Sideshow in the Summertime

STEP RIGHT UP!  They’re LIVE, they’re REAL…it’ll astound you and amaze you! 

I love hearing the calls from the sideshow, enticing  you to enter the brightly colored tents & see the “freaks” and the “bizarre”;  sword swallowers, fire-eaters,  blockheads, glass cases of strange creatures we want to believe are real,  and many other mysteries & surprises!

Every summer I go to a few sideshows at local fairs and in clubs,  and I’m happy to see the resurgence in popularity of these vintage, classic forms of Americana.  Aside from loving this as a colorful subject for my photography I’m proud to say I’ve had the rare experience of appearing as an act in some sideshows!  Yes, I’m TALON the NAIL LADY,  showing off my real 18+ inch fingernails on both hands & doing photo opps with fascinated people.  Some may think sideshow people are freaks in a negative way but it’s embraced with only the positive as these are creative people and performers wanting to live outside the box, in an almost long- forgotten way of life which is now making a comeback!  Bright, glittery costumes, Victorian style red & yellow tents with boldly colored, hand painted sideshow posters and banners take the viewer back to days gone by and into a world of the strange and mysterious, all right in front of your eyes, up close and personal..and REAL!  And for only a few dollars, which can often be given by simply stapling the money onto a beautiful showgirl or handsome fire eating gentleman!

No.Bruns., NJ Carnival June2014

No.Bruns., NJ Carnival June2014

No.Bruns., NJ Carnival June2014

No.Bruns., NJ Carnival June2014

So, this summer, I highly recommend checking out a sideshow if one comes to your town!  It’s good, old-fashioned fun and a nice change from high tech entertainment and iPhones…this is American performance and history at it’s craziest and best!  Come One, Come All to the SIDESHOW!!  (& in the meantime, enjoy a taste of the experience through my photos…)

No.Bruns., NJ Carnival June2014

No.Bruns., NJ Carnival June2014

Carnival, NJ June2011

Carnival, NJ June2011

Carnival, NJ June2011

Carnival, NJ June2011

Me, Kat, Jess, June 2014

Me, Kat, Jess, June 2014

Step Right Up! When the carnival came to town…

I don’t know about you but I LOVE a good carnival…especially the old fashioned ones with the Victorian-style sideshow, the greasy food, gaudy lights and all the local “town-folk” coming out in droves to walk the hay-covered fairgrounds and see the sights!

This summer, a BIG carnival visited Central NJ for a few weeks so I jumped on the opportunity to go one night, take some colorful photographs and enjoy the fun.

As an artist, and someone who embraces a more alternative lifestyle (18 inch fingernails aren’t for everyone!), I’ve always been drawn to the world of the carni/sideshow scene…those amazing, bright colored Victorian hand-painted signs are great works of Americana art and inspired me so much that I created my own image in that style (which I now sell on T-shirts…see below!).    The root word carni relates to the flesh and this makes sense as a carnival is definitely an experience of the flesh and all the senses; the sight of the bright colors, the abundance of lights & surreal surroundings; the smell of the festive foods, the sounds of the music & screams coming from the rides and so much more!

So, I invite you to STEP RIGHT UP and experience the carnival from my camera lens and appreciate all that goes into making these traveling wonders tick!  Enjoy the show!!

~Lauren

NOTE: All images (c)2011 Lauren Curtis.  Signed prints available.  Paypal accepted.  T-shirts start at $15 ea. + s/h.  Feel free to contact me with any questions about these images & thanks for reading!!  🙂