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My human, Mia, has been working so hard. She is so inspired by my plan. My plan is to go all over the United States meeting new and wonderful people, to share their stories, and to find the connection between all people. Mia is so wonderful, and I want to meet more wonderful humans like her.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

10-17-10 - Freak Show Deluxe Richmond, VA

I had a wonderful opportunity while I was in Richmond, VA to go to King's Dominion and see Freak Show Deluxe (FSD) perform.

They are a touring company that specializes in Side Show Performances. Ranging from burlesque dancers, circus acrobats & aerialist, to fire dancers, bed of nail laying, knife throwers & sword swallower.

At King's Dominion I saw a cast of four that included Miss Malice Aforethought, Amy Amnesia, Will Draven, and Kory Cutlip.

At the very beginning of the show they announce to not try any of these things at home and they also say everything you see is real, they are not magicians, "magic takes talent".  

I saw them perform two different sets while I was there. During which I saw fire dancing, flame throwing, bed of nails, blockhead (which is hammering a nail in your head), walking up a ladder of swords, cutting an apple in your own mouth (blindfolded  & with a chainsaw) and that's just a sampling of what they offer! 

Many of their acts make people very uncomfortable. 

Standing in the audience is fun because you get to hear the other people cope with how disturbed they are made by the "stunts".  You hear people say "Oh, that's not real" then followed by an explanation like dull swords, fake nails, stunt cement blocks brought in from Hollywood.

After watching both sets, each lasting 30 minutes, I saw a wide variety of skills & feats of daring courage.  I know I couldn't whip a bullwhip at a target and hit anything but myself!  I know I'd never have the courage to put my own hand in a fox trap let alone my tongue in a mouse trap!  And I won't even go into the jumping on broken glass, or cutting an apple with a chainsaw that is my own teeth while I'm blindfolded!

At the end of each show Amy Amnesia invites the audience to keep the show going by coming up to the front the stage & use a staple gun to tip the performers. As an audience member you "get to" staple a bill to the performers body!

I got a rare opportunity to hang out with this small selection of the FSD Family backstage. I got to ask all kinds of questions and really see them as real people, not just the side show freaks they present on stage. 

To give you some background on FSD, the company started in 2001 and is owned and run by a gentleman who calls himself, Reverand Tommy Gunn. Now on first thought you might think what kinda of Freak Wrangler is he? Pulling together people that are willing to hurt themselves for the entertainment of the audience. The truth is though Tommy Gunn has a Mater's Degree in Theater and Communications, he is a father of two, and a very nice guy. Of course though one could argue "Yeah, but he only runs this company. What about the people you saw laying on the bed of nails?"

Backstage at King's Dominion with FSD, 
was educational to say the least.

The night I was backstage Will Draven had received about $100 in tips (being stapled to his body).  So my first sight was of him pulling industrial staples from his torso, arms, and chest, 100 of them! I didn't need to ask him if that hurt: I could see droplets of blood, and the grimace on his face. 

Kory Cutlip was cleaning up the stage & getting it set for the next performance.  I asked him about how he cuts the apple blindfolded with a chainsaw especially with the apple in his mouth! He said he feels for the core and once he's hit that, he has to be done or his face is next.

Amy Amensia is so fun to watch, she is the "ring master" of these performances & she does keep the audience moving along with the show. She dances with fire at one point in the performance. On this evening it was her favorite part, since it's only 40 degrees out it warms her up. I ask her about her jumping on broken glass, I can't believe it doesn't hurt.  She corrects me, it does hurt and even more so when the glass is cold like to night, but she doesn't get cut and that's what the audience sees.

Malice is by far the one I think is crazy! Tonight I've watched her snap a mouse trap on her tongue, a fox trap on her hand, walk up a ladder of swords, swallow a 3 foot balloon, break a cement block on Kory's crotch, cut an apple in two on the back of Kory's neck with a sword, eat fire, flame throw, and light her arm on fire! Backstage she's with  her kids & talking about taking them for a ride on the ferris wheel.

What I learned from each of them is: YES IT HURTS! They were each trained on what they do & practice makes perfect.

After this two month stint of traveling for Halloween they will each return to their regularly scheduled lives. In fact you might be surprised to learn what FREAKS may live amongst YOU!

Malice is a mother of two, and going to college for her business degree. Even while on the road she's attending classes online & parenting via phone as she can.
Amy has a Bachelors in Theater from NYU, is married, and is a CPR instructor.
Draven is a struggling actor, an aspiring magician, is married, and works as a character at Universal in CA.
Kory is a construction worker, a newlywed, and has his own band.

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