Saturday, 25 July 2009

Historic Japanese Flea and other insects

The above image of a flea is part of Kenbikyō Mushi No Zu (”Illustrations of Microscopic Insects”), a scroll published in 1860. The scroll contains paintings of a series of insects and seen through a microscope.

The Tohoku University Library houses the original copy of the Kenbikyō Mushi No Zu scroll.

Source: Stephen Reinhardt of Tessella Zine and edo of Pink Tentacle

Friday, 24 July 2009

Visiting Canadians and Bertolotto

Yesterday I had the pleasure to meet with Dr Barton who was visting from Canada. She was in London to visit the British Library and the Natural History Museum for research for a book on fleas she is writing. We had a long chat about all things big and small about fleas including real and "humbug" circuses, the plague, symbolism and famous flea performers from history.

Dr Karin Barton from Wilfrid Laurier University and Andy Clark from the Flea Circus Research Library

Dr Barton has a copy of a letter sent by L. Bertolotto to a famous author that contains information about his early years and why he moved to Canada. I hope to put more on the site after her book is released. In the mean time it's given me some ideas of new areas to research.

Friday, 17 July 2009

The Magic Cafe discussions on Flea Circuses

There's been a bit of activity on the Magic Cafe forums just recently on the topic of Flea Circuses. The Magic Cafe site describes itself as "Magicians Helping Magicians" and is open 24 hours a day and the forums are frequented by a wide variety of Magicians and related artists.

Recent discussions have been comparing new models of flea circus props, the merits of making your own circus vs buying one, different sizes of circus and how to make your flea fire out of a cannon with a bang. The discussions are normally in the "Believe it or not", "Tricks and Effects" and "The Workshop" forums.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Flea Circus in Detective Fiction

Bart Hardin from the novel Terror on Broadway (1954) a newsroom investigator was written as living above a flea circus in a Times Square tenement by author David Alexander.

From Killer Covers of the Week.

See other references to Flea Circuses in Fiction or in Films.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

The legend of the flea people

The Yokut Native American tribe of the California Central Valley saw the three bright stars of the Pleiades constellation as the foot prints of the god of the flea people.

According to legend, when the flea's five wives became itchy and ran away, three times the god of the flea people jumped into the sky to look for them. When his footprints cannot be seen (stars drop below the horizon winter months) the flea people grow afraid and go into hiding (i.e. dormant). This helped explain to the tribal people why they couldn't count on those stars for guides in winter months, and why there were no fleas about.

Read more about the Yokut people

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Orchard Toys - Flea Circus Game

There's a new Flea Circus Game from Orchard Toys.

The idea of the game is the roll a dice and move your ringmaster around the board. Players must collect their performing fleas and build a big top before all of the audience arrives. You need to watch out for escaping fleas though. The fleas perform a few traditional flea acts like the trapeze and strong man as well as some more exotic ones such as plate spinning and unicycling.

The game can improve observation skills, develops social communication, and links with Early Learning Goals and National Curriculum Maths Key Stage 1.

Age: 5+
Players: 2-4
Price £11
Available direct from Orchard or from Amazon.

Like all Orchard Toys games and puzzles the Flea Circus Game is made from 100% recycled board and is designed, manufactured and packed in the Norfolk, UK. The instructions are provided in 12 different European and International Languages.