The Little Gate-Crasher by Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

The Little Gate-Crasher

Mace Bugen might have been an achondroplastic dwarf, 43 inches tall with an average size head and torso set on small, twisted legs—but that didn’t mean he was an idiot or a pushover. In truth, he was smarter than most; over the years, he learned to effectively turn what society in those days called a handicap into a powerful tool he could use to his advantage.

“When I was a kid,” he once said, “I’d ask myself, Why is that guy on the football team? Why can’t I be on the team? Why didn’t God give me the height so I could be the hero?”
“Then at some point I figured it out: I gotta do something special to let ’em know I’m me.”
In The Little Gate Crasher: The Life And Photos Of Mace Bugen, I remember my amazing great-Uncle Mace Bugen through his journey as a first-generation Jewish-American kid in working class Philipsburg, NJ to becoming the first celebrity selfie-artist—way ahead of his time.

Featuring vintage photos of Mace with his exploits, The Little Gate Crasher captures three decades of American pop culture, seen through the unique lens of Mace and his gate-crashing exploits.

Underneath his antics, we meet a complex man who continually defies others expectations and meets life on his own terms. Mace becomes a successful businessman and devoted son to his aging parents. But in his gate-crashing antics, we best get to see Mace’s unique combination of guile, cunning and sense of entitlement, which he used to engineer photos of himself with some of the biggest celebrities of his day. If people were going to stare at him all of his life, he would give them something to see.

The Little Gate Crasher features over 50 vintage photos of Mace with celebrities, athletes and politicians, including Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Muhammed Ali, Richard Nixon, Jane Russel, Joe DiMaggio and more.

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A short read full of interesting and amazing images. This book is motivating to all of us not to waste our lives. Live each day to the fullest.

veritable who's-who of celebrities and important figures in many professions, this brief read is part biography and part legend.
Moishe Morris "Mace" Bugen was an achondroplastic dwarf, born into a family that chose to treat him the same as his cousins and siblings. He also earned the title of "coolest uncle of all time." Mace decided that he was special, but not because of his odd appearance. He had a personality that was many times his physical height.

Before cell phones and social media, Mace Bugen decided that he wanted to have his photograph taken with important people. He also figured out how to make that happen in unusual and creative ways.
This collection of photos is but a few proving his success.

This book is also a testament to Mace's mother, who valued education and was a fierce MommaBear. I am sure her determined mind was a huge influence on Mace. I enjoyed hearing about her values and support.

Author Bio – Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer is an experienced educator, author and speaker.
At Jewish Learning Venture, she works as Director of Whole Community Inclusion and leads disability awareness programs for the Philadelphia Jewish community.
Her most recent book The Little Gate Crasher, a memoir of her Great-Uncle, who overcame society’s prejudices about dwarfism to lead a remarkable life, was one of the national book selections for 2017 Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month.
Gabby writes for and edits The New York Jewish Week’s The New Normal: Blogging Disability and is also a featured Philly parenting blogger for WHYY’s newsworks.
Gabby holds a B.F.A. in theatre and creative writing from Emerson College and an M.A. in Jewish Studies from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

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