WHAT: The Freak Show
WHERE: 909 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, California.
$: 5 Dollars
Photos and Text by Greta Alvarez
In Venice Beach’s boardwalk surrounded by girls in bikini, men showing their abs, turists, hippies, tall palm trees, skaters, sun, music, a nomad way of life, medicinal pot, artists, sellers, burgers and beers, just in front of the pacific ocean you can find a man with a megaphone that invites you to see a two headed turtle that’s on a table while he’s gives you the first taste of a small room where you can see stuff that escapes the ordinary.
The antithesis of the Californian perfection / plasticity lurks around Santa Monica where people eat organic salads while on the inside they have more botox than naturalness. In the heart of Venice you can find one of the few authentic freak shows where people show with pride their biological rarities and capabilities to do what you would never could.
$5 bucks and you´re in. At the door a really small girl welcomes you and then the show begins.
Weird people -actually freaks- eating fire, getting nails in his noses, a girl getting electrocuted, others swallowing blades and many things more that make the faint of heart close their eyes. On the otherhand, there’s people that take out their cameras for pictures. Videos are not permitted inside the facility. There’s a moment where a young guy puts a hook inside his nose and it comes out of his mouth, then he walks among the assistants so they can take a closer look…and enjoy it more.
No, they´re not Paris and Nicole, these were two English siamese twins that lived inside the show bussiness and sideshows since they were very little. There you have a lot of info about siameses, more than I could like to know. With all due respect to the people with these characteristics, it disturbed me to know how many siameses married with different wives and had kids separately. My mind was in “how” mode all the time in a way that was too graphic to display.
Two headed kitties in a jar full formol, pigs and chickens -also with two heads each-, and several two headed turtles and snakes, alive and well. Moreover, a five legged dog carried by its proud owner who shows the audience the World Record Guiness book where it’s at. I can’t stop thinking about the hairy face man, yes, he has the entire face covered with hair. He’s a shy young guy, shy and scary at the same time. I didn’t want to go close to him but I did. It was impossible not to look at him into his eyes.
It’s important to know that the animals inside this room seems to receive care from the owners of the Freak Show. While in many places are killing animals that born with deformities, here they try to rescu them and at the same time they give to those animals a place in the world that despite them in the first place.
During my visit Joseph Merrick AKA The Elephant Man was in my mind the entire time. I wanted to show everyone that I cared for them which is no lie. Being different is not something to be ashamed of. In my opinion this kind of people and animals shouldn’t be rejected but embraced like something unique and different, it´s sad that not everyone think alike, but ironically they are looking to fill their lips with colagen: Hello Lana del Rey.
Although lately freak shows around the world don’t have deformed humans, because Science prefers to use them in experiments, it’s worth to go to Venice Beach this summer, get away from the sun for a while and enter the darkness of the unknown so you can turn the lights with them…I had fun.