Acme Flea Circus

KILL DATE 3/1/2009

Trained Fleas To Make Chicago Debut.

Chicago IL 1/4/2009

This winter, the stars treading the boards of Intuit: The Center for Intuitive & Outsider Art will be the ultimate outsiders. Reviled by millions, misunderstood by thousands, and rather difficult to see. That‘s because they will be insects. Trained insects. Fleas, to be exact.

The show, the Acme Miniature Flea Circus, is an authentic Victorian flea circus that features trained fleas Midge and Madge who perform spectacular circus stunts as seen before (and on top of) the crowned heads of Europe. Midge and Madge will make their Chicago premiere from February 26-28 at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive & Outsider Art.

Details magazine called the show “One of the top alternative circuses in the country.” The New York Times said “The appeal is irresistible... Gertsacov is every bit the fantastical impresario, in his purple top hat and cash-register voice, introducing us to the wondrous insects itching (sorry) to perform” And the Los Angeles Times says that “Professor Gertsacov holds the audience (and the stars of the show) in the palm of his hand.”

According to Professor A.G. Gertsacov, ringmaster and proprietor of the Acme Miniature Circus, flea circuses were popular entertainments during Victorian times, but had nearly disappeared since the advent of television. The last popular American flea circus was Professor Heckler’s of Time Square, which left New York in 1957. The rumor is that Heckler thought that the nude shows were giving his fleas a bad name.

There are now only a handful of flea circuses still performing throughout the world. Gertsacov’s is arguably the most famous. The Rhode Island native (now based in Yonkers, NY) and his amazing insect stars have performed throughout the country, and in Canada, Chile, and Brazil. He recently spent three months performing in Times Square, less than two blocks from where Professor Heckler once had his fleas. Gertsacov has also been filmed for documentaries on the History Channel, the Travel Channel, and numerous news programs. He’s even been a question on Jeopardy!

Gertsacov’s educated insect stars pull chariots, dance on a tightwire, and perform other circus-like stunts. While he does not reveal his method of training (a proprietary secret, he explains) , he assures the curious and the civic minded that he uses only methods of positive reinforcement to teach the insects their routines. “I treat them as if they are my own flesh and blood,” Gertsacov says. “And in some ways, they are.”

Professor Gertsacov will bring his minuscule marvels to perform at the Intuit Center as part of their special events series. He’ll perform 5 shows (Thursday 2/26 @ 6:30 pm, Friday 2/27 @ 6:30 pm, and Saturday 2/28 @ 2,4, and 6 pm.) The shows will take place at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive & Outsider Art, 756 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622 Tickets are $12 general admission, $10 for seniors, students, and members of the center, and $8 for children under 12.

Gertsacov invites all curious parties to come and see the show that was deemed one of the top shows of the world famous Spoleto Festival in Charlestown, South Carolina. But he asks that you leave your dogs and cats at home. Gertsacov quips, “I don’t want anyone to steal the show.”


For more information about the show, or to reserve tickets, call Intuit: The Center for Intuitive & Outsider Art at 312.243.9088 . Or visit

For press information, photographs, or interviews, please contact Flea Master Professor A.G. Gertsacov at 401-351-2596 or visit the flea circus website:

WHAT: Acme Miniature Flea Circus

WHERE: Intuit: The Center for Intuitive & Outsider Art, 756 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago IL

WHEN: February 26-28, 2009

Thursday February 26 at 6:30 pm
Friday, February 27 at 6:30 pm
Saturday February 28 at 2, 4, and 6 pm

COST: $12 general admission/ $10 students, seniors, members / $8 children under 12.