Volume 92, Issue 92
Tuesday, March 23, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Rose's freak show just got a little stranger
Photo by Mark Van S
I'M READY FOR MY CLOSE UP MR. DEMILLE. Freak guru Jim Rose proves he is the master of mind control, as he blurs reality and exposes psychological phenomena at The Spoke today at noon.
By Clare Elias
"I was born yesterday, but I stayed up all night," says Jim Rose in his mischievous, slow drawling voice. If this history is taken as truth, then the night was an incredibly long journey into the depths of horror and the freakish behaviour of a psychological thriller show, which transcends the barriers of reality and reason.
The Jim Rose Circus carries the connotation of the weird, the unusual and the strange. Thus, the group's latest endeavour to dismantle audiences' security in Secrets of the Strange coincides with the circus' history.
In 1992, Jim Rose and his circus sidekicks performed at Lollapalooza and through other similarly odd performances, Rose scored a place on the tour bus in 1994 with Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails.
"'91,'92 and '93 was a punk rock era, a punk rock freak show. And you would see a man who pumped his stomach and then you would see people drinking the contents. You would see a guy mutilate himself as a human pin cushion, although there was no blood. None of that is happening now," Rose explains.
Secrets of the Strange differs from these torture-esque shows, where the control lies in the performers' hands. Here, the control shifts to the viewers. "It's about power dynamics, but the difference is this year the audience gets the power. They gain the knowledge of what's behind everything I've been doing all these years, as far as the psychological level goes."
This performance is a revelation of all the tricks and treats he's been expounding over the past few years. Rose takes his audience on a psychological thrill ride to expose human behaviour, through the conventions of hypnotism, mind bending and brain washing.
"You will understand why someone back in '92 drank my vomit, you will know why people fainted at the human dart board, even though there was no blood. The point is, is that it's all about the power of suggestion," Rose declared.
But while the audience is empowered, their superiority is undermined by more illusions encompassing the show. "No one is really sure when the show starts, because everything you're programmed to believe doesn't happen. You don't even trust the intermission, because the intermission isn't really real."
In this circular spiral of trust, mistrust and confusion, the intense desire to know the unknown mimics the supernatural nauseam in pop culture. Rose attributes this quest for these strange secrets to a lack of political controversy and revolutions within society.
"There isn't a galvanizing world movement going on. There's nothing political of interest for a lot of people right now," Rose explains. "No one's keeping an eye on the Russians like they used to. This opens up a lot of time for brain thought into other areas there's the natural wonderment about the new millennium and it's around this time of approaching a new era that people start to feel pretty on top of the world."
Many in Rose's audience find comfort in knowing this subjection of horror is for a limited amount of time. Rose acknowledges this brief interlude of bizzarity, in which fears of the unknown are faced, as an ease of the mind.
"People have said that if you face your fear and you rise up and achieve your goal, if you accomplish a challenge, it will give you self-confidence and self-esteem. Well I'll tell you what, London won't be able to house the egos coming out of The Spoke tavern."
Rose will perform feats of psychological babble and paraphrase the mysteries of the unknown tonight at The Spoke. With this knowledge, perhaps one can take on the world.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999