It's a long way from the Ringling big top to the Coney Island Circus Side Show, but the latter is possibly the more historically correct -- or, at the very least, the most extreme: Its strong men truly freak us out with their feats, and its pretty boys are carnival jacks-of-all-trades who eat fire and juggle swords with equal aplomb. Two of those consummate Coney Island performers -- Ray Valenz, the Most Handsome Man, and Baron Von Geiger, the World's Strangest Strongman -- make up two-thirds of the Circus Emporium Roadshow, along with a third member, burlesque queen Lefty Lucy; all three will appear tonight at 3 Kings Tavern with their Circus Emporium Odd-itorium, a bona fide museum of curiosities, in tow.
What happens in a throwback circus such as this? Von Geiger's strongman deeds include lifting an anchor using fish hooks in his eyelids, while Valenz, who claims to be the grand-nephew of early rocker Richie Valens, climbs a machete ladder with the greatest of ease; Lucy offers hinky hijinx of the barely clothed variety. And the museum features such items as a stuffed mongoose and cobra in mid-battle, shrunken heads, and something hideous that's rumored to be P.T. Barnum's long-lost Feejee mermaid.