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Sideshow Takes Center Stage in Rock Island

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We talk a lot about art in the Quad Cities, but a new kind of performance is coming to the area. It is the debut of the 7 Sins Sideshow in the QCA, happening at RIBCO Saturday night, featuring some traditional sideshow stunts. We want to warn you, some of them may freak you out, but the artists say they're supposed to.

Johnny Sin points to an animal trap. He says, "Normally what you would do is put this in the wood. An animal would walk by and this would break it's leg." So you wouldn't think anyone would want to put their hands anywhere near it. But Johnny Sin would prove you wrong.

And he's not the only one. See this drill? Saturday night the odd, weird and amazing Chadillac will put it in his nose, all the way in his nose. He says, "I kind of started out easy with a small nail & then I worked my way out, stretching out what I needed to inside my noise to accept bigger and larger nails."

They are two of the seven performers who make up the 7 Sins Sideshow, together now for several years. "I first started out throwing knives actually," Chadillac tells us. "And Red, being my best friend, was like, hey I'm doing a burlesque show, will you throw knives around me? And I was like, I've only been practicing for a little bit, but we'll try it."

And it worked. And after a stint at sideshow school on Coney Island, it just grew. "We try to outdo each other all the time. Like you did that, let me show you what I can do now. "And what they can do could freak you out. "You want everybody to be excited, but you definitely want everybody to kind of cringe too."

Baby Jane is a human pin cushion. Cat Daddy is the group's strong man, bending a 5 1/2 inch nail in half, and more. "He can lift over 100 pounds with just his mouth," Johnny Sin tells us. Meantime, Red shows us several of her specialities. From walking on glass to laying on a bed of nails. "As I place the cinder block on her chest," Chadillac tells us, "It's actually going to be pushing her deeper onto these nails." Even more so when he swings the sledgehammer.  In fact, you can see the nail marks on her back.

But after so much practice, Red says she is pain-proof. "It's a lot of adrenaline. And having that crowd react to you, in whatever way they're going to, whether it's oh gross, or that's amazing, we love it. Everything's super super fun. This is what we all have a passion for, and I don't see us stopping anytime soon."

Two members of the team were not available this day. But at Saturday's show, there will be knife throwing, fire eating and an electric chair.

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