Finally, a conference I can get exited about: A Congress of Curious Peoples:
April 9-18, 2010
at Sideshows By The SeaShore
tHE coNEY iSLAND mUSEUM
1208 Surf AVE.
A Congress of Curious Peoples:
An Amazing Collection of Human Marvels
TICKETS FOR EACH EVENT ARE INDIVIDUALLY PRICED (SEE BELOW).
SPECIAL! gET A CONGRESSIONAL PASS GOOD FOR ADMISSION TO ALL EVENTS FOR ONLY $50!
Since the 1860's, Coney Island has been a beacon for strange and interesting people. For generations, it has attracted the curious and the enlightened, the onlooker and the performer. Every spring Coney Island USA convenes The Congress of Curious Peoples, a 10-day gathering of unique individuals at Sideshows by the Seashore and the Coney Island Museum, celebrating Coney Island's subversive and exciting power and exploring its political, artistic, and spectacular possibilities through performances, exhibitions, and films by important artists in the world of the 21st century sideshows.
Adding to the madness, this year, in conjunction with Observatory and the Morbid Anatomy Library, Coney Island USA introduces the Congress for Curious People. Consisting of a 2-day symposium and 5-day lecture series, this additional congress will take a scholarly yet popular approach to the curiosities and wonders of Coney Island and seek to investigate--via lectures and and a scholarly conference--the relationship between education and spectacle in American amusements, the collection of curiosities from the renaissance to the present, and the display of "freaks" and "primitive peoples" in fairgrounds and worlds fair settings. The series will celebrate the interdisciplinarity of Dime Museums while calling into question both popular and scholarly assumptions about the importance of Coney Island's legacy, its sordid past, and its titillating present.
HOW DO I MAKE SENSE OF THIS OVERWHELMING BUT EXCITING SPECTACLE!?
1) Opening Weekend
The 10-day spectacular begins with the opening night party in Coney Island's Freak Bar and the induction of new members into the Sideshow Hall of Fame. Opening weekend features an exhibition at Observatory (off-site in Gowanus), and two days of performances by some of Coney Island's best-loved performers on stage at Sideshows by the Seashore.
2) 5 nights of Thrilling Lectures and Esoteric and Bizarre Performances
Opening weekend is followed by 5 nights of lectures and performances by international acts and scholars appearing on stage in the Coney Island Museum and Sideshows by the Seashore.
3) Super Freak Weekend and the Congress for Curious People
The climax of this star-studded wonderfest is "Super-Freak Weekend" - which includes performances by some of the world's most important natural-born freaks- individuals whose performance is their physicality itself - and a scholarly conference, called the Congress for Curious People, in the Coney Island Museum.
CLICK ON EACH DATE FOR FURTHER INFO AND TO PURCHASE ADVANCE TICKETS
OPENING NIGHT, FRIDAY, APRIL 9th
MUSEUM, FILM SCREENING, 6:30 PM - $5
Chained for Life (1951), a film by Harry L. Fraser. Starring the World Famous Siamese Twins, Daisy and Violet Hilton.
SIDESHOW, 8:00 pm - $10
OPENING NIGHT PARTY with Cheap Beer and Drinking Game. You come, you vote.
"The Cosmic Bicycle Theatre PRESENTS; A Puppet FreakShow"
plus Freak Hall of Fame Nominations with Drinking Game
The nominees are:
Working Acts: Brooklyn Strongmen Mighty Atom vs. Joe Rollino
Attractions: Blade Box vs. Electric Chair
Self Inflicted: Jolly Irene vs. Mortado
Born Different: Prince Randi vs. Otis Jordan
Show Folk: David Rosen vs. Fred Sindel
Hosted by Dick Zigun
Please join us to select five inductees in a drunken celebration of Coney Island madness.
SATURDAY APRIL, 10TH
SIDESHOW, 1PM - 8:00 PM, CONTINUOUS ADMISSION - $10
Alumni Weekend featuring The Great Fredini, Eak the Geek, more TBA
OFFSITE (Observatory), 7PM - 10:00 PM - FREE!
THE SECRET MUSEUM EXHIBITION OPENING PARTY!
The Secret Museum--an exhibition on view at sister-institution Observatory's Gowanus-based gallery--will host a free opening party on Saturday, April 10th. The exhibiton explores the poetics of hidden, untouched and curious collections from around the world and features photographs from Joanna Ebenstein of Morbid Anatomy and Observatory's travels to collections private, public, and backstage. More on the opening and exhibition, including directions to Observatory, here. Observatory : 543 Union Street (at Nevins), Brooklyn, NY 11215
SUNDAY, APRIL 11TH
SIDESHOW 1PM - 8PM. CONTINUOUS ADMISSION $10
ALUMNI WEEKEND featuring The Great Fredini, Eak The Geek, more TBA
SIDESHOW, 8:00 PM - $10
Chris McDaniel Wild West comes to Coney Island. The undisputed master of Whip Wielding, World Record Rope Tricks, Gun-Twirling and more!
"THIS is something!" - David Letterman, The Late Show
SIDESHOW, 8:00 PM - $10
The Great Throwdini hosts a record holders event: Live, on stage, performers may attempt to set or break a world record. Adjudicators will be on-site for the event.
SIDESHOW, 8:00 PM - $10
Penguin Boy vs. Sealboy moderated by Jelly Boy
SIDESHOW, 8:00 PM - $10
Showdevils, featuring The Enigma. An evening of freaks and music with real chainsaws, cheerleaders and electrocution!!
SATURDAY SUNDAY, APRIL 17TH 18TH
SIDESHOW 1-8 PM CONTINUOUS ADMISSION - $10
Super Freak Weekend with Mat Sealboy Fraser, Jennifer Bearded Lady Miller, Koko the Killer Clown and Ravi the Indian Rubber Boy
THE CONGRESS FOR CURIOUS PEOPLE! (In the Coney Island Museum) $25 for the weekend Presented by Observatory and Morbid Anatomy, at and with The Coney Island Museum Date: Saturday, April 17th and Sunday, April 18th
The Congress for Curious People is a 2-day symposium exploring education and spectacle, collectors of curiosities, historical fairground displays and more, in conjunction with The Coney Island Museum. The symposium will feature panels of humanities scholars discussing with the audience the intricacies of collecting, the history of ethnographic display, the interface of spectacle and education, and the politics of bodily display in the amusement parks, museums, and fairs of the Western world. Also on view in the museum will be "The Collector's Cabinet," an installation of astounding artifacts held in private collections. In conjunction with the events at the Coney Island Museum, Observatory's Gallery space will host "The Secret Museum," an exhibition exploring the poetics of hidden, untouched and curious collections from around the world.
The Congress for Curious People will serve as an academic counterpoint to Coney Island's Congress of Curious Peoples, which Coney Island USA has convened since 2007 at Sideshows by the Seashore.
Saturday, 11am-12:30pm - Lectures and panel discussion - Education and Spectacle in 19th and 20th Century Amusements
Amy Herzog, author of Dreams of Difference, Songs of the Same: The Musical Moment in Film
Andrea Stulman Dennett, author of Weird and Wonderful: The Dime Museum in America
Kathy Maher, Executive Director of Barnum Museum
Eva Åhrén, author of Death, Modernity, and the Body : Sweden 1870-1940
Moderated by Elizabeth Bradley, New York Public Library
Saturday, 1pm-2:30pm - Lectures and panel discussion - Cabinets of Curiosity: Collecting Curiosities in the 21st Century.
Joe Coleman, collector and artist
Johnny Fox, collector, performer, founder of The Freakatorium (Contacted; not yet confirmed)
Mike Zohn, Antique and Oddity Dealer, Obscura Antiques and Oddities
Evan Michelson, Antique and Oddity Dealer, Obscura Antiques and Oddities and Morbid Anatomy Library scholar in residence
Melissa Milgrom, Author of Still Life: Adventures in Taxidermy
Moderated by Aaron Beebe, Director of the Coney Island Museum
Saturday, 3pm-5pm - Lectures and panel discussion - Freaks and Monsters: The Politics of Bodily Display
Mike Chemers, author of Staging Stigma: A Critical History of the American Freak Show
Michael Sappol, Historian of the National Library of Medicine and author of A Traffic of Dead Bodies: Anatomy and Embodied Social Identity in Nineteenth-Century America
Nadja Durbach, author of Spectacle of Deformity: Freak Shows and Modern British Culture
Moderated by Jennifer Miller, Bearded Lady and founder of Circus Amok
Saturday, 6pm-8pm - Drinks and light fare
Sunday, 12pm-2pm - Lectures and panel discussion – A History of Cultural Display in World’s Fairs and Sideshows
Barbara Mathé, Archivist, American Museum of Natural History
Alison Griffiths, author of Wondrous Difference: Cinema, Anthropology, and Turn of the Century Visual Culture
Lucian Gomoll, University of California at Santa Cruz
Moderated by Aaron Glass, author of The Totem Pole: An Intercultural Biography and In Search of the Hamat’sa: A Tale of Headhunting