Schauspieler und Schausteller

“Show players and show putters/placers.” Actors and traveling carnival people, two professions whose names sound similar in German.

Spiegel.de reported about a lady from a traveling fair family whose dad pulled her out of school at age 14 to help with the family business. When her son died in 1991 she looked around for something different to do. She finished an academic high school diploma in two years and did a master’s degree in art history on the changing styles of models and decorations on German carousels since 1883. She was the first person to study the subject. There was so much material, she said, that she went ahead and finished her Ph.D. on the topic at age 62.

“Until the Second World War,” Spiegel.de wrote, “nearly all decorations on fairground rides and businesses were citations of baroque themes: illustrated panels, frames that look like ornamental plasterwork, pastel tones. ‘After 1945, the modern era took hold, with paintings that had no subject, and neon lighting,’ Frau Dr. Ramus said.

“Since then,” the Spiegel article continues, “carousel decoration and construction has followed the trends in architecture and art: Bright colors and dream motifs based on Salvador Dalí in the 1960’s, flower power images and bands like the Beatles or Abba in the 1970’s, followed by pop art, comics adaptations and street art. ‘The great thing is that in fairgrounds today you can see all these epochs standing next to one another, and even identify individual painters and designers,’ said Dr. Ramus. ‘You can time travel through a hundred years of decoration and architectural history.'”

(Shao SHPEEL ah   oont   shao SHTELL ah.)

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