SIDESHOW CONVENTION REVIEW

By Walt Hudson


 

The fifth annual "Sideshow Gathering" convention is over and it was a smashing success. It always amazes me how Franco Kossa, the producer is able to book such unusual acts, knowledgeable historians and human oddities.
 
The action-packed three days in Wilkes Barre PA were neatly packaged and well balanced programs of old pros and new kids on the block.
 
One special event was Dick Zigun and the entire cast of his Coney Island NY sideshow.  The talented acts included Diamond Dony V, Heather, Roc Rokit, Todd Robbins, Scott Baker, Serpentina [Stephanie Torres]and Insectavora [Angelica Velez]. Zigun was presented a special award for his contribution to the sideshow arts.


Sideshows By The Seashore is the only permanent ten-in-one show left in the country!
 
Rob Houston, Bob Blackmar, Todd Robbins, Al Stencil, James Taylor, Chris Fellner and Walt Hudson shared sideshow history during many of the informal gatherings. 

 

The ever-popular Aye Jaye served as M.C. and kept the shows moving. Other performers over the three-day event included Red Stuart, Sideshow Benny, Ses Carny, Bindlestiff Family, Pickle Bros. Sideshow, and Natasha Verushka.

 

Cute little Firefly, the world's smallest fire-eater was kept busy posing for pics and signing autographs. She was one of the most popular gals at the convention.


Travis Fessler and Pickle Bros, sideshow presented a new and flashy nailboard routine. One of the brothers juggled on the rola bola while standing on the other who was lying on the board of nails. WOW!
 
Matt the Knife amazed with his mentalism and sensational escapes. I can understand why this young guy is so popular on the college circuit.


Newcomer to the convention John Shaw was right on the mark with his torture routine.
 
Bindlestiff s Stephanie Monseu premiered her new Vegas styled musical comedy act and it was the hit of the evening. Way to go gal! Keith Nelson was in top form with his spinning top act.
 
Beautiful Natasha Verushka, belly dancer and sword swallower returned again this year fully recovered following a near death auto accident after last year's gathering.


Natasha, congratulations on your inclusion in the 2007 Guinness Book of Records for swallowing the most swords!
 
Sideshow Benny presented a new act with a cooking-kitchen theme. The creative routine included all the classic sideshow stunts performed by Benny dressed as a chef! Clever!
 
Steve Pittella brought along and performed several classic beautifully built sideshow illusions.
 
My good friend Col. Hunsley and his lovely wife were on hand with their oddity museum display. This outstanding attraction is ALWAYS a crowd pleaser.


Several dealers who had great gaffs and memorabilia exhibits included James Taylor, Jim Mundie's Prodigies, Steve Pittella, Big Head Studio-Scott Bonelli, Gerrone studios, Toni Lee's Banners, Bob Blackmar, and Rob Houston
 
A BIG  thanks to Franco Kossa for another memorable weekend.
 
See you all down the road.

 


Photographs

1- Dick Zigun and the entire cast of his Coney Island NY Sideshow courtesy of Stephon Walker Copyright 2006

2- Firefly, the world's smallest fire-eater courtesy of Paul Szauter Copyright 2006

3- Natassha Veruschka courtesy T. Bear Copyright 2006

 

 


Copyright 2006  Reproduction or use of the text or images in any form are prohibited without the written permission of Sideshow World or their respective authors. Review re-printed at the request and permission of the author.   For further information. drop us a line.

 

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