Friday, September 16, 2011

The Binewski's

This is until now a never before  seen photograph of the Binewski family on a rare summer vacation.  
Father Aloysius "Al" Binewski is in the front left, and his wife "Crystal" Lil is sitting on the cabin steps  with "flipper boy" Arturo ("Arty"). 
Electra ("Elly") and Iphigenia ("Iphy") conjoined twins are sitting with  Olympia ("Oly") on the bench and "Chick", the baby, is sitting in Al's lap.
The family toured the country with a carnival Al inherited from his Father called the Binewski Fabulon. The feature of the carnival was the freak show which was comprised of the family members.  Al was the barker/boss and "Crystal" Lil was known to occasionally perform in the Geek pit biting the heads off of chickens.  Oly, a red headed albino and  small for her age was mainly a roust about and up front performer, while Arty, Elly and Iphy had shows in their own tents.  
Elly and Iphy sang and performed songs on the the piano. Arty performed in a glass sided water tank as the "flipper boy" a human/fish exhibit.  Arty would recite home spun wisdoms from his tank and proved to be a great crowd manipulator. He acquired a cult like following of "Arturos" who traveled to see him from place to place revering him as a sort of a savior figure. Chick, the baby, was being groomed to take over the Fabulon and was taught from the time he was born all the scams and hustles of the carnival. The picture is unusual because they were rarely photographed out of their costumes and makeup which accented their oddities and deformities.  Al is quoted as saying, "What better life can you give to your children than being able to earn a living by just being what they are."
The carnival caught fire and everyone except Oly and Lil died in the blaze. Oly settled in Portland, Oregon with Lil who quickly lost her mind to dementia. Although Oly looked after her until her death she never remembered anything about her former life nor even knew Oly was her daughter.
The entire account of this strange family is documented in a book by Katherine Dunn called, "Geek Love".  My friend Harry Anderson adapted it for a screen play.  Various people have tried to make the movie, but it may just be too weird.  Harry has published the original screen play in his new book "Fast and Loose"  which has just been printed.  This is the first picture that I have ever seen of the clan. I doubt any others exist. 
As you were,

1 comment:

Aaron said...

And where would one conjure up Harry's book? Nothing is coming up via internet search.