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.