The One and Only, Matthew Silver

(All photos by Gustavo Ponce for Bushwick Daily)

You might know Matthew Silver. Odds are you’ve seen him walking the streets of Bushwick in an assortment of different costumes, carrying on with one of his savant-like personages, interacting with passersby. Impossible not to notice, Silver has become a fixture of the neighborhood, spouting everything from sage adages to seemingly nonsensical phrases. This is why when I found out about Silver’s “Circus of Dreams,” a bimonthly night of “entertainment mixed with art and  awkwardness stretched to it’s breaking point,” every other Wednesday at Bizarre Bar I knew I had to go.  Not to disappoint, every inch of “Circus of Dreams” is packed with the odd, the off-putting and even the strangely glamorous.

Merrie Cherry Jason Daniels took the stage

While I typically tend to steer clear of tired cliches like “down the rabbit hole,” I truly do not know how else to describe the captivating and marvelous world that is Matthew Silver’s “Circus.” The event, presented by House of Screwball, brings you into Silver’s head and tends to play out like a stream of conscious narrative completely controlled by Silver’s ID.

A tender moment between emcees Matthew Silver and Josh Berserkowitz

The night opened with Silver and co-emcee for the evening Josh “Berserkowitz” took the stage to the Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out,” dressed as unruly pups. In true canine form, the two began growling, barking, and eating from bowls of dog food on the stage.  From this auspicious beginning, I knew that this was Silver’s world, and we are merely confederates along for the wacky ride.

Silver’s stage presence is at one moment seemingly unrehearsed and ad hoc, yet his character is so well developed that you find yourself being pulled into his world, where nothing because too bizarre or over the top.  Blind-folded burlesque dancers dancing barefoot on broken glass; a lucha libre masked character sitting on stage eating a banana; a tap-dancing dinosaur, and a whole lot of male frontal nudity. Anything goes, and the audience loves it…

…Until this happens!

While it is easy to get caught up in the shock value of the show, once you really begin to see the performers and acknowledge what they are doing, you begin to see the power of such a fantastical night. “Circus of Dreams” creates a haven of the bizarre, where performers and artists are free to try out their art in, for all intents and purposes, a safe environment and a circle of trust. House of Screwball’s Darcey Leonard told me that she wanted to let “Circus” be an outlet for Silver to run free. Bringing together a variety show of performers who might not fit into a typical night of burlesque or performance art space, “Circus” might seem a little disjointed at times, but Silver’s unmatched ability to find the beauty and slightly off-balance order in the chaos keeps us all in it together.

The Lovely Lulu Vaudou

Not wanting to give too much away, you’ll have to experience the Circus to believe it. Another fantastical iteration of House of Screwball and Matthew Silver’s “Circus of Dreams” comes to Bushwick this Wednesday at Bizarre Bar @ 9PM.