The Circus Collective Presents: The Sideshow
By Kyle Metlon
For those of you heading out to Urban Nights this coming weekend, you’re certain to encounter a variety of experiences throughout downtown Dayton and beyond. Out on the fringes of downtown at Fourth and Walnut, however, you’ll come across an independently produced event showcasing an eclectic mix of visual art, performance art and a variety of local musical talent gathered together over two nights — Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12 at the old Yellow Cab Building.
Dating back to 2006, The Sideshow emerged as the brainchild of performance artist Laurana Wong, who described her vision of The Sideshow at the time as “expos[ing] the burgeoning underground art scene and interconnect[ing] it with the more established art community. We will bring attention to Downtown Dayton through a grand-scaled and highly public display of the art that is so ripe in this town.” Out of this initial event, a group of like-minded individuals banded together to form The Dayton Circus Collective, which has continued to collaborate and produce The Sideshow each year. Now in its 7th incarnation, The Sideshow continues to present some of the most interesting artists from Dayton working in various media for a night celebrating community and creation.
For this year’s event, Jeff Opt stepped up to help coordinate the musical portion of the program, along with Kate Ervin, who is handling the visual arts for the night. With over 20 performers lined up over the course of the two nights, Opt carefully curated a cross-section of what is happening in Dayton, which will cater to a range of musical palates.
“I am trying to showcase the variety and quality of music available locally, and highlight people that I think are very creative,” explains Opt. “The two nights each have a different vibe. Friday tends to be a little more mainstream since a good majority of the audience comes from Urban Nights — so there is a wider crowd I try to appeal to. Saturday, on the other hand, tends to be more experimental — the audience that comes on Saturday night tends to know what The Sideshow is and is open to try new sounds.”
With returning groups including C. Wright’s Parlour Tricks, The Fair Shakes, Dan Raridan & The Calientes, The White Soots and Oxymoronatron alongside first time participants Jasper The Colossal, Tim Pritchard, The Boxcar Suite (making their debut performance) and Father’s Day, The Sideshow offers attendees an interesting slice of what Dayton music has to offer.
“I try and mix things up between bands that have played The Sideshow before, and new bands,” says Opt. “As far as capturing the range of music available in the area — I always want more. I personally would love to have bluegrass, jazz and funk, but those genres really haven’t come up in our application process. This randomness is what makes the Sideshow fun to put on — you never know quite what you will get from year to year. So rather than try and represent all of the Dayton music scene, I try and focus on quality.”
One of the biggest changes from previous years will be an outdoor covered tent where bands will perform throughout the two days, separating the visual and musical experience. However, Opt seems optimistic that newcomers and returning visitors alike will find something engaging in this year’s installment of The Sideshow.
“I like to say, ‘you never know quite what you will see, but it will be a good time,’” concludes Opt. “There will be art that you will love and other art that won’t make sense. There will be music that gets you moving, and other music that might do nothing for you. The beauty of the Sideshow is that there is something for everyone — if you don’t like the band, go look at art — in 40 minutes or so there will be a completely different band that you might think is amazing. Don’t like a style of art, walk a few feet in either direction and you will see something totally new. Get into conversations, make new friends, experience new things … these are all things we strive for as part of the Sideshow experience. And expect the unexpected — no one saw the glitter fight coming last year but people involved still talk about it!”
(The Circus Collective Presents The Sideshow Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12 at The Old Yellow Cab Building, 700 E. 4th Street. Admission is free for all ages, donations accepted. Doors open at 5p.m. each day. For more information, visit facebook.com/DaytonSideshow.)
Reach DCP Music Editor Kyle Melton at MusicEditor@DaytonCityPaper.com and read his blog at thebuddhaden/net.