Circus Circus

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.

The show begins at 9 p.m. at 3 Kings, 60 South Broadway, and admission is $7; visit www.facebook.com/thecircusemporiumroadshow or call 3 Kings at 303-777-7352 for information.
Tue., Jan. 10, 9 p.m., 2012

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd