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Bringing pleasure through pain

BY JASMINE PUTNEY | AUGUST 28, 2014 5:00 AM

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The sounds of staples piercing skin, fire roaring in someone’s throat, nails being hammered through noses, and cement blocks being cracked open on someone’s stomach fill the air. Crash, clatter, bang, rip. It is a cacophony of chaos, a normal night for the 7 Deadly Sins.

Artists of an unconventional variety, the 7 Sins members have fully grasped the sideshow tradition and have begun exploring a world of art not well-known.

“It happened naturally,” 7 Sins’ Dame of Flame Nicole Adams said. “Most of us have performance background, and the sideshow was a dream. We have all been very interested in sideshow and circus performance since the beginning of our performing careers. Chadillac ran off to Coney Island Sideshow school, received training from amazing artists, came home, and passed the knowledge onto the rest of the 7 Sins Sideshow crew.”

The group will perform at 9 p.m. Friday at the Blue Moose Tap House, 211 Iowa Ave., with admission ranging from $8 to $10. Audience members must be 19 or older.

The 7 Sins consists of two MCs and, despite its name, only six members: a “human blockhead,” electric woman, strongman, human pincushion, and a “dame of flame.” Christopher Moore, known as Dr. Cipher, described the seemingly misleading name.

“Who then embodies the seventh sin, that of gluttony? Why, it is you, dear reader. You, with your appetite for salacious entertainment,” Moore said. “Under the power of your sinful consumption, you have no choice but to devour all the filthy details of these scandalous creatures and their corrupt ways.”

Two years ago, the members decided to expand upon their interest in sideshow, and they have delved into it ever since. However, 7 Sins members said, it took a lot of practice to unsheathe their talents.

“There was a lot of trial and error,” Adams said. “Mistakes were made, but hard work and persistence got us through and made us what we are today.”

Sideshows originated in the early Victorian period. People from all over Europe would gather to be shocked and amazed by these traveling “freak shows.” Eventually, sideshows traveled to America, where they became vital elements of the circus life.

However, as the accessibility to entertainment grew through innovations in television and theater, the number of sideshows steadily decreased. Today, most people hardly know what a sideshow consists of.

“We believe each sideshow is different in ways of their aesthetic and their own odd spin of the traditional sideshow feats,” Adams said. “Our sideshow consists of many traditional sideshow acts such as fire eating, bed of nails, and strongman with our own added rich darkness. We also provide comedy, suspense, and beautiful dancing women.”

Not only does the 7 Sins pay homage to the traditional acts of a sideshow, it incorporates some other original material to keep the crowd on their toes.

“The reactions we get from the crowd varies between shock and awe while others seem slightly disgusted,” Adams said. “No matter what the reactions, we believe each person walks away satisfied with piqued curiosity.”

The Blue Moose is one of many venues that have been intrigued by the 7 Sins. Booking manager Cole Nedved said he very much looks forward to the performance.

“I decided to book 7 Sins because it was something new to the Blue Moose,” he said. “We’ve never done something like this before. I’m really excited about this opportunity.”

Though many stigmas are attached to sideshow and its performers, artists such as the 7 Sins encourage their audiences to look past these misconceptions and uncover the true art beneath.

“[Sideshow performers] are committed to their art, just like any other performer, but we may just have a few more screws loose in the ol’ noggin,” Adams said.


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