Wonder, thrills served up with Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow Revue
Contributed Photo/Andy Hartmark Bryce
"The Govna" Graves will serve as master of ceremonies at the Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow Revue on Saturday at Theo's Billiards.
By Mark Lopez/Special to the Caller-Times
July 20, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI — Sword swallowing, skewers scraping the bone, and lying on a bed of nails are just a few things you will see if you attend the Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow Revue.
Hosted by Bryce "The Govna" Graves, the Saturday event takes place at Theo's Billiards.
Based on Graves' vision, the revue was established in December 2008, and was originally an offshoot of another less modern sideshow.
"I was touring Ozzfest with another show that I had been involved in, which was more traditional," Graves said. "We had a great show that was beautiful, but it was a plain, authentic circus for a rock concert, and I wanted to get the same reaction that these bands were getting, so I wanted to make it more rock and roll."
Contributed Photo/Andy HartmarkZamora the Torture King is one of the memorable performers in the Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow Revue. A Saturday performance will be at Theo's Billiards.
In a society where sideshows are often considered taboo or exploitative, Graves and his partner and star of the show, Zamora the Torture King, are attempting to prove that these shows are about entertainment and good old-fashioned fun, rather than a show for mere shock value.
To add to Graves' already lengthy tour as a sideshow performer and host, he's even gone so far as to pitch a reality show about sideshow life, but met some difficulties in getting the show off the ground.
"I signed with Howie Mandel earlier this year for him to produce a reality show," Graves said. "They went to ten different networks, and we pitched it as a traveling circus sideshow, instead of individual stories and documentaries.
Contributed Photo/Corey WarnerMaryanne Magdalen, one of only a few female sword swallowers in the world, will perform on Saturday as part of the Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow Revue at Theo's Billiards.
"They turned it down left and right, and when you do that, it becomes taboo and people don't want to touch it. I think it has to do with how people used to be treated.
Graves is hoping those misconceptions will be shattered.
"We're no different than a rock band, we just don't play music," Graves said.
Besides the fact that sideshows have been met with some controversy for hundreds of years, Graves is self-assured in his assertion that for Hellzapoppin, pleasing the audience is the main factor.
"We don't try to gross people out. What we do is more dark comedy, suspense, more of a thrilling type of show," Graves said. "Some sideshows will try to do everything they can to freak people out, but I don't see that as something that would really work for us.
"This is to show you that these incredible stunts are done with human anatomy. It is mind over matter."
So, if you are looking for your mind to be blown, then this show isn't to be missed.
Maryanne Magdalen, a Swedish sword swallower, also promised an unforgettable performance."You will witness some of the deadliest and rarest acts performed live on stage today by international artists," Magdalen said. "This will be a true 'was there' event, so whether you go or not, you will hear from those who did."