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Drew Friedman's Sideshow Freaks Hardcover – February 15, 2011
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"Drew Friedman has created the greatest sideshow lineup ever. His astounding portraits of the strange, the unusual, the bizarre, and the unconventionally beautiful truly capture the spirit of these extraordinary characters. This is a must-have book for anyone who is a fan of the joyously twisted world of the sideshow." Todd Robbins, Purveyor of Amazement, coauthor, with Teller, of Play Dead
"Any book that contains sixcount 'em, six!pinheads is my kind of book. Drew Friedman’s trademarked propensity to make 'normal' people look a tad freakish with his forensic attention to every wrinkle, wart, and nose hair is turned on its head in this impressive collection. Here, the 'freaks' look back at us as if to say, 'So who’s normal?' Friedman’s uneasy affection for the 'weirdos' among us comes through in every lovingly drawn portrait." Bill Griffith, creator of Zippy the Pinhead
"It’s true the sideshow is never what it seems, but Drew Friedman draws it like it really feels." James Taylor, creator and publisher of SHOCKED AND AMAZED! magazine, founder of the museum at the Palace of Wonders
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
When I finally saw the movie "Freaks" during a midnight showing in Syracuse (de rigueur viewing for anyone attending college in the 70s), I knew there was a reason why I loved these "freaks" so much - they were more human and real than any "normal" person I met in suburbia.
These people were who they were, with no apologies. No covering up or hiding "inperfections." They were perfect as they were, or perhaps even more perfect because of their refusal to deny who they were.
Drew's latest book is a loving tribute to these imperfectly perfect people. His attention to the slightest detail is what I've always loved about his work. But it's also his ability to bring these people to life and the obvious love he has for his subjects that gives the book its heart. This is not a book that you will look at once and then place on the coffee table, only to move it when you dust (or in my case, IF I dust.) You'll be reaching for this book with your little flipper arms time and time again.
Obviously, there's no need for caricature or exaggeration when depicting human oddities; these people are ugly enough just as they are. But that's where Friedman weaves his magic. There's no sense of that "step right up and see the Jo-Jo the dog-faced boy!" sensationalism. In fact, it's the reverse. These are exceptionally respectful portraits of unusual people, not meant to mock or degrade them. Yet, Drew doesn't put them on a pedestal either. Here they are, as they were. Interesting to look at, carefully and accurately rendered. Bizarre, yes. But still very human.
The artwork is wonderful. No surprise there. The most fascinating thing to me is the tone of the book. Here are the freaks, take 'em or leave 'em. Even the text that accompanies each painting (co-written by K. Bidus) has this matter-of-fact attitude. It lists the person's real name along with his or her stage name (tent name?) and some basic facts about place of birth and description of the particular freak's skill or deformity. It reads like a directory of dentists. "Dr. Feldstein received his degree in orthodontia in 1946 and was well known for his excellent bridgework." (This charming approach is picked up by Penn Jillette in his entertaining and funny introduction.) It's the absolute absence of shock value that makes the book so delightful and refreshing.
As usual, highly recommended.