by Steven Doyle
Mondays often bring with it a bit of despair as we anticipate the coming of paperwork, traffic woes and the end to the weekend debauchery. But it doesn’t really need to be this way. At least for a troupe of at least 50 revelers that gather in Richardson each week at The House of Poets located next to Peace Pipe Hookah Lounge.
Circus Freaks is an extension of Creative Motion, a group of jugglers who were looking for a home when the owner of the Lebanese restaurant and the Richardson hookah lounge offered up his available warehouse space. This was the birth of Circus Freaks, or better known as Open Stage.
Each week a group converges on stage to share their talent in song, spoken word and a whole host of talent. There are rules dispensed at the door. Probably rules we learned as children. Basically the rules amount to do unto others, smile and applaud. These rules keep the crowd in good cheer with a sense of encouragement, even for those first timers on stage who may lack the self confidence needed to pull off their act.
For the $10 price of admission you may bring in your own libations, or enjoy the house teas and hookahs. Food may also be trucked in from Olive, the Lebanese restaurant located another few doors down from the hookah lounge.
Chairs, sofas and large format cushions are provided ashram-style. The crowd is more than enthusiastic, offering a handshake when they notice you are a noob in the midst.
As the night forges on Circus Freak ringleader, Russ Sharek, keeps the crowd under control with his appealing stage presence and guiding hand. As emcee, Sharek books each act for the evening from a list of willing participants who have signed up on their website. If the act is new, Sharek will make an informal phone call to get a better idea how the performer plans to use his 5 minutes of fame.
“Every night is different. We really never know where the evening will take us, but it is all good fun,” explained Sharek.
We didn’t really see too many circus freaks, and damn we wanted to, but we did relax in a comfy leather chair as performers gave us their best. We will be back very soon.