I love the dark postmodern vaudeville/caberet/circus/sideshow performances that are becoming popular on the West Coast. I thought that San Francisco and Black Rock City lead the way for this genre, but I was wrong. A Seattle troupe called Circus Contraption blows the polka-dotted pants off the other twisted circus shows that I’ve seen, they’ve been doing it for many years, and this week they’re coming to San Francisco.
Circus Contraption serves up clever and astounding performances set to an entrancing live soundtrack. Each member of the troupe excels in a circus/erotic/dance specialty or two, and each doubles as a talented musician in a freakish, unforgettable band. The music doesn’t take a back seat; I’d still rush to see these people if they were just a band, and I happily bought one of their CDs.
If you haven’t seen this nonprofit troupe, don’t miss them. I loved their Seattle performance on a recent Sunday night, but Bunny Lamonte told me afterwards that Friday midnight shows are best. On Fridays the performers and the crowd are at their peak energy levels and things get wild and raunchy.
Circus Contraption’s latest show, “Grand American Traveling Dime Museum,” is coming to San Francisco starting this Friday, August 6. They’re playing at CELLspace in the Mission; tickets are $15 (or “pay what you can” on opening night.) Take it from a grad student — it’s worth the $15. But show up on a Friday night. And buy tickets early. (They kept selling out in Seattle — that’s why I went on a Sunday).