Freak Show Maestro

The cursed arm of Claude de Lorraine...
All photos by Megumi Akiyama.
Pickled punks: They go great with pastrami and a lil' mustard.
Embalmed clown Achile Chatouilleu, under glass, for your protection.
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The skull of the world's smallest Freemason...


The "Barnum of Burbank Boulevard." The Nostradumbass of North Hollywood. El Lay's Willy Wonka of Weirdness. Such are but a few of the titles that my bro Carl Crew labors under as the Grand Poobah of the California Institute of Abnormalarts, an odditorium/ performance art venue near Lankershim and Burbank Boulevards in North Hollywood, CA. For several years now, Crew -- a former mortician and an actor/director/producer well-known for his tres creepy portrayal of killer-cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer in Jeffrey Dahmer: The Secret Life-- has run the CIA along with his creative and business collaborator Robert Ferguson. Not only does the CIA host such mind-boggling, one-of-a-kind acts as Girly Freak Show and crippled, demented performer/cineaste Shaye St. John, the CIA is also an X-Files-esque funhouse/sideshow museum featuring animatronic ghouls, vintage sideshow banners, two-headed pickled punks, the cursed/whithered arm of long-dead French nobleman Claude de Lorraine, the mummified body of alligator boy, the skull of the world's smallest Freemason, and -- its piece de resistance -- the embalmed corpse of American clown Achile Chatouilleu, encased in glass lest the poisons the Chatouilleu corpse was preserved in lay low his viewers.

I've written about Carl several times, but I haven't seen him since moving to PHX, so I stopped by last night, and was impressed with the fact the CIA now serves beer, wine and sake (see, it was a speakeasy back in the day). Also dug the many new exhibits, like alligator boy (more like alligator man to judge from its size). The CIA is a not-to-be-missed LA attraction if you're in town. People flock to Ripley's in Hollywood, but their money would be better spent here, where they'd really see some wikkid shit.

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