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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Believe it or not... » » I was interviewed... again... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Freak Prodigy
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This time by my home State Paper.


September 23, 2006
‘Intriguing, but kind of gross’

W.Va. native talks about life as a teenage sideshow performer

By Lauren Oyler




“I like to think of myself as eccentric,” said fire-breathing, sword-swallowing, light bulb-eating Brett Loudermilk, a 17-year-old high school senior at North Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, N.C.

Eccentric may be an understatement. As a prominent figure in the sideshow community, it is Loudermilk’s job to be bizarre, freakish and weird.

After school and on weekends, instead of flipping burgers or bagging groceries, Loudermilk performs as a “sideshow freak.” His acts include breathing and eating fire, hammering 5-inch nails into his nose, walking on broken glass, eating light bulbs, lying on beds of more than 1,000 nails while someone breaks a cinderblock over his chest, swallowing and regurgitating razor blades, escaping from straitjackets and ropes, lifting weights from his pierced ears and smashing animal traps and soup cans on his hands. He is also able to overcome the human body’s three gag reflexes as one of the fewer than 100 known sword swallowers in the world.

The West Virginia native began dabbling in performance art at the tender age of 5 when he took up magic tricks. At age 8, he moved to North Carolina, and by the end of elementary school, he had already nabbed his first paying gig performing magic at a young girl’s birthday party.

“I made $20, but it was awful,” he said.

Then, six years ago, Loudermilk was working at the North Carolina Renaissance festival when he encountered a tightrope walker named Dextre Tripp. Tripp, who had experience in sideshow performing, proceeded to teach Loudermilk the art of fire breathing and became his mentor.

“In the beginning [of learning fire tricks], they tell you to not be afraid of the fire,” he said. “After you become proficient at it, they tell you to be very afraid of the fire. That’s so you don’t get too sure of yourself.”

Besides Tripp, Loudermilk counts voiceover artist Doug Higley, human blockhead originator Melvin Burkhart and Johnny Eck, “the amazing half-boy,” as his inspirations.

Loudermilk trains three to four times a week in order to stay in top physical condition to perform his acts. Though the risks involved in his job are enormous, he has suffered no major injuries while working, except for burning all of his nose hair once.

Despite the nose hair incident, he never regrets his decision to pursue the life of a sideshow performer. Granted, uncertain thoughts about his future as a performer have crossed his mind, but Loudermilk’s love for sideshow performing is apparent.

Plus, he says, “if I ever become homeless, I’ll never have to beg.”

Almost equally as miraculous as his lack of injuries is his parents’ approval of his unconventional job. He says they must have simply gotten used to his breathing fire in the back yard while riding a unicycle.

Over the summer, Loudermilk visited his grandparents in Kanawha City for a week. He had a grind show, a museum-type exhibit where a performer does stunts while customers observe, scheduled during his stay here, but that show was cancelled.

On Sept. 9, he was featured at Little John’s Tattoo Convention 2006 in Greensboro, N.C., where he awed tattooed onlookers with his acts. He was also featured breathing fire and modeling fall fashion in a two-page photography spread in the September issue of Charlotte Magazine

In the near future, the public may see Loudermilk as a part of the “Greatest Show on Earth.” He is currently negotiating a two-year contract with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
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I like it.

Brett.
Blog:
http://www.bloudermilk.blogspot.com
_________________________________________
E-mail:
BrettELoudermilk@gmail.com
leapinglizards
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Congrats! Keep your name in the papers-

Hey, we are thinking of relocating to Durham, NC, do you know the area?
Leaping Lizards!!! Who knew it was possible.
<BR>
<BR>www.LeapingLizardsMagic.com
mrunge
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Way to go Brett. That is a great article. Thanks for sharing it with the café.

Good luck with the Ringling contract. Hope that works out. You will certainly have the "time of your life" if that happens!

Mark.
Doug Higley
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Outrageous exploitaiton of ones underage persona. Disgusting and shocking!
Just consider how many bird cages that will line or fish it will wrap. Apalling.
Newspapers have no sense of propriety these days.

At least my name was spelled right.



OH...and go Brett go...
Higley's Giant Flea Pocket Zibit
Freak Prodigy
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Thank you guys!


Also I have never been to Durham, so I don't know about the area at all.


Brett.
Blog:
http://www.bloudermilk.blogspot.com
_________________________________________
E-mail:
BrettELoudermilk@gmail.com
John Heggie
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Brett,
Congratulations!!
Dr. Joyce Battaglia asked me to congratulate you also.

Are you performing at the Renaissance festival this year in Huntersville, NC?

Lots of luck,
John
Freak Prodigy
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Woah! John How are you!

Tell her I said thanks!


And to answer your question, no, I will not be at the Ren Fest this year. However I will be performing next season.

BTW: Welcome to the Café!



Brett.
Blog:
http://www.bloudermilk.blogspot.com
_________________________________________
E-mail:
BrettELoudermilk@gmail.com
T-RAY
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CONGRATULATIONS BRETT!!!!
Bob Sanders
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Way to go Brett! My hat's off to you.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

AmazedWiz@Yahoo.com
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