Thursday, May 26, 2005

Coney Island USA Party

Last night I watched a man eat a lightbulb.

At Union Pool in Williamsburg last night the fine folks of Coney Island USA had a membership drive party, and my friend and stalwart Mermaid Parade enthusiast Kate Dale invited me to go. And after seeing what was to be going on it was impossible to say no. Among other things, here's what I saw. (Sorry they're so dark. But really, I'm surprised my cameraphone picked up anything in the low light.)

This guy drove a nail, an icepick, and finally the handle of a spoon into his nose. At a ninety degree angle to his face, straight in. He also tripped a small bear trap-style spring trap on his hand. Didn't get a shot of those, but I did get this one of him snapping a rat trap onto his tongue.

Rat Trap

This wack-ass guy from Germany first suspended two chairs from his earlobes and swung them around the room. Then he put a rubber glove on his head and inflated it. (I wonder if he knows that this was part of Howie Mandel's act in the 80's?)


Glovehead Inflated

He then... well... perhaps it's better to just show you.

Balloon Swallow I

Balloon Swallow II

Balloon Swallow III

Balloon Swallow IV

He swallowed the whole damn thing, and his stomach was bulging when he left the stage. I thought a better closer would have been to somehow pop the balloon and then cut loose with the longest, loudest belch in history, but maybe that's just me.

The Master of Ceremonies was Todd Robbins, Post-Modern Master of the Sideshow. And here he is, eating the aforementioned lightbulb.

Todd Robbins, eating a lightbulb


He really ate it, swear to god. I touched it before he did it; in fact he'd been using the same lightbulb to light the earlier acts before he went on. I talked to him afterwards and he explained it to me a bit. I had already figured out that he pretty much just grinds the glass down to a fine powder before he washes it down with a bottle of water. Makes a disturbing kind of sense that it would work. However, he said that if you grind it down too fine it permeates your stomach lining and can really screw you up....

Todd Robbins, balloon thru the nose

It's hard to see in this shot, but here he took a balloon like the one pictured above, put about six inches of air into it, and passed it through his nose, out his mouth, and squeezed the bubble of air back and forth. After the show my friend Jeff wanted to know if it was possible to go in one nostril and out the other, and while it's more difficult, Todd assured him that he could do that too.

All in all, and incredibly entertaining evening. I didn't get a shot of the lovely young girl demonstrating sword swallowing, something I shall regret for a very long time. The band, Rick Fink and His Gas House Gorillas, was GREAT. Todd made a point of saying that this summer could well be the last time you'll get to see Coney Island in it's current form, what with the news of impending developments. So do yourself a favor this summer and get yourself to Coney Island. And if you can only make it once, make sure you hit the annual Mermaid Parade, one of the grandest things you can do in the summer in New York City.