Seventh Annual Sideshow Gathering: A Review


By Walt Hudson


The Seventh Annual Sideshow Gathering convention is now history but it will be long remembered.  Frank Kossa managed to book a series of stellar acts that truly shocked, amazed and entertained the crowds of hundreds over the three day affair held in Wilkes-Barre PA, Oct. 31 - Nov. 2.


When Tyler Fyre and Thrill Kill Jill appeared you knew you were going to see one of the smoothest, well routined acts in the business today.  In addition to their blockhead, nailboard and swords, Jill wowed them with her snake act featuring two eight foot boa constrictors!


The Cheeky Monkey Sideshow returned this year with several new bits.  The talented M.C., Stephon Walker bought the house down with his comic Swami Yomahmi antics.  The cast included Trinket, contortionist, Sally Cinch the gal with the 12: waist, Mysterion, comic magician and Damien Blade, sword swallower.  A five star line up of top-notch performances by all.


The Olde City Sideshow was a headline production. This youthful troupe, new to the convention, presented many of the standard sideshow acts in new creative routines.  Johnny Neuirino was the superb talker who kept the show moving and really served as the narrator for the entire cast who performed silently to great background music.  Martin Ling "The Suicide King" really earned his title as he presented swords, glass walking and hooks in the eyes.  Danny Boreno shocked with the grinder in the face, blow torch on the tongue, and power drill blockhead.  Reggie Bunmuncher lived up to her last name.  The sexy gal ate worms, bugs and goldfish.  She also did contortion and a colorful whip act.

This troupe operates like a well oiled machine! Don't miss them if they play in your area. 


Also new this year was the fast colorful magic act of Steve Hyde and Melaine,  The cute gal was pierced by a sword and sawed in half.  The feature of Hyde's act was when Melaine escaped from a strait jacket while enclosed inside a sealed mail bag! The double escape was new to me.


A welcomed addition this year was the Knotty Bits Sideshow with Gwyd the Unusual and the lovely Sylver Frye.  This dynamic duo presented a fast and funny act of sideshow standards.  Their handling of volunteer assistants was a treat to watch.  Sylver's whip act with a guy from the audience was one of the best I've seen.  They were a real crowd pleaser.


Back again this year was the Crispy Family Carnival.  Crispy did his pin cushion and body staple acts.  These are always shocking.  He also had three new members in his group.  Flora and Fauna were twin contortionists.  They also did the bed of nails and sword ladder.  The Professor was a young man who ate light bulbs.


Aye Jaye was the super M.C. for the three days and also conducted the auction of sideshow items.  I always enjoy cutting up jackpots with him.

Paul Szauter did his memorable memory act as Dr. Wilson.  It was amazing! he also did several spots as a street performer.  His blindfolded walk over a stage filled with animal traps had the audience on the edge of their seats.


Professor Fountain did a strait jacket escape.


Beautiful Natasha Veruschka amazed with her belly dance and sword swallowing.


Professor Sprocket [John Spitzer] demonstrated why he is known as the Talker of Renown. The guy was terrific!


Jim Stilianos' comic juggling act added a touch of variety to the shows.  He's good!


Dash Rippington presented his routine consisting entirely of animal traps.  He is a great talker.  It is easy to see why he is a popular act at Renaissance festivals.


A super thanks to all of the super guys and gals for so much pleasure and for keeping the sideshow arts alive!



All photographs by James Mundie copyright 2008 all rights reserved

1- Sally Cinch and Walt Hudson

2- Rubber Baby Buggy Bouncer


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