It's Spectacular

Aerialists, sword dancers, magicians, contortionists, jugglers and circus-arts performers of all types bring excitement and low-brow charm to "Kattywampus Circus Spectacular," a lavish stage show of vaudeville acts filled with music, theatrics and dancing.

"It's a multi-faceted, total sensory immersion show with lots of performers and a really fun theme," says Jason Gallager, promoter and project manager of The Curious Conspiracy, the profit-sharing company of performers, technical crews, producers and financial backers that coordinate the event.

"Kattywampus Circus Spectacular" is set for Saturday, May 18, in the Historic Ashland Armory, 208 Oak St.

Tickets cost $20 in advance and can be purchased at or at Music Coop. Tickets will cost $25 at the door. VIP tickets cost $50 per person; $300 for six people. VIPs will get a meal catered by Taroko Pan-Pacific Bistro and Milagros Fresh Mix, along with drink tickets and gift bags.

VIP seating starts at 7 p.m.; general seating is at 7:30. Costumes are encouraged.

Los Angeles DJ Avena Shakti Bliss kicks off the party with her mashup of old-time swing, lounge tunes and house beats for dancing. The large, costume-bedecked "Kattywampus" cast — including members of Le Cirque Centre's adult dance company, Levity, Intention Dancers and other performing artists — will mingle with the audience and pose for photos.

At 8 p.m., Dave Clay, ringmaster for the L.A.-based Handsome Little Devils and its Squirm Burpee Circus, and performance artist Bliss Vixen will co-emcee "Kattywampus' " two-hour lineup of circus, burlesque and vaudvillean acts by local performers.

The spectacle sets the stage for Portland's Vagabond Opera, headed up by singer and accordion player Eric Stern. His group plays a goulash of Bohemian cabaret for young and old. Paris hot jazz, gut bucket swing, tangos, Ukrainian folk-punk ballads, klezmer and more weave elements of Kurt Weil, Duke Ellington and Edith Piaf with absurdist flair, theatrics and an Old World mood.

Clay and Vixen will segue the show into 30 minutes of audience participation games with prizes and giveaways. Then look for a second set by Vagabond Opera before the event culminates with a dance party that will last until midnight.

"Upfront costs prohibit big productions like these," Gallager says. "Sharing profits keep the expenditures to a minimum, while the company shares the risks and rewards. We've had phenomenal response so far. The VIP tickets have already sold out. The success of this show will kick off a new series under The Curious Conspiracy."

The new company aims to fill a certain void in Ashland's nighttime entertainment with risque, big-top events.

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