One Ring Circus: Extreme Wrestling in the Minor Leagues

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arsenal pulp press, 2003 - Photography - 155 pages
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Disco Fury. Wrathchild. Bam-Bam Bambi. Ladies Choice. Backyard Billy. Cheerleader Melissa. Backwoods Militia. Gorgeous Michelle Starr. Welcome to the world of minor-league professional wrestling.

For the past two decades, wrestling has enjoyed a huge following that has grown from cult status to one of the entertainment world's most lucrative industries, over the years creating mega-stars out of wrestlers like Hulk Hogan, Chynna, and The Rock. But for every WWF superstar there are countless wanna-be's: pretenders to wrestling's various thrones who hurl, pounce, pin down, and act out in community halls and high school gymnasiums across North America, paying their dues while counting the days before they get the call to the big leagues.

One Ring Circus pays homage to the wrestling life: the sound and the fury heard amid the backdrop of household lightbulbs, screaming sound systems, and near-rabid fans who are often as colourful and outrageous as the wrestlers they clamour for. Author and photographer Brian Howell spent three years following the wrestling circuit, and his book of images and narratives perfectly captures the visceral energy of a remarkable, near-clandestine community whose artful and out-there theatrics-alive and well somewhere between here and Palookaville-is nothing short of inspirational.

Includes more than 100 black and white photographs.


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Combining a DIY, punk-rock aesthetic with the off-kilter mid-American realism of Diane Arbus and William Eggleston, photojournalist Howell ventures to the Great White North (and the Pacific Northwest ... Read full review

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About the author (2003)

Brian Howell is a photographer whose work has been exhibited extensively in Canada, the U.S. and recently in Italy; his first book, One Ring Circus, was about small town wrestling circuits. He lives in Delta, BC Canada. Stephen Osborne is the publisher of Geist, an award-winning cultural magazine in Canada, and the co-founder of Arsenal Pulp Press.

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