottom. It gets wilder as you go. Raymond Adams got some of the best party pix. The uncredited ones are by me, and there are also some by Jim Moore and Norman Blake, and like I say, Jim Moore’s pix of the show itself on his his blog are amazing.

Original sideshow art by Marie Roberts on the auction table.

An array of delicious cakes. Uncharacteristically I didn’t take any. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking. Life is full of regrets.

A close up of a cephalopod cake decoration.

A mer-drink.

Photo by Norman Blake taken early in the evening of myself (right) with CIUSA board chairman Dr. Jeffrey Birnbaum and Jim Moore. Shortly after this, Dr. Birnbaum started running around wearing a pinhead mask.

Hydra-Headed vintage entrepreneur Don Spiro was on hand with his lovely companion to dispense absinthe. The line for his product was deep. If you want to see what all the fuss is about, attend one of his monthly Green Fairy Absinthe Tasting Parties at the Red Room.

These gents are the Apple Boys, a Barbershop Quartet

The inevitable Reverend Billy was on hand to give the proceedings his blessing.

Billy and his congregation hoist CIUSA founder Dick Zigun into the sky and throw him around the room some.

 

Go-Go Dancers on the Freak Bar.

Me with burlesque biologist Pinkie Special and Collective Unconsciousness’s Caterina Bartha.

Took this one shortly before I slipped out. If you missed the gala, don’t worry you can still give them money! All you need to know is at the Coney Island USA web site.  The sideshow opens for business next month and the Mermaid Parade, as always, will be in June.

What’s Up at Coney

Posted in AMERICANA, Coney Island, Contemporary Variety, EXHIBITIONS & LECTURES, Magicians/ Mind Readers/ Quick Change, PLUGS, SOCIAL EVENTS with tags , , , , , , on March 13, 2017 by travsd

We all associate Coney Island with summer (it’s a beach and amusement park after all), but it may be a lesser known fact that there’s stuff happening at Coney Island USA all through the winter season as well. For example, most every Sunday Gary Dreifus presents his kid friendly Magic at Coney show. I was mightily entertained by Mr. Dreifus’s feats in yesterday’s show, as well as those of his special guests Magical Vince and Phil Crosson.  Here’s next week’s line-up:

The magic show takes place in the Coney Island Museum,  open on weekend throughout the winter. The museum has recently been spruced up with some new displays and wall text

 

Koo Koo the Bird Girl and her jolly friend (okay, he’s dressed like a jester, but I don’t know how jolly he is).

 

 

“Slapstick Used By Angelo the Midget at the Steeplechase Blowhole”

And now there is a whole new Hot Dog section of the museum featuring items like:

 

These stained glass windows are from the original Feltman’s Restaurant, birthplace of the hot dog

Thence (the real pull for the day) a special preview event for the new exhibition Five Cents to Dreamland: A Trip to Coney Island, created and curated by the New York Transit Museum. 

A 1998 sideshow banner by the one and only Marie Roberts!

A genuine vintage Strength-Tester mallet.

 

CIUSA Founder Dick Zigun (center): with Concetta Bencivenga, director of the NYTM; and John di Domenico, who serves on the boards of both organizations

 

Coney’s own Patrick Wall, Your Mix-Master

 

CIUSA board members James Fitzsimmons and Dr. Jeff Birnbaum, with Birnbaum’s son

 

Coney Island USA’s annual gala is happening in just two weeks, March 25! An all-star cast celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Mermaid Parade with a Corral Jubilee! Follow this magical portal for tickets and details! 

 

Last Night’s “Fields Fest” Launch in Pictures!

Posted in Comedians, ME, My Shows, SOCIAL EVENTS, W.C. Fields with tags , , , , , on November 2, 2016 by travsd

Last Night’s launch of Fields Fest at the Lambs was a smash success. Thanks to all who helped us put it on and all who came! For information and updates about upcoming Fields Fest events, go here. 

A packed house

A packed house

Glen Heroy as "W.C. Fields for President". Photograph by Jonathan Smith

Glen Heroy as “W.C. Fields for President”. Photograph by Jonathan Smith

 

Lauren Milberger as Gracie Allen -- also for President

Lauren Milberger as Gracie Allen — also for President

 

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R-L: Lauren Milberger, Trav S.D., Kita St. Cyr, and Glen Heroy

R-L: Lauren Milberger, Trav S.D., Kita St. Cyr, and Glen Heroy. Photo by Noah Diamond

 

Heroy with the great clown Hilary Chaplin

Heroy with the great clown Hilary Chaplain

 

Heroy with David Mulkins, President of the Bowery Residents Committee

Heroy with David Mulkins, President of the Bowery Residents Committee

 

Burlesque star Kita St. Cyr, with author Kevin Fitzpatrick, Lamb, and president of the Dorothy Parker Society among much else

Burlesque star Kita St. Cyr, with author Kevin Fitzpatrick, Lamb, and president of the Dorothy Parker Society among much else

 

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Classic comedy mavens Bob Greenberg and Jonathan Smith

 

David Leopold, author of "The Hirschfeld Century: Portrait of an Artist and His Age"; and Jon Reichman, W.C. Fields Productions

David Leopold, author of “The Hirschfeld Century: Portrait of an Artist and His Age”; and Jon Reichman, W.C. Fields Productions

 

Lauren Milberger and Don Spiro of Wit's End and Zelda Magazine

Lauren Milberger and Don Spiro of Wit’s End and Zelda Magazine. Nancy Reagan smiles down from above. (The Lambs shares quarters with the Women’s Republican Club)

 

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Was thrilled to have Herbert Goldman there — he wrote terrific books on Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor and Fanny Brice, all of which I read when researching my book “No Applause”.

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One Week from Today: W.C. Fields for President!

Posted in Comedians, Comedy, Indie Theatre, PLUGS, SOCIAL EVENTS, W.C. Fields with tags , , , , , , , on October 25, 2016 by travsd

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Tuesday, November 1, 7:00pm: W.C. Fields for President!

You may not have heard, but we’re in the middle of a Presidential election season! Well, not the middle so much as near the end of a process that has been going on for about a year and a half. And after all that winnowing, all that thinning of a very large pack, the American people in their wisdom managed to select two candidates whom large numbers of their fellow Americans just can’t stand!

It’s time to take a break from all the madness. Which is why I hope you’ll join us one week from today for W.C. Fields for President, a mock campaign event starring the eponymous screen comedian, as played by Glen Heroy of PBS’s CircusW.C. Fields for President is based on the humor book Fields for President, which was written by the comedian and published just in time for the 1940 Presidential election. The original edition looked like this:

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Then it was republished in the early 1970s, just when Fields’ popularity was experiencing a resurgence. In the mid ’80s I got a copy of that edition, and it was highly influential on me. My edition looks like this:

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And, lastly, just a few weeks ago it was recently re-released with a new forward by Dick Cavett). Ultimately that (and the current election) are what precipitate next Tuesday’s event. Every shelf should have one. Buy your copy here. 

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Here’s me and W.C.’s only granddaughter Dr. Harriet Fields at our planning meeting a few weeks back (a.k.a Through the Looking Glass):

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The present show was adapted from the book, and is directed by me, Trav S.D. It stars Glen Heroy of PBS’s Circus and will feature special guests, including Lauren Milberger, as Gracie Allen (who also ran a comedy Presidential campaign in 1940). 

Our event is going to be held at the Lambs — the historic theatrical club, of which one of the most famous members just happened to be…W.C. Fields. Here is Heroy rehearsing at the Lambs, only yesterday:

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And by rehearsing, I mean playing pool. The Lambs is located at  3 West 51st Street, 5th floor. A suggested donation of $10 supports The Lambs Foundation. Attendance is limited, please RSVP to Kevin Fitzpatrick, kevin [AT ]fitzpatrickauthor.com.  Again, it takes place Tuesday, November 1 at 7pm.

W.C. Fields for President is part of Fields Fest, a festival of talks, screenings, walking tours and other events celebrating the life and career of W.C. Fields. For more on Fields Fest and some of our other events, go here. Fields Fest is our follow up to the highly successful Marxfest, which took place in May of 2014. 

Windows on the Bowery, Part Two

Posted in Bowery, Barbary Coast, Old New York, Saloons, EXHIBITIONS & LECTURES, ME, My Shows, SOCIAL EVENTS with tags , , , , , , on September 23, 2016 by travsd

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An excellent time was had by all assembled (I decree it) at last night’s celebration for the Windows on the Bowery exhibition at the historic HSBC bank on the lower Bowery in Chinatown. You may recall our coverage of Part One, the Cooper Union opening, from my earlier blog post.  As you may recall, because you are paying strict and close attention to every aspect of my life, I wrote two the panels, included in the show, and these are them:

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But frankly all of the panels are terific and they really made me wish for a way-back machine so I could visit all the theatres, museums, and such like that used to thrive on the Bowery back in the day.  You want a clearer picture? You want to see the rest of them? GO THERE. I told you where it is at the top of the post.

Here are some candids I took at the event:

David Mulkins of the Bowery Residents Committee, principle mover, shaker and chief bottle washer of the project talks to Ralph Lewis of Peculiar Works Project (whom I learned last night lives in one of the historic buildings!)

David Mulkins of the Bowery Residents Committee, principle mover, shaker and chief bottle washer of the project talks to Ralph Lewis of Peculiar Works Project (whom I learned last night lives in one of the historic buildings!)

Mulkins addresses the adoring throngs

Mulkins addresses the adoring throngs

HSBC Bowery Branch staff, who have every reason to be proud of this civic minded project

HSBC Bowery Branch staff, who have every reason to be proud of this civic minded project

The word in the circle is "Success". Ain't it the truth, ain't it the truth?

The word in the circle is “Success”. Ain’t it the truth, ain’t it the truth?

Troll Museum Resurrection!

Posted in Art Stars, SOCIAL EVENTS, VISUAL ART, Women with tags , , , , , , on August 17, 2016 by travsd

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Great fun last night at the Chinatown Soup gallery for the gala opening of the one-week re-appearance of Rev Jen’s Troll Museum. The Museum (which contains more trolls than you will find any place outside their natural Scandinavian stomping grounds) was formerly ensconced in Rev Jen’s pad, but both she and the trolls were evicted a few weeks ago. They need your support; an easy and pleasurable way to do it is to swing by the gallery on Lower Orchard Street and make a donation or buy some of Rev Jen’s art. Here’s some of what and whom we saw last night. All art is by the cosmically brilliant Rev Jen:

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Old friend and long-time supporter CC John is the guy with the brewski. He took most of the photos and videos of my American Vaudeville Theatre’s earliest years

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Porno Jim was there with his pooch in a bag, Bowie

 

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Pay the toll to the troll!

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Portrait of the Artist as Out of Con-TROLL. Though I’ve known and occasionally worked with her for going on 20 years these pictures we took last night are the only photos I know of that contain us both. We decided to make them count. ALL POWER TO THE REV!

 

Jim Moore’s Pix of the Recent Slipper Room Show!

Posted in Contemporary Variety, Indie Theatre, ME, My Shows, SOCIAL EVENTS, Vaudeville etc. with tags , , , , , on May 8, 2016 by travsd

The great and ubiquitous Jim R. Moore of Vaudevisuals.com came to our recent Slipper Room Show celebrating 20 years of the American Vaudeville Theatre, 1000 vaudevillians on Travalanche, and raising money for, and awareness of, the new version of I’ll Say She Is, opening at the Connelly Theatre on May 28!

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Your host Trav S.D., who appears to sending a secret signal to a confederate in the balcony

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CARLA RHODES & CECIL SINCLAIRE

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RICHARD FERIDUN & TAMMY FAYE STARLITE

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MOLLY POPE

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MATT ROPER AS CHICO IN A SCENE FROM “I’LL SAY SHE IS”

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NOAH DIAMOND AS GROUCHO

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SETH SHELDEN IS HARPO

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MELODY JANE

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Also in the show were: WILL HALL , JO “BOOBS” WELDONZERO BOYJONNY PORKPIE and NELSON LUGO.  We raised around a grand for the show and every little bit helps. Thanks to all involved. Another way to support I’ll Say She Is is to buy your tickets NOW! Do that here. 

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