Feb 19 2010

Hellzapoppin in North Carolina!

Johnny Mayhem

Last weekend, Johnny was onstage with the Hellzapoppin’ Sideshow Revue at a performance in Raleigh, NC, at the Volume 11 club.

We got some video of some swords being dropped, and the crowd, expectedly, going WILD…

Johnny Mayhem Sword Swallower

Next up, a show for COHG called Light Me On FIRE!, and we’ll have some photos from that event up just as soon as we can.  In the meantime, they’re all over on Johnny’s Facebook page for the world to oogle.

Special thanks to Bryce “The Govna” Graves, Zamora the Torture King, Diabla the Devil’s Daughter, John “My beard scares small children” Shaw, and Jackie the Human Tripod for all the great memories.

Nov 4 2009

Halloween Shenanigans

Johnny Mayhem


We’ve been meaning to post about the awesomesauce that was Halloween 2009 for a few days now, but the missus Mayhem has been prepping both the house and this site for the Sideshow Gathering this coming weekend, and has been a slacker about doing so.  We’ve taken her birthday away as punishment.

That said, Halloween was a flurry of fire and crowds and self-abuse.  A really great one, no less.

Like you’d expect less from the rock star Johnny Mayhem and crew.


Every year, a local cathedral puts on a safe holiday festival for families.  No worries about apples in the razor blades or scary people in cars plowing over the kids — that kind of thing.  There’s a huge carnival, with rides and live music and carnie-style games, and it draws a HUGE crowd.  We’re talking HUGE here.  Up to twenty thousand people walk through the gates every year, for several hours of fun and candy and positive message.  Cathedral Of His Glory turns into a veritable sea of people.

While some of you who have seen Johnny’s more adult-themed shows in other areas might be boggling just a little right now (as curse words and adult-ish themes haven’t been all that uncommon, and, in fact, have been a draw), the Mayhem crew is actually really good with kids.  Probably because they’re just great big kids themselves.  Go figure.

Anyway, Johnny went on around seven p.m., when it got dark here in Greensboro, and opened the show with fire.  He continued to wow the crowd and make them roar with laughter for almost an hour, pulling people from the audience to get involved.  The show went pretty much without a hitch, and afterward, he was mobbed with people thanking him and stapling his trademark dollar bills to his chest.

We’ve been asked back, and people are still sending messages and comments on how much they loved him.  Huge thanks to the people at the Cathedral for putting this thing on and helping it run so smoothly — we’re always thrilled to work with people who are as nice as you are.


The second event of the night was postponed due to a combination of weather and attendance.  They’re rescheduling for the spring, and they totally want MAYHEM INC there, which is awesome.  They’d also mentioned some other events in the near future, and while we were bummed a little that this one was postponed, we’re beyond happy to have met those folks, too.  Nice people can be a bit of a rarity in promotions and events, and we’ve been very, very lucky out here in North Carolina to find all of them so far.

And, truth be told, we were pretty tired from Huge Event #1 of the evening.  It’s probably a good thing we got some donuts and some sleep instead.

*  *  *

This weekend is coming fast, and Johnny had An Idea.

Ideas are usually the realm of the missus, but Johnny looked over on Halloween night and said, “Y’know…you should totally do a line of classic sideshow scents and soaps for the gathering.  I bet Franco’d trade us vendor space for slave labor, and just think how freakin’ cool it would be to have sword swallower perfume.”

One should never mention ideas of this nature to the missus.  Ever.  Because she runs with them.


An exclusive line of scents (fifteen of them, with a bonus sixteenth if you buy the set), launching at and commemorating the annual Sideshow Gathering 2009, with an italian carnivale/steampunky kind of feel to them.  They’ll also be here on the site, exclusively, when the gathering is over.  (Provided missus can figure out how this code stuff works.  It’s being difficult at the time of this writing, as code tends to do.)

From the watery fraudulence of the Sirena di Figi (Fiji Mermaid) to the exotic-sweet resin of lo Sportellista di Fortuna (the Fortune-Teller), to the spicy woods dripping with beeswax of il Fakhir (the Fakhir, obviously)…there’s a whole line of classic sideshow bottles that are both fun and wearable, and a collaboration between the Mayhems.

Just one more service we offer.

We’ll be updating live from Wilkes-Barre!  Stay tuned for up-to-the-minute reports on the industry’s best and brightest!

We. can’t. wait.

Oct 31 2009

In Praise of Ink

Johnny Mayhem


Last night, we ended up at the HallowINK FestEVIL in Burlington, NC.  The event is more than just a standard tattoo convention; it’s a full-on party, with music and entertainers and lots and lots of inking and pokings-of-holes-in-bodies going on all around the perimeter.

It’s the first year for this event.  Scott, one of the guys putting it on, and the owner of Inferno Ink Tattoo told us how the festEVIL came about — apparently, there were some adult beverages on the porch one evening, and the idea of a convention in Burlington came up.  As good ideas tend to do, it was evolved over the course of the night, and in three months’ time, Scott and his two partners had the entire event planned and ready to go.

For anyone who’s never planned an event bigger than a birthday party (and even a few of those), you won’t understand how huge of a feat that is.  Putting together a big public event is often like herding cats, and feral, fifty-foot-tall cats, at that.  There’s a reason that conventions get planned, sometimes a few years in advance — you NEED that much time to put it together.  The fact that Scott and his partners put this thing together in a matter of months turns them into supermen/women.  Seriously.


They’re planning on doing this event again in the Spring, and asked us to be a part of it.  We’re so there.

Tonight, they’ve got a raucous night planned — a Reggae band from here in NC, and another band (I believe it’s the Anonymous Band, but don’t hold me to that) that’s local-ish.  We’re coming in around ten with the bag o’ sideshow tricks, and will be wandering the crowd and making people groan with discomfort (because THAT’S WHAT WE DO.).  We’re still not sure on the legality of the fire stuff here, but Johnny’s got his box of flammables, just in case.  (Because what goes better with tattoos than fire?)

And, a meta-note, too — we think we may have found our human pincushion.  She works for one of the shops in Burlington and apparently has no pain receptors anywhere in her body.  She lets her apprentices practice piercing ON HER OWN BODY, so we think she’s going to be perfect.  It’s awesome.


Also on the docket for tonight — Johnny’s doing the largest show he’s EVER DONE.  And he’s done some big ‘uns, so that’s saying something.

At the Cathedral of His Glory, in Greensboro, NC, they hold an annual event with music and food and carnival-style games to give parents someplace to bring their children where they don’t have to worry about razor blades in the apples or LSD in the laffy taffy.  It’s a positive-message event, but, I think, may be more about the GIANT PALLETS OF CANDY they bring in, at least for the kiddos.

They’ve asked us to come and perform on stage inbetween band performances from 6 – 9 p.m..  Mayhem Inc will be performing acts of amazement and amusement in three short sets…in front of an estimated seventeen thousand people.

Let me let that sink in.

Seventeen.  Thousand.  People.

That’s bigger than Johnny’s hometown.  By, like, twenty times.

It starts tonight around six (as we mentioned), at the Cathedral of His Glory (as mentioned), which is on Lake Jeannette Drive in Greensboro (which we didn’t mention until now).  Come on by!

There’s candy….

Oct 29 2009

Pennsylvania Bound!

Johnny Mayhem

This next weekend (the weekend after Halloween, during which we’re working like crazy here in the Greensboro area), marks the annual Sideshow Gathering event in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania!


While MAYHEM, INC is not one of the scheduled performers (we weren’t sure if we’d be moved out here by then or not), there is a huge list of performers scheduled to attend, including The Crispy Family (Johnny’s mentor and friends), Zamora the Torture King (who Mrs. Mayhem still contends looks enough like Mel Gibson with dimples to be cute as all get-out), and The Lucky Devil Sideshow (more friends).

It’s always a great time at Inkin’ The Valley.  Johnny’s attended the gathering twice previously, and is fairly fond of the event, considering that he and the missus got hitched on that very stage back in 2005.  (The Reverend Travis Fessler of Pickled Brothers Sideshow presided.)


Also in 2005 was the Big Swallow…which, despite its name that sounds much like a movie from the Other section of the video store, was a world’s record attempt (and breaking!) for the most number of swords swallowed simultaneously on stage.  A mass of performers stood on the stage, some swallowing multiple swords at once, and shattered that world’s record into a million pieces.


Other record-breakings were attempted that weekend in 2005, but wind conditions kept the performers from getting the records they were seeking.  Johnny was involved in an attempt for a record for group teething of torches (fire-eating), but when the wind shifted, his lip was turned into a giant, fluid-filled jellybean of flesh.

Fire, my friends, is a dangerous thing.


This year, we’re looking forward to hobknobbing with the best in the industry, learning a thing or two, and coming back from Pennsylvania with new ideas and new enthusiasm for the craft and art of sideshow itself.

Come on by, if you’re in the area, or make some plans to drive on over.  It’s great fun for the weekend.

And do say hello if you see us!