Archive for the Behind the Scenes at FSD Category

Time for a Brand New Year of Freakiness!

Posted in Behind the Scenes at FSD, History of FSD with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2013 by freakshowdeluxe

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Your FreakShow Deluxe is ramping things up for an interesting year in 2013.

Wait… isn’t there the fablied Chinese curse? “May you live in interesting times.” Uh oh.

Too late now. We are in 2013, rebirthed, and ready to go…

Of course, as with any rebirth, there has been some pain involved.

This year FreakShow Deluxe was once again a part of the Full Throttle Saloon (for both Bike Week AND the TruTV series) – plus their big event in Kansas City, KS, Maroon 5‘s epic Halloween party at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Halloween week at the infamous Magic Castle in Hollywood, CA, fairs & festivals with our good friends at Universal Fairs (including the Ostrich Festival, Delta Fair & Music Festival, AND their new venture: the State Fair of Virginia), Texas Tattoo Showdown in El Paso, TX, the Sideshow Gathering in Wilkes-Barre, PA, Hell City Tattoo Show (this time in Killumbus, OH), OC Market Place‘s Trick-r-Treat Halloween event, PLUS we did plenty of stuff at PT Showclubs, Diamond Cabaret, and other great clubs all over the U.S.!

If those weren’t enough, we did GREAT shows for the Frontier City Amusement Park in Oklahoma City, OK, Melbourne Freak Show in Melbourne, FL, kicked as at The Joint in Little Rock, AR, appeared at the Steampunk Saloon in Altadena, CA, returned to (and did our last show at) Washington DC’s Red Palace, made it into Canada for the Maritime Tattoo Festival in Halifax, NS, helped out the folks with The Devil’s Carnival, PLUS some great private events and local club parties all over the U.S.!

We had our great sponsor LUCKY 13 APPAREL, did good stuff with Rebel TV Radio (including their awesome Misfit Sideshow Cabaret shows), worked with WE ARE THE FALLEN, and had our people appearing on ALL kinds of television shows — one of the best being Grennan the Green Monster’s appearance on Nickelodeon’s FIGURE IT OUT, for which he received national attention.

It wasn’t easy, though… a couple of our core members have stepped away or taken a break — to move, or get married, start a new relationship, or whatever the case might be… but FFSDFSDF (Forever FreakShow Deluxe FreakShow Deluxe Forever). They are still in our hearts and on our minds.

We also lost some of our Associate members – moving on after figuring out for themselves that they were not up to our challenge, or getting the boot for lying about who and what they are. We may be a lot – but liars we are not and do not put up with. We are the professionals. The amazing ones. It takes more than the average bear to be one of us — one of the 1% of sideshows.

And 2013 is already looking amazing!! We have some GREAT new performers and Associates we will be working with!!

We look forward to returning to visit with our friends  — and making some new ones — so stay tuned to find out all the fun stuff we are going to be up to!!

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Then THIS Happened… Why Photos Are Not Always True

Posted in Behind the Scenes at FSD on December 21, 2011 by freakshowdeluxe

ImageWait! Who ARE these people?!

So we were recently asked about photos that end up on some of flyers promoting our appearances (including the one above) that may not feature the members of the company who are the ones actually performing at the particular show the flyer is for – not by anyone important, mind you – but it’s a “behind-the-scenes secret” of entertainment we are going to let you in on…

FYI if you missed the show above (you should be kicking yourself), we use this as an example because not all of the cast members shown above appeared at that show.

See – FreakShow Deluxe has a general electronic promotional packet we send out which includes a variety of photos for use by those who hire us. Sometimes this packet goes out WAY before we have actually cast the show out of our company of over 20 performers (plus associates). Once we have a cast set for a specific gig, we usually send out specific promo pics of them – but sometimes we have cast changes or other problems that come up. It is up to the folks using the photos to choose which ones they want to use.

You may be wondering, “Why would you let them use photos of people not in the show.”

Well, honestly, it’s usually not up to us what photos they use. But, whatever… the photos are primarily of FreakShow Deluxe cast members so it’s not a big deal for us. Sometimes the folks using our images to make posters really just cannot tell our individual members apart – and use images of one performer thinking it is another one. What can you do?

Of course, there are still a couple of images floating around of people who used to work with FSD, but do not anymore.

You know those photos you see on posters for Broadway shows and tours? For those shows from Cirque du Soleil? Do you think that person in a non-lead role on the poster is in the show? Probably not. Maybe they were once… Hell – there are a few cases where producers have just dressed up a model in a show outfit to photograph for posters!

“Why would they use the photo of someone no longer (or never was) in the show to promote it,” is what we are sure you are asking right now. “They can’t do that, can they?!”

Yes, they can. Technically, so can we. Our company members and the performers who work with FreakShow Deluxe sign an agreement to work with us. One of the clauses of that contract is for FSD’s use of their image (taken in context of our show, or provided by them for our use) in the promotion of FreakShow Deluxe. And the lawyers pretty much inserted a phrase in that agreement that says FSD can use these images forever (and that’s a mighty long time).

That is not to say we are advertising falsely!! We never specifically say someone is performing at a show who is not. For example, we would never say “starring Kitty Karloff” if our own Kitty Karloff is not scheduled to appear at that show.
But general images? An image of someone swallowing a sword just advertises that there will be a sword swallower at our show – especially if you can not really tell who the person swallowing the sword in the photo is.
That is not to say we make a habit of using photos or images of people no longer performing with FreakShow Deluxe! Every year or so we look through and update the photos and videos that we use to promote FreakShow Deluxe. We weed out the images we can, especially of people we are absolutely not working with again. We do not want to be connected with them. And we do not want you, our audiences and fans, to think they are connected with us.
But sometimes these things happen. We do what we can — if you ever have a question, never be afraid to ask us about it.

Examining 10 years of FreakShow Deluxe (part 5)

Posted in Behind the Scenes at FSD, History of FSD on September 19, 2011 by freakshowdeluxe

So the date arrived to move to Los Angeles.

After much discussion, arguing and the like, Reverend Tommy Gunn was ready to head to Los Angeles. Deciding to accompany him were Miss Malice Aforethought, Phil, Dirty Jonny Grinder, and Grinder’s girlfriend. The Wolf decided to remain in Ohio and there was no dissuading him.

Before they headed out, the Rev and Wolf had a heart to heart conversation about the future of FSD. They decided to set things up so that the Wolf could continue to use the FreakShow Deluxe name and logo in Ohio while the rest of the cast did the same in California  – effectively setting “East Coast” and “West Coast” versions of the show. The Wolf would take responsibility  for all aspects of his show (including insurance, marketing, website and all that stuff) while the Rev. would keep doing what he had been.

Then – all loaded up – everyone hit the road! Phil, Johnny and his girlfriend headed out in the big truck and a car first to do a little sight-seeing on the way. The Rev and Miss Malice headed out a few days later in their two vehicles with the plan to meet up with the rest of the group on the way.

But on the road somewhere between Dayton, Ohio and Los Angeles, California – everything went awry.

It is still not entirely clear exactly what happened. Miscommunications, misunderstanding, rapidly rising fuel prices, vehicle problems, the stress of travel and ego/personality issues all led to an argument. That first argument led to more arguments. So before they even arrived in California, the two groups of traveler were no longer speaking to each other.

Upon arriving in the Riverside, CA area, Phil and Jonny decided that was far enough. They stopped at a storage place and unloaded the truck. The Rev. and Malice arrived just in time to get their things off the truck – and it was the last time any of them spoke for quite a while.

It was a dark time for your FreakShow Deluxe.

The Reverend and Miss Malice got a place in Hollywood and began settling in.
Jonny Grinder and his girlfriend made arrangements to live in Long Beach. Then pursued their own interests.
Phil, not happy with how things were turning out and feeling homesick, returned to Dayton within a week.

Now it was just the Rev. and Malice trying to make things work. This was proving to be difficult as the big-name theater company job the Rev. was supposed to take upon his arrival dried up – leaving him with no employment. Also the Rev’s friend that the entire FSD crew was supposed to stay with was having some personal issues. So long before they were ready to, the Rev. and Malice had to find a place.

Luckily, your Reverend can’t be kept down!

Not to mention, he is pretty resourceful, too. The two found and set up in a little apartment in the Little Armenia area of Hollywood, the Rev. got some temp work which quickly led to a full-time job at a prestigious entertainment law firm in Beverly Hills, and things got to some semblence of “normal.” Now all he had to do was get FreakShow Deluxe up and running.

It took a few weeks – but luckily there is this thing called THE INTERNET! With that, some social networking (it was MySpace, back in the day – along with Tribe), and a few personal connection from when he lived in SoCal before, that got on track too. His online posts offering his services as a “fire-breathing minister” garnered some attention, which led to an offer to host and perform at a show at the Sacred Fools Theater (The F.L.E.A. Show).

The show at Sacred Fools is a key turning point for FreakShow Deluxe for several reasons: Not only did it give Los Angeles and Hollywood a chance to see the Reverend Tommy Gunn in action for the first time (since he was the lead singer of the short-lived band Not Now I’m Naked), but it gave plenty of folks who had only conversed with the Rev online (MySpace, again) a chance to meet him in person.

Miss Malice and the Reverend met Vincent Wolf, the Devil’s Plaything and Mr. Marcus for the very first time that night, among many others. Also Vincent Wolf & the Devil’s Plaything also met for the first time – and would begin dating soon after. Meeting these folks was the genesis for a new beginning for your FreakShow Deluxe – and it led to the creation of the Empire Amusement Hall – which would help catapult FSD into the national spotlight.

How 9/11 Was Responsible for Creating FreakShow Deluxe

Posted in Behind the Scenes at FSD, History of FSD on September 19, 2011 by freakshowdeluxe

** This entry is directly from FreakShow Deluxe’s founder & president, the Reverend Tommy Gunn.

On September 11, 2011 – the tenth anniversary of the tragedy of the terrorist attacks on the United States – I was listening to coverage on NPR and doing a bit of reflecting myself, when I suddenly had a realization. A connection I had never made before. One might call it an epiphany of sorts.

The terrorists are responsible for the creation of the FreakShow Deluxe.

I am not trying to be funny, or make a joke out of this. Here is what happened:

On September 11, 2001, I was in the production offices for the theatre company I had just recently joined as Director of Marketing and Public Relations. The former Director, Scott, was scheduled to fly in from his home in Manhattan in that day to finish going over things with me.

When we got the call to turn on the television, and saw that the first tower had been struck, I remember thinking, “It has to be an accident. No way someone would do that on purpose.”

Then we watched in horror as, on the live feed, the second plane deliberately crashed into the second tower.

Shock washed over the staff as we watched the television. It wasn’t long before onscreen voices were saying this was bigger than a simple accident. Within moments, we were all scrambling for telephones.

In addition to Scott and his wife living in Manhattan not far from the Twin Towers, we had other friends and colleagues in New York. Unfortunately, we quickly discovered phone calls were pretty useless.

Scott was supposed to be flying in – was he okay? Was one of those planes his? We just had NO idea…

Then I noticed his icon on the Instant Messenger. Sending a quick note – I got the reply back right away, Scott and his wife were okay. He had just been getting ready to leave for the airport when the first plane hit the tower. New Yorkers were being told to stay home and that all travel was being shut down, including the airport.

They could see the devastation from their apartment, and it was awful.

Relieved they were safe, the office spent the rest of the day with the television on, watching the footage of the plane crashing into the Tower replayed over and over again. And it sparked a discussion.

In just a few weeks, our company was to open the annual Haunted Trail fundraiser. With the devastation and horror of what happened – was it really a good idea to open? Would blood-covered victims, screams in the darkness, and maniacs in the woods coupled with all the fire and smoke (common for the outdoor attraction) just be in bad taste after what happened?

Sure, we would lose the money, went the argument, but better that than incur the wrath and bad will of the people.

I argued for the Haunt, with the belief that people would need some relief from what was going on – and that classic entertainment like it would help. We could play down some things and play up others with the hope not to offend. Marketing would be a huge factor in this goal. Plus we had just a horrible season and needed the money.

In the end, it was decided we couldn’t do without the money.

So it became my responsibility to market the crap out of it – which is exactly what I did. In fact, I ended up bringing in enough business that it was too much. Crowds came in such numbers that they often had to stand in line to get into the Haunt for up to two (2) hours AFTER purchasing their tickets!

I was right. People needed some respite from the real horrors of life, and the fake “horror” of the Haunt.  Unfortunately, they also needed some respite from the HUGE lines – or they were going to riot and tear the place up.

Reaching out to my contacts and friends, including filmmaker Andy Copp and horror show host Dr. Creep, I began experimenting with ways to entertain the crowd while they waited. A big screen featured snippets of horror movies (compiled by Copp), there were live interactions with the cult figure of Dr. Creep and an hourly “electrocution show” with an automated prop. Then, finally one night – inspiration came…

Pulling up some skills I had picked up over time working theatre, I built a small bed of nails and some simple torches, and began entertaining the crowd eating and breathing fire and laying on the bed of nails and inviting people in line to come stand on top of me. Within the evening, one of the “scares” told me he had some skills and I invited him to help me out.

By the end of the run, we had started coming up with other acts and getting some ideas of what we could do for the next year. And from that simple beginning – FreakShow Deluxe would be born!

And with it an idea: that despite how difficult things may be, it is possible to overcome and carry on.

It is one of the foremost ideas behind your FreakShow Deluxe. That pain is only temporary. And while the scars may remain – it cannot keep you down unless you let it. The world continues to turn. Life continues to go on. And you need to be there with it every step of the way, living each precious moment to its fullest.

It is amazing what the human body AND the spirit can endure, can suffer, and yet still carry on. To heal and repair itself. To face even MORE challenges and still keep its spirit intact — brave and unwilling to give up.

I am proud to continue this idea with every FreakShow Deluxe show.

 

From this point, if you are interested, you can read more about the history of this company in other posts on this blog!

At the FULL THROTTLE SALOON – Sturgis

Posted in Behind the Scenes at FSD, Upcoming FSD Events with tags , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2011 by freakshowdeluxe

So barely a week before the Bike Week in Sturgis is about to begin, Rev. Tommy Gunn‘s phone rang. Michael Ballard, owner of the famous Full Throttle Saloon in Sturgis, SD needed FSD to come out and be a part of the show. Could we do it?

The answer, of course, was YES!

So your FSD crew is at the Full Throttle right now – a small camper parked next to our friends from Led Sled Customs (Dayton, OH — happens to have been FSD‘s first sponsor), and the guys from KBER in Salt Lake City, Utah. It’s been a crazy trip (which will have to be recounted), and we are having a lot of fun.

Rev. Tommy Gunn made sure to get an on-air interview with Dayton, OH’s B-Man on WTUE 104.7, who are also there broadcasting — and hung out on the air with KBER (making sure to throw a shout-out to our friends at Utah State University, too!).

While performing on and around the main bar, FSD met and hung out with Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band, who really know how to rock! Unfortunately, the dust is getting to Rev. Peyton’s throat – so they asked FSD to get up on the stage during their break and buy them a little time to recover…

How could we refuse!

So for two nights, FSD has made it’s way over to the front bar’s stage for actual SHOW shows – and then the Big Damn Band asked us to make our way onto the Main Stage to perform with them tonight! How much fun is THAT?!?

Everyone is so great – even the overworked Michael Ballard – but the staff and patrons have been great. We are having a GREAT time! Hope they invite us back next year – with a little more notice we can bring an even MORE amazing show!!

Don’t forget FSD will be at PTs Showclub in East St. Louis August 22 through 27!!

Examining 10 years of FreakShow Deluxe (part 4)

Posted in Behind the Scenes at FSD, History of FSD on April 26, 2011 by freakshowdeluxe

Part of what led to the big changes in FreakShow Deluxe during the 2004 season needs some back story about what else was going on at the time:

Rev. Tommy Gunn had been working for the theater where the PsychoPath Haunted Trail took place for several years, which is what led to the creation of FSD. Over the years he had risen up in the ranks until he was top management. Under his guidance, the theater and the PsychoPath had become more profitable every year, especially with the partnership deal he had worked out with Clear Channel – of which FSD was an integral part.

However, by the summer of 2004, Gunn was on his way out. Despite his successes, he had become unhappy with the company, plus the non-profit theater’s board did not like his management style or approve of him in general and – after repeatedly butting heads and arguing – removed him from his post. There was a lot of ugliness involved in how this came about, and a lot of bad feelings on both sides. Eventually Gunn was informed that neither he, nor FreakShow Deluxe, would be a part of the 2004 PsychoPath event.

While this was going on, tensions were growing inside FSD. Both Reverend Tommy Gunn’s and The Wolf’s big personalities (and egos) were creating a lot of friction. Gunn had taken to making decisions and doing things for the troupe without checking in with The Wolf or anyone else. In turn,  a promotional photo shoot was scheduled without checking with Gunn – and when he could not make it, the rest of the guys decided to go ahead and do it without him. Distrust was growing, and Gunn’s getting canned and banned from the PsychoPath‘s home (and his divorce, which was also starting about this time) did nothing to reassure the rest of the troupe he had their best interests in mind.

Clear Channel, actually, came to the rescue. It seems one of the main reasons they had partnered with the PsychoPath was for the marketability of the FreakShow Deluxe – and they were not about to do the event without FSD. Clear Channel informed the theater’s board that, in no uncertain terms, they were to allow FreakShow Deluxe to do their scheduled shows – and that Reverend Tommy Gunn would be a part of those shows. The board acquiesced, and FSD was back on track.

So the show was back on, but the theater was not going to lend any support to the troupe. Using some ingenuity, and some hard work, the guys built themselves a space where it always had been – though more ornate.  Jonny Grinder built and hand painted a huge decorative facade (with a full-sized ticket box). He also created extensive set pieces. Reverend Tommy Gunn got LED SLED CUSTOMS and BLUE BYRD TATTOO to sponsor the show – and hung their huge banners on the stage.

Miss Malice Aforethought had come on deck at this point, beginning to manage some behind-the-scenes things. She got the boys a camper, which was a BIG boon to them as a warm place to hang out between shows at the especially cold PsychoPath that year. Additionally, with no responsibilities by Gunn to run the event, FSD got to just hang out together – which went a long way to helping them all get along again.

That’s right! By the end of the PsychoPath Haunted Trail, getting ready for Clear Channel’s annual Boo & Brew event, FSD was getting along pretty well! As part of their deal with Clear Channel, FreakShow Deluxe was given a stage in the middle of Dayton’s Oregon District, which was shut down for the BIG party. The camper was parked behind the stage for in between shows, and the boys were excited about the upcoming evening!

Then: disaster!

Leading up to the Boo & Brew showtimes, Reverend Tommy Gunn, The Wolf and Phil had no word from Dirty Jonny Grinder. Phone calls were not be answered, messages were not being returned and, obviously, something was very wrong. Finally – a phone rang…

It turned out that while getting ready for the Boo & Brew at the PsychoPath site, Dirty Jonny Grinder had a horrible industrial accident that had left 3rd degree burns on his face, hands and chest. While working, a small explosion ignited flammable chemicals on his clothing – and he was at the hospital. He would not be doing the shows.

While upset, this helped pull the remaining three together. In tribute to Grinder, Gunn slapped on the skull-type make-up Grinder had been wearing for a good part of the PsychoPath season – and the Freakshow Deluxe hit the stage like a raucous freight train! They brought foot traffic to a standstill in front of their stage – AND then from the stage verbally went after a group of conservative-types protesting the “debauchery” of the event down the street, turning the capacity crowd against them. They brought a contortionist, Baby Doll, up on the stage with them where she wowed the crowds.

By the end of the night they were united and ready to fight anyone who stood against them (and there were plenty of folks who wanted to – but in the end, they all backed down). Thankfully, within a couple of weeks, Dirty Jonny Grinder recovered from his injuries.

But things were not to continue smoothly.

Reverend Tommy Gunn had been talking of returning to Los Angeles, CA for some time. Now, with no job to hold him down, he made plans to move back there. In his preparations he had an epiphany: the realization that FreakShow Deluxe had the potential to really be something big – but that it could only go so far in Dayton, Ohio. In order for the show to get big, it needed to go somewhere it could be noticed… Like Hollywood.

Gunn invited the entire company to come out to California with him – further causing friction with The Wolf, who did NOT want to go as he had both family and other responsibilities in Dayton. Arguments ensued, feelings were hurt, things went awry. At a final local show at Dayton’s The Foundry, The Wolf nearly sliced off his own finger during a stunt – but like a trooper, eschewed a visit to the Emergency Room to finish off the evening’s shows.

With the final move date approaching – tensions were especially high as everyone had to make a final decision of what they were going to do…

An update about the FSD Facebook Page(s)

Posted in Behind the Scenes at FSD with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2011 by freakshowdeluxe

So here’s the thing —

In an attempt to keep up with the 21st century technology – we have done a bit of updating to Facebook. So NOW there is a new Facebook page for FreakShow Deluxe (as a ‘company’) here:

http://www.facebook.com/freakshowdeluxe

Please go to it. “Like” it and all that kind of stuff. Post pictures and video of FSD to there, if you have them.

If you are still interested in the “old” Facebook profile (with FSD as a ‘public figure,’ it can still be found here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-FreakShow-Deluxe/5940383978

Now, if we could only catch up on everything else!!

the big banner from FreakShow Deluxes show in Lakewood, TX