Born from the ghost of an English music hall, a dustbowl carnival, American Vaudeville, and the golden age of the silent film era the Beggar's Carnivale is truly a variety show combining elements of traditional circus arts, gypsy folk and rock n' roll. Filled with wonderment and spectacle it has been described as, "Cirque du Soleil on a whiskey bender."
The Beggar's Carnivale began as an idea and dream of Sammich the Tramp before she moved to St. Louis and teamed up with burlesque producer/performer extraordinaire, Lola van Ella. Lola was used to producing straight forward burlesque shows and was working on and desiring something grander and more theatrical, and Sammy was used to doing silent film inspired live performance in variety shows but was looking for a scene and an avenue that could support it better. St. Louis is home to an incredibly flourishing and blossoming circus, vaudeville, and burlesque scene as well as a historic and important music history. For the first time in St. Louis and just about anywhere, Sammy and Lola were able to combine all of those elements on one stage, in one night, for one raucous wild ride of a show. They achieved what they felt was the true sense and spirit of vaudeville. The Beggar's Carnivale is a fast paced, non-stop show with exciting acts that are linked together by a series of silent film-esque transition bits as well as live music from house band The Royal We and music that is mixed on the spot by the show's personal DJ. The Beggar's Carnivale is one of the only, if not the only, completely silent variety burlesque show, and uses no emcee.
The Beggar's Carnivale made its debut in November of 2010 and was an instant hit. Starting off as a monthly show in St. Louis, the crowds, attention, and excitement got bigger and bigger every month. The fans really identified with this crazy, fun, inclusive event and truly live experience that the Beggars were providing. Featuring different guest stars and opening acts every month including Jason Webley, Curtis Eller, Trixie Little and the Evil Hate Monkey, 999 Eyes Freak Show, Jeez Loueez, Lady Jack, Lula Houp Garou, Ray Gunn and more, there is always something new and exciting to look forward to and our audiences have really responded. Our audience is an eclectic group, ranging from 18 to 80, wealthy to working class. This show knows no discrimination. By the 7th month the show was so big it had to be moved into 1,000 capacity historic venue. In April of 2011 the Beggars took their show out on the road for the first time, traveling down to Dallas and performing in the historic Lakewood Theater. The show received a lot of buzz and incredible feedback, with people marveling that they saw "such an amazing show that made us feel like we were in Vegas" and ended up being voted the Dallas burlesque fans' favorite show of the year.
The Beggars are now preparing to take this crazy show on the road and will be making stops all over the country this fall. Our story has just begun and our little carnivale will only gather more incredible stories, lore, scandals and crazy gypsy love. It's F-ing magic!