Thursday, 26 June 2008

Fleas at Glastonbury Festival

Professor Malcolm Jephcott will be performing with his flea circus at Glastonbury Festival this weekend. He'll have to make sure he does not end up with more performers when he leaves than when he arrived.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

More locations for Industrious Fleas

A couple of book references found via google books indicate that L. Bertolotto also performed at 100 Piccadillyin London and also in Plymouth. There is also some clarification on which of the Royals patronised the exhibition.

Passages in Foreign Travel
By Isaac Appleton Jewett
Published 1838
C.C. Little and J. Brown

Page 75 "The industrious Fleas, patronized by their Royal Highnesses, the Duchess of Kent and the Princess Victoria, may now be seen at No. 100, Piccadilly"

A history of Plymouth By Llewellynn Frederick W. Jewitt, Llewellynn Jewitt
Published 1873

Page 409 "Signor Bertolotto's exhibition of the Industrious Fleas opened in Plymouth, and cause a good deal of attraction

Monday, 23 June 2008

Alberti Flea Circus - Review

Karl Kunkel visited the MerleFest earlier in the year and sent me a review of the Alberti Flea Circus, here's his comments for your reading.

"The Alberti Flea Circus, with its wonderful cast of entertainers, has been a mainstay on the flea entertainment circuit for many decades. The troupe, based in Winston-Salem, N.C., is headed by the talented Mr. Jim Alberti and ably assisted by professionals such as Capt. Spalding. Mr. Alberti and his troupe constantly draw an audience of kids of all ages eager to participate in the many stunts performed by the fleas. The High-Dive into a coffee can is a popular segment as is the one in which a flea is shot from a cannon, flies around the fairgrounds and then lands in a puff of powder on a soft powderpuff. Mr. Alberti is a true historical treasure. He was born and raised in the Tin Pan Alley tradition of entertainment and actually uses props that go back 100 years, in some cases. This Spring's MerleFest music fest in Wilkesboro, NC ( was that much better because of the presence of the Alberti Flea Circus." ....Karl Kunkel, High Point, NC

Friday, 20 June 2008

Ripley's Believe It or Not

Ripley's Believe It or Not is coming to London's Picadilly Circus but they won't be bringing fleas.

The new venue will be opening in August at the prestigious location of 1 Piccadilly Circus. The new location that has previously housed exhibitions such as Rock Circus and the night club On Anon. Among the attractions will be a two-headed calf, a $1 million Swarovski crystal-covered Mini Cooper, a genuine 16th-century iron maiden, a trio of shrunken human heads from Ecuador and a 13-foot-long Tower Bridge made of wooden matchsticks, the company said.

Although other Ripley's venues have shown Plugas Vestidas (Painted Fleas), I've been advised that there won't be any dressed fleas in Piccadilly. However, there will be some exhibits for lepidopterists and entomologists, Edward Meyer (VP Exhibits & Archives) tells me "Butterflies and ants for sure".

Ripley's already have a location in the popular Northern seaside resort of Blackpool as well as over 60 others around the globe.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Flea Words

The following dictionary words are valid in Scrabble or Scrabulous. If you find yourself playing with a flea in your letters, I hope they will come in handy.

I am currently researching plants and medicines so there will be a future article on Fleawort and Fleabane and natural flea remedies.


Thursday, 5 June 2008

Dancing Micro Robots

Microrobots from Duke University have been dancing on the head of a pin. Perhaps their next project will be a mechanical microscopic flea circus?

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Jumping fleas

A mechanical model of a flea circus trampoline by artist Eleanor Morgan

Eleanor Morgan is a multi-talented artist with an interested in our desire to connect with animals. Her videos, sculpture, performance and drawings "explore animals as shifting, sticky 'things': animal as activity, rather than animal as object".

This piece is in the form of an automata with 3 jumping fleas on a trampoline, winding the handle causes them to jump up and down, you can see a video of it in action on the artist's website.