Hellzapoppin: The Sideshow Freaks Are Coming to Town

Sideshow freaks? (Freak is a word we use endearingly.) First thing we think of is the lady who can grow a beard. No doubt she exists. We see gals with killer ’staches all the time. But she’s not a sideshow performer; she’s the eye candy. These folks  perform. Check out what they claim. 

​Zamora the Torture King will lie on a bed of nails. And then he’ll invite the four largest people in the audience to stand on him. Besides him will be Frank Simon, a man with eight Guinness World Records. He’ll hold up a lady from the  audience  who weighs about 100 to 110 pounds on one foot by using only his teeth. Chelsea NoPants will swallow 27 inches of steel — think a very long, cold sword. “When you come to the show,” Zamora said to us via phone, “when you are a few feet away, there’s absolutely no question that it is real.” Zamora is part of Hellzapoppin, a clan of sideshow performers.

Zamora says the art of sideshow activity appeals to him because: “It was real magic. No wires. No mirrors.”  How does this work? Well, Zamora feels no pain — sort of. “I can feel pain,” Zamora says, “but I can change how I react to it.” When prepared, he says, he can “turn off the part of my brain that reacts to pain.”  That’s the trick.

For the 21-and-over crowd, tickets cost $10. For 18 to 20, it’s $20. Show starts at 9 p.m. Thursday at the  Speakeasy Lounge (129 N. Federal Highway, Lake Worth); call  561-337-8844. And it all happens again at midnight on Friday at Alligator Alley (2006 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood); call 754-234-3865.
Thu., Feb. 23, 9 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 25, midnight, 2012

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Mickie Centrone