Sep 24, 2021
2 mins read
Athena and I have committed to a duo podcast and I have been exploring memories of showbiz. I must have blocked some memories for the sake of preserving my loosely woven sanity and my enthusiasm for a questionable career choice, but under the right conditions, some memories come right back up like they were last night's nightmare.
July 11, 2016, I was presenting a full show in a fairly small venue. I had a respectably sized audience and I elected to open the show with a demonstration of a Harry Anderson trick that my dad told me he never wanted to see me do. You see, my dad, who had been exposed to all kinds of injuries in his career in law enforcement had been fooled by an HBO television presentation starring Harry Anderson. In short, "Harry the Hat" talked about the old sideshow "geeks" and then he theatrically pushed an 18" hatpin all the way through the flesh and muscle of his own forearm. The demonstration was clear and convincing, save for the fact that, as even Harry himself pointed out, there was no blood. Right on cue, some blood trickled out of the exit "wound", and then out of the entry. For his audience, Harry had a horrified, front-row person withdraw the needle and he cleaned up while explaining that it was not real.
Familiar with the "Human Pincushion" acts in the old sideshows, my father was totally convinced that there was no trick. Just tolerance for pain and masterful showmanship.
I knew otherwise.
Over the years I have performed this illusion a few times. For the most part, I don't believe that it really matches the character of my work. It is good for Halloween time, I suppose. Admittedly, it was also satisfying to perform something that fooled my dad. It is a bit gross and in light of recent global events, I would never again deliver an illusion that implied that I was spilling blood on stage.
Midway through the first half of this particular show, I recognized that my audio/microphone was a little wonky and that my lighting hadn't changed at all. At intermission, I learned that my sound and lighting person had walked out. Just flat left the building!
The owner of the venue committed to being my tech stand-in and he helped me finish the show.
It was only after the show and strike (packing up and loading out) that I/we learned what happened.
During my opening, I mentioned my own skepticism when it comes to the supernatural. The venue's singular sound and lighting person has always lived firmly believing that he is under a curse.
Yes. Like some kind of Voodoo or witchcraft curse.
About 10 or 12 minutes in, he was so offended by my show, he up and split.
I don't ever want to offend folks but, wow.