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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Believe it or not... » » List of classic sideshow acts & who currently performs them (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Roslyn
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Hi there!

I've been browsing this section quite a bit recently and a similar theme keeps cropping up, that of people wanting to know how to pull off various sideshow stunts and the same advice being given out... Namely find someone who does it to teach you how.

So I figured it might be useful to have a list of the classic sideshow stunts and who is currently performing them. That way we have a resource for finding possible teachers in our respective countries. Assuming the student is willing to part with the appropriate £$£$£$ of course Smile

Now, this may already exist. Or you may not agree with the idea, and if so please say and this will go no further.

On the other hand, if you feel this is an ok idea then please add yourself to this list of stunts you perform and which you feel you can teach.

Currently I perform:

* The Human Blockhead - I've been doing this act for about 4 years now.

* Fire Eating - This is my first season performing it. Its limited to the standard eating of one torch at a time.

* Hand in Gin Trap - Been doing this for about 3 years now (still using the same trap Ken).

* Hand in Rat Trap - About the same length of time as the Gin Trap stunt.

* Head Flossing - About 2 years performance experience.

I wouldn't want to teach these at present due to my lack of real world experience. Personally I feel a teacher should have 10 years minimum of professional performing experience before taking on a student. That way they will have seen, and possibly even fallen in to, most of the possible pitfalls that come from doing these kinds of things.

Anyway, just an idea.

Ros
The Magic Cafe account of The Conwy Jester, Erwyd le Fol formerly known as Roslyn Walker.
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Addy
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NY
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Harley runs classes a few times a year. Coney Island USA operates the Sideshow School a few times a year as well.
The Curator of the Unusual
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Pardon my ignorance...What the Hell is Head-Flossing??.....
You come to a point in your life when you really don't care what people think about you, you just care what you think about yourself.
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Steve_Mollett
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Eh, so I've made
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Steel hand (leghold trap; including jerking the hand out of the closed trap)
Steel tongue (mouse trap)
Samurai Sword stunt (I use a viking sword and an apple)

Human pincushion (retired...spouse has needle phobia)
Fire eating (torches, and novelty fire eating stunts)- (retired...whiskers)
Author of: GARROTE ESCAPES
The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.
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Stephon
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Head flossing = mental flossing; something goes in thru the nose and out of the mouth. Todd, in my opinion, does the quintessential mental floss routine, and Enigma does one that's very cool and innovative.
~Les S. Moore, The Dapper Dipper
Swami Yomahmi and Cheeky Monkey Sideshow

"Comedy is a man in trouble." ~Bill Irwin
Harley Newman
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Enigma got it from a Spanish performer, and it's beautiful. He puts a fiber-optic light thru the nose, into his mouth. The showroom blacks out. E puts a clear acrylic ball in his mouth, and becomes a human spotlight.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Danny Borneo
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Actually I'm wondering if Stephon is referring to the condom one he does, which as far as I know he got from Matt The Tube along with Gavage
Harley Newman
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Stephon might be referring to that. I shall not pretend to know what goes on, inside Stephon's head. I just know it'll come out interesting.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Stephon
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I was actually talking about the spotlight one. Thanks for the history on that, Harley; Enigma's was the first time I saw it.
~Les S. Moore, The Dapper Dipper
Swami Yomahmi and Cheeky Monkey Sideshow

"Comedy is a man in trouble." ~Bill Irwin
dpe666
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I do fire-eating, glass eating, hand in animal trap, popcorn kernal from the eye, stop a fan with my tongue, mental floss, and put cigs out on my tongue. I am trying to learn to break a cinder block over my head, but it is not easy when there is no one to teach me. I understand the physics to it, but it is damaging my neck that concerned me, so I have not tried it yet. Smile
TonyB2009
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Quote:
On 2009-06-22 19:14, dpe666 wrote:
I understand the physics to it, but it is damaging my neck that concerned me, so I have not tried it yet. Smile

If you do the standard wrestlers bridging exercise, which they all do to build up their neck muscles, within a few weeks there will be a massive increase in the strength of your neck muscles, and this will not be a problem. The neck is under-exercised and responds very quickly.
You assume the press-up position, then bend at the hips and place your forehead on the floor, gently rocking back and forth, taking some of the strain on your hands, but most on your neck. Then you lie on your back, draw your feet up to your bum, and lift your body from the floor, supporting yourself on your head and feet, then rock gently back and forth. A few weeks are all it will take.
Danny Borneo
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Quote:
On 2009-06-22 19:14, dpe666 wrote:
I do fire-eating, glass eating, hand in animal trap, popcorn kernal from the eye, stop a fan with my tongue, mental floss, and put cigs out on my tongue. I am trying to learn to break a cinder block over my head, but it is not easy when there is no one to teach me. I understand the physics to it, but it is damaging my neck that concerned me, so I have not tried it yet. Smile



Have you ever looked into the histories of the stunts that you perform or want to perform? It could lead you down the path that you seek. You have to put the work in and show respect to those innovative thinkers that perfected those acts.

Just a thought.
Danny Borneo
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Quote:
On 2009-06-22 17:57, Stephon wrote:
I was actually talking about the spotlight one. Thanks for the history on that, Harley; Enigma's was the first time I saw it.


Aha, wasn't sure. I haven't seen him perform that one in a while and it is a shame because it's a great one. I wonder if it's gone the way of some of his other props and not survived the road. There's a couple of performance bits he used to do that I loved but the props broke.
Elton Litzner
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I highly recomment Todd Robbins's class at the Sideshow School in Coney Island, NY. Todd is an amazing performer. A real class act. He is also a virtual encyclopedia of sideshow history. He not only teaches how to perform the traditional sideshow "working acts": sword swallowing, blockheard, fire eating, blade box, bed of nails, animal traps, whip cracking ect. but he also instills you with a great passion and reverence for colorful history of the American sideshow. He will give you the essentials. Everything from "Carney Speak" to a Bally Pitch. You'll get a real sense of what the sideshow is all about. Todd has a real passion for the colorful history of the American sideshow. He really intilled me with a deep understanding and reverence for the sideshow.
I also recommend John "Red" Stuart. He's out in Philly. He is old school, gritty, and the genuine article. Red has years of experience performing "the working acts" or as he likes to call them "The seven deadly tortuers" He is an incredible sword swallower. I watched from backstage as he crammed a car axel down his throat at the Ohio State Fair. One night after the show he taught me "the human pin cushion." He has a lot to offer.
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