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"999 Eyes" Freak Show

Reviewed by Walt Hudson

Yes, folks there is still an old fashioned sideshow on tour featuring several live human oddities. The "999 Eyes" freak Show is appearing at small clubs on the West Coast. I attended their performance recently at the C.I. A. club in Los Angeles. The show was an entertaining and educational experience for the large enthusiastic audience.

Unfortunately the performance venue left much to be desired and was a disservice to such a talented array of performers.
The club was in a large room with an 18 inch high platform at one end of the room. There were no seats. There was only standing observation for the audience. The room was packed with patrons and I stood in the rear of the room. My complaint is that several of the performances were played low on the stage or in some cases on the floor itself making me miss seeing some of the acts from my vantage point.

It was impossible to see much of the show for anyone standing anywhere from the middle of the room to the rear of the audience area. I can't understand why someone associated with the show failed to ask the standing audience in the front rows to sit on the floor so that all could see the show. This is done in many clubs. As it was, we could only see the acts from their waists up.

The high energy music for the show was provided by
That Damned Band. It was a back woods mountain-type band consisting of washboards, jug-its, flute, musical saw, accordion and possibly drums [I couldn't see]. They played several selections throughout the 90 minute show including original "freak-related" musical numbers. The constant flow of live music and song kept the pace lively and fun. They were excellent. I am anxious to listen to their CD which I purchased.
The show consisted of sideshow working acts but the stars of the evening were the human oddities. All of their presentations were similar. Each oddity described their abnormality, often in medical terms, and explained how it affected their everyday lives and how they adjusted to being different. Many of the anecdotes were poignant and some inspirational. They all spoke well and were honest in their answers to the questions asked by the audience, even those questions that were of a very personal nature. The audience was duly impressed.
The oddities included a 7 foot 8 inch Giant
who appeared in "white face." He stood with
his arms folded across his chest as he spoke.
Lobster Girl
was a very pretty gal with unusual hands. I believe she had several missing digits. She also played in the band.
Peg O'Leg - Elephant - Skin Man removed his shirt to reveal his dark tough scaly skin.
He explained how difficult it was living with the dermatological condition.

The Black Scorpion also had unusual distorted hands. He performed some magic tricks
and wore a black Lone Ranger mask during his presentation.

Dancing Dwarf was a pretty little gal who came out with an umbrella and did a novelty dance which I could not see because of her small size and the large crowd that blocked her from view.

Also appearing was the exceptionally multitalented Lowrent the Clown
. He performed several skits and gags throughout the evening. He did a clever puppet routine as he knelt on the stage and wore different funny character masks and used clever patter. He also played the musical saw in the band.
Acts that were advertised but did not appear were The Leopard Man, Giant Handed  Man, and the Half Lady. My friend said he saw the Half Lady backstage but if she was there she didn't appear in the show. "999 Eye?, also had a display table next to the stage showing stuffed freak animals and some bottled specimens that may have been pickled punks.

The entire program was filmed by National Geographic Channel for their TV series called "Taboo."
Summing up the show, it was an entertaining mix of music, song, live human oddities and working acts. There was nothing naughty, no nudity and there was no foul language. I highly recommend it to all sideshow aficionados.


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