2003: The Lizardman’s Year in Review – Through the Modified Looking Glass

2003: The Lizardman’s Year in Review

If you believe the past can’t be changed, you haven’t read a celebrity’s autobiography.

- Sam Ewing

Hey! Here comes the bandwagon — let’s jump on and do a year in review piece!

Actually I hopped on two years ago when I started doing these for my site: www.thelizardman.com. But now that I am primarily writing for BME, why not share the love?

It’s a well documented fact that I am not a fan of the New Year revelry, resolutions, or other calendar related phenomena but I do think there is value in a regular accounting of the past; taking stock as it were.
Also, it provides a good chance for historical summary and reference. As my art professors used to say, ‘Document! Document! Document!’ So, here it is for the events of 2003 — one more document.


The year began with an unusual busy streak for me. The holidays and then the remainder of winter don’t often result in many events that clamor for freaks. But come New Year I was on the cover of XBM and traveling a good part of the month. Before hitting the road I attended the Austin Tattoo Revival and finally met Larry the Leopard (who would take part in my Emos show and later put on a wrestling match with me).

My first event for the year was AM-JAM. It was here that I met Spider Webb and got my X tattoo. After AM-JAM I returned to Austin to perform at Emos along with TSD and USS Friendship. From there it was on to the Super Bowl of Ink in Ohio. I wrapped up the month with an appearance at the Palace of Variety in Times Square, NYC.

This was also the month when I wrote what became my BME guest column, About Records, that laid the foundation for my regular column Through the Modified Looking Glass.


This month began with some very good news as I was able to announce that I would be the MC for the 2003 Jagermeister Music Tour. From there it only got better as I went to the UK with Shannon, Marty, and Jill to spend a week with Patrick Bartholomew filming for the BME Movie.

This was also the month that I appeared on the local FOX affiliate for a piece on tongue splitting. That small piece foreshadowed what would become the 2003 media frenzy on ‘the tongue splitting fad’ and resulting legislation attempts across the country.


Shortly after returning from the UK, I hit the road on the Jagermeister Music Tour.


Most of this month was spent on the road with Jagermeister. However, once the tour wrapped up, I dragged myself back to Austin for my pro-wrestling debut versus Larry the Leopard with special guest referee Joe Lifto (still waiting for an airdate). And, a small personal triumph, Lizardman merchandise went online.


This was the month of my life that was nearly stolen by one dumb legislator in Illinois. Most of my time and effort, and that of many other people familiar here on BME, was taken up by addressing, interviewing, and de-bunking for stories on tongue splitting. Personally, I had the pleasure (?) of debating the Illinois tongue splitting ban author (David Miller) on a couple of occasions. The man makes Diamond Joe Quimby (from The Simpsons) look like an upstanding, well-informed public servant.

May also saw the debut of my regular BME column — addressing, of course, tongue splitting legislation.

When not pre-occupied by tongue splitting I developed a new act: The Blockhead Blowgun. A historical first, I managed to accurately shoot darts out of my nose.


Highs and Lows.

I celebrated my 31st birthday this month. For the third consecutive year I appeared for Sobe at the KROQ Weenie Roast in LA and made my live Canadian debut at a press conference for Klondike Days in Edmonton.

Dervish passed away.

This was also the month that I made my IAM page my primary online journal. And perhaps in a reactionary move from the previous month’s activities or the Texas legislature introduction of tongue splitting specific codes; I used a scalpel to cut my tongue split a bit deeper.


What a wonderful month.

We got a new addition: Ginsu. I spent over a week in Puerto Rico, followed by a week in Edmonton. I finally got my feet tattooed.


I was honored this month — twice.

First, I got to take part in the Mayhem 8 man mobile crane suspension. Suspension is a lot more engineering than many people realize; it is understandably easy to focus on the physical when you see hooks through skin. This creation was a triumph and I was lucky enough to get to go along on the ride.

Second, I once again attended and got to be a featured a performer at the 2nd Annual Sideshow Gathering. This event is amazing not only for who is there and the content of their shows, but simply for existing. Franco and his crew work tirelessly to make it happen and bring everyone in. I received a standing ovation that still chokes me up a bit when I think about it.


Went to Cleveland for the Gravity Games to make an appearance for Sobe. Otherwise it was a slow month.


For the third year running I returned to Orlando to be part of Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights. On the way from Austin to Orlando, I stopped off in New Orleans to meet Harry Anderson and check out his new store space; Sideshow.


The Universal Studios gig lasted into the first week of November and was shortly followed by the 2nd Annual Pen-NY Body Arts Festival.

After 7 weeks on the road I returned to Austin. But, one week after getting home I was off again. Meghan and I went to Vegas on a week’s vacation and while we were there we got married! And, when we got back we got ourselves a wedding present: Houdini.


I’m still working on figuring out why Xmas doesn’t equal sideshow in more people’s minds (a fat man and elves — sounds like freaks to me) but it was nice to relax more or less with my new wife. I did spend a good chunk of time this month working sorting out copyright settlements and chasing down people who were inappropriately using my image. My parents visited Texas for the first time and came to see us and the ferrets for Xmas. A pleasant end to a very pleasant year.

2004 plans?

Well, I have big hopes and plans for myself and my show for the coming year. As for this column, there are a number of interviews coming and I am currently researching and working on some historical and opinion pieces regarding the connection between history of body modification and the sideshow. As long you are reading, I will be rambling…

Erik Sprague

because the world NEEDS freaks…

Former doctoral candidate and philosophy degree holder Erik Sprague, the Lizardman (iam), is known around the world for his amazing transformation from man to lizard as well as his modern sideshow performance art. Need I say more?

Copyright © 2003 BMEzine.com LLC. Requests to republish must be confirmed in writing. For bibliographical purposes this article was first published January 1st, 2003 by BMEzine.com LLC in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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