Annual Sideshow Gathering: A Review
eighth annual Gathering was hosted by Frank Kossa in
Wilkes Barre PA Nov. 6-8.
Among the many acts presented were sword swallowing,
blade box, glass eating and
walking, escapes, illusions, bug eating, pin
cushion, sword ladder, snakes, nail board,
block head, whips, body bending and body stapling.
No fire acts were permitted by the
With the large number of performers coming from many
parts of the country there was a
great duplication of stunts. However just when we
"old timers" thought we've seen "it
all" a new-comer develops a new twist on an old
standard. This creativity keeps our
There are many things I shall remember from this
The smooth introductions of Tyler Frye who is a
master Master of Ceremonies. Thrill Kill
Jill is his sexy and beguiling partner. Their knife
throwing and the "gal in the balloon"
acts were real crowd pleasers.
I appreciated the comic relief provided by the two
outrageous comics Side Show Chris
and Swami Yomahmi. Thanks for keeping this art form
The terrific trio, Reggie Bugmuncher, Danny Borneo
and Martin Ling [The Olde City
Sideshow] presented their 40 minute spot silently -
that's correct- not a spoken word but
with great background music that accentuated the
Crispy brought along two acts seldom seen. Mace the
strongman and lovely Roxanne
who added spice with her grinder and body bender
Sideshow favorite Tim Cridland shocked with his
intense act as Zamora the torture king.
By the way, if you haven't read his book Circus of
the Scars/get a copy. It is one of the
best on the current sideshow scene.
The creative team of Knotty Bits returned with their
new comedy snake act. Most snake
acts are of the sensuous charmer type. Gwyd the
Unusual and Silver Frye have come up
with a comedy twist using an eight foot python!
Sylver also presented her balancing act
performed while standing on three long stemmed wine
glasses. Beautiful! Both the act
and the gal!
Colorful Chris McDaniel received a standing ovation
for his "Western Arts Act" which
featured gun slinging, whips and lassos. This
wonderful, warm personality also sang
John Shaw entertained with his popular magic and
provided the excellent sound system
used throughout the three days.
Professor Sprocket [John Spitzer] demonstrated how
to pitch the fish girl. It was a
surprising lesson for some of the new-comers.
Steve Hyde and Melaine presented the double escape.
Melaine was in a strait jacket and
locked inside a canvas bag. She escaped both in
Harley Newman wowed them with his four spiked nail
board. He is unbelievable.
Professor Fountain revived the old Chapeau act and
Jim Stillano did his colorful juggling
Diane Falk, Jim Mundie, James Taylor, Al Stencil,
Pete Genovese, Stan Mayre, Rod Houston,
Professor Ouch, Bob Blackmar and Walt
Hudson shared sideshow history.
Johnson and Doc Wilson [Paul Szauter] received well
earned awards for their contributions to the
sideshow arts. Both also
performed admirable acts.
Toni Lee exhibited her beautiful side show banners.
Col. Hunsley shared his freak animal show and
Tyler Frye his Drug Abuse blow off attraction.
One of the highlights of the convention was the
"group blockhead" stunt where 20
performers all took the stage at the same time and
presented their versions of the stunt
while being photographed.
Great memories! See you down the road!
All photographs by
all rights reserved
1- Prof. Sprocket and Walt Hudson