DR. MICHELLE CARNES (DR. TORCHER AND QUEEN WEIRDO)
I grew up a shy, nerdy girl in Indianapolis, Indiana. I am an introvert who loved books and school and being by myself a lot. I admired comedians and performers from afar. I never pictured myself on stage. And stripping out of a straitjacket? Playing with an electric chair? Putting fire in my mouth? Well, here we are!
Sideshow satisfies universal human desires. Sideshow is permission to look, to stare, to marvel, to touch cultural boundaries, up close! Sideshow is me, managing my fear in order to do something fun, exhilarating, extraordinary. It requires me to practice feeling afraid in a controlled way, focus on breathing, embrace the full sensory experience. Sideshow is a distraction from the mundane. Everyone needs a little sideshow in their lives.
My passion and respect for comedy and sideshow history comes from my father, Bill Carnes. He taught me to make things with my hands, to value the origins and stories of the things I care about. He also taught me about science, chemistry and creative ways to freak people out with it in a safe (and even educational) way.
To me, the DC Weirdo Show is about wonder, shock and novelty, encouraging our audience to think. What especially delights me about sideshow is, it's not a trick - and yet, even if you know how a stunt works, it doesn't diminish any of the delight to watch. I'm a fire eater myself and seeing others eating fire gives me chills every time. There are some arts that you simply cannot fully appreciate unless you see them LIVE and the DC Weirdo Show celebrates this live performance tradition.
MARK ANDUSS (SOUND DESIGNER AND THEATER WEIRDO)
I have spent much of my life in the theater ... and most of that in the dark.
I was born in Hawaii to a military family and I was set to follow that path too ... but, at birth, I had 80% hearing loss and I was legally blind in my left eye. So, of course I was drawn to making music and making movies as my career path. I stepped on a hot soldering iron when I was 2 and doctors said I wouldn't walk - so I took to the soccer field and became a top player in my division. I've always rooted for the underdog because I know what that feels like.
The DC Weirdo Show is special to me because it's a show like none other in this area. This was the show where my wife, Dr. Torcher, made her sideshow debut. As the scene grows and expands, it's important for there to be opportunities for new acts to emerge, to push the envelope in a traditional artform like sideshow and variety.
I have worked in theatrical and video production in the Washington DC area for over 20 years and even received a Helen Hayes Award for theatrical sound design. As technical director and stage manager for The DC Weirdo Show, I get to contribute my talents to a small venue, an independent show where the performers are in charge of what they do. I get to create an experience for our audience that may be subtle or even go unnoticed but that means I'm doing my job right.
We're dedicated to keeping a beloved Washington variety tradition thriving by producing the DC Weirdo Show. Thank you to our audience for supporting live entertainment, local artists and small venues in Washington DC... and weirdos everywhere!