Going to the Circus…in 1968

Last week, Frank Fitzpatrick posted on twitter a news story from 50 years previous about a fight breaking out at a Clyde Beatty Circus.

I had never heard of the Clyde Beatty Circus so I looked it up and soon found myself down a strange wormhole of old circuses. A guy named Dennis Furbush used to take his 16 mm camera to circuses back in the day and had some footage of one that took place in Philly, apparently where the Franklin Mills mall is now. The footage was disorganized but spellbinding…it felt like traveling through time back to 1968. Just so much great behind the scenes footage.

I showed the story to a good buddy of mine, and he sent me a text that summed it up perfectly:

It’s funny, even though I understand and mostly agree with all the very good reasons that circuses–or at least that type of circus–don’t exist any more, I know the images and iconography have always stirred something very deep in me.  Something that touches on human beings’ capacity for play and appreciation for the absurd and the strange.  Things that have long felt under threat by the encroaching and suffocating same-ness of a mass-produced culture.  Add to that the communal aspect of it and how far away that now seems, and it makes me deeply sad for something lost forever.  Even if they were really shitty to the animals.

Well sometimes I get a crazy notion in my head and have to create something bizarre, so I decided to make a music video out of it, coupled with music from one of my favorite Philly groups, TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb. I spent way too much damn time on such a crazy project, but I think it came out kind of cool. If you enjoy it, feel free to share.

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