Step Right Up…Carnivals And Freak Shows

What is it about those nostalgic traveling circuses and carnivals of the mid 19th to mid 20th centuries that spark my curiosity and imagination. Perhaps it is the man at the booth that draws attention from the crowd by promising to show the most bizarre biological rarities ever seen. Yes, I’m talking about the freak show. These shows would put a group of people or animals on display that had bizarre and very rare physical conditions. If you want to see for yourself, check out Tod Browning’s iconic horror film from 1928, “Freaks”. Of course in today’s world, it’s offensive to label someone a “freak”. And so as public opinion changed on the topic, these sideshows became an element of the past. However, the freak show has become popular once again. Not with the mainstream, but with a new subculture of people who are carrying on the tradition. For example, in California you can visit the Venice Beach Freakshow. The place is small, but it’s packed with cool stuff to look at. It mostly features animals with more than the usual number of body parts… like lizards with two tales, or a turtle with two heads. There is a guy who can swallow swords, balloons, and I don’t want to know what else. There are also a few traveling sideshows such as The FreakShow Deluxe a carnival style sideshow. These guys have it all…magicians, sword swallowers, knife-throwers, fire-dancers, burlesque performers, and of course human anomalies! The FreakShow Deluxe will be performing at 10am October 30th at the OC Marketplace in California.

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