Why Feminism Is Needed

February 23, 2016

I posted a meme on Facebook with a picture of comedian Dave Chappelle, who is a black male, attached to it.  I also posted a video made by an activist who posts under the name, “The Many  Faces Of Vaun.”   Vaun happens to be a buxom blonde female.

I posted them because I believe each carried a message worthy of sharing.

The meme with Chapelle generated only serious comments.  The video with Vaun quickly drew a comment suggesting I was only looking at the person who made it and questioning

DaveChappelle_v02

Dave Chappelle

if perhaps I failed to hear the message due to the appearance of the woman delivering it.

I admit I enjoy looking at pretty women.  I’m well known for photographing them.  Most of the time when I do it is because they like how I portray them and they ask me to.

With that said, in no way do I consider my appreciation for a pretty face or body an indication I am unable to hear what a woman says due to how she looks.  Honestly I think Dave Chappelle’s face is attractive too.

If I post something with a serious message, I am posting it for the message no matter who or what may be pictured with it.  If you find the image distracting and can’t get the message because of it, then the problem is with you.

NabyFacesVaun_v02

Vaun

The comment I received was most likely intended as a joke, but when people ignore a serious message and turn it into a joke due to the person delivering it being female, even if you find her sexually attractive, it indicates a disrespect for her intellectual abilities, and you are treating her as though she is of lesser value simply due to her gender.  In one word “OBJECTIFYING.”

This is exactly why women are vocal in their quest for equality. This is why women believe they are not being taken seriously.

 This is why we need feminism.
Dave Michael

 

https://www.facebook.com/834120329956647/videos/941827989185880/?pnref=story
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10206975238804686&set=a.2350631570468.140156.1390483590&type=3&theater

Text Copyright 2016 Dave Michael.  No portion of this article may be reproduced without permission of the author.

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Collaboration With Sterling Witt

February 19, 2016

How It Began

Sterling Witt and I first met at an opening reception for a show of his artwork at a now defunct gallery in Kansas City, KS about 6 years ago.  I arrived toward the end of the night.  Most of the patrons were long gone and in the most casual of settings he and the few people left were sitting around, sipping wine and engaged in conversation interspersed with Sterling’s singing original songs while accompanying himself on an old acoustic guitar that appeared to have been well used.

Following a brief introduction by the gallery curator we became friends almost instantly.  For several months we corresponded on Facebook until our next in person meeting when he invited me to his birthday party at his farm near Freeman, MO.

IMG_9230_Web_10x10

Sterling Witt with Dave Michael, author, at a gallery opening for a show of his “Wild Women” Paintings

While there I photographed the event, his home which is an extension of his art, the guests and the activities which included a pot luck dinner, a musical performance and a giant bonfire.   I also made some video recordings, a medium that was new to me at the time.

In days following the party I worked diligently editing both the images and video into two short productions which I posted on Vimeo and shared with my new friend.  Being a total novice at video production I believe my editing was more than a bit primitive, but Sterling was impressed enough to ask if I were interested in collaborating with him.

I had reservations about my ability to do a quality job.  Sterling seemed to have more confidence in my abilities than I had, but he persuaded me to try, and we began what has become a series of video slide shows using the imagery of his visual art accompanied by his original musical compositions as soundtracks.

Our collaboration began with a face to face meeting where we outlined what we intended to do.  From that point much of our work together was conducted online, by text messages and on the phone.  Sterling sent image and audio files and I edited.

In the early stages working together was just a little rocky as we each had our own ideas about how to proceed.   Eventually what might have been described early on more as a competition than collaboration came together and our first jointly produced video, “Wild Women,” became a reality.

Images and text Copyright 2016 Dave Michael.  No portion of this article may be reproduced without permission of the author.

Visit Sterling’s website at http://www.sterlingwitt.com

 

RACHEL

August 29, 2015

Throughout history the human figure has been a popular, perhaps the most popular, subject for artists.  As a photo artist, I too have a fascination with human beings, both women and men.  They are my most interesting and favorite subjects.

Many artists who portray people choose to depict only models that fulfill their, or perhaps society’s, perception of perfect specimens of humanity.  This is apparent in art ranging from Greek statues to Playboy nudes and certainly promoted in popular media.  I have no problem with those who choose that approach, but that is not my style, at least not all the time.

More often I will choose subjects (or they choose me) who I find interesting because they don’t fit the mold current beauty standards attempt to push us all into.  My preference is to show the world there is much beauty to be found in subjects other than the oft depicted 20 something woman who slips easily into a size 2 or smaller.

The above link is to a recently completed video I made from images of a photo shoot I did with Rachel, a friend and model I have collaborated with several times over the past 2 years.  She has the confidence to be proud of her body that bore and nurtured a child.  She is neither in her 20s nor a size 2, but she is beautiful.

I hope you will agree.


Images and text Copyright 2015 Dave Michael.  No portion of this article may be reproduced without permission of the author.

PHOTOS & ART

June 15, 2015

In reviving this blog, “Musings From The Aardvark Dude,” one of my thoughts is that it is unnecessary for all the posts to include a lengthy essay. 

Although I am a trained writer my greater claim to fame, not that I have a great claim to fame, is as a photographer, though I prefer to refer to myself as a visual artist.  I have been making images with cameras most of my life.  My sister, Barbara presented my first camera to me as a birthday gift the day I turned 5 nearly 62 years ago.

Photography has been both a vocation and an avocation for me.  I have created images for pay as a news photographer, a portrait and wedding photographer and as an artist exhibiting in galleries.  I always have and continue to create images purely for my own enjoyment and share them with others who seem to find them interesting and/or amusing.

In the future you can expect to see images here with little or no explanation.  They will be posted just because I like them and want to share.

With that said, I present this image of Rachel ~ performance artist, poet, model, hairdresser, mother and friend, not necessarily listed in order of importance.

Rachel IMG_7897 11/06/2014

Rachel Parker at the Workhouse Castle, Kansas City, MO 11/06/2014


Images and text Copyright 2015 Dave Michael.
No portion of this article may be reproduced without permission of the author.

Roxy ~ A Different Sort Of Girl

June 15, 2015

Meet Roxy, a woman I met recently.  She’s a girl, a girl with a difference.

The difference is she was born into the world as a biological male.  She refers to herself as a part time Transgender girl (T-girl).  For most daily activities she chooses to live and function as “Mike”, a male persona I have yet to meet, to protect her female identity from work, family, and male friends.  She frequently however, goes out as a woman, “Roxy,” primarily in social situations.

Roxy IMG_9244 05/30/2015

Roxy ~ Sexy Secretary 

With the coming out of Caitlyn (the woman formerly known as Bruce) Jenner and much activism regarding gay rights and gender equality more people are becoming aware, if not more knowledgeable, about the transgender community.  It seems however the headlines are more frequently made by those like Jenner who make the switch from their biological gender to the other sex full time, often undergoing painful and expensive hormone therapies and surgeries to appear more like the sex they desire to be.

Roxy says, and she is more of an authority than I, those like her who are trans part time as a woman, but function primarily as a man are far more common and the primary majority of trans male to female community, than those who take drastic measures like hormone therapy and surgery to change their gender full time.  That is not to suggest those who do so are doing something wrong, far from it, as many in the medical community believe that desire is something you are born with and most discover this desire in youth before reaching puberty.  If a person feels so strongly their biological gender does not match who they believe they really are, then no one should question what they do to become more comfortable with their bodies.

Roxy, and others like her, have no desire to switch full time and permanently.  They either enjoy living with both gender roles like Roxy, or they fear oppression at work and/or from family, and also fear a potential loss of life-long relationships if they come out as a full-time woman.  As Roxy’s male persona, Mike embraces his masculine side and in daily life most often lives as a man while working, competing in sports, participating in family matters, and pursuing life’s normal activities.  However, for him that is not enough.

Particularly when socializing Mike becomes Roxy.  Roxy embraces the feminine side of the same person, thoroughly enjoys letting it out, and as she puts it “creating the illusion of being a real woman.”  On the weekends she goes out for a night on the town in her female persona sometimes on a date with a man, a party with other T-girls, or to certain GBLT clubs where people don’t question a person’s gender identity.

I first met Roxy when a mutual friend introduced us at a burlesque performance we both attended.  We became much better acquainted when she recently commissioned me to do a photoshoot with her.  I have seen other T-girls. There are some I consider friends, and I’ve even photographed a couple, but this is the first time I have done a model shoot of this depth with any of them.

We easily became comfortable with each other, and made what I think are some great images.  Roxy seems to agree, as she is pleased with the pictures and especially with the positive feedback she has been receiving both from other T-girls and generally from open-minded people of all sexual persuasions.

While the photoshoot was enjoyable, our time together quickly became about much more than just making pictures.  Roxy was extremely open with me about her dual gender identity and mentioned “Native American” people called people like her “Two Spirit” beings who could balance both the male/female energy in one body.  They were thought to be sacred in some tribes as they could relate to all tribe members equally and thus considered most able to judge tribal matters.

While shooting and while taking a break for lunch she discussed her life in great detail.  I became privy to the history of how she began crossdressing as a young boy, first as a joke when her mom dressed him as a girl to see if he resembled his sister.  This is when something clicked.  What he thought he would hate, being dressed up as a silly girl at age 12, he ended up liking and repeated every chance he could by dressing secretly in his mom’s clothing.

Roxy further told about the activities she is involved in as an adult, and even discussed some information about how the psychiatric/psychology communities classify T-girls into different categories and explained why so many come out late in life as women like her. Her male persona, Mike,  had previously married genetic women and even fathered a now adult daughter.  For the majority of her life Roxy dressed in secret with no one other than herself knowing until after her last divorce from a woman.  She then decided it was time for the female persona to emerge into public view and “Roxy” was introduced to the world in October 2010 at a GBLT club.

My day with Roxy turned out to be educational as well as fun as she gave me an intimate glimpse into a world I had in the past viewed only superficially from the outside.

We have since discussed getting together and continuing our conversation.  Hopefully we will make that happen, and when we do, with Roxy’s permission, I shall share more about a subculture that many of us know exists, but few of us have seen up close.

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Dave Michael, author
In collaboration with Roxy Stevens
Images and text Copyright 2015 Dave Michael.
No portion of this article may be reproduced without permission of the author.

The Day I Shot Richard Nixon

April 2, 2011
 

Or My Most Historic Photograph 
Forty-two years ago on April 2, 1969 at the tender age of 20 I made what may be the most historic image of my career as a photographer. I photographed President Richard Milhous Nixon on the streets of Abilene, Kansas following the funeral and interment of President Dwight David Eisenhower.

President Richard Milhous Nixon signs an autograph following the funeral and interment of President Dwight David Eisenhower in Abilene, KS.

 At the time I was a journalism major at Baker University in Baldwin City, KS. Armed with only a 35mm Pentax camera, one lens and a few rolls of Tri-X film I set out for Abilene early in the morning on the not really knowing what to expect, but hoping to capture some images of the activity in this little town of about 8,000 residents which was about to be swarmed by a crowd of nearly 100,000.

When I arrived I found the U. S. Army had taken control of the town and had set up a command center in the local National Guard armory. Somehow I found my way to a desk where an officer was handing out passes to members of the press. With no documentation to back up my assertions that I was there to represent the Baker Wildcat, my university’s student newspaper, and the Baldwin Ledger, my hometown daily, I managed to persuade him to give me one of the coveted passes. I was informed the Army would deliver me along with other members of the media to the appropriate press stands when the time arrived.

As the casket bearing President Eisenhower arrived at the chapel which is his final resting place I had a prime vantage point where I could clearly view and photograph the activities of various family members and dignitaries arriving and departing. The service itself was private, was in the chapel and the press was not allowed in.

Following the departure those who had been in the chapel for the ceremony I started back, along with other members of the press, to the bus that had brought me . I was ready to get back to my car and home to begin processing film, or so I thought. Before making it back to the bus I saw the presidential limousine pause in the midst of the throngs that lined nearby streets. President Nixon exited the car and walked into the crowd where he was shaking hands and signing autographs. Naturally the mass of humanity, including most of the press, surged toward him to get a closer look.

I wanted to get close to him too, but I quickly saw how futile it would be to run toward him. I turned and saw, aside from a few men in trench coats and dark glasses, there was no one near the president’s car. I made my way to it and firmly planted myself close to the door I had seen President Nixon come out of. My strategy worked.

As the president started back toward the limo, the crowd followed. When he was close they rushed in near where I was, and I was shoved until my butt was against the rear fender. I began taking pictures, one after another as quickly as I could with a manual camera. As President Nixon was about to enter the now open door next to where I was standing, I had a clear view and was close enough I could have touched him. I continued to shoot film even as I felt the hands of two Secret Service agents slide under my armpits and begin dragging me away.

As the president disappeared inside his car the agents released me in the street, and I headed back to the bus that was waiting to return me to the armory. Once there I made my way back to my, car and began the journey home where I worked into the night processing and printing the images I had captured that day, including the close up of President Nixon posted above.

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Images and text Copyright 2011 Dave Michael.  No portion of this article may be reproduced without permission of the author.

Dad

December 26, 2010

A few days ago my father’s life came to a quiet and peaceful end. While it was not a joyous occasion, neither was it one which I mourn deeply, for Dad had lived a long, eventful and productive life.

 Vernon D. Michael February 9, 1914 – December 23, 2010 
 
Dad was a complex man, and like a precious gem there were many facets to his personality. Perhaps his most obvious characteristic was his caring and concern for others. Throughout his life he was dedicated to the service of others around the world well beyond himself and his immediate family. He rarely placed his own needs above those of others.
 
Early in his life he began a career as a teacher in a one room country school and as a Disciples of Christ minister in small churches in Oklahoma and Kansas. He later taught science in high schools in Oakley and Minneapolis, KS. In 1940 he married Hazel Miller in Larned, KS, a marriage that lasted over 50 years and produced my sister Barbara and myself.
 
My earliest memories of Dad are from my preschool days when we lived in a small house in Lawrence, KS where he was pursuing his masters degree in education at the University of Kansas and working the night shift as a linotype operator setting type for the local newspaper, the Journal World. It was during this period that he began giving one of the greatest of his gifts to me, the thirst for and the love of gaining knowledge.
Through activities such as science experiments in the kitchen I learned things like what happens when you mix baking soda and vinegar even before heading off to kindergarten. On picnics and outings he taught me things like how to skip stones on water and how to make sounds blowing across a blade of grass used as a reed placed between my hands.
He instilled a sense of adventure in me through such gestures as giving me my first two wheeler and teaching me to ride without training wheels a full two years before my peers gave up their tricycles. When I was only 3 years old he chartered a small plane taking me on my first venture into the air, along with the rest of the family, to see first hand from above the power of nature as one of the worst floods in the history of the Midwest was just beginning to subside. Dad always seemed to have an infinite array of interests and at least a little knowledge of nearly every subject imaginable, a trait he has passed on to me.

When I was 7 we moved to Baldwin City, KS where Dad had taken a position as a professor of education at Baker University. It turned out to be the longest job of his career. At the same time he began his pursuit of a doctorate degree. When working as a full time college instructor while still a graduate student proved more challenging than he expected, he demonstrated his tenacity. He never gave up on acquiring the higher degree until finally receiving it 17 years later.

In the diversity of an academic community Dad was surrounded with colleagues and students of widely varied ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds. He seemed to relish the opportunity to expose my sister and me to this cross section of humanity, and by both word and example taught us not only to be tolerant but accepting of others, to find common ground with people of all walks of life and to celebrate differences rather than fear them. While I doubt he never truly regretted teaching us this lesson, later in life it did create some conflict when Barbara and I demonstrated our tolerance and acceptance by befriending people he might have preferred we hadn’t taken into our lives.

Dad held strong in his beliefs as demonstrated by his avid pacifism. He was a conscientious objector during World War II, a position that was not generally looked upon favorably by most U.S. citizens at the time and is still considered a negative by many to this day. He never wavered in his belief that it is wrong to take a human life, holding steady to his belief throughout all later military conflicts the U.S. was to become involved in. This was just one example of how he taught my sister and me to think for ourselves and not accept things simply because we were told them by people in positions of power and authority whether they be teachers, religious leaders or government officials. This too was a lesson that in later years led to some conflict when he realized that in learning to think for ourselves, Barbara and I did not always arrive at the same conclusions as he.

In recent years the ravages of age took their toll on Dad. As happens to many who live so long, his mind began declining before his body. No human is rational 100% of the time, and that becomes more apparent when dementia sets in. Many in the Michael family seem to have a unique and quirky sense of humor, and Dad was certainly no exception. He was never afraid to laugh at himself nor with others.

While other portions of his mind were failing conspicuously he retained his sense of humor. Once during the early stages of his dementia when he was still lucid enough to realize what was happening to him, I was trying to get him ready to leave for an appointment that I had reminded him of several times in previous days. After obvious initial confusion he accepted the fact that I might have previously informed him, and he just didn’t remember. He commented, “When one has dementia I guess he should expect surprises.”

Another time I was giving him a ride back to his nursing home after a brief stay in the hospital. He was conspicuously confused as he rambled about things like needing to get back to school and talking as if his parents were still living. It was a bitter cold winter day. As we passed a sign that said Michigan Street he appeared to suddenly snap into a state of lucidity. He looked at the sign and with a big smile on his face turned to me and said, “Michigan? We shouldn’t be going to Michigan on a day like this.”

On one of the last occasions I visited him in the nursing home I arrived as he was in the dining room waiting to be served dinner. A lady across the table from him who also suffered from dementia picked up a fork and began going through the motions of eating from a plate that clearly wasn’t there. Again with a grin he turned and whispered to me, “That lady is eating air with a fork.”

Dad was a good parent, not a perfect one. I have no doubt he always loved me. In his nearly 97 years he gave me much to appreciate. The important gifts I remember are not material ones, but rather the life lessons he taught me through both his good qualities and his flaws. I think one of the greatest gifts Dad gave me is an appreciation for the importance of working with others, not against them.

Even through his flaws he taught me the importance of forgiveness and an understanding that I too have flaws, some of which I recognize and some which I’m sure I don’t. It would be fruitless for me to deny being my father’s son. In many ways I am like him, both in ways I am proud to claim and a few I’d rather not.

In recognizing he was a good man and not a perfect one I hope one day others, especially my children, will be able to say the same about me. I thank Dad for his part in making me the man I am today.

To see more pictures and words about Dad click here.

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Your feedback is always appreciated.  Please leave a comment by clicking here.

Images and text Copyright 2010 Dave Michael.  No portion of this article may be reproduced without permission of the author.

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Visit these related links:

The Arbor ~ Memory Care at Brandon Woods at Alvamar

Baldwin City, KS

Baker University

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

November 4, 2010

It seems I’m a bit suggestible. Yesterday a Facebook friend made a couple comments about banana bread. I had some over ripe bananas that I’d put in my freezer a week or two ago, so naturally I felt the need to make banana bread.

  

Here is my original, never before published, Banana Bread recipe.  If you try it, I hope you enjoy.  Let me know what you think.

3/4     Cup     White Flour

3/4     Cup     Whole Wheat Flour

1/2      tsp      Salt

  1       tsp      Baking Soda

3/4      Cup      Butter or Vegetable Shortening

1/2      Cup     Sugar

1/2      Cup      Brown Sugar

  3                   Eggs

  1        Cup      Mashed Bananas

1/2       tsp       Cinnamon

1/2       tsp        Nutmeg

  1        tsp        Vailla Extract

1/2       Cup       Chopped Walnuts

 
 

Heat oven to 350°. Combine flour, salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl cream sugar and shortening until well blended. Add eggs, bananas, spices, vanilla and nuts and mix thoroughly. Add shortening mixture to flour and stir until mixed. Divide batter between 2 greased 8×4 bread pans and bake approximately 45 – 55 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow bread to cool at least 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and store in refrigerator. 

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Your feedback is always appreciated.  To comment click here.

Images and text Copyright 2010 Dave Michael.  No portion of this article may be reproduced without permission of the author.

27 Second Local Phone Call Costs $17.55

October 29, 2010

When I discovered my cell phone wasn’t working I went to a pay phone. After it took $1 in change from me for a call that didn’t go through I used my debit card to make a local call. Today I discovered a charge of $17.55 against my bank account for a phone call that lasted only 27 seconds.Here are the details:

Last Sunday a friend gave me a ride to the Walmart store in Gardner, KS so I could do some grocery shopping. I needed his assistance because my truck is broken down and having been off work over a year due to medical issues and living a subsistence existence on disability insurance I have been unable to pay for repairs. Since my friend lives nearby, and I was going to be in the store for a while, the arrangement was for me to call him when I was ready to leave, and he would come back to get me.

It seemed like a simple arrangement until I attempted to make the call and discovered my cell phone was not working. I promptly found a pay phone in the customer service department, but I had no change. After waiting behind a man who was getting a refund I asked a clerk to break a dollar bill so I would be able to use the pay phone. He informed me he was unable to help me.

I then moved to a checkout lane and requested change from a cashier. While I waited and other shoppers backed up behind me the cashier called a supervisor who after explaining it is against Walmart policy to give out change to customers reluctantly helped open the register and gave me 4 quarters for a dollar bill .

Returning to the pay phone I attempted to make the needed call, and the phone took my 4 quarters for a call that did not go through. At that point I was frustrated and though concerned about unknown charges used my debit card to complete the call. This time everything worked, and my friend came to take me and my groceries home.

This morning I checked my bank statement and discovered a charge of $17.55 for the call I made from Walmart. I immediately called the 800 number listed along with the charge. After asking a few questions I was told the company responsible for billing me was I L D Corporation of San Antonio, TX. Research I have done since indicates I L D Corp is located in Florida, not Texas. I believe I was talking to a person in a call center.

The friendly person in the call center indicated there was nothing unusual about the charge and offered to give me a breakdown. He was able to quickly pull up the information on the call and told me the following:

Although my call lasted for only 27 seconds they bill for a minimum interval of 3 minutes at a rate of $2.23666 per minute for a total of $6.71. Added to that is an automated operator charge of $7.50 and a service fee and taxes at $3.34 bringing the entire charge to $17.55.

When Walmart says “ALWAYS  LOW  PRICES  –  ALWAYS” it obviously is not referring to charges by outside vendors providing services in it’s store.

I also phoned the Walmart store where I made the call, asked to speak to the manager and was transferred to a lady who identified herself as Jennifer Mason. I explained the situation and asked if she were aware of the outrageous charges on the phone in her store. She said she wasn’t, said she would look into it and would inform her boss when he arrived.

A quick Google search of ILD Corp reveals numerous reports of scams by the company and complaints against it. I will be adding my complaint to the scores already lodged against this company with Better Business Bureaus, State Attorney Generals and the Federal Communications Commission

Further I would suggest that Walmart and other companies who use the services of this and similar businesses need to be careful who they are affiliating themselves with to protect the customers who support them.

To anyone else who suddenly finds themselves without a cell phone, no change and a need to make a phone call I say, BEWARE!!

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To learn about problems others have had with ILD Corp click here.

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Your feedback is always appreciated.  To leave a comment click here.

Images and text Copyright 2010 Dave Michael.  No portion of this article may be reproduced without permission of the author.

The Culpepper and Merriweather Circus

September 5, 2010
Yesterday I went to the circus for the first time in close to twenty years.
The Culpepper and Merriweather Circus, a small show based out of Hugo, OK, arrived in my little town of Edgerton, KS in the morning, set up a big top in Martin Park, put on two afternoon shows and departed nearly as quickly as it arrived.
 
While I enjoyed it I also have to admit I came away feeling a little sad. What I witnessed was evidence that another proud chapter in history is drawing near its end. I’m not faulting the performers, they did a great job of entertaining. Several of them made quick costume changes and performed in a variety of acts, but they are just a remnant of a bygone era.

The show started with a lion and tiger act in a steel cage that filled the ring then was quickly dismantled as the show continued. There were beautiful young women in shiny tight-fitting costumes swinging from a rope and a trapeze. There was a juggler, and a family on unicycles introducing the newest addition to their act, a 7 year old boy who could ride a one-wheeler nearly as well as the rest of the family.

Then of course there was a clown, yes a clown. It seems the days when 30 people in whiteface and red rubber noses crawling out of a single car are over, at least in an arena under canvas. Melvino, the clown, did a more than adequate job of entertaining the children (of all ages), but he looked a bit lonely unaccompanied by a troop of others like him.

The animal acts were limited too. There were 3 large cats, a flock of trained pigeons, and that was all unless you count the man in costume who was billed as the half human ape. It is hard to imagine a circus with no acrobatic dogs, no prancing ponies and perhaps the most conspicuous absence, a total lack of elephants.

Unlike the big shows of yester year that traveled with rail cars full of animals, hundreds of performers and had three rings full of constant activity, this show had one ring under a tent that would be considered small by the standards of the first half of the 20th century.

It is obvious the American traveling circus is well past the glory days it enjoyed when I was a small child. I’m sad to see the decline, but I applaud the performers and the owners of this small circus who cling to a life that could be chosen only out of love for what they do and a desire to continue breathing life into a dying tradition for as long as possible. I thank you for allowing me what may well be my last glimpse at a glorious past.

Click here to see more of my photographs of the circus.

Learn more about the Culpepper and Merriweather Circus by visiting their website at www.cmcircus.com.

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 On a side note: The Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus is performing this week in Kansas City in the air-conditioned arena of the fancy new Sprint Center. I have no doubt their show will have more glitz and glamour than what Culpepper and Merriweather offered here in Edgerton, but what the small show may lack in size and shine they make up for in soul.

Culpepper and Merriweather also remains affordable, with tickets purchased in advance at $9 for adults and $6 for children. Tickets for the Ringling show in Kansas City start at $25 for nose bleed seats and range to over $100 for seats close enough to see the clowns and smell the animals.

I’m glad I gave my $9 to people who I’m betting appreciate my money more.

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Your feedback is always appreciated.  To leave a comment click here.

Images and text Copyright 2010 Dave Michael.  No portion of this article may be reproduced without permission of the author.