Cafe Istanbul History Sideshow Southern Sideshow Hootenanny Story Teller Video

James Taylor – “Spiel on the Peale” – A Talk given at The Southern Sideshow Hootenanny


In March of 2020, I gave a presentation – “First in Half the World – A Spiel on the Peale” – as the opening event for the USofA’s oldest sideshow convention, the Southern Sideshow Hootenanny in New Orleans. And its pitch ran something like this:

“During the War of 1812, during the siege of Ft. McHenry, there was another notable event besides the dawning of the “Star-Spangled Banner”: Under construction – the siege visible from its scaffolding – was the oldest purpose-built museum in the Western Hemisphere. The Peale Museum was the outgrowth of the Peale family’s exhibition franchise that spread across the Mid-Atlantic and typified virtually all the glories – and contradictions & conflicts – of the museum business even today. “America’s sideshow historian,” James Taylor, talks on the Peale’s history and legacy, one that highlights institutions from the Smithsonian to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! to dime museums and carnival midway shows.”

But that’s not all you’ll see here. Really, what spiel consists of only what’s advertised?

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Cafe Istanbul Clown Comedy Music Performing Arts Sideshow Southern Sideshow Hootenanny Women

Hoot2020 – Troupe Night – Sunday Night 3/8/2020

The last night of the Southern Sideshow Hootenanny in New Orleans. (A ‘family’ friendly show) Quite a few different types of acts in the evening’s lineup. The VIP show at 6:15 pm was Geoff with A G and Skabz the Clown.

Geoff with A G started the evening off with a rat trap released on his eyelid!

With the assistance of Sweet Pepper Klopek to tie on his blindfold, he began to perform his mentalism act. Featuring a card reading with a blindfold. However, the cards were attached to rat traps.

Sweet Pepper Klopek guided his hand to the place that would be the card he ‘mentally’ selected. All the traps were set except the one with the card he selected.

Sharing the VIP show with Geoff was Skabz the Clown.

After pushing a plastic fork up his nose he was kind enough to accept an audience volunteer to remove it.

After a few more stunts he finished his act with a juggling routine.

The main show beginning at 7 pm was The Troupe Night. Hosted by Left Lucy.

Rabbi Ribeye was lost in time after just waking from a nap. He wandered onto the stage and introduced the Cheeky Monkey Sideshow.

Valerie Voxx climbs the dangerous sword ladder.

Rabbi Ribeye performs a magic trick for the audience.

Mab Just Mab performs an incredible fire-eating routine.

Sally Cinch shows off her amazing waist dimensions!

The next act was The Brides’ Pixie Grit Circus Sideshow from Brooklyn, NY. Lefty Lucy introduced the duo.

Trained in aerial and acrobatics and sideshow skills as well they performed many different routines.

The last but not the least act for the night was The Stolen Stitches from Pittsburgh.

Danger Dave attaches a rat trap to his groin (Censored – Family Show)as Clawdette Sm Sm holds the ‘Censored’ sign.

Entering the stage in a silver space suit Charlie Thargic had a lovely stage aura and skills to back that up.

Performing the classic sideshow ‘eye hook’ routine with a flying saucer attached to the chains hanging from her eyes.

Clawdette Sm Sm proved once again that what goes in the nose can come out the mouth.

Charlie Thargic was the body that laid on top of the bed of nails on wheels and became the substitute bowling ball knocking down the pins set up for her.

The cast of sideshow performers took the curtain call for the last night of the Hootenanny! Kali von Wunderkammer “Thanked The Audience” for their support of the weekend festivities.

For more information on The Southern Sideshow Hootenanny click here!

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Cafe Istanbul Photography Sideshow Tattoo Women

2nd Night – Southern Sideshow Hootenanny – The All-Star and Living Legends Show

Saturday, March 7th – Cafe Istanbul – New Orleans

The second day of The 6th Annual Southern Sideshow Hootenanny offered workshops during the day is a varied number of topics ranging from ‘Introduction to Contortion – A Twisted World’ taught by Sam Aquatic, and another one was ‘Learn to Juggle’ taught by Thom Wall. 8 workshops in total.

The evening’s performance began with a VIP show performed by ‘Lunatic Fringe Sideshow’ duet at 8:15 pm. Then at 9 pm ‘The ALL-STAR and LIVING LEGENDS SHOW’ began. The lineup was a total of 8 acts. One so different than the next!

Lunatic Fringe Sideshow duet performing with fire.

They also performed the sideshow classic ‘blockhead’ individually.


The emcee for the show was a sideshow legend Reggie Bugmuncher.

Sideshow historian/publisher James Taylor informed the audience about the historical banners on the stage.

Juliette Electrique performed a seductive sword-swallowing routine.

Louie Foxx followed with a wonderful bubble-blowing act

Sansa Asylum performed her singing mind-reading act.

A very professional and charmingly magical act.

The evening had some worthy serious moments. The Rob Houston Lifetime Achievement Award and the Kathleen Kotcher Lifetime Achievement Award were announced.

Kali von Wunderkammer announced the awards.
The Monsters of Schlock duo took the evening into a whole different mood!
Using syringes and water. Don’t do this at home. They are highly trained professionals.

Thom Wall performed some classic skills (beautifully) from the juggling world.

Sam Aquatic performed contortion with her snake.

Reggie Bügmüncher was the emcee and also performed the classic sideshow ‘eyehooks’ act

Lifting a full fishbowl with goldfish using her eyes and fishing hooks with a pearl chain.

The final act of the night was knife throwing and whip cracking Jack Dagger.

There was a wonderful comic part of the act that involved an audience member.

The Sunday evening show was “TROUPE NIGHT” and those images will be posted in a few days.

For more information on the Southern Sideshow Hootenanny go here!!!

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Burlesque Cafe Istanbul Circus Comedy Juggling Magic Performing Arts Photography Sideshow Southern Sideshow Hootenanny Tattoo Women

6th Annual Southern Sideshow Hootenanny – New Orleans

March 6-8th, 2020 – New Orleans – Cafe Istanbul

A visual survey of the 6th Annual Southern Sideshow Hootenanny. Part 1 of 3.

Monsters of Schlock hosted the ‘Sideshow Innovators’ Show – Friday, March 6th, 2020.

Jezzibel performs the infamous ‘blockhead’ act with an ice pick.

Jezzibel performs a ‘spark’ spectacular finale.

Lunival Lousion performs a wonderful hula-hoop act.

Betsy Propane entertains the audience with her lovely voice while escaping from her straight jacket.

Jared Janssen charmingly performed juggled with ‘live food’.

Betsy Ritz caught a tongue on her mousetrap while kneeling on the floor.

Dante fooled the audience with his charming magic act.

Salem added a touch of the bizarre with the outfit and magical offerings.

Salem combined the ‘blockhead’ act with the seductive.

Chatty the Mime performed silently combining the chair with mimetic skills.

Nathan McScary dazed the audience with his single-handed knot tying tricks.

Emma D’Lemma performed many skills including walking on bottles.

Sweet Pepper Klopek has his tongue caught in a mousetrap set off by his partner

The Monsters of Schlock finish off the evening’s festivities. Sweet Pepper prepares to slam the cinderblock with a sledgehammer on his partner’s groin. But first a gentlemanly hand butt.

This is the first of 3 separate shows that I documented at The Southern Sideshow Hootenanny. Check back in the next few days for photographs of the other two shows. The All-Star and Living Legends Show (Sat night) – Troupe Night(Sunday show.)

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