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One Ring Circus - Extreme Wrestling in the Minor Leagues

One Ring Circus

Extreme Wrestling in the Minor Leagues

By (photographer) Brian Howell
Introduction by Stephen Osborne
Categories: Popular Culture, Photography
Paperback : 9781551521329, 158 pages, 2002


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.


Vancouver photojournalist Brian Howell captures the freak show in and beyond the ring with eyes-wide respect. . .
-Toronto Star

- Toronto Star

. . . strip[s] away all of that pomp that wrestling has become, looking further behind the mask. . .
-Cosmik Debris

- Cosmik Debris

Howell's striking pictures and personal essays make Circus a must for fans of pro wrestling's lower echelon.
-Monday Magazine

- Monday Magazine

Brian Howell has captured the drama that exists on the canvas and outside it. . . [this is] an art book as much as a collection of thoughtful mini essays on humanity and fame.
-Georgia Straight

- Georgia Straight

Howell brilliantly captures the essence of wrestling.


- Maclean's

Howell captures the action from start to finish in this excellent work of photojournalism.
-Calgary Herald

- Calgary Herald

. . . grotesquely comic, occasionally disturbing, and yet strangely respectful of its subjects.
-The Province

- The Province

One Ring Circus is the first title in Arsenal's look-at-us-and-the-world Parallax imprint. . .
-Vancouver Sun

- Vamcouver Sun

. . . a thought-provoking portrayal of an independent wrestling scene. . .
-The Now Newspaper