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Cupid and the Half-and-Half

"Cupid and the Half-and-Half" is copyright    2000 by James G. Mundie. All rights reserved.  Reproduction prohibited.

Pen and ink, 6.25 x 10 inches, 2000
Collection of Gayle and James Wohlken

I came across an odd painting by Pontormo in which a rather masculine reclining Venus was receiving a little snuggle from Cupid. Suddenly, the very composition I needed for my sideshow half-and-half swam before my eyes!

The half-and-half was an attraction often featured as the “blow off” — an additional exhibition at the back of the tent on view for an extra charge. On very rare occasions the half-and-half was a genuine hermaphrodite, but more often this was a female impersonator dressed improbably as a man on one side and a woman on the other. If the show was playing “strong” the menfolk might be invited to line-up for an up-close view of half-and-half anatomy — for a price, of course.

I decided my half-and-half should recline sprawled out in all their ambiguous splendor, replacing the allegorical props of the original painting with a traveling trunk for the performer's custom wardrobe.

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All Images and Text James G. Mundie 2003 - 2018