Support the Variety Arts!

Dear Cirkus Friend:

Supporting the variety arts means fostering a rich cultural environment, encouraging brave and daring acts, and applauding the courage to go against what is expected. In times like these, keeping those values alive is more important than ever. With the end of the year approaching, we are writing to ask you to make a donation in support of the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus’s fantastic variety arts programming:


This past year we presented a top-notch season of the Bindlestiff shows you know and love – the Winter Cabaret variety show, the Cavalcade of Youth showcase, the monthly Variety Open Stage, and more. We have amazed and inspired audiences while continuing to invest in the next generation of performers through our teaching programs.

But that’s not all we’ve been up to. Over the past two years we have been inspired to build wider participation in the variety arts community. Bindlestiff has taken a leadership role in letting people know the circus and variety arts are for everyone, producing two new festivals:

  • NYC UniFest: In 2010 Bindlestiff launched the annual NYC Unicycle Festival, a free event celebrating one-wheel cycling that includes lessons, workshops, contests, stunt shows and a mass unicycle ride across Brooklyn.

  • NYC Regional AYCO Festival: In 2011 Bindlestiff and Playful Productions co-produced NYC's first youth circus festival, giving young people the opportunity to try out circus skills under the guidance of seasoned circus professionals.

We have been creating theater shows and residency opportunities so that we can bring our unique brand of variety performance to a national audience. In 2011 Bindlestiff performed at the historic Myrna Loy Center for the Performing & Media Arts in Helena, Montana, where we also offered a circus skills workshop to local youngsters who became the opening act for our show. We are planning similar events in other states in 2012.

Bindlestiff has also been expanding its national presence through the documentary web TV series “The Bindlestiffs,” which chronicles life behind the scenes of the Cirkus. While our focus will always be on live performance, the web series lets us document and archive new work, and it lets us stay in touch with a wider audience (a sustainable alternative to a gas-hogging tour bus!).

At home, Bindlestiff’s involvement in arts educational outreach programs has grown. We have been working with underserved youth in New York’s Hudson Valley through partnerships with community agencies and non-profit groups. Unfortunately, local budget challenges threaten the continuation of these programs, and our activities have been extremely curtailed. To help us continue our work with low-income kids in upstate New York, we invite you to earmark your donation for Hudson Valley programming via the link below.

All of our programming seeks the same goal: to build a community in which young performers, aspiring amateurs, hobbyists, and fans can share the joy of the circus and variety arts with the professionals.

We invite you to participate in that community by making a tax-deductible financial contribution to Bindlestiff, in support of our mission to cultivate, develop and sustain the variety arts. Your donation, whether large or small, makes a big difference.

We’ll see you at the Cirkus!

In Play,

Keith Nelson & Stephanie Monseu
Co-Founders, Bindlestiff Family Cirkus


Bindlestiff Family Cirkus (all programs):

BFC Hudson Valley programming:

BFC Cavalcade of Youth program:


Please send checks made out to Bindlestiff Family Variety Arts, Inc. to:

Bindlestiff Family Cirkus
PO Box 1917
New York, NY 10009 USA


Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show has a new home!

Dixon Place presents
Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show

First Monday of Every Month, starts January 2, 2012
Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie Street, New York, NY
Door $5 (suggested donation)
Showtime: 8 pm
Info: dixonplace.org bindlestiff.org

A First Look at NYC's Finest Emerging Variety Talents
Circus * Sideshow * Vaudeville * Burlesque * Dance * Music

Come to Dixon Place for a night of variety that will include much more than a simple song and dance. Bindlestiffs Open Stage Variety Show is a non stop variety show experience that may include The Heavy Metal Magician, Kung Fu juggling, trained rats, clown bands, aerial artists, wire walkers, sideshow performers, stripping clowns, living cartoons, physical comedy, a cougar contortionist, emerging burlesque starlets, and more. Hosted by Keith "Bindlestiff" Nelson, the show celebrates works in progress, emerging artists, and professionals trying something new, this night promises many surprises.

If you would like to be on the stage, email keith@bindlestiff.org. Write 'Open Variety' in the subject line!


Bindlestiff Open Stage Vareity Show Seeks New Home

The show is on hiatus.
Stay tuned for the next show.
And if you have an idea of a good home for the open stage, let us know.


May 2, 2011 Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show

May 2, 2011
Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show
at Galapagos Art Space, Brooklyn NY

Special guest hosted by Michael Richter
Pictured: Michael Richter

May 2, 2011 Line-up

Jeff Seal
Amazing Amy
Zero Boy and Tanya
Dave Cremin
Camille Harris
Robert Lok
Tanya Solomon
Jeff Seal

pictured: Rob Lok
pictured: Zero Boy and Tanya doing an Apache Dance
Pictured: Jeff Seal

Pictured: Sincerely Yours

Photos by Jim Moore

* * * * *
Although we did not know it at the time, this was the final
Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show at Galapagos Art Space.

Help us find a new home.
We are seeking a venue in NYC that wants to be a home to this
important variety arts laboratory.
If you have suggestions, please contact keith@bindlestiff.org

April 4, 2011 Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show

April 4, 2011

Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show
at Galapagos Art Space

hosted by Keith Nelson

Michael Karas
Greg Dubin
Zero Boy
Susan Voyticky
Rockin Reverend
Eric Ekkacub
Sincerely Yours
Dave Cremin
Miss Saturn
Todd Neufeld


March 7, 2011 Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show

Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show
at Galapagos Art Space, Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY
March 7, 2011

Hosted by Keith "Bindlestiff" Nelson

  • Tony Pezzo
  • The Amazing Catistrophi
  • Dave Cremin
  • Kendra Greaves
  • Deborah Kaufmann with Ben Model
  • The Bootlegger Tales Featuring Mr. Jones and Ms. T
  • David Boyd
  • Eric Eliacin
  • Nigel Blackstorm, the Heavy Metal Magician
  • Sweet Soubrette
  • Mike Desmon
  • Amazing Amy with Tim
Tony Pezzo, juggler

Nigel Blackstorm, the Heavy Metal Magician

Ben Model, piano

Deborah Kaufmann, sand dancer

Jeff Seal, clown...daredevil
The Amazing Catistrophi

Eric Elician, staff

All photos by Jim Moore


Februar 7, 2011 Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show

Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show
at Galapagos Art Space, Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY
February 7, 2011

Hosted by Keith "Bindlestiff" Nelson

  • Billy Schultz
  • The Ragdoll Engine (Aly and Cody)
  • Nina Levine presents "The Quitter"
  • Matt Hopard -stop motion
  • Zero Boy
  • Audrey Crabtree
  • Adam Woolley - double hammock
  • Project Hex
  • Ekaterina Sknarina
  • Dave Cox
  • Ago the magic chef
  • Cole Della Zucca - trapeze

Ekaterina Sknarina

Adam Woolley

Nina Levine presents "The Quitter"

The Ragdoll Engine

Cole Della Zucca

All photos by Jim Moore


January 3, 2011 Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show

Open Stage Line-up
Hosted by Keith "Bindlestiff" Nelson

Coney Island Chris, sideshow marvel
Zea Barker as Bony Lil
Rollie Skreslet's Family Circus
Jan Damm, rola bola
Butt Kapinski, private eye
Project Hex, novelty music
David James - aerial chains
Jacob D'Estachio, juggler
La Roy Sisters
Amazing Amy, contortionist
Michael Rollins, clown
Dave Cox, unicyclist and juggler
Rachel Salzman - lyra
Jan Damm on rola bola
photo credit: Jim Moore

Butt Kapinski, private eye
photo credit: Jim Moore

Project Hex
photo credit: Jim Moore

La Roy Sisters
photo credit: Jim Moore

2011 Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Revue from Jim Moore on Vimeo.