Circus of Dreams, BIZARRE bar’s performance art showcase where anything goes, returns tonight after being preempted from its usual slot– the first Wednesday of the month– by last week’s Brooklyn Wildlife Summer Festival. Originally produced by party organizers House of Screwball, the show is now helmed by longtime performer Lindsee ‘Lonesome’ Lopez, who still takes the stage every month.
When I was still perfecting my Polaroid group portraits in 2014, I was in need of colorful subjects to compensate for the decrease of color saturation caused by the great amount of flash I had to use indoors. A friend who was performing at Circus of Dreams invited me there and I saw the endless supply of bright outfits in every imaginable color. Most artists come up with a new costume for every show and before long I was taking group portraits almost every month. The show’s endless assortment of (sometimes nude) performances– ranging from comedy to artistic interpretation to fire breathing– has kept both the curious onlookers and dedicated fans open to new ideas of what entertainment is.
Three years on, I look at Circus of Dreams as my “gym” where I work out my methods for the far bigger group portraits I’ve gone on to take since. Perforance artist Fritz Donnelly, who is the show’s longtime closer and also hosts his own show, “On The Fritz” at BIZARRE on the third Wednesday of the month, also works out his methods here. The video above attempts to capture the intensity he brings to the finale that culminates in the entire audience being invited to join the performers for my portrait. As these human collages assemble themselves, the show’s familiar closing song, Captain and Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together”, makes for the perfect soundtrack.