Roanoke, I submit to you, is a town of freaks. Or, at least, a town where some freak-loving people and sideshow antics still happily exist, just beneath the radar. Somewhere in a quiet and hidden back alley, behind a local food purveyor, there lies a secret sideshow full of many a wondrous and unexpected thing. I don’t want to ruin the surprises that lay in store if you do ever end up discovering it, but the show includes some fossils and Thai “Tree People,” a walrus baculum, and a shrunken head. Really. And there are even stranger (and possibly more frightening) items than that.
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this collection more than once, as the owner’s a friend, and have seen it grow and change throughout the years. There’s now seating, thankfully, and a few lighting cues to add drama and suspense. Did I mention that it’s in a dark, creepy basement? That’s about all the mise en scene you need for this kind of thing.
Why did I suddenly decide to venture out to this expo of oddities? Well, I was thrilled to be paid a visit this weekend by two new and dear friends from out of town. R & B are two thirds of the inspiration for me starting this blog (the last third being Julie Powell, which is corny, I know, but true); I definitely wanted to make sure they had a unique and fun time while they were here. Thankfully, Sideshow Owner agreed to let us in to see the coolest show in town.
My original “Kitsch Trip” on Halloween weekend of 2009, with R & B, is the subject of several upcoming posts, so stay tuned!