J. Tithonus Pednaud herein presents for your edification and enlightenment a curious collection of human marvels. You may call them oddities, freaks or monstrosities—whatever you will—but I call them incredible, persevering, resourceful and marvelous human beings. I chronicle their inspirational stories of triumph over nature, fate and the judgment of man. [Previously seen here. See also.]
The Greatest Sideshow Video Ever Made. "The Greatest Sideshow Video Ever Made was shot at the Moore theater in Seattle in 1992. The oddball cousin of Seattle's grunge music scene, the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow mixed vintage sideshow acts with novel stunts never before seen. Previously available only on VHS tape or DVD, this mind-blowing collection of feats of human daring is now available online in six parts for your viewing pleasure: 1 2 3 4 5 6 As an added bonus, watch as Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam participates." [via mefi projects] [more inside]
Tod Browning's 1932 cinematic masterpiece Freaks tells the story of a close-knit group of circus sideshow workers who are wronged and take revenge. The film's use of real-life freaks so disturbed audiences that some ran screaming from theaters, distributors refused to handle the film, and it was banned in Britain for over 30 years. [more inside]
LA-DEEEES AND GENTLEMEN! STEP RIGHT UP! THE SHOW IS ABOUT TO BEGIN! The Strange and Unusual, the Freaks of Nature, the Shocking and the Bizarre! YOU won't BELiEVE your EYES!
So you want to join the circus. Well, it helps to have a speciality. Learn how to swallow swords, twist balloon animals, crack a bullwhip, ride a unicycle, spin plates, breathe fire, go to circus school, throw knives, or get started by street performing. You may make it to the big time, but beware of the consequences, and careers gone awry.
Have you ever dreamed of running away with the circus? Did anyone ever call you a freak? Well, now’s your chance to become one! Coney Island USA is proud to announce its latest program- SIDESHOW SCHOOL! Tuition: $600.
The Hottentot Venus is going home. An African woman named Saarjite Baartman, apparently EXTREMELY overendowed in the buttock/labia department (second floor, next to men's shoes, watch the doors), she did the freakshow thing in Europe for five years in the early 19th c., was edited down at death to her relevant bits and pickled for posterity. Ever been to an actual state-fair freakshow? I saw the alligator lady in the late 70s somewhere in Kentucky. A morally complicated experience.
The Human Blockhead is dead. (NYTimes obit.) Melvin Burkhart, 94, was living in Gibsonton, Florida, a retirement town for sideshow attractions.