Tag Archives: sideshow

Tourist in My Backyard: Venice Beach Freak Show

21 Aug

The Venice Beach Freak Show is the kind of attraction you never pay to see when you’re a Southern Californian because all of Venice is a freak show, really. But last week I hosted two lovely Kiwi couchsurfers and when we walked the famous boardwalk and saw the two-headed turtles outside the freak show, the MC lured us in with promises of even freakier animals and objects inside. What was five bucks when it came to having this quirky Venice experience?

When we walked inside two sideshow performers were just finishing up their act and we looked over right as the man was pulling a sword out of his throat.  A young boy was escorted out because he almost fainted and since the next show began in twelve minutes we decided to work our way up to it.

We turned left for the museum of freaky artifacts and animals and saw a live two-tailed iguana in a cage at the entrance. The woman behind the counter introduced us to her five-legged dog and told us he was just featured on an episode of the Dog Whisperer. She pulled out jar after jar of of two-headed pigs with other anomalies: five ears, five legs, two separate bodies conjoined at the head, etc.

The back of the room had skeletons of conjoined human twins and of the mythical Chuppacabra. There were glass cases with an eerie cycloptic dog, the skeletons of bizarre humanistic-alien-looking sea animals, a two-headed goat, a two-headed calf and other taxidermied animals.

We braced ourselves and grabbed our cameras when the freak-show began. The male-female duo took turns performing their unique acts. The woman sat in an electric chair,  showed off her double jointed arms and elbows and breathed fire. The man swallowed a sword and put a hook through his nose and out his mouth. I cringed, I gagged but it was all good fun. Rosa, the Kiwi, sat right in the middle of the action and commented later that the male performer’s skin looked waxy. He reminded me of gothic David Bowie. Do you see it?

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