The Circus by Anka Zhuravleva
This is one of my favourite things in the whole world. In little over two minutes, they put in all the things that make my heart beat a little faster…circus, gothic, the macabre and the joyously unhinged pleasure of an enthusiastic dance number. Genius! DANCE THE MAMUSHKA!
Cover to the soundtrack of the 1956 movie Trapeze…I’ve only ever caught the end of this, must watch the full version at some point.
The strange and fascinating tale of Olive Oatman.
Olive Oatman (1837 – March 20, 1903) was a woman from Illinois whose family was killed in 1851 when she was fourteen, by a Native American tribe who captured and enslaved her and her sister and later sold them to the Mohave people.
The Mohave tribe who bought the sisters was more prosperous than the group that had previously held them captive, and adopted them into their tribe, giving them land, caring for their wellbeing and marking them with tribal tattoos.
Olive later claimed (in Stratton’s book and in her lectures) that she was tattood to mark her as a slave of the Mohaves, but this is inconsistent with the Mohave tradition in which such marks were given only to their own people to ensure that they would have a good afterlife.
When Olive Oatman was 19 years old, Francisco, a Yuma Indian messenger arrived at the village with a message from the authorities at Fort Yuma. Rumours suggested that a white girl was living with the Mohaves and the post commander requested her return (or to know the reason why she did not choose to return). The Mohaves initially sequestered Olive and resisted the request. At first they denied that Olive was even white; others over the course of negotiations expressed their affection for Olive, others their fear of reprisal from whites. Francisco, meanwhile, withdrew to the homes of other nearby Mohaves; shortly thereafter he made a second fervent attempt to persuade the Mohaves to part with Olive. Trade items were included this time, including blankets and a white horse, and he passed on threats that the whites would destroy the Mohaves if they did not release Olive.
After some discussion, in which Olive was this time included, the Mohaves decided to accept these terms, and Olive was escorted to Fort Yuma in a 20-day journey. Before entering the fort, Olive insisted she be given proper clothing, as she was clad in a traditional Mohave skirt with no covering above her waist. Inside the fort, Olive was surrounded by cheering people.
Olive’s childhood friend Susan Thompson, whom she befriended again at this time, stated many years later that she believed Olive was “grieving” upon her return, because she had been married to a Mohave and given birth to two boys.
Within a few days of her arrival at the fort, Olive discovered her brother Lorenzo was alive and had been looking for her and her sister. The story resonated in the media of the time and long afterward, partly owing to the prominent blue tattooing of Oatman’s face by the Mohave.
Shavanaas Begum with Her Three-year-old Daughter, Parveen, Great Gemini Circus, Perintalmanna, India, 1989. Mary Ellen Mark
When I grow up I am going to be my mom.
A bizarre mechanical creation from years past…KP
She is grotesque and beautiful.