FreakShow Deluxe Nominated at 2011 Hollywood Fringe

Posted in Uncategorized on June 28, 2011 by freakshowdeluxe

(left to right) Zachary Strange, Jonny Panic, Eerie De Scent, the Professor, Brother Daniel the Demented, William Draven, Amy Amnesia, Vincent Wolf, Kasey Rose and guitarist Justin Tune.

FreakShow Deluxe – Hollywood’s own & ONLY carnival-style sideshow – wrapped up six (6) amazing performances of its new show HARD WAY TO MAKE AN EASY LIVING at the Hollywood Fringe Festival this last weekend. FSD welcomed in contortionist Kasey Rose and Br. Daniel worked with a great guitarist: Rudy Tootenkamen to make the show rock!

The show was featured on theater review website Bitter Lemons in the article Top Ten Fringe Faves So Far here: http://bitter-lemons.com/2011/06/top-ten-fringe-faves-so-far/

Then it was nominated for the BEST CABARET & VARIETY SHOW! As FSD was thrilled last year being nominated (and with winning Best Cabaret/Circus), we were thrilled this year, too!

FreakShow Deluxe was featured in a photo montage from the LA Times here: http://framework.latimes.com/2011/06/23/a-glimpse-of-the-hollywood-fringe-festival/

And our buddy, Chris got some great photos for you to see here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/antix818/sets/72157627060921326/

Thank you, Hollywood Fringe Festival and all the great people there for letting us be a part of SUCH a great show!

Next, we are off to tour around a bit before getting to the Kansas City Fringe Festival and, fingers crossed, returning to the New Orleans Fringe Festival. See you on the road!!

Review of FreakShow Deluxe at the HOLLYWOOD FRINGE FESTIVAL

Posted in Uncategorized on June 22, 2011 by freakshowdeluxe

You can find the review on this page:  http://www.latheatrereview.com/2011/06/18/fringe-2011-%E2%80%93-day-three-%E2%80%93-saturday-june-18/

But here it is for your perusal:

FreakShow Deluxe at Fringe Central-Mainstage-ArtWorks Theatre

by Erin Scott ~

It's Jonny Panic!

Jonny Panic from FreakShow Deluxe

Everything FreakShow Deluxe does is “Real—Real stupid” and so opens this modern carnival sideshow with Amy Amnesia performing the human wood block. This act consists of using a nail and hammer, building on this premise, she goes on to shove a screw driver up the other nostril. So the audience would see “new” freak show tricks as well as old school, Amy Amnesia pulled out a power drill and threw that back a nostril as well. This reminded me of the time I stapled my finger with an airgun and had 100 pounds per square inch behind it. There was a quarter inch piece of wood in between my finger and the staple but it made me want to never have that happen again, where as many of these performers may have had something like that happen and they continue to perform feats of danger, pain, and mystery.

Be ready for sword swallowing, contortion, fan dancing and strip tease. There was a straightjacket contest between Ghoulia and Jonny Panic and the duo returned to display feats of pain and pleasure with a bed of nails.

Most enjoyable was William Draven’s act of swallowing and procuring dental floss. Although a small audience, where audience participation is key, the ladies chosen to come out of the audience represented the gamut of thrill seekers. With Draven’s act he chose a young girl thinking she was off the hook and her reactions along with Draven’s banter created comic genius.

FreakShow Deluxe returns to the Hollywood Fringe after winning the Best Cabaret/Circus. The show strives for family friendly but it still is people doing bodily harm to themselves as well as the expected innuendo and banter a sideshow would have.

FreakShow Deluxe plays Monday June 20 at 6 pm, Thursday June 23 at 10:30 pm, Friday June 24 at 6:30 pm and 11:59 pm

Discount tickets offered for Hollywood Fringe Festival

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2011 by freakshowdeluxe

Get a discounted ticket to your FreakShow Deluxe’s shows at the HOLLYWOOD FRINGE FESTIVAL!

Tickets, normally $12 – can be yours for ONLY $8!!

Just use the codeword: freaks
when you pre-purchase your tickets at: http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/384

Dirty Little Secrets Show features FreakShow Deluxe

Posted in Uncategorized on May 10, 2011 by freakshowdeluxe

Flyer for the May 11, 2011 Show

FreakShow Deluxe wants to personally invite you to the DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS SANITARIUM show at Wiley’s Comedy Club in Dayton, Ohio, tomorrow (Wednesday, May 11) at 8:00pm. Doors open at 7:30. The cover is only $10 – and it will be a helluva show and we want to see you there.
Not only will you see hosts Baron Von Porkchop & A. Ghastlee Ghoul with comedy and hijinks, plus world-renowned comic UNCLE DOW THOMAS, but you will also see Dayton’s improv team ANGRY BACON and the “Lucha Rock-n-Roll” band TEAM VOID. Don’t forget the lovely PIN-UP GIRLS, too!
From FreakShow Deluxe (Hollywood’s own & ONLY carnival-style sideshow), the world’s youngest professional illusionist, KALEB KANE, will be doing table-side illusion before the show (so come early) AND performing a death-defying escape attempt during the show as well. It must be seen to be believed!
Also, your REVEREND TOMMY GUNN, will be attempting some never-before-seen mentalist and hypnotism acts — and this is one of the VERY FEW times he has performed in the Dayton area since 2004. So definitely something special!
When you arrive, be sure to tell them your Reverend Tommy Gunn sent you! Then let’s hang out after the show and have a few drinks. Looking forward to seeing you there!!
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=151280011603763&closeTheater=1

Donate to the FreakShow Deluxe at the Hollywood Fringe Festival!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 10, 2011 by freakshowdeluxe

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/freakshowdeluxe/freakshow-deluxe-will-rule-the-hollywood-fringe-fe

Folks – there are only 18 days to go to raise the $1,200 we need to fund FSD‘s production at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Please visit the link above and donate!

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

Just Who the Hell Do You Think You ARE?!?!

Posted in Behind the Scenes at FSD on April 16, 2011 by freakshowdeluxe

What criteria does someone base their judgement on to call themselves “the World’s largest and greatest touring circus sideshow?” Another group refers to themselves as “one of America’s last travelling sideshows?” (the misspelling is theirs). A venue advertises an upcoming show with “magicians, circus performers and freaks.” Another venue promises itself as “a signature entertainment staple of the twenty-first century” by featuring such performers and acts.

One should expect a certain amount of bravado and posturing from ANY performer – from (just about everyone) saying they are “bigger than the Beatles,” to claiming to top box office records with every single release. It is TO BE EXPECTED —

HOWEVER ~

There is this point of ridiculousness. Where you are totally just talking out of your ass. Which no one should really care EXCEPT when it starts affecting people’s bottom line. But even then – even in our own punkrock/DIY way – we know that that is PART of it, you know? Part of “getting in people’s faces” and “raising a rucus” or whatever – say what you want when you want, yada yada yada.

Bravado and posturing is part of the history of sideshow, freak show and circus — most famously shown by P.T. Barnum. A fair amount of hokum was always par for the course. But, the thing is, HISTORICALLY that is part of it. But that’s history. The past.

Audiences are far more sophisticated now. No kidding.

In recent conversations with freak & sideshow greats Harley Newman (famous for lying on a single nail bed) and James Taylor (Shocked & Amazed: On & Off the Midway), we all agreed it’s tougher to pull that kind of B.S. on an audience who can use their smartphone while in the audience DURING the show to see if one’s claims are true! When the audience can get on YouTube (possibly during one’s show), and see OTHER – possibly better – performers doing the same stunt…

Acts have to be put in context. Being entertaining is the key…

HERE’S THE THING:

In many conversations that we have had with other companies, troupes and individuals who do what FreakShow Deluxe does, we come across a similar point:  When a venue, whatever it may be, brings in a (say) crappy rockabilly band and it bombs, they do not stop bringing in rockabilly bands. They write off the crappy group and try someone else. But if said venue brings in a crappy side/burlesque/variety-type show and it bombs, they say, “We tried this show, it failed. No more.” And they don’t allow such a show there again.

Is that fair? No. Does it make sense? Not really. But it does happen…

FreakShow Deluxe is artistic, sure, but it is also a blue-collar, hard-working group of folks. We have worked very hard over the past 10 years to build a good product and reputation of being both professional AND entertaining. It’s been hard – but we think it is working … FSD has been growing at a steady pace each year.

But it sure feels like a set back when we approach a venue and are told, “We had so & so group in here, and it was a disaster. Those shows don’t work here.” Or when a venue or event producer/promoter saw so & so and an event and hated it so much that they won’t bring OUR show into THEIR venue.

When “the World’s largest and greatest touring circus sideshow” actually doesn’t even HAVE a group or show to be promoting, but does it anyway. When “one of America’s last travelling sideshows?” is nothing of the kind – there are a fair amount of traveling sideshows out there – do your research!!

That venue advertising “magicians, circus performers and freaks” never bothered to hire any such performers – putting on their ads that if any such performers showed up ready to perform they would get “free admission to the event” (our understanding: none came). Another venue promising such performers and acts couldn’t deliver, either.

This isn’t just bravado — it is blatant false advertising.

Examining 10 years of FreakShow Deluxe (part 3)

Posted in Behind the Scenes at FSD, History of FSD on March 30, 2011 by freakshowdeluxe

As FreakShow Deluxe prepared for the 2004 PsychoPath Haunted Trail, things were changing… And not everything was changing in a good way.

SPOOKY CAMP –
Good Things: FreakShow Deluxe was invited to perform a couple of shows at local horror host A. Ghastlee Ghoul’s SPOOKY CAMP – a big horror film convention/event full of horror film stars, vendors and mayhem at the Dayton Convention Center! The boys pulled together a great show and really blew audiences away (and Sid Haig, too, fresh from success as Captain Spaulding). FSD got to hang with their friend Dr. Creep and plenty of other cool folks, too.

Bad Things: However, due to some kind of miscommunication (with events being switched around and normal crazy convention stuff), only Rev. Tommy Gunn made it to the second show that weekend. Luckily, he was able to entertain the audience – including a BIG group of Jr. High & High School kids there for some other convention (they totally stapled lots of $$ to him!). At the end of the second show, the rest of the boys showed up – and an argument ensued about what had happened and whose fault it was… A situation that remained unresolved.

BLUE JACKET SHOW –
At the theater where the PsychoPath takes place actually featured a show called “Blue Jacket” throughout the summer. As part of a deal with Rev. Tommy Gunn, who was basically running the whole place at the time, FreakShow Deluxe agreed to a command performance. So one night, after “Blue Jacket” was over, the cast (including a LOT of college-age kids from out-of-town) stayed around for a special late-night show! A great time was had by all who attended.

X-FEST –
Good things:  in preparation for the Haunt, FreakShow Deluxe needed to perform once again at Clear Channel’s annual X-Fest concert! The previous year, with a big stage and a cutting edge show, FSD had been a big success to the near sold-out crowds. This year, the boys were trying to step it up a bit with more of a stage production.

Previously, the set decoration had consisted only of a few props and four simple hand-painted banners done by the Reverend Tommy Gunn. This time, with the amazing talents of Dirty Jonny Grinder, the stage at the X-Fest (and, in turn, the PsychoPath) was going to get pretty crowded. From a metal backdrop with the FSD logo topped with light-up skulls, to a large metal demon ready for grinding, plus decorated boxes for gear and more (including a full-sized, coffin-shaped bed of nails – things definitely looked more interesting! Add to that the teaming up with Travis from The Pickled Brothers Sideshow and two beautiful belly dancers, Jennifer Rose and the lovely Deniz, and the show was a feast for the eyes!

Next to the stage sat FSD‘s own Rev. Tommy Gunn‘s Harley Davidson bobber, courtesy of Dayton’s own LED SLED CUSTOMS, and next to THAT was some new FSD merchandise: dolls and new t-shirts hand-crafted by Dirty Jonny Grinder sitting next to the shirts Tommy Gunn had created the previous year. The shirt featured a spot-on caricature of FSD‘s four boys and the logo, and was very popular. If you got one – that show was the only chance you ever had to do so!

On the bad side: FSD‘s stage at this year’s X-Fest was NOT in the middle of everything – but over to the side (like, the middle of the side) – AND significantly shorter. This made it VERY hard for the capacity crowd (X-Fest was totally sold out) to see what was going on at the stage – especially for acts like the Bed of Nails or Broken Glass – which happen directly on the stage.

Also – some argument was starting between the boys… Little things, really, about who was picking up what props, who had the responsibility of making day-to-day things happen, and what the schedule was and who should set it. The typical growing pains of any group in their position —

But this year’s PsychoPath and the subsequent Boo Bash with Clear Channel would set the course for REAL change in the troupe.

World’s Youngest Sideshow Performer to Appear at Cincinnati, OH Show

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2011 by freakshowdeluxe

(bottom to top) FreakShow Deluxe's Rev. Tommy Gunn and the Green Monster perform the Bed of Nails (photo: Harold Jenkins)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

World’s Youngest Sideshow Performer to Appear at Cincinnati Show

CINCINNATI, Ohio, April 8, 2011 – The world’s youngest professional sideshow performer will appear for 2 shows with FreakShow Deluxe at the Tattooed Life Tour tattoo convention at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, OH.
The 5-year-old performer, billed as “The Green Monster,” will perform during 2 daytime shows during the 3-day convention, which features well-known and up-and-coming tattoo artists from around the country, tattoo contests, vendors and “cutting edge” entertainment by the FreakShow Deluxe.
FreakShow Deluxe, billed as Hollywood’s own & only carnival-style sideshow, was originally founded in Xenia, OH in 2001 before moving to Hollywood, CA in 2004. Since the move, the show has toured the U.S. multiple times and been featured on such television networks as MTV and the Discovery Channel. The company was awarded Best Circus/Cabaret at the 2010 Hollywood Fringe Festival.
The Tattooed Life Tour tattoo convention is Friday, April 8 from 4:00 – 11:00 pm, Saturday, April 9 from 11:00 am – 11:00 pm, and Sunday, April 10 from Noon to 7:00pm. Tickets are $10 a day, or $25 for the weekend. FreakShow Deluxe’s shows (included with admission) are Friday at 9:00 pm, Saturday at 3:30 and 8:00 pm, and Sunday at 3:30 pm.

Additional details at http://www.tattooedlifetour.com/Cincinnati-.html and http://www.freakshowdeluxe.com

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March 29, 2011