Warning: This trip report may contain words, pictures, and videos that are not suitable for work and may be emotionally scarring….permanently. If you are easily offended, you might as well stop reading right now. This isn’t for you. Vegas Freaks freak frēk/ noun: freak; plural noun: freaks; noun: freak of nature; plural noun: freaks of nature 1. a very unusual and unexpected event or situation. “the teacher says the accident was a total freak" 2. a person, animal, or plant with an unusual physical abnormality. Informal a person regarded as strange because of their unusual appearance or behavior. 3. informal a person who is obsessed with or unusually enthusiastic about a specified interest. "a fitness freak" verb: freak; 3rd person present: freaks; past tense: freaked; past participle: freaked; gerund or present participle: freaking 1. informal. behave or cause to behave in a wild and irrational way, typically because of the effects of extreme emotion, mental illness, or drugs. I first saw the 1932 Horror Classic Film ‘Freaks’ at the midnight movies as a young lad a very long time ago. It left a lasting impression. Freaks was plotted around life in a circus sideshow with many of the characters played by people who worked in real carnivals and had real deformities. Over 30 minutes of the original movie was cut (and subsequently lost) because it was thought too horrifying. Even so, the movie was still considered too shocking for the times and was banned in many theaters throughout the world. It ruined the career of the director Tod Browning. The December Vegas trip with my gambling buddy Robin was ‘freak’ filled. It started off a little strange as our good friend the Newbie backed out due to a family medical emergency. We made several last minute adjustments to our plans…. which put us right in the middle of an Honest to God Freak Show. Ok. Three of them. Our Vegas plans are always detailed and thoughtful. We take great pride in cramming as much as possible into our trip while optimizing the value of our hard earned money. In other words, we’re constantly moving and never pay retail. This year’s Excel Spreadsheet had 137 rows that documented our plans and plays. In addition to 5 shows, 5 happy hours, and our annual photography contest, we also tossed a hundred each into our ‘community gambling wallet’ and used that money to play every match play, free slot play and rebate available to us. All wins go into the wallet and we split the goods on our last night. Yes. We’re gambling commies. And we’ve never lost. This year we visited 42 casinos in 5 days….but that doesn’t make us freaks, right? Being a freak and being obsessed are entirely different. Of course, last year I did some Fremont street busking in my giant inflatable penis costume. That was entertaining and different, but that doesn’t make me a freak, right? RIGHT? Ok. Maybe a little… But back to the movie for a moment….the sideshow players were not really exploited in the film but portrayed as human beings and generally good people while the real evil comes from two of the "normal" cast members….Hercules (a strong man) and Cleopatra (a trapeze artist). Herk and Cleo conspire to poison Hans a beloved ‘midget’ performer for his inheritance. In the film's climax, the freaks uncover the murder plot then chase and attack Hercules and Cleopatra with knives, axes…and other weapons. Hercules is not seen again. Slow Speed Chase According to Wiki, “the film's original ending had the freaks castrating him[Herc]: the audience sees him later singing in falsetto. As for Cleopatra, she has become a grotesque, squawking "human duck". The flesh of her hands has been deformed to look like duck feet, her legs have been cut off and what is left of her torso has been permanently tarred and feathered.” Cleopatra the Human Duck. That’s what I’m quacking about. 3:00 PM December 14, 2016 We arrived on schedule at LAS and made it to our spiffy Burgundy Kia in record time. Mrs. AlanLeroy insisted that I was to text her a picture of the Rental Car License plate so if we disappeared she’d have something tangible to report to the authorities. Awkwardly, the Burgundy Kia had no license plate. I texted it anyway. From the McCarran rental car facility it was a breeze to our first destination resort, New York New York. At check-in check-in I requested a complementary upgrade to the presidential suite. They gave us a deluxe room with a view…..on the 56th floor of the Chrysler Building. Score! Kind of a strange place. There were only 6 doors on the whole floor, but it was just a normal sized room…It was a corner with windows on two sides. Spent some time exploring New York New York working on our annual photography competition. Note on our Photography Contest: One of our themes for this year’s contest was ‘New York In New York New York’. That is trying to get shots where it looked like we were in New York and not New York New York. I created a nice thread with about 60 of our contest photos, but The Greedy Bastard Photobucket ate those pictures. I’ll just sprinkle in a few of the better ones….so you can ‘get the picture’. We walked to MGM and took the monorail (2 for 1 My Vegas) to the Flamingo where we enjoyed the excellent Happy Hour at Cut. I’m hooked on Vegas happy hours and wrote a review of three from our trip. Regrettably, the miserable and greedy Photobucket has swallowed all of my pictures or I’d just link you to my review….Instead…here’s a sampling. Especially nice were the $5 Tanqueray 10 Gimlets and the Beef Skewers. https://www.caesars.com/content/dam/flv/Dining/Upscale/Center Cut Steakhouse/center_cut_happy_hour.pdf ] Center Cut: Gimlet with Tanqueray Ten and fresh lime juice Center Cut: Center Cut Sesame Beef Skewers with pickled shitake salad Center Cut: Dirty Spiced Fries. BBQ brisket, jalapeño, queso and a fried egg. Center Cut. Wagyu Sliders with aged white cheddar cheese, caramelized shallot and brioche LOVE Next, we walked to The Mirage for the 7:00 PM LOVE show. Robin and I have a few general criteria for our Vegas show selection. One is that it’s a great value. Love was just that. I saw a post on Keven Nagel’s LasVegasAdvice website that proclaimed ‘$35 seats for LOVE’ one night only. Yes it was one night only…Wednesday, December 14 our first night in Vegas…how fortuitous. The best part is that $35 wasn’t just for seats with obstructed views behind pillars, it included premium seats. Not only that, that $35 was the all in price and included all taxes and fees. We got great seats right up front…Seats that would normally sell for $150.. Freakish eh? The strangest part was the Tickets were marked ‘DRESS REHEARSAL’. What did this mean? It turned out this was the first show back from a 2 week break and all proceeds were donated to charity. The show was excellent….as always and a better value than ever before. The Cantor Play We moved on to the Venetian for the first of many advantaged sports bets. Cantor Gaming runs the sportsbook at 7 Vegas casinos including Venetian (others are Trop, Cosmo, Palms, Hard Rock, M and Silverton). Cantor is running a promotion that matches up to $50 in bets at EACH of the7 casinos if you sign up for their sports betting app. I took advantage of this advantage last year by placing $50 in free bets at 6 of the 7 casinos. Two weeks before this trip I noticed they had resurrected this deal so we built into the plan visits to the 7 Cantor Sports Books so Robin (and the Gambling Wallet) could take their free money. Here is a link to the deal. www.cgtglobal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/LEGAL-99189-v1B-50_New_Account_Match_Deposit_Promotion.pdf Even though it says the deal runs to October 31, 2017, these can come and go quickly. All I can attest to is it worked for us in all 7 Cantor Sports Books last December. If you like free money I highly recommend it. In our case it required a complete last minute rerouting…essentially adding 10 more pounds of trip into our 5 pound bag. We’re good at that. Our final stop of the night was Casino Royal for their $20 rebate deal. We parked at the bar and quickly added a few bucks to the Gambling Wallet while sucking down beers and solving the world’s problems with a drunk Vegas construction worker. Walked through Harrah’s to the Monorail. Monorailed to MGM and walked back to New York New York. Took some pictures for our Contest and then called it a night. More New York in New York New York A nice map of the New York in New York Landmarks (Available at check-in) 9:00 December 15, 2016 Today’s first stop was Anthony Curtis’s Las Vegas Advisor to pick up our 2016 Member Reward Books. To our surprise we were greeted by none other than Anthony Curtis. Himself. Robin gave Tony a Keep Smiling card. We picked up our MRBs, admired the LVA Party Bus and continued downtown to the Golden Gate Casino where we each picked up $50 in match play simply for flying Allegiant Air. Breakfast was at the Palms Buffet (LVA ½ Off). We also placed our second Cantor Gaming Sports Bet and made a couple of $10 match play bets (ACG). Returned to NY NY and continued our photographic exploration of New York. Robin played $25 of My Vegas Freeplay and we both added more money to the Gambling Wallet with skillful Win Card Play ($30 for $20). A short walk to Cosmopolitan where Robin placed our 3rd Cantor Sportsbet while I tried my first Verbena at the Chandelier Bar. The Verbena is like a margarita with a little extra kick…The verbena flower which paralyzes your tongue and leaves your mouth feeling like you’re gulping gasoline, Anbesol and Everclear. A little known fact…You can actually order additional Verbena flowers for $1.00. I got 5 of them….because gulping gasoline, Anbesol and Everclear is how I roll. After chugging my first Verbana, I followed up with a Double Bombay Sapphire Chaser. More New York in New York New York. Rich Little Live Robin and I have a few algorithms we use to help determine which shows to see in Vegas. One of Robin’s many criteria is if there’s a chance the performer will actually drop dead on stage (due to age or drug/alcohol abuse). This has brought us to such extraordinary shows as Jerry Lewis Live (RIP) and Shecky Green Live. Tonight’s first show was no exception as we saw 78 year old Rich Little “The Man of 1000 Voices”. (Groupon ½ off) Unfortunately for Robin, Rich seemed in great shape as he took the stage at Tropicana’s Laugh Factory Comedy Club. The show was a combination autobiography/One Man Show and Performance. He played many video clips of some of the more memorable moments of his career. Rich was born Canadian, busted out of college and took a job as a DJ in Ottawa. He practiced impersonations since he was a kid and took every opportunity to play Ottawa coffee clubs and private parties. Eventually he met Mel Torme (The Velvet Fog) at a local audition for a variety show. Mel introduced Rich to Judy Garland. His big break came when he debuted on the Judy Garland show in January 1964 and was a big hit. The show is fast paced. Rich probably did 100 impressions including: Kermit the Frog, Archie and Edith Bunker, Boggart as Nixon, John Wayne, Jack Benny, Henry Fonda AND Katherine Hepburn, Goldie Hawn, Bill Clinton, Jack Lemmon AND Walter Mathieu, Jack Nicholson, Arnold Swartznegger and many more. Rich is an artist. He’s made sketches of most every major star he impersonated. He displays them throughout the show and has some for sale as autographed Giclee’s. I never even knew a Giclee was a thing. Hey! It’s a Frank Sinatra Giclee. Trust me on that. Rich Little now resides in Vegas and in 2010 became a naturalized US citizen. I really enjoyed the show…but I’m old and actually recognized all of his impressions.. Sadly, many will not appreciate the stars who ruled the entertainment world when I was young. The show is not PC and Rich uses profanity in his act. I’m pro profanity too. Damn it. See him while you can. He won’t be performing forever. From the Tropicana we sauntered over to Hooters for our second show of the night. Ryan Stock: Comedy Daredevil. This one fits into our prized category “Cheap, Only in Vegas, And probably not for long”. The timing was perfect as we were able to complete free slot play and match play opportunities from LVA and ACG. We lined up at the entrance to the Night Owl Showroom a few minutes before 9:00. Eventually the line bulged to at least 12 people. It was such a small crowd we were seated right up front. Next to the stage. What good fortune! The opening act (direct from Saint Paul Minnesota) was magician Nick Diffatte. Nick looked like he was about 13 years old. He did a number of card tricks as I struggled to keep my eyes open in the darkened showroom. That is until he pointed at me and said “You sir. What is your name? “ That perked me up a bit. It was my time to shine. I hopped up on stage and surveyed the small audience. We started off with the classic ‘What’s that behind your ear trick. Then we moved on to a trick that required me to open my wallet and give Nick money. I’m very partial to my wallet and especially partial to the money in my wallet. It made for some good faux reluctance. Nick was constantly urging the crowd to egg me on with chants of ‘AL LYNN! AL LYNN! AL ALYNN’. I played it up by acting like a chant conductor. The next trick involved a 1 dollar bill taken from my wallet. He folded it all up and did some mumbo jumbo and to my chagrin, poof…my dollar was gone. Then he asked me for a Hundred. I offered a 5….because…he didn’t have a very good track record with my money. Eventually he got the crowd riled up and they cajoled me into pulling a $100 bill out. I signed it and handed it over…..where Nick folded it and folded it and folded it and POOF! It was gone. After a brief bit of falderal Nick offered me a free autograph after the show to make up for my missing $100. Then, because he felt so bad about my lost hundy…he gave me a bag…that had a box of cracker jacks in it. He directed me to examine the box and then open up the cracker jacks. Inside were….wait for it….Cracker Jacks! And a prize. I pulled out the small sealed prize envelop and lo and behold…there was my $100 bill. The crowd went wild. Grand Finale Because of the great comedic rapport we had, Nick insisted I stay to help him with the ‘Grand Finale’. This involved flipping a bunch of spoons into a bunch of cups…the classic spoons and cups flip trick. My roll was simple. Do a drum roll for Nick and then when he successfully completed the trick to throw some confetti in the air. The only problem was I couldn’t do a drum roll. It’s not a life lesson I ever learned. So we struggled with the drum roll a bit and then he tried the trick and failed. I threw the confetti anyway. He called me a ‘Mother Fucker’. This Grand Finale just wasn’t working out for us. Nick built it up so if the trick worked it was all because of me. So he set up the spoons and cups again, gave me a little drum roll counseling and tried it again…and it worked. AlanLeroy had saved the day. Again. Side Note: Whenever I’m traveling I always carry my Olympic VN9600 Voice Recorder. I always record my shows and sometimes just record everything (It holds 80 hours of voice). In total, my performance was about 20 minutes. I edited it down to about 5 for your listening pleasure. I think I’ll make a special 5 minute loop of the crowed yelling “AL LYNN AL LYNN” and include it in my next Vegas Mix. It’s really inspiring. Highlights of my performance I think I held my own with Magician Nick Diffatte although he did call me a “Mother Fucker” and an “Asshole”. At least I’m not the opening act at Hooters Night Owl Showroom. Or am I? Comedy Daredevil The main act was The Comedy Daredevil: Featuring Canadians Ryan Stock and his fiancé of 15 years Amber Lynn. True freaks. One of their many claims to fame was their appearance on America’s Got Talent. In one of their tricks, Amber accidentally shot Ryan in the throat using a crossbow. Apparently you never know what you’ll be treated to during the Comedy Daredevil Performance. Ryan started off by extinguishing a cigarette….using his tongue. Then he kicks it up a notch by putting out a blowtorch on his tongue. Next, we are treated to a mousetrap set off….on his tongue. Strong tongue, man. You know how most daredevil stunts have a disclaimer that says “Professional Stuntman Do not try this at home. Ryan had a different mantra….It goes “I say fuck it try this at home!” Then it was Amber Lynn’s turn to show us some of her special talents. She took a condom. Inserted one end in a nostril and inhaled it into her mouth. Then she could pull both mouth and nostril ends back and forth like she was shining a shoe in her nasal cavity. I thought that was kind of sexy. Afterwards, she claimed “My parents are so proud”. I’ll bet. Ryan then showed us a number of feats of body part stress as he suspended heavy things from his face. I know many of you are wondering “What do you mean he suspended stuff from his face AlanLeroy?” Well I’ll give you an example. He suspended a bowling ball from his eye lids with a special contraption. He inserted a steel hook between his mouth and nose and suspended a bowling ball and brick from it. You know…the typical stuff people suspend from their faces. Next, the Comedy Daredevil twisted a pair of scissors down his nose. Yes. Scissors down the nose. Ryan is a wiz when it comes to power tools. He worked a power drill right down his nose. Nice! He did a wide variety of tricks with a gas chainsaw. Ryan is a noteworthy Sword Swallower. That’s right. He’s a Blade Glommer. It’s an ancient art that traces its roots to before 2000 BC. In America, sword swallowers were part of traveling circuses, sideshows and carnivals of the early 1900’s. That brings us back to the movie ‘Freaks’ which featured Sword swallower Delno Fritz…. Fritz's wife Maude D'Auldin died from a sword swallowing accident caused by a nicked blade during a performance before the King and Queen of England. Must have been hard to stomach Make no mistake. Sword Swallowing is dangerous (Don’t try this at home). http://www.swordswallow.org/donations.php Stock proceeded to swallow a long curved blade. Got that puppy all the way down to the hilt. He holds a record for the most swords swallowed in 30 seconds. https://recordsetter.com/world-record/swords-swallowed-30-seconds/14511 The act finishes up with the old bricks to the testicles trick where an audience member tries to break poor Ryan’s balls. Strong nuts, man. Ryan and Amber are really freaks and this was a Freakshow of highest order. Ryan holds 17 world records including the longest drill bit drilled into the nose and the prized Heaviest weight lifted with ear rings. Here’s a link to them all…If you dare. https://recordsetter.com/user/RyanStock The show keeps your attention from start to end. Several people walked out…but not me. I loved it. I actually think I could do some of those stunts with a little practice at home. 1:30 AM Friday December 16, 2016. Robin and I had been at Times Square in New York New York for an hour observing the Dueling Pianos and drunk Dueling Pianos observers. Robin had one of those $50 My Vegas Awards and we were playing Video Poker. That allowed me to indulge in 3 double Bombay Sapphire Martinis and our Bartender Chad helped 'Spread the Wealth Around' with free drinks to select people around the bar. We then grabbed a beer and a quick bite at the Reverse Happy Hour at Tom's Urban Restaurant..Right there at NY NY. I was feeling no pain. Robin headed up to the room while I was headed on a mission. I was intrigued with the description of a temporary art installation...Park People located in the new ‘The Park’ space between New York New York and Monte Carlo. Artist Nathan Sawaya created this art featuring large-scale human figures crafted entirely from LEGO bricks…nine brightly colored people. I wanted to see each of those Park People. As I approached the exit to the Park, I had a proposition from a nice young woman named Moeshia. She suggested she had 'magic hands' and would like to go up to my room and give me a massage. I asked her directly: "Are you a hooker, Moeisha?” "No, I am a sex worker" she responded. What great fortune. This could be a big winner in my annual photography contest with Robin. "I'll give you $5.00 if you let me take your picture while you're flipping me off" I suggested. "I'll suck your cock for $200." was her counter offer. We were pretty far apart in our negotiation. I stumbled out the door into the heart of The Park. To my surprise, there was no one there. No one. Not a drunk tourist. No security. No revelers or beggars or cleanup crews or sex workers...No one. How very strange. And yet as I began to stroll The Park, I realized I was not alone. THEY were there in all their Glory. The 9 Park People were calling me. This was truly art I could appreciate. I asked each to don my Lucky Hat and say a few words for this very blog. And they did. And so now I give you my very own art installation. I call it: Park People and what they told AlanLeroy Naked dancing lady at one end of the park. Sadly my favorite part of the Park (Park People) have now left for greener pastures….but I believe they’re still trying to communicate with us all…you just need to listen. Friday December 16, Morning Today we moved downtown. But not before….wait for it….More Cantor Gaming Sports Bets and another coupon run. We hit Circus Circus and Mandalay Bay for Win Cards, Hard Rock and Silverton for Cantor Sports Bets, GVR for breakfast and Match Play, and Ellis Island and Mardi Gras for fun and profit. Rolled into Downtown at 5:30. Our destination resort was Main Street Station, but we stopped first at Golden Nugget for the Chart House Happy hour Chart House Happy Hour (Golden Nugget) 4-6 MONDAY - FRIDAY http://www.chart-house.com/menus_pdf/CHLV_happ.pdf Chart House offers one of my all-time favorite Happy Hours. The Servings are big, the setting excellent, and the food is delicious. Chart House: Fish Taco. Blackened mahi, warm tortilla, cabbage, Jack cheese, pico de gallo,ranch dressing Chart House: Mediterranean Chicken Pita. Grilled branzino herb chicken, shaved lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, tzatziki sauce All three including Prime Rib Sliders with caramelized onions, Jack cheese, horseradish sauce Chart House $4.00 Martini--It wasn't a Bombay Sapphire, but still pretty good! The Nugget was full of activity. Owner Tilman Fertitta is a big booster of the Houston Cougars Football team. The Cougars were playing in Saturday’s Las Vegas Bowl and the Golden Nugget was home base for many of their fans. After dinner we got checked into Main Street Station and began a mini-coupon run on Fremont. We finished up at The D where Robin and I played several rounds of Keno and I had several rounds of Bombay Sapphire Martinis. Robin then let out a ‘YES!!” as he had hit five out of 5 on some $1.50 combination ticket for an $800 win. Way to go Robin! Derrik Stevens holding court at the long bar. Saturday December 17 Today would be one of the strangest days I ever spent in Vegas. I’m talkin’ This level of strange. To understand how we got here we need to back up a week. Saturday December 10 I noticed a Groupon for a December 17 sporting event in downtown Vegas. It was called Freakshow Wrestling. I got 2 VIP passes for $21. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow. But “what the hell is Freakshow Wrestling?” you might ask. Thanks for asking. Here is the description of the December Event: FREAKSHOW WRESTLING BATTLE ROYAL OF MISFIT TOYS - FCC – 9PM - SATURADY DEC 17 LOCATION - FREMONT COUNTRY CLUB (601 FREMONT ST, LAS VEGAS, 89101) DOORS 8PM / SHOW 9PM MEET & GREET WITH THE XMAS FREAKS AND IF YOU’RE FEELING NAUGHTY OR NICE COME TAKE PICTURES WHILST SITTING ON SCORCHIE CLAWS’ LAP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RING! 21 AND OVER ONLY – CONCESSIONS AVAILABLE $20 TICKETS AVAILABLE ON TICKETFLY (link up soon) AND AT THE DOOR... AND GET IN HALF PRICE WITH YOUR DEC 17th NXT TICKET STUB! MAIN EVENT – BATTLE ROYAL OF MISFIT TOYS: FROSTY THE SNOWMAN, THE REAL SCUMDOG OF THE UNIVERSE - GWAR OG - TECHNO DESTRUCTO, MICHAEL ‘I HATE XMAS’ KRUEGER, ANDREA THE GIANT, THE ONE LEGGED MAN - HARRY HENDERSON, ‘YUKON’ LEROY PATTERSON WITH MATT HARDY’S BABY’S STUNT DOUBLE, TOMMY PURR, JACKED CANARY, LOONIE BIN, EL MANO DEL DIABLO, LETHAL LEE, MATTHEW ‘THE GRINCH’ ROBLEZ PLUS MORE!!! FREAKSHOW WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIP: BLACK ANNIE VS (CHAMPION) FUNNYBONE REVENGE-O-RAMA! THE WARLORD OF WEIRD SINN BODHI & LUCHA UNDERGROUND STAR MARTY THE MOTH VS HOODSLAM STAR DRUGZ BUNNY & THE MAN THAT STAYS CRUNCHY IN MILK, CEREALMAN DO NOT MISS THE INNER DEMONS MATCH! GAYDOLF VS GAYDOLF!!! & WITH THE RAINBOW REICH AT RINGSIDE!!! SIDESHOW MATCH! DANGEROUS D VS AUZZY BLOOD MIXED TAG! SHOTZI BLACKHEART & EL MANO DEL DIABLO & SHELLY MARTINEZ THE DEBUT OF RICHARD GENE SIMMONS VS LUCHA UNDERGROUND STAR WILLIE MACK VS NURSE RATCHET THE CLOWNLESQUE OF BRANDY SNIFTER! TAG TEAM ACTION! GARY GALAXY & LOVELY LARRY GALAXY VS THE DETENTION THE LIVE MUSIC STYLINGS OF METAL MRS CLAWS HOSTED BY: THE PRESIDENT OF FREAKSHOW WRESTLING - SHOCKER THE WRESTLING MAGICIAN & ZOMBIE BURLESQUE STAR – ENOCH AGUSTUS SCOTT JOIN US FOR AN EVENING OF XMAS WRESTLING! COMEDY! MAGIC! SIDESHOW! BOOZE AND SEXINESS! PLEASE LIKE US ON WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/FREAKSHOWWRESTLINGOFFICIAL AlanLeroy Gonzo Blogger The Battle Royale of Misfit Toys? Gaydolf VS Gaydolf with the Rainbow Reich at Ringside? I read the description and I still didn’t really have a clue what the hell Freakshow wrestling was really about. But I was going to find out. I thought to myself…”Self…You should examine this Freakshow Wrestling in great detail….and write about it on a Vegas Message Board.” And so AlanLeroy Gonzo Blogger was reborn. I e-mailed Freakshow Wrestling and told them that I have purchased VIP tickets and I occasionally write for Las Vegas Advice. Told them I want to write an article. That I'd like a short backgrounder interview and that I'll have my photographer with me. I requested any backstage access they might be willing to grant. Sometimes you just have to create the flow. Finally found a contact phone number. It was a recording....Karen. The recording indicated Karen wears two hats...a Freakshow Wrestling Hat and a Domesticated Cleaning Hat. That's good because I myself wear many hats...So I texted Karen the following: ____________________________________ “Hi Karen, I blog for Las Vegas Advice message board. I will be at Freakshow Wrestling Saturday. Would it be possible to do a short background interview and talk to/photograph some of the participants? Thanks. Alan Leroy.” __________________ From Karen: “Absolutely..be aware that we are very production heavy and we have an early call time of 5:30 PM for costume and makeup. Best to show up early to get everyone before they are in wardrobe if possible...between 5-7 pm. Park in the back and come thru the backstage area and we will all be available. You're welcome to bring 2 guests to the show as well.” _____________________ From AlanLeory “Thanks so much. That's awesome. I have a photographer who will be with me. We did buy the Groupon deal...because it looks like fun. Should I ask for you (Karen)?” ______________ From Karen “Yep! I will be there from 3:00 PM on. If I'm in dressing room feel free to talk with who ever is down in the stage/ring area. I'll see you Saturday.” _____________________ I love it when a plan comes together. Wait a minute. We don’t have a plan. I called Robin and tried to explain how we were going to spend Saturday in Vegas investigating the Freakshow Wrestling event. His response was something along the lines of “Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into” I decided I better start thinking about some hard hitting interview questions...and maybe do a little research into Professional Wrestling. From what little I had seen, I had a gut feeling that the sport of professional wrestling might even be rigged. I felt it was my professional duty as a Gonzo Blogger to uncover this scandal and expose them for the frauds they must be. Kayfabe and the long sordid history of Professional Wrestling. Professional wrestling began in the post Civil War USA. It did not really evolve from classical wrestling but instead from the world of Carnivals and State Fairs with an usurpation of the various wrestling moves and rules. “Grand circuses included wrestling exhibitions and quickly enhanced them through colorful costumes and fictional biographies for entertainment, disregarding their competitive nature”. It’s not unreasonable to assume that the very players in the Freaks movie worked alongside a professional wrestling exhibition in their 1930’s travels. Many of these staged matches were done for high stakes gambling. There were new and dangerous moves or “Hooks” that could seriously injure competitors….essentially removing the rules from professional wrestling. Often “the fix was in” as many of these high stakes matches were rigged between competitors to clean up on the betting action. Professional Wrestlers to this day use some of their own language…much of it originating in the old carney days. Words like: FACE: For a ‘Babyface’ or a good guy HEEL: For a bad guy MARK: It’s what they call wrestling outsiders..Really! BOTCH: Missing a wrestling move often causing injury or revealing the false nature of the stunt. But my favorite Wrestling Term is the word KAYFABE. I was shocked when Robin told me that a couple of people he knows think professional wrestling is legitimate sport. That it is a real competition and that the end result is unknown until the two wrestlers get into the ring. “How could that be”, I wondered. I remember as a kid watching ‘Big Time Wrestling” on our Black and White TV. My dad actually took me to a match when I was like 8. I believed it then…..but now? Now, I know that when people get stomped in the head, they often get knocked out and go the hospital. They don’t pop right up and body slam their competitor. And then, in my research I learned the word KAYFABE and it all started to make sense. “kayfabe /ˈkeɪfeɪb/ is the portrayal of staged events within the industry as "real" or "true", specifically the portrayal of competition, rivalries, and relationships between participants as being genuine and not of a staged or predetermined nature of any kind. Kayfabe has also evolved to become a code word of sorts for maintaining this "reality" within the direct or indirect presence of the general public”(Wiki) For over 100 years, Professional Wrestling has maintained this false portrayal of a real sport. It’s so ingrained in their culture, they created a special code word to help keep their greatest secret. It’s a grand conspiracy! With that in mind, I began to design my journalistic questions to uncover this 100 year secret and unmask the true nature of the business of professional wrestling. The public needs to know! Some of the questions I was considering: “Do you know the word Kayfabe?” “Who owns this show?” “Where does the money come from?” "Is this sport rigged?" “If so, who's going to win the Battle Royale?" "Can we photograph your injuries?". "Tell me a gruesome story". “Do you feel bad when you throw a fight?” “How long have you been abusing steroids?” “How did you get into this shady business?” “How much money do you make?” I was hoping to redeem myself from the colossal failure I made on a big story (Don’t ask) as a reporter for The Fresno High Owlette decades ago. I was back in the newspaper game! My Newly Minted Press Credentials. Saturday December 17 (For Real) We had breakfast at the Main Street Station Buffet. Then Explored Main Street Station. Another one of our Photography Categories this year was “The Antiques of Main Street Station”. I’ll spare you the pictures of Mahogany Apothecary Cabinetry or the Bronze Doors and Facade from the Kuwait Royal Bank or the Chandelier from the Figaro Opera House, Paris, France. On second thought…I won’t spare you anything. Cabinetry Chandelier Bank Door I do have this short video of the ‘Secret’ 2nd floor Billiards Room you might enjoy. Because we flew Allegiant, we had a nice advantage play right there at MSS. $50 in free play for $30. On Robin’s $50 he hit 4 Aces for a $200 win for the Gambling Wallet. Robin’s massive Video Poker hit. But Robin was beginning to question our strategy… Robin: “Are we really going to do this?” AlanLeroy “Yes” Robin: “How long will it take?” AlanLeroy “As long as it takes” Robin: “Well what are you going to ask them?” AlanLeroy: “I don’t know. I lost my list. I need some Martinis”. 4:00 PM Game On We had a good afternoon playing the many Match Plays and Free Slot plays available downtown. I had several double Bombay Sapphire Martinis and was feeling no pain. It was finally time to make the trek to the Fremont Country Club….a bar and performance venue on East Fremont across from El Cortez. I was a little drunker than I realized and stumbled a bit but we made it to the back entrance. I opened the door and walked into a big dark room with a fighting ring center stage and a large bar against the wall. There was a lot of activity happening. I asked a guy at the door for Karen. ‘She’s expecting us’ I claimed. I quickly forgot what I had planned to say to her. Fremont Country Club After a short wait, Creepy Karen greeted us. Karen was wearing a long black dress. It nicely complemented her mostly green skin and blood splotched face and hands. I introduced myself and Robin and laid the groundwork for our discussion. I started to ask some probing questions about whether wrestling is staged and if she minded if I record her. Never should have asked about the recorder. She clammed up tighter than Duck Woman’s ass. She deferred the recording part to her ‘better half’ Sinn Bodhi, but continued to make small talk about the event and her involvement in it. The room was filling up with wrestlers loosening up and practicing in the ring and others just hanging out. It was like a big party with hugs and cheers for long lost friends every time someone new would show up. Many wrestlers would come in and just go upstairs where the changing rooms were. We were not allowed upstairs. Karen introduced us to Patty the Hard Body Photographer and asked Patty to help us out. Karen then strategized with us about interviewing wrestlers and when the best time to catch them would be. She was really very nice to us. I gave her a Lucky Lighted Christmas Turkey Hat which she placed on one of the bloody toys on stage. Stage..Toy with Lucky Lighted Christmas Turkey Sinn Bodhi Eventually Karen pulled over a big strange looking man…and introduced him as Sinn Bodhi…the owner of Freakshow Wrestling. Sinn had had tattoos on his chest, arms, hands, fingers and the top of his skull. He sported a full beard with a rat tail and his face was painted like a clown. He wore a Santa muscle shirt with striped clown pants. I asked Sinn if it was ok if I record him…he had no problem with that. And so I proceeded to interview. Sinn admitted to being 42 which is really old for a wrestler. In Canadian Metric Wrestling Dog years, he claims he’s 147. That’s right. Sinn is Canadian. He was active in martial arts and other fighting sports when growing up and was a high school wrestling champion. He learned the Pro-Wrestling business at a wrestling school in Toronto and has traveled extensively ever since. He wrestled many years in the WWE. Freakshow wrestling is his baby. He claims it’s ‘Part Parody, Part Sexy, Part Battle and Part Wow’. They play shows in LA and Vegas. In addition to the wrestling, there are side shows and often live music. They respect no boundaries at Freekshow wrestling and are actively trying to push the envelope of weird. And then I mentioned “and it’s really all fake….right?” Well there was that hot button again. He was nice to us too…except on that question he’d only say “It’s so real, wrestlers have been killed in the ring and we all suffer injuries all the time and the end results are always between the competitors”. Sinn Bodhi and Scorch It was the moment of truth…should I continue to probe and try to get him on tape admitting that he scripted the entire event including the winners? Could I really uncover the grimy side of the sport or should I back off and throw some softballs? It was a grand example of cognitive dissonance. As the owner was denying the sport is scripted, loud slams are coming from the ring where the wrestling competitors are practicing together….working out the details of their match. I thought about the Movie Freaks….and imagined maybe Robin and I were like the evil Herk and Cleo. Creepy Karen and Sinn had been nothing but kind to us. They even offered free admission and help getting interviews. Everyone we met was friendly and seemed to be having fun. They were entertainers and athletes…trying to make a buck and get some laughs from the audience….not turn of the century carnies throwing hooks and fixing bouts. Maybe WE were the real freaks by exploiting their kindness to write some investigative journalistic drivel. Wouldn’t be the first reporter to do that. And wasn’t I really a just a Kayfabe Reporter anyway? Besides, who knows what karmic Duck-Womanesque trick fate might play on us for such wanton reporting? I had an alternate interview idea that I had toyed with. Ask the wrestling name and a single question to each wrestler…and film it. Try to get as many as possible and string them together to give the readers a flavor of the event and the many characters. This had the added benefit that I wouldn’t have to do too much thinking in my semi-drunken state…although I was sobering up some. But what question? Eureka! I’ve got it! “Who is the freakiest freak of Freakshow Wrestling?” Oh man…It’s short, easy to understand and not threating. I ran it by Karen and she loved it. With that she gave me the run of the house. I could speak to anyone, take any photos or video I wanted. In the 5:00 PM All Hands meeting she pointed me out and announced that I’d be over by Patty The Hard Body Photographer and mentioned I had a ‘fun’ interview question for them and to please stop by. Patty the Hard Body Photographer Patty is a married mother of 3 who went back to the college of southern Nevada to get a degree in commercial photography. She specializes in action events and is the official photographer of Freakshow wrestling. Her company is hardbodyphotography.com if you ever need an action photographer while in Vegas. She had a lot of special lighting set up in the corner of the Fremont Country Club. Every participant in FSW can have their portrait taken by Patty before the show. She is a real perfectionist posing and re-posing the wrestlers and taking many shots before getting the perfect one or two. Patty with “The Detention” We all hit it off well and talked about photography and wrestling. AlanLeroy: “It’s fixed, right?” Patty “You wouldn’t believe the injuries I’ve seen”. I gave Patty a Lucky Lighted Christmas Turkey Hat. She agreed to funnel the wrestlers to me after she took their picture so I could ask my hard-hitting interview question. Once the wrestling begins, Patty is ringside….and I mean almost in the ring moving around like lightening getting action shots. She taught Robin the ropes of ringside photography and he was right there with her ringside taking action shots too. The Characters Father and Nun Nature boy Rick Flair Marco Gorilla Jack Frosty The Snowman Christmas Krueger Jack Frosty The Snowman and Christmas Krueger Scorch Andrea the Giant What’s he smiling about? Shade My Hard Hitting Interviews with The Characters… Ok…The room was dark. I was using my smartphone video…so the quality isn’t great. Occasionally one of Patty’s flashes lights up the scene producing a freaky effect. Warm Ups In the hours before show begins, wrestlers are in the ring planning their bouts. Turns out Creepy Karen is quite the singer in addition to being a wrestler. Here she is practicing her number. Creepy Karen. Nice Lungs. At 5:00 PM they have an ‘all hands talk’ where Sinn makes sure everyone’s on the same page. All hands Talk Let the Show Begin Opening Number…It’s Christmas Time in Hell Poor Gary Galaxy gets a Pencil up the butt from the Detention. It was a number 2. Gary on the ropes Detention wins Shelly "De La Muerte" Martinez on the ropes Shelly "De La Muerte" Martinez down for the count Sin City Strong Woman Marco Gorilla as Referee The Inner Demons Match I have to admit it’s one of the strangest performances I’ve ever seen. It culminates in a new wrestling move…The Rainbow Centipede. It’s a battle to determine who is the ‘real’ Gaydolf Hitler. Not suitable for work…or perhaps anywhere. I could write a book describing this, but it wouldn’t be as good as this video clip. Watch it if you dare. Gaydolf vs Gaydolf Freakshow Conclusion Well my friends, I promised you freaks. I gave you Freaks. It’s not quite the 1932 cast like Daisy and Violet Hilton as the Siamese twins Schlitzie (the pinhead) as himself Josephine Joseph as Half Woman-Half Man Johnny Eck as Half Boy Frances O'Connor as Armless girl Peter Robinson as Human skeleton Olga Roderick as Bearded lady Koo Koo as herself Prince Randian as The Living Torso Martha Morris as Angeleno's armless wife Elvira Snow as Pinhead Pip Jenny Lee Snow as Pinhead Zip Elizabeth Green as Bird Girl Delmo Fritz as Sword Swallower It is their 2017 equivalents. Hip Hop Harry Nature Boy Rick Flair Marco the Gorilla Shelly "De La Muerte" Martinez Andrea the Giant The Detention Blue Shade Christmas Krueger Jack Frosty The Snowman--His nose hurts Sin City Strong Woman The Narrator from Rudolph the red nosed reindeer Techno Destructo Scorch the clown Gorgeous Gary Galaxy And If you’re wondering who is the Freakiest freak of Freakshow Wrestling …wonder no more. No question about it. I loved Freakshow Wrestling. If you aren’t easily offended and have a bit of an offbeat sense of humor, you’ll love it too. Trip Conclusion The rest of the trip was relatively uneventful. Oh I might have had a few gin drinks and the Happy hour at Redwood Steakhouse was great. We split the Gambling Wallet Sunday night and our $200 had magically turned into $1200. We did come upon an interesting busker on Fremont though. I took one look at the guy and said “I know this man”…No He did not give me water. I saw him on the TV show Vegas ER after he inadvertently hammered a long nail into his foot attempting a trick. Now he had his very own Freakshow. I could do that with a little practice at home. Who knows, maybe in a few years I’ll have my own little Freakshow on Fremont. The End If anyone actually reads this entire report…..I thank you. If you actually read the whole thing and watched all of my videos you might consider the possibility that you’re a Vegas Freak too. Until Next Time!