Wonder Twins


—Aiesha D. Little

Millie-Christine, The Two-Headed Lady, by Strobridge Lithographic Co., 1882.

From The Amazing American Circus Poster, Kristen Spangenberg (Ed), Cincinnati Art Museum, 2011

Growing up, Napoleon Maddox always heard the story of his great grand-aunts, conjoined twins Millie-Christine McKoy, who were born into slavery in 1851 and spent a large portion of their lives as a sideshow act.

This month, the local rapper/beat boxer brings the twins’ story to the stage in Twice the First Time, a Contemporary Arts Center–commissioned performance that blends music, poetry, and art to explore two lives that constantly toggled between being on the receiving end of morbid fascination and forcing the world to see them on their own terms.

“Throughout all of the things I’ve found out about them, I haven’t found any shame in their expression of who they were—about being of African descent, about being women, or about being conjoined,” Maddox says. “By surviving and being proud about who they were, they put a stamp on time that can’t be removed.”

$15, Feb 22–24, Contemporary Arts Center Black Box Performance Series held at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, 50 E. Freedom Way, downtown, contemporaryartscenter.org

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