Photo: @MadeinNY

First stops are in Manhattan on July 17 and Queens and the Bronx on July 18

Program is supported by NYC’s Department of Transportation and Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment

New York City’s acclaimed variety arts ensemble, the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, presents Flatbed Follies, bringing performing arts to neighborhoods that have minimal arts programming and those areas hit hardest by COVID. Performances will take place upon an innovative series of parade float stages featuring circus artists from all five boroughs. There will even be a calliope wagon providing authentic circus music. The first stops for this new summer-long series take place Saturday, July 17 with shows at E. 101st Street and Plaza de las Americas in Manhattan and Sunday, July 18 at 34th Avenue in Queens and Fordham Plaza in partnership with the Bronx Night Market. Shows continue in various locations around the city throughout August. All performances are free.

NYC’s Department of Transportation and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment are supporting this series of performances, which will employ artists and performers whose livelihoods have been affected by COVID, and remind New Yorkers of the importance of live performance to our city. The performances will take place on Open Streets, Open Culture, and Open Boulevards sites and other public plazas and parks.

Harkening back to the days when the grand circus parade came through towns across the country and captivated everyone who saw it, the Flatbed Follies will bring much-needed celebration and art back to the streets. The repurposed parade floats are equipped to showcase incredible and eclectic talent from clowns, jugglers, wire walkers, acrobats, aerial acts and more.

Bindlestiff’s Flatbed Follies is a new concept in live entertainment and is perfectly suited for 2021. Each Bindlestiff Flatbed rolls in to present live performances by incredible contemporary circus artists. And often, all the floats converge in a plaza for a three-ring show. In keeping with American circus history, an authentic musical calliope wagon leads the way and is followed by beautifully decorated parade floats serving as rolling stages providing audiences with a thrilling outdoor circus experience. In addition to the floating stages, parade-style elements such as stilt walkers, penny-farthing riders, physical comedians and other local talent such as marching bands, gymnastic troupes and other talent will be part of the celebration.

“We are excited to see the return of outdoor performances in public spaces as the city continues to reopen”, said the Commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, Anne del Castillo, “and are proud to join the Department of Transportation in supporting the Bindlestiff’s Flatbed Follies’ events this summer. These live events will bring the joy and theatrics of the circus to New Yorkers, while providing local talent, many of whom have been financially affected by COVID, the opportunity to be paid to perform for live audiences once again.”

“We are excited to partner with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment to bring the fun and excitement of Flatbed Follies to public spaces in some of the New York City neighborhoods hardest hit by the pandemic,” said DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman. “This summer, children of all ages will have the opportunity to enjoy this production by the venerable Bindlestiff Family Cirkus in safe open spaces right in their own communities. As New York City continues to recover, our plazas and Open Streets continue to play a major role in supporting the arts while enriching the cultural lives of New Yorkers.”

COMPLETE SCHEDULE (Subject to change):
SATURDAY, JULY 17
11:00 AM – Plaza de las Americas (Manhattan)
2:30 PM – E. 101 Street “Open Street” (Manhattan)
4:30 PM – E. 101 Street “Open Street” (Manhattan)

SUNDAY, JULY 18
11:00 AM – 34th Avenue (Queens)
1:00 PM – 34th Avenue (Queens)
4:00 PM – Fordham Plaza (Bronx)

SATURDAY, JULY 31
11:00 AM – Alexander Avenue OS (Bronx)
3:00 PM – Minthorne Street “Open Street” (Staten Island)

SUNDAY, AUGUST 8
11:00 AM – Wyckoff Street “Open Street” (Brooklyn)
1:30 PM – Marcy Avenue Plaza (Brooklyn)
4:30 PM – 5th Avenue Park Slope (Brooklyn)

SUNDAY, AUGUST 15
TBD – 5th Avenue Sunset Park (Brooklyn)
4:30 PM – Reads Lane “Open Street” (Queens)

About the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus
For over 25 years, The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus has been presenting classic American circus tradition with its own uniquely contemporary spin. Its hybrid of vaudeville, circus, comedy, burlesque, live original music, and sideshow has enthralled audiences across the United States and around the world. The New York Times said of the Bindlestiffs, “There are certain things that make New York City so incredibly special. And this is one of them.”

For information about where the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus Flatbed Follies will be appearing this summer, visit www.Bindlestiff.org

Produced by Bindlestiff Family Variety Arts, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization devoted to the preservation and evolution of the variety arts. This project is supported, in part, by public funds from New York City Department of Transportation and the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.

About the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment
The mission of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) is to ensure New York City continues to be the creative capital of the world by supporting film, television, theatre, music, publishing, advertising and digital content and ensuring those industries work for New Yorkers. In 2019, the creative industries account for more than 500,000 local jobs and have an economic impact of $150 billion annually. MOME comprises four divisions: The Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting; NYC Media; the Office of Nightlife; and educational and workforce development initiatives.

About the New York City Department of Transportation
The New York City Department of Transportation’s (NYC DOT) mission is to provide for the safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible movement of people and goods in the City of New York and to maintain and enhance the transportation infrastructure crucial to the economic vitality and quality of life of our primary customers, City residents. The NYC DOT Public Space Unit oversees the NYC Plaza Program, Open Streets and Open Boulevards.