Tinderbox Circus Sideshow

Published on February 22nd, 2019

Captain Darron & Trashique

Once upon a time human strangeness was a form of entertainment. Its attractions went from town to town, arriving by caravan shrouded in mystery under banners depicting bearded ladies, conjoined twins, dog boys and other curiosities bestowed by nature on a shockable world. Backlash against for-profit exhibition of people with physical, mental or behavioral rarities put an end to so-called “freak shows” — a win for those unable to consent to their exploitation but maybe not for anyone competent to decide whether to capitalize on their uniqueness.

What lives on is a tradition of peculiar talents such as those celebrated in the Tinderbox Circus Sideshow, a traveling revue from “from the dark hills of Kentucky,” per their Twitter bio, “sharing memories you’ll carry with you whether you want to or not.” Tinderbox pairs old-fashioned fire-breathing, sword-swallowing, piercing and glass-walking with burlesque and other, more non-traditional displays. Basically, if you can think of it — and even if you can’t — Tinderbox probably has someone who can do it.

The Tinderbox sideshow was established in 2010 by Zak Crouch, a.k.a. Captain Darron von Awesome, and Kayti McMyermick a.k.a. Trashique Tinderbox, who’ve been performing feats of amazement and artistry for more than 20 years. While elements of such of shows aren’t right for every audience, Tinderbox takes pride in tailoring itself to the audience it has — an adaptability that might be beyond the reach of other companies and less seasoned performers .

A perusal of the Tinderbox sizzle reel shows some certainly audacious acts that would have never occurred to this viewer had they not been documented on video. But thats their job — to surprise, amaze and bewilder those of us without the fortitude to attempt, say, extreme waist-cinching, climbing a ladder of machetes, or a turn at “The Knife Song” game.

Normally one would have to drive across the state to Gibsonton for sideshow diversions — a stop on the winding “weird Florida” trail that inevitably ends in spooky old Cassadaga. But if you don’t have the time, Tinderbox is bringing the idiosyncratic magic and wonder right to you.

Tinderbox Circus Sideshow is 8pm March 2 at Respectable Street in West Palm Beach, $10, 21+. tinderboxcircussideshow.com ~ Tim Moffatt

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