PGH Freak of the Year
We’re happy to announce yet another new writer starting here at NakYouOut. This time, however, you might already know her! The lovely and talented Phat Man Dee expressed an interest in becoming a part of the NYO team, and we couldn’t be happier to work with her! She’ll be keeping you in the loop on world music, burlesque, sideshow and many other off the beaten path-type events going down in the PGH. She had a chance to interview Andrew the Impaled for an upcoming contest he’s hosting at Lava Lounge. So, read up, and let us know what you think about Phat Man Dee’s first post!
In his black and gold jester’s suit, Andrew the Impaled has been Pittsburgh’s Premier Pain Proof Clown for nearly two beautifully bizarre decades. He has been instrumental in twisting the realities of seemingly innocent audiences and disproving their closely held beliefs of what is possible within the boundaries of the human body.
He is about to embark on a new journey as host for the “First Annual Freak of the Year” contest to be held every Wednesday at the Lava Lounge at 2204 E Carson St, in Pittsburgh’s South Side beginning February 1, 2012 and continuing through the end of April. The final round, held on April 25, 2012 will determine who wins the title and honor of being “Pittsburgh Freak of the Year 2012” and a cash prize of $500. Each week there are six open competition slots and the weekly winner will get a shot at competing during the final rounds to hopefully become the winner of local infamy and the cash prize.
I sat down with Andrew the Impaled to find out more about this freaky opportunity and his role in it.
Phat Man Dee: I am impressed with your initiative in helping to further develop Pittsburgh’s freak community, and the potential for solidifying this community of freaks and artists to do more together on a regular basis is very exciting. What kind of people are you hoping will show up to compete?
Andrew the Impaled: I am hoping for as wide a variety as possible, really. Pittsburgh has such a lot of talented people and they don’t necessarily know they are freaky. But they are freaky…. And they should come down and share that.
PMD: Some people may be a bit ashamed of their freak potential and might be nervous, what do you say to them?
ATI: The Lava Lounge is well known for its open atmosphere and acceptance of the unusual. This is a place where people can expect to feel more welcomed here than in your average bar.
PMD: All people, or just freaks?
ATI: Not all freaky people are obvious, and so there is no well defined way to tell who is and who isn’t actually a freak. Therefore everyone is a freak…. Who isn’t?
PMD: What kind of displays or performances are you hoping to elicit?
ATI: As wide a variety as possible, the more obscure the better.
PMD: So this is a talent show/competition for side show marvels, weird dancers, illusionists, drag queens and everyone in between?
ATI: Yes! And more! I want to see the guy who can catch 20 stink bugs off his elbow in one fell swoop. I want to see the lady who can knit a perfect sock in 90 seconds while wearing a blindfold! These things are freaky because they fall outside the things that people typically do. We are taking the very wide definition of freak, as co opted by the youth of the 90’s.
PMD: What do you do that people consider “freaky”?
ATI: I am Andrew the Impaled, a side show marvel. I pound nails in my face, I breathe fire, I escape from straight jackets, I jump on glass and walk on flaming broken glass in my bare feet. For the right amount of money I will even do a lip stitch.
PMD: What’s a lip stitch? That’s when you sew your own lips together right? No pre drilling? Fresh and bloody needle pokes every time?
ATI: That’s right.
PMD: What else have you done?
ATI: I am an original member of Circus Apocalypse. I started in 1993 as the “Insectovore”. We toured with the international all star industrial super group “Pigface” as well as the Church of the Subgenius “Slack Crusades”. Some of my recent projects include musical forays “Slagpile Annie” and my cd “Ghosthealers”. I am currently making musical videos in support of Occupy. I am also working on a musical about an office worker.
PMD: Why are you qualified to host this evening “First Annual Pittsburgh Freak of the Year” contest at the Lava Lounge?
ATI: I make freaks comfortable and I can keep freaks in line.
PMD: So you’re like a freak psychologist?
ATI: Oh hell no! This isn’t therapy! This is a chance to win $500. That’s not to say that working out your mommy issues on your theremin isn’t welcome. I am the host, but I don’t get a vote.
PMD: Who are the judges? Who gets the votes?
ATI: There is a freaky panel of judges which includes Mr. Arm and Velda von Minx of Trundle Manor and their crew from the Secret Society of Odd Acquisitions. We also have local artists Lizzibeth Keating and Spaz Modic.
PMD: How does one sign up to compete?
ATI: You may pre apply online by emailing pittsburghsFreakOfTheYear@gmail.com – Or just come down to the show and if there is a slot open that night, it can be yours! There is no admission fee and no fee to watch! It is 21 and over, though.
To inquire about competing you may email: pittsburghsFreakOfTheYear@gmail.comF