Sideshow Goshko

James Bewley recalls his visit to Bobby Mackey’s Haunted Honky Tonk in Wilder, Kentucky.

By Andrew Andrews

KGB Bar is a great East Village institution, yet many New Yorkers have no idea it exists. Decked-out in Soviet-era décor since 1993, it’s become a staple of the NYC literary scene, hosting readings most nights by famous and not-so-famous authors. One popular series for the past (nearly) eight years has been Sideshow Goshko, a storytelling event hosted by Huff Po writer Leslie Goshko and featuring works by some of the city’s top writers and storytellers. In addition to her usual true/false trivia contest—which is harder to win than you might think—tonight’s event featured Anna Roisman, James Bewley, Calvin Cato and Dawn Fraser.

Roisman started the show with a tale about getting her ear pierced on St. Marks Place while she was drunk; as you might imagine, it didn’t go well, but did result in a bonding experience with her father that everyone in the room seemed to appreciate. Bewley (whom you might remember hosts a very funny show of his own at the Slipper Room) recounted his lackluster basement tour of “the most haunted night club in America,” drawing plenty of laughs from the audience. Cato, a black man of very modest build, shared his experience performing a comedy show at a bar in Pennsylvania with a group of white supremacist “affiliates” in the audience. The happy ending is that Cato was not the one dragged out of the venue at the end of that evening!

Dawn Fraser headlined the show recalling the night she managed to “fake it ’til you make it,” interviewing for the position of speech coach for rapper Common. Fraser explained how, despite vomiting along the side of his car as he drove her home across the Brooklyn Bridge, she still managed to get the gig with a follow-up text the next day. Expertly crafted and delivered, it’s easy to see why Fraser’s credits include The Moth MainStage and TED.

Goshko closed out the night with a bittersweet announcement: the next show—January 26, 2017—will not only be the eighth anniversary of Sideshow Goshko, but also the final installment. So, mark the date on your calendar and catch some great storytelling in an intimate setting before this, like many other East Village institutions, disappears!

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Andrew Andrews attended Sideshow Goshko at KGB Bar in New York on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 @ 7:00pm to write this review.