This photo of The Flying Karamazov Brothers is another golden find I discovered floating around on Facebook that was taken by Peter Dansky. Captured here are the original members from left to right: Fyodor, Dmitri, Alyosha, and Ivan. Critics were often quoted saying, “They do not fly, they are not Russian, or brothers, but are the best juggling act I’ve ever seen… go see for yourself.”
In this picture they appear to be holding full hats at the bottom of Witchwood. They would often gather together like this after passing the hat and joyfully exclaim in unison, “Every Crowd Has A Silver Lining!”
Ironically, the craft shop behind them in the top picture is now King Henry’s Hookah Lounge. Back in those days the Hookah Lounge could be found where the Flying Ks lived upstairs at what was called in those days, Witch Wood Inn.
As I posted earlier this photo is of the Flying Ks performing at what is now called Witchwood Stage. They would gather their crowd by standing abreast, with Dmitri simply crossing his arms, Alyosha juggling one ball while miming a three-ball pattern, and Ivan playing a pimply revelry on a broken bicycle horn. The scene was so surreal that every patron within visual sight would instantly gather.
I remember towards the end of the season when they needed gas money for the road the Ks performed about 23 shows in a single day. At that time the street was wide open so they were able to perform 10-minute kamikaze style shows all over the Festival. Their final show that day was at Witchwood. I was watching Alyosha juggle his one ball at the top of the show, when I witnessed him drop it out of pure exhaustion, and collapse into a fit of laughter. He then got up dusted him-self off, and went on to juggle steel hatchets, razor sharp sickles, and flaming torches.
The Karamazov Brothers final year at the MN Renaissance Festival was 1978. They went on to perform at Dudley Riggs, and eventually on to Broadway. 1979, was my first year performing at Witchwood. I climbed up to the loft where the Flying Ks used to live, and saw a message painted on the wall in their classic Karamazov lettering that paraphrased an old Bob Dylan song, “We’re artists, we need nothing, we don’t look back.”