I love freaks. I really do - they are some of the most interesting people on this planet, and the majority of them really seem to know how to live life to the fullest. They are fearless, bold, proud and just damned wierd. My kind of people! So, if I ever call you a freak, it's most likely meant as a compliment. :)
My favorite band of freaks, the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, haven't come around for a long time. Based out of New York, they have been staying close to home recently. Can't say that I blame them - going out on the road is a bitch.
This troup presents a blend of old style burlesque, sideshow freaks, strange women, new vaudeville and toe tappin' music. With performers including BFC co-founders, Keith Nelson (Pennygaff, Kinko the Clown & more) and Stephanie Monseu (Philomena Bindlestiff), plus others talented in amazing feats including, but not limited to stilt walking, fire eating, sword-swallowing, juggling, physical comedy, human blockhead, balloon sculpture, rope spinning, bull whips, knife throwing, bed of nails, clowning, singing, broken glass walking and eating, trapeze, gun spinning, knot throwing, balancing, mental flossing, comedy magic, all-around-entertainment, their shows are amazingly amusing.
The first time we saw them, we were lucky enough to catch Danny Boy, the contortionist. They brought this kid out on stage in a tiny box (we're talking like 2' wide) which he unfolded himself out of. He showed off his talents, putting himself through a tennis racket, toilet seat, and finally literally diving into a straight jacket that was all fastened up as if it were already occupied!
Keith (a.k.a. Mr. Pennygaff) does a fabulous sword (and other object) swallowing act. He swallows swords, bayonets, neon light tubes, you name it. He also shoves lots of amazingly long things like nails, screwdrivers and drills up his nose. He not only does sword swallowing, but also clowning, fire-eating, Bed of Nails, Human Blockhead, trick rope spinning, juggling (four balls and four clubs/torches), plate spinning, Diablo, balloon sculpture, a balancing act, Straight Jacket Escape, stilt walking, bullwhips, magic, knife throwing, archery, and gun spinning. He's handsome & funny, too. *grin*
Philomena - the hot, sassy, tattooed ringleader and Mistress of Ceremonies, was my favorite performer. She is just down-right impressive. She dances, sings, eats light bulbs, jumps up and down on broken beer bottles, lays on the bed of nails, can snap a smoke out of your mouth with a 10' bull whip, eat fire... the list just goes on and on. My favorite trick that she did was with razor blades. She took about 6 double edged razor blades (proven razor sharp by a volunteer from the audience), and put them in her mouth. Then, she curled up a long piece of string and put it in her mouth. With her mouth closed, she tied each razor blade to the string and proceeded to pull them out of her mouth one by one like ornaments on the string. yowza.
My very favorite act that they do, however, is the fireplay!
It is a fire eating and breathing act taken to a new level. In a rather sensual manner, Keith and Philomena eat and breathe fire and set their skin on fire, carressing themselves and eachother with the burning rods. It's a very impressive and...um...arousing show. Being a closet pyromaniac myself, I was completely mezmerized by this. Be sure to check it out in the videos you can find here. Check out the other videos, too! There's some good stuff there.
The performers are very friendly with their audiences, and I had a great time visiting with them before and after the show each time I saw them. I honestly wanted to jump in their van and go with them - to run away with the Cirkus! Had they invited me, I think I would have gone.