08.11.12: The Lost Circus
(circus meets dark cabaret with a steampunk twist)
The Circus is said to have started in ancient Egypt when the court entertainers of an immortal Pharaoh escaped their slavery under a midnight moon. They have traveled the globe for centuries, gathering talent from every great empire as the empire itself begins to crumble: Istanbul, Saint Petersburg, London, Berlin...and now they have made it across the sea.
The party, 9pm-late: Discover a circus long lost, with music from times gone by or times that never were: Amour Obscur (gypsy punk accordion vagabonds), Shayfer James (dark, danceable anthems of mischief), and Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band (riotous steampunk brass). DJ Joro Boro bridges the dust of Burning Man with the sounds of a rogue Slavic circus.
The circus unfolds to live bands and in between, in a 19th century church with soaring ceilings, stained glass windows and wraparound balcony. Stilts, aerial, fire and more by Dana Abrassart, Maxine Nienow, Jersey Lily, Rebekah Burke, Megrez Mosher, Lisa Jamhoury and others and others. Between-band banter, ditties and skits by ne'er-do-well slapstick curmudgeons Bathtub Jen and the Henchmen. Vaudevillian sideshow by Karnevil. Tribal fusion bellydance by Rio. Stilted accordion antics by Max Fass. Fanciful body art by Painteresse Elysabeth. Tarot readings by Katelan Foisy. Photo magic booth by Tsirkus Fotografika. Dark and delightful visuals by VJ Fuzzy Bastard. Specialty potions by The House of St Eve (T.H.O.S.E. drinks...), including absinthe and other delights.
Art & auction: Until 12am, a silent auction of a variety of art-tastic items to raise funds for our new multi-use arts loft in Gowanus. Plus, a darkly delightful art gallery, with pieces by Mani the Uncanny, Kaliptus, and others.
VIP tea salon, 8-9pm: Join us for unlimited tea, cakes and sweets on the balcony overlooking the grand hall. Get first access to the silent auction; perfect your costume with an elaborate face or body paint design; get photographed while the look is still fresh -- all before the crowds get there. Complementary character makeup touch-ups by professional makeup artist Emily Takis.
Dress code: Dark cabaret, traveling circus, steampunk Victorian, neo-tribal, funky formal, desert wanderer, Edward Gorey, Tim Burton, Mad Max, City of Lost Children -- or at least cocktail attire. Stilts & characters welcome. Effort required / dress code more flexible after 1am.
Press reviews: "Take a Tim Burton film. Now make it darker (if possible) and sexier (yes, please)...in a stroke of maniacal genius, [G&S] are bringing steampunk fantasy to life" - The Village Voice. "A late-night extravaganza...where the big top and cabaret collide" - The New York Post. "Grown-ups can mingle with fire-breathers and live out their big top fantasies " - TimeOut NY
Photo slideshow of past Lost Circus awesomeness in our Flickr group.
More on our artists:
Live musical acts!
Riotous steampunk brass: Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band
Formed from the most talented deadbeats and drifters that could be rounded up, this group of raucous and rambunctious musicians will honk, wail, blow, beat, bounce, scream and serenade their way into your hearts. They'll keep at it until your toes are tapping, your knees are bending, and your hips are wiggling. Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band combines the rich musical history of the circus and the vagabond peoples of Europe with the raw energy of cacophany and the irreverence and fun of today's Vaudeville for a sound that is somehow familiar yet like no other. And, they're damn sexy!
Dark, danceable anthems of mischief: Shayfer James
Mr. James and his band are devilishly captivating and deliciously unusual. James himself is a man of bewitching grace, grisly humor, and whiskey-flavored wit, and his band is a miscreant consortium of pulsing grooves and rattling bones. A musical tightrope spun from guts and gin, strung above a pit of contagious melodies and grandiose arrangements.
Gypsy punk accordion vagabonds: Amour Obscur
A Brooklyn-based gypsy punk band that offers a theatrical performance drawing from the striking visual aesthetics of the Weimar cabaret and American sideshow. Mixing unique instrumentation--vocals, accordion, upright bass, trombone, mandolin, tenor banjo and percussion--and original composition that draws upon such eclectic influences as traditional Romani music, Kurt Weill, Americana, and klezmer to contemporary dance music--Amour Obscur creates a sound that reflects the experience of the underground for artists, hobos, neo-gypsies and revelers everywhere.
Slavic circus meets Burning Man: Joro Boro
Former resident of the legendary Mehanata Bulgarian Bar in New York, Joro-Boro plays and promotes etnoteck - the dirty and uninhibited side of globalization as a forced feed back into a party without borders, a three-day Balkan wedding in a post-national state where noise, bass and desire detonate the conglomerate monoculture. He is a monthly host of MoGlo (Modern Global) on Radio New York, has toured with Balkan Beat Box, and has performed with artists ranging from Bassnectar to Tinariwen.
Ne'er-do-well slapstick curmudgeons: Bathtub Jen and the Henchmen
A steampunk collaboration of prohibitionistic proportions, Bathtub Jen and the Henchmen sneak you into their world of slapstick, stand-up, and vaudeville. Follow Jersey's finest speakeasy entrepreneur/bootlegging hoodlum Bathtub Jen (Jennifer Harder) and her curmudgeonly Russian green card ex-con husband Ivan (Charley Layton) as they embark on poorly judged money-making schemes, kvetch about erotic sessions gone awry, and stay one step ahead of bumbling Police Commissioner Kelly (Glen Heroy). They back up their escapades with a mix of instrumentation including accordion, ukulele, banjo, spoons, and trumpet. Co-conspirators make guest appearances.
Awesome aerial and stunning stilts: Dana Abrassart
Reveling in all things above the ground, Dana Abrassart is a stilt walker and aerialist in NYC. She found the flying world on a whim, but quickly fell in love with the athletic, creative, and performance aspects of aerial and all things circus. She has performed in several private and public venues around NYC including the Dance Parade, Mermaid Parade, Rubulad, The House of Yes, and even a recent stint with the Cambodian Circus. With a garter flask strapped on and lips rouged, Dana looks forward to ushering all the swingers into 2011 with high flying strength and grace.
Awesome aerial and stunning stilts: Maxine Nienow
From her love for the fantastical, Maxine Nienow became a Brooklyn-based aerialist and performer. Also a visual artist, Maxine has spent many years exploring mediums with which to express and create magical worlds. Her aerial performances reveal her passion for bringing these to life. You'll find her swinging on anything from aerial silks, hammocks, cloud swings, trapezes, human chandeliers to strolling on stilts. She performs within several aerial communities in NYC, including The House of Yes and Mad Sharpe Productions.
Awesome aerial: Megrez Mosher
Megrez R. Mosher is an aerial contortionist in The Gowanus Circus. She has performed at Danger Parties, Unicorn Meat, Brooklyn Fashion Weekend, Oxheart. When not flying, she is a member of Suspicious Package improv troop and plays Sarah in "A Charlie Brown Apocalypse".
Awesome aerial: Rebekah Burke
Rebekah is a classically trained ballerina who moved to NYC to study at Edward Ellison Ballet and Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet. A year later, at 17, she was cast in the production of Les Etoiles for Mad Sharp Productions. Mad Sharp opened the door to aerial arts for Rebekah, and now she is a freelance dancer and aerialist, and is currently Resident Artist at Gowanus Ballroom.
Awesome aerial: Lisa Jamhoury
Lisa Jamhoury has been adorning airspace in Brooklyn and beyond since early 2009. She performs and choreographs aerial dance pieces on various apparatuses, including silk, hammock, cloud swing and static trapeze. When she needs a bit of grounding, she dons a pair of stilts or grabs a fire torch. She has performed across the US, from NYC to Hawaii in many venues, including Brooklyn Bowl (Brooklyn, NY), the House of Yes (Brooklyn, NY), Soho Mixed Media Bar (Honolulu, HI), the NYC Aerial Dance Festival (New York, NY), Rebel NYC (New York, NY), and the Gowanus Ballroom (Brooklyn, NY). Lisa co-choreographed a three-part aerial performance for TEDx Brooklyn 2011.
Tribal bellydance fusion: Rio
Serpentine...slitherous...sensual...and salacious, the vagabond snake-charming flying bellydancer on fire. As seen with Vagabond Opera, Fishtank Ensemble, Copal, This Way To The Egress, Hellblinki, Voltaire, and so many more. May we present to you the word-class, world-travelling, nouveau-orientale bellydance and vintage burlesque artist...Rio!
Sinister sideshow: Karnevil
Some claim vaudeville is dead, that the talkie and picture box killed the whole darned thing, and for nigh a century the throngs of humanity have been transposed from wild adventure seekers in search of entertainment, to a pair of eyes sitting complacently in the dark. "Come out! Come out!" the Karnevil cries! Leave the safety of your couch! The awe of magic, the wonder of the sideshow, the splendor of the circus beckon to you once again. We offer you the best of that: indulge your imagination and allow it to run wild as feats guaranteed to astound you are performed live before your very eyes. Vaudeville lives...welcome to Karnevil.
Fiery tricks: Jersey Lily
Jersey Lily is a founding member of New Jersey's own Honor Amongst Thieves Sideshow, whose travels have taken her to many a dingy nightclub across our fine nation! Known chiefly as "The Barefoot Ballerina of the Blades" for her tendency towards sword walking and glass stomping, Lily is also an accomplished fire manipulator.
Trippy visuals: VJ Fuzzy Bastard
VJ Fuzzy Bastard, Brooklyn's finest purveyor of psychedelic narcotics in video form. Always available for live shows, and posting clips every Thursday on his site.
Fantastical face painting: Painteresse Elyzabeth
Painteresse Elyzabeth will be offering her exquisite freehand Face & Body Artistry. From small sexy embellishments to ornate masks, from tribal to victorian, in black and white or vivid color, with glittery tattoos and special long-lasting phosphorescent Glowing makeup. Dare to become Illuminated! (You can reach the fabulous Elyzabeth at Painteresse*at*yahoo)
Silver film magic: Tsirkus Fotografika
RA Friedman's Tsirkus Fotografika is art, fantasy, time travel and alchemical wizardry. Tsirkus reinvents the modern portrait invoking the spirit of the itinerant tintype artists of old while mixing in retro-futurism a la Jules Verne and a bit of Dr. Caligari-esque mystery. It's instant art made on real silver film, an experience of collaborative creation, an encounter with the dark and perilous science of photography, and a chance to swim in the fiery waters of mad genius...All this is topped off by a sitting fee that belongs in the 19th century. "Steampunk Photography!" - Egophobia Magazine, Romania. "Friedman's frozen photos have the look of splashy oxidation - sometimes sexy and wasted, sometimes gloriously wretched, always stately." - Philadelphia City Paper
Magical tarot: Katelan Foisy
Katelan V. Foisy is a visual artist, pin-up model, writer, and tarot reader living in NYC. Her fine art pieces have been displayed at The Worcester Art Museum, Ohio History Museum, Mae West Fest, MODA, Museum of Contemporary Art DC, as well as the A&D gallery in London. Her illustrations have graced the pages of the Grammy Awards, Scholastic Books, as well as appearing on the stage of Ensemble Studio Theater. She is the art director for Constellation, an astrology-based arts magazine, and last year released her memoir Blood and Pudding.
Visionary art: Mani the Uncanny
Full-time fine and visionary artist, Mani the Uncanny was born and raised in the famously tough but magical City of New York and currently works from her beautiful urban estate in the Bronx. She graduated from School of Visual Arts with a BFA in traditional animation and a MFA in computer art in 2007. The artist's work, from paintings to animated films and shorts have been featured nationally in various galleries, shows, events, e-zines, festivals, and more. When not creating new art for her online store or on commission, she loves to do tarot readings, crystal ball gazing and crystal healing and rant on her blog.