West Oakland Roadside Attraction

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Here’s a set of pictures that’s been sitting on my hard drive for a while. Last fall, some creative folks–artists and performers and super-capable do-it-yourselfers–created a sort of carnival on a vacant lot in West Oakland. I had heard about it from a reporter of ours who did a little story on it, then Kate spotted a piece about it in one of the local papers. So late one afternoon in November, we drove over there–10 or 15 minutes from home–to see what was up.

The attraction was called Peralta Junction, and involved a sideshow, a calliope, a life-size version of the game Mouse Trap (a performance that happened well after sunset, and my pictures didn’t turn out well), and local artisans selling a range of old-timey clothing and other modern-antique wares. It was really fun.

Here’s the slideshow, below, mostly featuring the guy who did the sideshow act. He hammered a butter knife into one of his nostrils. He passed his body through a tennis racket. He lay on a bed of nails while a second bed of nails was placed on his chest and someone from the crowd stood on it. I don’t know the performer’s name and wish I did–it was a funny and thoroughly engaging show.

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