With last week’s appearance by the Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow, the Wormhole Bar had its best-ever night – it was standing-room-only to see Zamora, the Torture King, Lady Diabla, Penguin Boy and the rest of the self-described “human oddities” to their freaky stuff onstage.
This Saturday, Jan. 23, the Texas-based Hellzapoppin gang will return to the Wormhole. The 10 p.m. show is, you might say, a command performance.
There was a hole in the troupe’s touring schedule; this new Savannah date just snapped right in after a couple of nights in Atlanta.
To refresh your memory, here’s part of the story we ran last week:
Like the traveling sideshows and freak-o-ramas of old, Hellzapoppin includes a healthy (depending on how you look at it) cross-section of people with strange … talents.
There’s the 3-foot Penguin Boy (24-year-old Jason Brott), who was born without arms – his hands are literally growing out of his shoulders.
There’s Zamora, the Torture King (Tim Cridland), who drives metal spikes through his tongue and out through his neck, chews glass shards from broken light bulbs and walks, barefoot, across a bed of razor-sharp knives;
There’s Lady Diabla (Alexandra Kaminski). She’s a sword swallower who also bathes in the sparks from an electric grinder.
And there’s magician and illusionist John Shaw, who can escape from virtually anything.
There are burlesque-style dancers, zany midgets and a loud soundtrack of heavy rock music.
“We kind of look at the show as more of a dark, creepy comedy type of show,” says emcee Bryce Graves. “Little Miss Firefly, she’s a tiny little midget girl, she comes and chases me around the stage with different things. It’s more comedic, where the older sideshow was the traditional sword-swallowing and fire-eating. We have those traditional acts, but we perform in a more modern way.”
“It is all about being entertaining, but also about being shocking and amazing at the same time,” Cridland says. “I ‘m just looking to make them applaud, and hide their eyes at the same time. If they can do such a thing!”
I’ve seen photos of that pointed skewer coming out your neck. Doesn’t that, like, hurt a lot?
Tim Cridland: I know the places to put it where it’s going to have minimal damage. That is certainly a part of it. I started learning and researching the body, and also techniques of control.
I’ve been tested scientifically a few times at the UCLA Pain Clinic, which has been on a couple of TV shows. And my pain response is vastly different than a normal person.
In one of the tests, my blood pressure, when I did this, went down. Which is the exact opposite of how a normal person would respond. The blood pressure drop actually helps with the reduction of bleeding.
Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow
Where: Wormhole, 2307 Bull Street
When: At 10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23
Artist’s Web site: www.hellzapoppin.com