Museums & Culture
Time Out Chicago / Issue 209 : Feb 26–Mar 4, 2009
Acme Miniature Flea Circus
The act—which Intuit is presenting in conjunction with its “The Picture Tells the Story: The Drawings of Joseph E. Yoakum” exhibition—is part hokum, part actual animal wonder. It started in 1992 as a Pandora’s Box–themed act in the Pan-Twilight Circus in Providence, Rhode Island. Then, in 2001, Gertsacov took his act to Times Square with the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, replacing a famous flea act that operated there until 1957.
Since then, the professor and his miniscule marvels have traveled around the U.S., Canada and Brazil, wowing audiences with their daring feats, plus a little history, poetry and grandstanding thrown in for good measure. The trio has now performed more than 1,000 times, in venues as diverse as Coney Island’s famed sideshow to a circus-themed wedding.
While Gertsacov, a graduate of the Ringling Bros. Clown College, won’t reveal the coveted trade secrets behind training the tiny bloodsuckers, he says the real secret is getting the crowd to love the fleas. “People cheer for them and applaud in the races. Now if they could see them up close, they would probably kill them.” Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, 756 N Milwaukee Ave (312-243-9088, art.org). Thu 26, Fri 27 at 6:30pm; Sat 28 at 2, 6:30pm; $8–$12.
— Martina Sheehan