During a recent show in Louisville, Aaron Phelps of Richmond, who performs as Bearly Legal Ben, the Circus Bear, bent a half-inch rebar over his neck. Offstage, he has a fear of public speaking.
By Photos and story by Briana Scroggins — Contributing Photographer
April 26, 2013
It was mid-March, and the show at Natasha's Bistro & Bar was sold out. Waitresses wove in and out of the tables. A fog of ambient noise, quiet chatter and laughs settled in. All lights shined toward the stage. Then an eerie song began to play: staccato chimes, heavy bass, a melodic accordion. A performer made his way to center stage holding four small, shiny things.
It wasn't until he held one up to the light and then slowly — gracefully even — pushed it through his skin, all the way in and back out that people realized what it was: a 10-inch, 16-gauge metal skewer.
While the first one lingered above his biceps, he inserted another through the skin of his chest. Then, one pierced the stretchy, tender flesh of his cheek. The last skewer started in his mouth below his tongue, traveled through the void of his jawbone and exited under his chin. There was a little blood.
Eyes widened. Mouths gaped. Some in the audience twisted away. Some hid their eyes and peeked through their fingers. Some could not — and would not — turn away. Others stared, possibly trying to unravel the "illusion."
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2013/04/26/2616677/members-of-lexington-sideshow.html#storylink=cpy