The Ecstasy of the Agony

North Hollywood's California Institute of Abnormal Arts is a wondrous spot, sort of a man-made Bermuda Triangle, where the unnatural collides with the supernatural to create a decadent, sickly atmosphere. It's a surrealist's fantasy land where anything can happen — and frequently does. While any visit to the, er, facility is dizzying, tonight's latter-day freakercise, Zamora's Sideshow, ups the agony ante with a mixture of nauseating self-abuse, feats of daredevil skill and confounding old-school theatrics, served with a rock & roll twist. Headliner Zamora, the infamous Torture King who almost singlehandedly re-invigorated the classic American schlock sideshow format some 20 years ago, endures a series of the most ghastly and stomach-churning punishments imaginable — lying in a bed of nails, eating broken light bulbs, breathing fire, enduring thousands of volts of electricity, being pierced, suspension-by-sabre — the whole vile, astonishing gamut. The performance of seven-time Guinness World Record holder Frank Simon is equally mind-bending: He's a paragon of endurance who can balance such objects as motorcycles, kitchen ranges and washing machines on his teeth. Rounding out the night is Dr. Odd's Medicine Show, a fast-moving, self-propelled nightmare of Grand Guignol–gone-snakeoil shenanigans brought to you by Mike Odd, a renegade from the trash-rock troupe Rosemary's Billygoat. Stupefaction guaranteed. California Institute of Abnormal Arts, 11334 Burbank Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri., May 3, 8:30 p.m.; $12 online, $15 at door. (818) 221-8065, ciabnormalarts.com.
Fri., May 3, 8:30 p.m., 2013

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California Institute of Abnormal Arts (C.I.A.)

11334 Burbank Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601

818-221-8065


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