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With the Citizen Jane Film Festival kicking off tomorrow and Jennifer Miller, a gender-challenging bearded lady, gracing the cover of this week’s issue of Vox, there are a lot of excitingly bizarre weekend happenings to look forward to here in Columbia. Going along with Citizen Jane’s circus-inspired theme, Miller herself will serve as the festival’s Ringleader.
Circus Amok, Miller’s New York City-based circus and theater company, is the focus of Un Cirque de New York (2003), a nostalgic documentary from French director Frédérique Pressman. The film, which will be screened during the festival on Sunday at 12:45 p.m. at Ragtag, explores Circus Amok’s presence in New York City in the pre-Giuliani era, when the group of misfits, queers and drag artistes “made New York the Big Apple.” The circus itself hasn’t disbanded since then, however; Circus Amok is still a championing performance troupe on a local, regional and national scale.
According to their website, Circus Amok aims to provide free public art inspired by contemporary issues of social justice. Comprised of a diverse group of talented performers, the circus has been putting on “funny, queer, caustic and sexy, political one-ring spectacles” together since 1989. Some of the circus’s past shows include 2003’s “Home * Land * Security,” 2006’s “Citizen * Ship” and 2008’s “Sub-Prime Sublime,” all of which take a humorous approach to tackling political issues.
To viewers and audience members, the circus encourages an open mind. As their website proclaims:
“Fellow travelers, zealots and pantywaists of all ages, races, mental conditions, and unmentionable proclivities, untether your grasp on the known, swing cockeyed into the two faced and the double handed. feel the rumble tumble erupting from the depths of your unconscious, make a ruckus, run amokus, Help help it’s CIRCUS AMOK!!!!”
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