New York’s Bindlestiff Family Cirkus Soars to New Heights

For the New York-based performing group Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, tradition is something meant to be challenged, even as it’s being celebrated.

Bindlestiff Family CirkusAnd while the circus remains a real family tradition, Bindlestiff is turning the genre on its ear, merging acrobatics, burlesque, and vaudevillian humor into one action-packed, surprising show.

A Cirkus is Born

Founded in 1996 by Stephanie Monseu and Keith Nelson, the talented troupe of two to 16 performers per show regularly performs at theaters, colleges, and festivals, sharing its love of the variety arts with audiences worldwide.

With its founders well-versed in the art of fire eating, Bindlestiff offers audiences a chance to view the nearly impossible, providing a spectacle that for adult audiences stretches the definition of what is traditionally considered a circus, crafting a somewhat raunchy and utterly riveting production that merges sideshow, burlesque, music, and vaudeville.

A Little Bit of Magic

For several years, the troupe performed in what it billed as “the last vaudeville house in Times Square,” presenting several shows a day and giving both audiences and performers a chance to explore vaudeville-style arts better.

They were forced to close up shop when the former shoe store was demolished in 2004, but the group soon hit the road, bringing its finely-honed, edgy acts including sword swallowing, fire eating, acrobatics, contortion, magic, and buffoonery to audiences worldwide.

Kinko the ClownFrom Kinko the Clown, who made a satirical bid for president in 2008, to Mr. Pennygaff’s sword swallowing, Miss Una’s surprising aerial feats and Philomena’s precision bull whip handling, a skill that allows her to slice a rose held between a volunteer’s trembling teeth. The show is a risque celebration of the circus, one that pushes boundaries while still allowing viewers to be swept away for a while by the death-defying feats.

Educational Opportunities

Bindlestiff is also dedicated to teaching performers the art of the circus, and the non-profit organization offers workshops, performances, and lectures for the general public along with advanced classes and internships within the group.

The troupe also performs and presents workshops in schools, ranging from single workshops to two-week programs that explore the circus, vaudeville, Wild West touring shows and sideshows, ultimately offering a study of more than a century of American entertainment.

The courses allow everyone who has ever dreamed about running away to join the circus a chance to realize that dream for a while, generating increased interest in the spectacle that ultimately is the circus at the same time.

Beyond Bindlestiff

More than 400 Bindlestiff graduates are currently performing at a variety of venues worldwide.

Worldwide Circus Summit Committees

Executive Committee

Gary Payne – Founder WCS 2015 (CFA President)
Wayne McCary – Co-Chair WCS 2015
Bruce Hawley – Co-Chair WCS 2015
Ken Sopelak – Eastern States Exposition & Storrowton Tavern Liaison
Joe Barney – Entertainment Director
Brian Liddicoat – Facilities, Logistics & Staging Director
Jane Kycia – Hospitality Director
Lane Talburt – Jackpot Junction, Film Festival & Circus Photos Director
Rodney Huey – Media Relations & Publicity Co-Director
Tim O’Brien – Media Relations & Publicity Co-Director
Donald Covington – Program Director and Inter-Organizational Liaison (CFA Past-President)
Julie Kycia – Registrar & Bursar

Auctions

Pete Adams – CFA Auction Co-Coordinator (CFA Past-President)
Barbara Moore – CFA Auction Co-Coordinator
Joyce Rucci – CFA Auction Assistant
Joanne Rucci – CFA Auction Assistant
John Polacsek – CHS Auction Coordinator (CHS Past President)

Banquets & Receptions

Amy Cohen – AYCO Youth Reception
Jane Kycia – CFA Banquet and Opening Reception Coordinator
Alan Campbell – CHS Banquet Coordinator
Bob Yorburg – COAA Banquet Coordinator
Connie Thomas – WJU Banquet Coordinator

Eastern States Exposition (ESE), Storrowton Tavern and ESE Circus Museum

Greg Chiecko – VP and Director of Sales ESE
Don Calvanese – Manager, Storrowton Tavern
Brooke Evans – ESE Circus Museum Guide

Ecumenical Service

Fr. Jerry Hogan – Ecumenical Worship Service Coordinator
Fr. Dick Notter (CFA Chaplain)

Entertainment

Joe Barney – Entertainment Director
Frank Panzer – Actor portraying P.T. Barnum
Bob Yorburg – Carousel Organ Demonstration Coordinator
Connie Thomas – Circus Band Concert Producer & Windjammers (Immediate Past President)
Lane Talburt – Circus Smirkus Liaison
Sara Wonderle – Circus Smirkus Group Ticket Sales
Pat Cashin – Clown Coordinator
Wayne McCary – Cole Bros. Circus Liaison
Lisa Dufresne – Horses, Horses, Horses! Show Producer
Joe Barney – Master of Ceremonies for Opening Reception and CFA Banquet
Joe Barney – Summit All-Star Circus Producer
Scott Nelson – Summit Side Show Producer
Elmo Gibb – Teeny Weeny Circus Producer
Amy Cohen – Youth Component Coordinator & Showcase Producer (AYCO Executive Director)

Facilities, Logistics and Staging

Brian Liddicoat – Director
Wil Hevey – Lighting Coordinator
Mike Butash – Model Builder & Participating Organization Display Coordinator
Randy Peterson – Sales Room Coordinator
Paula Purdue – Summit Store Coordinator

Hospitality

Jane Kycia – Hospitality Director
Nancy Dulac – Decorations and Goody Bag Coordinator
Art Niccoli – Decorations Assistant
Barbara Pelli – Raffle Basket Coordinator
Leah MacPherson – Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau Hospitality & Sales Coordinator

Jackpot Junction, Film Festival and Circus Photos

Lane Talburt – Jackpot Junction, Film Festival and Circus Photos Director
Wil Hevey – Circus Film Festival Projectionist
Gary Cooper – Circus Photos Presentation Coordinator
Steve Gossard – Jackpot Junction Coordinator

Lodging

Barbara Pelli – RV Campground Coordinator
Gary Payne – Hotel Coordinator

Media Relations and Publicity

Rodney Huey – Co-Director of Media Relations and Publicity
Tim O’Brien – Co-Director Media Relations and Publicity
Wayne McCary – Local Media spokesperson
Charmaine Liddicoat – Media Interview Booth and Author Signing Table Coordinator
Jennifer Goodwin – Summit Logo Designer
Cindy Pagel – Summit Website

Melha Shrine Temple

Al Zippin – Shrine Volunteer Coordinator

Registration

Julie Kycia– Registrar and Bursar
Julie Kycia – Registration Desk Coordinator

Seminars

Don Covington – Director of Seminar Programming (CFA Past-President)
Deborah Walk – Circus Yesterday Seminar Series Coordinator (CHS President)
Peggy Williams – Circus Today Seminar Series Coordinator
Amy Cohen – Circus Tomorrow Seminar Series Coordinator (Executive Director AYCO)

Souvenir Program and Summit Daily Newsletter

Brian Liddicoat – Summit Program Publisher
Barbara Moore – Souvenir Program Advertising Sales Coordinator
Jaquan Fields – Summit Program Cover Design
Don Covington – Souvenir Program Co-Editor
Lane Talburt – Souvenir Program Co-Editor
Renee Phinney – Souvenir Program Layout (Spotlight Graphics)
Ron Morris – Souvenir Program Printing (Spotlight Graphics)
Bill Biggerstaff – Summit Daily News Editor (Circus Report)
Jan Biggerstaff –Summit Daily News Publisher & Printing (Circus Report) (CFA Vice President)
Peter Wagner – CFA “take one” Flyer Printing (CFA Immediate Past President)

Transportation

Ken and Jan Sopelak – Directors of Transportation
Sara Gordon – Hotel Shuttle Coordinator
Doug Cole – On-site Shuttle coordinator

On-site Volunteers

Please check the Summit Daily News for the names of additional people who volunteered on-site to help with the Summit.

Official CFA Hotels

NEWS: CFA’s Hotel #1 (Hampton Inn) is now FULL.

CFA’s Hotel #2 (Holiday Inn) is still accepting reservations for CFA members attending Summit, at the same rate as Hotel #1 – Same hot breakfast included @$109.
CFA Hotel #3 to be announced soon

There are TWO official CFA Hotels for WCS2015. They are both operated by the same management team and are now both taking reservations for WCS2015.

Each WCS2015 hotel will accept your reservation at the convention rate, two days prior and/or two days after the Convention dates of July 14-18th, thus you can get the same rate/deal from July 12-20th.

The hotels are nearly identical, each fully and newly renovated, and triple checked by our committee. Each earns three stars, with large lobbies, swimming pools, hot breakfast buffet included in the special CFA price of $109 + tax.

Each hotel is less than three miles to The Big E (Eastern States Exposition) and convention activities. For WCS2015, your hotel is literally your bed and breakfast only. All events take place at the Big E.

CFA official hotel #1 FULL
Hampton Inn
1011 Riverdale Street
West Springfield, MA
413-732-1300

CFA official hotel #2
Holiday Inn, 1 Bright Meadow Blvd.
East Longmeadow, MA
860-741-2211
(closest hotel to airport)

Hampton Inn

Hampton InnRelax and refresh in one of our spacious guest rooms and find everything you need and more for a comfortable stay. Surf the web with free high-speed internet access and enjoy a peaceful night’s rest in a clean and fresh Hampton bed®. All rooms are equipped with microwave and refrigerator for your convenience.

Catch up with work or print last minute boarding passes with free print services in the hotel’s fully equipped business center. Make the most of the critical leisure time with a revitalizing swim in the outdoor pool or workout in the fitness center.

To view the Hampton Inn website, click here.

Holiday Inn Springfield

Holiday Inn: We provide guests with upscale amenities, including our airport shuttle to nearby Bradley International. Our hotel also has a fitness center, indoor/outdoor pools, and on-site recreational activities that include tennis, volleyball and basketball courts. You can enjoy excellent dining at our restaurant, Panini Grill & Bar, and then experience a better night’s sleep with our updated bedding and comfortable rooms.