Thursday, April 5, 2012

Congress of Curious Peoples

Since you are reading Quigley's Cabinet, I assume you are a curious sort, and if you live in the vicinity of New York you have the opportunity to put that curiosity into action and attend the upcoming Congress of Curious Peoples, in whole or in part (tickets here). The 10-day event will be held on Coney Island April 13-22, 2012, at Sideshows by the Seashore - the last permanently housed traditional ten-in-one circus sideshow in the U.S. - and the Coney Island Museum. The celebration and concluding symposium, Congress for Curious People (schedule here), will explore Coney Island's subversive political and artistic power through spectacular performances, exhibitions, and films. Lecturers including Paul Koudounaris will investigate 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 fairground settings. The series will explore "popular and scholarly assumptions about the importance of Coney Island's legacy, its sordid past, and its titillating present." The opening night event of the Congress is sponsored by Ripley's Believe It or Not!, the keynote speakers at the symposium (schedule here) are the co-producers Aaron Beebe and Joanna Ebenstein - whose blog Morbid Anatomy inspired my own, and my friend James Taylor will help name the 2012 Inductees into the Sideshow Hall of Fame with "Mayor of Coney Island" Dick D. Zigun.

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