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The original Jim Rose Circus is modern day version of a freak show circus sideshow. It was founded in Seattle by Jim Rose in the early 1990s. They came to prominence while performing on the second stage at the 1992 Lollapalooza festival as the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow. Acts included:
Slug (Paul Lawrence), billed as a man who would eat anything (worms, grasshoppers), and swallow a variety of swords. He also doubled as the show's organ player. Slug transformed himself into The Enigma, who is tattooed with blue jigsaw puzzle pieces all over his body. He left the show in 1998 and has toured the world over since then.
The Amazing Mister Lifto (Joe Hermann) who hung heavy weights (cinder blocks, steam irons, beer kegs, etc.) from his body piercings, including those in his nipples and genitalia. At Lollapalooza Lifto would perform the "genital lift" feat after cleverly spraying shaving cream on himself.
Matt "The Tube" Crowley, whose moniker came from the seven feet of tubing that he would swallow. The other end of the tube was attached to a crude hand pump. Rose himself would fill the pump with a variety of fluids and proceed to pump it into Crowley's stomach, then back out again. Audience members were invited onstage to drink the vile concoction after it had been extricated from Crowley. He would also provide a demonstration of sheer lung power by blowing up a hot water bottle with his mouth until it burst.
Bebe the Circus Queen (Beatrice Aschard) would perform a variety of stunts such as having a watermelon placed on her back and split with a sword, laying on a bed of nails while weights were placed on her chest... or the "Plastic Bag Of Death", where she gets into a large plastic bag and one of the other performers sucks all of the air out with a vacuum cleaner. She would also employ an electric grinder in her act.
Torture King (Tim Cridland) had a segment that featured him walking barefoot up and down a ladder of razor sharp sabres, piercing himself with long needles and meat skewers, eating pieces of a broken lightbulb (he would hold a microphone near his mouth so the audience would hear the sound), and touching an electrical generator while holding a fluorescent lightbulb that would glow. In 1994, The Torture King left the Circus to create his own show. The Torture King Show toured the US and Canada many times. He currently lives and performs in Las Vegas.
Throughout their tours additional acts have included many other "Fringe" artists including, Wrestlers and Pyro-X.
Jim Rose himself performed in between acts, often committing masochistic deeds such as attaching paper currency to his forehead with a staple gun or driving a long nail into his nostril. During the show's final act, he would escape from a straightjacket. His most outrageous trick followed: he would invite audience members to stand on his head after he'd placed it in a shallow crate of broken glass.
More can be found in Jim's book: "Freak Like Me"
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