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DJs and freaks

Cirkus plus DJs equals “Carnival” at The Loft every Friday

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Since Oct 27, 2003, Seattle-based body art theatre P.U.R.E., or People Undergoing Real Experiences, has trashed the three rings, and traded them in for nipple rings, grinder suits and flaming numchucks (forgive me, Japanese masters, for Americanizing the name of your glorious weapon).  For two years, the group performed only within the small community of body modification and suspension, keeping to nightclubs and private events. On April 6, they’re coming to The Loft in Tacoma as part of “Carnival,” a DJ and performance art night every Friday through May 11.

P.U.R.E. began as a body art exhibition of extreme proportion. Over the years, members of the group began to delve into more traditional acts involving more pedestrian affairs such as fire juggling and trapeze. In 2005, the group of underground artists began combining mundane talents with body modification, and P.U.R.E. Cirkus was born.

“It’s kind of a dark, modern version of the circus we went to as kids,” says Danno Rankin, who invited the shadowy showstoppers to perform at the Loft. “There won’t be any clowns at this one.”

Rankin says he’s grown increasingly tired of seeing people pay $20 to dance and listen to yet another DJ spin worn out Top 40 music, and wanted to offer something Tacoma hadn’t seen before. The answer to his prayers came in the form a people hanging from the ceiling by their nipples at the Fenix Underground in Seattle.

Pulling together talented performers from all over the country, P.U.R.E. Cirkus has strived to push the limits of the human mind and body by combining Cirkus performance with what they describe as Tribal theatre. Performers embrace all forms of entertainment, including jugglers, sideshow freaks, fire eaters, suspension and piercing enthusiasts, dancers, acrobats, aerialists, musicians and other circus and cabaret artists. Stunning costumes, height-defying stilt walkers and aerialists, illusionists, jaw-dropping acts of demented bravery by the geeks, freaks and acrobats, all congeal to create a truly ecstatic and mystical experience, say organizers.

Rankin is particularly stoked about the all-female line-up of performers, who promise to bring flaming nunchaku, staves and batons. Tacoma Fire Department, he promises, will review and approve all the acts to avoid any mishaps. Some of the more extreme elements — such as performers suspending cinder blocks from hooks in their eye sockets — will be left out of the program, Ranking promises that the other acts, combined with the girls from No Limit Lingerie, DJ Vinnie The Pooh, drink specials and ringmaster Eric Powers, will more than make up for the lack of Mr.Lifto-like madness.

“I think it’s time to step up and bring something new to the table,” says Rankin. “I hope Tacoma is ready.”

[The Loft, Friday, April 6, 9 p.m., $12, 2106 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.404.0540]

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