An award-winning producer on how freelancers bring freedom and innovation to structured work environments.
Preserving a lost art along the Coney Island Boardwalk.
Coney Island has seen many changes since it opened its first sideshow in 1880. Theme parks have been developed, bulldozed and redeveloped; newer vendors have replaced old businesses; real estate has been bought and sold—the list goes on. But there are some places, and people, in Coney Island that are determined to keep the old traditions alive. The Coney Island Sideshow School, and Adam Rinn, are among them.
Rinn, who grew up in Coney Island, teaches eager—and brave—students how to eat fire, walk on broken glass and carry a charge in an electric chair. The school usually teaches two four-day sessions per year. Students pay an $800 tuition—a cost that, Rinn explains, will deter curiosity seekers, but not discourage those who are truly hungry to perform sideshow acts—after “graduating,” they’ll make up the tuition costs in a gig or two, he says.
There were five students in the spring 2012 graduating class. Two work at an amusement park on the Jersey Shore and planned to take a bit of Coney Island back with them; another was writing her doctorate dissertation about freak shows; and one student is a stand-up comedian who hopes fire-breathing and other acts of daring will help take her stage routine to another level.
We documented their journey, as this handful of courageous performers do their part to keep the spirit of Coney Island alive.
A new dad on the nightmare-inducing challenge of coming up with a timeless but fresh, cool but not too cool name for his son.
Amy Vilela lost her daughter when she couldn’t afford the medical bills. When her Congressman told her he wouldn’t support universal healthcare, Amy said, “I’m running.”
Cori Bush is a registered nurse, a pastor and a mom. After taking to the streets to protest police killings, she looked in the mirror and said, “why not politician, too?”
“The Boss of the Queens Machine” hasn’t faced a primary challenger in 14 years. But an underfunded upstart is suddenly giving him a run for his money.
Paula Jean Swearengin has seen West Virginia’s land exploited, its people fall ill, and its politicians do nothing. So she decided to do something herself.
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