ABNORMALS ANONYMOUS A celebration of circus freaks and social deviants, with Sideshow Tranny, St. Stella the Contortionist, Circus of the Damned and more. Friday (February 22), 9 pm at the Gladstone (1214 Queen West). $12-$15. 416-531-4635, www.dotanddribbleproductions.com. Rating: NNNNN
What can we expect from this kind of event?
We’re trying to twist the notion of mainstage and break the fourth wall to give new meaning to the freak show. We’ll be using the stage and setting up smaller ones in the ballroom. You shouldn’t have to sit down – we want people to dance, party and have the carnival experience.
You use language like “freak,” “sideshow” and “abnormal.” I thought those were all no-nos?
My own troupe, Homo Hobo, has been studying clown and bouffon and has been fascinated with the origins of the sideshow. But we use this language very carefully to reclaim the otherness that people experience.
Sure, but how do you control who comes to the performance – and their reactions?
You can’t . I’m learning to let go of that. That’s what performance is for.
What artists inspire you?
Old-school artists like Charlie Chaplin and Marcel Marceau. Their silence draws me to them – they can involve me with just a movement of an eyebrow. Currently? Keith Cole. I’m so careful when I perform. When I see someone like Keith, who opens up and lets go, I really admire that.
What place in Toronto can you hang out in and be yourself.
The Green Room. It’s unpretentious, I like grunge and dinginess, and the people there are really diverse. I’m also a fan of couches and candles.