Arts » Arts Stories & Interviews

Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow Revue Brings Bizarre Talents to San Antonio


  • Courtesy of TKO
Jacksonville, Florida’s Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow Revue specializes in performances as unpredictable and outrageous as its namesake — a 1938 Broadway musical hodgepodge that lampooned Hitler (with a Yiddish accent), Mussolini (in blackface) and Roosevelt (speaking gibberish) while showcasing clowns, dwarfs, trained pigeons and chorus girls. Launched in Dallas in 2008 by Garland native Bryce “the Govna” Graves and now billed as “the world’s largest touring freak show,” Hellzapoppin puts a high-energy, rock-and-roll spin on the vintage sideshow experience — hits by Korn, Slayer, Slipknot and Danzig soundtrack acts ranging from the “razor-sharp machete walk” to “knife throwing and archery using human targets.”

Highlighted by the Discovery Channel and Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, the troupe combines the bizarre talents of the Govna (a tattooed, fire-breathing, glass-eating ringleader with a background in both the entertainment industry and “high-rise window cleaning”); Short E. Dangerously (a three-foot, three-inch “half man” who walks on his hands and just might “blow your mind and steal your wife”); Nik Sin (a three-foot-tall escape artist who’s known for his Mini Marilyn Manson act — not to mention appearances on The Celebrity Apprentice, Portlandia and The Jerry Springer Show); Eric Ross (a street magician and “human blockhead” who specializes in piercing his hand, jaw and bicep with a steel skewer); and The Lizardman (a body-modification enthusiast and Guinness World Record holder who fronts the band Lizard Skynyrd and is versed in devouring insects, flesh-hook suspension and the “cranial corkscrew”). A suggestion from the Govna, his “band of gypsies” and his French bulldog Mr. Buggles: consider “locking up your daughters, sisters, wives, what have you, because they just might run away with the circus.”

$11, Wed Nov. 28, 8pm, The Rock Box, 1223 E. Houston St., (210) 255-3833,

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