November 09, 2007


My friend, Britt, and I have been wanting to visit the new candy store that recently opened on S. Congress. With it's old fashioned candy displays of vintage, hard-to-find candy, any flavor jelly bean you can imagine and genuine mahogany soda fountain where you can order a Root beer Float, Ice Cream Sundae or your favorite soda flavored with your choice of syrup (think Cherry Coke or Vanilla root beer), I was excited for my first trip to Big Top Candy Shop.

We went for lunch today. So we walk in the door of this old-time circus themed candyland and begin giggling, oohing and ahhing over the fun candy that brings back childhood memories, international treats Britt is delighted to find in the U.S. (she's Danish), and the icky stuff we couldn't imagine eating. So we're browsing around, we order "lunch" -- One Cookies 'n Cream shake and one Coke Float please -- and outside the storefront a curious group is assembling, and a camera crew.

Ok, first let me say, we live in Austin. We are not unaccustomed to seeing "weird" people. Furthermore, we are in a store on S. Congress, smack dab in the middle of the zip code that created the "Keep Austin Weird" campaign. Again, not unusual to see a unique group of people.

But this group is special. Let's see, there was a midget woman in a bustier, a large limping man with big fleshy bumps all over his neck and head, a woman with a claw like hand (as in, she didn't have five fingers, and the fingers she did have were formed more in the shape of a claw), a woman with two legs but of vastly different lenghts, a few young (seemingly normal) children, a woman with dreadlocks wearing a pirate-slash-ringleader-slash-corset getup, a man in pin-striped pants and long coat over his bare torso topped off with a red hat.

Ummmm, can you say Freakshow?

By this point, the group had made its way inside and the pirate-slash-ringleader-slash-corset getup woman was ordering ice cream floats for her posse. Well, the curiosity cat crawled up my back, and I approached the claw-hand woman to ask what they were doing. She answered with a genuine smile: "We're a freakshow. Here, let me get you a flyer. We're performing tomorrow at Rutamaya."

KaiYa! They ARE a Freakshow. It was so fascinating. We didn't spend a lot of time chatting, but the whole group seemed nice enough; they were joking around with one another, and the young'ens were like kids in a candy shop...oh, wait.

It was one of the most exciting lunches I have ever had. I mean, seriously, when you are on a jaunt to an old-timey candy shop where carnival-gypsy-circus music is playing from gramophones and everything is kind of curious and surreal anyway. . . would you ever expect to run into a Real. Life. Freakshow?! It was bizarre and titillating. I'm still reeling.

I love Austin.

A bit about my very own Freakshow:
The 999 EYES Authentic Freakshow explicitly celebrates real genetic diversity by showcasing amazing feats performed by LIVING HUMAN ODDITIES! The freaks share real stories of what it is like to be born truly different from the average 10 fingered and 10 toed genetic blueprint for humanity – giving folks from all corners a chance to realize that what is different is beautiful. In this show, one must be born physically and obviously different from the vast majority of humanity to be considered a true freak. The 999 EYES freaks are performers who choose by their own free will to celebrate their medical anomaly on stage.

1 comment:

silverthornes said...

I love it! That IS and interesting luncheon you had and what an obvious venue, for 999 EYES to have in Austin. Definitely "keeping it weird" alright. I was just thinking, if one has an obvious "medical anomaly," why not embrace it?