Hello, Donny | NY Part 2

April 20, 2011

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My brother is Donny Vomit. He’s a sideshow performer – which means he hammers nails into his head and swallows swords for a living. He lives in Brooklyn, NY and just got off tour with the Pretty Things Peepshow (a touring burlesque troupe).

After our flight and train ride into Brooklyn, Donny met us in the lobby of his place. We took an elevator up to the 13th floor (of course he lives on the 13th floor), we removed our shoes and dropped our bags and just seconds later Donny was showing us a new shiny piece of steel – a sword. There was a piece of blue painters tape about 3/4 of the way up and when I asked him what that was for he told me “That’s where I know to stop.” Then he proceeds to tilt his head back and drop the sword down his throat.

There’s no trick to it – just a lot of practice. In highschool Donny used to shove his fingers down his throat every day to try and numb his gag reflex. He wasn’t yet swallowing swords but had heard somewhere that it takes 7 years of tickling your throat every day to destroy the instinct to barf. Then in college he got more serious and contorted a wire hanger into a shape that resembled a sword – he started shoving that down his throat and from there moved on to swords.

Donny had a show in the Bronx scheduled the second night we were visiting to promote Coney Island Lager Beer. If you’ve ever been to a sports bar you might be familiar with promo girls. They’re usually wearing cut up t-shirts with a liquor logo on them, two bras, layered, to achieve awesome cleavage. They walk around handing out shots of whatever they’ve been hired to promote. Donny is kind of like a promo girl but instead of an awesome rack he’s got an awesome mustache. And instead of flirting to sell liquor, he hammers nails into his head and swallows swords.

So, Donny has his show and we were happy to tag along. We drank pints of Blockhead Lager and watched the faces of unsuspecting bar patrons as Donny did his thing. Afterwards, a Jersey Shore type of guy in an Affliction t-shirt insisted on telling Donny over and over again how crazy he is. After a few minutes of that he starts showing us photos of his baby on his iPhone – his “baby” was a gun. I decide to remove myself from the situation and grab another beer, meanwhile Jeremy and Donny are stuck talking to this guy. I chat with the Shmaltz Beer rep while the Jersey-Shore-Affliction-guy-with-photos-of-his-baby/gun-on-his-phone, we’ll call him “Noel” (because that was his name) tells Jeremy he should keep an eye on me. After a few more minutes of telling Donny how crazy he is, Noel feels as if Donny and Jeremy are his bros. Noel is becoming increasingly agitated that I’m holding a conversation with a man who isn’t my husband and tells Jeremy that he will kick the dude’s ass on Jeremy’s behalf. Jeremy was dumbfounded and politely told Noel that I am completely capable of holding a conversation with another guy. Now I know why those characters on MTV are always getting in so many fights.

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