Saturday, November 03, 2007

Scenes from the Sideshow Gathering

I had dinner with some friends today, an annual All Souls' Day get-together in remembrance of dead pets, delayed a few days by scheduling conflicts. On the way home I decided to stop at the Sideshow Gathering that is being held this weekend at The Woodlands in Plains on Route 315.

I got there sometime after 9:00, I think, but just in time to see the tail end of Zamora the Torture King's routine. He had just put a six inch needle through his forearm when I got there, then pushed another through his bicep, then another from under his tongue out through the underside of his jaw.

After he had removed these needles, he proceeded to tell a version of "The Aristocrats" - the hook being that every sick, twisted, perverted act he described was an actual description of a real modern sideshow act.

There followed a brief intermission, during which time I wandered around a bit and saw this marvel of nature:
Two-Headed Turtle - ALIVE!
As the intermission drew to a close, a smallish man in top tat and tails (seen wielding a camera in the photo above) began to ask members of the audience, fellow performers, crew members, and people who had wandered over from the Tattoo Convention on the other side of the room for "memories" - physical objects from their lives. He wrote these down on a flip chart easel at the front of the stage, in front of a banner for Dr. Wilson's Memory Elixir.

The memory list. My contribution was #24, "PCV valve".
The man known as Dr. Wilson then began a presentation for Dr. Wilson's Memory Elixir, "A wholesome blend of natural extracts of thirty different herbs and root vegetables that promotes and revitalizes the capacity for learning and memory, strengthens the nerves, and effectively wards off cataleptic neuroplexy." After a spiel, he demonstrated the efficacy of said tonic: while blindfolded, he was able to name items on the list based on their numbers, and was able to give numbers for the items based on names. And then he recited the entire list, while still blindfolded, backwards. For a finale, he did an amazing version of the cups and balls trick.
The last act I saw was the "geek act", the Swami Yomahmi. He explained that he was not a "geek" in the traditional sideshow sense of "one who bites the heads off chickens", but was more in keeping with the modern sideshow definition of "a relatively unskilled and unrefined act." But more specifically, he was a geek in the sense of "one who knows too much about Star Trek, Dungeons and Dragons, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Heroes." (His knowledge of trivial details of past Sideshow Gatherings was pretty extensive, too, though I didn't get these jokes, as I was not at any of the previous Gatherings.) He started off with a "blockhead" routine, pounding a nail into his head through his nostril. He followed up with a "hypnosis" routine that involved four guys in an uncomfortably intimate proximity to each other. He ended with a "bed of nails" trick...and an upskirt photo of a lovely female volunteer from the audience.
The Swami Yomahmi, during his "Kodak Moment", when everyone in the audience is invited to take pictures. The Swami also took the opportunity to snap a quick photo.
The Sideshow Gathering continues through this Sunday. Admission is $13 but allows re-entry for the entire weekend. For more details, see the official website.

UPDATE: Go here to see Professor Jason Mundie's flickr photo album from The Sideshow Gathering 2007! If you look very carefully, you'll even see me in one of the photos of Doc Wilson!
ALSO! : Sideshow World has also posted a page of images from the Sideshow Gathering 2007!


marcoshark said...

times like this I wished I still lived up in NEPA

Michelle said...

No don't. :)

anne said...

Now that's $13 well spent.

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

That sounds like a lot of fun.