Hurly-Burly Vaudeville Medicine Show displays a variety of talent at the Firehouse Gallery

Photos by Jillian Carapella

Vaudeville was revived this Saturday night with the debut of the Hurly-Burly Vaudeville Medicine Show at the Firehouse Gallery. The variety show displayed the talents of musicians, poets, comedians and fire dancers.

“(Vaudeville) is about building the community while bringing a lot of different communities together,” event creator Pete Petrisko said. “There are a lot of acts that totally fit in vaudeville.”

Petrisko and his partner, Dameon Kuhl, held the event at the Firehouse Gallery, located on First Street between Roosevelt and Portland streets.

“We’ve been working with the Firehouse on and off since the early 2000s,” Kuhl said.

Comedian Eli Kluger opened the show, followed by a comedic accordion musical set from Chelsea Lynne.

Then singer-songwriter Dinosaur Love performed several original dinosaur-themed songs.

“You make me feel like a pterodactyl / Flyin’ high when I’m with you,” he sang.

Other musical acts included the opera singer Rebecca Franz and Of The Earth’s gypsy musicians Mariana and Sean Riley.

“We feel very strongly in our beliefs, and we want to share them with the world,” Mariana Riley said. “We also want to allow people that feel the same way we do to have an outlet through music.”

“(Our work) is in our blood,” Sean Riley added.

The “pain-tolerant woman” Marissa Melon also performed, hammering a nail through her nose, dancing with fire, clipping a mousetrap to her tongue and performing a glass dancing routine.

Arcana Collective also had a particularly unique performance featuring the four aspects of being human. They conveyed these aspects through art, song, poetry and dance.

The founder of Arcana Collective, Ernesto Moncada, performed the entire act wearing stilts and a dog funnel to intensify his voice.

At the end of all four acts, Moncada had the audience members draw tarot cards.

“Love, don’t expect to be loved,” he said to the audience.

The end result of Arcana Collective’s performance was a painting of a flaming human eye that was meant to represent the audience’s emotions during each of their acts.

Moncada said he hopes his performance will help the audience realize they could explore and participate in the arts as well.

“Art is aimed at whoever is there to catch it,” he said.

The show progressed with a sword-fighting demonstration from the Phoenix Society of Historical Swordsmanship and a sultry burlesque performance by Kitty Victorian.

Fire-twirling group Vatra then took the stage, followed by another fire performance by juggler Korbin later in the show.

“It’s the Firehouse, therefore we have lots of fire,” said Chris Byrd, who later performed with the band Eddy Detroit. “It’s visually fun to observe.”

The show also featured a tap routine from Tap That Ass, a unique take on Claude Debussy from the RPM Orchestra and the OME Ensemble, and comedic “old-time spirituals” from Andrew Jemsek, Medicine Woman.

The event also showcased many other unique talents such as Joy Young’s poetry and balloon art. During her two separate acts, she crafted both a caterpillar and a T. rex and performed a haiku about each creation.

Andy Peacekopps, lead singer of the folk-punk music act Andy Warpigs, took to the stage later in the show while the audience danced to their music.

“He brings a spirit to the crowd, and the energy is fun,” audience member Dara Ot said.

As far as the future of the Hurly-Burly Vaudeville Medicine Show is concerned, Petrisko hopes to get the show on the road.

“We’re ultimately putting together a touring show to get out of Phoenix in the summertime,” Petrisko said. “We hope to do big shows 2-3 times a year.”

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