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Posts Tagged ‘sideshow gaff’

Monkey Speedway Banner

Monkey Speedway Banner “The Race” by Sigler Studios, circa 1950s. 248″ x 96″. Mosby & Co Auctions, November 29, 2014.

Vintage monkey speedway banners by Sigler Studios, sideshow banners by Fred Johnson, and shrunken head and mummy gaffs by Homer Tate are among the midway artifacts up for auction at Mosby & Co. Auctions’ November 29th live and online sale. A selection of carnival games that have disappeared from the midway will also be in the sale. The catalogue is online and one can bid now or in real time during the auction.

“The Monkey Speedway ‘The Start’ and ‘The Race’ are the two best Sigler banners we have ever handled,” said Mosby’s owner Keith Spurgeon, who noted that it was probably painted by Jack Sigler Sr. The banners drew people over to a midway attraction that was popular on carnivals through the 1950s and 60s. Trained monkeys in little metal cars raced around a wooden track while customers (more…)

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Takeshi Yamada Jersey Devil

Coney Island Artist Takeshi Yamada with his New Jersey Devil and Sea Rabbit

ATZ asked Coney Island artist and rogue taxidermist Takeshi Yamada what he’s bringing to Friday night’s Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest at Bell House. He replied by sending his photo with the “Jersey Devil.” Can you believe it? For three centuries, New Jerseyans have been hunting the Pine Barrens in search of what Weird N.J. calls the state’s “oldest, most enduring, and important pieces of folklore” and it turns up in Coney Island’s Museum of World Wonders!

“It is a big winged lizard or dragon,” says Yamada of his Jersey Devil. “For over a century, this carnivorous animal has been a famous and very well-known cryptid called ‘Jersey Devil’ in the New Jersey area. Body parts of this taxidermy were collected in the woods of New Jersey. I also personally saw many unusual strange flying creatures (not birds or flying squirrels) in the woods for years in New Jersey.”

Yamada is also planning to bring one of his freak human babies. At the 2009 contest, he was awarded “The Most Twisted Prize” for his family of freak show babies made from his own skin. There’s a Two-headed Baby, Mermaid Baby, Octopus Baby, Lobster Baby, Snake Baby, Penguin Baby, and Three-headed Baby. Which one would you like to see? Yamada also won the Grand Championship of Taxidermy in 2006 for his 6-foot-long mummified Fiji Mermaid.

The Secret Science Club presents the 6th-annual Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest, Friday, December 9 at Bell House, 149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd Aves) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. “Doors open at 7:30 pm. Please bring ID: 21+. $7 cover.” Subway: F to 4th Ave; R to 9th St; F or G to Smith/9th.

Snake Baby

Snake Baby Copyright All rights reserved by MUSEUM OF WORLD WONDERS , Dr.Takeshi Yamada

UPDATE December 10, 2011…How did it go at the contest? Takeshi Yamada writes: “I had a great time at the taxidermy contest. I showed my 3 jersey devils on 3×4 feet Victorian picture frame, and the freak snake human baby (surprisingly, you have chosen the right one. I thought I might bring both the 3-headed baby and snake baby up until 1 hour before leaving my house.) I received the “SHOCK & AWE” award and trophy for them.”

Jersey Devil

Takeshi Yamada and his Jersey Devils Won the Shock and Awe Award at the 2011 Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest. Photo © Takeshi Yamada

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November 29, 2012: Coney Island Taxidermist Takeshi Yamada in AMC Reality Show

December 7, 2010: Art of the Day: Freak Taxidermy Skull by Takeshi Yamada

September 18, 2010: Photo of the Day: Takeshi Yamada’s Freak Baby Museum at San Gennaro

November 7, 2009: Thru Dec 31 at Coney Island Library: Artist Takeshi Yamada’s Cabinet of Curiosities

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This Friday at 4 pm, Coney Island artist and rogue taxidermist Takeshi Yamada is giving his annual art talk at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Coney Island branch. Titled “Dragons and Mermaids: Coney Island Sideshow Special,” the free show-and-tell will feature rogue taxidermy specimens of dragons and mermaids created by the artist for his Museum of World Wonders. You’ll get to meet the six-foot-long mermaid pictured below at Secret Science’s Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest.

The Japanese-born artist and Neptune Avenue resident is one of Coney Island’s most recognizable eccentrics. In the summer, you’re apt to find Yamada clad in a black tuxedo and Mardi Gras beads strolling the Beach and Boardwalk with his taxidermied sea bunny Seara.

Takeshi Yamada with his Six Foot Fiji Mermaid.  November 2, 2007. Photo © istolethetv via flickr

Takeshi Yamada with his Six Foot Fiji Mermaid. November 2, 2007. Photo © istolethetv via flickr

If you haven’t seen Yamada’s long-running “Museum of World Wonders: Cabinet of Curiosities” yet, the exhibition is on view through Dec. 31 at the Coney Island Library.

–“Dragons and Mermaids: Coney Island Sideshow Special,” Art Lecture by Takeshi Yamada, October 29, Friday, 4 – 5pm, FREE. The library is a five-minute walk from the Stillwell Avenue subway terminal.
–“Museum of World Wonders: Cabinet of Curiosities,” Coney Island Library, 1901 Mermaid Ave (at W 19th St), Coney Island, Brooklyn, 718-265-3220. Through December 31, 2010, FREE. Check library hours here.

Skull of the Sea Dragon by Takeshi Yamada. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Skull of the Sea Dragon by Takeshi Yamada. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Related posts on ATZ…

November 29, 2012: Coney Island Taxidermist Takeshi Yamada in AMC Reality Show

December 8, 2011: Takeshi Yamada’s Jersey Devil Set for Bell House Taxidermy Contest

September 18, 2010: Photo of the Day: Takeshi Yamada’s Freak Baby Museum at San Gennaro

November 7, 2009: Thru Dec 31 at Coney Island Library: Artist Takeshi Yamada’s Cabinet of Curiosities

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Freak Baby Museum of Dr. Takeshi Yamada at Feast of San Gennaro, Little Italy. September 16, 2010.  Photo courtesy of Takeshi Yamada

Freak Baby Museum of Dr. Takeshi Yamada at Feast of San Gennaro, Little Italy. September 16, 2010. Photo courtesy of Takeshi Yamada

At last year’s Feast of San Gennaro, ATZ photographed quite a few Coney Islanders who’d decamped with their games, sideshows and food stands to top off the season in Little Italy. One of the strangest sights at this year’s feast, which runs through September 26th, is Dr. Takeshi Yamada and his freak baby museum from Coney Island. The Neptune Avenue resident, whose studio is known as the Museum of World Wonders, has quite a family: There’s a Two-headed Baby, Mermaid Baby, Octopus Baby, Lobster Baby, Penguin Baby, and Three-headed Baby. “His” is not just a figure of speech–the six rogue taxidermy infants are made from Yamada’s own skin!

Yamada, who has an MFA in fine art from the University of Michigan School of Art and was Grand Champion of the Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists in 2006, considers his artwork “specimens” rather than examples of self expression. He uses a variety of natural materials to create his curiosities including some that might be considered controversial.

When we wrote about the babies last year, readers inquired how the artist collected his skin. Yamada replied: “During summer months, I shed skins multiple times, and I carefully remove them from my body, save them, and preserve them as ‘specimens’ for my Cabinet of Curiosities. I mounted my own skin specimens on the super-realistic replicas of freak human babies, which I created. In this way their body surfaces look really real, [more] than ones replicated in other materials (rubber, plastic, fiberglass, clay etc.). In loose terms, my freak babies are my clones.”

Yamada’s full explanation, titled “Creatures as Art Supplies,” can be read in the comments section of a post written last year, “Thru Dec 31 at Coney Island Library: Artist Takeshi Yamada’s Cabinet of Curiosities.” It remains one of ATZ’s top 25 posts, thanks to curiosity about such curiosities as a mummified six-fingered witch’s hand and a three-eyed human skull. The free exhibition of oddities and rogue taxidermy artwork is currently in its fifth year at the Mermaid Avenue library, a six-minute walk from Stillwell Terminal. But if you want to see the freak babies, head over to San Gennaro or pay a visit to the nursery at Coney Island’s Museum of World Wonders.

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November 29, 2012: Coney Island Taxidermist Takeshi Yamada in AMC Reality Show

December 8, 2011: Takeshi Yamada’s Jersey Devil Set for Bell House Taxidermy Contest

November 7, 2009: Thru Dec 31 at Coney Island Library: Artist Takeshi Yamada’s Cabinet of Curiosities

September 24, 2009: Photo Album: Coney Islanders and Carnies at San Gennaro

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Mummified Six Fingered Witch Hand & Giant Stag Beetle by Takeshi Yamada. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Mummified Six Fingered Witch Hand & Giant Stag Beetle by Takeshi Yamada. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

For the past three years the glass cabinets at the Coney Island branch of the Brooklyn Public Library have showcased a rotating display of artwork that befits Coney Island’s history as host to oddities and curiosities from around the world. If you haven’t seen Takeshi Yamada’s long-running “Museum of World Wonders: Cabinet of Curiosities” yet, the exhibition is on view through Dec. 31 at the Mermaid Avenue library. [Dec. 19 Update: we received an e-mail from Yamada with the good news that the Cabinet of Curiosities show has been extended for another year –through December 31, 2010— at the Coney Island Library.]

Skull of the Sea Dragon by Takeshi Yamada. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Skull of the Sea Dragon by Takeshi Yamada. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

When I stopped by during Halloween week, the curiosities included a mummified six-fingered witch’s hand, a cat frog (“There are about a dozen species of frogs with whiskers in this world”), samurai warrior horseshoe crab mask, three-eyed human skull, giant sea dragon’s skull (purportedly “discovered” by Yamada on the beach in 1790), a Nuclear Radiation Giant Stag Beetle of Bikini Atoll, and fancifully labeled cans of Coney Island brand King Tarantula and Coelacanth. “An Extra Fancy Living Fossil.” Oh, yum!…

T Rex Bone, NYC Giant Subway Bug & Coney Island Fancy Canned Goods by Takeshi Yamada. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

T Rex Bone, NYC Giant Subway Bug & Coney Island Fancy Canned Goods by Takeshi Yamada. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Yamada, who has an MFA in fine art from the University of Michigan School of Art and is Grand Champion of the Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists, considers his artwork “specimens” rather than examples of self expression. He uses a variety of natural materials to create his curiosities including some that might be considered controversial. The two-headed babies exhibited this summer in his “Baby Museum” at Coney Island’s Dreamland amusement area are rogue taxidermied artifacts made from his own skin, says Yamada. [Scroll down to “Comments” for details.]

Artist Takeshi Yamada's Freak Baby Show in Coney Island's Dreamland, Summer 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Artist Takeshi Yamada's Freak Baby Show in Coney Island's Dreamland, Summer 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The Japanese-born artist and longtime Neptune Avenue resident is one of Coney Island’s most recognizable eccentrics. In the summer, you’re apt to find Yamada clad in a black tuxedo and Mardi Gras beads strolling the Boardwalk with his sea rabbit Seara, a taxidermied wonder with webbed feet and a mermaid’s tail. On November 15, he’ll be defending his Grand Master title at the 4th Annual Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest at the Bell House in Gowanus. In the meantime, you can visit Yamada in his studio and get a peek at his Fiji mermaid, two headed baby, dog-headed spider and other sideshow gaff art via this video from Brooklyn Cable Access TV

Takeshi Yamada’s “Museum of World Wonders: Cabinet of Curiosities”
Coney Island Library, 1901 Mermaid Ave (at W 19th St), Coney Island, Brooklyn, 718-265-3220. Through December 31, 2010 June 28, 2011. The library is a five-minute walk from the Stillwell Avenue subway terminal. Check library hours here

This exhibition closed on June 28, 2011. Please visit Takeshi Yamada’s Museum of World Wonders flickr photostream to view his work.

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Related posts on ATZ…

November 29, 2012: Coney Island Taxidermist Takeshi Yamada in AMC Reality Show

December 8, 2011: Takeshi Yamada’s Jersey Devil Set for Bell House Taxidermy Contest

December 7, 2010: Art of the Day: Freak Taxidermy Skull by Takeshi Yamada

October 27, 2010: Oct 29 at Coney Island Library: Dragon and Mermaid Show & Tell with Takeshi Yamada

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