Last Thursday, the Century Guild gallery in the art hub of Culver City held a very special preview of their current show of paintings by acclaimed neo-Symbolist artist Gail Potocki. Her new show, “Freaks,” pays homage to many famous performers from the golden age of Sideshows, Carnivals and Freakshows. Potocki's paintings depict these unique people in the dignified, stately manner of traditional 19th-century portraits, in sharp contrast to the abuse and discrimination that made their lives so difficult. To celebrate the opening, Century Guild gallerist Thomas Negovan, Los Angeles' impresario of all matters having to do with the intersection of Symbolism, Victorianism, Expressionism, Neo-Gothic and Classic Horror (he shows Clive Barker's art, among many other things), invited the best local, contemporary representatives of the sideshow tradition: Todd Ray and his Venice Beach Freakshow performers. Now world-famous thanks to their popular AMC reality show, Ray, his wife Danielle, fire-eating daughter Asia, extreme stunt performer (and Goth pinup lad) Morgue, Dakota the Bearded Lady and Gabriel Pimentel, billed as “the smallest man in the U.S.,” were all on hand appreciating Potocki's paintings. Everyone in attendance (including Pixee the Human Barbie, Troma auteur Lloyd Kaufman and rising burlesque star Mosh) also took a turn petting Instagram celebrity Paleo the Snake, lovingly handled by the stunning Kimama the Snake Dancer. Photos by Gustavo Turner.