Two of the victims of yesterday's Cafe Racer tragedy had been members of neo-cabaret troupe Circus Contraption: Drew Keriakedes (who performed under the stage name Shmootzi the Clod) and Joe Albanese (Dexter Mantooth). Aside from their decade of local shows -- from "A Surreal Circus" at the Seattle Fringe Festival in 1999 to "The Show to End All Shows," which did, bittersweetly, in 2009 -- CC performed across the country and in Europe. (John Longenbaugh visited and reported on a 2008 CC rehearsal.) Joe played bass, upright and electric; singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Drew also performed a sword-swallowing act.
In 2005 and 2006, CC took "The Grand American Traveling Dime Museum" to New York City's Theater for the New City, and one performance, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2006, was followed with the unforgettable onstage wedding of Keriakedes and Zoe Brown. As I noted at the time: "Presiding was David Crellin as CC ringmaster Armitage Shanks, and the ceremony took the form of a show featuring top NYC circus/cabaret artists alongside CC performers. The bride (looking luscious in a plain off-white taffeta sheath dress and combat boots) and groom took their vows standing on the chest of a tattooed man lying on his back on a bed of nails. A wedding toast was offered by a woman who goes by the stage name of Insectivora--'Don't let the bedbugs bite--and if they do, bite them back!'--resulting in the death by ingestion of a large roach. Shmootzi offered a song specially written for Zoe, ending with the line "See you in Hell," which may not sound romantic, but the audience was a lake. Post-ceremony entertainment, with more bug-eating as well as bowling ball lifting via pierced earlobe, bare-handed lightbulb-crushing, and a human dartboard, was provided by the Disgraceland Family Freakshow."