If you have wandered around the Venice Boardwalk of late, you will have noticed a new addition to the riotous landscape. Crammed between a couple of tattoo parlors on the boardwalk between Horizon & Wave Crest, lurks a heavy curtained, narrow doorway emblazoned with, â€˜Venice Freak Show.â€™
Although the Spruiker, who stands at his podium out the front, endeavors to lure you behind the curious curtain for a peek at the freaks, one could argue that a freak show is going on gratis, right there on the pavement. But for a measly $3, who wouldnâ€™t want to satisfy their curiosity?
I had pedaled Mathilda (my beloved hot wheels) by the podium a dozen times, enticed by the creepy circus tunes and, quite superficially, the great circus font logo. I just had to know. So late on a Saturday afternoon, on our way back from a gang ride along the boardwalk to Malibu, three of the fifteen-strong crew decided to conduct some research for the team and report back our findings.
Stepping up to the podium to shell out the dollar bills, we were met by a lovely man with a Southern drawl, wearing a â€˜Venice Freak Show,â€™ hoodie. All black with that great circus font embroidery in red and yellow, an order for this merchandise was placed immediately by my company. In our opinion, this tourist fare rocketed straight to the top along with one of our other favorites, the â€˜Venice - Where Art Meets Crimeâ€™ t-shirt.
The husband and wife team who own this fascinating, little business are obviously life-long collectors of the bizarre and macabre, existing among some kind of underground culture of international traders in all things freakish and preternatural. From the moment you step behind the curtain into this tiny, wardrobe-like museum, you are overwhelmed with the strangest natural-history exposition and exotic, out-of-the-ordinary artifacts from across the globe.
From the Chupacabra to a two headed cow born last year, the displays are not for the faint hearted. I canâ€™t exactly say that I felt comfortable viewing deformity, but there was a lot of interesting information surrounding the bizarre customs and rituals of other cultures. And for $3, it is absolutely worth the excursion.
Their Son, who I placed at about twelve years old, was manning the merchandise counter. They actually sell a collection of very cool buttons, postcards and other paraphernalia. My friend asked him if all this frightened him. â€˜Oh no,â€™ he said. â€˜We have lots of this stuff at home too.â€™ I asked what his friends thought when they came over to visit his house, suggesting that they must think itâ€™s the coolest house ever. He smiled a broad smile and with a twinkle in his eye excitedly said, â€˜Oh yeah! They think I have the coolest house ever!â€™
With an ever increasing additon of boutiques that sell $200 t-shirts to the neighborhood and the advent of a Coffee Bean at the Circle, it is comforting at least to see that some new businesses are still attempting to keep the unique spirit of Venice alive.
WORLD - CITY LIVING
Copyright © 2010 V
Fly that Freak Flag
Copyright © 2010 V
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