Things Most Bizarre

Today we reveal the 10 finalists and the grand prize winner of the Bazaar of the Bizarre category in a World of Circus Art Contest.

Circus over its history has always been breathtaking. It often touches upon our sense of wonder and awe. For the longest time it also revealed to us the gasp provoking aspect of everything macabre and bizarre. You don’t see much “freak show” and side shows in contemporary circus but that does not mean it’s gone. If anything we are all one big sideshow and our culture is saturated with the bizarre and macabre. Reddit, art, cabarets, and other forums are where we feed our darker appetites. From here on in this post we join author and media specialist Emily Smith on her contemplations regarding everything bizarre as we unveil the finalists.
ZAMANBy: Flora BorsiFinalist in the Bazaar of the Bizarre

By: Flora Borsi
Finalist in the Bazaar of the Bizarre

MaleficentBy: Michael RosnerFinalist in the Bazaar of the Bizarre

By: Michael Rosner
Finalist in the Bazaar of the Bizarre

To grasp the prevalence of such appetites you need only witness the success and wide scale following of this season’s American Horror Story. With it’s dark circus theme we have already been presented with the side show, freak show, porn, murder, discrimination, rage, and other ingredients to feed the macabre curiosity of audiences. I wondered, as kids,  where did we first come across this sense of fascination with bizarre things? Here are 5 places I can remember. Full disclosure: 80s child (though you’ll notice pretty quickly due to the list.)

The Fair/Carnival
I come from a small town, and one of the first places we came across strangers, lights, whirling twirling rides, was at the fall fair. Here, there were exhibits of animals, plants and crafts during the day, with young kids running around everywhere, petting the donkeys and begging for candy. But once you got to be 13 or 14, and went at night, it was a completely different world. At night, there was techno music. There were multi-coloured blinking lights. You could go twirling, whirling on rides that whipped you around, high and low, made you dizzy. You thought you might fall, and that definitely shook up your normal world view. There were people calling to you and not your parents from booths full of teddy bears and other mini prizes – cause you were on your own for the first time. You could decide how to spend your hard-earned allowance, whether to eat all the candy floss and risk seeing it again after a twirly ride, or to visit a booth promising to show you something you had never seen before.

Queen of the DamnedBy: Randi kristin KvalvaagnesFinalist in the Bazaar of the Bizarre

Queen of the Damned
By: Randi kristin Kvalvaagnes
Finalist in the Bazaar of the Bizarre

Bearded Lady & Dog-Faced BoyBy: Olena SullivanFinalist in the Bazaar of the Bizarre

Bearded Lady & Dog-Faced Boy
By: Olena Sullivan
Finalist in the Bazaar of the Bizarre

2. Labyrinth Movie
My first movie crush and it was on goblin king David Bowie. You had to love it. Puppets spouting kid and adult humour and a whole other world within a labyrinth. The growing up quest of a 15-year-old girl to find her brother, meeting only puppets along the way, was a pretty soft introduction to the fascinatingly strange. My question is still – how easy was it to go from Oscar of Sesame Street to the Muppets to the rodents of unusual size in the Princess Bride and then to Jareth the goblin king of Labyrinth? Did Jim Henson lead us down a rabbit hole into the bizarre, or were we already there?

SpidermanDracorubioFinalist in the Bazaar of the Bizarre

Finalist in the Bazaar of the Bizarre

Hand CoutureEric UysFinalist in the Bazaar of the Bizarre

Hand Couture
Eric Uys
Finalist in the Bazaar of the Bizarre

Beetlejuice Movie
Watching the Beetlejuice movie was the first time I remember dead being funny. The story of Adam and Barbara, the nice couple fixing up their giant white house perched on a hill, the senseless way they died, and their troubles with the Deetz family and with the Handbook For The Recently Deceased. I remember the especial thrill of personal recognition at the rule “the living normally not see the strange and unusual” when Lydia Deetz said, “I myself am, strange and unusual”. And Beetlejuice himself, though definitely disgusting, had a certain rebellious something. Nobody but Michael Keaton could have done that. Beetlejuice was like a demonic dead version of Rumpelstiltskin, with a pretty impressive touch of magic. When the staircase came to life, I was hooked. I watched the cartoon for years afterwards.

Corvus CoraxAntonia GlaskovaFinalist in the Bazaar of the Bizarre

Corvus Corax
Antonia Glaskova
Finalist in the Bazaar of the Bizarre

SheDon QuincyFinalist in the Bazaar of the Bizarre

Don Quincy
Finalist in the Bazaar of the Bizarre

Stephen King
SpidergirlBy: Julie BoehmFinalist in the Bazaar of the Bizarre

By: Julie Boehm
Finalist in the Bazaar of the Bizarre

Because all of us read Carrie and Firestarter and Cujo with a flashlight under the covers at night, way before we were old enough to do so. I’ll be honest – I’m still not old enough to read that. Talk about scary – I know I couldn’t sleep due to fiery dreams afterwards. And none of us could get close too our pet dogs for a few months. But we still watched The Shining and It, and scared the living daylights out of ourselves all over again.  An entire adult generation was both repelled and even more fascinated with clowns because of Stephen King. They were also both repelled and even more fascinated by Jack Nicholson. How is it that it worked well for him?

Spectacle Combustion

EquinoxAnthony RudareanuFinalist in the Fire Photography

Anthony Rudareanu
Finalist in the Fire Photography

We all stare at campfires with macabre fascination. I love Fireworks and how they are so scary and loud. Collectively everyone says oooooooooooo, aaaaaaaahhhhhhh to the fireworks. I become entranced as I watched a fire dancer in a circus for the first time, both the literal and figurative dance happening with the flames. Here we give a peek at one of the finalists in the Fire Photography category soon to be announced.

We come to the last and most voted on image submitted to our judges. Pascal Dupont has received significant praise for the evocative nature of this image and as such is the grand prize winner in the Bazaar of the Bizarre. Congratulations Pascal.

Treebeard  1st Place Winner Bazaar of the Bizarre Category By: Pascal Dupont

Treebeard 1st Place Winner Bazaar of the Bizarre Category
By: Pascal Dupont

Tell us in the comments where did you first come across a world or part of the world that was really strange yet totally fascinating at the same time? Do you still have the same fascination?

This Article was authored by Emily Smith of No Camp Fire Required.

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