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999 Eyes Vaudevillian Freakshow
The sword swallower was driving the van from the woefully flooded Iowa City last Friday, while his passenger, Laurent the clown, talked to the Free Weekly by phone. The two were headed to Minneapolis, along with 11 other members of 999 Eyes Vaudevillian Freakshow for a show.
“They were happy to get us after throwing sandbags all day,” said Laurent, referring to the Iowa City audience, where the group performed on Thursday night.
After the Minneapolis show and several other stops on their three week Midwestern tour, 999 Eyes would play Arkansas for the first time ever.
“We really wanted to play Eureka Springs,” Laurent said.
The troupe will head north to Eureka Springs after shows in Hot Springs and Little Rock, before heading south to their home-base in Austin, Tex. The “unpolitically correct” sideshow will play Chelsea’s in Eureka Springs on Wednesday night.
The 999 Eyes began getting national and international attention last year after performances on the Jay Leno Show and on National Geographic’s “Taboo.”
“We’ve reinvented the freak show,” Laurent said. “We’re the only authentic human oddities freak show in the world. Some of the performers were born different that you and me. They are different than most.”
Rather than eschewing their heritage, the freaks of 999 Eyes have chosen to share and exploit their genetic anomaly through performance, subscribing to the theory that abnormality is something to be celebrated, not abominated.
“They are amazing performers,” Laurent said, speaking of the five freaks in the show.
The show is staged as a circus midway, complete with hand-painted sideshow banners and a six-piece band that plays eastern European gypsy music with the requisite accordion and banjo.
The Chelsea’s show will start at 8 p.m. Ticket prices had not been established as the Free Weekly went to press, but we were told that the cost would be very reasonable. Call Chelsea’s at 253-6723 for details.

This is one of those weeks when it’s easy to realize what a diverse live music scene in happening in NWA—everything from jazz, blues, indie, bluegrass, metal and great singer songwriters.
Tonight, Austin, Tex. folk duo, Jim Patton and Sherry Brokus will be playing Arsaga’s Crossover along with NAMA winners Effron White and Justin Brasher.
The curious may want to head to Eureka Springs tonight to catch Tommy Ramone—former drummer for punk trailblazers the Ramones—who now sings and plays guitar, dobro, banjo and mandolin in the bluegrass duo, Uncle Monk, with Claudia Tienan. Uncle Monk will play the Gavioli at 80 Mountain St. Doors at 6:30 p.m., music at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 by calling 888-855-7823.
Sunday night at the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks. The Firefly Festival sounds like lots of fun. There will be music by David’s Pegasus, Memphis Pencils, Cletus Got Shot, Adam Posnak, Beat Bachs and Luminfire, which are all fantastic local players, several have been featured performers at NAMA. But that’s not all. There will be film installations, giant puppets, break dancers, belly dancers, jugglers, fire spinners and fairies. A family-friendly event that runs from 6 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $6 or $20 for families.
Paul Boatright will be playing and hosting his Wednesday night gig at the Green Door this week with guests Mark Bilyeu (Big Smith) and Pat Villines and Mattie Speece, the husband a wife duo from Newton County who made it to Prairie Home Companion this year. Show at 8 p.m. Tickets $5.
Boatright is also on board along with The Good Fear, The Majesty and a crew of other local performers for the Wade Ogle CD release party June 26 at the Dickson Theater. This is Ogle’s first release in seven years and it is impressive.

More fun
The international collegiate solar powered boat competition is underway at Lake Fayetteville and runs through Sunday. Teams for all over the world will be competing for top prizes in Solar Splash 2008. The boats are built by the competing teams and time trials will be happening through the daylight hours. Viewing is free.
If you’re looking for a way to enjoy the air conditioning and have some laughs, you can get both at the Boar’s Head Players production of “I Hate Hamlet” at 8 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday at the University Theatre on the UA campus. The play follows a TV star who does not relish the role of Hamlet, but he rents an apartment where the pompous and drunkard ghost of John Barrymore also resides. The two battle their way though women, success, art, and of course, the pros and cons of playing Hamlet. For tickets call 575-3946.

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