People’s Hall of Fame

1999 Honorees

Hovey Burgess

for mentoring a new generation of circus artists

Hovey is a living encyclopedia of skills including juggling, unicycling, clowning, trapeze catching, human pyramids and balancing acts. He has performed with many circuses, and taught and consulted with the Ringling Brothers-Barnum and Bailey Clown College, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, the Big Apple Circus, and others — all this in addition to teaching for a third of a century at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (he remembers his students’ names by the way they balance a cue on their hands on the first day of class).

His many students have included Penn Jillette (from Penn and Teller) and Avner the Eccentric. Mr. Burgess is revered for his skill juggling clubs, and for spurring a national revival of juggling.

Deborah Edel, Joan Nestle and the Lesbian Herstory Archives

for preserving lesbian history

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 1999, the Lesbian Herstory Archives is the largest and longest-lived collection of lesbian material in the world. Housed since 1993 in a beautiful brownstone in Park Slope, Brooklyn, the collection’s first 18 years were spent in the Upper West Side apartment of its co-founders — Deborah Edel and Joan Nestle. The Archives is a unique place where the stories, records, writing, images, memorabilia, and artifacts that constitute lesbian history and culture can be preserved and shared. The collection houses more than 10,000 volumes, 1,400 periodical titles and 12,000 photographs. Contents include letters and manuscripts from famous lesbians, but much of the collection records ordinary lives. The Archives also serves as a gathering space for its community, publishes a newsletter and hosts a web site, www.datalounge.net/network/pages/lha.

Joan Bacchus Maynard & the Society for the Preservation of Weeksville and Bedford Stuyvesant History

for enriching the city by preserving a piece of old Weeksville, Brooklyn, an early African-American community

Joan Maynard has devoted 30-plus years to preserving four wood-frame cottages from a Brooklyn settlement of early African Americans and transforming them into a museum for public education. After the abolition of slavery in New York State in 1827, James Weeks, a free African American from Virginia, purchased land in the area now known as Bedford Stuyvesant. By mid-century the area was officially known as “Weeksville.” Institutions anchored the residential settlement, too, such as the Bethel Tabernacle AME Church, the Berean Missionary Baptist Church, and “Colored School #2 of Weeksville.” The four cottages at 1698-1708 Bergen Street are New York City landmarks and are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Weeksville Society, which until recently Ms. Maynard directed, mounts exhibits, and offers educational programs and tours. Call (718) 756-5250 for information about programs.

Ethel Raim and the Center for Traditional Music and Dance

for fostering the traditional music and dance of New York’s diverse communities

Ethel Raim has spent the better part of her lifetime tuning American ears to the tremendous beauty of traditional music and ensuring that communities value and support their own cultural legacy. Her love of Balkan music brought her together with Martin Koenig to found the Balkan Arts Center in l966 — which was renamed Ethnic Folk Arts Center in the ‘80s, and later the Center for Traditional Music and Dance. Years of fostering and presenting the music and dance of numerous communities throughout the New York area makes the Center one of nation’s great proponents of what Alan Lomax calls Cultural Equity, the right of every community or ethnic group to express and sustain its distinctive cultural heritage. Visit their website at www.ctmd.org.

Jelon Vieira and Capoeira Foundation

for bringing the Afro-Brazilian art form capoeira to New York and other cities.

Jelon Vieira was eight when he first saw capoeiristas artfully dueling with their feet in his home town in Bahia, Brazil. He told his mother that he wanted to try this art of capoeira, and she promptly grounded him. Twenty years later, when he emigrated to New York in the 1970s, he was already a capoeirista. Painfully aware that Afro-Brazilian culture was invisible in the city, Jelon founded the Capoeira Foundation and began teaching. He has a significant following in New York and other U.S. cities. “Capoeira,” says Vieira, “develops discipline and a respect for life.” Call (212) 274-9737 for information about classes.

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