An anon asked for: “the fluffiest fluff that ever did fluff preferably involving some kind of stuffed animals”
And so I give you a date at the fair. Dorian’s got one helluva competitive streak. Bull’s got an excellent sense of timing.
Rated T for language, 1946 words
“It’s obviously rigged, Bull. The physics of it–”
“Don’t be such a sore loser, Kadan. I’m sure you’ll get it next time.”
“I will, thank you very much, and I am not a sore loser! I’ve been a professor of theoretical physics for longer than we’ve been dating–”
“You were definitely an adjunct for the first year–”
“A professor for four years and eight months, and I can tell you that the shape of the bottles’ necks means that the rings will bounce off. It’s physics.” He turned his glare from Bull to the disinterested carnie inside the stall. “It is, isn’t it? You’ve spent plenty of time around this game, you know it’s rigged!”
“Okay, let’s go get some funnel cake, alright?” Bull put a gentle hand on Dorian’s shoulder. “Maybe shaved ice from that place down at the end of the fairway? Just to cool off a bit.”
“I don’t need cooling off, Bull, I need to win that mabari.”
“There’s plenty of other prizes you can get me, babe. Let’s leave the nice elf alone now.”
“No, you wanted the giant pink mabari, you’re getting that Maker-damned giant pink mabari if it’s the last thing I do. Ten more rings, please.” He handed over another five-sovereign note.
make no mistakei am that technicianrisk a drop into hedonism as you sink into the throes of my sybaritic touchintemperance is the name of the game, dissoluteness as cold metal ghosts across your spinefutabo bis terque per noctem, carnis curam non laedereobservatio maior non necessaria est, mortalitas ista maledicébantsettle not to merely drift upon the surface andpurge your mind of its trepidation and dive headfirst through the film upon the winedark sea
‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ begins its tale in the quiet, sleepy hamlet of Jupiter, Florida. The year is 1952. A troupe of curiosities has just arrived to town, coinciding with the strange emergence of a dark entity that savagely threatens the lives of townsfolk and freaks alike. This is the story of the performers and their desperate journey of survival amidst the dying world of the American carny experience.
In Randal Levenson’s practice, insiders and outsiders become one. His series In Search of the Monkey Girl comprises photographs of enigmatic freaks, pictures of carnies, and sideshow scenes taken from his travels across North America in the 70s. His subjects included such illustrious figures as the Man with Two Faces, the World’s Smallest Mother, Penguin Boy, Willie “Popeye” Ingram, and the iconic Artoria Gibbons. In 1982, Aperture published In Search of the Monkey Girl as a book, which featured an essay by Spalding Gray titled Stories From the 1981 Tennessee State Fair.
The pictures are now on view at La Petite Mort Gallery, Ottawa, Canada, so we sat down with Levenson to talk about his days on the road, getting to know sideshow freaks, and being able to photograph who people really are inside.
VICE: What motivates your practice?Randal Levenson: I am interested in how people work to solve or adapt to life’s problems. The camera has provided me with a means to enter environments where it might otherwise be difficult or impossible to interact.
When did you begin In Search of the Monkey Girl?
In 1971, I traveled from Ottawa to visit a friend who lived in Fryeburg, Maine, at the time of the Fryeburg fair. I spent the eight days of the fair photographing both the agricultural and carnival side—that is, both the livestock arenas as well as the carnies brought in to operate the independent midway. I traveled to the next fair, the last of the season, in Topsham, Maine, living in and working out of an old Sears canvas tent I set up in the woods adjacent to the fairgrounds.
From that initial encounter with fairs, I determined to work toward a book that would document the people and places I encountered while traveling from fair to fair. I soon gravitated toward the carnies and especially the sideshow part of the business. My last was the Tennessee Sate Fair in 1981. The bulk of the work was done from 1974 to 1978, when I was able to be on the road nearly full time, thanks in part to a couple of grants.
How would you describe your experience of the circus or carnival subculture?
There is no “circus” in the carnival, and carnies are generally looked down upon by circus folk. Carnies do not have much use for circus people, either. It’s a different culture entirely. In a circus, everybody is on a payroll, and most carnies except, for the roustabouts, get paid from their own independent arrangements with the main show promoter.
Hehehehehehehe. I had way too much fun doing this one considering I was in school at the time, but well, I don’t really care. I love a good makeout scene, and I’m just getting good at them. But besides that, Carnies are seriously some of the creepiest fuckers in the world. I don’t care what you say. Overpriced shit and creepy people.
Imagine your OTP running away from teachers/police/authorities and to hide in plain sight, person A grabs person B and pushes them up against the wall and kisses them
It wasn’t as if he actually wanted to be chased by the authorities, he hadn’t even done something really bad. He’d only maybe, kinda, just a little, taken a pencil from a stand and give it to a little boy. But could you really blame him? The pencil was like thirty bucks. And it wasn’t even a good pencil either. Carnival prices were outrageous.
But it seems Carnies were very serious about their things. So now, he was running from what looked like clown cops. They had been chasing him for the better part of an hour, and he was running out of stamina. He was pretty sure the authorities were too, but who could tell.