*carnival sideshow music by Steampunk DJs here*
Hurry! Hurry! Step right up and behold the exotic ...the extreme wonders of the unimaginable ...the unbelievable ever witnessed at The "big top" Abbey! Welcome, blogspot readers, to Clockwork Vaudeville: Gearbox Fantastique - a Steampunk Circus Extravaganza! See amazing feats of human strength ...be bedazzled by sultry temptation (sorry, son, you're too young) ...watch terrifying acts of swordplay and other sharp weaponry (do not try this at home, kids!) ...beware of the untamed wild man as he escapes from tight restraints ...and much more! Oo and ah at Magician Michael Burke's slight of hand tricks or dance a lively jig to ragtime/Jazz music with The White Ghost Shivers (from Austin, TX) as well as peruse the finest selections of corsets (by The Artifixer - http://www.theartifixer.com), vintage-style jewelry (by Urbex Archaeology - http://www.urbexarchaeology.com) and more (by Highwind Steamworks - on Facebook). Your Master of Ceremonies, The Lord Baron and Hosts, The Ladies of Dieselpunk bid you welcome ...if you dare, blogspot readers.
SouthSide along with her very special guest, number one fan - Joe, attened the most extreme cirque du freakshow of their lives! There were exciting thrills and chills witnessed when The Mutiny Sideshow demonstrated gut-wrenching feats of strength as two human "trees" for a hammock (attached to their bare backs with hooks). Inside that said hammock was a girl who also amazed the crowd by suspending herself above stage by *insert drum roll here* HER KNEES! No optical illusions here, blogspot readers. Everything done by The Mutiny performers was 100% REAL. Still don't believe this reviewer - a volunteer from the audience (during Mutiny's second act) assisted putting a single 6-inch gauge hook into The Mutiny sideshow ringmaster's back. The hook - was indeed very real, pointy and sharp - was definitely inserted into his back before being suspended a few feet above stage.
The Squidling Brothers (http://www.myspace.com/squidlingbrothers) featured more extreme sideshow acts in which this reviewer cautions her blogspot readers not to attempt at home - these were professional performers. The audience was spellbound as Wild Man (from Berlin ...also known as The Illustrated Penguin) escaped from his tight restraint before being mesmerized by Miss Hallie Jane, the burlesque seductress. Next nervous tensions were running high while a guy stood, walked and jumped on broken pieces of glass. He even actually bathed ...washed his face as well as did a hard bellyflop before rolling front to back on the sharp shards. And that's not all, blogspot readers! While laying on his back, a spiked board (real pointed spikes, folks) was placed onto his stomach and then the lovely Betty Bloomerz stood on top of the board. Surprise - not a single drop of blood or injuries to his back or stomach!
If you thought that was too extreme or painful, try coming onto stage with clothespins attached to your face (other body parts below the waist) like Baron Von Geiger did. After a song by Mary Squeezebox (on accordion), Betty Bloomerz and Jellyboy The Clown wildly entertained the audience by shouting a rubber chicken off her arse before Playboy Bunny Savage performed the "Hand Job" song. Soon, The Illustrated Penguin returned to the stage with a squeamish act of pushing a (real) screwdriver towards the center of his skull (via his nose) while Betty Bloomerz shared her dietary skills of swallowing sharp daggars. The first part of The Squidling Brothers' performance ended with a contortionist act featuring Betty again twisted and tangled inside a box ...avoiding the dangerously blades (ten of them) which trapped her inside. SouthSide and her friend, Joe, went on stage as well as many others to view Betty in the box, blogspot readers.
The music portion of the Gearbox Fantastique featured a lively ragtime/Jazz ensemble from Austin, Texas, known as The White Ghost Shivers. This cast of costumed musicians (dressed in their best vintage finery spanning three decades within the turn of the 20th Century) entertained the crowd with songs that definitely fit the festive mood of the vaudeville scene yet with a slight modern twist (keyboard/piano). SouthSide enjoyed White's exuberant energy displayed while on stage which kept many in the crowd dancing throughout their performance. There was plenty of fan-band momentum inspired by the vintage ragtime sound heard in songs such as Girl From Chinatown, Malloy and Murder In The Big Top. The entire venue vibrantly popped to life as White concluded its performance with a rockin' Hoedown and Got 'Em (the band's theme) songs. SouthSide highly recommends checkingo ut this lively theatric cast of musicians at their next show. Visit White Ghost Shivers at http://www.whiteghostshivers.com or http://www.myspace.com/whiteghostshivers.
After more slight of hand by Magician Michael Burke involving a banana and bandana, it was time for more extreme fun and thrills with The Squidling Brothers. Part two of this sideshow act opened with Jellyboy The Clown and some sexy male teasing as well as a dietary snack of rifle swallowing. Then, The Illustrated Penguin balanced himself on the sharp edge of a sword (without any injury to himself) before Miss Hallie Jane returned to erotically seduce the audience with her fantastique fan dancing ...like a peacock temptress of vivid blue/violet feathers. Afterwards, it was a quick therapy session with Baron Von Geiger which involved (caution: STOP READING THIS PART AND SKIP AHEAD IF VERY SQUEAMISH) attaching two fishhooks to his eyelids ...lifting and swinging an iron side to side. The hard part, blogspot readers, was watching him take the hooks out! Then it was more Mary Squeezebox (Dance With The Devil song) and Playboy Bunny Savage time to entertain the late night audience.
Other Squidling Brothers acts included Bill climbing up a short flight of machete sword steps while playing a trombone barefooted, blogspot readers, and the lovely Betty Bloomerz teasing the audience with her self-puncturing of needles - long and small on various areas across her delicate body. Songs, Feelin' Good and Lionel Ritchie's Stuck On You, were the perfect choices for her act that ended with very little blood after pulling out the needles. Lastly the sideshow concluded with a rather stapling bang, blogspot readers. It was time to play a little game called "Staple The Clown" involving various willing (and daring) members of the audience stapling dollar amounts onto Jellyboy The Clown. As SouthSide mentioned earlier, this was NO illusion - real staples from a real staple gun popping onto Jelly's bare skin such as his chest, shoulders and stomach. Someone actually stapled five dollars onto his face!
And that, blogspot readers, ended a fun yet extremely festive night into Steampunk's Clockwork Vaudeville for SouthSide. It was a delightfully rockin' time ...but you don't have to take her word. Here's what Tracy said about the Gearbox Fantasique "...loved the bands and music ...liked the girl [Betty Bloomerz] who swallowed the blades..." however she felt the extreme suspension especially with the girl hanging from her knees was a bit too extreme for her. Overall, "...it was fun experience..." Her friend, Michele agreed by adding "...[it was] fantastic ...the kids should keep it up..." SouthSide's friend Joe had this to say as well "...I had fun tonight..." This reviewer highly recommends visiting http://www.steampunkchicago.com for details when the next Gearbox Fantastique will happening again. She cannot wait for more extreme sideshow fun, blogspot readers!
Until next time, support your local scene,