Tuesday, 4 June 2013

center ring at the flea circus

When I was a little kid (late 1950s, early 1960s) and my family took car trips across the U.S., we would see signs for roadside attractions. First there'd be a cryptic sign next to the side of the road saying just "Alligators." Then a thousand yards further, there'd be one saying "Cold Pop." And so on, until the final one told you what road to get off on, to buy stuff and see the show.

These roadside attractions often included a "Flea Circus." Like all kids, I was fascinated by tiny things, so I really wanted to see what a flea circus was: were the fleas actually trained, or did they just jump around with small toy animals and trapezes and stuff so it looked sort of like a circus? Or were they actually dead, and glued to the little objects? I couldn't figure out how the fleas could be alive, without a real animal to bite.

Well, I never saw a flea circus, so I have no idea. If you've seen one, please tell me!

In the ring is the familiar cat flea, which also lives on dogs and humans. I'm not going to tell you what all the audience members are: they're just a bunch of beetles, bugs, flies, etc.

Addendum: No sooner did I put this collage up on ipernity, than someone sent me a link to videos of a real live flea circus by a Colombian artist, Maria Fernanda Cardoso. Her work is quite zany, but strangely appealing, too.


  1. This is great! Thanks for the link. Makes me itch just thinking about them fleas!

  2. A nice story and a great collage, Fi. I saw a documentation on the TV some years ago about a flea circus- it´s still fascinating what fleas can do!
    From time to time there is flea-alarm in the primary school - I HATE this flea-periods!

  3. Wow. Quite a lovely collage and what a great job snipping all those appendages! Well done Fi.

    1. Thanks, Angie. This one did take a long time! I can always count on you guys to notice things like difficult scissor work. I've gathered, from comments I've gotten, that many people on Flickr think these things are done in Photoshop.