February 14 - 20, 2011
Do you know how sideshows got their name? In a great carnival, rides and other respectable attractions lined the main thoroughfare, traditionally called The Midway, while the alleys that led away from the bright lights were the domain of the boxing tents and fortune tellers, the burlesques and bearded ladies – quite literally, the side shows.
Mat Fraser tells us this during a segment of The Freak and the Showgirl when it reaches above mere prurient curiosity and grabs our attention and respect. He recreates the life and act of Stanley Berent, “Sealo the Sealboy”, a 1930s carnival attraction afflicted, like Fraser, by phocomelia, with sympathy and insight.
From there, the show took off, and the more outrageous he and his partner Julie Atlas Muz became – and this is VERY outrageous stuff – the more the all-but-capacity crowd lapped it up.