Friday, April 27, 2012

Get Your FREAK On: Just Your Average Family Freak Show!!!

Last weekend we celebrated some family birthdays, namely Mary and my nephew, Patrick.  Their birthdays are just a few days apart, so we decided a co-birthday party was the right way to go.  Typically, I'm not big on themed anything - rooms, parties, restaurants.  Unless, of course, the theme is Side Show Freaks!  Prepare yourselves for a picture-heavy post!

The genesis of our party was a slide we saw during a Big Retro Slide Show by Charles Phoenix .  The slide featured a mid-century image of a carousel birthday cake.  I was bound and determined to make such a cake and feature it on the blog.  Mary insisted that I wait and save the cake for an actual event, the kind of event where people gather and celebrate a birth by indulging in cake.  A birthday party was born!!!

The cake wasn't exactly like this, but you get the idea.
I almost wish I had seen this photo before we started...I guess I'll
just have to make another carousel cake.

As we mulled over the possibilities for such a party, I decided that a circus theme was just a little too square.  Considering myself rather hep, I tend to shy away from anything hip, I reckoned a side show party (a bit trendy) would allow for a little bit of circus (for the 2-year-old) and a little bit of freak show (for the 19-year-old). 

Before entering the "Big Top," party-goers were stopped for a photo-op 
behind our hand-painted side show posters.

Details of The Tattooed Lady. 
I doubt I'll be getting any offers to appear on LA Ink.

The "Big Top" was the dining room where the centerpiece was the
aforementioned carousel cake.  We hung streamers to recreate the tent ceiling.

A close up of the cake.
I made the carousel canopy from striped fabric and gold ric rac
stretched across a doll's parasol frame that we found at a discount store.
The poles are paper straws that held the birthday candles.

A side show wouldn't be complete without side show performers.
The matriarch and patriarch of our Family Freak Show and
our assortment of human oddities!

The Snake Charmer

The Birthday Boy, a reluctant Strong Man

The Circus Geek

Mr. Tiny,  Circus Geek (or maybe just a regular geek)

The Gypsy Fortune Teller

The Tattooed Lady & The Elephant Man

The Bearded Lady

The Bird Man

A Living Mermaid
(not of the Fiji variety)

The Human Blockhead

Real Siamese Twins

Schlitzie, The Pinhead

Twins of a different Nature
The Big Cat Tamer

Every guest was encouraged to have their fortune told.
After gazing into the crystal ball, and examining their palms, our fortune teller
presented earnest seekers with their fortune in the form of a fortune cookie!

I used my vintage ceramic caddies/valets to serve candy.  Now that's a hungry, hungry hippo!!!

We replaced many of our photos with pictures of our lesser-known family
 members including, The Dog-Face Boy, Alligator Boy, and The Tattooed Lady.

We filled in the nooks and crannies with my collection of carnival chalkware.

My favorite part was the candy table which featured popcorn, peanuts, pretzels,
penny candy, circus peanuts, circus animal cookies, red vines, swirled lollipops,
cotton candy, chocolate, and so much more.
The candy table was presided over by our second birthday cake,

The backyard was strung with lights and balloons and set the
stage for hot dogs and lemonade, our Bearded Lady DJ,
and a set by the ultimate freak show, Thee Cormans!

The plan was to have Mary and the Birthday Boy blow out the candles together,
but by this point in the evening, he had given up, so Mary was left to her own devices.
Given her technique, I think we were lucky to have a spittle shield built into the cake!

Like I said, he had given up.
Somewhere in the world there is a stark-naked Strong Man running around. 

Fish out of water - a reclining mermaid

A detail of her be-shelled hair comb.

Who invited the regular folks?!!!
Charles, Jody, and Kevin representing the non-freak faction.
No matter, "Gooble gobble, gooble, gobble, we accept you, one of us!"
There's a joke here that's just dying for a punch line;
So The Elephant Man, a Mermaid, and a Tattooed Lady
walk into a bar....

Would you believe that the geek on the right is a vegetarian, chicken sitter?

I'm pretty sure this was the happiest day of her life!

Love this pic!

No matter where I went, their eyes seemed to follow me!

It just wouldn't be a Mr. Tiny production without a fireside sing-a-long.
We were even treated to some punkin' strummin' by the newly-
bifurcated Siamese Twin, Amber Foxx.

It might not have been "The GREATEST Show on Earth," but it
was a real wing ding and a heck-of-a-lot of fun.

A HUGE Thank you to all in attendance!  I really didn't think anyone was going to get dressed up, but everyone truly outdid themselves with spectacular variety and aplomb!  Can't wait till the side show blows back into town again!

Once again, the well-framed, well-lit, well-composed photographs are courtesy of Jessica Stopnik Photography.  I am hopeless behind a camera (not to mention in front) and I rely on her great skill and talent.


Mr. Tiny


  1. Wow, what a shindig! I was super impressed with your sewing skills - but now I'm floored by your party planning prowes and excellent execution! Bravo!

    1. Thanks MB!!! We love your website and hope to see each and every one of the landmarks on the RetroRoadmap!!!!

  2. I bow in awe that Charles Phoenix attends your parties! I looked at the photos twice, I can't get over how much fun it all looks. Amazing from one detail to the next!

    1. Hahahaha...Thanks Tasha!!! I don't know what we did to get him here, but he is a great guest! Thanks again!

  3. AMAZING!!! and thee cormans played your party?!?! be still my beating heart.

    1. To be perfectly honest, we have an "in" with the band, so they were literally paid with PEANUTS!!!

  4. My twin and I had so much fun!! I can't wait for another party from Mr. Tiny. You know how awesome you are!

    1. Thanks Emily! You and the alpha are invited back anytime! Awesome??? Look who's talking!!!

  5. Truly Amazing, your party was off the wall!

    1. Anonymous strikes again!!! Thanks Anon!!!!

  6. Wow. Next time I will reschedule my wedding if it conflicts with one of your parties. What would you do for a 1950s prom themed reception??? ha ha ha.

    So sorry I missed it. I won't next time!


    1. Yes, next time you should really plan the biggest day of your life around a 2-year-old's birthday party...priorities!!!! We missed you guys but know that there was a VERY valid reason for your absence!!! Congratulations again, newlyweds!!! Next time for sure!

  7. oh wow! i might have to steal this idea for a theme. i LOVE how creative all the costumes were and you really pulled off a great looking party! that little strong man is KILLING ME.

    1. Isn't it crazy?!!! I put no pressure on anyone to wear a costume and everyone came up with really cool ideas! It was a lot of fun! That little strong man is almost a year older now and he's my favorite person on the planet - but he is CRAZY!!!!