From the first moment I ever set eyes on Tyler Fyre at the Coney Island Sideshows By the Seashore, it was obvious this man knew what class and style was without any shadow of a doubt. His stage presence was the first I can remember being exposed to, and it was just as impressive as the clothes he wore. As the legend goes, his career began as an outside talker and then eventually moved inside the building that was once home to the Dreamland Circus Sideshow where he performed the Human Blockhead, sword swallowing and a stunning fire eating routine to Man Or Astroman? He teamed up with Keith Bindlestiff for a brief show called Lucky Stiff at the Pussycat Lounge in 2004, and I attended a few of these shows that featured sideshow, burlesque and a whole lot of debauchery. His Lucky Devil Circus Sideshow morphed into the Lucky Devil Thrillshow which he shares with his lovely wife Thrill Kill Jill. While I am not here to write a biography of Tyler’s career, I just wanted to make note of the fact I had the chance to interact with him on several occasions and always found him to be quite the polite gentleman. It’s not just the clothes or the acts he presents on stage; he is a true showman and hence the reason I find he is suitable to serve as an example of Carny Style.
Tyler’s signature look is a bright red suit paired with a black shirt and red tie, a combination which immediately grabs the eyes and commands attention. While he has sported other styles over the years, this one I feel best fits the character and personality that he portrays. Even though he is noted as a brilliant sword swallower and master of fire, he has never lost the ability of being silver-tongued and provides a flawless pitch every time he opens his mouth that is quite reminiscent of the old school talkers. They were always sharply dressed, often with a straw hat or bamboo cane which they used to draw in curious crowds. Transitioning from the bally stage to the main one require refinement and results in ensuring that spectators will have something appealing to look at. The suit is as timeless as sideshow itself, and for me, Tyler wears it effortlessly whether he’s sliding solid steel into his stomach or flirting with fire.
Thrill Kill Jill certainly makes for sultry eye candy, especially wearing a corset and swallowing a sword. She also creates bright fire balls and dances with deadly serpents, and at all time remains demure even though she’s showing off skin. Unfortunately sex sells over talent, but I do believe there is a way to exude sensuality and make use of certain assets without coming off like a cheap stage prop. While not everyone will agree with my opinion, I understand the point of having a lovely lady to seduce the audience with glittering costumes that don’t leave much to the imagination. However, it can also be done in a way that’s not focusing entirely on the T’n’A, and I feel that Jill pulls that off wonderfully in a red and black corset paired with coordinating bustle. bra and heeled shoes. She has a gypsy look as well for the snake charming, and while I have seen quite a few performers sporting similar belly dancing costumes, her raven locks and pale skin are reminiscent of the old school tattoo flash of a gypsy woman in profile.
Together, Tyler and Jill make an aesthetically pleasing couple whether they are on stage or posing for a publicity photo. Their firey red outfits are a testament to both their skills and personalities, and while I have yet to actually see them perform together live, they are without a doubt one of the pairings in sideshow. In fact, they have the honor of ranking high among the Carny Trash Aristocracy for their incredible showmanship, fabulous style and what seems like one hell of an entertaining show. From my few interactions and what I have heard, they are amazingly wonderful people, which is rare to find in a business that is rampant with shit talking and other juvenile behavior. It is for all these reasons and possibly even more that I am unable to think of at this moment that I selected them as the subjects for the premiere of this article, setting the standard of class and elegance for sideshow performers.
Photo credit: 1 – mundieart.com, 2 – itsachick.com, 3 – Prof. James Mundie , 4 – madamebijoux.wordpress.com