This Saturday and Sunday, why not make the trip out to Coney Island to take in some lectures and spirited discussions on the topics of the questionable delights of immersive amusements, human anatomy on display from fairground to museum, science for public amusement, dime museums and their place in the 21st Century imagination, and scholarship as artistic medium, featuring a variety of inspiring scholars, collectors, authors, artists and practitioners, and all housed provocatively within the immersive amusement that is the Great Coney Island Spectacularium?
Why not indeed!
The event--called the Congress for Curious Peoples and co-curated by The Morbid Anatomy Library --features many of my favorite scholars, artists, collectors and bon vivants, including (but not limited to!) Mark Dion, Norman Klein, Mark Dery, Lord Whimsy, John Troyer, Evan Michelson, Mike Zohn, and Laurel Braitman; I will also be on hand to present a brief paper and take part in a discussion, and, of course, there will be a scheduled break to take in the Super Freak Weekend Freakshow downstairs at Coney Island USA.
This is going to be a seriously unmissable weekend. Full schedule and line-up for the Congress for Curious Peoples follows. Can't wait, and hope very much to see you there!
The Congress for Curious Peoples
Saturday and Sunday, April 16th and 17th
The Coney Island Museum
1208 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn
Saturday April 16th
10:00 - 11:00 Keynote Speaker
Norman Klein, author of "The Vatican to Vegas: The History of Special Effects"
11:30 - 1:30 "The New Curiosity": Scholarship as Artistic Medium
Mark Dion, Artist
Joanna Ebenstein, The Morbid Anatomy Library
Wendy Walker, author of "The Secret Service"
Moderated and introduced by Aaron Beebe, The Coney Island Museum
1:30 - 3:30: Lunch and Sideshow Visit
3:30 - 5:30: Immersive Amusements/ Scripted Spaces
Mark Dery, author "The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink"
Amy Herzog, author of "Dreams of Difference, Songs of the Same: The Musical Moment in Film"
Moderated and Introduced by Alison Griffiths, author of "Shivers Down Your Spine: Cinemas, Museums, and the Immersive View"
Sunday April 17th
10:00 - 12:00: The Fairground and The Museum: Human Anatomy on Display
Lisa Farrington, author of "Creating Their Own image: the History of African-American Women Artists"
Anna Maerker, author of "Model Experts: Wax Anatomies and Enlightenment in Florence and Vienna, 1775-1815"
Elizabeth Stephens, "Anatomy as Spectacle: Public Exhibitions of the Body from 1700 to the Present"
Moderated and introduced by John Troyer, author of "Technologies of the Human Corpse" (Forthcoming)
12:00 - 1:00: Lunch
1:00 - 3:00: The 19th Century Dime Museum in the Contemporary Imagination
Will Baker, author of "Multiple Meanings and Values in Johnny Fox's Freakatorium"
Aaron Beebe, The Coney Island Museum
D. B. Denholtz, editor of "Shocked and Amazed: On & Off the Midway"
Evan Michelson, Obscura Antiques and star of TV's "Oddities"
Mike Zohn, Obscura Antiques and star of TV's "Oddities"
Moderated and introduced by Andrea Dennett, author of "Weird and Wonderful: The Dime Museum in America"
3:30 - 5:30: Science and Technology for Public Amusement
Laurel Braitman, author of "Animal Madness" (forthcoming)
Fred Nadis, author of "Wonder Shows: Performing Science, Magic, and Religion in America"
Simon Werrett, author of "Fireworks: Pyrotechnic Arts and Sciences in European History"
Moderated by Lord Whimsy/Allen Crawford, author of "The Affected Provincial's Companion, Volume One"
Tickets for the weekend are $25 and can be purchased by clicking here. To find out more about The Congress for Curious Peoples, click here. To find out more about The Spectacularium, click here and to read some recent reviews of The Spectacularium, click here and here.Special thanks to the Andy Warhol Foundation, whose generosity helped to fund all of these fantastic events.
Also, the lovely poster was designed by the incomparable Lord Whimsy; click on image to see larger more readable version.