Venice Freak Show is No More

Video by Riley Ludwig

The Venice Beach attraction celebrated its last Sunday afternoon at the beach with a six-hour performance that also served as a protest, fundraiser, and farewell.

The show featured a thin man with long blonde hair and eyeliner emerging from the curtains, revving a power drill over his nostril, and shoving it in. Screams rang out from the crowd of 300 gathered on the iconic beach as the 4-inch drill sank into his nostril. Bob the Bubble Boy, a man covered in bumps, ripped his shirt off and started a chant with “freak show.”

The finale was full of Snap-worthy moments, but the event was made in part to protest the company, headquartered in Venice.

Snapchat app company Snap Inc. subleases a floor in the office space in the building that houses the show, and locals believe that the tech giant had a part in the eviction of their show.

A representative of Snapchat told Los Angeles Times on Sunday that the company had no association with Snapshot Partners LLC, the buildings landlord. The tech company didn’t have plans to occupy the Freak Show’s storefront place.

Freak Show founder Todd Ray learned that the five-year lease would be allowed to expire, where Ray says they will turn the space into an office building.

The attraction lured curious tourists to the prime spot on Venice Beach for 11 years. The show’s admission cost was $5, and performers say the attraction offered message in its outrageous performance.

“It’s OK to be different,” said Kanya the Amazing Half Girl, also known as Kanya Sesser, a 24-year-old Thai immigrant born without legs.

Now Ray, Bob the Bubble Boy, the sword swallower, and the bearded lady are looking for a new place to call home. Ray is determined to not let this be the end of the show.

Ray said, “We brought wonder into the world and showed that the world is weirder than you know.”

Read more with the Los Angeles Times

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