My circus aesthetic is, I like to think, a reflection of a certain lifestyle once held by circus performers.
It’s dirty and a little morally suspect.
It’s the Great Depression, Dust Bowl, holes-in-the-soles-of-your-shoes feeling of grit and weird, unexpected familial ties.
It’s a group of strong individuals who, somehow, create a close-knit team, pulling through hardships with mutual respect (and possibly a hip flask).
It’s jazzy and sexy and gives you dirt under your fingernails.
It’s tap dancing.
It’s brash, but cute. Perhaps a little bit noir.
Faded sequins and drooping feather headdresses – the most talented men and women in the world, largely ignored by a population that is unwilling or unable to venture out to see them in their magnificence.
It’s smoke-and-booze-afflicted singing, tuneless pianos, and enthusiastic accordions.
It’s a series of rattling train cars, billowing coal-smoke, and steam.
It’s garter belts and dust-covered high heels.
Lipstick and rouge and a fake mole.
The tattooed lady and the strong man on their cigarette break.
That eerie, creeping calliope.
That’s what jazz circus means to me.