Unique sideshow sure to turn heads

The Know Nothing Zirkus Zideshow bringing zany antics to Level'z


— They may be sadistic, raw and vulgar for the rural city of Steamboat Springs, but without a doubt, The Know Nothing Zirkus Zideshow will bring strange looks, laughs and wide eyes to the stage at Level'z Thursday night.

There may be special tricks the evening of July 26 because it's Miles "The Hammerhead's" 21st birthday.

They've been called a freak show (though they probably wouldn't be offended by that) because of their strange acts and characters including Nasty Nurse, Pierre Pressure and Styx duh Klown.

"We were not locked away and branded as social undesirables, but we constituted a completely different class altogether the human oddity," it reads on their Web site.

Although the sideshow wouldn't reveal technicalities of their act, they are musically talented and do have a band that travels with them.

The band is Black Santa, and they're from the South Pole.

"We have something of a torture variety. We have great clowns and physical anomalies," said Dr. Eric von Know Nothing, co-founder of the sideshow.

After days of being disconnected through the uncharged cell phone, Know Nothing finally sat down to a 2 p.m. breakfast at Country Kitchen somewhere in Iowa.

"You'll have to excuse my mouthful of steak and I'm trying to have a conversation with seven different people," Eric said, adding that a crouton and a french fry were a balanced exchange.

During the Tuesday interview, Eric said the band comes from 6,000 years into the future.

Wednesday he said he was sticking to that.

"I would suspect there's a few others who have come here from there," Eric said, adding that the CIA has a restraining order on him for revealing any secrets.

While the CIA's motto is to trust no one and deny everything, Know Nothing has taken the more philosophical approach to life: It's easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.

"That comes from years of experience. We usually have to let the chips fall where they may," Eric said.

Circus, or zirkus for Know Nothing, connotes a certain preconceived notion for many.

Eric said Know Nothing thrives on that preconceived notion because the side show always will end up being personal to each person who experiences their act.

"'Circus' has a lot of connotations and baggage. But we manage to more than live up to it," Eric said. "When we're up on stage, we're just being us. But what we're doing is really different."

At one time in their side show career, the Know Nothing audiences would "freak out," but larger venues with bigger crowds has helped the side show become more accepted.

"It's a weird crowd every time. The response that we've gotten this year is really phenomenal," Eric said.

Eric said most of the Zideshow's responsibilities lie in their offstage lives getting all their gear together (including a bed of nails) and touring.

At some points, Know Nothing has had 25 "family members" on stage and touring with them; however, Eric said that's never a logical idea.

Know Nothing tours from May through October because their hometown of New Orleans sees 120-degree temperatures with unbearable humidity to accompany it.

"It's a place we belong. It works really well with us," Eric said.

Traveling clockwise around the United States, Eric said he's really looking forward to heading to Japan for a six-month tour if the monetary funds allow it.


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