The best thing on British TV since Mr. Bean?

My favorite crazy Brits, the Psycho Cyborgs, are up to something.  Recently they took over Camden High Street in London for ten minutes. They are working on a new project and this was one of many upcoming promotions for that project. They can’t tell us too much about it, because the whole point of this is that they are building up interest for when it’s “released” in September – It should  be incredible though!


Reality shows – Tried, tested and tired of seeing them all? Think again!!

Horror movies? Well, we have all seen at least a few that have made us cringe, jump, and sometimes be shocked at by all the blood, guts, gore and a few weapons of choice. After it’s finished off you go to bed feeling entertained but knowing it wasn’t real.

But what if it were? And what if you, the viewer, were in complete control?

Well now you are…

This is gonna be utterly insane. Pure sickness!

It’s entertainment. It’s gore. It’s blood. It’s fun. It’s pain.

And it’s REAL.

The Great Mustachio!

Aka The Great Orbax. When I first posted about March Mustache Madness, tons of submissions came in. In fact all of my personal emails, and my IAM inbox are overflowing with mustaches now. However, when Orbie messaged me on facebook and said:

Moustache madness and I haven’t even been contacted…. thanks Sean.

ya big jerk 😛

I felt bad, he’s right though, how could I even consider making a mustache feature without Orbax, the man who has rocked a handlebar for years, way before it became a modern trend.

A lot of people credit Oliver Peck for the modern resurgence of the handlebar mustache, but really we all know he was just ripping off Orbax. In fact all of you owe your upper lip greatness to the man behind the stache. Hell not even 3rd degree burns could end the greatness of his most epic mustache.

So let us take a moment to pay tribute to the one, the only The Great Orbax.






Everything you ever wanted to know about Penguin Boy

Editor’s Note: Once again it’s been way too long since we’ve heard from The Lizardman himself.
Let’s give Erik a big hearty modblog “Welcome Back”!

Time moves fast on the internet. It has only been a little over a week since the images of Penguin Boy’s first suspension hit modblog and created a stir but that entry is already more than a couple pages back from the main page. I have been living and working Penguin Boy as part of the Hellzapoppin Sideshow and managed to pin him down for a few questions and photos. Click through to read and see more of Penguin Boy.

Jason “Penguin Boy” Brott was born twenty-four years ago at Walter Reed hospital in Washington, DC. He currently lives in Glen Burnie, Maryland when not working on the road as a sideshow performer. He has two older brothers and an older sister. The condition behind his lack of arms and fused knees is a form of TAR Syndrome which he explains as “short limbs and low platelets”. The name Penguin Boy was chosen not only due to his hands (both left incidentally – one of only five people in the world with that manifestation) but also because he is the same height as the average Emperor Penguin; 3’3″ not counting his mohawk. When it comes to being stared at he has an interesting philosophy, ‘it’s like a hot chick – people are going to stare no matter what, so why not be a stripper and get paid for the stares.’ Of course, people tend to, at least initially, ask questions about how he is able to perform many ordinary tasks. I’m simply going to say that after spending time with Jason he is far more capable and self-sufficient than the majority of so-called ‘able-bodied’ people. I wish that everyone I ever had to share a tour bus with were as self-reliant as him. He can wipe his own ass just fine and he doesn’t have to worry about jerking off because your girl is usually backstage going down on him.

Long time readers of BME and IAM’ers may recall that Penguin was active on the site some time ago but as he put it “something happened with my account” and he never got around to getting it completely sorted out. The pictures that appeared on modblog not only showed his first suspension (a two point suicide pierced and rigged by Allen Falkner) but also revealed his already long term appreciation of body modification in the form of tattoos, piercings, and scarification. I asked him about what drew him into trying suspension and he told me;

“I have always liked body mods and it just felt like something I had to try I think I first discovered it [suspension] when I was 16 or 17 at the first tattoo shop I worked at – mystic piercing and tribal tattoo.”


Penguin’s current modifications include: One and a half inch stretched ear lobes, two sixteen gauge horizontal surface piercings over the right eyebrow, eight gauge septum, fourteen gauge horizontal nipples, scarification on both wrists, and several tattoos including pieces around his throat and on either side of his head. Penguin doesn’t recall who did his piercings but the scarification was done by John Durante and his tattoos were done by various artists including; White Trash Matt, Mike Stephen at Mystic, Blake at Mystic, Halo at Positive Image, Buffalo Bill, Kylee, Mark Decker, and Aaron at Shiva’s. His future plans include a split tongue and expanding his tattoo collection over his body becoming ‘The Illustrated Penguin Boy’. He also looks forward to doing more suspensions.


In terms of of sideshow, Penguin Boy is definitely on track to become one of the greats. As he puts it, ‘I’m going to be a triple threat – a born freak, a made freak, and a working act performer’. I asked him what he thought of the word ‘freak’ and this was his response:

“The word freak to me is really when a chick wants to give you a golden shower [laughing] but really everyone is a freak in their own way.”

Penguin got into the sideshow when he was spotted by Bryce ‘the govna’ Graves at Ozzfest. Bryce was managing the Bros Grim Sideshow at the time but has recently created his own show, Hellzapoppin ( ) that features Penguin Boy doing his versions of the blockhead, pierced lifting, and more. Penguin was at Ozzfest hanging out with friends after having worked “hyping for Wolfpac and sometimes Kottonmouth Kings”. He has his own music project; lowercasej – in addition to working in sideshow. Penguin says that his family is all right with his working in a sideshow but that it did take them a little time to make the adjustment. Fans should check out for even more.

Fire Destroys Håvve Fjell’s Fakir School

Absolutely terrible news to report here. This is reprinted from Allen Falkner:

I’m sad to report that a fire, this last weekend, destroyed Håvve Fjell’s Fakir School. At this point I do not have much information, but I have received this link and the following message from Havve and was asked to pass it along:


We’re all fine, nobody got hurt. Our school is destroyed and I don’t know how much of our stuff we’ll be able to save. I just got back from Essen tonight, the fire happened Saturday night at the beginning of a party. We don’t know the cause, the police report will hopefully be released to us tomorrow.

I’m completely perplex about the situation and don’t know how I’m supposed to handle the consequences. I have no insurance and I fearing liability claims from the owner of the building. We have 3 shows coming up this weekend and a fully booked season ahead and most of our costumes and props are ashes…

I’ll know more tomorrow.


For those of you that do not know Havve, or his group Pain Solution, he has been a member of our community for many years and has been instrumental in bringing body modification to the general public through performance, teaching, lectures and by helping organize numerous events, most notably the Oslo Suscon.

Håvve and his team have been some of the most generous, welcoming and, of course, talented people we’ve come across in this community, and this is just devastating. We’ll keep you all up to date on how this proceeds and what people can do to help, when the time comes.

Swirl and Tangle

We’ve featured the incredible SwingShift SideShow before (here), and really, we’ll continue to as long as they keep submitting material. It’s by no means a stretch to say that this is a group pushing the boundaries of what the human body is capable of as much as any other performers out there. And hey, here are Andrew S. and Kelvikta, captured as candidly as is probably possible. After the jump, a photo of Kelvikta all on her own.

Tattoo Hollywood, BME’s first tattoo convention, is coming to Los Angeles from August 21-23, featuring contests, prizes and some of the best artists from around the world! Click here for more information.

See more in Ear Stretching (past 1/2″) (Ear Piercing)

The State of The Lizardman Address

It’s been a few years since we’ve heard from our friend Erik Sprague, The Lizardman, here on BME — and really, it’s been too long. The world is a much different place now (well, marginally different, at least), and it’s always reassuring to have him around as a bright green guide through the chaos that surrounds us. He and I recently exchanged e-mails over a couple of days, talking about the new American president, the rigors of life on the road and the difficulties of making the transition from sideshow to stand-up.

BME: The last time you wrote for BME, you were asked who would win in a fight between Christopher Hitchens and Jerry Falwell (you chose Hitchens). Who doesn’t love a hypothetical death-match? Let’s kick things off the same way: Who would win in a good old-fashioned Chicago-style brawl between Rahm Emanuel and Rod Blagojevich?

The Lizardman: I see Rahm taking this one — he is clearly cunning and a survivor. Blagojevich embodies the characteristics of the unstoppable undead and a turd that won’t flush, but lacks offense. It would be a long fight with many seeming victories by Emanuel, only to have Rod rise again before a final defeat.

BME: Blagojevich as zombie-poop? I think you just wrote several South Park episodes, my friend. Now, you were on tour throughout January, correct? For what were you out on the road? Were you able to take a moment to solemnly pour out a 40 for your boy George Bush?

TL: I was on tour for the last 10-11 days of January, and for the first 20 I was home after getting back from the fall Jagermeister Music Tour on December 23, 2008.  I was running around the far-too-cold northern areas of the U.S., beginning with my now 10-years-running gig performing at the Am-Jam tattoo expo (subject of one of my old BME columns some time ago) in Syracuse, New York.  From there, I had club gigs in Rockford, Illinois, at Kryptonite, and Washington, D.C., at The Palace of Wonders.  Fellow Austin stand-up comic Joel Keith was along for the ride, opening up the shows. 

I did not pour out anything for Bush, but considered doing so for Texas in somber worry for his return to the state. Even as a Texas convert (I moved to Austin eight years ago), I can spot his fake wannabe-Texan B.S. from miles away.  It still stands as one of his greatest deceptions that he convinced so many that he was Texan. You can make a case for WMDs, but not for that …

BME: From a make-believe cowboy to a “half-breed Muslin” — what a country. Really though, what did you think of Obama’s inauguration and the phenomenon that was his campaign in general? How healthy a dose of skepticism is necessary in order to not expect the world over the next four years?

TL: I think we need a massive dose of skepticism for not just the next four years but for the rest of our lives. As great a scapegoat as Bush makes, the truth is that everyone dropped the ball and he and his crew only got away with it by not being challenged enough. The solution is not, and never will be, blind obedience, even if it is to a message of hope. I’d like to see Obama succeed, but nobody gets a blank check.  For all of his soaring rhetoric and good intentions, Obama is still a politician and now president of the US — a beneficent dictator is still a dictator.  For someone like myself with a number of so-called radical views which are always in the extreme minority, I am forever wary of the majority’s designated player since his job is, in part, to further their goals — often over my rights. Putting the right people in charge is only the beginning and it does not absolve the rest of us from our roles. We have to help him get things done and get them done in the right way.

BME: Do you actually have faith in the American populace to hold up its end of the deal?

TL: That may be the last bit of idealism I have left in me. I feel with the system we have that even when the populace fails, a few good people in the right spots can save things. Look at an issue like black civil rights or women’s rights and you see cases where the populace overall dropped the ball horribly, but those who were right were able to use the system to kick the rest in the ass and fix things. Of course, the system fails as well at times, and then it is up to the populace to pull things together. I think that the American people, along with the Constitutional system we have, represent a good shot at making it and that we are still, overall, on an upswing — things are getting better. The last eight years only seem incredibly horrible because we lived through them, but from a historical perspective of what the U.S. has faced from within and without, it was barely a pebble in the road. History won’t vindicate Bush, but it will tell the rest of us to put our bitching in perspective. 

Random aside from these political musings: How great and how perfectly American will it be when we see the first gay shotgun wedding?

BME: I can’t wait. “Ain’t no lesbian daughter of mine gonna get turkey-basted outside of God’s good grace!” And then it’ll be filmed and played on PBS’s celebrity gossip show. This has been quite the decade. What’s your favorite cultural train-wreck of the modern era?

TL: I try to avoid getting into that whole train-wreck-watching scene; it can be mesmerizing and is generally used as a distraction from things of real importance.  However, schadenfreude is just so damn tasty, isn’t it? I wouldn’t say I have a favorite, but I do take momentary joy every time I see some douchebag who railed against gay rights get outed as a self-hating closet-case, or when an anti-drug bible thumper shows up at rehab.

BME: Let’s get back to talking about touring: You’ve been going out on the Jagermeister tour and other such things for, what, 50 years now? What are some of your favorite and least favorite things about touring?

TL: It certainly does seem like it has been that long sometimes. I have hosted the Jagermeister Music Tour since 2003 and it has been some of my more high-profile work.  I love touring. It is the perfect fit for me, I was made to live and work on the road … which is why for the last decade I have spent over 200 days a year on the road.  The best parts would probably be the travel and performing for new and different people around the world. If there really is a complaint to be made, it is like the lack of appreciation for the job. Many people seem to think it is just one big party, and while it is a job I love, there is still a lot of real work involved.

BME: So what’s a typical day/week/[appropriate sample size] on the road like? Also, do you have to bring your own cocaine, or do the venues typically provide that?

TL: The joy and the challenge of life on the road is that there is no typical day. Every city and venue provides a new different experience. For tours like the Jagermeister Music Tour, the cycle was often something like:
5-7 a.m.: Possible media slot, usually a morning radio show.
11 a.m.: Load-in to venue.
12 p.m.: Daily drop of production materials.
12 p.m. till finished: Production setup — poster hanging, VIP section setup, anything else that needs doing.
3-5 p.m.: Possible media slot.
6 p.m.: Doors.
7-11 p.m.: Show.
11 p.m.-1 a.m.: Load-out to truck.
2 a.m.: Buses roll to next city.
Rinse and repeat — rinse being optional since showers are a luxury you grab when/if you can.
When not out with Jager or a similar national traveling production, I tend to tour on my own from one gig to the next.  These can be tattoo conventions, comedy clubs, private events, TV shoots, etc., and they are all different.  My days then tend to be media promotions, performances, and travel — all-day flights and/or marathon drives across the country. 

Cocaine, and other drugs, are pretty easily available across the board but who pays depends on the gig and your level of celebrity.  The quality varies and it almost all comes with the hitch of having to hang out with the provider more than you would like.

BME: Right. So when Metallica wants a bottle of pure Velociraptor semen, they can probably just request it in the tour rider, no questions asked. Hey, do you have a tour rider? If so, what’s in it? Have any of the bands with whom you’ve toured over the years asked for anything particularly strange?

TL: I have had a rider in the past and sometimes still do, but it is usually strictly for things I need for the show but won’t have the time or opportunity to get and/or traveling with would be difficult or impossible.  A few examples being fuel for fire acts, concrete blocks, empty beer keg, various ingredients for stomach pumping, live insects for myself or a snake to eat. The thing about riders that most people don’t realize is that you do pay for that stuff; during settlement, the cost of things on the rider will be taken out as expenses before you get paid. A rider is a convenience, since you don’t have the time to run out and buy new socks or get snacks for the bus, and often you pay a premium for them since many venues will gouge on the price. I have seen people try and charge $6 for a single diet coke or $30 for a case of water. 

In terms of weird rider things, I know of a band that specified no mixed color candies (like Skittles) because their OCD drummer, no joke, would sort them compulsively; he also had to have all the wingnuts on his drums lined up or he couldn’t play without stopping to fix them.  Another band had a lead singer who required a massage at a specific time before the show started or they got the option of canceling the show.  Weirdness on riders is usually there to make sure people are reading everything they should and paying attention to detail, or it is something that makes sense if you know all the details.

“It’s not that I can’t read,” says The Lizardman, “it’s just that I don’t follow instructions well sometimes.”

BME: Let’s talk about your act itself. Does it vary depending on the audience/sort of show? How has the act evolved over the years?

TL: I see myself as providing an experience for my audiences and making them active participants in that process. As a result, the show will necessarily vary, but there is still a certain form that it generally follows. In the past, I have tailored shows to any situation that I could manage to get myself booked into, but now I often try to use the show to manipulate the situation. I’m not sure how much sense that makes as stated, but it works in practice. 

My show has evolved and gone through many permutations through the years. It might seem subtle to some observers, but to me, not surprisingly, it seems like night and day.  Probably the biggest shift has been my move towards stand-up comedy and spoken word and finding a home in those genres. Back when I first started, I said that I would always do stunts, even if it was just in my living room, because no one would come and see, but now I find myself doing more and more of my stunts and rituals strictly for myself in private or semi-private situations because my work as a performer has taken me to a place where I am more a comedian/commentator. The audience is still there for the stunts (and I do still include some of my favorites), but as a performer I have moved away from doing them onstage — at least as the main draw.   

BME: That’s interesting. Do you feel like you’ve always been funny enough to do stand-up and just made a decision to not include it so much in the earlier days, or is that something you had to teach yourself along the way as well?

TL: With the exception of very rare cases, “funny” or “not funny” is not a natural inescapable state for people; it turns out that “funny” is interesting and insightful presentation. Think about one of the staples of humor (one which I personally try to scrupulously avoid): the differences between men and women.  Someone can say something that is beyond obvious to everyone, but make them laugh by presenting it with a personal insight and in a manner which engages the audience in a way they weren’t used to or expecting. Everyone has to teach themselves and/or learn to be funny — this is often called “finding your voice,” and it is the process of figuring out how to present your anecdotes and observations in a manner which people will not only accept but also crave. I have always had, and almost everyone does, the premises which are the seeds of “funny,” but it takes time to develop and refine them. 

In a way, the sideshow acts were a crutch — a way to draw and hold people through the developmental process of refining the comedy. I avoided some of the pain many stand-ups have to face through the early days by having an additional element that supported my work on the comedy/commentary and kept me in decent gigs. Now, I have well refined stunt acts and comedy that stands on its own without the stunts so, it is the best of both worlds.

BME: In the past, you’ve mentioned some inspirational sideshow/etc. figures. Who are some of your comedic inspirations?

TL: I think I have been influenced more in terms of philosophy than style when it comes to comedy. Some of the names that leap to mind for me are Rodney Dangerfield, Steve Martin, Mitch Hedberg, and Don Rickles. Martin’s book, Born Standing Up, had a real influence on how I approached some things and look at performing. It hit me at just the right time when I was working through some things and really had me thinking about what I wanted to accomplish with each show.

BME: A recent review of your show stated that you were “offensive to many of the crowd, insulting Asians, women, overweight people, among others.” As a Jew, I’m rather offended that we didn’t make the list. To what sorts of things was the reviewer referring? And be as candid as you like, I can guarantee that nobody will have read this far into the interview.

TL: I love that review. In fact, I have been quoting it as part of a bit in my show since I first found it online. My best guess is that the reviewer was referring to a joke where I talk about chasing Japanese people pretending to be Godzilla, which is really a joke about me being delusional and/or under the influence.  As for the women and overweight people, he must be referring to a bit where I mention that fat chicks give the best blow jobs, which I think is a compliment — not to mention an empirical fact according to the evidence most men have collected. 

I apologize for not having offended Jews that night, but I had to cut a lot of material for time. That guy posted that review almost a month after the actual show and wrote almost entirely about me, even though I was a grand total of maybe 15 minutes out of a four-hour show that night. But he only wrote one line that wasn’t about me — I call that reaching someone. The rest of the crowd laughed and cheered but he waited a month to act indignant on a website.

BME: Now that you’re moving more into stand-up and storytelling rather than stunts, is it challenging to get audiences to take you seriously, what with you being “The Lizardman” and them potentially expecting a bunch of gross-outs or what have you rather than cerebral/topical humor? Do you think your appearance/”novelty” status could be a hindrance in this respect, or has it not been an issue?

TL: The great thing about club-level and alternative comedy venues is that the crowds are very accepting of anything, so long as it is good.  If you show up with good stuff, they get past anything else quickly. I think that being The Lizardman is an advantage so long as I use it properly.  My modifications make me memorable and provide me with an instant conversation starter. At this point, my biggest challenge may not lie with winning over new people but rather hanging on to those who were more into the stunts, but that has gone well thus far.  For instance, a couple years ago the lawyers for the Jagermeister tour decided the stunts presented too much liability, so I had to go to a purely stand-up hosting routine — which is probably one of the most difficult and hostile ways to do stand-up. But it ended up working out and giving me a great deal of confidence. After shows, though, people would come up and ask why I didn’t do any stunts, and after I explained they would generally say that it sucked that I couldn’t do them but they really enjoyed the show and laughed their asses off. On my own though, as I said, I do include some stunts — my favorites and the fan favorites.
So, thus far, I would say it has mostly been a non-issue, but I could see it becoming one if I continue to succeed because it makes for a harder sell. Breaking some molds is OK, but people are protective of others. When TV first latched onto me as the weird guy with an education, it was a sort of feel-good story challenging the preconceived notion of modified people as uneducated. Convincing agents and the like to give me a shot at being funny goes against their expectations in a way they don’t like to risk; they don’t have faith in people to get past the initial shock of my appearance. It also doesn’t help that much of my material is not TV friendly — I often hear, “We loved the show but we can’t air that sort of stuff.” But that is very much the story of my career, gaining little by little and winning over those I can get to take the chance.

Visit The Lizardman online at for tour dates, speaking engagements and various ephemera.

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Fun Times at the Baltimore Tattoo Arts Convention ’09

And so here is international playboy John Durante, hanging out at the Baltimore Tattoo Arts Convention at the end of January, and just cold skewering folks all over the place (including the lovely Tracie) as part of a performance involving, among others, Nu Ethix Suspensions. Lots of great photos from this set should be up on BME in the next day or two, but you can get a sneak preview by checking out the page of the lovely Miss Ruth Decay, who sent in the majority of these bad boys.

See more in Nu Ethix Suspensions LLC (Suspension Teams and Bonus Galleries)

New Article Posted! (Helsinki Sideshow Night)

Earlier this year, Helsinki played host to a truly amazing night of sideshow performances, featuring appearances by Maleficent Martini and Lucky Mladineo, Operafication, Pain Solution, The Saviours and Swing Shift Sideshow. This is an account of that evening, written by Lucky Mladineo, with accompanying photos by Riina Aarrekorpi and Tatu Blomqvist. Big thanks to everyone involved!

To read Helsinki Sideshow Night, click here.

[Ed. note: Comments on this post have been disabled. Chat it up in the comment forum attached to the article.]

Helsinki Sideshow Night

Editor’s note: Earlier this year, Helsinki played host to a truly amazing night of sideshow performances, featuring appearances by Maleficent Martini and Lucky Mladineo, Operafication, Pain Solution, The Saviours and Swing Shift Sideshow. This is an account of that evening, written by Lucky Mladineo, with accompanying photos by Riina Aarrekorpi and Tatu Blomqvist.

On a chilly Saturday night in September, within the walls of famous rock venue Nosturi, sitting imposingly on the edge of the docks overlooking the Baltic Sea, the scene was set for the first Helsinki Sideshow Night. Before things got too hectic, I walked through the crowd. As with the general feel of Helsinki, diversity was present and every type, stereotype and non-stereotype you could pick was there to see what this Sideshow fuss was about.

As Jussi took some time to welcome the crowd and introduce the first act, behind the curtains everyone that was not a part of the Operafication performance left the stage. As the curtains opened, silence swept through the room. The Operafication show is not one you can really explain: it has that special quality that requires you to be there and experience it in the flesh. So all I can say is that the expression on the sea of faces in the crowd varied evenly between confusion, appreciation and awe, and in the end, applause was somewhat stifled by shock, as beauty and sadness were brought together with mainstream theatre story telling through a very abstract medium. In the end, an Opera star, on the most bizarre of stages, impressed the hell out of everyone, especially those sceptical, “What is this Opera shit” few. As the curtain closed for the 20-minute break, you could almost hear the collective deep breath out of everyone watching.

The break ended, and Miss Martini and I got ready to do the opening act we had come up with for the Sideshow extravaganza. I secured my fake beard, climbed into the prop-box and waited for the music to start and curtains to introduce us. Martini delicately stepped point-toe by toe onto the stage, while I was having a hard time pretending to be asleep in the box — I was so excited and wanted to watch! As I climbed out of the box, all our choreography went out the window but it didn’t really matter and it all came together when we got into a nice, old fashioned cat-fight. Some punches, ballet shoes and abuse was thrown back and forth, some hair was pulled, but in the end we reconciled, letting out a collective “Aw!” and fumbling our way through a dance routine to welcome everyone at the microphones, screaming together, “Welcome to the Helsinki Sideshow Night!”

I sat high up side stage for the best viewpoint to watch and take notes for the show, and I was also attempting to get some backstage footage. Spotting Jussi’s bunny ears above me, fumbling with my pen, notepad and camera, I leaned forward to make the artsy shot and just about fell onto the stage — oops. Eye on the job, not the Bunny!

Pain Solution took to the stage in their usual charming manner and got right down to some don’t-try-this-at-home instruction. A little glass eating from The Maniac and some comedic narration from The Headmaster (“Bling in your poo” — that was a good one, Håvve) and the crowd was up and clapping. Pain Solution’s stage presence and international appeal was evident within the first 10 minutes of their show, their re-creation of the all time classic Human Blockhead act into a Blues Brother’s dance-along is testament to their originality and style.

As I watched Håvve put out a giant torch in the trunk of his underwear, I wondered, was he born on stage? The smell of singed hair (or flesh?) floats in the air but the crowd didn’t seem to mind, and they were going wild. Applause and yelling quickly became screaming and downright vocal chaos, either from the half naked Headmaster with a torch down his pants, or at the introduction of Swing Shift Sideshow to the stage. Actually I think it was the latter, as I do remember hearing someone cry out “Las Vegas, FUCK YEAH!” from the middle rows at the mere mention of their name. But really, they had no idea what they were in for. Miss Kelvikta the Blade and Andrew decided to give them a little taste of the Swing Shift style, both swallowing flaming swords. And if the crowd thought it couldn’t get much better than swallowing flaming swords, the Headmaster proved them wrong, breathing fire onto the flames igniting massive fireballs and even more frenzied reactions. Everyone just started screaming maniacally and aesthetically a stage couldn’t really look any better — now the night had really begun!

The night was divided up seamlessly, and with an ease of flow that is not usual to first time events of this size. Pain Solution and Swing Shift commanded the stage interchangeably, to address, entertain and scare the hell out of the very enthusiastic audience. Both groups have pushed side show and showmanship creatively to larger than life status and both in somewhat different directions, but the two worked contagiously together. Bouncing from one to the other, stunt to stunt and having a total stranglehold on everyone’s attention by not giving them any kind of break and really setting the tone for madness. Each stunt had at least a few over-stimulated viewers covering their mouths and eyes, and many having to turn away completely more than once. The screams and Finnish cursing (e.g. “Vittu” = “Fuck,” “Ei Saatana…!” = “No fucking way…!”) were heard frequently from where I was sitting way up in the wings, and were definitely escalating as the night continued and the side show rolled on …

After all that excitement, it was time for a bit of a romantic interlude. Slow music hit the amplifiers as Helsinki boys, The Saviours, set up their stage of love. PooPoo the Bunny sat down at a table, looking his furry best, kicking back with a big bottle of liquor and pills, while Lassi, in his German-style get-on-it pants and ever so insinuating smile, casually tried to slip his arm around the uninterested though intoxicated bunny. The Saviours mimed their show and it translated effortlessly — you could feel the love from the crowd at their brand of dark, slightly romancing comedy, which is totally at home in Finland. Everyone knew just what was going on when Lassi took to his zipper and to a beer keg. As Foghat hit the chorus of “I just wanna make love to you” and the beat dropped in, Lassi dropped his balls to the sound of screaming fans. From my experience in Finland, people simply cannot get enough of Lassi and his penis. But perhaps PooPoo was a little disturbed by this gratuitous show of genitals, because a fight broke out between the two, and Headmaster Håvve had to come in and remove them, Lassi by the ear, PooPoo by the bunny ear.

Once order was regained, Headmaster set up his stage to start the audience on a journey to even more chaos. Håvve standing on swords and demanding at the audience, “So do you want blood?!” getting them ready for the next instalment of madness. When Andrew and Kelvikta re-appeared, the reaction was something like hysteria. Andrew S. took the microphone and once the small talk was laid out, he pulled out the big gun, or in his case, the big coil, and the excitement was unavoidable, Andrew never fails to impress within a few minutes of getting to know the audience. Again, I couldn’t decide what to watch, the show or the reactions of the crowd. Swing Shift were once again amazingly well received and this has a lot to do with Andrew’s much loveable stage presence, his very brave attempts at using Finnish under pressure, and of course, Miss Kelvikta is always a big crowd favourite. When she asked for a cigarette, she had a whole packet thrown at her. Are we sensing a theme here?

The feeling of “Oh my god!” had started to filter onto the stage by the second half of the show and exploded with Swing Shift’s first few death defying stunts. If there was a climax to this feeling being emitted from the audience, it was definitely with the 30-kilogram anvil eye lift. I just remember everyone screaming like murder victims as Andrew swayed the Acme-style anvil, and Kelvikta threw up the metal hand.

Shrieking, screaming, laughing and having to turn away completely, the audience were both entertained and a little tormented through the night, having their boundaries pushed and testing their limits and opinions of what’s shocking. More than a few found out the fun way at the first annual Helsinki Sideshow Night.

Photos by: Riina Aarrekorpi and Tatu Blomqvist

All photos are copyrighted. Full resolution versions and more photos are available. To obtain them, please contact the photographers via e-mail: [email protected] / [email protected].

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