Cabarets of Death: Death, Dance and Dining in Early 20th Century Paris

Mel Gordon’s Cabarets of Death: Death, Dance and Dining in Early 20th Century Paris

Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Strange Attractor Press; Limited edition (15 Dec. 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 190722226X
ISBN-13: 978-1907222269

Three idiosyncratically macabre cabaret-restaurants in Monmartre, each with its own grotesque portrayal of the afterworlds of Hell, Heaven, and Nothingness.
From 1892 until 1954, three cabaret-restaurants in the Montmartre district of Paris captivated tourists with their grotesque portrayals of death in the afterworlds of Hell, Heaven, and Nothingness. Each had specialized cuisines and morbid visual displays with flashes of nudity and shocking optical illusions. These cabarets were considered the most curious and widely featured amusements in the city. Entrepreneurs even hawked graphic postcards of their ironic spectacles and otherworldly interiors.

Cabarets of Death documents the dinner shows, the character interactions with guests, and the theatrical goings-on in these unique establishments. Presenting original images and drawings from contemporary journals, postcards, tourist brochures, and menus, Mel Gordon leads a tour of these idiosyncratically macabre institutions, and grants us unique access to a form of popular spectacle now gone

Stav Meishar

CPLS03E06 Jun 21, 2020 12:000 noon Dublin time

Stav Meishar is a theatre maker, multidisciplinary performer, academic researcher and educator, working across circus, theatre and contemporary performance.

photo by by Shirin Tinati

Born and raised in Israel and now based out of both Bristol UK and New York City, Stav has spent the past two decades performing on professional theater and circus stages; on the ground and in the air; in Hebrew, English and Yiddish; in works devised by herself and by others; all over Israel, America and Europe.

Stav is committed to pursuing the gestalt of circus, history, education, and social change. Her most recent project, The Escape Act: A Holocaust Memoir, is a one-woman show mixing puppetry, theatre and circus steeped in seven years of historical research. It is based on the true story of a Jewish acrobat who survived the Holocaust hiding at a German circus and examines questions of antisemitism and multigenerational-trauma.
Stav’s next project, currently in the making, is a devised theatre show blending circus and live art, exploring gender performance and body image via the true story of Barbette, the first drag queen of circus.

When Stav isn’t performing she directs Dreamcoat Experience, the award-winning organization she founded, which uses Performing Arts as tools for teaching progressive Judaism. She also founded Petite Mort Productions, a performance company committed to developing original multidisciplinary works.

A proud queer Jew, she answers to both she/her and they/them.

Backstage Team

Lots of people make this thing hum and heading up the team are:


Also the invaluable support of our support team.

Dave Spathaky

Dave by Stevie

Dave produces zoom video webinars. He started performing in The Amazing Mendezies, a comedy double act in Covent Garden, London in 1981. He co-founded modern circus company Ra-Ra Zoo in 1984. He holds the world record for spinning 108 dinner plates at once and started a new career as a circus community builder on 1st of April 2020. He says he’s been training for the role all his life.

Dave also has curated the Clown Power discussion group since 2012 on with over 3,500 members.

more about Dave on his website here Catch him on twitter here