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Brian Miser was
already a veteran of one high-risk circus act--the flying
trapeze--when he took up being shot out of a cannon in 1997.
Sixteen years later Brian still regularly submits his body to
the shock of being catapulted off of a supersize crossbow and
to the threat of injury--his most recent being a broken nose
during a 17-day engagement at the Big E Fair in September
2013. In this YouTube video, Brian explains the risk factors
involved in being launched from the barrel of a cannon or from
a supersize open-air crossbow, as live-action images of his
"human fuse" routine flash across the monitor.
scenes were videotaped by Jim Allison, who documented two of
Miser's shots at an Ohio street festival in early September.
Allison, like Miser, is a resident of Peru and over the years
has devoted many hours to videotaping the practice sessions
and performances of the Peru Amateur Youth Circus. Jim Cole,
who began photographing circuses in the 1960s, contributed the
use of his photos of Brian at various stages of Miser's
career. I'm grateful to both camera artists for their
creative efforts, especially on behalf of the youth circus
Most of all, I
want to thank Brian, who took time out for interviews with me
in Peru and West Springfield, MA. Oh yeah, look for the
polished aerial routines of Skyler Miser, the 9-year-old
daughter of Tina and Brian. Like father, like daughter, as
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