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Performing Arts

Hooked on a feeling

The Captain’s Sideshow crew will leave you hanging.

Louis Fowler April 16th, 2013

The Captain’s Sideshow
9 p.m. Friday
Voodoo Lounge
530 S. Broadway

Quick, picture somebody hanging from hooks. For some, that’s likely to conjure up grotesque images from a Hellraiser sequel. In actuality, however, body modification and suspension is an ancient art used to test the limits of human endurance.

It’s an art that the crew of The Captain’s Sideshow proudly continues to this day.

“Captain’s Sideshow is an oldschool, Coney Island sideshow that does old-school sideshow tricks like bed of nails, bed of glass and human blockheads,” said Dustin Mathis, group ringmaster. “But we’ve changed it up and put our own twist on it. We do body suspension, and we also have put in hook play, which is putting hooks in our body and doing various things with that.”

Mathis, who owns the SB Body Arts tattoo studio at 6717 N. May, concedes that not everyone understands the art of suspension, but he’s more than happy to explain it.

“Body suspension is basically hanging from your skin from large gauge hooks. It’s one of those things you have to wrap your mind around and understand what you’re getting into,” he said. “It’s just really about being comfortable around the people you’re working with and understanding how your body works.”

Gawkers can check out the feats of endurance firsthand Friday, when The Captain’s Sideshow brings its long-running act to the Blue Note Lounge for a DVD release party, complete with a screening and live performance.

“The DVD has different shows we’ve done through the year. It’s got my buddy Joey doing a suspension off of a billboard,” Mathis said. “Every first Sunday of the month, we do suspension as a group out at Lake Hefner.

A couple of friends are doing knee suspensions [on the disc]. One is doing a back suspension.”

The troupe also performed last fall at Sanctuary, a local haunted house.

Mathis said the group is used to a “variety of audiences from metal kids to Joe Blows” and that the diversity of the crowd is its own sort of draw.

“It’s going to be an amazing show. You’re gonna see an in-your-face performance, lots of fun and lots of energy,” he said.

“You’re gonna see things where you’ll ask yourself, ‘How do they do that? Why do people want to do that? How does that happen?’ We love the audiences where we can just see the shock on their faces.”

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